7 Fascinating Facts About Your Muscles

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Your muscles aren't just fibers and nerves. They're complex tissues that help you move and, in the process, torch calories and fat to give you a lean, fit figure. So do yourself a favor and get to know them—they're a lot more interesting than you might think.

1. Your muscles can be up to 70 percent water. So when you work out, you should always carry some H2O with you to keep them hydrated.

2. Muscle tissue makes up 35-40 percent of your body weight. Keep this mind before jumping to conclusions when you hop on the scale.

3. For every pound of muscle, the average person can burn up to 50 extra calories. Hmmm...Suddenly that number on the scale doesn't seem so bad…

4. Using heavier weights in your exercises won't necessarily make your muscles stronger. In order to make strength gains, practicing good form should be at the top of your get-fit list.

5. While you can't target weight loss, you can spot tone certain muscles. Just do workouts that are specific toward the body part you want to work on (shoulders, abs, legs), to start seeing more results.

6. A single step uses almost 200 different muscles, including your hamstrings, quads, iliacus, and psoas major and minor. 

7. Your muscles memorize movement patterns. It's important to change up your routine every 6 weeks to 'confuse' your muscles and keep seeing gains. But, if you end up taking a break from the gym—planned or unplanned—all your body needs is a few warm-up exercises to remember how to get into the swing of things.

15 Hydration Facts for Athletes

Water is a wonderful performance enhancer. Unfortunately, too many athletes overlook the power of this essential nutrient. Perhaps it's your turn to give water a try? This article offers droplets of information to enhance your water I.Q., optimize your water balance, and help you feel and perform better.

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1. You don't have to drink plain water to hydrate. 

All fluids count, as do foods that have high water content. For example:

  • Oatmeal is 84 percent water.
  • Low-fat milk is 90 percent water.
  • Coffee is 99.5 percent water.
  • Lettuce is 96 percent water.
  • Tomato is 95 percent water.
  • Broccoli is 89 percent water.
  • Low-fat vanilla yogurt is 79 percent water.
  • Ice cream is 60 percent water.

2. You cannot function without water.

Your body cannot survive without sufficient water, as noted by the fact that athletes die from dehydration. Water is the solvent for your biochemical reactions.

3. You need water for digestion.

Water is required to moisten food (saliva), digest food(gastric secretions), transport nutrients to and from cells (blood), discard waste (urine), and dissipate heat (sweat). Water is a major component of the muscles and organs; about 60 percent of a male's body weight and 50 percent of a woman's body weight is water.

4. Your body parts have different water contents.

Water constantly moves through your cells. About 4 percent to 10 percent of your body-water gets replaced every day with "fresh" water. For example:

  • Blood is approximately 93 percent water.
  • Muscle is about 73 percent water.
  • Body fat is about 10 percent water.

5. Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) methods of measuring body fat actually measure body water.

This formula estimates the ratio of water to muscle and fat. Hence, if you use a Tanita Scale or Omron device, be sure to maintain adequate hydration. If you are dehydrated, you'll end up with an inaccurate (higher) estimate of body fat.

6. Your body produces 8 to 16 oz. of water per day.

This occurs during normal metabolic processes. During a marathon, a runner's muscles can produce that much water over two to three hours. When muscles burn glycogen, they simultaneously release about 2.5 units water for every 1 unit of muscle glycogen; this helps protect against dehydration.

7. Your coffee is a source of water.

Although once thought to have a diuretic effect, current research indicates coffee (in amounts normally consumed) hydrates as well as water over a 24-hour period. That is, after drinking coffee, you may urinate sooner, but you will not urinate more than you consume.

Army research on caffeine and dehydration confirms coffee is an acceptable source of fluids for athletes, even during exercise in the heat. Hence, coffee and other caffeinated beverages such as tea or cola count towards your water intake.

8. An increased concentration of particles in your blood triggers the sensation of thirst. 

If you are a 150-pound athlete, you'll start to feel thirsty once you've lost about 1.5 to 3 pounds of sweat (1 percent to 2 percent of your body weight). You are seriously dehydrated when you have lost 5 percent of your body weight.

9. Body water absorbs heat from your muscles and sweat dissipates heat.

The evaporation of 1 liter (about 36 oz.) of sweat from the skin represents a loss of about 580 calories. Sweat keeps you from overheating during exercise and in hot environments.

10. You can measure your water losses after a workout.

To determine how much water you lose when you sweat, weigh yourself (with little or no clothing) before and after one hour of hard exercise with no fluid intake. The change in body weight reflects sweat loss. A one-pound drop in weight equates to loss of 16 oz. of sweat. A two-pound drop equates to 32 oz.—that's 1 quart. Drink accordingly during your workouts to prevent that loss.

11. When you sweat, you lose water from both inside and outside your cells.

The water outside the cells is rich in sodium, an electrolyte that works in balance with potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte inside the cells. Sweat contains about seven times more sodium than potassium, hence sodium is the most important electrolyte to replace during extended exercise.

12. Dehydration can hinder athletic performance.

Athletes who lose more than 2 percent of their body weight (3 pounds for a 150-pound athlete) lose both their mental edge and their ability to perform optimally in hot weather. Yet, during cold weather, you are less likely to experience reduced performance, even at 3 percent dehydration.

Three to 5 percent dehydration does not seem to affect muscle strength or performance during short intense bouts of anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting. But distance runners slow their pace by 2 percent for each percent of body weight lost through dehydration. Sweat loss of more than 10 percent body weight is life threatening.

13. Water can reduce constipation and help with urinary tract infections.

There is also no scientific validation of theories that excessive water intake will improve weight loss, remove toxins, or improve skin tone.

14. You don't need eight glasses of water per day.

No scientific evidence supports the "eight glasses per day" rule, so you can simply drink in response to thirst. You can also monitor the volume of your urine. If your urine is scanty, dark, and smelly, you should drink more. If you have not urinated during your work or school day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you are severely under-hydrated.

15. Bottled water is not always better than tap water.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, nearly half of bottled waters come from municipal water supplies—not from the mountain streams pictured on the labels. This suggests standard municipal tap water is high quality.

Rather than spend money on bottled water, turn on your tap. This will help stop the flood of 95 million plastic water bottles that get discarded each day, of which only 20 percent get recycled. Drink plenty of water—but think "green."

Dehydrating Foods to Avoid

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Proper hydration is critical for performance, especially in the summer when higher temperatures and humidity causes athletes to sweat more.

When the body loses water, dehydration can set in and cause blood volume to decrease, which can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty regulating body temperature. 

Even the most conscientious athlete can hurt their efforts to stay hydrated because of the food they eat.

Here are a few dehydrating foods and beverages to avoid during the summer racing season.

Salt

Sodium is necessary for maintaining fluid balance in the body. However, large amounts of sodium ingested through cured fish, meats or deli meats, soy sauce, fried foods and snack foods like popcorn or chips can leave you feeling thirsty.

Always choose items with lower sodium when available. For instance, if you're out for sushi, try the low-sodium soy sauce. Don't forget to drink extra water when eating these foods too.

Protein

Athletes have slightly higher protein needs than the average sedentary individual. Yet, there's no good mechanism to store protein in the body if consumption surpasses need. Often people who consume large quantities of protein, while restricting carbohydrates, end up with increased ketone levels. Ketones are then excreted through your urine, and if your body is excreting more urine than usual, you need extra water to supplement all that was lost.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are high in calories (7 kcal/gram) and can cause dehydration—two bad side effects for athletes during summer racing season. A general rule is to consume one glass of water or club soda between alcoholic beverages. It may calm your buzz, but your body will thank you the next day.

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Have you ever wondered why you need a tall glass of milk to wash down a delicious brownie? Foods with high levels of sugar impact fluid balance in the body. Sweet foods and drinks drive up our thirst mechanism because many of them contain sodium. Turn to water and foods with high water concentration like celery and watermelon to quench your thirst and your hunger.

Caffeine

Caffeine is considered a diuretic. In some people, caffeine does not increase urinary excretion nor cause increased heart rate. However, for those who don't normally consume caffeine, having it during training or on race-day is a recipe for dehydration.

Top 7 Healthy Traveling Tips

Tip #1: Do your research before you go  

The internet is your friend and it will help you to explore the city you are visiting before you embark on your trip. I always find this especially important if you eat a plant-based diet like I do because it helps you to know how veg-friendly the city is and you can prepare by packing extra snacks if needed. I always look for:

  • The closest natural foods or health foods store. (In a pinch, a regular grocery store will also do!)
  • A nearby juice bar (if possible)
  • Nearby Asian, Thai, Indian, and (healthy) Mexican restaurants. (These restaurants are usually my best bet for finding plant-based protein sources and fresh veggies in an unfamiliar city.)

If you know that you are traveling to a city that isn’t veg-friendly or doesn’t have any options for dining healthfully, the next few steps are really important because they will help you to be prepared and make the best choices on the trip.

Tip #2: Pack your snacks

Nothing is worse than traveling hungry. I always make sure I have a variety of healthy snack options with me to prevent blood sugar crashes. Some of my favorites include:

  • Nuts (preferably unsalted and raw) or seeds
  • Crackers
  • Nut butters (I really love these individual Justin’s almond butter packets because they don’t have to be refrigerated for traveling and are easy to use on-the-go.)
  • Dried fruit
  • Larabars (Cashew Cookie is my favorite!)
  • Herbal (or decaf) teas

Other items to pack:

  • A small bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar (helpful for salad bars with limited dressing options)
  • A can-opener (helpful if you plan to purchase canned beans)

 

Tip #3: Pick-up some fresh snacks and basic ingredients when you arrive  

One of the reasons why I research a health foods or grocery store before I go is because then it’s easy to pick-up some fresh snacks when I arrive. Even if you don’t have a refrigerator in your room, you can easily make an ice bath in your sink to keep these items cold overnight or for a few days (just replenish the ice as needed.) Some of my favorites include:

  • Whole carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks
  • Fresh guacamole or an avocado
  • Hummus
  • Fresh fruit
  • Mixed greens
  • Canned beans

I love these options because they can easily double as meals if I need them too. I will often pair my flax crackers with hummus and veggies to make a light lunch or combine mixed greens with veggies, canned beans and the olive oil and vinegar that I packed to make a large salad for dinner. If you are planning to dine out or have lots of restaurant options, you might not need to be this resourceful.

Tip #4: Drink water and stay hydrated

One of the worst things about traveling is how dehydrated I feel during and after a flight. Carrying a water bottle and drinking lots of water ensures that I will stay hydrated and energized throughout my day. I also try to drink at least a cup of water for every hour that I am flying, as well as increasing water intake on the days before and after flying.

Tip #5: Eat smart when dining out  

From small airports to big cities, I have experienced a variety of challenges during my travels over the last few years since going plant-based. Dining out is always easier if you are going to a restaurant that is veg-friendly or at the least has lots of healthy options, however, when that’s not possible here is what usually works for me:

  • Start with a large salad. Every restaurant should have some type of salad and you can usually get it without cheese, croutons, and mayo-based dressing. This is helpful if you don’t have a lot of options for fresh food wherever you are dining.
  • Pair together a variety of sides to create a meal. Restaurants are usually able to give you a side of black beans, steamed broccoli, and rice. In a pinch, this can be a lifesaver. I also like to order a side of beans and put them on top of a salad to bulk it up a bit.
  • Ask what accommodations they can make. Some restaurants are more flexible than others, but often times they can remove cheese on items or make dishes vegetarian/vegan if you need them to be. A polite request can go a long way.

Tip #6: Supplement as needed  

This last trip I used a few supplements that were immensely helpful for traveling and I will definitely be using these on future trips. My favorites were:

  • Natural Calm Anti-Stress Drink packets. I found these individual packets were great for traveling and helping to reduce stress and fatigue during the trip.
  • Airborne Immune Support on-the-go packets. Traveling can be stressful at times and I hate arriving home with a cold. I’ve had great results using Airborne while traveling in the past and I loved these packets because they were convient to mix with water during the flight.
  • JetZone Jet Lag Prevention. This trip was my first time trying this supplement and I was a little skeptical of it as first, but I decided to try it because of the time difference. By the end of my trip I was exhausted, but I had a wonderful night of sleep when I returned and woke up incredibly refreshed the next morning. I know there is no way I would have felt this good without this. If you are traveling between time zones, I would definitely recommend trying it.

Tip #7: Respect your body  

Traveling is physically and mentally exhausting and it’s important to take care of your body. This includes:

  • Getting extra sleep as needed.
  • Moving your body. This might be walking around the city, using a hotel gym, or doing some yoga poses in your room. I always pack my resistance bands so I can do some basic resistance exercises (e.g. arm curls, side leg lifts, etc) in a small space if I don’t have other options for exercise during the trip. This really helps with jetlag, overall fatigue, and feeling energized during the trip.
  • Avoiding salt, sugar, and caffeine as much as possible. Even though I work to avoid these things in general, I have found that minimizing salt, sugar, and caffeine while traveling is especially helpful for keeping my energy level up and preventing mood swings.

5 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Travel Experience

ONE. Drink a head turning amount of water. 

Dehydration creeps up on you while traveling. Sitting in a seat for hours, sweating ever so slightly, humidifying very dry air with your breath, battling inflammation and fatigue, - your fluid demands are up there. But, are you drinking more? A LOT more? You should be. My simple rule for travel is to drink until your pee runs clear. This will ensure your body is getting all the fluids it needs to flush, cool, circulate, and rehydrate. Yes, I recommend the aisle seat!

 

TWO. Wash hands OFTEN.

I am not a 'germaphobe' and do not use hand sanitizers usually, but I do think there is a time and a place for hand cleaners and keeping hands exceptionally clean. Many folks complain of the lack of bacteria in our digestive tracts and argue against hand cleaners on that basis. However, I think the argument falls flat, especially when travelling - it is not a shortage of bacteria, but a shortage of GOOD bacteria that bites us. When travelling, especially in a plane, you are sitting in a human made test tube of everyone's bugs. Add in some sleep deprivation, some stress, a bit of traveler's diarrhea, and a likelihood of eating nutrient deficient food (and typically gut damaging) while on the road, and it becomes a case of "give me your bugs and I will grow them for you". To avoid this, wash your hands often, be very careful of what you touch with your hands and what you put in your mouth (skip the hand snacks unless you have just washed your hands) and on top of washing your hands often, feel free to be a snob with your hand cleaner and to decline anyone's hands (including yours) touching your food/face/mouth.

 

THREE. Don't eat gut damaging or pro inflammatory foods.
If it contains gluten, skip it. Even if it is not gluten-laden, if the food is crap, just SKIP the meal. Pre and during travel is not the time for that cheat meal, or to start your "holiday binge" or to inflame your gut, or increase gut permeability to allow gram negative bacteria (the bad ones!) into your system more readily. Did I mention that you are locking yourself in a human test tube, full of bad bacteria and not so friendly viruses? Don't give them a head start - give YOURSELF the head start - keep your gut lining healthy and intact!

Specifically skip the gluten, the sugary cereals, and any dairy you don't normally consume and tolerate very well. Avoid the heavily processed crap they try to feed you before, during, and after your journey. Better options are to take your own food, or be very judicious in your eating selection, or just SKIP the food on offer, and fast your way between safe eating destinations. Make it as hard as possible for any ingested nasties to get into your system though a damaged gut lining, while keeping inflammation low and your gut healthy so your immune system has the bandwidth to smack the nasties that do get in.


FOUR. Keep a Clean (Sinus) House.

Perform a nasal rinse beginning two days before, during, and for two days after your flight. If you consider the same principle as the one above of eating cleanly to maintain gut integrity - if you are going to be more heavily exposed to things that want to hurt you - make it as hard for them to set up shop as possible. In this case, we want to leave your sinuses as unblocked as we can, while flushing out any rapidly growing microbe colonies. This one works a treat, and is doubly important if you intend on doing any scuba diving at your end destination. Free diving in the salt water of the ocean by the way, is a great way to score a solid nasal rinse for free while looking at fishies. You can get these at your local pharmacy or online.

 

 

FIVE. BE Proactive with Your Nutritional Insurance. 

This part is the easy part. To stack the deck in my favor I just load up with an "immune" daily dose of Athletic Greens from three days prior to the trip through to two or three day's after my flight or drive. For me that means taking 2-3 servings each day for that period. I also make sure to double up on my daily probiotic about 1 week prior to and during travel. This will almost always prevent any occurrence of traveler's diarrhea, I rarely get so much as a sniffle, and this leaves my energy rocking super high when I get to my destination - which is perfect, since it allows me to do what I traveled to do... enjoy my holiday!
I hope you do the same (enjoy the holiday) and incorporate these tricks to make this happen.

When Life Gives You Lemons...Eat the Peel!

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The Benefits of Lemon Peel:

Cancer fighter

super alkalizing & contains salvestrol Q40 + limonene which all help to prevent AND fight cancer 

Rids your body of toxic elements

or at least aids in getting rid of them

Has 5 to 10 times MORE vitamins than lemon juice

such as, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, beta carotene, Vitamin A & Vitamin C 

Improves your bones

oh yeah, bring on those STRONG bones

How do you eat lemon peel? You freeze it & then grate it on your salad or tea or soup... Get creative & enjoy! 

You can also use lemon peel when creating your own cleaning products. I put as many lemon peels as I can fit in a canning jar, fill it all the way with vinegar, close it up & let it set for 2 weeks. When the 2 weeks are up strain out the lemon peel & dump (or you can put in a compost pile) but KEEP the lemony vinegar. Then mix half of the vinegar solution with half water in a spray bottle & it's an all purpose cleaner. Of course, like any other cleaning product, try it out in a little spot first to make sure there are no side effects of using it on your stuff!

Massage for a Happier, Healthier Life

I frequently encounter the perception that massage exists solely as a pursuit of idle ancient-massageluxury. Often even well-educated clients only “treat” themselves a few times a year, but anyone remotely interested in overall health ought to investigate the beneficial effects of massage first hand.

Many writings from our ancient civilizations describe the healing benefits of intentional touch. In our modern world you can still observe other social mammals, like dogs and cats, pack and cuddle up together. Our children come running to us for healing and a consoling touch after any playground insult or injury. For me, it deepens the impression that perhaps we have been using massage for as long as we’ve had hands with which to touch.

Judging from the sheer ubiquity, vintage, and variation of the massage craft now, I’m tempted to argue that there has been a style of massage for any given culture at any given period. Within our society countless forms of massage speak to very specific needs. That being said, the results are remarkably similar when one person touches another for the purpose of support and healing, no matter the external manifestation … the client leaves feeling better.

It is a misconception to think massage is only about your muscles, it addresses your entire body.

The most basic styles, such as Swedish, at the very least “feel good” and “get things moving,” and kind of “squeegee” out the gunk that makes your muscles tight and sore. This is because massage enhances circulation, decreases nervous system activity, promotes digestion, and even aids immunity functions. The traditional Chinese medicine theory asserts it moves our life force energy through sluggish and stopped-up areas, toning the whole of the system. Of course, directly working the muscles also relieves and rebalances the musculoskeletal body, that body you inhabit at work, at home, and at play, so as to safeguard you from overuse and stress. This is the sweet spot of massage: receiving therapy at the most basic, direct, one-sided, and lived-in level possible.

It seems those who receive massage regularly probably live with less pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and blood pressure. They enjoy a greater sense of well being, greater flexibility and range of motion, and a relaxed state that is simultaneously revitalized. They probably get sick or injured less often. If you do not receive massages, you may not die of touch starvation but you probably will live longer, and might enjoy a higher quality of life, if you incorporate massage into your lifestyle. People have been doing it forever.

Detox Massage for Body Cleansing

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Consider going for detox massage that is not only relaxing but also aids your body in the removal of toxic waste. A detox massage can be of great support to any cleansing program you are in. It can address health conditions including fatigue, headaches, fibromyalgia, and other system dysfunctions that result from the presence of toxins in your body.

A detox massage is helpful because of the rhythmic strokes that your therapist apply to stimulate your body. Your therapist uses a combination of massage movements including irregular and altering applications of pressure that gently compress and stretch your muscle tissues.

There are a number of different massage therapies that also promotes detoxification. One example of a detox massage is the lymphatic massage. The lymphatic system is one of the main elimination systems of the body that is integral in the detoxification process. It is responsible for the absorption of food nutrients and also creates a waste disposal system in your body. Your therapist uses strokes that that help your lymphatic system to clear dietary toxins and other unwanted substances. Your massage therapist can help remove blockages in your blood circulatory system. The toxic waste are actually by-products of stress, dead cells, heavy metals and other excess debris.

A detox massage can also enhance your immune system, strengthen the muscles and toughen your connective tissue. If your muscles are relaxed, then your body is likely to detoxify and cleanse much better. An analogy can be drawn here. Just imagine if you are constipated and your muscles are tense. Did you not have a hard time trying to remove your bowels? When you are less stressed, your organs including your digestive system and gastrointestinal tract, are likely to perform at optimal levels. Under the skilful hands of your therapist, you can end up feeling so relaxed that you may even fall asleep during the session.

A Swedish massage can be likened to a detox massage. It normalizes oxygen levels and improves the function of your colon drainage as well as other organs involved in the detoxification process. Traditional Chinese massages are also excellent for body cleansing. The strokes may differ slightly but the aim of a session is the same.

The next time you schedule a massage, be sure to ask your therapist for a massage that helps detoxify and cleanse your body. You may also want to consider signing up for a few sessions so as to reap maximum benefits from this form of healing.

Don't Try a Detox Without Knowing This

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Isn't "detox" a trendy word? It is a common assumption that we can detoxify our bodies by simply consuming some green vegetable juices and eating raw foods. The truth is, detoxification is not a one step process. It’s just not that simple!

It is important to know that detoxification is an action! Toxins must leave the body in order for a detox to take place.

Detoxification can be summed up in two steps:

1. Awakening Toxins

2. Releasing Toxins

 

Step One : Awakening Toxins

When we consume unnatural foods they leave a sludgy, dense residue in our cells. This residue becomes our excess weight, our body odor, our wrinkles, and our cellulite. This residue in excess is even the culprit behind rapid aging!

We awaken these toxins when we rehydrate this sludgy toxic residue in the cells by consuming alkaline substances:  fresh vegetable juice, raw vegetables and fruits. The negative ionic charge of vegetables, fruit, and their juices are opposite of the positive ionic charge of toxins that were consumed throughout our lives and remain lodged in the cells.

During this step of detoxification the juices, vegetables, and fruits attract the toxins that would otherwise remain in the cells. The alkalinity of raw plant foods and juices lift toxins up and out of our cells and tissues. However, the detox has not occurred yet. The detox occurs during step two.

Step Two : Releasing the Toxins

After the toxins have been awakened they enter the bloodstream and the body filters them to the elimination organs so that they can be released. At this point in the game, you have great potential to detox, but you haven’t quite detoxed yet!

There are two main elimination organs that we focus on with detoxification: the colon and the skin. If you are following a detoxification regimen and you are not eliminating waste matter through the colon and the skin you are not detoxing!

Listed below are classic signs that toxins are being awakened, but not released: 

  • You become constipated.
  • You break out.
  • You have headaches.
  • You develop rashes.
  • Youjust feel really awful, overall.

The best way to ensure that you are detoxing effectively is to make sure that you have access to gravity method colon hydrotherapy from a trained professional, have access to a sauna so that you can sweat deeply and get massage treatments to aid in the detoxification process. Always remember that waste must leave the body for detoxification to take place, and waste leaves the body through the colon and the skin.

Saunas are particularly useful for detoxification because in order to experience a deep sweat you would have to do an intense workout that is not always advisable during a detox. Sometimes we have soaring levels of energy when detoxing, but sometimes we will be more tired than usual. Both of these experiences are typical reactions and nothing to be alarmed about.

A detox massage can enhance your immune system, strengthen the muscles and toughen your connective tissue. If your muscles are relaxed, then your body is likely to detoxify and cleanse much better. An analogy can be drawn here. Just imagine if you are constipated and your muscles are tense. Did you not have a hard time trying to remove your bowels? When you are less stressed, your organs including your digestive system and gastrointestinal tract, are likely to perform at optimal levels.

Colon hydrotherapy is also helpful because it removes old waste matter that would otherwise be too difficult for the body to eliminate on it’s own. If you become constipated while attempting a detox and would like to continue your detox, you must get to a skilled colon therapist, or else you will begin to experience symptoms, and feel awful!

When you awaken and release effectively you will feel an overall lightness physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is how wonderful we can feel when we release toxins that have been weighing us down for days, weeks, months, years, and even decades!

While the awaken and release approach is very easy to understand intellectually, it is not always so easy to implement effectively. Detoxification can be tricky to understand and monitor, which is why seeking out a nutritionist or coach to guide you can be very helpful, even imperative, to progressing on your journey.

When cleansing, always remember the importance of awaken and release, and you’ll be set up for successful detoxification!

Read more at MindBodyGreen.

Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon

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The way you start each day is incredibly important. Whether you're a mom, a coach, a writer, a small business owner or a yoga teacher, what you do first thing in the morning matters.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down.

Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature's rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

Your mind may say you have to check emails, take the dog out, get the kids out the door, that you can't be late for work or that you just don't have enough time to cultivate your own morning rituals.

But, if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this.....

Start the day out with a mug of warm water and the juice of half a lemon. 

It's so simple and the benefits are just too good to ignore. Warm water with lemon:

1. Boosts your immune system

Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure.

2. Balances pH

Lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, believe it or not. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they're alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). As you wellness warriors know, an alkaline body is really the key to good health.

3. Helps with weight loss

Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster. And, my experience is that when I start the day off right, it's easier to make the best choices for myself the rest of the day.

4. Aids digestion

The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract.

5. Acts as a gentle, natural diuretic

Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.

6. Clears skin

The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well.

7. Hydrates the lymph system

This cup of goodness helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration (obviously) and adrenal fatigue. When your body is dehydrated, or deeply dehydrated (adrenal fatigue) it can't perform all of it's proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on. Your adrenals happen to be two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and along with your thyroid, create energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by your adrenals that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated. Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don't want to mess with a deep state of dehydration!

 

Oncology Massage

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Today it seems just about everyone we know has either been effected by cancer themselves or at least knows someone who has. Several of my family members have been affected by cancer, including my Mom, who I lost when I was 4 years old.

The fight to beat cancer can be a long, hard road, effecting people both physically and emotionally. Massage Therapies help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with even the most difficult of treatments, while also aiding with the mental well-being of a cancer patient.

I received my Oncology Massage training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX during July 2011.

Strict massage therapy guidelines, including appropriate contraindications and precautions, are followed and reinforced throughout my massage sessions.  The sessions will be specially adapted to the needs of the client and adjusted appropriately for other medical issues, including the following: 

  • Sites affected by surgery, radiation, IVs, skin conditions, pain, edema, or bone involvement. (The therapist will avoid strong pressure on these sites. If there has been any lypmh node dissection or radiation of lymph nodes with risk of lymphedema, therapist will not use pressure on the distal extremity or trunk quadrant, and the limb will be elevated if necessary.)
  • Low platelet levels; easy bruising. (The therapist will use gentle skin contact instead of pressure.)
  • Side effects of treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. (The therapist will work gently overall in order to avoid aggravating fatigue, nausea, skin changes, etc., and will adapt other elements of the session to any presenting side effects.)
  • Any risk of deep vein thrombosis, secondary to malignancy, inactivity or cancer treatment. (The therapist will avoid use of pressure on the lower extremities if there is any risk of thrombosis in those areas.)

The Green Smoothie Revolution

Book DescriptionGreen-Smoothie1

Release Date: August 4, 2009

Thanks to processed and fast foods, being overworked, and feeling stressed while eating on the fly, it is increasingly difficult for most of us to eat anywhere near a balanced diet. We may not be obviously sick, but may suffer from lack of focus, insomnia, sluggishness, or any host of symptoms caused by nutritional deficiency. Green Smoothie Revolution takes aim at this silent epidemic by restoring balance to our diets.

Combining nutrition and know-how with recipes that pack a powerhouse punch, Victoria Boutenko reintroduces long neglected fruits, vegetables, and greens in the most persuasive style for our busy lives: with fast prep and delicious results. Featuring 200 recipes, Green Smoothie Revolution offers both simplicity (4 ripe pears, 1 bunch parsley, 2 cups water; blend well) and enough variety to keep taste buds happy and nutrients coming from a wealth of options.

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Types of Tea and their Health Benefits

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Health Benefits of Tea: Green, Black, and White Tea

Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and seem to heighten mental alertness.

The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.

Here's what some studies have found about the potential health benefits of tea:

  • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
  • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
  • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

Health Benefits of Tea: Herbal Teas

Made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots steeped in hot water, herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, white, black, and oolong teas. Their chemical compositions vary widely depending on the plant used.

Varieties include ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea.

Limited research has been done on the health benefits of herbal teas, but claims that they help to shed pounds, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep are largely unsupported.

Here are some findings:

  • Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
  • Echinacea: Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, the research on echinacea has been inconclusive.
  • Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
  • Rooibos (red tea): A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited.

Health Benefits of Tea: Instant teas

Instant tea may contain very little amounts of actual tea and plenty of sugars or artificial sweeteners. For health’s sake, check out the ingredients on the label.

Can Tea Be Bad for Your Health?

Most teas are benign, but the FDA has issued warnings about so-called dieter’s teas that contain senna, aloe, buckthorn, and other plant-derived laxatives.

The agency also warns consumers to be wary of herb-containing supplements that claim to kill pain and fight cancer. None of the claims is backed by science and some of the herbs have led to bowel problems, liver and kidney damage, and even death.

The FDA cautions against taking supplements that include:

  • Comfrey
  • Ephedra
  • Willow bark
  • Germander
  • Lobelia
  • Chaparral

These cautions aside, nutritionists say to drink up and enjoy the health benefits of tea.

“You want to incorporate healthy beverages in your diet on a more regular basis to benefit from these health-promoting properties," says Diane L. McKay, PhD, a Tufts University scientist who studies antioxidants. "It’s not just about the foods; it’s about what you drink, as well, that can contribute to your health."

Article sourced from WebMD. You may read the full article here.

Solutions for Low Energy: Vitamins D and B12

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Many women suffer from chronic tiredness, irritability, achiness or unusual stress find out that their symptoms are caused by a simple vitamin D or B12 deficiency. Once your doctor has determined that you have no issues with thyroid or other hormones, iron levels or hemoglobin, the next thing to consider is the possibility of a vitamin D or B deficiency.

Vitamins D and B12 are especially important in helping us maintain our energy and vitality. Even a slight deficiency can have noticeable effects on our overall felling of well-being, including energy, performance, mood and memory. Vitamin B12 has also been linked to healthy immunities and efficient metabolism.

B vitamins are found in meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, cereal grains, legumes, and many vegetables. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is acquired through just fifteen minutes exposure to sun per day.

For various reasons, many women find it difficult to obtain these vitamins through diet and sun. No worries though. A daily 1200mg supplement of vitamin D in lieu of exposure to sun or, for those deficient in vitamin B12, a B12 supplement be taken daily either by injection or sublingually.

My favorite brand of B Vitamin is from Premier Research Labs (manufactured locally here in Austin, TX). Max B-ND™ is a nutritional industry first - with never before available probiotic-cultured B vitamins. It contains a high-energy, end-chain, B vitamin complex derived from live sources for premier nutritional resonance. Each 1/2 teaspoon supplies high energy, end-chain vitamin B forms (the form ready to use by the cell) including vitamin B6 as pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, vitamin B5 as pantetheine, folic acid and more.

This B vitamin-rich formula offers advanced support for the liver, energy, immune system, adrenals and mood balance. Research suggests that live sources of B vitamins are preferred over common synthetic (coal tar-derived) sources. You may purchase this brand at any of the People's Pharmacy locations around town.

Don't let vitamin deficiency get you down. Make an appointment with one of the Naturopaths at People's Pharmacy (Julia Strickler is wonderful) or talk to your doctor about these simple, care-free solutions for improving energy and vitality.

For the record I am not affiliated with Premier Research Labs or get any sort of discounts or free products from them - I'm simply a big fan of their high quality nutritional supplements. 

Now, More than Ever, You Need a Massage

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Consumers may be tempted to trim their wellness budgets when economic times are tough. Yet a recent national consumer survey showed most massage-minded Americans are committed to maintaining the health benefits they experience with massage. It only makes sense. The better you feel, the better job you can do of caring for yourself and your loved ones.

Now, more than ever, massage should play a role in reducing stress and strengthening the health of Americans. When people feel their best, they are more likely to be able to face the challenges difficult times present. With greater health and peace of mind, consumers can face difficulties with poise, clarity of purpose, and strengthened emotional reserves.

Truly, massage is more than a luxury--it's a vital part of self-care that has a positive ripple effect on us as we work, play, and care for others.

Invest In Yourself and Those You Love

If you think about it, massage is an excellent value. The price of massage has remained stable in recent years, as the cost of movies, meals out, and sports events has risen. Which of these has the power to improve your health and your outlook on life?

Following are health reasons all American adults should be including massage in their family budgets and schedules.

Massage:

* Reduces anxiety

* Reduces the flow of stress hormones

* Improves sleep

* Boosts the immune system

* Improves energy levels and reduces fatigue

* Improves concentration

* Increases circulation

* Improves self-esteem

* Reduces frequency of headaches

* Releases endorphins

The positive effects of regular massage can have benefits in many areas of your life.

Home. Massage therapy will also help families under stress create healthier households with clear-thinking and more relaxed moms and dads. Children are very sensitive and often pick up on tension in a household; parents who are taking care of themselves are more likely to be better caregivers and provide a sense of security to their kids. This goes for caregivers of aging parents and other family members.

Work. The health benefits of massage can help forestall illnesses and lost work time, especially when you may be asked to produce more with fewer resources. Decision-making skills will be better and your performance is likely to be improved with a clear focus and more energy. A hint for the boss: Research shows employees exhibit less stress and improved performance when given twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office!

Health Conditions. Those with already existing health conditions can continue to reap benefits in the following ways. And proactively caring for health through massage may help reduce costly doctor visits and use of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

.Research shows:

* Massage can reduce sports-related soreness and improve circulation--good to know when you may be exercising more to reduce stress.

* Deep-tissue massage is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia patients receiving massage also have less pain, depression, anxiety, stiffness, fatigue, and sleep problems.

*Massage reduces symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

* Oncology patients show less pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression following massage therapy.

* Stroke patients show less anxiety and lower blood pressure with massage therapy.

* Massage therapy is effective is reducing postsurgical pain.

* Alzheimer's patients exhibit reduced pacing, irritability and restlessness after neck and shoulder massage.

* Labor pain. Massage during labor appears to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles and help block pain. Some medical professionals believe massage also reduces tearing, shortens labor, reduces the need for medication and shortens hospital stays.

* Preterm babies receiving massage therapy gain more weight and have shorter hospital stays than infants not receiving massage.

* Massage is beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis, asthma burns, high blood pressure, and premenstrual syndrome.

Posted on MassageTherapy.com

Radiant Skin Begins With A Clean Diet

Glowing skin is anything but skin deep: our epidermis is often the visible scorecard for how well we eat. Here is a shortlist of my favorite go-to beauty foods. Look for these gems at your local farmer’s market, food co-op or health food store, and start noshing your way to luminous skin and glowing inner health.

fruit and berriesBerries: Berry season is blossoming at farmers markets around the country. As rich sources of antioxidants, berries — strawberries, blueberries blackberries and raspberries — help protect your skin’s collagen from free radical damage (think wrinkles) caused by too much stress, sun, and pollutants.

Dark Leafy Greens: Dark green, leafy vegetables— kale, collards, chard, spinach, arugula, watercress, parsley, and wheat and barley grasses — are chlorophyll-rich foods available at local farmers markets. Chlorophyll is a pigment that catches the sun’s energy and emanates its benefits to you: Someone who eats plenty of greens has radiant skin.

Radishes: Farmers markets are brimming with organic spring radishes fresh from the field. This humble root might hold the triple crown of glowing skin: vitamin C, sulfur and silicon all support collagen production and help keep skin Radish1moist and elastic.

Dark Chocolate and Raw Cacao: The benefits of cacao in high quality, organic, raw chocolate and 70% dark chocolate seem endless. The super dose of antioxidants helps increase hydration, improves blood flow, enhances texture and cell renewal. Cacao has a      high concentration of the mineral sulfur, known to promote beautiful skin.

Olive Oil: Mediterranean cultures have long appreciated this green elixir for its healthful properties: Organic, cold-pressed olive oil is rich in vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids. These nutrients help keep skin looking soft, smooth and radiant.

chia-seedFlax, Hemp and Chia Seeds: These beautifying seeds are rich sources of ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of ALA help prevent wrinkles and protect against sun damage, resulting in youthful, nourished skin that glows!

Lastly: Dry, rough and dull skin is often a sign of dehydration. Ensure your body is hydrated and keep skin moist and supple by drinking plenty of water.