Your Health Is Wealth

Snowbird In Training

How many of us wake up everyday and truly understand what a blessing it is to be healthy.  I’m sure you know of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance that may not be so lucky.  Think of the many people who suffer from diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, or are disabled in some way.  The truth is we take our health for granted; but if we walked in the shoes of those less fortunate for one day, or even an hour our mindset would most likely change.


Make your health a priority by making healthy food choices, exercising, and reducing stress in your life.


The key is to develop discipline by understanding the benefit of healthy choices versus the downside of processed food and inactivity.  Our daily choices when it comes to nutrition and exercise significantly affect how we feel.  We’ve all given in to cravings and had days where we…

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Three Steps To Better Aging


What if you could look into a crystal ball and see yourself ten years from now?  If you are on an unhealthy path; you might not like what you see.  What if you could start today and help offset the effects of aging by changing your lifestyle?  One of my favorite quotes, “We are our daily choices” really rings true when it comes to enjoying life in your golden years.

Take steps now to slow down the aging process by making better choices:

#1.  REDUCE SUGAR– It’s the number one offender on the list – Sugar ages your skin and your body! Sugar increases inflammation in the body resulting in increased free radicals that can promote wrinkles and increased risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and more.


Per April Long with ELLE on Sugar and Aging

“The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor ­shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.

The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”

#2.  INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL  Exercise is vital for healthy aging.  Cardiovascular exercise can help you maintain a healthy brain and heart.  While strength and flexibility training can help prevent joint issues and falls.



Furthermore, research suggest that exercise improves brain health due to increased blood flow to the brain.  Additionally this may help reduce the risk of age related dementia and Alzheimer’s.


“Certain regions of the brain typically get smaller through the normal aging process, but individuals who were more physically fit (as determined by an exercise test of their aerobic capacity) had greater brain volume in areas related to memory. The higher the fitness level, the healthier the brain appeared. “In order to see an improvement in fitness levels, individuals need to exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity,” Dougherty notes.

So how does exercise change the brain? Researchers have only theories for now, but they think it could be because exercise increases blood flow to the brain to help remove toxins, or releases hormones that help create new brain cells, Dougherty explains. Research has also shown that exercise can improve cognition in healthy individuals as well as those at risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia”

Exercise can help maintain healthy weight levels, improve heart health, and keep muscles strong and flexible as you age.  Expanding waistlines can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and chronic back and knee issues.  It’s clear that research supports the many benefits of a consistent exercise program to promote healthy aging


Aerobic exercise can help to improve your heart health and endurance and aid in weight loss. Strength training can improve muscle strength and endurance, make it easier to do daily activities, slow disease-related declines in muscle strength, and provide stability to joints. Flexibility exercises may help you to have optimal range of motion about your joints, so they can function best, and stability exercises may help reduce the risk of falls.

For example:

  • Heart disease. Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.

  • Diabetes. Regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower your blood sugar level. Physical activity also can help you control your weight and boost your energy.

  • Asthma. Often, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

  • Back pain. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) may help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your spine.

  • Arthritis. Exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints and reduce joint stiffness.

Age 57

#3.  LEARN SOMETHING NEW   Research suggest that learning a new language or learning how to play a musical instrument can also help maintain brain health as we age.  Along with retirement comes more time to pursue new interests and opportunities.  Consider learning a second language, joining a book club, or learning to play a musical instrument.  Join a senior group to promote continued social activities and engagement with others that have similar interests.

Per Huffington Post

What happens in our brain?

Every time we learn something new, our brain changes in mysterious and quite substantial ways.

According to Muireann Irish, Associate Professor from Sydney University’s School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, increasing attention is being directed towards understanding how learning new skills can bolster cognitive functioning — particularly as we age.

Ever heard the phrase ‘use it or lose it’?

“This is in recognition of the fact that the human brain in ‘plastic’, meaning it is capable of reorganising and forming new neural connections throughout life,” Irish told The Huffington Post Australia.

By taking on mentally challenging skills, we can potentially capitalise upon neuroplasticity to strengthen existing connections in the brain, or even forge new connections.


So there you go; just three simple steps to better aging.  Start today with small goals such as becoming more aware of your daily sugar intake. Try drinking your coffee black or switching from soda to water for one of your meals. Download a app that can track your daily sugar intake.  Begin to take the stairs and park further from your destination to increase your daily activity.  Buy an activity tracker and set a daily step goal to help motivate you to move more throughout the day.  Read my article Do You Need An Activity Tracker?for more information and to help you determine the right tracker for you.  Consider researching new learning opportunities such as book clubs, an online college course,  or taking  up a musical instrument.  You can improve your chances of  staying healthy and living a better quality of life as you age.  Why not start today by setting some goals and by taking one step at a time?

Healthy Nut And Seed Bread

Yum!!  Check out this recipe for a healthy nut and seed bread.  It is flourless and unlike most bread is lo-carb and loaded with protein.

Things You’ll Need

1 cup raw almonds


1 cup raw walnuts


1 cup whole flax seeds


1 cup raw sunflower seeds


1 cup raw pumpkin seeds


1 cup sesame seeds


5 eggs


1/3 cup olive oil


1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

Get the recipe here- Healthy Nut And Seed Bread Recipe

Per Maya Marin at

Packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, this wholesome grain-free bread is as tasty as it is stunning to behold. According to Danish chef and blogger Kirstin Uhrenholdt, this bread was created by the staff at Kong Hans restaurant in Copenhagen after they embraced the Paleo diet. Since then, it’s become a hit in Denmark with Paleo and non-Paleo eaters alike — and for good reason. It’s incredibly simple to make, very filling, and delicious, especially when toasted and topped with cheese or jam. The recipe is also easily customizable, so feel free to experiment with your own favorite combo of seeds and nuts.

Your Health Is Wealth

How many of us wake up everyday and truly understand what a blessing it is to be healthy.  I’m sure you know of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance that may not be so lucky.  Think of the many people who suffer from diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, or are disabled in some way.  The truth is we take our health for granted; but if we walked in the shoes of those less fortunate for one day, or even an hour our mindset would most likely change.



Make your health a priority by making healthy food choices, exercising, and reducing stress in your life.


The key is to develop discipline by understanding the benefit of healthy choices versus the downside of processed food and inactivity.  Our daily choices when it comes to nutrition and exercise significantly affect how we feel.  We’ve all given in to cravings and had days where we splurged on fast food and maybe too much sugar or alcohol.  The key is to remembering how you felt afterwards or the next day.  It’s likely you paid for it with an upset stomach, headache, and a major lack of energy.



Is it really worth it?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about being so rigid that you never eat a piece of cake or enjoy a glass of wine.  But the key is moderation!



Learn to practice gratitude on a daily basis.  Wake up each morning and give thanks for your health, your loved ones, and having food and shelter.  There are those in this world that are so much less fortunate.  YOUR HEALTH IS WEALTH!  Learn to make it a priority.

Practice taking care of yourself by making healthy food choices and staying active. Consider keeping a journal and writing down what you are thankful for each day. Take an hour each day to reduce stress with meditation, yoga, reading,  or simply some quiet time to reflect on your blessings.



Friday Motivation- Don’t Let The Weekend Destroy Your Progress

We all need a little reminder that the weekend can offset all the hard work put into your workouts and food choices during the week.

How quickly we forget; planning each workout, logging our meals and killing it in the gym.  All for what???  Two or three days of eating calorie laden foods, downing several alcoholic beverages, and before you know it you are back to square one.  So how are you ever going to reach your goals??


You can still enjoy your weekend without letting things get out of hand.  It’s all about balance and awareness.  Follow these tips to keep you on track with your goals.


Lower Body Fat-burning Circuit

Ready for a kick butt lower body circuit?  This workout it for you.  Start with a treadmill warm-up (7 minute fast paced walk followed by a 8 minute incline walk or run).  Then perform circuit 2-3 times and finish with a one mile run at your top pace.  Enjoy!



Name Your Goal And Accept Responsibility


Creating change and new habits take time. Perhaps you may feel like you start over and over again; but if you are patient one day it will begin to click. You will realize what you put in your body-…your daily food choices and habits make a tremendous difference in how you look and feel. Exercise and movement are vital for your muscles, joints and mental well-being.

TODAY IS A NEW DAY! You must plan to succeed. Prepare for a successful week…plan your meals. prepare some meals in advance if possible. Write your workouts on your calendar and commit to healthy change.  Take control of your health taking it one step at a time, one day at a time.  You’ve got this!!

Sugar, Cravings, and Hunger


Have you ever looked at the sugar intake in your diet?  You may be surprised about all the hidden sugar in the foods you eat on a daily basis.  If you eat out frequently and buy a lot of packaged foods your sugar intake is probably a lot higher than you might think. You may think those breakfast muffins are healthy but most packaged muffin mixes are loaded with sugar.  Check this out- How much sugar is in that muffin

The exact amount of sugar in a muffin depends largely on what type of muffin you’re eating, as well as how large the muffin is. A medium-sized blueberry muffin contains about 37 grams of sugar, which is equal to about 9.25 teaspoons.


Sugar is addicting and the more you eat the more you crave.  Check out this flow chart below:



Perhaps you think you eat pretty healthy but sugar is hidden in foods you may think are good for you.  Check this out: reports

You ate a yogurt and granola for breakfast, a grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette for lunch, a protein bar as an afternoon snack, and whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce for dinner.

That day sounds like it deserves the healthy-eating nod of approval. But despite being packed with whole grains, veggies, and lean protein, there’s one issue: That menu easily packs in more than 50 grams of added sugar (we did the math on typical serving sizes). That’s more than double what the American Health Associationrecommends for women (25 grams per day) and well over the maximum recommended intake for men (37.5 grams). So even all of us *generally* healthy eaters can consume way more sugar than we thought.

But you didn’t even eat chocolate for crying out loud, so where is all that sugar coming from?

Consider using an app and tracking your sugar for thirty days.  You may be surprised that your daily intake is way over the 25 to 37.5 grams per day recommended by the American Health Association.

Sugar is hidden in items that you may think are healthy choices such as yogurt, protein bars, oatmeal, and soup.  Check out this article by Greatlist of the following foods that may be hidden sources of sugar in your diet.

Foods that sneak in added sugar

Sugar is a major cause of weight gain and can lead to disease.  Per Harvard Health

Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease. Excess consumption of sugar, especially in sugary beverages, also contributes to weight gain by tricking your body into turning off its appetite-control system because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods. This is why it is easier for people to add more calories to their regular diet when consuming sugary beverages.

“The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Hu.

How much is okay?

If 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day is too much, then what is the right amount? It’s hard to say, since sugar is not a required nutrient in your diet. The Institute of Medicine, which sets Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDAs, has not issued a formal number for sugar.

However, the American Heart Association suggests that men consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams) of added sugar per day. That is close to the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda.

Therefore, to improve your health, consider tracking your sugar grams by reading labels and using a food journal app such as those listed in my article  Amazing Weight Loss and Fitness Apps


Tracking your sugar intake will help you reduce sugar cravings, maybe lose some weight and improve your health!

Self Control- It’s More Important Than You Think

Self control can be a tremendous challenge but it’s like a muscle that responds to how often we use it. The more you use it the stronger it gets. Learn to pause and think about your food choices. It’s more important than you might think.

How are you going to feel 5 minutes after gobbling down a burger and fries? Poor food choices affect you physically by making you feel sluggish and in the long run can lead to disease. Mentally it often makes you feel bad about yourself and your inability to stick to your goals.

Think about it; is your health and well being worth that few minutes it takes to scarf down that greasy pizza or sugar laden doughnut? You can learn to make better choices by exercising self control.

Learn to visualize success and imagine how you are going to feel after making a healthy food selection. Every time you make a better food choice, you increase your will power and self control.

You can learn to enjoy healthy food. It simply requires discipline. Try experimenting with new recipes and really get involved in your food preparation. Your body will respond with more sustained energy and you will build discipline and self control.

Remember pause and reflect- food can either improve your health or cause disease. It’s your choice. 😊

Intermittent Fasting 16/8



Have you tried intermittent fasting?  For many people the thought of going for days or hours with little to no food is inconceivable.  However, there is increasing research surfacing touting the amazing benefits of fasting.  Some recent studies suggest fasting can aid in weight loss, increased longevity of life, and even help fight diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimers. Per Dr. Joseph Mercola

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting provides a number of health benefits that most people need, and you and your body are worthy of all of them:

  • Gets rid of stubborn weight and sugar cravings by activating your fat-burning mode
  • Builds muscle and promotes overall health and wellness
  • Enhances brain health and helps prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s
  • Reduces oxidative stress and fights aging, diseases like cancer and stress
  • Delivers an array of physiologic benefits, including lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation and lessening free-radical damage


These are the most popular methods Per

  • The 16/8 Method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet: On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories. Eat normally the other 5 days


I’ve found the 16/8 to be a very easy method of fasting for me.  Since I sometimes teach several fitness classes in a row, some of the longer fasts would be difficult without fuel for the workouts.


I typically try to consume my last meal around 6 pm and then fast until around 10:00 or 11:00 am. I allow myself to indulge in only black coffee or lemon water during my fast.



I then eat either a late breakfast or an early lunch.  Since you are asleep most of the fast; it’s pretty easy to do it on an ongoing basis.


Since I started the intermittent fasting, I’ve noticed I’m less hungry and have been able to maintain my weight although I’ve decreased my activity level.  It will be interesting to see possible changes once I get back to my regular teaching schedule.