Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don't Be A Camel - Drink Your Water

By Lisa VanWilliams

Soda and coffee don't count either. It's like putting oil or gas in your car, your body cannot run without it. In order for your body and metabolism to run effectively and burn calories/fat, it must be hydrated. More than half of your body weight is water.  Water flushes out the toxins and carries nutrients to your cells. Not drinking enough water can make you feel drained and tired and it can lead to health problems.

Keep a filled glass on the counter during the day, throw a 6-pack of bottled water in the car, find a travel cup. Do you like it at room temp? Or chilled in the fridge? With or without ice? What about lemon? There are many options so find which way entices you the most and get your daily fill. 

So how much water is enough?
 "The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day."*

Exercise and warm weather require more water intake. It's also stated that once your over 50, your thirst sensation diminishes and will continue to do so with age.  It's important to drink water every day even if you are not thirsty - no matter what your age is.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kale Krazy

By Lisa VanWilliams

This descendant of wild cabbage is the new potato chip.  Kale is considered a super food because it's packed with nutrients and health benefits.  It can help reduce the risk of getting certain cancers like bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Australian research also showed that eating beta-carotene rich food like this can decrease the risk for skin cancer.

What else makes kale killer good?

  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • detoxes the body
  • cancer preventative
  • lowers cholesterol
  • packed with nutrients -off the charts with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese
  • high in fiber

It's like a little vitamin all packed into one leafy green bundle. The healthiest way to eat kale is steamed but the more popular choice right now is baked kale chips.  A healthy alternative for you and the family -cut up some kale with olive oil and salt, bake them up and try something new.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Corn On The Cob Country Style

By Lisa VanWilliams

We were in Upstate New York farm country this past weekend and we had a hankering for some corn on the cob. The whole family hopped on a Ranger and we took off down the country road in search of some edible corn. We rode past rows and rows of cow corn down to the local farmers homestead. The farmers daughter ran out and she asked us, "Do you want fresh corn off the stalk?". My husband looked at me, and I at him. We never had that option before. Absolutely. She hopped in back and we took off for another mile or so until we got to a small crop of sweet corn.  We must have eaten a thousand ears of corn in our lifetime, but never had the chance to pick it fresh off the stalk. My daughter helped me pick a dozen ears of corn on a beautiful day in the middle of no where out in the country. Both of the kids fell asleep on the ride back.

On the ride home we started talking about corn. Hence, today's article :)

You can boil it in water or roast it on the grill, either way the sweet kernels taste most delicious this time of year.  Corn is a staple food for many countries and it can be made into several different things like tortilla's, corn chips, polenta, and popcorn just to name a few. Corn is also known as maize in different parts of the world. There are several colors of corn and each one provides different healthy antioxidants.

What are the health benefits of corn on the cob?

  • antioxidant
  • good source of fiber
  • blood sugar benefits
  • good source of energy producing vitamin B5
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin B3
  • manganese

Finding organic non-GMO corn is a rare find nowadays considering, "70% of all 91 million acres of corn in the U.S. are planted with genetically modified varieties."*  Corn may have a bad rap as an experimental food, but if can find certified organic sweet corn take advantage and enjoy this seasonal vegetable. For info on GMO sweet corn you can go to:


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Turn Up The Volume

So, we want to know what's your favorite song that get's you pumped?


Bust out the iPod with some jamming tunes -maybe some Metallica, Kid Rock, Queen, Eminem, or Van Halen, whatever favorite beat that gets you going and pumped up.

 "Listening to music while exercising has been found in multiple studies to create an increased sense of motivation, distracting the mind while increasing heart rate. Faster tempo music has been found by researchers to motivate exercisers to work harder when performing at a moderate pace." * Reynolds, Gretchen. "Phys Ed: Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?", The New York Times, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get Skinny By Eating Spicy

By Lisa VanWilliams

Quick, let's get some Indian food! Several studies have been done on hot peppers. Two done in particular by UCLA and Laval University in Quebec show that capsaicin has proven to burn fat and calories. Capsaicin is what puts the kick in a hot pepper and it can put a little booster on your metabolism as well.

A few reasons why hot peppers are good for you...

  • reduces appetite
  • strengthen immunities
  • speeds up your heart rate
  • increases energy
  • they help break down carbs
  • improves stamina
  • decrease blood cholesterol

Try some hot peppers in different ways and see if you can find one that's right for you. Degree's of heat are different on every pepper - also called a Scoville scale. So every "hot" pepper is not super hot. There are milder versions if spicy isn't your thing. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Secrets of Shea Butter

By Lisa VanWilliams

Every year there is a big Festival downtown on the green in our town. I look for the stand selling this concoction out of these humongous wooden tropical bowls. It's piled high and it looks like a mix of butter and wax and people are incredibly curious about what it is and what it does.  It's called Shea butter and it's from Africa. African healers have been using it for thousands of years. It does not have a smell and it's super duper for moisturizing. I used this to prevent stretch marks when I pregnant and I still use it now. Good for daily use, good for seasonal changes and the harsh New England winters that dry out my hands.

Shea butter is extracted from a nut that comes off a Shea tree. There can be color variations from an ivory to a tan yellow hue and that is due to the soil it is grown in.  Shea butter actually melts like butter when it comes into contact with warm skin and then the skin absorbs it without leaving a coated feeling. It's an ingredient used in many cosmetics, soap, lip gloss, skin products, and lotions. This a healthier natural alternative to use instead of the name brand chemical lotions.

What else is it good for?

  • used as an anti-inflammatory & pain reliever
  • helps block UV rays
  • relieves nasal congestion
  • suppress skin aging
  • helps repair damaged skin
  • hair conditioning
  • great for massage
  • prevent stretch marks during pregnancy

If you can't find something like this at your local fair or market, here's their website:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A good night sleep

By Steve VanWilliams
Having a good night sleep is one of the most important and very over looked building blocks for optimal health. We all need it and most of us do not get it, or enough. While there is no proven scientific data that says exactly how many hours we need, each person is different. The needs are primarily based on two factors. One that is called basal sleep or need. Which mean the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal health. The other is called sleep debt. The accumulated sleep that is lost due to poor habits. While me may not know what the magic number is for us, we do know that if you do not get a good night sleep it can lead to several alarming health factors.

  • A greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information

A few factors may contribute to a poor night sleep. Stress, vitamin deficiencies, lack of exercise, lack of potassium. I am sure there are other, but these are a few you may want to look into. So how do we get a good night sleep? A few ways that have always helped me, especially through very stressful are the following.

  • A nice strong brewed Chamomile tea before bed
  • No carbs at night time or for dinner 
  • Eat 3 - 4 hours before bed
  • Take a walk after dinner
  • On the worst times a melatonin supplement

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tally Me Banana

By Lisa VanWilliams

We eat them every morning in a smoothie. They are easy to grab and go with because they have no preparation and they travel well -just peel and eat!  They are a great snack for the kids, they are easy to take on a hike in the woods, and they provide a great energy boost during a long run or bicycle ride.

The long yellow sweet tasting fruit is a good carb that can provide a whole days worth of potassium in one shot. They are grown in estimated 107 countries and they are a main food crop for the world. For many third world countries, bananas are a crucial staple that gets them through the "hunger season".

What makes them good for you? They are packed with vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, and potassium.

  • potassium helps maintain blood pressure & heart function
  • promotes bone health
  • great to eat if you have ulcers -soothing
  • alleviates water retention and bloating
  • acts as a binder to digestive system
  • helps to build healthier bones
  • promotes kidney health
  • supports muscle maintenance

You can eat them straight, try them in a fruit smoothie, or add them to your peanut butter sandwich for a new twist. There are numerous ideas and recipes out there to satisfy all types from the infant to the elderly.  It's a fruit everyone can enjoy.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Recharge; Back to Nature

By Steve VanWilliams

Sorry we have not posted in a few day’s. Lisa and I took the kids away for the weekend for a little family time and to get outdoors. Wow, what a difference a little break can make. I think we all are guilty of spending to much time in the daily grind that we forget we need just to get up, out and back to nature. Even for a day or two. We all feel totally recharged and ready to get back to it. Totally rested and recharged. It does not take much to recharge, just breaking the normal routine was awesome. You do not always need to plan the “big trip”. Just taking a drive out to the country, having a nice picnic, walk in the woods and a little kite flying is a great way to relax and recharge.

Tomorrow is to late!

By Steve VanWilliams

What are you waiting for? The time is NOW! Today, this minute; yes right where you are, RIGHT NOW. If you have not started working out, get up and starts right now! Drop down and give me 20! Ok, well how about 5? 1? Does not matter how many or what, the point is make something happen. Do something. Stop making excuses. Get up off that chair, coach, bed. Stretch, move side to side, jumping jacks, go for a 5 minute walk. Give your-self something. The time is now! You can make all your fitness goals come true. You can have that body you always wanted. There is just one thing standing in your way. YOU! A few things to help you get started.

  • As soon as you wake up try to do something - walk in place, shadowbox, stretch
  • Any thing is better than nothing at all - 5 minutes, 10 minutes
  • You do not have to go to a gym to get in shape -
  • Do something everyday - best time is when you first wake up
  • Keep telling yourself you can do it - YOU CAN

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fat vs Muscle

By Steve VanWilliams
So you want to loose weight. When we say “weight” we really mean that jiggly, ugly stuff called “body fat”. The bad thing is when we weigh ourselves, it does not say what we are loosing. You need your muscles. Muscles BURN fat, fat does not BURN fat. Most “diets” alone only promote muscle loss and not fat loss. Atkins made a fortune off this. Strip your muscles ( which are more dense and weigh more) and hey guess what? You lost weight FAST. As you can see from the picture they are not equal. 5 lbs of fat is 3 times the size and volume of muscle. So here are a few points to help you out and lose that body fat.
  • It takes time! You can’t rush it There is are NO HEALTHY short cuts 
  • 3,500 calories = 1 lbs of fat 
  • You have to burn or eat 3,500 calories less than your  intake to lose 1lbs of fat
  • You can only on average at max eat less than 500 calories per day of your daily intake, otherwise     you will burn muscle and not body fat 
  • Hence why you cant starve yourself to loose 
  • Eat small meal 5 - 6 times a day 
  • Hit the weights! weights build dense, strong muscles, which burn body fat

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Sweet Smell of Eucalyptus

By Lisa VanWilliams

The Aboriginal have used it for thousands of years medicinally. It's a tree that comes from Australia and there are over 700 different species of it. It comes in several forms like oil, tea, dried leaves, liquid and ointments.  Not only will it clear up your stuffy nose, it's often used in cough drops and aids in curing sore throats.  The ointments and creams are good for your typical muscle aches, pains, and soreness.  It is also a common ingredient in mouthwash. 

They say the smell of eucalyptus increases brain activity and it increases energy.  It's a wonderful natural air freshener and we love to keep baskets of eucalyptus around the house and every once in a while we catch the lovely sweet aroma.  They say it has a minty pine scent laced with a touch a of honey. It's a fresh crisp smell that reminds me of a forest.

So whether you prefer to use it as an oil, drink it in a tea, or hang dried leaves around the house, eucalyptus has it's ancient secret cures.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Guess who this fitness & health legend is?

By Lisa VanWilliams
He lived to the ripe age of 96 years old and he died with a hard body. He was called "the godfather of fitness" and he believed that "physical culture and nutrition - is the salvation of America."

His name was Francois Henri "Jack" LaLanne and in 1936, at the age of 21, he opened one of the nation's first gym's in California.  He believed the cause of most peoples health problems were a result of eating overly processed foods.  One of his famous quotes was "if man made it, don't eat it."

LaLanne accomplished numerous feat's throughout his lifetime, at every age.  When Jack was 54, he even beat a 21 year old Arnold Schwartzenegger at an informal bodybuilding competition. He could have escaped from Alcatraz more than once as he did the swim a few times across San Francisco Bay -the second time he did this he was 60 years old!

He's an inspiration and proof that treating your body well and living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another Black Dragon Roll Please

By Lisa VanWilliams

Sushi has come a long way and we don't just mean all the way from Japan. The word sushi means "sour tasting" because originally the Japanese use to ferment the fish and wrap it in soured fermenting rice. Preservation abilities dramatically improved and as time evolved sushi changed to what we order today in the Western world.

Sushi is a specially prepared rice accompanied by other ingredients which usually includes raw fish. Sushi is low in fat, and high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Shape magazine makes the following recommendations for the best and worst sushi for weight loss:

  • go for salmon and tuna because they are low calorie, high in protein & omega-3s, and they are packed with vitamin D
  • Wasabi is packed with antioxidants
  • stay away from the fried rolls
  • get steamed, grilled, or sashimi
  • veggie rolls are the healthiest option
  • brown rice is the better choice
  • a little side of ginger to boost your immunities
  • opt for the low sodium soy sauce - 25% less salt than regular
  • use chop sticks because you will eat slower and fill up faster
  • skip the covered in cream sauce options
  • one roll, or six pieces is a proper serving size