Soaking up the sun

Last week I was walking up to one of my classes where students were waiting for the previous class to get finished so we could practice yoga.

One student looked at me and said something to the effect that I looked happy and smiling.

I said, it’s the sun!

We are transitioning into Spring.

Last week and this week we have had many days where Portland has been warm and sunny.

Last week I was waiting at the bus stop. It was warm. Lots of people were out and about. People were smiling, looked happy. One woman even cheered.

Yes, the people in Portland are happy for the weather change.

I thought the Winter was manageable. Not always fun or enjoyable with a few days of snow, many days of endless rain and gray skies.

With my teaching schedule I get out of the house regularly and exercise regularly as well.

But I do know that I thrive with the sun and warmer weather. I’m a true Arizona girl.

Since moving to Oregon a little more than a year ago I realized the best time to travel out of state is during the cold, gray, wet Winter to warmer places, such as Tucson and … Continue reading

Exercising Kegel muscles

One of my long-time friends and readers mentioned that jumping rope or jumping in a moon bouncer is difficult … post child birth without … err … umm … peeing your pants.

Since I don’t plan to have children luckily for me I won’t experience this.

But she brought up Kegel exercises.

And what the hell, I decided to do a post about it.

And the stuff I found online, uh, wow!

Wait, does everyone know what Kegel exercises are?

If you get embarrassed easily, you should stop reading now.

OK, you were warned.

According to Wikipedia, in 1948 Arnold Kegel published information on pelvic floor exercise (Kegel exercise), which consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Kegel muscles.”

Did you know you can buy an exercise device for this? Check out the Super Kegel’s Exerciser.

I don’t need no stinkin’ exerciser. I can do them myself, in fact I am doing them as I write this right now.

Many women joke about Kegels (the way they are usually referred). But sometimes they can be important for some serious issues.

The Mayo Clinic has … Continue reading

Keep healthy this flu season

I got my flu shot on Friday.

Over the weekend it occurred to me that I should write a post about it. Mostly because there are so many myths about getting the flu shot.

I have gotten the flu shot for at least the past 10 years in a row (and got it while I was a kid and part of the time I was in college) and the shot has NEVER made me sick or get the flu.

I know a lot of people don’t want to get the flu shot for a variety of reasons. And that’s your right.

But if you aren’t going to get the vaccine there are other things you can do to prevent the spread of the flu (and other illnesses).

You should also do these things if you get the flu vaccine.

Regularly wash your hands. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer (I keep some in my purse and I used to keep it on my desk at work).

Clean your work/home desk, cell phone, keys, door knobs, light switches, anything you touch and are in contact with regularly with Clorox or Lysol wipes.

If you are sick, stay home. … Continue reading

Benefits of chia seeds

A friend at work recently recommended I try chia seeds. I have heard of them before and knew they were supposed to be good for you. But I hadn’t sought them out.

Recently at the grocery I saw them and decided to buy them and try them out.

My friend uses the seeds in her morning smoothies.

I don’t make morning smoothies. So I have been adding a tablespoon of them into my 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt snack.

I like the texture and consistency of the seeds.

I also like the health benefits. (There are some claims that chia seeds help you lose weight. Not sure if that is true. And frankly, I don’t want to explore it. A healthy and balanced diet is what helps you lose and maintain weight. There is no quick fix or pill for that.)

According to WebMD, chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. … Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium.

Livestrong lists the top 10 health benefits of chia seeds: high in fiber; … Continue reading

Middle of the night leg cramps

Occasionally I get a charley horse in one of my legs in the middle of the night while sleeping. One time I got one in each calf. Wow, ouch!

Over the past few nights I have woken up in the middle of the night twice with a charley horse in my left leg.

According to WebMD, a charley horse is a cramp, particularly in the calf muscles, caused by muscle spasms, involuntary contractions of one or more muscles.

For me the cramps and muscles spasms are terribly painful. I used to try to massage them out.

Years ago I learned a tip that if you can stand on your feet the cramps will go away immediately. It’s true. But to get out of bed and stand up takes a lot of might and strength. But once I step my feet to the floor the cramps and spasms completely disappear.

I’ve heard a variety of reasons why I could get them. Such as dehydration or potassium deficiency. Many more possible causes are listed in the WebMD article.

According the MedLine Plus, when a muscle goes into spasm it feels very tight. It is sometimes described as a knot. The pain can be … Continue reading

What’s the deal with gluten?

I know many people who have issues with gluten. Some just can’t eat it all. Some have to moderate. My nephew has an allergy to it that can stir up his asthma.

Someone with celiac disease can’t eat gluten at all. Someone with intolerance or sensitivity, the science isn’t as clear whether or not their diet should be as strict. But I am gonna bet those with an intolerance or sensitivity feel better when they limit their gluten intake.

A gluten-free diet might even help people with migraines, ADHD, Down syndrome and other conditions.

I have started to notice more and more products at the grocery are now gluten free, including some cereals.

And I recently ate at a restaurant in Berkeley where many of the items on the menu were gluten free.

Gluten shows up in bread and pasta, but apparently can also be in many other foods, such as cold cuts, salad dressings, beer and licorice.

According to this WebMD article, people need a gluten-free diet only if they have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, says Stefano Guandalini, MD, director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. … “People think that gluten-free diets are more healthy,” Guandalini … Continue reading

It’s flu shot season

It is flu shot season.

For at least the past 9 years I have gotten a flu shot. My company provides them for free and onsite.

I am more inclined to get my flu shot if my company provides them and if they are easy to get onsite. I have had several jobs provide free flu shots onsite. It makes sense to me. You want your employees to be healthy and, of course, be productive.

I know some people don’t get flu shots for a variety of reasons and that is their choice. But I ask all of you that when you are sick, please keep your germs at home and don’t bring them to work, which includes your sick kids. (I have co-workers who will bring their sick kids to work because they can’t go to day care of school …)

But today’s post isn’t about any of that. It is about some of the myths about the flu and flu shots.

When I asked one of my co-workers if he was going to get his flu shot his response was, I don’t want to get sick.

Myth: The flu vaccine can give you the flu

According to … Continue reading

Delicious, healthy blueberries

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Curt and I were in Portland last weekend and I didn’t do anything remotely healthy to write about.

And then coming back to a hectic and crazy time at work …

When Curt and I were in Portland last weekend we were at a restaurant called Jake’s having a delicious late-night dinner. I was just having water with with dinner as I had consumed numerous beers throughout the day.

But as we were sitting at the bar I kept watching the bartenders make drinks and especially a really yummy looking one. I figured out it was the blueberry lemon drop.

So I had them make me one. Oh wow, it was delicious. So I had a second one. Yum!

As I was scooping out the blueberries after the glass had been emptied of liquid Curt and I started talking about blueberries. (Yup, we’re that exciting!)

I said something about how blueberries had antioxidants. Curt asked me what that meant. And I admitted that I really didn’t know.

So that, of course, inspired a post.

According to Discovery Health: How Stuff Works, as the name implies, antioxidants are substances that are capable of … Continue reading

Protein secret revealed: It can help you lose weight (and keep you healthy)

This month’s nutrition challenge is about getting in enough protein every day. (Facebook event page here.)

And the headline should be no secret, especially to my regular GFG! readers.

But you all know how much I am into eating protein and writing about it. (And if you can stand it, I will discuss this in person with you, too.)

Someone just the other day asked me what I could suggest for a new Weight Watchers’ participant. I believe the first thing I blurted out was protein. I, of course, talked about other stuff.

From the various research I have done I found that on average women should get in 46 grams of protein a day. If you have an active lifestyle it should be more than that.

Protein can be found in all kinds of foods. And protein can help you lose weight.

Here’s a quick list of protein-rich foods: legumes, chicken, cheese, nuts, tofu, eggs, fish, red meat (yes, you can eat red meat in moderation), peanut butter (also moderate as it is high in fat), whole grain pasta, brown rice …

This WebMD article discusses the high-protein diet for weight loss. There are some great … Continue reading

Start jumping!

One of our exercise challenges this month in Go Fit Girl’s April Monthly Challenge is working the jump rope.

If you want a major cardio workout, jump rope for 3 minutes (or longer).

Jumping rope requires and builds coordination, is an easy and quick cardio workout and can be done almost anywhere.

According to WebMD, jumping rope can be lower-impact exercise on knees than jogging.

For years I have wished I was a runner. It’s easy cardio and you can do it anywhere. But I am now realizing that is the same with the jump rope. I can throw one in my suitcase. It travels easily and doesn’t take up any room.

According to some calculations on Livestrong, which attributes to Mayo Clinic, I will burn about 150 calories for jumping rope 15 minutes. (The average calorie burning in a 60-minute spin class is 500 calories.)

This site gives all kinds of fancy moves with the rope.

The American Heart Association sponsors a program called Jump Rope For Heart event, which provides heart research program and education.  The fundraising event helps kids learn skills to jump rope while raising money for the American Heart Association.

Continue reading