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Mobility Class @ APT STUDIOS 11:30 am- 12:30 pm
**starting April 25th 2015

Do you have aches or pains?  Tightness?  Lack of range of motion?

Have you 'given in' to the fact that with age we are supposed to wake up feeling tight and sore?

Are you repeatedly injured in your daily life, and with exercise?

Want to have your body moving better so that you can participate in activity with more comfort?

Do you participate in a repetitive sport such as running, cycling, or weight lifting?

 Join me for this one hour class where we use rollers, fascial release tools, movements, and stretches to make lasting change in the soft tissue of the body.

$20 drop in or $15 if you buy a 10 class pass.

My guaranteee:  You won't believe how good your body feels.  It will be like walking on new legs, and moving around like Jello!

No equipment required, just come and check it out.

e-mail me at katherine@optimal-health-coaching.com to reserve your spot.

Blog has switched to a new site

Hi There,

I am glad you have been enjoying my blog.

I have switched all my blogs and content over to a new site with more functionality!

You can check it out here:  https://unleashyouroptimalhealth.wordpress.com/ and be sure to subscribe to my weekly updates!

So you Want to lose weight?

Weight loss, it's such a tricky subject to maneuver.  As a society it is accepted and considered fit to be slim and lean.  There is an enormous amount of pressure from the media, especially social media, to live up to this expectation.  We live in a society where men and women strive, and take drastic measures to be at their lowest body fat percentage.  This means following restrictive diets, eating too few calories, exercising like crazy, or taking pills/supplements/gimmicks to get there.

I get it, I understand!  I tried over exercising, undereating, living of coffee, eating only protein and vegetables, and following other diet companies.

AND YES!  I LOST WEIGHT!

But you know what?  I am not going to teach those methods to my clients, because the weight doesn't stay off.  Unless you keep doing what you are doing to lose the weight you will not maintain it in the long run.  For me, as soon as I ate any carbs again after restricting them for so long, the weight came back!


So I could write this blog to you and tell you to work out everyday, cut your carbs right down, load up on protein, use caffeine to keep yourself awake etc.  But I know, that one day that weight will come back.  I know at that time you will feel shitty about yourself, you will feel guilty, you will feel like a failure, and once again you will jump to some other program to make you feel how you did when that weight was off.  And I also know that while you do those things your brain will get foggy, the joy will be zapped from your life, you will lose your libido, you will have so many thoughts about food and exercise that you won't have mental space for love, relationships, and a stellar career in your life.

SO INSTEAD!  I am going to give you my rules for weight loss. These rules will help you take weight off (If it's there to take off in the first place), but not only will you lose weight you will create sustainable lifestyle practices that will allow you to keep the weight off forever.

On a side note- it's natural for our body to fluctuate.  5-10 pounds in certain seasons, and on certain weeks is normal!  In the winter maybe you move more, or choose fewer salads, or more hot chocolates!  And that's ok.  There is no need after winter to follow some crazy diet or cleanse, just bring it back to my rules for weight loss and the body will naturally stabilize itself.


My Rules for Weight Loss
Before you get into the rules, I need you to promise me one thing.  Before you go trying to lose weight you need to be HAPPY NOW, HAPPY WITH YOUR BODY NOW.  When we try and lose weight out of hatred, disgust, or that something is wrong with our body, everything about that is so negative!  You work out cause you hate your body, you deprive yourself of food because your belly is too big...none of it is good and positive.  INSTEAD- love your body now.  Love every darn curve, every extra roll, all those pieces that make you unique.  Then decide that you love your body so much you are going to make it healthy and fit as you want!  Exercise for the sake that you can, you love feeling stronger, you love that you know you are fit to do anything.  Turn down a slice of cake at work because you know that sugars aren't good for this sexy body!  Limit the wine you drink on the weekend because you know your liver is your metabolic engine, and the more you overwork it with booze, the less help it will give you for it's regular functions :)  Having a positive approach to weight loss is the key.

And on that note....here are the rules.
1)   Move your body everyday and as much as possible.
2)   Participate in structured activities that raise the heart rate 3 times a week for 30-60 minutes.
3)   Participate in heavy strength training 2-3 days a week.
4)   Do a stress management technique daily for 20 minutes (yoga, meditation practice, journaling, deep breathing, progressive relaxation), you need to decrease cortisol in your body to lose weight.
5)   Master your mindset.  Anger, blame, guilt, frustration, sadness, lack of self confidence, lack of self worth, worry, lack of trust, pessimism, feelings of inadequacy etc. are all emotions that fester in the body and prevent weight loss.  They show up in cravings, overeating, making poor choices, deciding not to exercise, lacking motivation to do what needs to be done to be healthy.  Coaching, therapists, support groups, journaling, having a friend who actually listens and supports are all great tools here.
6)   Laugh, smile, and have fun.  Hormone optimization is key to encouraging weight loss.   By maintaining joy and good hormonal status in the body you encourage weight loss.
7)   Eat your meals slowly, focusing on chewing, enjoying the food, with no external distractions (work, TV, cell phone etc.).
8)   Include 2-3 vegetables in every meal you eat.
9)   Control your carbohydrate intake by having them in the morning, before and after workouts.  Choose non-processed carbs 90 % of the time (fruit, sweet potato, quinoa, potato, barley, spelt, kamut, rice etc.).
10) 7-8 hours of sleep per night minimum
11) Ensure your protein is adequate and you are at least getting 1-2 palms of protein in 1-2 meals per day.
12) Make good choices 80-90 % of the time.
13) Have 1-2 tbspns of good fat with each meal (coconut oil, avocado, butter, olive oil).
14) Limit deserts and caloric drinks to 1-2 times per week.
15)  Eat 3-4 meals per day, when you feel physical signs of hunger, and consume your food until you are satisfied.  This doesn’t mean eat the whole meal you made.
16)  Get to the bottom of your cravings.  Cravings aren't normal.  They are an emotional or physical sign that something is lacking in your body.  Your body will tell you if you actually listen, or you can work with a naturopath or nutritionist to figure this out.  Generally as you balance out your entire health ALL (AND I MEAN ALL) cravings will go away.  I used to crave and binge on peanut butter all the time.  This was at the same time that I was only eating about 1500 calories a day, and very little fat.  My diet was lacking fat, I was starving myself, and my hormones were out of whack, and as a result my body desired peanut butter!  Now that I eat plenty more than 1500, eat fat regularly, and have perfectly balanced hormones I eat my peanut butter in moderation :)
17)  When deciding to have something delicious & indulgent, first decide "Is this what my body really wants and needs right now?  Am I eating this because I am tired/hungry/bored/unhappy?".  If you are truly having an indulgence because you indulge in moderation and love the taste, then enjoy it!  Love it!  Lick off every last drop, and then feel great about it after.  Guilt gets you nowehere.
18)  Make every effort possible to get processed foods out of your diet.  Processed foods lack minerals and vitamins, and are generally empty carbs.  By removing these foods and filling up on whole foods you nourish your body on fewer calories.  As you build a body made of whole foods instead of processed foods you will naturally look and feel healthier.


If you are reading this and decide to completely ignore what I wrote, and continue to do something restrictive, I salute you to that, and I hope one day you come back to me and my blog to help guide you into something sustainable, rather than continuing to destroy your body.  

  Precision nutrition does a fantastic job of breaking down what it TRULY takes to be as lean as you want, and what are the costs and benefits to it.  I highly recommend you take a look. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean.

On that note if you aren’t losing weight with my rules I want you to check in with two things:
1)   Do you really need to lose weight?  Are you at an appropriate weight for your body?  Are you trying to fit into a society ideal that doesn’t work for you?  Are you perhaps looking to strengthen your muscles so that you don’t look as high body fat, and instead look ‘toned’?
2)   If these don’t work it’s time to visit a naturopath to ensure that everything in the body is running optimally.  This means looking at hormones, vitamin and mineral status, and overall health of the body.  An unhealthy body is going to hang on to weight.

I hope this article got you thinking, and shed some light on some tools you could use to lose weight.

Let me know your thoughts,

Katherine

No More Neck Pain!

This morning I created a document for one of my client who has been suffering from neck pain, and then I realized it should be shared with all of you!

Neck pain originates from:
-  Holding poor posture while sitting or standing all day.
-  Spending most of your day looking down.
-  Improper ergonomics on the computer.
-  Emotional and mental stress from working hard all day.
-  Improper breathing.
-   Sleeping in any position other than on your back or in a side supported position.
-  Many other causes....

Considering most of us experience these causes, and I know many experience the symptoms, please use the following resource as a guideline to stretch, strengthen, and roll your way to less aches and pains!  Please note I haven't written detailed descriptions for each exercise.  Ensure you are comfortable with the form before performing them.

I truly hope this helps you!  This is not a comprehensive program and does not include all the stretching/exercises/rolling to improve your upper body function, but this is a great start to get going!


Remedies for Neck and Shoulder Pain/Tightness
Stretches
To be done 2-3 times per day.  Hold each stretch for a count of 5 breaths.   Each one of your breaths should be inhaled through the nose for 4 seconds, with a short pause before exhaling out of the mouth for 7 seconds. 












Dynamic stretches:
To be done in the morning, or after sitting for a long time, or whenever you can!!









Exercises
To be done at least 2 times a week for 3 sets of 12 as part of a whole body workout.



Figure A:  Shoulder blade retractions with band and lat pull down with band.  Your shoulder blades and lats perform this exercise.


Figure B:  Scapular retractions laying face down.  Lift the arms up and slightly pulled back off the ground.


Figure c:  Seated Row with cable or machine.  Most importantly remember that your back muscles should be doing the work.


  Figure D:  Lat Pull Down


 Figure E:  Shoulder blade push ups.


Foam Rolling












Fascial Release
Using a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or myofascial ball dig into the chest/neck muscles by pinning the ball between yourself and the edge of a wall.  For the back muscles, put your tennis ball in a large sock and throw it over your shoulder, dig in to the back of the neck muscles and muscles between the shoulder blade and the spine.



Posture:
Always be sure to stand with ears over shoulders, over hips, over ankles.  Keep your chin up, shoulders held down the spine, breathing deep into the belly and the sides of the ribs, opening the chest to the sky.

Women on Weights Level 2!

Hello!

Have you been doing bicep curls and tricep kick backs for years?  Are you still doing crunches and panks and not feeling like your core is getting stronger?  Are you looking for a program that teaches you overall full body strength, exercises that target all the muscles in the body, and the ultimate guide to your peak level of fitness?

ON April 13th Women on Weights Level 2 will start!  It runs on Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 for 6 weeks.  It's $90 for members and $120 for non members.

In this course you will learn perfect technique for deadlifts, squats, pulling motions (chin ups etc.), pushing motions (overhead and bench press etc.), and core exercises way beyond the sit up!

If you have been working out with machines and free weights for some time now it's time to move on and challenge your body even further.

Compound lifts are great for:
-  Getting a full body workout in a shorter period of time
-  Gaining overall full body strength
-  Teaching your muscles to work together as one functional unit
-  Developing the ultimate level of core strength.
-  Getting the best metabolic burn following your workouts
-  Feeling and looking stronger than ever before!

This is a good class for you if:
-  You are looking to build muscle and burn fat, to create an overall leaner physique.
-  You are motivated by getting stronger in the gym.
-  You are tired of your old routine and are looking to push things to the next level.
-  You participate in any sport, whether competitive or recreational.  Any generally athletic person should have these exercises in their program.
You will want to make sure:
-  That you are comfortable with level 1 exercises (you should be able to squat, lunge, push up, and hold a plank)
-  You don't have any major restrictions in range of motion.
-  You are ready to have some fun, try new things, and push yourself :)
If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail, and please pass this on to any ladies you know who might be interested.

I am a personal trainer, I get paid to make people sweaty, kick their butt in workouts, and have them feeling healthier, stronger and happier.  Within that framework it is also my responsibility to assess the body and incorporate exercises specific to each client.  Exercises that will improve the functionality of my clients, and in the end kepeing them fitter, stronger, and injury free for longer.

Therefore, each session I need to find the fine line between enough of a butt kicking workout, and enough programming for what I know is good for the body.

Let's break this down a bit....

One of the first things I need to ensure when training a client is do they have adequate mobility?  In plain terms mobility is defined as range of motion within a joint, it's kind of the combination of flexibility of the muscles around the joint, and proper joint positioning.  In scientific terms mobility can be defined as:

1)  The ability to move a joint through it's full anatomical and available range of motion
2)  Mobility is the ability to produce a desired movement.
3)  Mobility is the degree to which a joint (where two bones meet) is allowed to move before being restricted by surrounding tissues (ligements/tendons/muscles).
4)  The range of uninhibited movement around a joint.

Here is a video you can watch for simple test of ankle and hip and shoulder mobility:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/16/simple-exercise-test-ankle-and-hip-mobility_n_6328138.html

Most people who 'walk in my door' are restricted in their mobility.  Before I move any further with people I need to adress the lack of mobility in their body.

Training a body with poor mobility is like trying to make your dinner taste better just by adding more salt. Salt is going to mask the taste, and perhaps make it a bit more delicious, but it won't adress the underlying issue- that you started with a crappy recipe!  Just like piling a bunch of exercises on a restricted body is in the short term going to get someone stronger, but in the long term this is a guarantee for injury!


How to increase mobility:
1)  Foam rolling, facial release, and soft tissue work.  Here's a basic article to get you started on this here:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/lower-body-flexibility-maximize-your-mobility-for-squatting.html
I also have foam rolling videos on my youtube channel.
2)  Warming up dynamically.  Each of client sessions starts with 5-10 minutes of dynamic warm up to get the joints moving through their full range of motion.
3)  Finishing your workouts with 5-10 minutes of stretching.
4)  Practicing yoga, pilates, and doing regular mobility training outside of your workouts.

*  This is a topic that there are books written on, this 4 outline is just to get you thinking about what else you need to be doing in the gym.

Once you master mobility, it's time to move on to stability.

In plain terms I like to think of stability as the strength of the joint, and the tissues that surround it.

Scientifically stability can be defined as:
1)  The ability to resist movement in a joint from an outside force.
2)  The ability to maintain or controlled joint movement through the coordination of tissues surrounding the joint capsule and the neuromusclar system.

Strength training without first gaining stability (after mobility) is a guaranteed precursor for injury.  Stability of joints allows for us to produce powerful movement from the body without causing injury, and without other areas of the body compensating.  You don't want to move into a weighted overhead pressing movement until you know that the shoulders, and core and stable enough to support the motion.  Same with squats, you want to know the hips, core, and ankles are stable enough to support the motion.  What can go wrong without stability?  Blow a knee squatting, tear a rotator pressing overhead or doing a chin up.

The mobility, stability chain of the body
Another common theory with mobility and stability is a joint by joint approach.  Starting from the foot to the head,
Ankles should be mobile.
Knees stable
Hips mobile
Low back stable
Thoracic spine (mid back) mobile.
Scapula stable.
Shoulder joint mobile.

Therefore with each individual, before performing loaded exercises (with weights) we need to ensure that this sequence of mobility and stability is gained in order to prevent injury!  Ps- It doesn't mean that because I put knees as 'stability' that they don't need any range of mobility, just means that this joint's primary function is to stabilize during movement, it should still have an adequate range of motion.

How do we gain stability?
You gain stability by performing body weight exercises that move the body through it's full range of motion.  Eventually progressing to light weight exercises until the stabilizers have strengthed enough to move to heavier weights.  As an example, downward dog yoga sequence (I think it's called sun salutations) would be a great way to gain stability in the core and shoulder regions for a beginner.  One leg deadlifts are a fantastic way to gain asymetrical stability in the hips.  There are 100's of exercises depending on what joints you are trying to make stable.


Low back pain....
This is one of the most common issues I see in people.  Our low back pain is often cause by lack of mobility in the hips, and lack of stability in the core and back.  By mobilizing the hip joints, and strengthen the core and lower back using effective exercises low back pain can go away.

What do I do once I've gained mobility and stability?
After achieving a high level of mobility and stability it's time to start to train movement patterns like rowing, squatting, deadlifting, pushing and pulling etc, and start to build strength.  This way you are almost guaranteed to prevent injury, see faster gains in the gym, and keep a long lean, flexible body rather than create short bulky muscles that only have half range of motion!

I hope this made sense to you today, it's fairly technical, but here's the take away message I would love for you to understand:

To prevent injury, exceed your current level of strength and fitness, prevent pain, keep your body moving well longer term you need to create a mobile, stable, and strong body!  Don't skip the first two, or you'll be sorry!


resources used:
http://www.bccorefitness.com/articles/strength-stability-mobility.html
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/the_mobilitystability_continuum
https://www.acefitness.org/blog/1189/stability-and-mobility
http://graycookmovement.com/?p=118

Body Scans and 4-7-8

Do you have trouble sleeping?
Are you stressed out?
Do you hold tension in your body and muscles?
Are you so chronically overworked, anxious and worried that you don't even know what those emotions feel like in your body?

I have been thinking a lot about stress lately.  Especially after my presentation last week at the airport about aging.  In the presentation I mentioned a fact I have gathered in my research that 60-80 % of doctors visits have an underlying cause related to stress, and that every single major leading cause of death in our country has a link back to stress.

It baffles me that the research is out there to show how stress manifests itself in the body, and yet there are no 'stress management' class in high school or University, and unless you are part of a community of people who do yoga and meditation, you probably aren't even aware of what the whole concept of stress management means.

I know I sure didn't understand it in University, when I was so over stressed, anxious, and out of balance that I ended up with severe cystic acne covering my whole face!  I know that my clients in University and their friends who chronically aren't sleeping are totally stressed out and unsure of how to cope with it!

I see stress on the faces, bodies, and in the lives of everyone I come in contact with, including in my own life!  I see it in the people in my life who struggle so much to sleep well, focus at work, and maintain energy throughout the day.

Stress can be:
-  Emotional stress from not releasing emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration, loneliness, etc.
-  Mental stress from worrying, feeling anxious, feeling nervous or paranoid.  Something as simple as worrying about what others think about you, or whether or not your boss is satisfied with your work performance can take a toll on the body.
-  And physical stress such as putting toxins (processed foods) into our bodies, over or under exercising etc.
-  You might not see your stress triggers on this short list, because everyone has their own life events and thought patterns that stress them out.

I could go on and on about what causes stress in our body, and how it manifests in our life.  It's safe to say that for the sake of this article, let's skip the research and jump to some good stress management techniques, because believe me, if you are living in today's society you are going to need them!


Here are my two favourite techniques to control stress throughout the day.

1)  Body Scans.  Believe it or not your muscles in your body tense up throughout the day.  I think even if you stopped reading this right now and felt into your body you would notice some muscles holding tension.  I tend to hold my jaw muscles, my pelvic floor muscles, and my stomach muscles very tight.  So here is what I do pretty much all day every day (I do it about once an hour).  It's a great exercise to ground yourself, feel relaxed, and maintain calmness and clarity as you go about your work day interacting with a variety of people:
1)  Close your eyes
2)  Take a long inhale through your nose.  Expand your ribs, and belly as big as you can as you inhale.
3)  Exhale out of your mouth for double the length you inhaled.
4)  Repeat this 5 times.
5)  Now take your thoughts and mind inside your body.  I want you to start at the top of your head and slowly travel inside through all areas of your body.  As you travel through send breath to that area and see what muscles will relax, as your body relaxes.
6)  As you do this you will get to know which muscles you actively keep tight.  You can make it a practice to check in throughout the day to make sure they aren't tight, and to send breath there.

2nd Method:  4-7-8
-  This breathing exercise can change your life.  The majority of people breath into their chest muscles.  This type of breathing creates anxiety, worry and tension in the body.  Instead, when we breathe into our belly and also expand the rib cage out to the side this creates calm and relaxation into the body.  Another issue that people have is they breathe shallow.  There is only so much oxygen the lungs can hold when you breathe only into the top of your lungs and chest.  As you bring the air down all the way into the bottom of the lungs you can fill them up much further with oxygen.  Thirdly, we don't give our lungs enough time to do a gas exchange in between the inhale and exhale.  When we inhale oxygen into our lungs, and then exhale carbon dioxide out right away we don't leave very much time for the lungs to make this exchange.  If we hold our breath for alittle bit longer then those gases have time to go in and out.  So I do this breathing exercise in stressful situations- riding a busy bus, biking in traffic, after I train a few clients in a row, and before bed.  It's simple:  Take a large 4 second inhale through the nose all the way into the belly, hold it there for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds out of the mouth (push all the air out).  If you are a chest breather you will find this hard at first, and you might find you can't fully inflate your lungs.  Keep trying.  It's really important for you to practice this.  This is also a great way to do a mediation, just close your eyes and do this breathing exercise for 5 rounds and visualize your air as it moves through your system.  5 breaths like this and I promise you will feel more relaxed.  
What is Magenesium

Magenesium is a mineral that we get from food, and it is the second most prominent mineral in our human body.

What is it's role in our body

"Magnesium activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, translating to thousands of biochemical reactions happening on a constant basis daily. Magnesium is crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation" (1). Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm (3).  THat's a lot of big fancy words that I got from various websites, but I hope what it highlights is that magenesium is a crucial mineral that often gets overlooked, as the focus is on other minerals like sodium and calcium.

How do we know if we are definicient in it

Magnesium is the second most common deficient mineral in people in the developed world (Vitamin D is first).   Magnesium can be tested by your doctor to see if you are deficient.  There are a variety of methods to test vitamins and minerals in the body (blood, clinical status, and saliva), and it is important to assess all three ways because currently one method is not considered more accurate than another.  For example, if blood values are tested this doesn't demonstrate if you overall mageniusm status is low.  The body will leach magneiusm to keep blood levels regular, leaving areas like bones is a magnesium deficient state.  Here is also a good checklist you can take to see if you are potentially deficient:  http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/need-more/. A person deficient in magensium can experience higher blood pressure, decreased insulin sensitivity (experiencing issues related to high glucose in the blood, inability to use our blood sugar), and neuronal issues.  Research studies have even demonstrated Osteoporosis can be stimulated when magnesium is kept too low.  Signs and symptoms of a deficiency may be:  cramps, seizures, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, headaches, insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue.  Here are some of the diseases associated with low magnesium:

  • Depression

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome  (magnesium is a key mineral involved in energy production).

  • ADHD

  • Epilepsy

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Sleep problems

  • Migraine

  • Cluster headaches

  • Osteoporosis

  • Premenstrual syndrome

  • Chest pain (angina)

  • Cardiac arrhythmias

  • Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis

  • Hypertension

  • Type II diabetes

  • Asthma

Where can I find it in food
Some of the foods highest in magnsium are:  almonds, spinach, cashews, shredded wheat, soymilk, black beans, edamame, peanut butter, avocado, etc.  The challenge with getting magnsium (and other vitamins and minerals) is that only about 30-40 % (in this case) is absorbed!

So to put that into perspective if 420 mg is the daily recommended intake, and only 40 % is absorbed, a middle aged woman would need to eat about 1200 mg of magenesium a day:

Breakfast:
2 packages of oats (80 mg)
1/2 cup raisins (23 mg)
1 medium apple (9 mg)
2 tablespoons peanut butter: (50 mg)
20 cashews (80 mg)

Lunch:
20 almonds (80 mg)
2 cups spinachs (160 mg)
1 cup plain soymilk (60 mg)
1 cup black beans (120 mg)
= 420 mg.

Dinner:
Baked potato (45 g)
Chicken  3 ounces (22 g)
1 cup avocado (44 mg)
swiss chard 2 cups (150 mg)
.25 cups of pumpin seeds (190 mg)

So if we ate that perfectly all day we would absorb close to the 420 mg required per day!  As you can see our diet needs to be extremely varied, and consistent to get all of this mageniusm by food.  I don't know about you but I don't pack perfectly balanced meals 3 times a day 7 days a week.


Should I supplement with it?

If needed, but don't take too much!  THis can cause gastric upset and diahhrea.  A standard dose is considered 200-400 mg.  You can also take magnesium as a cream (which is good for you if you know you already have poor digestion and absorption abilities).  The recommended intake for an average adult is about 420 mg per day.  Please remember that recommended intake is based on the premise that this amount will prevent deficiency, but this isn't necessarily the level for optimal functioning and health.  

I started taking Magnesium when I was working with my nutritionist Laura.  She recommended this brand to me: https://well.ca/products/natural-calm-magnesium-citrate_88762.html?gclid=CP2An-28isQCFcZafgodz3wAPg  and I have been taking it ever since!  The significant changes I noticed when supplementing was feeling very relaxed, calm, and sleepy when taking it, and more restful sleeps.  As a person who sweats and is active all day I know that my minerals tend to get depleted, and I feel much better overall when I keep my levels of minerals like magnesium high!

Remember,  I am not a Naturopath, or a Doctor.  This article is meant to make you aware about mageniusm and speak to your Naturopath if you think it's something you should supplement with :)

(1) http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/symptoms-signs/
(2)  http://examine.com/supplements/Magnesium/
(3) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
(4) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75
You guess it!!  VEGETABLES!!
vegetables1

Vegetables, are unlike any other food groups in that they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants (preserving health), the fewest calories (helping for weight control), the most vitamins and minerals (more energy), making them overall an extremely important food group.

Without vegetables our system can become too acidic (vegetables are alkaline, and balance out with the acidic choices we make such as meat, dairy, and sugars).  Without vegetables we can feel lazy and tired because we are missing out on some of the key vitamins and minerals our body needs to live!

I also find that vegetables are the key to maintaining my weight.  If I don't have veggies with each meal every day I tend to not feel full, or I tend to feel full after consuming plenty more calories than I would if I had included vegetables.  I feel that 80 % of the time your plate should be 50 % full of vegetables.  Vegetables are a great source of dietary fibre to also maintain colon health and prevent colon cancer.


There is a really great website here:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2  that I enjoy using to look up my foods in terms of their nutritional content.  I like this website because it doesn't just tell you calories/fat/carbs/protein, but breaks each food down much further.  In this example there is a complete list of vitamins and minerals found in a tomato.  They also use various other graph forms to really paint a picture about the foods you are eating.  I prefer to get my nutrition from food, rather than supplements, and this is a great site to look at that as well.  If a person needs a certain level of Vitamin E a day, you can track your daily nutrition intake and see how much you intake.  This tool will make it evident if you are eating enough for your recommended intakes, or if it's one you may need to supplement with.

My top 5 tips to eating more vegetables:
1.  Have them always cut up in the fridge, and always have hummous or guacamole around!  When the vegetables are there and ready to go, we are that much more likely to grab a few pieces rather than pulling it out of the package, washing it and cutting it up.
2.  Start your meal planning by thinking about what vegetables you will use.  Reverse engineer your thinking.
3.  Twice a week cook up a big serving of veggies.  I like to do a giant roasted pan of parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, and eggplant with some oils and herbs.  I also like to do a basic soup with everything boiled up together and herbs.  Each time you make a meal grab a serving of the veggies for the side.
4.  When dining out with a friend/partner order one large salad and one main meal.  Kyle and I find this really works well for us, then we both end up getting some greens and a main course!  Nowadays meals are large enough for two people anyways, so don't worry about being hungry after!
5.  Create some dressings or dips that you crave.  If you are craving dill pickle chips for whatever reason, but yet you have cucumbers and a homemade dill dressing in the fridge- it will often suffice.  Not always though :)

My top 5 websites for finding really great vegetable recipes:
http://elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-recipes/cooked-veggies/
http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex     Go to the "plants" section, even though the whole site is good.
http://detoxinista.com/recipes-2/
https://www.pinterest.com/taylorkfitness/vegetable-recipes/
In 2015 Kyle and I have committed to exercising together on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 pm.  This way he is committed to making it to the gym, and I am committed to pushing myself by working out with someone else.  It has been going really well.

Last Thursday Kyle called and had some of the typical excuses we create for ourself for why we shouldn't exercise.  (Just as other times before our workouts I would call him with very similar excuses).  In the end we figured out a good way to still get a workout in despite hime not having the right clothes etc. !  It ended up being a challenging home workout!

I wanted to share this story and video with you for two reasons.
1)  Take a look at why you aren't exercising, and what excuse or justfication you are giving yourself.  We all do it!  So don't be hard on yourself, it just may be time to look at things a little differently to make health and fitness the priority...

2)  I really enjoyed the workout!!  I decided to film a video to share on social media.  Once I started recording though I realized my black clothes were COMPLETELY covered in hair from the rug.  There was no way I could post that on Youtube because people would tear me apart.  Instead, I thought I would share it just with you!  So don't judge the lack of professionalism, and tell me what you think of the workout, or some of the exercises.

http://youtu.be/GMY-bqaZ84w

How else do you kick your own butt by working out from home?  

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