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Well-Researched: Exercise and Mental Health

6 Jul

Reported in today’s edition of the New York Times: “People who are physically active appear to be at lower risk for cognitive impairment late in life, and for women, a new study suggests, physical activity during the teenage years may provide the greatest benefit.” The study sample was comprised of women, so take the results with a grain of salt if you are one of the other 49% of the population (males). “Researchers concluded that physical activity during the teenage years was associated with a 35 percent lower risk for cognitive impairment later in life.”

Supporting Research on Aging and Maintaining Mental, Physical Health

  • Physical Activity Over the Life Course and Its Association with Cognitive Performance and Impairment in Old Age
    • Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
  • Prevention of Dementia: Focus on Lifestyle 
    • International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 
  •  Debunking the Myths Surrounding Exercise and Older Individuals
    • 2010 New Directions in American Health Care Conference

Later this week I will be dedicating a post on the importance of mental health, which also captures the realm of cognitive impairment. 

Check back later today/tonight – I’ll have more time to summarize the findings from  the following recently posted research areas and if/how they apply to your life! Additionally I’m throwing the results of these two research reports in just for fun :)

  • Coffee Drinking and Cardiovascular Health:  Mostly Good News
    • Journal of the American Association of Integrative Medicine
  • Health Choices and Heightened Awareness: The Art of the Nudge!!
    • Holistic Nursing Practice

And So It Goes

2 Jul

Looking forward to the weekend! Here’s what is coming up on Well-in-L.A!

Magic Castle. Yes! A friend of a friend is getting us into this exclusive Los Angeles venue. Word on the street is you must know a magician to get in… or be famous enough to warrant entrance. Neither of which apply to us. Fun will be had!

Your true colors!

Research is a little fuzzy on color evoking specific moods or providing motivation. Anecdotally colors have associations. For instance, red can be equated with danger and energizing (think stop signs, fire alarms, ) things; green with serenity and peace (trees and nature; health is associated with green); blue with color and security (the big beautiful sky)… and on! What colors you choose may say more than you think and impact your daily life from things like your dietary choices to your motivation and work habits.

Making a healthy-n-well 4th of July menu!
Cheers to independence and thanks to all who fought hard for this country! I try to show my gratitude for life and everything that makes this country wonderful by staying healthy & well!

Here’s the menu du jour! Prep + pictures will follow each recipe entry. I’ll try to post recipes the day before.

  • Red-White-n-Blue Smoothie {breakfast}
  • Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  • Grilled Seasonal Veggies with Fresh Herbs – Eggplant, Red Peppers and Tomatoes
  • Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter
  • Grilled Chicken with a Teriyaki-Orange marinade (+ secrets to making perfect chicken – hint: it’s all about the marinade)
  • Grilled Peaches with Berry Compote; topped with FroYo, fo’sho’

    The Pursuit of Happiness
    “Dear You,
    Are you happy? How are you getting or staying there?
    With love,
    Your mental health”

    Mental health is equally important to the other components of health. A little coverage required in here!
    Week One of P90X-lite starts 
    (I’m two weeks behind the man of the house)…I think I might need to add a barometer for my level of pain… ha! Updated meal plan will be posted to my online spreadsheet (shhh… don’t tell BeachBody), as well as my work-out plan. 90 days of planned workouts, here I come!

    {{well}}Researched – highlights from the weekly research feeds! 

    PLUS…A little reformatting and working on the site… integrating social feeds and making the site easier to access and read. I love writing and engaging with people on the topic of wellness. Now I need to learn how to streamline things and be an online maven!

    "F as in Fat"

    2 Jul
    A real entry to come a little later today… something BIG to share in the interim (sigh):

    F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010


    Well-researched: Your Body and Yoga

    30 Jun

    A new feature for the site arrives today! “Latest research show” is a common buzz phrase in the news… but how often is it something you can apply to or practically incorporate into your life?

    I’m interested in the benefits of exercise, holistic health, complementary/alternative medicine and general wellness. There is a lot of not-so-great research that gets picked up and misinterpreted by media outlets. I want to combat this by interpreting findings fairly and in a meaningful manner. Length of these posts may vary, as sometimes there’s an abundance of fun things to share and review!

    Other note… please leave a comment if you encounter something of interest you want covered or if you would like the actual article for an entry.

    Click here to continue on to Well-Researched … Hatha Yoga and Energy Expenditures

    Milk Mustache: Yes or No?

    29 Jun

    I must admit this little guy is cute.

    Last week Two weeks ago (embarrassingly behind on my blog to-do posts) I posted some links about milk. I’m going to delve into my experiences with milk in the last couple of years, give you a little research to mull over and leave you to make your own conclusions. Or perhaps engage in your own experiment with the foods or liquids you consume.

    For the last five years I’ve moved every 12-18 months due to school, work, etc. It took some time initially to adjust to the new environments and I’d have colds or allergy-like symptoms – nothing too serious. I noticed the same pattern when I moved to D.C. in 2008.  However, this time I felt more tired and the cold-like symptoms only worsened over time.

    So… what’s a girl to do? I wanted to try to solve it myself before consulting a medical provider. I had a friend who had a holistic health provider help her identify foods she was allergic to and decided to proceed in a less formal manner. I did a little research on common allergens and compared the list to things I was eating. After knocking out meat for a couple of weeks, followed by nuts the symptoms did not diminish. I finally had to face the one I didn’t want to give up, dairy.

    As a girl who grew up in the country, I had always been led to believe milk was essential for my health and development. It seemed contrary to defy this notion. I loved my morning cup of coffee with skim milk, string cheese and yogurt at lunch, a good tzatziki or charcuterie plate out… sampling cheese from the local grocer.

    You get the picture. Dairy and I had encounters upwards of 4-5 times each day.

    Back to the story… I found that for me dairy was the culprit. I’ve since eliminated milk from my diet and feel MUCH better. A little cheese occasionally, such as Parmesan, feta (both are strong cheeses and require a minimal amount for flavor) or goat versions of what I formerly loved. Milk is now solely almond milk and yogurt is infrequent and/or of the plain Greek variety. It’s been almost a year now since I stopped drinking milk, aside from the occasional cup of milk to aide me with the coffee that I can’t drink black. To be certain it was an aversion to dairy products I decided to “re-test” my dairy “wheys” (hee hee) a few weeks ago, for seven days. The exact same reactions and symptoms came back. Symptoms included slightly swollen eyes and an accumulation of mucus. Yuck.

    There are many people out there who have had similar experiences. Here are just a few facts that make a compelling argument to not drink milk:

    • If you are of European descent you have a 9 in 10 chance of being lactose intolerant. 
    • Somewhat less than 40% of people in the world retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. Other nationalities and ethnic groups that experience problems digesting milk: 5% of Asians, 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, and 50% of Mediterranean peoples.
    • No other species on earth continues to drink milk beyond its infancy. Calves stop drinking cow’s milk between the ages of six to eight months. Humans lose the ability to digest lactase, the sugar in milk, between the ages of two and five.
    • An overwhelming number of studies and research on milk are funded by the Dairy Council if you read the fine print (biased results?). The Dairy Council has an excellent marketing campaign to protect its interests ($$), not your health. 
    • Harvard School of Public Health, on the Consumption of Dairy Products (2005): “The recommendation to drink three glasses of low-fat milk or eat three servings of other dairy products per day to prevent osteoporosis is another step in the wrong direction. … Three glasses of low-fat milk add more than 300 calories a day. This is a real issue for the millions of Americans who are trying to control their weight. What’s more, millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and even small amounts of milk or dairy products give them stomachaches, gas, or other problems. This recommendation ignores the lack of evidence for a link between consumption of dairy products and prevention of osteoporosis. It also ignores the possible increases in risk of ovarian cancer and prostate cancer associated with dairy products.”

    Now… the Dairy Council would gasp and ask the question “where will you get your calcium?”. I will respond with seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits. The recommended level of calcium for adults age 19 through 50 years is 1000 mg per day. That can easily be achieved through alternative dietary sources (see chart below), especially foods that have magnesium in them, which is an important counterpart to calcium in doing its “thang” on the cellular level. Sunshine’s Vitamin D – which isn’t a vitamin, but actually a hormone – additionally helps unlock calcium for use in the body.

    If I ever find myself concerned with my calcium intake … which I’m not given my diet and lack of drinking calcium-leeching substances (i.e. soda) … I have no problem taking a calcium supplement. Calcium has other critical functions aside from maintaining a healthy skeletal system and should not be neglected. As a woman the issue of bone density is important over the span of a lifetime. Bonus: Exercise, specifically weight-bearing exercise, is a big help in maintaining your bone density!

    And stemming from my readings on eating raw foods/whole foods I’ve been becoming more and more thankful to have parted ways with milk. It’s a food that RFDD recommends cutting out, especially the mass-produced varieties (Natalia Rose devotes 4-5 pages to explaining her views of dairy… leave me a note if you want the full explanation). Essentially the undigested parts of pastuerized milk stay in the body over time because you cannot fully break down the protein molecules in milk. The undigested proteins stick around and can create a “toxic” situation.

    I’m happy to continue discussions via email or comments below. Do you have any food allergies? In particular… dairy? Have you cut anything out of your diet and felt better as a result? Let me know what’s on your mind – looking for some interesting discussion.

    "The best laid schemes (o’ mice an’ men)"

    17 Jun

    Looking forward to the weekend and week ahead! It has been a very full week… I’m ready for a little R&R!

    • Reviewing the P90X nutrition plan. Can’t wait for the goodies to arrive in the mail! 
    • Staying with your healthy-n-well routine while on the road. I have a cross-country trip, going to Missouri for a family wedding and then on to Boston for work. Practicing what I preach – using the blog format to keep accountable! Thanks for some great suggestions via FB!
    • Milking it for all its worth? The Dairy people wield a scary amount of power as monolith conglomerates. I have little faith in the reported results from a recent surge of dairy-backed studies and campaigns. Check out some of their more recent “study results” and campaigns for yourself:  
    •  A review of Natalia Rose’s Raw Food Detox Diet and;
      • Adding another section of the site devoted to book reviews and purchasing!
    • Posting about fun things going on at RealRyder – hopefully editing together footage from 4-5 different classes! Loving, loving, loving the enthusiasm from everyone!

    Father’s Day is coming up – (hi, Dad!). Are you celebrating with your father or gifting him with something for the occasion? I took mine on an expedition to Catalina Island while my parents were visiting a few weeks ago. I try to make gifts something fun to experience or encourage/contribute to better health in some sneaky way.

    Très, Très, Très: Savor!

    14 Jun

    I’ve been dragging my feet on this, the final entry for Savor (intro and initial entries as linked).

    The next time you eat think about the food in its entirety. Where did it originate? What was the travel required to get it to you? How does the first bite taste? The next? Is it sweet, savory, crunchy, chewy…?

    The example used in the book for a food meditation is an apple, but any food works. The more complex the food, the slower you may go in eating and meditating.

    Part I provided the foundation for the meditation aspects. Parts II and III provide more of the plan and a global perspective on eating and mindfulness, respectively.

    Part II gives Dr. Lilian Cheung the chance to shine, providing practical nutrition advice based in science behind Savor. If you’re unaware… weight loss is primarily achieved through die (love you exercise, but you don’t help as much as diet with weight loss). Calories in, types of food are important to keep weight down and health high. This may be a no-brainer to most, but evidently isn’t something we’re following with the current number of people overweight in our country.

    She additionally provides simple explanations that defy the not-so-intuitive food pyramid. Think about a pyramid – our focus and attention immediately goes to the top – where we place fats, oils and sugars at the top. Invert the pyramid? Perhaps a start for change. Can’t say I love the newest iteration, either. I think it’s even more confusing … but I digress.

    Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life from Harvard SPH on Vimeo.
    Science + Mindful Eater Meditations (beautifully written in their explanations… please read the book for more!). To recap Dr. Cheung:

    1. Honor the food.
    2. Engage all six senses (sixth = you’re mind’s response).
    3. Serve modest portions.
    4. Savor small bites. Chew thoroughly.
    5. Eat slowly to avoid overeating (extending point #4).
    6. Don’t skip meals (AHHH-greed!).
    7. Eat a plant-based diet, for your health and for the planet. 

    Point #7 doesn’t mean go full vegetarian, but consider the energy it requires for growing animals for our consumption purposes. This is an excellent base for Part III, which asks you to consider how your individual choices impact our global health. We’re all interconnected in this world (like it or not) and our health and wellness impacts one another and future generations. So let’s all support each other in our endeavors to be well (big hippie-circle hug!). 

    I wish I could write all of the wonderful information provided – I’m sure it will come up in other posts, but this is simply a “teaser” to get you thinking about the mindfulness and science behind our health-related behaviors. If you need a copy of Savor, I’m happy to ship you mine (as long as I get it back within the year!)!

    Buy on Amazon! 4.5/5 stars!