Category Archives: health

Healthy Energy Drinks

It’s an all too true reality of life, noon comes and goes and takes with it your productivity and attention span. That’s when we reach for those liquid cures in hopes of actually getting some work done before the sun goes down. Be it your fifth cup of coffee, a fizzy sugary soda pop or the magic energy potion in the shiny metal can.

So I got to thinking, is there a way to get passed that afternoon sleepy slump without the sugar/caffeine? Well try these substitutes and see for yourself.

The Fire and Rain – 3-4 8oz glasses throughout the day

  • filtered water
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Sleep is the best thing you can do for you body in terms of keeping it functioning at optimum levels. But, let’s face it between work, family and friends and keeping up with hobbies, getting 7-8 hours every night is next to impossible. Staying hydrated is the next best thing and this drink will help you in this endeavor. It’s just water with a squeezed lemon slice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. The lemon adds flavor and is alkaline, which helps your body maintain a healthy pH level. The cayenne pepper helps raise energy levels naturally and provides protection for your heart by helping to maintain proper cardiovascular movement throughout the body.

The Elixir Vitae – as needed, during the day, not before bed

  • hot water
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp honey (to taste)
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric

Cut off two thin slices of ginger and place in your cup or mug. Use a garlic press to juice the remaining ginger into your mug. Add spices, fill your mug with hot water and stir.

This delicious drink is the closest thing to a non-caffeine/refined sugar pick me up. Ginger speeds up metabolism and increases circulation. It also aids in the digestive process which can help stave off the post lunch coma that contributes to the afternoon slump. Turmeric, a cousin of ginger, also helps speed things up in the body, including energy levels. And Cardamom has long been valued medicinally for its ability to increase circulation and improve energy. Honey is mother nature’s equivalent of an energy shot and is one of the best kinds of sugars for your body.

The Preemptive Measure  – 1 glass in the morning

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 scoop of high quality whey protein powder (low sugar content)
  • 2 washed kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup milk of choice

A deficit of protein in your die is often the reason for fatigue. A morning protein shake is a really easy and delicious way to make sure that you’re starting the day off well fueled. Pair this with a piece of whole grain toast and you have everything you need to give you a solid energy foundation for the day.

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How to Wake up Early to Workout

Busy schedules sometimes mean waking up earlier just to get a workout in. I know it’s hard, it was hard for me to wake up early just to write about waking up early to workout. But there are some benefits to getting a workout in before you really start your day.

  • Morning exercises “jump start” your metabolism and kick your body into overdrive, helping you burn more calories throughout the remainder of your day.
  • Doing something good for your body in the morning energizes you for the day.
  • Studies show that working out in the morning helps brain activity for four to ten hours after exercising. Harness your new super power toward good, not evil.
  • Regular exercise leads to better sleep quality meaning you won’t need as much and it’ll gradually be easier to wake up earlier. You might not even need an alarm some days. It’s a cycle of good health.
  • Keeping a consistent exercise schedule regulates your bodies endocrine system and circadian rhythm. This means your body will start to recognize a pattern. It won’t be confused by different wake times and will start to regulate various systems in your body.
  • Working out in the morning leads to healthier diet choices throughout their day. Endorphins tend to suppress appetite.
  • Exercising in the morning gives you an opportunity to plan your day, pray, or just be alone with your thoughts.
  • If you “get it over with” in the morning, your fitness goals are less likely to slip through the cracks of a busy life.
I hope you’re convinced to give morning exercise a try. Here are some helpful tips to help you get up earlier and get moving.
If you’re running out of workout ideas, check out my printable workouts here.

Gluten-ous

It’s time to get to the bottom of this gluten free business. It’s clear that it’s not just going to leave stage right. I’m finally going to investigate gluten and living gluten-free.

According to the Mayo Clinic “A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).” The mayo clinic describes the purpose of a gluten-free diet as, “a treatment for celiac disease.”

Apparently Peter Gibson is the originator of the idea of gluten intolerance. He published a study in 2011 which found gluten to cause gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease. This study was one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date that gluten intolerance is a condition.

Like any good scientist, Gibson was unsatisfied with these results and proceeded to conduct an even more rigorous study in 2013, where he found that subjects reportedly worsening gastrointestinal distress with each meal. Gluten wasn’t the cause, the cause was likely psychological and Gibson stated, “In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.”

Source: Gluten Free Club

It seems that going gluten-free is largely market driven and not based on any scientific evidence. Manufacturers, large and small, are jumping on the band wagon labeling products as gluten-free to appease the masses. But is it really good for us to adopt a diet sans gluten if celiac disease does not ail us?

Here’s my “professional” opinion: Of course you will feel better when you stop consuming all the pastries and cookies and crackers! It’s logic. Don’t replace these gluten-filled items with the gluten-free products that have come out. These are often even more processed and pumped with extra sugar and fat. If you HAVE to adopt a gluten-free diet, adopt a generally healthier diet as well. If you cook more at home using real ingredients, cutting out more processed foods, you will feel better! Regardless of the presence of gluten, so stop vilifying one food group… please.

Eat more vegetables and fruit. Eat more real ingredients and less processed items. Allow yourself a treat every once in a while. Donut, ice cream, whatever your vice is, everything in moderation.

Source: Flour Advisory Bureau

One good thing I’ve seen coming out of this fad is that gluten-free products are more easily available and less expensive for people who actually do have celiac disease. And that’s a win in my book.

Further reading