Farmer’s Market Finds

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One of the vendors that we purchase from at the Farmer’s Market at City Hall and in summer, on 104 Street recently had heart surgery for a heart defect (not cardiovascular disease).  We know this vendor well and he eats a whole foods/Paleo-based diet.  He also eats a very alkaline diet to reduce inflammation.

While in the care of the cardiac unit at the Royal Alex and then after at the Mazankowski Institute, he met other heart patients who were on whole foods/Paleo type of food plans and they recovered well and quickly from their medical procedures.  The vendor also got to know very well, the cardiac staff at the hospital and the Mazankowski Institute and discovered that a good number of the doctors, nurses and other practitioners were eating a whole foods/Paleo-based diet.

The news in all this is that our vendor was not able to work for a while after his heart surgery but was off work for far less time because of his previous daily physical activity level which is running a farm (no pesticides, no herbicides, no GMO’s, no antibiotics, no growth hormones) and his whole foods/Paleo nutrition as a lifestyle.

Andreas, we are happy to see you at the Market again and doing so well.  We buy our duck fat, duck eggs, duck breast and much of our sprouted greens for our green drinks from Greens Eggs & Ham.  Be sure to say “hello” to Andreas and Mary Ellen when you see them at City Hall (fall/winter) or 104th Street Farmer’s Market (spring/summer).

 

What is Health Span?

The term life span is familiar to the majority of people.

hourglass

There’s a new kid on the block now, as defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary, known as health span.

“A person’s health span is the length of time that the person is healthy – not just alive”.

So, as our mentor liked to quote, “are you living short and dying long?”

We believe that whole foods nutrition and daily exercise will help to increase your health span as well as your life span.  So, do you want to be more than just alive?  Do you want to live out your years ageing well – with vigor and vitality?

Here is where we come in and we are here to help.  I am nearly 60 and Jack is nearly 64 and we have no plans in stopping what we do anytime soon!  As active ageing Baby Boomers who are full-time fitness trainers and nutrition coaches, we would love to help you increase both your life span AND your health span.  We have the nutrition program and fitness training regimen appropriate to your age and your ability to assist you in achieving this goal.  We invite you to contact us!

Your Brain Loves it When You Move!

brain weightsDo you know that when you exercise, you can regenerate brain cells?

When you exercise, you also release serotonin, which improves your mood!

Endorphins get released when you exercise, which dulls the sensation of pain, especially for those who suffer with arthritis.

During and after exercise, dopamine is released, which improves motivation, focus and learning ability.

Norepinephrine is also released during and after exercise, which improves perception and your attention span.

The brain’s learning and memory part, the hippocampus, grows in size with regular exercise.

Exercise also helps your hormones regulate better, providing mental clarity and repairing the neurons in the brain from degeneration.

We don’t know about you but we want to stay sharp as well as staying fit as we age so we encourage you to make exercise a daily part of your lifestyle.  We would love to help you get started!

brain before and after exercise

Spice. . .is the Variety of Life!

spice

I always like to share any unusual finds that I come across when shopping, especially when it comes to food or fitness.

Those who know me, know that I love Middle Eastern food and Indian food.  To me the blend of spices these countries use in their cooking smells like perfume.  I came across these 3 sets of spices at Superstore in the “ethnic foods” aisle and promptly brought them home to add them to my meals that I am cooking this week.

With ingredient blends such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom in the Chicken Shawarma blend, who says I can’t use that on my fish?

Or the Kibbeh Spices blend, with blended ingredients such as cloves, marjoram, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and rose; who says I can’t use that on some beef sausages that I will roast in the oven later.  I am just imagining how good my kitchen is going to smell today!

Consider using the Shisk Taouk spice blend with ingredients such as pepper, ginger, paprika, chili, fenugreek and garlic on some pork tenderloin that has been brushed with a cherry chipotle glaze before putting it in the crockpot to simmer on low.

I apologize for the poor quality photo here but the brand name is ARZ and it is a product of Lebanon.  These bottles of spice are blended and ready to go so be bold and add some interesting flavours to the meats you cook and even use them on roasted vegetables too.  Another bonus is that the spices just make the food look appetizing with the colour that they add to the meat or vegetables.  I have already sampled two meals with them (some wings on Friday night and some Hake fish today) and will be experimenting with more meals.  As it is Valentine’s Day on Sunday, be adventurous with savory spices and try something different for that romantic dinner you might be having.

heart hands

 

Sleepless in ____________.

sleep mask

I use one of these to help me sleep.  I am sensitive to light and prefer to sleep in a darkened room.  Summer morning sunrises I love but I don’t like the sun streaming into my face at 5:30 a.m. in my southeast facing bedroom so these are a necessity.

How well you sleep influences a lot of things.  How you perform throughout the day.  Your ability to focus.  Your mood.  It influences your food choices.  Your ability to recover from the flu or a cold.

I have always been a light sleeper so the sleep mask helps but so do these little guys because I sleep next to an occasional snorer.  I also wake up easily from traffic noise and the birds who want to announce their arrival in the large pine tree across the street.  So, ear plugs to the rescue.

earplugsI don’t have trouble falling asleep but for those who do or need a nice little ritual to help them fall asleep, the Nightwave light will help lull you into a peaceful slumber with its gently pulsing light.  It puts your brain into a delta state, which is the most restorative of brainwave patterns, encouraging healing, deep relaxation and the release of growth hormone, which becomes more scarce as we age.

 

nightwaveWhatever remedy you choose to aid you in a peaceful sleep is as individual as you are.  I also wind down with a book and that is a real book, printed on paper and not an e-reader, which is a screen that almost guarantees you will experience a less sound sleep.  We also minimize our screen use 1 hour before bed and keep the clock face turned away to the wall and any ambient light is kept to a minimum.  Black out curtains or blinds will work to keep the bright sun out of your bedroom if your room is a south-facing exposure or west-facing.

Lacking a good night’s sleep is often the reason why you can’t lose those last 10 pounds.  The practice of good sleep hygene is essential to your health so try some of these tips here if you are having trouble with your sleep.

 

See (Sea) Food Chowder!

Another busy day in our household so out came the crockpot again!  Got two busy renovation guys to feed, so I found some halibut and large shrimp in the freezer and bought a carrot, an onion, 3 celery ribs and two stalks of lemongrass, plus a dozen oysters to make a large crock of Seafood Chowder.

Everything tastes better with bacon so I prepped some frying bacon, celery and onion in my frypan and fried the veggies to transparent and glossy, then dumped them into my crockpot.  I had some coconut milk warming on the low setting to set the base for this cream soup.

It will cook on low all day with the lemongrass adding its unique flavour to this soup.  I bruised the lemongrass stalks with my mallet to release the fIMG_1771lavour from the stalks, into the soup.  Just before I put the fish in about one and a half hours before serving, I will pull out the lemongrass stalks as they are inedible.  A little sprinkle of smoked paprika adds a nice finish to round out this Seafood Chowder.  I do not generally follow recipes to the exact ingredient but rather I adapt them and add my own spin.  Lots of fun!

IMG_1773The oysters are fresh but were reduced 30% because they were close to their expiry date for optimum freshness so they were a good buy.  Both the guys love oysters so they will add a very rich flavour to the soup.  For all you Paleo people out there, this recipe is 100% Paleo and I adapted it from a recipe that does use dairy for the soup base.  Coconut milk is perfect and is creamy and just a bit sweet without a heavy coconut taste to compete with the fish in the chowder.

 

 

Homework(outs)!

home work outThe majority of our clients that we have, work out at home with their own equipment.  We are experts in teaching you how to fitness train at home, because that is where we do our own training for 65 – 70% of our time.  We do also go to a gym primarily to use some machines on occasion and to lift heavier weights than we have at our studio to challenge ourselves.

Gym workouts offer a more social aspect to fitness training but when you socialize, typically you spend less time training, thereby reducing the effectiveness of your gym workout.

A lot of the gym equipment looks nice but it may not work well with the human anatomy and the intricacies of our muscles and joints, especially if you are a taller or a shorter individual.  Jack and I usually choose free weights (dumbbells and barbells over machines) and we combine that training with body weight exercises.  We also throw in some brief interval training to warm up before we start our workout at home or at the gym.

At home, while you are exercising, you will be able to stay focused and should have a faster and more effective workout.  In the gym, you can have many interruptions such as other people wanting to work in with you on equipment or people interrupting you to socialize.

If you are into interval training, Tabata or HIIT training, circuit training or supersetting and giant sets, at home is the best place to do these kinds of workouts as if you do these workouts at a gym, typically not all the equipment you need is available at the time you need it.  Many of our clients do Tabata training, interval and HIIT workouts, circuit workouts, giant sets and supersets at home in our exercise programs.  They can get a whole workout done in 1 hour, sometimes even 45 minutes.  We also teach our clients how to stretch after a workout, which is important for recovery as well.

Home workouts offer you the chance to exercise without egos working out nearby, trying to impress!  However when we do see this in the gym, it brings value to the gym workout because of the entertainment it provides!

A serious disadvantage to workouts at the gym is the rising cost of memberships, lack of equipment maintenance in some gyms and the limited amount of time that you can actually get a good workout in due to the crowds in the gym at peak hours.  Sometimes the commute to the gym after work and the changing into workout clothes can add extra time onto that gym workout and then you have to do it all over again, to go home.

Home workouts are very practical and effective.  If you want to save some money, work out at home and reap big benefits and great results!  Talk to us to help you to get started – we would be happy to assist!

Slow Food in a Fast World

shank and squashThose who know me know that I use my crockpot a lot.  In fact, we have two of them going sometimes.

I especially like them when we are busy on weekends and want a hot, delicious meal with meat and vegetables and a salad on the side.  Today I have beef shanks with lots marrow in the bone slow-roasting with some onions, bay leaf, herbs and red wine.  The acorn squash will be cut up and added to the mix about halfway through the cooking, or if I forget, I will roast the squash in the oven separately with some olive oil to brown it.

Crockpots are great aids to busy lifestyles and they are low maintenance.  I use the low setting almost always and let food cook for a minimum of 5 hours up to a maximum of 8 to 10 hours.  Be careful not to put too much liquid in the crockpot as the meat and vegetables will release their own moisture.

A slow cooker ensures that we are on our mark with our food plan and are not tempted to run out for fast food, which isn’t as healthy as a home-cooked “slow food” meal.  Lamb shanks are especially great to slow-cook in the crockpot!  There are many great crockpot recipes to try and this is also a Paleo-friendly recipe.

Stressed? Exercise or Meditate!

frayed

With the uncertainty in our economy today, many people are stressed out.  Many people use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and their previous good habits such as eating nourishing foods and daily exercise fall by the wayside.

Because you have stress in your life is all the more reason to eat healthy food and keep up an exercise regimen, including self-care such as massage therapy or taking a yoga or meditation class to help you to work through the stress.

Stress can cause brain atrophy, affecting your memory in particular.  Exercise promotes norepinephrine production that improves cognitive ability, mood elevation, sharper focus and ability to learn and retain information.  Going for a vigorous run, a brisk walk outside, taking a yoga class or meditation will result in immediate reduction of stress.

Align exercise with healthy, whole food choices and avoiding sugary foods will help keep your mood elevated and your energy as well – as stress is an energy-thief.

If stress is affecting you, ask us how we can help.  Keeping up an exercise and healthy eating regime has saved us many times during stressful events in our lives.  We cannot envision ourselves giving up healthy coping skills only to feel worse.

legs up wall

A Long & Strong Future!

74 year old choice

Spending an hour on the treadmill isn’t enough.  Neither is walking the dog.  As you age, your body is in a state of deterioration, starting as early as age 30.  By age 50, most of us will have lost over 20% of our muscle mass.  This means age-related weight gain as we gain more body fat and loose our strength.

You age faster, unless you are doing a strength training program ideally, 3 times a week.

Stop doing the slow, steady-state cardio day after day.  Raise your resting metabolic rate by adding a little muscle to your body.

Studies show that the last 6 to 8 years of our lives are spent either dependent and unable to look after ourselves or in a nursing home in a zombie-like state on multiple medications.

The good news is that increasing frailty in our later years is preventable.

Three times weekly strength training and healthy fats and lean protein served with vegetables will raise our metabolic rate, keep us vigorous and able to do all our daily activities such as making the bed, cooking meals for ourselves, showering and bathing and navigating stairs in our home.

My father Denis is 82 this year and prepares and cooks all his own meals (even though we live in the same house!), bathes and showers himself, does his own laundry, makes his own bed, cleans his living area, works out in our studio daily and goes for a walk after.  He also plays pickle ball in the warmer months.  He is also a seasoned traveler and is still able to drive long distances.

We can help you prepare for a long and strong future.  Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you build your long and strong future!

cycling seniorIMG_1516

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