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Keep The Fire Burning


“We Interrupt This Broadcast”...

            I am a baby-boomer, and I have watched the world of fitness morph though fads and crazes for many years. I remember, in 1996, the Surgeon General issued a warning that “lack of physical activity is hazardous to your health.” An ever-increasing number of us soughta way tocommute thatsentence, butwith the least possible fuss.  The reason I say thatis because those who were most affected by this dramatic message were the baby-boomers - 38 to 55 years old at the time - whotypically werebusy professionals/parents/community conscious people withserious agendas.  At the same time, it is thatpopulation that appreciatedthe implications of the Surgeon General’s report - and lookedfor effective, yet efficient ways of prolonging theirlives and improving the quality of those extended years.

            It is still the same today for Generation X. And Generation Y as well.

            But, some of usare also old enough to remember the ominous warnings and dangers of yesteryear...the “cold war” years that found us digging fallout shelters and listening for the screech on the radio that signaled that we must run for our lives to our provision-filled cement tombs and awaitthe mushroom cloud.Kruschev was banging his shoes on podiums, Castro was razzing Kennedy, and cigarettes were quietly killing our loved ones.

            Baby-boomers, for the most part, werein tune and, and if not, wewerein denial.  But for mostof us, the Surgeon General put the last nail in ourprocrastination coffin.  Members of “The Woodstock Generation” realizedthat this announcement was a landmark.  Weremembered the Surgeon General’s previousofficial warning in the 60’s about cigarette smoking,and the reality of smoking-related deaths permeated our consciousness.  We all knew someone at that point who had died due to smoking...couldwe really get sick and die from lack of exercise?

            In my last Path Press article I ended with talking about the importance of exercise (particularly aerobic exercise), and I said I would continue that conversation. Why do we do aerobics?  (By aerobics, I do not mean just the classes, but any cardiovascular exercise).  For a healthy heart?  Longer life?  Lower cholesterol?

            Who are we kidding?  Our first thought is to lose fat.

            So we need to figure out the most efficient way to do that for ourselves.

Duration, Intensity, Frequency

             “Aerobic” activity is any exercise done “in the presence of oxygen” - where your body can use fat for fuel. Strength training is an “anaerobic” activity, meaning it is not “in the presence of oxygen” -  so your body cannot use fat for fuel. You are working aerobically if you can sustain the activity endlessly (sitting around is actually “aerobic” but you are not working at a high enough intensity level to initiate significant fat burning).  Which brings us to the intensity factor of aerobics, one of the “big three”...duration, intensity, and frequency.

            At what intensity should you be working?A study at the University of California at Berkeley demonstrated that, if it is appropriate to the individual, aerobic exercises with increased intensity, duration, and frequency are associated with increased health benefits.  The key word here is individual.So how do you know what is the appropriate intensity level for you?

( In my last article I recommended an exercise test prior to beginning a vigorous exercise program for high risk individuals of any age. I also recommended a heart-rate monitor, and suggested the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor.)

            Okay.  Back to intensity.  The intensity of your aerobic activity is determined by your heart rate.  Not your friend’s, not David Beckham's, not your 80-year old Aunt Edna’s, but yours.  You need to calculate what your heart rate should be, and then keep it within that range for the duration of your “aerobic bout” (the time between warm-up and cool-down).  I promise I won’t get too technical stay with me.  How do we figure this out?  It’s called The Karvonen Formula...and it’s simple to calculate.

The Karvonen Formula - Know Your Target Heart Rate For Fat-Burning       

            First, you will need to know your age.  Your real one.  Okay.  Then you will need to know your resting heart rate.  That is your pulse at rest, first thing in the morning when you wake before you even visit the bathroom.  Using your index and middle finger (never your thumb, it has a pulse) press (but not too hard) along side your Adam's apple.  Count the beats for a full 60 seconds.  That’s your resting heart rate. (You can take your pulse on your wrist, too.) The number, depending on your condition, might fall anywhere between 50 and 80.  Below 50 generally indicates that you are really fit, or if you are unfit, there might be a problem.  Above 80 could mean that you’re just very unfit...or a signal to check with your doctor.  In any event, do not be alarmed.  Your resting heart rate, as well as your heart rate response to exercise, usually describes your level of cardiovascular fitness. (As I have said, I recommend you check with your doctor in any event before you begin an exercise program.)

            If you know your age and your resting heart rate, you can do the Karvonen Formula. (Come on now - this is a key component. You can do this. You are just going back to 5th grade math. Well, that was in my day. It is probably pre-school math now.)

            It is the following:

            220...minus your age = X (this is called your predicted maximum heart rate)         

            Then you take X and minus your resting heart rate, and that equals = Y.

            Then you take Y and multiply it by a percentage between 50% and 80%, and that percentage is determined by your level of fitness.  So, if you have not been exercising regularly and you consider yourself unfit, you would choose a conservative percentage somewhere between 50 and 65%.

            So...Y times 60%=Z.

            Then you take your resting heart rate, and add it back in to the equation...

            Z + resting heart rate = your target heart rate for your aerobic bout.

            Remember, your aerobic bout is the time period in your cardio where you are going to sustain your heart rate range for fat-burning. That range is 5 beats below and 5 beats above your target heart rate. Your mission is to stay within that range so you can burn fat for fuel. So--say you are able to do an aerobic activity for 30 minutes. You do a 5 minute warm-up--then 20 minutes in your heart rate range--then a 5 minute cool-down.

            Let’s take an

            220 - 65 (my age) = 155 (my predicted maximum heart rate)

            157 - 48 (my resting heart rate) = 107

            107 x 80% (I’m very aerobically conditioned) = 86

            86 + 48 (my resting heart rate) = 134 Beats Per Minute

            So, my heart rate range  is 130-140 bpm. I typically like to keep my heart rate between 135 to 140 BPM when I do my cardio. Because I am so fit at this point, I feel I personally get the most benefit out of this intensity, and I enjoy the challenge of it. Icould never, however, have sustained this heart rate when I began exercising.  I was out of breath two minutes into anything cardiovascular.  But, as I explained before, one’s level of exercise is very individual.  You have to do what you can do. Concerning duration, reports from The American College of Sports Medicine suggest longer, lower intensity exercises burn more fat.  This means that somewhere in the vicinity of 50 to 65% of predicted maximum heart rate might be the most efficient zone for liberating stored body fat to use as fuel.  They also state, however, that with higher intensity you burn more calories.  And, ultimately, doesn’t that translate to increased fat loss?  It’s confusing, right?Well, it goes back to your condition.  The point at which stored fat becomes primary fuel for exercise is absolutely dependent on the training status of the individual.  Elite athletes who have developed a more efficient enzyme system can start to contribute free fatty acids within five minutes of beginning an aerobic exercise.  Untrained individuals, however, can require 20 minutes before their bodies start accessing stored fat for fuel.  This is one of the reasons that it is universally accepted that the best exercise protocol for burning fat is lower intensity - longer duration. As far as frequency, I recommend at least 3 times a week. Now, when to do your cardio?  Many people who go to a gym to do both their cardio and strength-training in the same visit make the mistake of beginning with their cardio. Although you do need to warm up before your strength training to prevent injury (I recommend a 10 minute cardio warm-up) save your aerobic bout for after your strength training. You will burn more fat if you follow your anaerobic workout with your aerobic workout.  Remember - your body cannot use fat for fuel during your anaerobic workout (strength training).  Your body will use the sugar in your blood and stored glycogen as energy.  Once you’ve depleted those glycogen stores, your body will turn to its fat stores sooner during your aerobic workout when your body can use fat for fuel.  In any case, it makes sense to prioritize your strength training if definition, tone, and fat loss are your goals.  With a pound of muscle comes an energy requirement of approximately 75 calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

 Flexibility...Strength To Your Core

            A note about stretching. I recommend it. But, you can injure yourself stretching. Warm up before you stretch.  Do not stretch cold (hot metal bends before breaking, but cold metal, well, you know what I’m getting at; you are simply more pliable when you’rewarm). Once you’ve warmed up you can then stretch your muscles. it’s boring. But, you need to be flexible.  Flexibility reduces the risk of chronic pain, and it increases your range of motion.  Range of motion concerns both the natural movement of a muscle or joint, as well as your body’s unique limits.  For some people, it may be natural for them to touch their toes while hardly bending their knees.  For others...well, let’s just say some of us need to work at this.  It is a useful endeavor, however, to routinely work at improving your range of motion. Another point that needs to be made here is that we lose flexibility as we age.  This is not good.  We do not want to become stiff little old people who need help tying our shoes.                    

Before you stretch, here are some guidelines for you to follow so you do not injure yourself.  Contrary to popular belief, unfocused stretching is not a benign activity.  Have respect for “flexibility training” can enhance your life, or interrupt please pay attention: *Think of stretching as relaxingyour muscles, not forcing them to submit to yourwill.  Have patience.  Flexibility (like anything else) does not happen overnight.*Breathe into the stretch.  Key into your body and listen to its signals to stop.  Then, take another deep breath, and as you exhale, gently ask it for just a tiny bit more. Stretch only to the point of mild discomfort, not pain.  Going past an uncomfortable sensation into a painful one may cause small tears in the muscles, which will decrease their strength and flexibility, and initiate injury.*Never, never bounce.  Never.  There will be no exceptions.  Ever.  *Do not stretch your lower back with your knees locked.*Hold each stretch for 60 seconds.   

            There are actually out-and-out dangerous stretches.  (1. The “Yoga Plow"--where you lie on your back--throw your legs over your body until your toes touch the floor above your head--and radically compress your cervical vertebrae constricting the airway. 2. The “Hurdler’s Stretch”--where your have one leg outstretched--and the other bent back at the knee in an awkward and unnatural position--stretching the tendons and the ligaments of the knee joint in a hazardous way. 3. Deep knee bends--where you squat down so low that your butt almost touches the floor--opening the knee joint up and overstretching the tendons and ligaments.) Remember - these are stretches I do NOT recommend.

            At any age, at any stage we can improve...achieve goals we only dream about. But there are those times when we feel these aspirations are just too illusive. You think - "Wow I'm really in the dumper now, and at this point it is probably pretty much a know--no sense in trying now--the damage is done. I've let it all go and now it's just... gone." When I was in awful shape - physically, mentally, and spiritually, that is what I thought too. But I got a very big Hand up.I wanted to somehow communicate to you how profoundly and elegantly direct your ascent can be. The most difficult task I have ever undertaken is to somehow communicate  what sparked my fire and kept it burning these past 35 years.  It is like trying to describe another realm--another dimension.  We exist in a four dimensional world, but most of us only live in three dimensions.  When you tap into your innate intelligence--the force within you--you have entered the fourth dimension.  This is the dimension where all things are possible.  But, we only have three dimensional words to describe an experience that exists beyond that.  The best I can do with the language that we have is to tell you that it’s not just your body - it’s your connection to your body.  The power to accomplish what I have presented in my articles is within all of us.  Not just me.

Keep the fire burning.


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Are You Paying More For Nutrition-less?

Happy Summer! I believe it has finally arrived in our part of the country. Yay! Time to shed our Winter clothes - the massive layers that have been covering our bodies like a fleece tent. Time to let your body out in the sun. Ready?

I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the health and fitness conversation with you. This subject can be so confounding that your resolve to make changes dissipates into pledging a future start date that keeps moving into infinity. But, Summer is here - now. Let's, I said in my last PATH Press article - have some FUN. In that issue I introduced my lifestyle program - FUN (Families Understanding Nutrition) and I ended with a nutrition-packed shake recipe to help jump-start a fat-busting regimen - acknowledging that we need simple, convenient solutions to the dilemma of trying to be healthy while balancing a budget and time. As I said, I am all about fast, convenient, less mess, and more bang for a buck.

I am often asked, "how can I make healthier choices on my budget?" We grab inexpensive products sacrificing quality for discounts, thinking we will have more food if we stick with this concept. But the truth is these products have so little nutritional value that you are not being nourished or satiated. So, you wind up eating moreof this stuff. But, if you consume a better alternative - one with higher fiber and lower sugar - you will eat lessof it. Your body will signal you that it is done. And it will stay done longer. So you are in reality not spending more money for food when you switch to healthy products. You will actually be spending less!

In this issue I wanted to present you with some healthy alternatives to popular foods. Breakfast alternatives, snack alternatives, and more. And, I would like to encourage you to develop the habit of choosing and usingthese foods. We are capable of developing good habits. We develop the bad ones. We were not born with them. So, we can do this!

My husband, Pat, and I recently had a visit from a friend who has been struggling with weight for years. He could really benefit to lose 100 lbs. His wife and daughter are also obese. And now his precious grandson is becoming obese, and the grandson is being ridiculed at school. This has struck home for this man. It is breaking his heart. He wants to make a lifestyle change for himself and his family.

He says the eating habits of his family has always been extremely unhealthy - high fat and sugar. Our friend spent 2 days with us eating the way we eat, and loved it. He was asking me at every meal - "how did you make this, what is in this, what is the difference between this and that?" He went home armed with alternatives - solutions to what he grabs on the go - quick healthy snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner options easy to fix and inexpensive. Well, he stated he received no support from his family. They want to stay where they are at - in denial and eating as they always have. They do not want to be confronted about their weight or change their lifestyle habits. They don't want a mirror. They want their food. He was completely shot down - and told "every time you visit those folks you come home with this *ra*." But he is trying to go it alone. He calls me or Pat every day to report his determination to stick with his new game plan - and to receive encouragement. He bought his own cereal, granola bars, and bread. He is walking every morning. He is hoping to lead by example. He is hoping to rescue his grandson.

How can you get your family on board with a lifestyle adjustment - switching to quality family nutrition and exercise? How do you make it less daunting, more interesting, and FUN? Like an adventure that you embark on together? One way to begin is to have a family meeting, and everyone chooses just 1 thing to change - exchangefor something healthier. Even if you change just 1 thing to start - that is positive motion. And it will bring you benefits that you will see and feel. And that is motivating. Set individual goals as a family. Participate as a family. You can even make it a competition. I have a friend that has set up a competition with his wife. They each have an activity tracker- a device that measures steps and energy expended. Each day they compare numbers - see who walked the most steps and burned the most calories. (My friend likes to win.) There are many activity trackers out there. On Amazon prices range from $12.00 to hundreds. You don't need to spend a lot of money - some of the lower priced ones that look good are: Pivotal Living, OUMAX T2, Fitbit Zip, Jawbone UP, and Polar Loop. Now doesn't this sound like FUN?

Foods That Pack A Punch

Foods with high nutritional density will help your family become winners. But, where to start? A FUN thing I came up with is Super Snack- a snack baggie filled with yummy stuff - different cereals (I usually buy 4 different ones), raisins, almond slivers, etc. I make gallon storage bags of this mixture, and separate it into portions that are approximately 200 calories each (snack baggie size). Pat gets to have a snack baggie of this concoction a couple of times a day to fill in the gaps between meals. It is super high in fiber, low in sugar, and crushes cravings. We take this with us wherever we go. Now, there are certain products that I love and will spend the money on to use in this - cereals I buy in the health-food section (like Kashi Heart to Heart Toasted Oat Cereal, Barbara's Puffins, Cascadian Farms Graham Crunch). But, evensupermarket brands like General Mills have healthier product choices (Fiber One, Multi-grain Cherios, Wheat Chex). Read labels, and choose cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber (more is better) and no more than 8 grams of sugar (less is better). But, no matter what you choose, your Super Snackwill cost far less than the other stuff you grab on the go. There are tons of servings, and when you add it all up each one costs less than a dollar. How much does that bag of chips, 'granola' bar, or vending machine munchie cost you?  

I know you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, we often do not take the time to have it. Oatmeal is a great choice. And you can make it quick. There are minute oats that have high fiber. Starting your day with slow-burning oatmeal will help regulate your hunger and provide your body with compounds that escort the bad cholesterol out of your belly. And if you pair it with fruits, you will double the effect.

micro egg cooker.jpgAnd then there is the eggstaordinary egg. Eggs are so good for you. They are among the best sources for the B vitamin choline and the amino acid methionine, which suppresses the activity of genes related to insulin resistance, obesity, and fatty liver diseases. They also provide a powerful protein punch, which helps fire up your metabolism and keep you full throughout the beginning of your day. Ohhh, now I really don't have time to make eggs! No worries.

I found this really cool little thing. It is - Nordic Ware Microwave Eggs 'n Muffin Breakfast Pan- on AMAZON it is only $3.37. It is just a little cooker - big enough for 2 eggs and it makes them into a soufflé! So, I make something I call a -


2 eggs (scramble right in little cooker) - add some low-fat cheese and cut up ham or bacon bits, a few veggies if you like. Microware 2 minutes. Put it on a Multi-grain Lite English Muffin (very high in fiber and low calorie). 2 minutes!!! Done and yum!

There are also healthy ways to make tuna or chicken salad. Tacos. Coleslaw. Mac and Cheese. Quesadillas. Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup (that's right without the cream!). There is so much I want to share with you. But this time I will stick with jump-starting your day in a healthy way.

Here is something Pat and I do every morning before we walk:In room temperature (or luke-warm) pure spring water mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a dash of ginger, and a dash of cayenne pepper. This will stimulate your digestive system, alkalize, and in general get things going J. Ginger aids blood sugar regulation & digestion, cayenne pepper is alkalizing and aids elimination, and lemon is a miracle—it is the only food that is either alkalizing or acid forming, depending on what your body needs (In fact, try this: after a meal, if you crave sweet, eat a few lemon slices. Ask for a dish of lemons when you eat out—for your water, and after your meal). And lemon also aids digestion. Studies show that this combination of ingredients  can also be thermogenic (fat-burning!). You can drink this drink throughout your day as well. This is all we have before we walk. If you do this in the morning you have fasted throughout the night, and your body will burn fat for fuel immediately during cardio instead of burning sugar in your blood from eating. But - please note - do not do this if you have blood sugar issues like hypoglycemia or diabetes, heart disease or other health concerns. As a health and fitness director certified by the American College Of Sports Medicine I recommend an exercise test prior to beginning a vigorous exercise program is for high risk individuals of any age. I also recommend a heart-rate monitor. (Polar has inexpensive ones on Amazon - I like the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor.) It will display your heart rate during exercise so you know you are working hard enough to burn fat, but not too hard to harm you. Next time I will teach you how to determine your individual target heart for fat-burning. But in general, most healthy individuals should be exercising at about 120-130 beats per minute to burn serious fat.

If you are just starting out - begin slowly. Work up to it. Walk 10 minutes if that is all you can manage. Walk a little farther each day. Add a house, a block - challenge yourself. Work up to 20 minutes. Then 30. You should never feel out of breath. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising. Again, if you have no health issues doing aerobic exercise first thing in the morning is best. If you cannot exercise in the morning, try and do it after work and before your evening meal if you can. But the important thing is to get it done. Aim at doing your cardiovascular exercise at least 3 times a week.  

Question: What is the best type of aerobic exercise to choose when beginning a program?  Answer: One you will enjoy and stick with.

Now - go have some FUN.









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Welcome to Summer And Our New Website


Welcome to our new website. We are so excited about it, and we hope you are enjoying your navigating experience here. We want to thank Chris Ellerbrook of Ten80 North in Ely, MN for getting this going for us. Awesome to work with, he had the patience to teach this old dog new technology, enabling me to take the reins and manage this site myself. Please check back here frequently as I will be using this blog to update you on what's happening in our world of music and mischief.

Summer has finally coming to the Northwoods. Everything is green, the loons are calling, and there are diamonds on our lake here in Ely. And, we are getting ready for our busy Summer schedule. Please check our calendar so you can find us. Hopefully we will be in your part of the country, and we can connect.

We have a fun new music series to announce for this Summer.

Every Wednesday night Pat will be playing at the Winton Roadhouse. It is a very cool place at the edge of Ely. Friends of ours bought it, renovated it, and have brought their own special touches to it, making it very unique to the area. The food is amazing - seriously gourmet - great wine and beer selection along with a full bar - and yes, Pat on Wednesdays nights singing your favorite songs from the 60s and 70s. Check it out if you are in the area. You'll love it. Hope to see you there!

Also this Summer we are planning to offer our hit show, Remember When Magical Musical  - back by popular demand - in Ely. Stay tuned for more information on that. In 2013 it was a sold out - standing room community happening. We have had so many requests to revive it. This time we are planning on a 2 night run instead of 1 to accommodate the demand.

Thanks so much for being here. We look forward to seeing you down the road.



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Waist Management



Out of the gate and wham!

What to prioritize so there is no chaos today?

A family, whether it is a house of ten, or two, is an interdependent, intricately woven dynamic of needs, agendas, desires. Ok, I am not telling you something you don't already know, I know. But I wanted you to know that I doknow, and understand how challenging it is to nurture yet another cog in your wheel of life - the one that addresses your family's nutrition and fitness. The one that has a huge affect on your family's overall health and wellness.

 Wouldn't we all liketo have increased energy, confidence, mental clarity, joy - decreased body fat, bloat, inflammation, pain? Well, I know it is possible. And yes, I do believe that pursuing it can be FUN. Even with a subtle shift in daily planning, and different choices at the grocery store, you can do this. But it really starts from a basic paradigm ofdetermination. You choose. And, when you develop good habits, you choose the things that have value. Like a healthier approach to eating. And you can share your new zest for this transitioning with your spouse, and your kids. Make it FUN, and the habit will be contagious. This can happen at any age, any stage of life. A small child, a teenager, and even a conditioned adult.

The ability to choose is a unique human endowment. This is what separates us from every other creature on earth. You are proactiveby design. You are innately empowered to make positive changes in your life. In my book, Burn Fat For Fuel, I document my journey from an extremely unhealthy, addicted, and fatperson to a competitive athlete and certified fitness director. In my earlier years I was controlled by cravings, impulses, and what others thought of how I looked. I was reactive. I abdicated my power. I was miserable. I tried every diet and quick fix ever created - dazed and confusedas they say by all the diet industry 'truths' out there. I gained and lost hundreds of pounds. It was too hard. I just gave up. Then, due to an injury, I met an amazing physical therapist, and I came in contact with disciplined, healthy, active people. I was immersed in a different atmosphere, absorbing so much positive, determined energy, that it was empowering. I became proactive. I developed different habits. Habits I have kept for over 30 years.

 These habits were so life-changing, I became determined to share them. FUN (Families Understanding Nutrition )is my Lifestyle program to learn how to eat better, exercise more efficiently, and become leaner, energized, and more productive. It contains modules for individuals, families, and children. It is rooted in the premise that one size does not fit all, and is layered with simple, practical, and sound guidance that will help navigate the health & fitness terrain. The outcome is a higher level of well-being- and an increased awareness of what cannot be ignored. It helps find  the key to unlock the innate passion to self-improve, and provides the knowledge, motivation, and tools to accomplish goals. It acknowledges that goals can be attained in stages, and failure is only a momentary condition in a moment to momentparadigm that celebrates small (but significant) victories, and endless brand new opportunities to begin anew. Take AIM is a template I developed to assess people's unique needs, inform them, and motivate them to explore a healthier lifestyle. It is a Jumpstart program. It contains the evaluation materials (as well as the tools) to determine specific nutrition and exercise requirements.

 My last article explored the link between body fat (and specifically belly fat) and hypoglycemia, and stress. And I said I would continue the conversation. I applaud any effort to find a way to lose body fat. But it is fatwe want to lose. Not muscle. Not 'weight.' So it is not about the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat. So starving yourself will not work in this pursuit, because your body cannibalizes its muscle to feed your brain, and your blood sugar plummets creating a hypoglycemic condition with cravings for some simple carbohydrate to raise blood sugar levels. And while all of this is happening your body is holding on to its fat for dear life. Diets that deprive you of key nutrients that keep your metabolic functions symbiotically humming along will ultimately fail you. Processed foods, energy drinks, 'protein' bars, and other convenience 'meals' aren't locking you into a healthy behavioral pattern that will develop into a good habit. And, look at the ingredients list of this stuff you are spending your money on. If it is as long as Ulysseswith words you cannot pronounce, it is probably not the best choice. Like Acesulfame K - which is yet another artificial sweetener. And, really, how healthy does Red Dye #40 sound? And then there is the ever-present corn syrup. Campaigns to convince you that this stuff is benign say it is a 'natural' product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation. Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more. While accessing articles and abstracts from noted researchers I found so much evidence to support keeping yourself (and your kids) away from this stuff that it cannot be ignored. When I built my company, Live It Or Diet,Iwas honored and privileged to work with one of these incredible scientists - Dr. Jeffrey Bland (a renowned nutritional biochemist and student of Linus Pauling). His, and other research shows that sugar in anyform causes obesity and disease in the amounts consumed bythe average American adult and child - 150 pounds per person per year. One 20 ounce sweetened soda, sports drink, or tea has 17 teaspoons of sugar, and the average teenager often drinks two a day! There are 120 teaspoons in one pound of sugar. This means 1/4 pound of sugar is equivalent to 30 teaspoons. An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 ounces of sugar. It only takes four 12-ounce cans of sodas to equal 1/4 pound of sugar! For some people, drinking this amount of soda in one day is a daily habit. And sugar is hidden in so many other products we consume, like: salad dressings, barbeque sauces, ketchup, crackers, soup, breads, and more. So add that in as well.

Less than 100 years ago, the average intake of sugar was only about 4 pounds per person per year.

 Food dyes! Americans are currently eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. It seems we now need our foods to have more appealing colors. Manufacturers opt to use synthetic dyes rather than natural colorants from foods, and those synthetic dyes have dangerous health consequences - particularly for children. Research has associated synthetic dyes with problems in children including: allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A published U.S. study I read said; when children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity consumed a food-dye blend they performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo.A British study found that; children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.)There are movements petitioning the FDA to ban food dyes - like Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Yellow 5 and Red 2 and 40. I mean, honestly. Do we really need them???

So your cereal is not green or pink.

 It is vitally important to reduce artificial ingredients, sugars, and saturated fats in order to keep your digestive system properly balanced. As I have said, an unbalanced gut can cause inflammation, bloating, and weight gain. So why would you drink a 'meal replacement' drink that contains stuff that is: made from chemically digested wood chips, used in diaper rash medications - or 100 other things that you don't want to know about. Because it's easy? One researcher wrote: "Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency." We let companies mislead us. We turn a blind eye.

So, bottoms up.

 Listen, I am a big fan of more convenient nutritional solutions - like naturalshakes that include fiber, protein, fruit, and other healthy ingredients that nourish, alkalize and energize. If you already are enjoying smoothies that are pre-made no muss no fuss and want to know why to go through the hassle to make your own, I hope I have given you ample reasons to try this. By stripping smoothies of dairy (especially if that is an issue for you), sugars, and artificial ingredients, the recipe I am about to share with you maximizes all that is great about protein smoothies - supplying easily digestible optimal nutrition, critical alkalization, energy, and satiation at any time of the day. Every morning I make a shake for my husband, Pat and I. It is not much of a process, and it is so rewarding! In a blender I mix a little V-8 Fusion with an unsweetened non-dairy milk, (we like vanilla almond milk - Silk or Almond Breeze) a tablespoon of So Delicious plain yogurt (also non-dairy), a banana, some frozen mixed fruit (you can buy it in a bag at the supermarket), and Vega OneAll-In-One Nutritional Shake. I have researched so many protein powders. This is a good one. It is plant-based. There is no added sugar (less than 1 gram of sugar). There are greens, fiber, 20 grams of protein, and probiotics - promoting gut health. We love French Vanilla (but there are other flavors). This daily shake I make supports our mission to include only positively impacting meals in our diet. (It is one of our 4 daily meals). It makes us feel great. It stabilizes blood sugar. It is filling. And it is yum.

Now, bottoms up. 

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Stressed-Out, Hypoglycemic, and Can't See My Shoes


maneatingbellyTake a moment to look down at your belly. Do you like what you see? Is it flat, firm, and fiercely defiant to gravity? No? Uh oh. That thing that is blocking your view of your shoes is your enemy. You need to take aim at this enemy if you are going to have a healthy, productive, vital, joy-filled and long life. Belly fat is deadly.                                                          

 I was asked to write an article on hypoglycemia. So why am I targeting belly fat? Can I possibly draw a direct line between hypoglycemia and this enemy? Watch me. Not only will I inscribe that connection, I will include how burnout (stress) is in that picture as well. Whaa? That's right - stay tuned.


Let's start with hypoglycemia. What is it? Most of us know it is a blood sugar condition. After you eat, your pancreas responds to a rise in blood sugar (glucose) by secreting insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone, and it ushers the glucose into your cells. When you consume a diet high in sugar and low in fiber, you are bombing your pancreas with demands for insulin to remove the sugar from your blood. This can lead to hypoglycemia, where the pancreas sends out too much insulin and blood sugar levels plummet below the level necessary to maintain well being. Constant assaults can destroy the insulin producing cells of the pancreas...leading to insulin resistance (a decreased sensitivity to insulin) and eventually diabetes (where your blood sugar remains high).The average American consumes 100 pounds of white sugar (sucrose) and 40 pounds of corn syrup (it is in just about everything - read labels) each year. As a result, diabetes and hypoglycemia are on the rise - not just in adults but also in children.         

Now, I'd like to ask you a question. How do you handle your stress? Are you frequently stressed-out? When blood sugar levels take a nose dive, or if a person is under stress, it may result in the release of adrenaline and cortisol by the adrenal glands - supplying energy and vital assertiveness necessary for any active need, crisis or not. Constant stress will also stress out your adrenal glands, leading to adrenal 'insufficiency' or 'fatigue.' When your adrenal gland function becomes so impaired that you lose your ability to handle stress, you are in burnout. Once in burnout you, among other things, cannot assimilate nutrients from your food properly, and you are unable to access the sugar (glucose) reserves in your liver. You then constantly crave simple carbohydrates while in the throes of perpetual fatigue. The pancreas steps up and tries to compensate, serving as a back-up system for exhausted adrenals. In an effort to maintain energy levels, it over-secretes insulin. This over secretion of insulin results in an assortment of symptoms that are commonly lumped under the term hypoglycemia-headaches/migraines, brain fog, extreme fatigue, (especially a few hours after eating), shakiness, sweats, irritability, anxiety, dizziness upon standing, angina, extreme hunger, crying spells, fits of anger, and heart palpitations. But, it could be in fact a combination - a perfect storm of issues resulting from poor diet and lifestyle.

Okay, now you are tired. You are stressed. You are hungry and craving something sweet. So you slam a simple carbohydrate, which quickly elevates your blood sugar. Bam - insulin escorts the sugar from your blood. Boom - you crash. The vicious cycle continues - taxing your control mechanisms. Now your pancreas is exhausted - propelling your body beyond hypoglycemia into insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes. Here comes the belly connection (you were waiting for that weren't you). With insulin resistance, fat tends to accumulate in the abdominal area. That's right. Your belly.

Research has revealed that theSWEET REVENGE LOGO copy.jpgre are different kinds of fat in and on our bodies. There is brown fat (good), beige fat (good), white subcutaneous fat (neutral but too much is not good - and its not pretty), and white visceral fat (bad). Visceral fat is the demon that wraps around your inner organs, extending your abdomen (often making it very hard). It is incredibly dangerous. Think of it as an alien (yes you can recall that movie image - might help). It doesn't even come from the same set of stem cells as other fat. It has evolved in a completely different way. And it spits out horrible chemicals that elevate your blood pressure, and increase your risk of stroke. All the toxins and fatty acids given off by this monster are dumped into the liver, and can wreak all kinds of havoc - like high cholesterol, depression, insulin resistance, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and liver failure. Belly fat is not a benign extension of your self. It is a living parasite eager to grow. And we now know that a diet low in fiber, high in simple carbs, and high in saturated fat help it grow. Every time you take in more energy than you spend, each individual visceral fat cell in your body becomes larger. The larger they grow, the more metabolically active they are. And their prime directive is to become even bigger. So they release more chemicals, which cause more inflammation, and make you crave more carbs and saturated fats. And around and around it goes - with your belly fat gaining in size and power. But not only your belly. The white subcutaneous fat on the rest of your body grows too. You are an increasingly vulnerable, weakened, fat victim - under attack by a force youhelped create. Think about it. But you are not defeated - yet. There are weapons in your arsenal that can vanquish this foe, and as in all good sci-fi movies - you will emerge victorious. You can reverse all of this - the fat, the blood sugar issues, the health risks, the mental and emotional woes - all of it. Hallelujah!

As I said at the jump - stay tuned...



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