Category Archives: Urban Health

Are Your Core Values on Rinse, Wash, Repeat?

You have probably read about the importance of core values, both for business and in your personal life. Maybe you have even done a workshop on the topic. Identifying your core values is one thing. But, what are you doing on a daily basis to put them into action, so that your core values will truly become a part of you?

“What are you doing on a daily basis to put them into action, so that your core values will truly become a part of you?”

For most people I think we get stuck at the slogan version, “have integrity” “be kind” “work hard” and so on.  The slogan version both sounds and looks good. But, it doesn’t say anything about how to implement that value on a daily basis. If you don’t have a clear daily map to guide you, how will you ever get to where you want to go? The difference is thinking that the top of the mountain probably looks good, compared to making it all the way up the mountain and enjoying the actual view. I think this key component is missed by most of us.

-Are you stuck at the “Slogan version”?

Excellent coaches are hard to come by, and I am always very happy when I find one that I think is worth listening to. Ben Bergeron belongs in that group, and I hope that this podcast will make you think about your core values and most importantly – how to implement them into daily actions. Even a small action put on rinse, wash, repeat will make a big impact given enough time.

Here is the link to the 30min podcast if you want to download it: Living Based on Core Values by Chasing Excellence.

And if your prefer to watch, here is the video of the podcast.

 

Have fun chasing excellence this weekend! 😉

 


The Push Up Lie Detector Test – Will You Pass?

Recently I have seen a lot of shoulder wear and tear in my practice, often directly related to the amount of push ups my clients have been doing. With today’s many Fitness Challenges going viral, one of the popular ones being +100 push ups a day for 30 days, I have also seen shoulder problems increasing.

Why is that? Shouldn’t more push ups just make you stronger? The answer is poor technique! Just because you can do a lot of repetitions does not automatically mean that you are doing it right.

Are your fingers pointed forward? Are your elbows locked out? Are your forearms staying straight at 90 degrees from the floor at all times during the movement? Is your shoulder moving forward first (not your elbow!)? Is your core braced so that your spine and upper body moves as one unit pivoting from the floor?

Did you nod your head in agreement while reading those questions? Or, are you not really sure what I mean by them?  If so, you should take good look at  your push up technique right away. Unless you did higher levels gymnastics as school, or just happened to have an amazing coach, most likely this is all new to you. That’s OK. Don’t feel bad about it – get smart instead, and learn to do it right.

Doing push ups with poor technique is like driving a car where the wheel base is off. You can still drive it, but it will always pull a bit to the side and the tires will wear out unevenly and quickly because of the uneven weight distribution. You can think of your shoulders as your upper wheelbase (your hips being the lower) and the same uneven wear and tear will happen there. However, it’s not so easy to “change out the damaged tires” in a human body.

So what’s your game plan? Are you going to blame it on the tires, or are you going to invest some time and energy making sure that your wheel base is solid? Think of it this way. A well functioning machine with good alignment might need some extra oil once in a while but it will not break down just because you increased the repetitions. If it does, something is wrong with the mechanics and you need to fix it.

Coach Carl Paoli is an excellent movement coach, whom I have tremendous respect for. I think it would be a smart move on your part to pay attention to his teachings in all things movement. Practical tip: When you are practicing this, it is a great idea to put a book, block, ball or something behind your forearm. This is to make sure that your forearm does not move backwards during the push up. If your forearm comes in contact with the object, you know it moved, and you can adjust accordingly.

 

If you are not able to do a complete push up yet, follow this push up scale video. Pay good attention and don’t worm yourself out of this one 😉

 

Ok, so you think that you already have great mechanics? Great, check yourself in the push up lie detector test by turning your hands the opposite way, having the fingers pointing toward your toes. Also, find out why doing push ups on your knees is not good for your shoulders, and why it will not lead you into a proper push up.

We all need to pay attention to good technique, especially when it comes to the basics as they lay the ground work for all other movement. When it comes to injury prevention there really is no substitute for a solid foundation with great mechanics.

Wishing you a great Push up into the weekend! 😉

 

 

 


Photo by Chris Benson and Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

This App Will Make Your Running Coach Obsolete

Last weekend I had the great pleasure to run the half marathon “halvevanhaarlem” in the Netherlands. Haarlem is situated in between Amsterdam and the ocean, and it is a very nice and laid back city. The running route was really fun, going through narrow city streets, cute neighborhoods, through the sand dunes on smaller trails, and we even ran on some gravel roads next to the canals.

The Plan and Preparation
I had never ran a half marathon before, and I knew I needed a plan to follow when I made up my mind to go for it. I decided to try the Nike+ Running app, NRC. With people like Ryan Flaherty behind the app, who is a brilliant coach and really knows what he is talking about, I wanted to see if the app could get me prepared. I went to the “coach” in the app, set the date for my half marathon, and put in the details of my running at the time. The app then set up a plan for me to follow, making sure that I did not increase the kilometers too soon. So far, so good.

Most common mistakes
Often people are so motivated, that they increase the mileage way too soon, only to get injured, and not being able to run at all. A second fault I see most people do is that they don’t change up their training with intervals, or any kind of strength training. For half marathons and beyond people typically just try to collect a lot of kilometers. This will not really make you a lot faster or stronger. It’s more of a surviving the grind kind of a thing. I think that it is neither fun nor smart training.

It is much better for the body to change things up, and do different things. The app does this very well, and I can tell you that on my own I would not have run so many different intervals as I did with this program. Sure, intervals are hard work, but it is also fun and the training sessions goes by a lot faster. And, it is really cool when you notice that your speed is improving.

The Nike+ Running Club App is also connected to the Nike+ Training Club app. I think it is a brilliant concept to put these two together, to build a more well rounded athlete. Because of this some of my scheduled training sessions were flexibility and strength training, and no running. It’s a great way to keep the fitness up, but letting the body adapt to more running step by step.

The Goal
My goal for the half marathon was to be as well prepared as I could, so that I could enjoy the day. I did not want to have to worry about injuring myself. I really think that all the interval work I did was key, because I only had 2 longer runs in the whole program at 14.5km and 16.5km. On the day of the race I felt really great and was able to enjoy the event. My goal was achieved! Two days after the event I was out with my friend playing catch with her dogs, and she said “you don’t move like someone who just ran a half marathon!” Trust me, I am no natural gazelle so I contribute that to the good programming and not increasing the kilometers to soon.

Running with the phone
Practically, I really do not like to run with my phone though. I don’t like the arm wrap from Nike, and the best solution so far that I have found is a sports bra from Lululemon that has an extra pocket for the phone on your back. If you have any other good suggestions do let me know. Instead I used my Garmin watch to get the length and time of my run, and then I just added it manually in the app. I would only run with my phone on the days where I had to do a “bench mark”  to see how I had improved. This worked well enough for me. However, I believe that you will get the most out of the app if you always use the phone.

A really good running coach is of course never obsolete. But most people are probably looking for more general guidance. As these apps are free and will help you to be smart with your training, there really is no reason not to use them. It would also be smart to work on your running technique for your long-term plan. Maybe there is a workshop somewhere close to you?

For your next running goal, whether it’s just for you getting off the sofa or taking part in a race, I would say you have two good options.
1. Get the app and follow the instructions as best as you can.
2. Find a real knowledgeable running coach who can help you.

Having a plan behind the training will make you better, less prone to injury and the training will be a lot more fun – what’s not to like?

“Failing to plan, is planning to fail”
Enjoy your weekend! 😉



Full disclosure, I am not affiliated with Nike.

A great podcast “The Savant of Speed” with Ryan Flaherty and Tim Ferriss
The Savant of Speed — Ryan Flaherty

Photo by Bruno Nascimento, Tim Gouw, Autumn Goodman, William Iven, Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Help M-O keep it clean

The question just recently came up from one of my new clients. “Why do I feel so tired after a sports massage?” It was her first session of a sports/deep tissue massage in a very long time, and she was in bed by 9pm that night. If it’s your first time in a while since a sports massage this might often be the case. It will get better after a few sessions, as the body starts cleaning out the gunk that has been stored in it for so long. Gunk, what gunk?

Stored gunk
We store heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants and other toxins in the fatty tissue in our bodies. When there is an overexposure of these toxins, or the liver is under too much stress for other reasons, it cannot clear out all the toxins right away. As a protective mechanism the body then stores these toxins in the fatty tissue. This may be a good short term strategy, but with all the toxins that we are faced with everyday, we just keep accumulating toxins in our fatty tissues. The liver is under constant pressure to catch up with all the cleaning. This is on top of all the usual waste products that the liver has to clean up as well, like for instance lactic acid.

A thorough deep cleaning
As you are getting a sports massage, it’s in a way like a deep spring cleaning of your house. You will find dirt you didn’t know about and it will take some effort to get the house cleaned. Going deep into the tissues will help liberate stored toxins and waste products and get it out of storage and into the bloodstream. From there it gets transported to the liver, who can safely disassemble them and make sure the garbage leaves our body through the urine and poop.

It gets worse before it gets better
I had a client who used to smoke a lot and had recently quit, and the first couple of times she felt really nauseous after the massage. This was due to the built up of toxins from years of smoking that now were released out of the fatty tissues and into the bloodstream. As the toxins enters the bloodstream, it can make you feel worse at first, before the liver can take care of it. For the body it is like you just ingested all those toxins again.

Another client works as a painter and is constantly in contact with toxic fumes. Changing his line of work is not an option, even though from a body-toxicity exposure that would be better. Instead he has created a preventative strategy that works very well for him.  On a regular basis he goes to the sauna, gets deep tissue massage, runs a couple of times a week, stays well hydrated and takes herbal supplements to support his liver. Twice a year he does a week of detoxification as well.

“It is unrealistic to think that we can all change our work or where we live based on the amount of toxicity that we are exposed too. But, we can certainly have an influence on how well the body is prepared to deal with it all.” [2]

Being M-O
It takes a lot of work and energy for the liver to deal with all the extra cleaning that comes from the toxins that just entered the bloodstream. By getting a deeper treatment you are helping the body to start the process of self-healing through detoxification and an increased blood circulation. Therefore it is very common to feel extra tired due to the energy expended.
From my experience, the better shape your body is in all around, the less tired you will be. Feeling relaxed after a massage, which you should be, is different from being tired.
The life of your liver is very much like being M-O, and you are the one that keeps bringing in the dirt. So, take very good care of M-O. Help him out by bringing in as little dirt as possible, as he is doing his very best continuously taking care of you!

Extra tension
It is common to feel extra tension for 1-2 days in some areas of the body that felt very tight during the massage. After the very  first couple of sessions you may even feel it for a few more days, but that should subside as your body gets used to the treatment. You should not have any bruises after a sports or deep tissue massage. If that happens let your massage therapist know so that they can adjust their work with you accordingly.

Best preparation
Make sure you are hydrated before the treatment and hydrate well after. It is the quickest way to make sure that the body has enough fluids to easily transport and disassemble all of the gunk that is coming out of storage. You will help the body to recover quickly and you are making it easy for M-O (the liver) to do his job. If you are, or know that you have been exposed to a lot of toxins, it might also be a good idea to support your liver with some herbal supplements.

Take good care of M-O and have a great weekend! 😉

 


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569688/
[2]quote from Nathalie Visser

Photo by Jeremy Bishop, Hernan Sanchez, Pan Xiaozhen, Tim Mossholder and Matt Hoffman  on Unsplash

Procrastinating? Let’s activate the Panic Monster!

Completing a task is easy, right? You set out a goal, and line up some intermediate steps to get you there. It’s just like walking up the stairs, taking one step at a time, and –voila– you are there. Mission completed. Well, if it is that easy, how come so many of us are still procrastinating? Did you start the new hydration plan yet? Did you go out running, or go to the gym like you had planned? Did you do your mobility exercises? And so on…so what gets in the way?

Wanting, planning or actually doing?
Wanting to do something, and even planning for it is very different to actually getting it done. Too often the instant gratification monkey takes over, and the rational decision maker is no longer in control of where we are going. It is not until the Panic Monster has been activated that we are able to deactivate the monkey.

What am I talking about?!
Tim Urban explains in his humorous and enlightening TED talk how a procrastinators brain work, and what all of these characters has to do with it. And, since we are all procrastinators on one level or another this means that he is talking about you and me…

Ok, so I recognize myself in this. Now what?
Be sure to set a deadline for your goal, this allows the Panic Monster to keep the instant gratification monkey quiet. Tell a friend about it, or even better, get a friend to join you, because this keeps you accountable. Then make the task not seem too daunting by dividing it into smaller pieces. Tim has written about it here in his blog as well.

Here is an easy example.
Goal: To drink 3 Liters of water, with added salt, per day, in 3 weeks.
If you are currently only drinking 1 Liter, 3 Liter a day will seem almost unimaginable. But, can you start your day with 1 big glass of water? Sure!
That is a very attainable step, and to remind yourself to get it done in the early morning, place the cup somewhere where you cannot miss it the night before. Easy!
After a couple of days, maybe your next step is to add drinking a big glass of water as soon as you get home. Again, no big deal, and this is an easy habit to adopt. Well, if you are using a large cup, or glass by now you have almost added a Liter of water to your day, and it was easy, right? Just continue down that path, and you will reach your goal swiftly without even having to activate the Panic Monster.

Wishing you a great weekend – where the instant gratification monkey won’t take over too much of your valuable time  😉

 


Photo credit to Sander Smeekes, Ethan Sykes and Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Adding Salt to the Hydration Formula

Last week we took a deeper dive into the importance of water in the body, and how to figure out your very own Hydration Formula. Today we will look at the importance of salt in hydration. As a large percentage of our bodies consists of water, the role that salt plays in it becomes very important.

“Not only is blood mostly water, but the watery portion of blood, the plasma, has a concentration of salt and other ions that is remarkably similar to sea water.”[1]

Salt in the human body is involved in many different functions such as regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction, sending nerve impulses, and regulating the fine balance in the sodium-potassium pump. You can think of the sodium-potassium pump as a doorway in the surrounding cell wall (cell-membrane). It is critical for good cell function that this door is able to open and close whenever it needs to. When there is a dis-balance between sodium and potassium in the body the cell cannot get the nutrients or messages that it needs, and it is also becomes difficult to send anything out of the cell.

But, isn’t salt bad for you?
Yes and no. The salt that is bad for you is the type of salt that you will find in processed foods and your typical crisp white table salt. These salts have been highly refined and stripped of their beneficial minerals. They are often bleached to become extra white, and have added chemicals in them to keep them from clumping. These things are definitely not good for your health, and are something to stay away from. However, sea-salt such as pink Himalayan sea-salt acts very different to these processed salts.

Sea-salt is great for your body and we need it!
Did you know that…

SALT
-is a natural antihistamine
-is vital for the kidneys to clear excess acidity
-is essential for preserving the serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain
-is a vital element for diabetics through blood sugar regulation
-clears the lungs of mucus particularly in asthma [2]

We have become so scared of real sea-salt because we have been told for so long that salt (meaning processed salt) is bad for us. This has created a problem where people who care about what they eat are eating so “clean” that they more or less omit to eating salt. This is a very bad idea as it creates an imbalance in the body on a cellular level which can take on all sorts of expression. PhD Stacy Sims, who is a specialist in hydration says a common mistake she sees athletes make is drinking lots of water, but without the salt. It just makes you run to the bathroom all the time, because without the salt the body cannot absorb it, and even though your pee is clear you may be under-hydrated. [3]

The Salt Formula
Ok, so how much salt do I need then? According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, an expert on hydration, as a general rule you need at least 1.5g of sea-salt  for every quart of water (950ml) that you drink.[4] So, if we go back to our example of Ben from last week, who should drink 2.3 Liters of water on an average day. He should then add at least 3.6g of sea-salt to that amount of water. To give you an indication visually, 3g of sea-salt is roughly half a teaspoon of salt. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you are using a reverse Osmosis water filter you need to add even more, as the filter system is so good that it also clears out most of the minerals. Read more about that here.

The Salt Formula
 1.5g of sea-salt  *  your daily amount of water in Liter/quart (calculated from last week) = total amount of salt to add to your water

Maintaining the fine balance
Great, so now that you will start adding some good quality sea-salt to your water and food, it is also important to keep in mind the sodium-potassium balance. When you start adding salt you should also make sure that you are getting enough potassium, to keep that healthy balance. This is easy, and one of the best ways to do that is to eat plenty of veggies and fruits, such as avocado, spinach, beets, black beans, sweet potato and watermelon.

“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
-Nelson Mandela

Enjoy a salted, well hydrated weekend! 😉

 

P.S Check out this video if you want to nerd out some more on hydration, salt, VO2 output, blood volume and fatigue in athletes. FYI, sound quality is unfortunately not awesome .

Current Concepts and Thinking in Hydrating Athletes w/ Dr. Stacy Simms | Community MWod Video

 


[1]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/science/21angi.html?mcubz=0

[2,4] F. Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Salt, pg 154-160.

[3] Dr. Kelly Starrett, Ready to Run, Hydration, pg 162.

Photo credit to Izzy Gerosa, Mira Bozhko, André Robillard, Roman Mager on Unsplash

The Hydration Formula – What’s Your Number?

Last week we started talking about water and dehydration. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Why is it so important for us to stay well hydrated?
Water is involved in nearly every function of the body, and it is crucial to our survival and well-being. It transports nutrients, improves oxygen uptake in cells, works as a shock absorber, lubricates our joints, and keeps cell communications up to speed. When we are dehydrated none of these important functions work optimally, and that is bad!

I like to think of it like this:
Imagine that you are driving on the highway. There are three lanes, not too much traffic, and everything is running very smooth. It feels very relaxed to drive this way, and without effort  everyone gets to where they need to on time. But, all of a sudden there is a roadblock up ahead, and the three lanes are now forced into one single lane. The cruising speed you had is long gone, and now it’s bumper to bumper traffic, moving at a snails pace. It’s getting hot sitting around in that car, the pressure is up, and you can see people getting very irritated all around you. Things are not working well, and on top of that you will be late to your destination. In essence this is what it’s like for your body trying to work while it is dehydrated.

Some common signs of dehydration include fatigue, headache, irritability, a “crawling or itching” feeling in the legs, and smelly body odor. Remember Stinky Dave? Check out this video on how it may feel to be dehydrated as an athlete. When we are often or chronically dehydrated we get problems that can spread into all of our different internal systems. Due to the lack of water the detoxification process that needs to happen continuously in our bodies, doesn’t work very well. When we cannot get rid of the waste, it piles up and causes problems.

“Dehydration results in an accumulation of harmful substances in the blood that act on cell membranes and have an adverse effect on the kidneys, nervous system, and immune system.” [1]

What can go wrong?
Dr. Batmanghelidj has written an excellent book, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, where he goes into detail about what can go wrong with each system when we are dehydrated. It is a highly recommended read if you are interested in your health and how to improve it!

For instance…”Higher blood cholesterol is a sign that the cells of the body have developed a defense mechanism against the osmotic force of the blood that keeps drawing water out through the cell membranes, or the concentrated blood cannot release sufficient water to go through the cell membrane and maintain normal cell functions…Cholesterol production in the cell membrane is a part of the cell survival system. It is a necessary substance. Its excess denotes dehydration.”[3]

Asthma and allergies are indicators that the body has resorted to an increase production of the neurotransmitter histamine, the sensor regulator of water metabolism and its distribution in the body… Since one of the sites for water loss through evaporation is in the lungs, the bronchial constriction produced by histamine means less water evaporation during the act of breathing – a simple, natural maneuver to preserve the body water.”[2]

your weight in kg * 33 = X ml of water to drink in a day

The Hydration Formula
So how much water should I drink then? For my metric readers the formula is as follows: your weight in kg x 33 = X amount of ml of water to drink in a day.  For my other readers the formula is your weight in lbs divided by 2 = X amount of ounces of water to drink in a day.

your weight in lbs divided by 2 = X ounces of water to drink in a day

Where most people go wrong is that they do not calculate for all the drinks that they will have in a day that will act as diuretics. So pay attention and don’t make this common mistake! If you add any of these drinks to your day like coffee, soda, diet-soda, fruit juice, tea, or alcohol [4] you need to add 1.5x the size of that drink to your day. If it is very hot outside or you are doing sports you need to add that to the total as well.

So, what may that look like?
Let’s say Ben weighs 70kg. 70kg x 33 = 2310ml = 2.31Liter. That is the daily total of water that Ben should drink. But then he had 2 coffees and 2 glasses of wine, which makes  a total of about 800ml. 800ml diuretics x 1.5= 1200ml = 1.2Liter. Ben should then drink 2.31+1.2= 3.5 Liter of water that day.
If he then added some sports to his day he would have to add even more water to his total. Don’t forget to add a pinch of good sea-salt to your water cup as well. Without adequate amount of good mineral salt, your body cannot absorb the water. You just end up running to the toilet all the time and will still be dehydrated. But, more on this next week.

How to get off to a great start?
Figure out
what your daily number is and then adjust depending on what other types of drinks you are having that day. Then why not start to drink a large cup of water with a pinch of sea-salt the very first thing you do in the morning.

And that’s a great start! 😉

 


[1] Bennett and Barrie, 7-Day Detox Miracle, pg 80.
[2] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Asthma and Allergies, pg 117.
[3] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Higher Blood Cholesterol, pg 87.
[4] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Renin-Angiotension System, pg 71.
Photo credit Aidan Meyer, Ethan Sykes, Pahala Basuki, Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

 

A few words on drinking, dehydration and travel

As I have spent some time in airports and in airplanes recently I noticed how little people are drinking! Say what? What I mean is, I noticed how little WATER people are drinking. I see people drinking lots and lots of coffee, but also fruit juice, tea, wine and beer. These drinks all contain dehydrating agents which makes them act like a diuretic. The person sitting next to me on the flight only had one glass of water during a 10 hr flight.To me this is crazy, knowing a bit about anatomy and the importance of hydration!

Other then the 1 glass of water she had a couple of glasses of orange juice, 2-3 glasses of wine with the food, and then a couple of cups of coffee. Just before we got off the flight she took an ibuprofen/aspirin to “help her with the headaches”. She said she always get them on these long flights. I was not surprised having noticed her “drinking” habits, as getting a headache is one of the common signs of dehydration along with feeling really tired.

Did you know that because of the pressure changes when flying and all the extra noise, our taste buds are overwhelmed and we cannot taste the food very well. That means that airplane food always has way more salt and sugar in it than normal, in order for us to taste it. In terms of hydration this is not good, because the excess salt and sugar will act on the body as a dehydrating agent.

We have probably all heard that it is important to stay hydrated, but what does that really mean, and how does that differ from person to person? What part does salt play in staying hydrated? It turns out it plays a very important part. “ But I heard that salt is bad for you, what’s up with that?” I will delve deeper into these topics for next weeks blog.

If this is your color…

But just for a quick tip right now, when you go to the toilet – pay attention. Your pee should be a very very light yellow, every time that you go to the toilet. Then you know that you have enough water in your system. The stronger the color gets and odor, it’s a sign that you are getting more and more dehydrated. You should easily drink above 2 Liters of WATER a day. And add some good quality salt to your food or drink as well. I will explain the correlation between salt and water further in the next blog.

In the ideal world, the best thing for your hydration during your next trip would be to bring your own food and drink nothing but water. If that is too much out of your comfort zone at the moment, at least limit drinks that acts as diuretics as much as possible, such as fruit juice, coffee, tea and alcohol.  From Wikipedia “A diuretic is any substance that promotes diuresis, that is, the increased production of urine.” Jet lag is also always harder to get over when your body is dehydrated, because it makes you more tired.

Here are a couple of more questions challenging the “what you think you know comfort zone“. Did you know that:
-in prolonged dehydration, the brain cells begin to shrink?
high blood cholesterol has a direct link to dehydration?
morning sickness in pregnancy has a direct correlation to your body’s hydration?

So, keep sipping that water and I will catch up with you next week! 🙂

 


http://www.menshealth.com.sg/weight-loss-nutrition/airplane-food-yes-there-really-more-salt-and-sugar

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vLJ9-k7Uhx8/TgsztUW94SI/AAAAAAAAAEM/iNf0JaIALKo/s1600/REC+Urine+Chart+2011.png

https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-3-2

Photo by Austin Neill and Ilya Yakover from Unsplash

 

As fresh as it gets from farm to table

I am currently in the US for a seminar on Nutrition. On Wednesday I had the great opportunity to visit the local farmers market in Boulder, Colorado. It was amazing to see all of the fresh organic produce, and the people behind it. I only wish I was staying longer and had a kitchen so I could use all of this amazing food. Unless you have your own vegetable garden it does not get fresher than this. Yumm!

The freshness of a vegetable or a fruit also directly translates into how much nutrition it contains. For every day it’s left on the shelf it looses nutrition through oxidation. That is why eating fresh, local and organic produce is the best way to go if you want to optimize the nutritional value of your food.

Very often I think that we get stuck in a routine and we buy the same stuff at the same store as we always do. Of course, it is convenient and saves us some time. But, I would like to remind you to try and think more local and farm fresh, rather than easy and pre packaged. Remember that every time that you buy something you vote with your money for that producer, whether you think about it or not. And that vote weighs heavier than you might think. The food industry has to follow quickly if we as buyers decide that we do not want to buy a certain product any more. And as many times as we eat in a day, week and year – that’s a lot of votes!

We are never going to “get rid of” the huge supermarkets and that is not the point. But, let’s not forget about our local heroes, trying to make a difference around the area where you live. It’s not easy for them to try and compete with the prices of the large corporations and the convenience of the huge supermarkets.

So I would like to ask you to try and support your local farming community in any way you can. Find out about where the different markets are and when you could visit one. Are there co-ops that delivers fresh produce? A lot of small local farmers also have chickens, maybe you can get your eggs from there? Why not buy a vegetable that’s in season that you haven’t tried before? Who knows maybe that recipe will become a new staple in your kitchen? Get out of your comfort zone a little and just try.

Remember that you have the ability to vote for fresh, local produce every time you buy food. So, vote wisely and support your local farmers and co-ops whenever you can. If for no other reason, it will simply taste better!

Enjoy your local Farmers Market 😉

 

 


http://www.chgeharvard.org/sites/default/files/resources/local_nutrition.pdf

Photo credit Nathalie Visser

Constant neck compression? Let’s fix it.

As we are all using computers and phones more and more frequently and we often tend to loose sight of our posture as we do, it is important to take care of our neck. When we are in a position of our head hanging forward out in front of our shoulders, it creates a lot of tension in our neck. Over time this compresses the discs in the cervical spine (neck) which can in turn irritate different nerves in that area. This is most likely no news to you, but are you being proactive and doing something about it?

Since we lean forward with our head so much of the time, it is important to lean back in the other direction too, to even things out a bit. This takes some of the pressure off the discs that are being most compressed, and helps the fluid in the discs to re-position itself. It also helps to open up some of those tight muscles in the front of the neck and upper chest area.

In this video you will see an example that is very easy to replicate at home on your own, using your bed or sofa. You could also use a foam-roller if you prefer. If so, lay down on the floor, put the foam-roller underneath you along the length of your spine and let your head hang over the edge.

 

Below you will learn different techniques for loosening up the area in the upper chest and front of the neck that you can do yourself. A lot of the times the reason for pain in the back of the neck can be found in the front.  If I were to follow both of these videos, I would start with this one loosening up the area in the front of the neck first and then lying down on the sofa and letting my head slowly  tilt backwards.

 

I hope you will find these tips useful.
Remember, pre-hab is better than re-hab!
🙂