Live Total Wellness

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today's Fitness Quickie

Today we have a special article from Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Personal Trainer.  Mike has some great information for some foods that really should be avoided.  

Today's Fitness Quickie:

3 "Healthy" foods that you should AVOID

1.  The first food that I'd like to mention that's promoted as "healthier" than the original food is "reduced-fat" peanut butter.  I've compared labels on some of these brands, and many of them aren't even lower in calories due to the extra SUGAR that they contain.  And other brands, you might only save 10 or 20 calories per serving.

BUT, there's a problem with this... even if you do save a tiny amount of calories with some brands of reduced-fat peanut butter, you end up getting almost double the amount of carbohydrates and sugar, which is going to have more of an effect on your blood sugar compared to regular peanut butter.

My advice:  just stick to regular peanut butter instead of "reduced-fat" varieties... it's more natural, with less additives, and will have less negative effects on your blood sugar.  Plus, the extra healthy fats that you get help to curb cravings later in the day.  Just make sure to choose a natural brand of peanut butter that doesn't have added trans fats (hydrogenated oils).  If possible, choose organic too, to help protect yourself from estrogenic pesticide residues.

One more thing... I actually prefer to use a variety of nut butters instead of only peanut butter, so I sometimes mix almond butter with cashew butter, or almond butter with pecan butter to make a more nutrient-diverse nut butter mix.  These types of mixtures have more diversity of vitamins and minerals than just peanut butter.

2.  The next so-called "healthy" food to avoid is orange juice.  Sorry, although it does contain a decent amount of vitamins, orange juice just simply contains too much sugar and not enough fiber to count as a healthy food.  Orange juice is a big culprit for some people in throwing their blood sugar out of whack and reducing insulin sensitivity.

Remember that whole fruits are great, but juices are NOT!  When you drink a juice, you're getting a big dose of sugar, but leaving out a lot of the fiber and other beneficial nutrients that are left behind in the fruit pulp/fiber.  A glass of orange juice may have 35 grams of sugar and only 1 gram of fiber, whereas eating a whole orange may have 20 grams of sugar and 4-5 grams of fiber.... big difference!

3.  The third so-called "healthy" food to avoid that I'd like to mention today is canola oil -- yes, that's right...  Despite the clever marketing propaganda, there is NOTHING healthy about canola oil.  Instead of going into details in this email, I have a full article for you here which describes why canola oil is NOT healthy and how you've been deceived!

Have a healthy day, and I'll be back soon with more Lean-Body Secrets!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer | |

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Blog Guidebook

Want more exposure for your blog? Then you might want to visit The Blog Guidebook, a one of a kind blogging resource that offers a FREE listing to all bloggers!

Lyndsay Johnson and Sarah Bradford are the brains (and beauty!) behind this premier site. Lyndsay comes with experience in graphic design and Sarah has the all important customer service background. The two together have created a resource for all bloggers, from novice to experienced. And they give YOUR blog exposure - FREE!

The Blog Guidebook is THE place to go for information about blogging, as well as, a resource for blogs about every topic under the sun, all in ONE place!

So what are you waiting for - go to The Blog Guidebook now!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stress and Heart Disease

Stress and Heart Disease

Into each life a little stress must fall. Stress is a part of life but, left unmanaged, can damage your body especially your heart. Learn about the correlation between stress and heart disease.

Stress can kill you. When your body reacts to stress, it acts as if it is being threatened. Think of the “fight or flight” response. Your pupils dilate; your heart begins to race; your blood vessels dilate. More oxygen has to get to the right places so we can think clearly and run if we have to.

The same thing happens with stress. Our body goes into that “fight or flight” mode all the time. Constant unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure. The vessels of the body can become weakened due to that pressure which leaves them wide open to plaque formation and aneurysms later on.

Other Contributing Factors

Stress doesn’t just keep your body on high alert. When we don’t know how to manage stress, it can lead to many poor choices and bad behaviors. For one, we eat less healthy food. If you are stressed on your job and get pressed for time, you are more likely to hit the vending machine or the fast food joint down the street.

We look to comfort foods to ease the pressure. Unfortunately comfort foods are often full of fat that help expand our waistline. More fat means more cholesterol and more weight gain, both of which can increase your incidence of heart disease. And, with your vessels already weakened by chronic stress, atherosclerosis can become a reality in your life.

Smoking is another habit that increases heart disease. Most people don’t pick up smoking in adulthood but they may start again after quitting because of the stressors in their lives. Smoking decreases lung capacity. The nicotine causes blood vessels to become less elastic.

Drinking is another habit that is picked up during times of stress. Alcohol affects your liver. The liver filters the blood, processes cholesterol and triglycerides. With the liver working improperly, you can develop metabolic imbalances in the body leading to diabetes and higher cholesterol levels, all contributors to heart disease.

The Solution

Managing stress is very important to overall health. The affects that stress has on your life goes beyond sleepless nights and dark circles under the eyes. The very heart that pumps life-giving blood through your body can suffer also. Find ways to lower the amount of stress in your life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's On Your Skin?

The average American uses nine personal care products every day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients. Many are linked to cancer and other serious health effects. You have a choice in the products you use. See how you can use safer, healthier products without the hazardous chemicals.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cooking With Coconut Oil

As we continue our series about heart health, we will also focus on specific foods that are good for your heart and overall health. One of those specific foods is coconut oil. Coconut oil has long been blacklisted as a bad fat. Now it's making a comeback as more and more research has revealed its many health benefits.

Don't let the 90 percent saturated fat scare you away. Coconut oil is a non-hydrogenated, naturally saturated fat that contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). What does all of that mean? Non-hydrogenated simply means that the oil has not been altered through a chemical process so the natural saturated fats remain consistent without any chemical invasions to the bonding of the specific elements. Medium-chain fatty acids, MCFAs are converted into energy instead of being stored as fat. As a result, MCFAs can help with:
*weight loss and weight control
*increased energy levels
*stimulating your metabolism.

Additional benefits
Coconut oil is healthy! Coconut oil can be called the healthiest oil due to the fact that it has a chemical structure which includes unique type of saturated fat called medium chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is also called coconut miracle oil. It can help with many health issues. Because coconut oil is abundant in lauric acid * as described by Mary Enig, Ph.D, coconut oil has immune boosting nutrients. The only other place you would find this much lauric acid would be in mother's breast milk. This fatty acid is disease fighting and contains anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities.

Additionally, coconut oil has antioxidant properties, which MAY help protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals areIt has been known to reduce the health risks associated with diabetes as well by improving insulin secretion.

Coconut oil also can be used as a lotion, helping to soothe and moisturize dry or damaged skin.

According to Mary Enig, Ph.D, "Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."

So start with some coconut oil when baking or cooking. The benefits of coconut oil are far too great to be ignored! Enjoy!

Here is a recipe using coconut oil.

Better Breakfast Smoothie

Add coconut oil to a breakfast drink for a healthy start to your day. The proportions can be varied to suit your own taste. Use any type of fruit or juice you would like to add.

Start with 1 of the following:

Add 1 cup of one of the following: (can be fresh or frozen)
berry mix

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (at room temperature)

8-12 oz of fruit or vegetable juice (or a combination), orange, pineapple, cranberry, carrot, vege

1 teaspoon of fiber powder (ground psyllium husks)

1 scoop of protein powder or concentrate

If you like a very cold drink, you can add ice after everything else is blended.



Friday, May 06, 2011

Mother's Day

My blog is usually written about health issues and various topics pertaining to health and wellness. As Mother's Day draws near, I thought about how this one special day can help with our overall wellness and health.

As a mom, Mother's Day has always meant time with my family. When my daughters were young, it meant homemade gifts from their innocent little hearts and warm loving messages that filled my mommy book. I still treasure those days and those lasting memories.

When my daughters were little, every Mother's Day was spent at zoo. It was something that I enjoyed as much as my children. Even as they grew, we continued with that simple family tradition that none of us wanted to give up. The day was filled with skips, hops, shoulder rides, and hand holding. Maybe the zoo outing would be followed by a picnic lunch or lunch out. As a mother, seeing the joy, laughter, awe and overall love in their eyes was the perfect gift.

Now my daughters are grown, beautiful women. One of my daughters has children of her own. So what should we do to make Mother's Day special for her as a mom. Usually, it's just time spent together doing whatever the day may bring. Last year, we went on a hike and out to lunch. This year, a trip to the Children's Museum and lunch out. As much as I loved the consistency of our zoo trips, I look forward to the surprise of the new tradition ~ it's up for grabs.

No matter what we do, the fact that we are able to do it as a complete family is what makes it so special. As a mom, I don't need gifts or cards to make Mother's Day meaningful. I just need my family!

This year, I did receive a special gift though. In light of the demise of Bin Laden, my daughters and I were discussing the fact that people were celebrating his death. We each expressed the fact that as much as BL was an evil person, celebrating his death was not something we felt comfortable with and especially seeing people doing the celebrating was really somewhat embarrassing. Yes, he was the mastermind behind 911. Yes, I did lose friends in NYC. Yes, I was angry. But to celebrate a death still seemed over the top for me and surprisingly for my daughters as well. As we continued to discuss this, my oldest daughter said the sweetest words my ears could hear. She said, "Mom, you taught us to love people, no matter what. Although BL was an evil person, he was a person who had a family who loved him. You taught us well!" Now what mother wouldn't love to hear those precious words from her child?!

So here's to all moms out there ~ have a loving, happy, fun and laugh filled Mother's Day with your children and families. And know that you are spreading good in the world AND they do learn what you teach them!
Isn't that the best thing for all of our hearts? Health to you!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Lupus - Are You Aware?

May is Lupus Awareness Month! Watch and learn about lupus. I have lupus - do you know someone who has lupus? You can help spread the word so all people with lupus have a chance!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Eating Your Way To A Healthy Heart

You are what you eat, literally. Change what you put into your body and you will not only change the way you look but you will also make changes to your body and the way it functions as well. Here are some choices for delicious tasting foods that have more of what you want without all the unhealthy fats and additives.

Food, food, food - it seems to be everywhere. We need to eat it to live but we don't have to live to eat. There are many reasons why we eat in excess. The food tastes good. We are stressed. We are eating mindlessly. All contribute to a higher weight and a higher fat content in our diet than we need.

In an ideal world your heart would be working fine. Your vessels would be unclogged and strong. Your food would provide the right amount of nutrients to keep the organs functioning, oxygen needs met for various functions and your body burning fat stores for energy.

Unfortunately it is not an ideal world, but you can work to create an ideal environment inside your body. It all starts with the food you eat. Many of the nutrients we need come our food, including fat. The choices we make with food, determine what kind of nutrients we allow to enter our bodies.


Protein is needed for muscle growth and repair of cells, as well as, bones, hair and many other systems. We get protein mostly from red meat but there are other healthier sources of protein.

Here is a sample list.

*Skinless poultry
*Green Vegetables

These are only a few sources of proteins. You can find them in whole grains such as quinoa. Look for healthier fats without the saturated fat component that is found in red meat, pork and chicken.


These are the fuel source of your body. Carbohydrates are turned into sugars for fuel or fat for storage to be used later for fuel. According to the glycemic index, carbohydrates fall into one of two categories. Carbohydrates that place higher than 50 on the index will spike blood sugar and lead you to consume more empty calories to gain more energy. Fewer than 50 on the index and your blood sugar will stay steady, reducing cravings and overeating.

Here are a few examples of foods that are lower on the glycemic index.

*Brown rice
*Whole grain products (pasta, breads, low sugar-high whole grain cereals)

Many processed foods are made from white processed flour. These empty calories provide too much unhealthy fat. The fat raises the levels of LDL cholesterol which can increase blood pressure and the incidence of cholesterol plaques that can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.


The body does need some fat. Make sure these fats are healthy such as oils and nuts.

Here are a few examples.

*Olive oil
*Coconut oil

There are many more. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are the best choices.

What is in your food pantry? If you don't have any of the foods listed above, you may want to
revamp things a little in favor of a healthier heart and body overall. Read the food labels and shop for your main food sources on the outside of the store. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best basis for your meals. As long as you have a good amount of these with each meal, you are on the road to eating your way to a healthy heart.

Work At Home United