Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category


Guest Post: Brad Schoenfeld of “Women’s Home Workout Bible”

November 11, 2009

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook is… Mimi! She of the comment:

My favorite MUFAs, by far, are NUTS! Almonds, cashews, peanuts–any nut! They are so versatile–eat ‘em raw, roasted, plain, mixed into stuff, sweet, savory…wow, drool time! They also do wonders for adding texture to food, which is an incredibly important part of the eating experience. And best of all, they make NUT BUTTER! A nut butter can save anything–burnt toast, dry noodles…the list goes on!

Nuts will inherit the earth!

Bag Lady (“I need this book. Or an intervention.”) and Maggie (“MUFAs = Maggie’s Ultimate Favorite Aliments.”) were close runner-ups 😉

Guest Appearance by Brad Schoenfeld

Hi everyone. It’s a pleasure to be a guest here at Living Healthy in the Real World and have a dialogue about my newest book, WOMEN’S HOME WORKOUT BIBLE: A BETTER BODY FOR EVERY BUDGET. I want to thank Sagan for allowing me the opportunity to interact with all of you.

One of the main themes of the book is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a terrific workout and I want to reiterate that here. In fact, for less than $100 you can purchase all the equipment you need to perform dozens upon dozens of exercises for every major muscle group. Key pieces of equipment include a set of resistance bands, a stability ball and a pair of ankle weights. That’s it! Of course, increasing your budget allows you to expand on these items and potentially derive even greater benefits. For a little more money you can buy some dumbbells, which really adds to your exercise variety. Barbells, machines and other equipment can be obtained at an additional cost. As I like to say, variety is the spice of fitness so going the extra mile can pay dividends if you have the means. That said, more equipment is a luxury, not a necessity.

Once you set up your home gym, something that all too often goes overlooked is the need to consider your goals when deciding on a routine. Realize that fitness follows the principle of specificity. Simply stated, this means that the way you train (i.e. the exact mix of exercises, sets, repetitions, training modalities, etc) will directly impact the way your body responds. One of the biggest workout mistakes I see is that people don’t adhere to this central tenet, and end up training in a manner that isn’t consistent with their objectives. In my book, I segment routines by goals — general body conditioning, body sculpting, fat loss, and core conditioning. You simply match your goal to the respective routine. Thus, if you want to tone up your best bet would be the body sculpting routine while if you want to help reduce back pain your better off with the core conditioning routine. Always keep specificity in mind when deciding on a routine.

There’s so much to discuss on the topic of home workouts. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about the book and/or any questions you may have.

Stay Fit!

Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS


Guest Post: Insight on Nutrition for Runners

October 19, 2009

This is an article about healthy and correct diet options in general but with a more detailed insight on how rules apply for runners. The article is written by Miki, a passionate runner but also a person very attentive to her body and her diet. It’s dedicated to all those who may share the same passion but also for those who may want to start running in the near future and don’t know were to begin with. This can be a good start.

We swim in it, bath daily in it, we drink it and use it while doing dishes or laundry, but we don’t praise it enough. Water is the basic element of optimal health. It makes up about 60% of the body weight. The prevalence of water in our body is due to the fact that it creates the environment for the body. Serious dehydration can threaten life itself. This is why runners (sports dedicated people in general, moreover every person who sweats) should closely care for water intake.

Along with water, there are nutrients that we need to properly assimilate in order for our body to respond as we wish it to. For example a runner must never randomly compose the diet. Proteins, calcium, vitamins, carbs and good fats are daily required for a balanced, healthy and successful diet.
Carbohydrates provide our cells with fuel. The recommended range of carbohydrates varies from 45% to 65% from our energy resources. Consumption of whole grain products, fruits and vegetables is not wishful thinking. It is only the necessary step to take for a balanced diet with a safe base of carbohydrates.

Proteins are a must for those who want to gain physical endurance. For resistance and energy you should consume food that stimulates protein intake, such as fish, poultry, lean meat, grains, and beans.

Oil, fish, and nuts are necessary for the proper fat intake, as they don’t contain carbohydrates, but a certain kind of fats that boost our bodies, omega-3. It is desirable for a runner to consume around 3000mg of omega-3 on a daily basis.

Also, for those runners who established losing weight as main aim, there are certain products that are warmly recommended as they succeed in burning fats, thus accelerating the results. Oatmeal, yams, potatoes (white or red), brown rice, whole grain products, green fibrous vegetables, fresh fruit, nonfat dairy products, chicken and turkey breast, fish and shellfish and lean red meat are the foods that should build up the program. Of course, variety is important, but these are not restrictive foods. They actually allow the preparation of a wide range of tasty meals (and also bad fat-free).

Gathering sharp focus and specific attention to nutrition intake, you will acknowledge that less is more. Nutrition is not a playground, but it can be the biggest asset we have.

Also, vegans  should carefully investigate the implications of such a diet and how the body may react to vegan stimulants. Those who decide to turn vegan must not urge the body but ensure that the body can handle it first.

From my own experience as a runner I can tell you that the best way to choose the right healthy diet is to read and apply the ‘rules’ as your body demands. No matter what fitness activity you prefer (either it’s running, aerobic, cycling or any other sport) just make sure your diet takes count of the effort your body goes through every day.

This article is a guest post by Miki, writer for, a site where you can read treadmills reviews.


Guest Post: Healthy Eating for Mesothelioma Patients

September 16, 2009

Yesterday, on Day 15 of the Vegan Challenge, I ate:

– Bowl of puffed wheat mixed with homemade granola and topped with 1/2 banana, a couple strawberries, and some unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze

– 1 apple, a couple mushrooms and carrots with hummus, and 2 tbsp almonds

– 3 beanballs (told you I’d be snacking on these! And yes. They were straight from the fridge cold. I’m weird like that. I was in a rush to get to class and it seemed like the most convenient way to satisfy my grumbling tummy. And it worked! They’re tasty little morsels.)

– 1 curry pastry and 2 apples. The curry was delicious! I used a sweet potato rather than regular. I also subbed half of the pastry flour for whole wheat pastry flour and eliminated the margarine because I didn’t have any- it still formed a very nice pastry. This recipe- both the curry and the pastry- was actually fairly easy to toss together. Give it a try!

– 1/2 banana with 1 tbsp FitNutz Pro

– Big bowl of oil-popped popcorn with salt. I was very sad to hear yesterday that our air-popper died (at first I didn’t believe the sisterrommate, but when I plugged it in and it started smoking I realized that yes, it is most certainly dead), but oil-popped popcorn sure is tasty! Actually I think I had a bit too much. My stomach wasn’t entirely pleased with all of that oil. I have come to the devastating conclusion that popcorn really isn’t a good food for my body. I can’t remember the last time my body actually responded well to it. So I’m going to try not to eat it anymore, or at least much less. It saddens the taste buds but the rest of my body is very happy with this decision. Ah well.

The following is a guest post from Richard Moyle at

Healthy Eating for Mesothelioma Patients

Good nutrition is vital in preventing and fighting cancer and there are a number of foods that can be very helpful for mesothelioma patients to enable their bodies to better fight the disease, as well as alleviate symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. This type of cancer develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Mesothelioma symptoms can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to become noticeable and by that time, the cancer is typically in advanced stages and is much more difficult to treat effectively.

Berries contain many important nutrients, including plenty of fiber and vitamin C. In fact, just one cup of strawberries has the same amount of vitamin C as one cup of orange juice, and all berries are great sources of this anti-oxidant and immune-strengthening vitamin. In addition to essential vitamins, berries are packed with several different types of cancer-fighting nutrients. They also contain anthocyanins which are phytonutrients that give red berries their luscious color. Laboratory studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent the growth of lung cancer cell. Berries also contain other cancer fighting phytonutrients like ellagic acid, pterostilbene and resveratrol.

Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that provide important cancer-fighting benefits. Beta-carotene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against all forms of cancer by destroying free radicals. Dark leafy green vegetables also contain folate which is essential for the proper repair and replication of DNA. Without folate, damaged cells would be unable to repair their own DNA. Cells with damaged DNA are more likely to become malignant. Powerful anti-cancer enzymes called phytochemicals are also present in dark green cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy and kale. Some phytochemicals boost levels of enzymes that help cleanse the body of carcinogens and block the activity of enzymes that are known to activate carcinogens.

One of the most common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment is nausea. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.

Another common characteristic found in cancer patients is low white blood cell count, which increases the chance of contracting an infection. To avoid this side effect, a number of changes can be made in the foods you ingest. It is most important to avoid “bad” bacteria, which is common in foods that are damaged or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.

Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn about more ways to decrease the risk of developing cancer. Positive changes in your diet and other areas of your life (such as your physical activity) will help prevent cancer. If you do develop this medical condition, at the very least, these changes will allow you to fight the cancer more readily.

Richard Moyle is the National Awareness Coordinator for the Mesothelioma Center at


Guest Post: Seven Tips to Avoid Overeating

August 28, 2009

Overeating is so easy to do, particularly at the holidays or on special occasions. We somehow find a way of justifying to ourselves that there’s a reason for us to eat whatever we eat in often excessive amounts. However it’s all a mental game and if you wish to stay on track and not blow all of your hard work in one fell swoop, you need to learn ways to avoid overeating. You need to figure out ways to tell yourself how to avoid such activities and contribute to your greater health. Here we look at some effective mental tips to avoid overeating altogether:

  1. Keep Your Goals In Front of You. Create a mental picture of what you wish to look like and keep that at the forefront of your mind always. This can come in very handy as a mental trick when you are tempted to eat beyond your limits. Keep your goals in front of you and keep that mental picture of what you wish to look like closeby, and this will truly help to keep you from engaging in overeating.
  2. Drink Water Before a Meal. If you can trick your mind into feeling as though you are full, then you are less apt to eat too much. Drinking a bunch of water before the potentially big meal is a great way to ensure that you don’t over-stuff yourself. This will give into your hunger and allow you to eat less at one sitting.
  3. Eat on a Smaller Plate. If your mind gets the trigger that you’re eating a lot of food, then you are less likely to really scarf down the food. If you eat on a smaller plate and fill that up with a good sized portion, you will feel full faster. This will help to contribute to better eating habits and to eat less in one sitting.
  4. Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently. You can feel as though you are eating all day and this will trick your mind into the feeling of fullness that you are so used to. However if you keep your blood sugar at a manageable level throughout the day, then you will be less likely to overindulge in one sitting than if you space it out across the day.
  5. Cut Your Meal in Half. This can come in especially handy if you plan on going out to eat as the portions are naturally a lot bigger. If you ask to have half of your meal boxed up before it ever comes to the table or alternatively draw a line down the center of your entrée, your mind will believe you are full and satisfied only halfway through a restaurant portion of food.
  6. Eat an Appetizer for Your Meal. Again it’s all about practicing portion control but tricking your mind into thinking that you are really full with far less food. Ordering an appetizer can still offer the same delicious tastes, but at a fraction of the portion size and this means far less of an opportunity to overeat.
  7. Think About Calories as You Consume Them. The old adage goes “a moment on the lips forever on the hips” and it can help to remind yourself of just how much havoc too many calories can wreak on one’s body. Think consciously of what you are eating, focus on what it really takes to make you feel full, and get used to the idea of eating less but feeling satisfied—a change in mindset can do the trick!

Overeating is not really ‘easy’ to avoid, but it is possible.  Arm yourself with tips and tricks like these, and you will be well prepared for those inevitable moments of weakness.

Mary Ward writes about various healthcare career topics, including how to choose among online surgical tech programs.


Guest Post: Maximize Fitness with these Maxims

August 26, 2009

I love the fact that I’m fit and healthy – I jog regularly and play racquetball every other day. But if I’m honest with myself and the world, I will admit it took me quite a while to get started down this route, the one that helped me lose weight and look and feel younger. If you’re trying to exercise and diet in order to shed those excess pounds and get fit, here are a few adages that will help you along the way:

  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy: If you think you have no time for exercise and have to dedicate all your efforts towards your work, you’re making a huge mistake, because when you lose your health, you lose everything. So make working out regularly a priority, no matter how much work you have or how limited your time is. Wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later; just do what it takes to make time for your daily workout.
  • A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step: The first step is always the hardest, but as the proverb rightly says, it is the one that is most important. If you want to take the fitness route, you must get started sooner than later. Don’t put off your first day of diet and exercise – the sooner you start, the faster you’re going to reach your destination.
  • An early bird catches the worm: The best time to exercise is early in the morning before the sun is up. Besides the fact that it invigorates you and fills your day with energy, it leaves you with no chance to come up with work-related excuses to avoid your daily routine. You also tend to feel lazier as the day goes by and are too tired at the end of the day to hit the gym. However, there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to exercise in the morning – just do it when time permits.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Yes, it’s true – eating the right foods can keep the doctor and diseases away. Besides exercising regularly, you must eat sensibly if you want to expedite your fitness journey. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and a sensible mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and fats make you healthy without making you gain weight. Eat right and watch your fitness levels grow.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss: And finally, stick to a routine that you love and will adhere to instead of moving from one machine to another at the gym or one activity to another without really giving your all to any specific one. While it’s true that you must vary your exercise routine from time to time so that your body does not get accustomed to it, it’s ok to stick to what works when you’re starting your fitness journey.

So say fitness with these sayings, and watch your weight melt away!

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:


Guest Post: Handing in my stripes

August 19, 2009

Please welcome my workout buddy! Westwood is a writer, outdoor-enthusiast, and one of my best friends. She also reviews applesauce.

I’m westwood, and I am an elite, high-performance athlete.

I train 25-30 hours a week. I undergo comprehensive fitness testing every three months. I travel across the country six or seven times a year to compete, and work incessantly to be the provincial champion and maintain a top 16 national standing. I am sponsored by a company (Victor), who provides me with free (Victor) racquets and (Victor) shoes and (Victor) bags and (Victor) grip tape and (Victor) clothes and whatever other lovely (Victor) items I desire. I eat six times a day, as much food as I like. The other players, my friends, are Olympic hopefuls who spend months training in China, Denmark, and Mexico. I am debating joining them, but am not ready to sacrifice my academic life just yet. I go to class, do sprint training, go to my next class, hit the weights, and then head to the club to practice. Every day. When I am not studying or training, I coach, or cross-train by playing on three or four basketball teams. This is my life.

Wait. There is something wrong with this picture.

I’m westwood, and I was an elite, high-performance athlete… until a dislocated kneecap ended my badminton career. Although, I am nothing if not persistent, so it took dislocating my kneecap four times to force me to stop trying to be a comeback. At twenty, I have been retired for two years. And in terms of sports, I feel like my life has ended.

I’m still active, and reasonably fit, but nothing like I was. The trouble is, I still define myself as that person who stood on top of the world at the Canada Games. That person is who I am, deep down inside. My mindset hasn’t changed, which explains the weight that piled on unnoticed around my midsection before I took a reality check. It used to be a mystery to me why my sprint times kept declining, but I understand it now. It still frustrates me that I can barely hold a plank for two minutes when it used to be closer to ten. Push-ups? Forget it. I’m lucky if I can hammer out twenty.

I am not that super-athlete. I have to accept this. But I can’t, because if I do, I will stop running and lifting weights and cycling and eating so well. I need to have something to train for. I was taught at the age of nine that you haven’t had a good workout unless you feel like vomiting (or do vomit!) by the end, and I still believe this. I was also taught young that the purpose of sports is winning, and the purpose of exercise and nutrition is to drive you on the road to glory.

Recently, I was running hill sprints in the park behind my house. Sprint up, jog down, repeat. Three sets of twelve. A man walked by me with a dog, his expression serene in the warm evening sun. He asked me what I was training for, and I mumbled an excuse. I have plenty of them, which I use often.

I am training for basketball, because I played on a college-level team, even if I sat on the bench the whole time.

I am training for aikido, because I want to test for my next level, even though my attendance is poor and I can’t remember anything I’m taught.

I’m training for baseball, because I can throw really, really, really far, even though I’ve never played the sport in my life.

I’m training for biathlon, because I think I would like it a lot, even though I have no idea how to ski.

I’m training for badminton, because if my knee ever heals I might go back, even though I hate the fracking thing for killing my love of sports.

The list goes on.

In many ways, I envy the recreational athlete and those who engage in fitness activities just because they want to. Don’t get me wrong… I have had fantastic experiences with elite sports that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Training and traveling were incredibly rewarding. But I’d like to not feel like a failure because I barely manage to work out ten hours a week. I would like to not feel like a failure if I’m not the fastest runner in the gym or lifting the heaviest weights. It would be nice to exercise and manage my eating just because I want to look good and feel good. Because I want to be healthy and fit. Or, even better, because I enjoy working out. But I can’t. I do these things in pursuit of glory… I’m chasing after victory that will eternally evade me.

So I am trying to learn about new kinds of glory. Like the chatter of birdsong on my run through the park, or sun dappling through the trees during my bicycle commute to work. The superficial ecstasy of rediscovering taught lines of muscular definition in my back. The fun of laughing as I shoot hoops with a friend, and the glory of sweating out every last drop of water doing sprints in my backyard on a hot day. Or the swell of pride that comes with coaching, and watching the kid you’ve coaxed for months finally have the courage to drive to the hoop.

This is not a happy ending, though. There is no take-home moral. I am restless and unsettled, constantly displeased with the quality and quantity of my workouts. I feel like a loaded gun with no target. At least, no target that is realistic to hit. How have you done it? Whether you played high-school sports, recreational games, or are an ex-Olympian, I want your advice. How did you fold up your jersey and relegate it to collect dust in the basement? Anyone who has played competitive sports understands how they give you meaning, give you purpose… they define you. When it was over, how did you fill that enormous void?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I refuse to be retired, to be an ex-athlete, to be washed up. But I can’t write any more, because I need to go do a lay-up circuit and shooting drills on my driveway. I’m training. I’m training to make the university basketball team when I do my Master’s degree. I swear I will do it. Whether or not I really want to, or have time to, doesn’t matter. I swear I’m training for something.

I am an elite high-performance athlete and somewhere, somehow, there is glory ahead. I will be the champion. Of what, I don’t know. When, I don’t know. Perhaps it is all just lies and delusions.

Whatever. I just need an excuse to keep me going.

P.S. Badminton is not a sissy sport. It is actually one of the most played and most difficult sports in the world, and this is what it really looks like:


Guest Post: 10 Tasty Desserts That Are Good For Your Health

July 24, 2009

Who doesn’t love dessert? However if you’re not careful, you just
might blow your daily calorie count on just one dessert. Before you
determine that you’ll never be able to eat dessert again, look at some
healthy but delicious options.

1. Baked Apples: Not only is this dessert healthy but it’s also
delicious too. These can easily be made in the microwave with a
sprinkling of cinnamon. Then you get the fibre and vitamins that the
apple has to offer and the natural healing power of cinnamon for a
dessert home run.
2. Frozen Yogurt: This is an excellent and tasty alternative to ice
cream. Offering a fraction of the fat and calories that ice cream
offers, it can still fit into a healthy lifestyle while actually
tasting good at the same time.
3. Dessert Pizza: Using wheat flour to create a whole grain crust
is an excellent source of fibre and wonderful foundation for this
specialty pizza. Then adding in favourites such as low fat pudding to
hold the ingredients together keeps the calorie count low. Put
together a good variety of fruits that can boost the antioxidants and
vitamin count.
4. Pumpkin Pie: Though pie doesn’t initially sound like a healthy
choice, it truly can be. The canned pumpkin used is low in fat, high
in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and overall an excellent choice. Use
a low fat pie crust and top with low fat whipped cream and you have an
excellent dessert choice.
5. Angel Food Cake: This light and airy cake is naturally low in
fat and makes an excellent foundation for the perfect healthy dessert.
Though you can eat this cake alone for a low calorie count, adding
fresh fruit can boost the nutritional content and make it an even
better choice.
6. Fruit Crisp: Some simple modifications in this dessert can help
to pack a healthy punch and still make this a delicious choice. Use
granola, chopped almonds and a tough of light brown sugar to get the
same sweet and crunchy blast that this dessert offers. Then slice up
any fruit that you like and you have yourself a vitamin-enriched and
delicious dessert option.
7. Yogurt Parfait: We all know that yogurt is an excellent source
of calcium and therefore using it as the foundation for a delicious
dessert works well. Layer up yogurt and then add fruit with a sprinkle of
granola in between to make an amazing blend. The fresh fruit will
provide the vitamins; the granola packs the fibre content and the
8. Grilled Fruit: The perfect treat for summer! Throw all of your
favourite fruits on the grill and let them cook on a low heat to
caramelize and turn into a naturally healthy and totally delicious
9. Pudding: Who doesn’t love pudding? By simply using skim or low
fat milk to prepare it, you can enjoy all of your favourite flavours of
pudding and get in some calcium at the same time. You can even top
with a touch of low fat whipped cream.
10. Dessert Quesadillas: Use whole wheat tortillas for added fibre
and whole grain goodness. Then use a low fat spray to keep the outside
crisp and then coat the inside with low fat cream cheese, fresh fruit,
and even a touch of yogurt to boost the nutritional content and keep
things still healthy and low fat.

Mary Frederick is a blogger and enjoys writing about medical career
topics, such as how to get an online Master’s in Nursing, job and education tips, and more.


Recap of an indulgent weekend

July 15, 2009

Guest Posting

I’m guest posting at Dr. Mommy Health Tips! Check it out to learn more about almost-vegetarianism (as opposed to flexitarianism). Speaking of guest posts, I’ll be going away next weekend to Ontario and later on in the summer I’ll be going away for another short trip, so if anyone is interested in writing a guest post here at Living Healthy in the Real World (or even for Living Rhetorically in the Real World!), do let me know. I’d love to have you!

Camping, great music, partying, socializing…

This past weekend I spent four days camping at Birds Hill Park with thousands of other people at Folk Fest. It was fantastic. The music was out of this world- between Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Josh Ritter, Hey Rosetta!, Iron and Wine, Mirah, Steven Page, Xavier Rudd, Serena Ryder, Martha Wainwright, and Patrick Watson among many many others, it would be pretty hard to beat. The performances were amazing.

Camping was a whole other experience in itself. Although I used to go camping every year, it’s been quite a while since I last went camping and I’ve never been out there with such an enormous group of people. It was so healthy for the soul to meet new people and run into old friends. A big bundle of fun!

While my mind was boosting it’s health with enormous strides, my body perhaps didn’t receive quite the same treatment. I tried to prepare beforehand, and I think that I definitely managed to lessen the damage by stocking up on healthier foods. I made a gigantic batch each of crackers, hummus, and energy bars. The people I was camping with- my sister and our friend- and I also brought along bread, nut butter, jam, plenty of fruits and veggies, chocolate covered raisins, chips, and Kraft Dinner. I got a can of Annie’s pasta in tomato and cheese sauce (I don’t recommend it. Far too salty; I didn’t even finish it) as well as Guiltless Gourmet blue corn tortilla chips (delicious!) in a weak attempt to maintain some good nutrition.

There was plenty of food available to buy at Folk Fest, too, including some food stalls catered by local/organic/vegan restaurants. I indulged in those vendors a couple times but also enjoyed plenty of kettle corn. Considering that I had Kraft Dinner one night and some fried tofu another, I was surprised that I felt fine all weekend except for Saturday night when my tummy was sore (although that might have been alcohol consumption rather than food). “Exercise” consisted of hauling beer, walking from the campground to the festival grounds multiple times a day, and dancing at the shows.

It was really good to get away from a mirror for a few days. It really does wonders for the body image when you don’t look in the mirror and see what you perceive to be flaws, but which no one else even notices or cares about. I also made the decision to leave my pedometer behind at home and to not track anything. Normally I track how much money I spend each day, how many steps/miles I walk each day, and what/how much I eat each day. But I took four days off from doing that. I walked and danced and ate and spent money when I wanted to and stopped when it became too much. It was indulgent, but I was also more intuitive about it than usual.

I’m back to wearing my pedometer and tracking everything again now that I’ve returned home. The main reason for that is because I honestly enjoy writing lists and keeping track of it all. But I enjoyed the experiment of not doing it, too. I enjoyed just completely letting loose and having fun and drinking as much sangria from a watermelon bowl as I felt inclined to. Taking a break from the norm, from the usual restrictions- yes, even to eat Kraft Dinner– put it all back into perspective for me. Focusing on improving our health is incredibly important. Knowing the reasons for why we’re doing it, and having fun with it, and making sure that it remains a part of our lifestyle rather than getting in the way of living, is equally as important!

Last chance to enter my giveaway!


Guest Post: Yoga for Running

July 13, 2009

Carrie Lundy, a yoga instructor in my city, studied yoga in India. I’ve taken an outdoor yoga class with her and it was fantastic; I definitely have to do that again sometime soon. She agreed to answer a few questions that I had about yoga in general, and particularly about what it can do as a supplement to other activities such as running (Run A Race This Summer Challenge, anyone?). Here’s what she had to say!

Yoga of any kind can have tremendous benefits for athletes of all types so many people find that it can be helpful to integrate yoga into their regular training program.

How often should people do yoga to get the best results? As is true for many yoga questions, I would say that this depends on the individual, both when it comes to preference but also body type and injuries. Some people try to practice every day, others find it helpful to practice once a week. I think that in some ways it really just depends on why someone is practicing in the first place.

How can yoga be beneficial to those training to run races? Many poses can be helpful in opening the hips, widening the stance (therefore lengthening the running stride), and increasing endurance. A steady yoga practice also improves breath and body awareness, as well as focus, all of which can be beneficial to all athletes.

Can yoga help with knee injuries? Many who incorporate yoga into their regular training, or who maintain a daily practice report a decrease in aches and pains after a run. In terms of existing knee injuries, as with back issues, these often stem from having tight hips. Therefore incorporating yoga into training could very well help relieve some of the pain as hip-opening poses are common in many styles of yoga. Some people claim that a steady yoga practice eliminates some problems altogether. It is important to also keep in mind that one of the basic elements of yoga is listening to your own body and finding your individual edge, taking a step back if there is ever any pain or discomfort. Many instructors will be happy to give modifications and adjustments to help with specific injuries.

Are the health benefits different between regular yoga and hot yoga? There is a long list of benefits that come with all schools of yoga. Each style has its own sequence of postures, breathing techniques, and philosophies. I think it is important to practice different forms of yoga to gain the benefits of the varying postures, styles, and teaching methods.

That being said, my Moksha background does tend to make me a bit biased towards hot yoga, specifically Moksha Yoga Winnipeg! A lot of people think the heat will be over-whelming, but I think many are surprised to discover how soothing and relaxing a room at 37C can be. The same way a sauna, heating pad, or hot water bottle can be applied as a form of relief, hot yoga relaxes the joints and can ease aches and pains, such as arthritis and migraines.

Moksha specifically is a unique series of 40 postures that combine the precision of therapeutic yoga and the foundations of traditional yoga in a specially heated room. It is a cardiovascular workout that loosens, strengthens and tones the muscles, while calming the mind and reducing stress. The heat allows for deep, safe stretching and promotes detoxification of the skin, blood and muscles through sweat (you might be surprised to discover just how much you can sweat out in a 60-minute or 90-minute class).

A huge range of benefits, as well as information on trying hot yoga for the first time can be found at Regardless of the style or temperature of the class, most will agree that one of the major benefits to any type of yoga is just that it feels so good! Your body will truly love you for it…correction: you will truly love your body for it.

So, there you have it! Have any of you runners found yoga to be a useful part of your training?


Guest Post: Avoid Eye Diseases by Eating Right

June 15, 2009

This article was written by David Hurcombe, O.D. He achieved his doctorate at the University of Houston, College of Optometry.

Glaucoma, Cataracts, Macula Degeneration and Retinal Edema are vision impairments that anybody can get. Although diseases and conditions of the eye have many causes, the risk of developing one can be reduced by a change in diet. In fact, research from the University of Liverpool (UK) has suggested it can do so by as much as 20%. No surgeries or medication, just a daily diet of healthy foods can help avoid future eye problems.

Whenever you get hungry, it is a sign that the body needs food. What most people do not know, or perhaps choose to ignore, is that the food we eat is extremely important for the wellbeing of the body. It is not just a matter of simply suppressing the hunger feeling, but also to give the body what it needs to stay healthy. Below is a number of nutritional supplements that are necessary for the eye to function properly. Deficiency in such vitamins and nutrients may become contributing factors to the eye conditions mentioned above.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish, cabbage, walnuts and broccoli, and effectively decreases the risk of Glaucoma. This eye disease creates an intraocular pressure that ultimately can cause significant damage on the optical nerve. Glaucoma can lead to partial or complete blindness and include symptoms like blurry vision, blind spots and poor peripheral vision.

According to studies, Omega 3 reduces pressure in the eye by up to thirteen percent. By eating a healthy amount of the foods mentioned, you can thus effectively prevent ever developing Glaucoma during the later years of your life.

Vitamin A & C

These vitamins are essential for the body to function correctly. Vitamin A contains retinol, a chemical substance used in the retina of the eye for creating certain vision pigments that aid vision in lower light levels. Vitamin C has proven to be a great supplement against cataracts; an eye disease that usually requires surgery followed by strong vision correction spectacles or contacts. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, milk, egg, liver, butter and cheese. Vitamin C exists in many berries and fruits and is found in very high levels in Blackcurrant’s, Barbados Cherry, Guavas, Grapefruits, Kiwifruit and Orange.

Antioxidant Nutrients

By including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, you will also get all the antioxidant nutrients you require. This is extremely important for your eyes, as research has shown people who eat these regularly greatly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common eye diseases among the elderly. Spinach, Melon, Sweet Potato, Peaches, Prunes, and Brussels Sprouts in particular contain high levels of antioxidants, and we should try to eat at least 5 portions of these a week.

In conclusion, the foods listed above all have a positive effect on the eyes. They work pro-actively and reduce the risk of developing serious eye diseases.

For further instructions and tips on how to apply this information to your daily routines, we recommend you to schedule an appointment with your local eye doctor. The good thing about these supplements is that they are found in foods most of you already consume on a daily basis. You may thus already be enhancing your eye health.