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Gym-free fitness ideas anyone can do


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(BPT) – Visiting a gym to lift weights or take a class is great for your health. However, busy schedules, tight budgets and simply not feeling like the gym environment is for you are reasons that frequently cause people to stop going. Fortunately, being fit doesn’t require the gym!

Tavis Piattoly, a sports dietitian, expert nutritionist and co-founder of My Sports Dietitian, offers some no-fuss ideas for staying healthy without the gym.

Inside the home
Stuck inside? No problem. Try some squats or, if mobility is an issue, squat to a chair. Push-ups are another classic, highly effective option. If regular push-ups aren’t an option, do them from your knees or against the wall. Other amazing exercises: lunges around the house, shoulder presses with dumbbells, jumping rope, jumping jacks, running in place, planks and sit-ups.

Outside in nature
Being out in the fresh air is a great escape that offers loads of fitness possibilities. Try hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, skiing, fishing, mountain biking or whatever else peaks your curiosity. Simply taking a walk around the yard or block is beneficial, too.

At the office
Overcome the sedentary office lifestyle by making time for fitness. Try taking the stairs every day and park far away so you walk to the door. Then, use a 5-minute break every hour to do something active such as chair squats or seated leg raises. Set an automated alert so you don’t forget.

Group fitness
Fitness can be more fun when you do it with friends or family. Play tag, organize relay races or create an obstacle course outside. Other enjoyable group fitness activities include hiking, swimming, basketball, soccer, Frisbee and bike rides.

When out and about
A busy schedule packed with errands still presents the opportunity for fitness. For example, walk or run the parking lot while kids are taking dance or music classes rather than passing the time on your smartphone.

Nutrients
A healthy balance of nutrients keeps blood sugar levels from crashing and gives you a steady source of energy. Piattoly especially recommends taking a Nordic Naturals supplement daily to get the omega-3s you need for optimal health. Extensive research has documented the health benefits of the two main omega-3s (EPA and DHA), which include not only support for a healthy heart, but also brain and cognitive function, joint mobility, eye health, pregnancy and lactation, healthy skin and hair, and a normally functioning immune response.

Balanced meals

To support fitness efforts, it’s important to eat well and regularly. The best foods for sustained energy are balanced meals of complex fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. Piattoly suggests eating every three to four hours. Some ideas to include in balanced meals: whole grain breads and crackers, chicken breast, legumes and fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Debunking detox with 5 easy fixes


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(BPT) – Lots of things in life create messes that need to be cleaned up – even in our bodies. Think of a playroom after a long day of family fun – toys and games strewed about the room, which if not tidied, we often end up tripping over. The same holds true for our bodies. After a holiday season of overeating and overindulging, our bodies need straightening up to function at their best, otherwise our digestive system becomes cluttered with toxins. And with cold and flu season in full swing, a body clean up will not only help to improve your digestive system, but it may also help boost your immune system as well.

The goal of detoxing is to eliminate toxins in the body. Toxins are unusable products resulting from the metabolism of nutrients, pollutants, pesticides, food additives, medical drugs and alcohol. A true detox doesn’t require fasting or flushing your colon clean, instead it’s finding ways to boost your body’s own natural detoxification system to rid itself of harmful toxins. Just follow these five easy detox fixes from Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff to clean-up your diet and your health:

Eat organic. Reduce the toxins you take in by choosing organic foods that contain no artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives and are GMO-free. Jumpstart your day with delicious Nature’s Path Flax Plus(R) Pumpkin Flax Granola that is rich in flax seeds and high in fiber.

Power up with plants. Phyto (plant) nutrients such as antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, spices, whole grains, nuts and seeds create your bodies clean up team. Eat more and let them naturally help clean up your digestive system.

Follow the rainbow. Variety is essential to a healthy diet, and it is important to add a rainbow of colorful, spices and blends of grains, seeds and nuts to your diet.

Find fiber. In order to eliminate toxins through our body’s digestive tract, we need to eat foods rich in fiber and nourish good bacteria it is also important to choose foods that contain nutrients like magnesium that support healthy motility of the digestive tract and bitter herbs which help stimulate the digestive tract.

Nourish with nutrients. Our internal detoxification system needs the right nutrients to nourish our bodies. Add healthy and good-for-you foods such as, broccoli, garlic, leeks, sesame seeds, greens and beans to your diet to boost your energy level and cleanse your body at the same time.

Finally, detox foods can be delicious as they are nutritious. Check out this fiber-rich recipe that is sure to have your friends and family asking for seconds.

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Nature’s Path Flax Plus(R) Pumpkin Flax Granola

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 large butternut squash (about 3 lb.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Mix together Pumpkin Flax Granola, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon each pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper.

Spread evenly on baking sheet; bake for 6 or 7 minutes or until mixture is crisp and golden brown.

Toss together squash, brown sugar, thyme, and remaining pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper; arrange on prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender and lightly browned.

Arrange squash on platter and top with granola mixture.

Tip: To make fresh bread crumbs, pulse day-old bread in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs; store in airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.

Nutrition Facts, per 1/6 recipe

Calories 240

Fat 11 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 240 mg

Carbohydrate 33 g

Fiber 5 g

Sugars 9 g

Protein 3 g

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Five simple time-tested tips for aging well


HEA-Aging-well(BPT) – A health renaissance is taking place in America as more people are embracing aging well and being proactive rather than reactive about their well-being. Prevention has become the focus, and many aging Americans are turning to time-tested methods for keeping their bodies and minds healthy so they can live longer, higher-quality lives.

Kristen Johnson, certified personal trainer, registered dietician and nutrition expert at www.ontargetliving.com points out five time-tested strategies for aging well:

Daily exercise

“Daily movement is the real fountain of youth. It keeps us healthy from the inside out,” says Johnson.

She notes that quality over quantity is what really matters.

“When it comes to improving overall fitness, high-intensity exercise for a short amount of time may be much more beneficial than low intensity for a long amount of time,” Johnson says. “Research suggests that fat-burning hormones like human growth hormones and testosterone are stimulated by high-intensity exercise, while fat-storing hormones like cortisol may be lowered. Try increasing the intensity and frequency of your exercise, while decreasing the time spent.”

Superfoods

The foods you eat influence how you look and feel, from glowing and confident to lethargic and sick. Selecting foods that people have eaten historically as nutritional powerhouses can help boost overall wellness.

“Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, healthy fats and lean proteins,” says Johnson. “These foods naturally contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which all contribute to healthy aging.”

A few to focus on:

  • Carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are extremely beneficial for eye and skin health, thanks to high levels of beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A.
  • Any brightly colored fruits and vegetables will have an abundant amount of antioxidants, and these help prevent oxidation and cell damage. Examples: raspberries, kale and cabbage.
  • Carbohydrates like healthy grains, beans and potatoes help you produce serotonin, a calming and satiety hormone that helps fight stress and anxiety’s negative effects.

Nutrients

Supplements help fill nutritional gaps, especially as the aging body requires greater amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Johnson points out the importance of omega-3s for aging well.

“Omega-3 fats are essential for getting you healthy from the inside out, all while helping improve hormonal balance, brain health, weight loss and metabolism,” she says. “Omega-3 fats are also extremely helpful for healthy skin, hair and nails.”

Her favorite? Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil. “This contains EPA and DHA, both of which contribute to a healthy heart and brain,” she says. “Cod liver oil also helps improve cellular function, energy and mood. Did you know cod liver oil can actually taste good? Try their delicious orange flavor.”

Sleep

“Chronic lack of sleep is one of the fastest ways to age the human body,” Johnson says. “Lack of sleep can have a huge impact on the appearance of skin, causing fine lines, wrinkles and dark under-eye circles. Not getting enough sleep can also cause your body to release a stress hormone called cortisol.”

She notes that adequate sleep can positively influence cognitive ability, mood, weight loss and skin rejuvenation, so it should be a top priority for an aging-well routine. While the right amount of sleep will vary between individuals, the goal for most adults is around 7 to 8 hours a night.

Social activity

Human interaction can decrease as people age, but it’s more important than ever to form and maintain bonds with others. Participating in social activity is a fun way to enjoy life and reap real health benefits.

“The American Medical Association has noted that stress is the basic cause for more than 60 percent of all human illnesses and diseases,” says Johnson. ‘”When you are socially active and surround yourself with people you enjoy, you may be less likely to feel lonely, unhappy, or unfulfilled, all of which can cause unwanted stress.”

Finally, there’s no need to become overwhelmed; start an aging-well routine by taking one small step and building healthy habits over time. This is what will lead to long-term success.

“Remember that it’s never too late to start living a healthy and happy life,” Johnson says. “Give yourself more reasons to smile and laugh! Did you know research suggests that happy people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives?”

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EarthTalk®


According to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly half of American kids aged eight and under consume potentially harmful amounts of vitamin A, zinc and niacin because of excessive food fortification. Photo by Andy Melton, courtesy Flickr

According to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly half of American kids aged eight and under consume potentially harmful amounts of vitamin A, zinc and niacin because of excessive food fortification. Photo by Andy Melton, courtesy Flickr


E – The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that much of our food—including cereals and snacks eaten by children—is actually over-fortified with excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals that can be dangerous to our health?
             — Diane Summerton, Waukesha, WI
Added nutrients in the processed foods we eat could indeed be too much of a good thing, especially for kids. According to a report from non-profit health research and advocacy group Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly half of American kids aged eight and under “consume potentially harmful amounts of vitamin A, zinc and niacin because of excessive food fortification, outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing tactics used by food manufacturers.” EWG’s analysis for the “How Much Is Too Much?” report focused on two frequently fortified food categories: breakfast cereals and snack bars.
Of the 1,550 common cereals studied by EWG, 114 (including Total Raisin Bran, Wheaties Fuel, Cocoa Krispies, Krave and others) were fortified with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value for vitamin A, zinc and/or niacin. And 27 of 1,000 brands of snack bars studied (including Balance, Kind and Marathon bars) were fortified with 50 percent or more of the adult Daily Value for at least one of these nutrients. EWG researchers based their analysis on Nutrition Facts labels on the various food items’ packaging.
“Heavily fortified foods may sound like a good thing, but it when it comes to children and pregnant women, excessive exposure to high nutrient levels could actually cause short or long-term health problems,” says EWG research director Renee Sharp, who co-authored the report.  “Manufacturers use vitamin and mineral fortification to sell their products, adding amounts in excess of what people need and more than might be prudent for young children to consume.”
Sharp adds that excessive levels of vitamin A can lead to skeletal abnormalities, liver damage and hair loss, while high doses of zinc can impede copper absorption, compromise red and white blood cells and impair immune function. Also, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can lead to fetal developmental issues. And older adults who get too much vitamin A are at more risk for osteoporosis and hip fractures.
EWG suggests it’s time to overhaul our food labeling system to better account for how ingredients may affect children as well as adults. “In other words, when a parent picks up a box of cereal and sees that one serving provides 50 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A, he or she may think that it provides 50 percent of a child’s recommended intake,” says EWG researcher and report co-author Olga Naidenko. “But he or she would most likely be wrong, since the Daily Values are based on an adult’s dietary needs.”
EWG is working on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update its guidelines for Nutrition Facts to better reflect how foods affect children as well as adults. In the meantime, parents might want to consider scaling back on fortified foods for their kids in favor of so-called whole foods (unprocessed, unrefined fruits, vegetables and whole grains) that deliver the right amounts of nutrients naturally.
“Research consistently shows that the nutrient amounts and types found in whole foods provide optimal nutrition as well as least risk,” says Ashley Koff, a registered dietitian and a former ad executive for kid’s cereals and snack bars. “We owe it to parents and kids to make it easiest to choose better quality foods.”
See EWG’s “How Much Is Too Much?” report, www.ewg.org/research/how-much-is-too-much.
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

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Herbs for health


By Perry T. Hopkins, Naturopath (TBWP)

Proper health comes from proper nutrition. The body will function at its ideal level when fed the right nutrients. It will build bones when given the right amount of calcium and silica; the muscle will naturally relax with adequate amounts of magnesium and potassium. The body can combat inflammation with vitamin C; Our eyes will function properly with Vitamin A and Beta-carotene. A healthy immune system relies on a healthy intake of nutrition. The brain requires adequate amounts of essential fatty acids—Vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, and E, essential amino acids, bioflavonoid, melatonin, many trace minerals and more. Most of today’s illness can be attributed to lack of good nutrition as a leading cause.
Herbs are super foods! Herbs are foods that contain high amounts of nutritional value. Most have therapeutic properties to them as well. If we use herbs in our daily diets it will help sustain a health immune system and body. Combining the sea vegetables kelp or spirulina with rose hips helps give the body multiple vitamins.
Spirulina is a super food used in many green drinks. It is recommended to consume spirulina when doing a fast so your body still gets its needed nutrients while you are not eating. It contains a Vitamin B complex, B 12, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, all eight essential amino acids, ten non essential amino acids, Vitamin E, folic acid, digestive enzymes, chlorophyll, iron, and many more. Kelp is a similar alternative to spirulina.
Kelp contains a little more iodine than spirulina, which helps with thyroid issues. Most of your natural iodine and sodium gets depleted from a diet high in table salt. Table salt is a synthetic source of iodine and sodium. Synthetics tend to leach the natural nutrients from the body. Kelp will help replenish these loss minerals.
The leaves from parsley and nettles are good hydrating herbs. These two herbs, besides giving nourishment, help support the urinary tract. There are literally thousands of herbs that you can eat or drink to gain nourishment and get the body back on track to functioning properly. Herbs, sometimes, are easier for the body to uptake than supplements because herbs are a whole food and not an altered substance.
There are people who can help you be healthy without the use of pills. If you are tired of feeling ill and tired of popping pills to feel better, look for different help. With more people looking towards natural health, just about every town and city has a Nutritionist, Naturopath, Herbalist, or something similar to those titles. These people can help you in your efforts to getting healthy in a more natural way, through eating and drinking. If you have been going to someone for help with your health and you are not seeing results, it may be time to seek help elsewhere. Try herbs for health.

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