Live Total Wellness

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wake UP!!!

WAKE UP!!!! After you view this, contact me so I can help you find ways to get the toxins out of your home.

The Skinny On Weight and Your Heart

The Skinny on Weight and Your Heart

You heard it a million times before ~ lose weight to stay healthy.  Of course excess weight will take it's toll on your body in many ways such as your joints, your ability to move freely, as well as, increasing your chances of diabetes.  The one organ that will suffer the most however, is your heart.

Here you'll find a few facts about weight and your heart.


Obesity is the medical term synonymous with overweight.  You can also be "morbidly" obese if your BMI (body mass index) number is off the charts.  If you have ever watched The Biggest Loser show, you will see people who are morbidly obese.  Some people think that being overweight is about looking or not looking good.  Overweight is so much more than that!  Being overweight is about your health and the medical issues related to obesity.

A normal BMI is between 20 and 25. You are considered overweight if you have a BMI between 25.1 and 30. Obesity comes if you are over 30.1. What do these numbers mean?

If you are carrying too much weight for your height and age, you are at risk for many other diseases. First of all, your heart has to pump harder to get blood through your circulatory system when you have excess body fat. Simply moving around or walking up a flight of stairs takes more effort and makes your heart work harder.

Obesity is an epidemic in this country not only amongst adults but also children. Children who are obese are at risk for heart disease risk factors early on in life.

Risk Factors

One risk factor that can be caused by obesity is high blood pressure. Your blood pressure gets higher because of all the fat you are carrying on your body. Add to that unhealthy eating and you increase your cholesterol stores. If it’s good cholesterol that’s one thing, but it is usually bad cholesterol that is rising.

Increases in blood sugar levels in the body can lead to diabetes, another risk factor for heart disease. All of this contributes to weakened and stressed blood vessels that are carrying your blood.

When your level of LDL cholesterol is raised, there is a greater risk of plaque formation in the vessels. Combine that with high blood pressure and you can have a traveling blood clot or plaque in your system. These roaming troublemakers can get lodged in a smaller vessel stopping blood flow. This can cause pain in limbs and also a heart attack in a coronary vessel.

Turning It All Around

Losing weight is not easy, but it is a risk factor that causes others to come into play. On the flip side, reducing your weight can reverse those other risk factors as well.

Maintaining a healthy weight restores your body to balance. Blood sugar is no longer out of whack, which can cause insulin levels to return to normal. Your heart rate and pressure will lower as your body becomes better conditioned. With higher levels of HDL from eating better food sources, bad cholesterol doesn’t have a chance to gum up artery walls.

You didn’t gain it overnight so you won’t lose it that fast either, but you will improve your health one day at a time if you start now. Eat a little bit less at dinner. Use a smaller plate for your meals so the food doesn't look lost on your plate and make you feel slighted. Don't feel like you can't have anything 'tasty' anymore. There are quite a few great recipes, found on the internet or local library and bookstore, with recipes for tantalizing foods that will have you asking yourself, am I allowed to eat this?  Eat more fruits and vegetables and less starches and processed foods. Combine your fruits and vegetables. Experiments and take risks when you're cooking. Try to spice your dishes with new tastes.  Lower your weight and save your heart.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today Is Earth Day

So many people are celebrating Earth Day today! It really is heart warming to see that more and more people are consciously making an effort to find ways to celebrate this 41 year old idea. Believe it or not, I do remember the first Earth Day.

At the time, I was in Junior High. We were given the afternoon off to go out into our community and perform some act of 'cleaning'. Many planted trees. Others swept streets. Since we lived near the beach, my choice was to give it a good once over. A group of friends accompanied by our parents, went off to be 'beach cleaners' for the day. We walked along the shoreline and beach front as we picked up any trash we could find. This, for me, was the beginning of a lifetime of concern and respect for the environment.

Over the years, Earth Day has fallen in and out of popularity. However, over the past 15 years, it's making a come back. And thankfully, a stronger awareness is abound. With the dawn of the internet, Earth Day is far reaching. More and more articles and service announcements are being made to help people realize how simple acts can make a big impact toward helping the environment.

Earth Day history dates back to April 22,1970. It was founded by Gaylord Nelson, a then, Senator from Wisconsin. He saw the damage Santa Barbara, CA endured after a massive oil spill in 1969. At the time, many people were protesting the war in Vietnam. Senator Nelson thought he could gear those protests toward environmental protection then move it onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media. Events were planned across America and Earth Day was born.

So what are you doing for Earth Day? Here is a list of ideas to start. Leave your comments and tell us what you did.
1. Bike to work.
2. Clean up a park, beach, street, or neighborhood.
3. Use cloth bags when grocery shopping instead of plastic
4. Use cloth to clean up around the house instead of paper towels.
5. Buy products made from recycled materials.
6. Carpool for events, work, play.
7. Walk instead of driving when possible.
8. Use mass transit if it's available for you.
9. Plant a tree.(Lowe's is giving away free trees today!)
10.Start a garden.

These are just a few of the many ways you can celebrate earth day.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All Natural Egg Dyes

Since I'm such a geek about chemicals and finding natural solutions this was so exciting to discover. For those of you who remember the days of dying eggs with the PAAS kit, here's a great alternative to those artificial egg dyes. Using spices from your own spice rack and other items you may have around your kitchen, you can now have dye free eggs. No more artificial ingredients and chemicals.

Add the ingredients to boiling water and let it simmer until you see the color you desire. Since this isn't an exact science, you may need to add more ingredients to the water or add more water as needed. Let the dye cool. Strain the ingredients, if need be, and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the dye. The longer you soak the eggs, the darker the color. Have fun!

Yellow/Gold: Boil 3 Tablespoons of cumin or turmeric
Yellow: Steep 2 to 3 green teach or chamomile tea bags in hot water.
Orange: Boil paprika
Red: Boil read onion skins
Lavender: Steep hibiscus tea bags in hot water.
Blue: Boil 4 cups of chopped red cabbage
Rusty Brown: Boil chili powder
Brown: Boil old coffee grounds or use old coffee as a dye
Light brown: Boil dill seeds or just buy some brown eggs!

There you have it! Experiment to see what colors you can mix together!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Health & Fitness Advice : How to Exercise for a Healthy Heart

Watch this video on exercising for heart health.  You'll see the recommended amount of exercise needed daily as well as some suggestions for simple activities you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Exercise and Your Heart

Part Five in the continuing series on Heart Health

Exercise and Your Heart

Whether you are younger or older, exercise will effect our bodies, including our heart. Regular exercise can keep your heart strong and pumping. Exercise of all types and intensities are beneficial to your heart.

Why is everyone so afraid of exercise? Just the mention makes people tense up as if they are accepting a mission to run a 5K race the very next day. Exercise can be your best friend and your heart’s friend if you let it and it does not have to be painful and cause you to sweat excessively to be effective.

Calm Down to Gear Up

Let’s set the record straight once and for all. Exercise is another word for physical activity. Physical activity can be any activity that gets your heart pumping on a regular basis.

Whether you are young and trying to be proactive or your doctor has recommended exercise in your life, start off slow. This point can’t be stressed enough. Jumping in, both feet first, may have you nursing stress fractures and sore muscles a week later. That is the quickest way to get discouraged and quit altogether.

Instead, pick an activity that you like. Let’s say that it’s gardening. Gardening looks tame but it is a very good physical activity. Digging holes, pulling weeds, hoeing, raking and planting take good upper and lower body strength. You will feel it right away after a full day of doing these activities!

To help your muscles grow strong, concentrate on the muscle group being worked at the time. For example, if you are digging holes to plant trees, squeeze your abdominal muscles as well as your shoulder and bicep muscles as you plunge the shovel into the ground. Bend your legs to a squat position as you lift the dirt out so that they do all the work.

The point is that everyday activities can be turned into exercise.  Think about how often you walk up and down the stairs.  Use that time to work your glutes (bum muscles).  You've heard it said many times, park farther away from your destination to walk further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walk instead of driving when possible.

What about walking? It is the best overall exercise. You can start off slowly, walking alone or with a friend. As you get comfortable with walking a mile or so around your neighborhood, begin to mix it up. Walk farther or farther and faster. As you get used to the new routine, change it again. Walk backwards uphill. This will work muscles such as your upper and lower leg muscles as well as your glutes. Changing your direction can give you a different view on more than just your body!

So, you see, exercising doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym or the local running club (unless you want to). Those who start slow and build to more rigorous exercise are more likely to stick to it because they are conditioning their bodies in the process.

Exercise does wonders for your heart:

• Increases lung capacity
• Lowers blood pressure
• Causes your heart to beat more efficiently in response to increased endurance
• Increases metabolism
• Reduces stress

With all of these pluses, why aren’t you moving yet? Find what you like to do and do it. Continually challenge yourself as your body responds to increase heart health and overall health in general.

What are you going to do to get moving?  What will you do for your heart?  What can you suggest for others?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Pentel Recology Giveaway

Check out the newest ecological pens by Pentel.  Pentel has a new line of products called Recycology.  Each item in the line uses 50%-100% recycled materials.  You can enter to win some of the products at this site
Let's all try to use some earth friendly items everyday!

What Are Triglycerides

What are Triglycerides?

You hear a lot about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, but what about triglycerides? Is that number important? You bet it is and if you keep reading you’ll find out why.


This is the unknown fat, the dark horse if you will. We are so concerned with HDL and LDL that we forget there is a third number in the mix that also requires our attention. Normal triglyceride levels are below 150 dl/ml. some say below 200 dl/ml but under 150 keeps you in good standing.

Triglycerides are fats. It is the form of fat that is most prevalent in your body. They, like cholesterol lipids, are found in blood plasma.

The fats in your foods are turned into triglycerides and stored as fat. When the body needs additional fuel sources, it uses those stored fats.

The problem comes in when there are too many triglycerides. We eat too much fat and don’t do enough exercise. More triglycerides are floating around in the blood. Combine them with some cholesterol and they form very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), another bad cholesterol character.

Since we know what LDL does, VLDL does it more. Too many triglycerides can form plaques, narrowing the opening in blood vessels and increasing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Lowering Triglyceride Levels

If your triglyceride number is over 150 dl/ml, it is time to work on lowering it. When high triglyceride levels are present usually there is not much HDL, or good cholesterol. This is particularly bad. HDL helps lower bad cholesterol but it needs to be present in high levels to work properly.

How do you lower your triglycerides?

• Control your diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many systemic problems including high triglyceride levels.
• Cut the calories. Triglycerides come from fat in the food we eat. Limit the fat (remember not all fats are bad so know which ones need to be limited) and the overall calories to lower your outside contribution of triglycerides.
• Lower alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol impairs the liver. The liver processes triglycerides and it can’t do that if it’s destroyed by alcohol.
• Lower other risk factors. If you aren’t exercising, get going. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in your life. If you smoke, work on quitting. It weakens blood vessels that can further be affected by a buildup of triglycerides in the body.

So, the next time you get your blood cholesterol levels checked, don’t ignore that last number. Triglyceride levels are very important. When out of control, they act as co-conspirators with bad cholesterol to increase your risk of heart disease. Help them stay in check.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Great Recipe For A Heart Healthy Dinner

Here is a great recipe for a heart healthy dinner.  

Island Fruit and Cilantro Fish Tacos

1/2 pineapple, cleaned and chopped
1 mango, cleaned and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cleaned and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 lb cooked white fish
salt and black pepper

Mix all ingredients in glass bowl.  Let sit for 15 minutes, then serve in taco shells or wrapped in tortillas. This is an excellent way to surprise your family on 'taco night.'

Friday, April 01, 2011

How Do You Fit It All In?

As you have noticed in the series on Heart Health, one of the major factors to a healthy heart is fitness and exercise. You probably, like me, have every intention of becoming more active, but your days are a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough.
So how can you find time for fitness? The key is to be creative, flexible and fit your workouts into your daily routine. And remember any physical activity, not just formal exercise programs,will count and add to your healthy body and heart.

At Home

Time spent at home doesn't have to be "couch potato" time. Make fitness a priority at home by trying some of these suggestions:
  • Try to get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
  • Chores can count too. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a faster pace to get your heart pumping. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.
  • Be active while watching TV. This is my favorite way to exercise and I'm not missing out on any of my favorite shows. I will usually stand and watch TV for about 15 minutes while using hand weights, then use my eliptical for 30 minutes. You could ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch any chance you can for example to change the channel or adjust the volume (I don't think I know where those are without the remote).
  • Involve the whole family. Take group walks before or after dinner. Play catch. My grandson loves to hit the baseball and I love to pitch to him. I get plenty of exercise running after the balls he hits and he gets plenty of exercise running after the balls he misses. Ride your bikes. It's best to build up to about 30 minutes of continuous activity, but you can exercise in shorter bursts, too.
  • Get your dog into the act. Take daily walks with your best friend. If you don't have a dog, borrow one. An enthusiastic dog may give you the motivation you need to lace up your walking shoes.

At Work

Try to fit some work out time into your workday:
  • Can you walk or bike to work? Maybe you ride the bus to work. Get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way. Try to park a few blocks away from work and walk the rest of the way as well.
  • You've heard this one before. Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.
  • Take short walks around the office when you need a break. Maybe take short walks outside, people take cigarette breaks, you can take a fitness break!
    Get a group of your co-workers together and start a lunchtime walking group. A group of teachers and myself did this when I was teaching. It's a great way to clear your head. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.
  • Calendar your workouts or physical activity as you would any other appointment during the day. Promise yourself that you won't change your exercise plans.
  • If you're like my husband and you travel for work, plan ahead. Choose a hotel that has fitness facilities or bring water weights in your bag. You just fill them up with water in your room. Jump ropes are easy to pack too. Many hotel rooms now come with programs for quick fitness routines. This is one of my favorite when I'm stuck in an airport waiting for a plane; grab your bags and take a walk.

More tips

Here are a few more ways you can add more activity to your routine:
  • When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you're ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
  • Make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo or someplace where you need to do a lot of walking!
  • Try a dance club, hiking group or golf league.
  • Sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your local parks and recreation department.
  • Join a fitness club. Sign up for a group exercise class at a nearby fitness club. The cost may be an added incentive to stick with it.
How do you fit your workout or fitness into your daily routine? Share your best method so others can benefit.  

Women and Heart Disease

Part three in a continuing series on Heart Health

With heart disease so prevalent in my family, my mother, my grandmother, my uncles (mom's brothers), and the list goes on..., I decided to learn what I could about heart disease.  The result is this series of blogs in hopes of helping others as well.

Heart disease affects everyone, however, women are starting to take center stage.  The risk of heart disease in women is being examined more closely. If you are a woman, it is so important to learn how heart disease can affect you.

The number one killer of women is not breast cancer but heart disease. More women than men are succumbing to this terrible fate. Why? For one, not enough is known about how women are affected by heart disease. Secondly, women are not always educated on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack to save their lives.

Heart Attack Signs in Women

When we think of heart attacks, we envision the numbness in the arm. This is a symptom that is most often seen in men but may not be present in women. Women with risk factors for heart disease may show signs that are very different:

• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Stomach pain, jaw, back or neck pain
• Nausea
• Dizziness or light-headedness

But the signs of a heart attack don’t develop overnight. The risk factors have probably been present for a long time before the heart attack happened.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart attack is not the only result of a poorly functioning heart. There is congestive heart failure and coronary heart disease. Both can lead to death.

Women have the same controllable risks as men:

Obesity/Overweight-Too much fat, especially around your waist area, makes you more prone to health issues, including heart disease

Smoking-smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease among women, this includes second hand smoke

Poor diet-eating foods that are processed, and pre-packaged are the basis of a diet high in fat and sodium.  You want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as the basis of every meal adding in some protein.  Smaller portions will make a difference as well.

Sedentary lifestyle - a life without movement will be disastrous for your heart.  Moving just 30 minutes a day will help keep that heart muscle in shape.

Diabetes-High blood pressure and high cholesterol are often more common for people with diabetes therefore the risk for heart disease is increased.

High blood pressure-is a key to strokes as well as a major factor for heart attacks.

Women also have some uncontrollable risk factors:

• Age (risk increases after 55)
• Post Menopause
• Family History

We can deal with the controllable risks. As you get older, you will get older and you will experience menopause. Not in our control.  But, dealing with the items you CAN control will make the uncontrollable factors less of a problem.

Any risk factor is too much. Just because you are slim, doesn’t mean that you are healthy. Lowering risks can start as early as your twenties especially if you have a family history.

Being aware of your health profile goes a long way to helping you know which risk factors you have and what to do about them. Before you reach for the medicine, try the natural approach.

1. Change your eating habits – Choose more fruits and vegetables. Fatty food may not put weight on you in your twenties, but it is still doing a number on your arteries.

2. Change your birth control method – Birth control pills carry with it a risk of blood clots. If you smoke the risk is greater. Clots can lead to heart attacks. Ask your gynecologist about an IUD, patch or shots.

3.  Get active – Burn calories each day with about 30 minutes of moderate activity.

This is just a start, but getting a jump on your health can keep you from becoming a statistic.

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