GMO OMG

I watched this film the other day and renewed my disgust and dismay over the damage being done by GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) to our health and to the environment.

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At the start of the film we learn about the people of Haiti who refused seed donated by one industry giant and had the insight to recognize the motive behind this donation. They wanted to continue planting their own seeds, retain their right to those seeds, and not become indebted to the industry giant.

You may or may not have heard about the battles being fought over our Right to Know and to mandate labelling of GMOs. The fact that we are still fighting for the simple right to know what we are putting in our bodies and what we are feeding to our families while many other countries have enjoyed this right for years is frustrating and downright shameful.

The industry argues that there will be added cost to change the labels but the items they export to other countries are already being labelled! And they argue that if people see “genetically modified” on the label they won’t want to buy it. Doesn’t that prove that people don’t want GMOs and/or don’t trust that they are safe? Few long term studies have been done on the impacts of GMOs and one such study that is discussed in this film was later discredited for questionable reasons.

This film also reminded me of he sad truth that many people are not even aware of what is happening to our food supply. Have you ever asked your family members, friends, or coworkers if they know what a GMO is? Or if they are aware that 80-90% (or more!) of corn, canola, soy, cotton, and sugar beet crops are genetically modified?? And that over 80% of packaged goods contain GMOs???

We need more education and awareness around this topic and it seems we the people need to be the ones to spread the word. Watch this film and share it with your community.

To get the movie or learn more about it go to gmofilm.com

Related:
GMO Quick Info

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Fed Up

This is a film everyone needs to watch. The vast majority of us are overwhelmed by the varying arguments about what we should and shouldn’t eat and end up trusting those whose job it is to sell us a product (regardless of whether it’s good for us or not) to provide us guidance on what we should be eating.

Did you know sugar has been proven to be as addictive as drugs like cocaine and heroin?
Did you know 80% of the products on the grocery store shelves have added sugar?

Consumption of sugar drives cravings for more putting us into a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating and feelings of guilt and failure. And artificial sweeteners are no better! Did you know people who drink artificially sweetened beverages are more likely to be overweight? Artificial sweeteners have been proven to case cravings as well! When our body tastes the sweet flavor but never gets the sugar to fulfill that expectation we get more cravings.

And while many people need to be more active that is not the whole solution! We need nutrition education starting with kids in school – and I mean real nutrition, not a skewed version that supports the avalanche of unhealthy low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free, protein-added, fiber-added, franken-foods being marketed with meaningless tags such as “wholesome”, “natural”, and even “healthy”. Most school lunches are packed with sugar, starches, and salt – not what kids need to get started off right for optimal health. The rates of type 2 diabetes in children is on the incline.

And there is the major issue of affordability and availability. The general belief is that it’s too expensive to eat healthy, but there are options to eat healthy on a budget including shopping at farmer’s markets, buying a CSA share, or growing your own produce in your garden!

For those who do not have these options we have a gap that needs to be addressed. Healthy foods need to be made available to all people of all economic statues. The wrong foods are being subsidized and the cheapest foods in most markets are the most unhealthy. Why are we not subsidizing greens and carrots and apples??

I encourage you to watch this film and spread the word. Have your friends over for dinner and a movie! It may just change your life, and theirs as well!

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Cheers to Spectators!

After months of training this past Sunday the BIG event had finally arrived … the marathon. My friend and I had both had a bit of a rough training cycle, so we had vowed to stick together through thick and thin. We both had our fears that the other would change the plan and decide not to run together. My friend thought I would slow her down, and after coming down with a cold a few days before the race I seriously questioned whether I could finish – and if I would have to tell her to leave me behind.

We had a plan to start slow and try to finsh strong. During the first few miles we were going a bit faster then planned but still slower than “race pace” so we felt pretty good. But over the miles things began to wear and we ran into a few challenges, and while taking a walk break I got a bit chilled and actually put my jacket back on.

I’ve always been thankful to the people who take time out of thier weekend to come and cheer for random strangers running by – but as I was feeling the chill in the air it struck me again. “Spectators are really awesome,” I told me friend as I looked around at the cheering crowds with colorful entertaining signs. “Keep going!”, “You’re doing great!” they yelled as we passed.

I’ve had the opportunity to cheer for others at races, and I have to say – it is no small task! To be out there for a few hours constantly clapping and cheering and shouting words of encouragement is DRAINING! During the colder months you are also enduring cold fingers and toes and faces! You expend loads of energy giving it to those passing by who snatch up every bit of encouragement they can to keep pushing forward.

As they say, energy is not created or lost, it just changes form. I’ve felt the boost from a cheering race fan or high-fiving kid! It can bring the smile back to your face and push you a bit further down the course to the next group of cheering supporters.

If you haven’t been to a race as a spectator I highly recommend you try it. It’s inspiring and uplifting AND you will make someone’s day as you make eye contact and tell them how awesome they are as the run by.

So to all the runners out there, respect and appreciate the spectators for all they do for us on race day!

And to the spectators, hats off to you! You ROCK!! The race wouldn’t be the same without you!

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Help! I’ve Been Greenwashed!!

Have you heard the term “Greenwashing” yet?

I was talking with a friend and venting about my frustration with companies that present themselves as being very health conscious, and their products as natural, safe, and non-toxic only to find on closer inspection that either the products are loaded with chemicals, or they are unwilling to disclose the ingredients claiming that this information is a “trade secret”. My experience with ethical and truly Eco-friendly health conscious companies has been that they are proud to show their ingredient list because they know that their informed consumers will like what they see. When I brought up two companies in particular she directed me to one of her favorite bloggers, EcoFriendlyMamaUSA, and her Greenwashers page: http://ecofriendlymamausa.com/product-reviews/greenwashers/

This page lists many companies that either explicitly or implicitly present themselves as green, earth friendly, health conscious companies and provides honest feedback and information based on the authors research and personal experience. (Both companies I was expressing frustration with are listed here as a couple of the worst.) She also references a couple of websites for the Environmental Working Group for looking up household products and cosmetics:
http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
These are both great resources to learn more about the products you may be using. Get familiar with these sites so you can do your own research!

Wikipedia defines Greenwashing as “a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.”

The color green has taken on meaning, implying a product is natural, plant based, and Eco-friendly, and often this color will be used to best advantage as well as images of nature (forests, mountains, streams, prairies, you get the idea) banking on the hope that you will assume the product is safe and natural … because it looks the part! Unfortunately this couldn’t be further from the truth in many cases. Turn these products over and you’re likely to be assaulted with a long list of unpronounceable scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Did you know most people have ingested or applied over 200 chemicals to their body before their morning cup of coffee?? Between the soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shaving gels, body washes, lotions, creams, styling products, ointments, toothpaste, mouthwash, supplements, and cosmetics it all adds up quickly! Think about a nicotine patch. Why does it work? Because the nicotine on the patch is absorbed through the skin and into our bloodstream. The same goes for every other product you apply to your body! Read the ingredients of your body cream or your face moisturizer – would you be comfortable eating it? If not then maybe you shouldn’t be slathering it on your body.

Next consider your household cleaning products – cleansers, polishes, pest products, disinfectants, deodorizers – so many chemicals! These can leech into your skin through direct contact during use, contact with the item the product was applied to, and through the fumes you breathe during use and as they linger for hours or even days. Did you know that you have a higher risk of asthma if you regularly use spray cleaners in your home?

The EPA website states: “Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) [such as Formaldehyde] are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.”

With the advances of technology many of us are spending more time indoors, and we are breathing a steady supply of toxins from the gases of all of these products! Have you watched Chemericle yet?? Check out my review on Chemericle!

You CAN reduce the toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis – awareness is the key. In an earlier post I stated that my #1 health tip is to start reading labels. This doesn’t just apply to food! Start reading the labels on your personal care and household products, and if you’re not sure what something is, look it up. And green cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive – did you know vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are very effective and economical cleaners? There are many books and websites with tips and recipes to make your own cleaner – just search “make your own green cleaning products”. Remember, you have a voice and you can vote every single day with the dollars you choose to spend or not spend on these products. Use your vote wisely!

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Are you a Real Runner??

I started running 5 years ago and I remember it took me some time before I felt comfortable calling myself a “runner”. Others would refer to me as a runner, or even as a *gasp!* ATHLETE and I would sheepishly shrug and look at the ground and answer their questions or tell them about my training or latest race. I didn’t want “real” runners to think I was taking liberties with their hard earned classification so would tell people, “I’m not a runner, I just like to run”. I even searched through well known running websites online trying to find a definition for the term so I would know when I officially qualified! Crazy, right?!?

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.”
-Bart Yasso

Now that I am comfortable with the term (after completing all of the milestones I had defined in my head) I see others who, like I once was, are so reluctant to declare themselves as runners. You shrug off the term and say things like, “I’m not a real runner – not like you.” You may even feel like a pretender when you encounter another runner on the street – I know I did!

So for all of you who doubt your runner status here’s what I have to say to you:

Do you pick up your pace to that which is quicker than a walk and have less than 2 feet on the ground while doing so? HELLO RUNNER!! Welcome to the club!

Running is not about how fast or slow you go, about running X number of races, or even any races! It’s not about hitting a certain threshold of miles per week or about having all the latest gadgets and gear (although that is fun 🙂 ).

Here’s a bit of insight for you: when I’m out driving in my car and I pass someone running along the street, I think, “Runner!” (In fact I usually tag you out loud. Just ask my husband – he can confirm.) I AM NOT thinking, “that person doesn’t LOOK like a runner”, or “that person is too slow to be a runner”, or even “that person doesn’t know how to run”. I’m thinking about how lucky you are to be out there running, and I’m wishing I was out there too! (OK, and sometimes I’m checking out your shoes…)

So next time you’re feeling some doubt about whether or not you’re a real runner, put on those running shoes and head out the door and prove it to yourself once again that you ARE, in fact, A RUNNER!

Now get out there and run!

Happy Running!

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How can I be 40?? I’m not old enough!

Crazy thing – it seems that despite my best efforts to deny it, according to the calendar I’m 40 today. I keep thinking to myself, “But I don’t feel old enough to be 40!”

That’s the thing with aging – age really is just a state of mind. While we can take some measures to slow the deterioration of the body and mind, eventually we start seeing those signs – the crows feet, sagging skin, grey hairs, the “senior moments”… But it seems that the core of who we are, what some call our soul, is not necessarily on the same clock. You’ve heard the saying “young at heart” – a youthfulness that defies our chronological age. My husbands grandmother once said when she was in her 90’s “I still feel the same on the inside as when I was 18”. It is this inner youth that can make us feel at odds with what the calendar tells us.

So I officially vow to stop living by the calendar. Don’t tell me I’m too old for that – I will laugh at you and do it anyway! It was just 2 weeks ago that I was ziplining over Bootleg Canyon and in a couple more weeks I’ll be running my next half marathon! I’m a firm believer in the use-it-or-lose-it philosphy, so I’m going to keep on using my mind and body to accomplish amazing things as long as they will let me.

My birthday will not be the ticking timebomb that some people associate their birthdays with, but a day to celebrate all of the amazing things I have accomplished, a day to set new goals and dream new dreams, and a day to surround myself with all of the wonderful people in my life… or maybe I’ll just snuggle up on the sofa with my husband, my 2 cats, a slice of birthday cake, and a good movie like last year and do all that other stuff tomorrow… 🙂

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If you hate The Gym consider Activities!

I learned an important lesson the other day. I was chatting with a client about gym workouts and how it can be such a struggle to find the motivation to get to the gym, and I asked, “Is there another activity that you would enjoy more?” We talked about the idea of working out and going to the gym vs. going for a walk or bike ride, and how going to the gym can have negative feelings associated while we may not recognize other activities as acceptable ways to exercise our bodies.

Consider the common phrases “I need to work out” and “I need to go to the gym”. We don’t often express excitement about these activities and we use words that indicate this is a chore, but when we talk about going for a bike ride or going to play volleyball with friends we usually feel anticipation and joy.

When we say “workout” or “the gym” certain thoughts and feelings may spring to mind:
CHORE, bummer, no fun, so hard, too much time, dread, frustration

But when we talk about activities like going for a walk or bike ride, playing a game of volleyball, or playing badminton in the yard other more positive images may spring to mind:
JOY, fun, time with friends / family, play, freedom, happiness

Some people do love going to the gym, but if you find that negative thoughts are deterring you from getting the exercise your body needs, consider whether or not the gym is the right solution for you.

As a runner I have many people ask me if I think everyone should run. While I very much enjoy running and I love watching and helping others discover a passion for running, I don’t believe it is the right activity for everyone. I believe you should do whatever activity YOU enjoy whether it be running, walking, hiking, yoga, biking, spinning, CrossFit, basketball, volleyball, Zumba, tennis, or WHATEVER, because it is the joy in YOUR activity that will keep you engaged and active.

Find YOUR passion and get active!

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Eat FAT for Better Health

I want to share some important information about fat and why you SHOULD be eating it – that’s right, I said you SHOULD be eating it! Fats have been vilified for decades but the low-fat/no-fat movement has played a major role in the increases we are seeing in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases – AND we are seeing these health impacts showing up earlier and earlier. For example: type 2 diabetes previously known as adult onset diabetes, which is now being seen in children!

Healthy fats are ESSENTIAL for optimal health AND for weight loss! Health fats fight inflammation which is the precursor to every chronic disease! Also fats are more satisfying meaning they fill us up and keep us satisfied longer which means less snacking between meals.

Sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts and seeds, and oils such as olive, coconut, walnut, or avocado oil. Other great sources of healthy fats include oily fish such as sardines, salmon, herring, trout, and mackerel, omega-3 rich eggs from free range naturally and humanely raised chickens, and naturally raised antibiotic and hormone free grass fed animal protein.

Check out this great video from Dr. Mark Hyman for more info then comment below with your thoughts!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEQdFxWQOhw

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Will The REAL Healthy Snack List Please Stand Up??

If you’re like me you may often find yourself digging through your desk drawer in the afternoon or aimlessly wandering around your kitchen opening and closing cabinets in the evening. What is it I am in search of?? Oh, right, a snack! Of course there are differing opinions on snacking – some say it’s bad and will keep your body from using existing energy stores (fat!), some say it will rev up your metabolism to help you burn more fat.

There are 2 realities we must face:

1. Each person has their own unique biology and metabolism that will or will not function ideally with snacks. Some people function best on 3 meals per day, period. Others will do better with 3 smaller meals and 2 or 3 snacks. We all have to find what works best for our body.

2. Sometimes we just get the urge to snack! When this urge strikes, it is best to address it head on with a good quality nutritious snack rather than try to squash this urge and berate yourself resulting in feelings of guilt and shame! Associate snacking with negativity and we’re likely to ride that shame spiral full speed into a bag or neon orange cheesy corn chips (you know the ones I mean!) or a box of those cookies you bought from the neighbor kid!

So what’s the solution?

The best place to start is with a Pantry Clean-out!! Go through your pantry, cupboards, drawers, and refrigerator. Throw away all the tempting garbage – your go-to treats and snacks that you know are bad for you but you simply can’t resist! You won’t have to resist them if they don’t exist!

Next, re-stock with healthy options so you have a selection of easy quick nutritious snacks on hand. Having options readily available will give you an immediate snack solution – you can feel good about what you are eating and avoid any negative snack guilt.

So now the big question – what are some healthy snacks I can stock up on? I actually did a search online for “Healthy Snack Options” and as I browsed through the results I was appalled at what some very well known sites were recommending as healthy options. One site listed a whole selection of packaged items without a single simple produce item among the options (umm, apple anyone??). I was so disturbed by what I found that I decided to start my own list.

Now this list is by no means a comprehensive list and some of the items may be deemed more or less healthy depending on your own nutritional beliefs, but this is a list of a lot of my go-to healthy snacks and other options that I would feel good about putting in my body and recommending to others.

And BTW – I don’t believe in low-fat or fat-free options. Good fats are essential for optimal health and generally when fats are stripped from foods they are replaced with the ultimate evil, SUGAR!

My Top 25 Healthy Snacks:
1. Apple slices with Peanut Butter
2. Grapes – fresh or frozen!
3. Banana – fresh or frozen!
4. Clementine, Orange, Tangerine
5. Any kind of berries!
6. Plain Yogurt – add your own fruit instead of getting the kind with syrup-y “fruit”
7. Celery sticks with Peanut Butter and Raw Honey
8. Cucumber slices with Guacamole
9. Cherry Tomatoes
10. Sugar Snap Peas
11. Raw veggies with Hummus (Carrots, Cucumber, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bell Pepper!)
12. Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios – go for raw unsalted
13. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds – go for raw unsalted
14. Hard Boiled Egg
15. Cottage Cheese with Peaches or Berries
16. Sliced Melon (Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Watermelon)
17. Raisins, Prunes, other dried fruits – go for unsulfured
18. Fruit Smoothie – Banana / Mango is my favorite quick fix!
19. Pickles or Olives
20. Whole Wheat Pita with hummus
21. Whole Wheat Crackers with Sardines or Tuna
22. Whole Grain porridge – Brown Rice, Quinoa or Oats with Almond milk and fruit!
23. Homemade Trail Mix (I make mine with Cashew pieces, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Raisins, and a few Dark Chocolate chips!)
24. Date Balls (check out my recipe for Death by Fudgy Date Balls!)
25. Any other Whole Food or Whole Food recipe!!

Bag the guilt and enjoy a healthy snack!!

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#5 Tip for Better Health

Move your body!  Remember that old saying “Move it or lose it”?  That applies to your body as well!  If you want to stay mobile, be mobile!

Exercise has so many great benefits – it improves your mood, reduces stress, strengthens your heart, helps control your weight, and more!

What is the best exercise for you?  One that you ENJOY!  Some people like the solitude of running or walking alone, while some like to join clubs to meet other people.  Some enjoy the group atmosphere of an organized class like spinning, Zumba, or yoga.  And some prefer sports or activities like softball, basketball, ice skating, or gardening.  Whatever it is that motivates you to get active and stay active – THAT is the right activity for you!

How often should you exercise?  There are so many varying opinions on this.  Ideally you should aim for 30-60 minutes per day of some type of activity.  Often life gets in the way of our ideal goals, so set your minimum expectation to 30 minutes every other day.  If you can’t fit a full 30 minutes into your day in one chunk try breaking it up – 10 minutes 3 times per day or 15 minutes twice a day.  Take a walk around the block during your lunch break and then do some strength exercises before dinner – crunches, push-ups, squats, lunges, bicep curls and shoulder presses with weights.

Get creative!  Too cold outside?  Do laps around inside your office building!  Don’t have any hand weights?  Use soup cans or water jugs!

Make it fun for the whole family!  Turn on music and get everyone dancing!  Go sledding!  Play badminton in the yard!

Make exercise a part of your life and you will reap the rewards in you health and your happiness.

So, how are you planning to get active today?

Get Active