Tuesday, March 24th:
The first Tuesday of Spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Another chance. Make sure you award yourself the time and energy to make at least one goal on your list a little closer and more immediate.
Tuesday 80/20 Nutrition/Exercise Makeover:
I have a very unscientific basis for my belief about the importance of nutrition as it pertains to overall health and physical profile. I have guesstimated it by amalgamating what I read, what professionals have said when asked, and what I have experienced first hand. So, with that disclaimer on record, here it is:
80% of HEALTHY weight control takes place in the kitchen, 20% in the gym.
First, the 80%: Your diet is the “credit” side of the healthy weight equation. EVERYTHING you deposit will have an effect. Would you put wooden nickels in your bank account? Good luck on writing that check when you need the currency. The same goes for your diet. The American diet has slowly changed over the last 50 years, with more processed foods becoming staples in the fridge and in the cupboards, and portion sizes of unhealthy sugared and fatted foods have grown ever larger in an attempt to capture a fickle and clueless consumer dollar.
According to WIRED magazine, the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the average 20-29 year old American woman has climbed from 21 in 1954 to 26.8 in 2000. Since obese is defined as 30 or over, it’s fairly easy to see what the average American is turning into. Your personal weight trends don’t happen in a day, or a 10-day cleanse, or a 3-week diet. They happen at each meal and snack, one after the other. An OCCASIONAL (once a week?) deviation does not spell failure, but a daily one does.
Here are some really great suggestions from Real Age to remake the contents of your kitchen drawers
….. and hence remake the contents of your under-drawers:
The Cleanse That Really Works
Forget those detox diets with their odd beverages and restrictive rules. The secret to making weight issues a thing of the past (and giving the boot to aging, too) is to detox your kitchen.
Rid your kitchen of nutritional felons. To make room for all of the good food you’re about to buy, you need to dump your fridge. Read the labels on everything in your kitchen cupboards, in your refrigerator, and especially in your secret food stash. You know what to give away: anything with saturated fat, trans fat, flour that’s not 100% whole grain, sugars, and syrups listed in the first five ingredients.
Check your drawers. Pawing past melted spatulas and splintered wooden spoons on your way to finding the vegetable peeler doesn’t help you like the dinner-making process (and it doesn’t speed it up, either). Fill your drawer with tools that work, including knives that are sharp, and watch how enjoyable cooking gets.
Fill it with ready-mades. Have premade foods ready for those times when you’ve been conditioned to reach for sugar-containing waist killers. Our favorites: healthy soup, cut-up vegetables (nothing wrong with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and broccoli florets, but if you prefer jicama, sugar snaps, and orange pepper strips, go for it), or sauteed vegetables (try sauteing them with some turmeric).
Keep it clean. A whirlwind of bacteria sprays up every time the garbage disposal is turned on, dispersing a germ-heavy mist over the kitchen. Make sure your disposal is properly covered before you flip the switch; you’ll help yourself stay well and keep your healthy eating on track.
On to the 20% at the gym.
Exercise is the “debit” side of your healthy equation, but I like to think of it in other terms as well.
EXERCISE SHOULD NOT BE YOUR PRIMARY METHOD OF WEIGHT CONTROL.
If it is, it is exercise abuse, and it bears a real toll on the body. It should be pursued for its benefits to your overall system health and physical strength, balance and flexibility. It will NOT erase or correct poor dietary habits. To get the most from your “debit” card, work smarter and more time efficiently. As discussed before, short bursts of intense activity promote real change in the body AND brain.
Here is yet one more reason to crank things up, also from Real Age:
Turns out short and sweet could be a good strategy when it comes to reducing your risk of blood sugar problems like diabetes.
If we’re talking about exercise, that is. Men in a small study who added short, intense bursts of activity to mini workouts seemed better able to metabolize sugars.
Short, Fast, and Furious
Here’s how the study worked. Each man worked out on a stationary bike three times a week for a minimum of 17 minutes per session. Sounds pretty doable. Then, during the sessions, they threw in a handful of 30-second bursts of high-intensity cycling. Again, not too taxing. After the bursts, they rested or cycled slowly for 4 minutes. Even better! The result? When the men were given the equivalent of a meal’s worth of glucose at the end of the study, their bodies metabolized it better than before the study. (Here’s another activity you should do less of — for better blood sugar control.)
Just a Little Helps a Lot
Researchers suspect that bursts of intensity during workouts elicit stronger contractions and therefore more glucose uptake in the large muscles attached to bones.
Tuesday Cosmetics Clean Up:
Hair Color. You do it…. or someone you love does it. So you need to know more about what is involved to make the right decision. I have been chemically coloring my hair for years with a semi-permanent process. After reading a good deal of information out there, I decided to switch to henna. After gathering lots of info on tips and tricks, I plunged ahead and have been quite happy with the results thus far (henna has come a long way…. red is not your only choice!).
What henna WILL NOT do: Henna will not lighten your hair, so a real brunette wanting to continue in blondness is not a realistic picture in the Henna game. And it will not completely cover gray, only tone the gray.
What henna WILL DO: It will make your hair very well conditioned, shiny, soft and manageable (once the vast majority of chemical processing has died down).It will tone your gray to make it look more like natural golden or red highlights, depending on your henna color and technique choices.
In short, I’m liking it BETTER, even though using the powdered henna is messier and more work to mix and apply. Cream based henna is available and easier to work with, though not in as full a color range as the powder. If you have a friend who wants to join you, do it in pairs. Or, find a friendly salon colorist who is willing to mix and apply for you.
A high-quality German brand of henna by Lagona seems to be generally regarded as the best, and it is what I am using. They have both cream-based and powdered products. You can search for online retailers – Natural Europe is one I have used and is well priced. To understand how henna may work on your hair color, see this color chart. For a detailed Q & A on henna, go to Organic Beauty World. Extensive before/after photos and tips and tricks for henna can also be found here.
Do you HAVE to be blonde?
Dr. Andrew Weil has answered the hair color safety question in the following way:
The latest word on this continuing concern comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which has concluded that working regularly with hair dyes in hair salons and barbershops probably increases the risk of cancer and that long term employment in these establishments is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
However, the IARC, a World Health Organization panel, reported that there is not enough evidence to conclude that occasional personal use of hair coloring raises the risk of cancer.
This new report, published in the April, 2008, issue of Lancet Oncology, is the first scientific word on the subject since 2005, when Spanish researchers reported that their review of 79 studies from 11 countries yielded no strong evidence of a link between hair dye and cancer risk. The only connection the Spanish team observed was the possibility of a slight increase in the risks of leukemia and multiple myeloma, but they concluded that the causal effect was too weak to be a major concern.
Earlier, researchers at Yale University found that long-term use of dark hair dye by women who began coloring their hair before 1980 may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. No such risk was seen among women who began dyeing their hair after 1980. Here, the difference may be due to the elimination of coal-tar-derived ingredients used in the older products that are known carcinogens. The Yale study was published in the Jan. 15, 2004, issue of theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology.
In general, I discourage use of hair dyes containing artificial coloring agents, which to my mind are as suspect in cosmetic products as they are in food. Hair dyes applied to the head are absorbed through the scalp, where there’s a very rich blood supply that may carry them throughout the body. I’m sure that the new IARC report won’t be the last word on this subject.
If you ABSOLUTELY cannot live without (but can you live WITH??) your chemical colors, maybe consider just highlights or lowlights, as the product does not attain as much contact with the blood-supply rich scalp.
And just for fun, if you’re looking for a change but want to see a preview, go back up to the first hair color picture and click on it. It will link you to Clairol’s Try It On Studio, where you can upload a photo of yourself to suffer all the bad cuts and color mistakes 🙂
Tuesday Brain Game:
We slow as we age… but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. Of all the useful speed skills, speed reading may be near top o’ the list.
Try it out: Speed Read Games and Tests
Tuesday Funny Stuff: