Yearly Archives: 2012

POLITE WAYS TO TURN DOWN FOOD

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - POLITE WAYS TO TURN DOWN FOODHave you ever gone to someone’s house for dinner or to a party where the hostess is relentlessly trying to shove food down your throat?

I have.

Sometimes, this is a genuine effort on the part of the hostess to get everyone to enjoy the party and/or impress the guests with her culinary skills.  That’s ok, I totally respect that.  It becomes an issue, however, when the person tries to get you to eat unhealthy or high fat foods that you have chosen to try and limit, whether to lose weight or simply to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’ll never forget the time I was literally made to feel like I was out of my mind for not wanting to eat nitrate-filled fatty pastrami covered in flaky pastry dough.While I could see my arteries harden just looking at it, when I tried to politely decline, the hostess got insulted, turned to her freind and said “She’s, you know, a Nutritionist,” with the word Nutritionist emphatically whispered like I had some G-dforsaken disease.  Well, that was many years ago, and I have since learned a thing or two about how to tactfully avoid eating what I feel is too unhealthy or too fattening without insulting the person attempting to feed me.  I’d like to share these tips with you so you can feel empowered as opposed to guilty when confronted with these situations.

Here are some great responses for that pushy friend/hostess:

The STALL TACTIC:  “I can’t wait to try some in a few minutes.”  Since you are not exactly turning the person down, they feel that they’ve won and will drop the subject.  You can use the stall tactic several times, if necessary, but hopefully you won’t need to because your hostess will have moved on to her next victim.

The I’M SO FULL routine: “I wish that I hadn’t eaten such a late lunch, but I’m stuffed.” No one can refute your statement about being full, but if they are still persistent, then let them know that having one more bite may make you throw up sick .  Quite possibly on their beautiful new carpet.  Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, but you get the point…..and so will she.

The FOOD RESTRICTION Response: “Oh man, that looks good! Too bad my Doctor says I can’t have ___________.” Even the pushiest people are likely to back off when they hear you have a diet restriction. Especially if that restriction came from a Doctor.  The trick is, if you say that you aren’t eating gluten, for example, then don’t reach for a bread roll.  If you don’t think you can be consistent, then just say you are looking into your chronic digestive issues and are avoiding foods that aren’t completely natural, until you know what’s going on.  You can finish with “I know, crazy, right?”

SPREAD THE FOOD AROUND:  This is for when someone actually puts food on your plate that you didn’t want.  Simply spread it around your plate to make it look like you took a few bites.  Usually, nobody will notice, but if they do, and have the audacity to comment on it, refer back to the STALL TACTIC.

KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS:  This one is for the passive aggressive comments such as “Oh my G-d, look at you, you’ve lost so much weight, soon you can hide behind a telephone pole!” or “Wow, you are always watching what you eat, I don’t know how you do it,” or my personal favorite “Come ON, one bite won’t hurt you.” Kill them with kindness by responding “Thank you for noticing the healthy changes I’ve been making. Your support means a lot.”  Even if their words weren’t meant as a compliment, why not just take it that way?

If all else fails, you may have to find the nearest potted plant to toss the food into when nobody is looking.  Noooo, I’m only kidding winking .

Keep in mind that a true friend will never sabotage your efforts but will help you along the way towards reaching your health and fitness goals!

 

 

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TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY THE TRX

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weight, Rebecca Lazar - TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY THE TRX

If you’ve been following my Facebook Page, you have realized by now that I’m a teensy bit obsessed with the TRX Suspension Trainer – an exercise tool created by a former Navy Seal that hasn’t excited me this much since the aerobic Step was created by Gin Miller way back in 1989.  When I first attended a step class in the early 90’s, I turned to my best friend and said “there’s no way in hell I’ll ever be able to do that.”  In a short time, I was an avid stepper, and it’s one of my favorite exercise activities to this day.  I’m telling you this because I find a lot of people are intimidated by the TRX, and I’m not sure why. Is it the way the it hangs there, in the middle of your gym floor and you don’t want to look like an idiot trying to figure out the way it works?  tongue

Well, here are the top 5 reasons you should buy a TRX, even if you are intimidated by it, because you will quickly learn how easy it is to set up and use properly:

1) You can take the TRX anywhere.  Yes ANYWHERE.  Attach this thing to a tree, the monkey bars at the park….hell, you can attach it to a freakin’ traffic light if you so desire…..check out this wild and crazy guy:

weight, Rebecca Lazar - TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY THE TRX

Of course, you CAN go the conventional/normal route and just use a sturdy door frame in your house or a beam on your ceiling.  Safer…..and maybe a little more sane.

2) Beginner to advanced, anyone can use it.  Check out my 12 year old son…..awww, how cute is he? Anyhow, he loves using the TRX and found it super easy to use and understand as soon as I showed him a few moves.  If a preteen can do it, so can you!

weight, Rebecca Lazar - TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY THE TRX

3) TRX has lots of videos to get you started.  Whether you are looking for more cardio-based, strength training exercise, a more advanced military training style program, or simply to get rid of back pain and improve your posture, there’s a DVD routine for you.  They even come with booklets clearly depicting the exercises shown in the DVD so you can do them anywhere (refer to Reason #1 to buy the TRX).  No excuses!

4) TRX will give you the best abs.  Period. Let’s just say that after having 4 kids, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made with the help of the TRX.  It not only gives you nice looking abdominals, but strengthens your entire core no matter what exercises you perform using it.  Their motto isn’t “All Core All The Time” for nothing!

5) Get FREE shipping on your order.  How can you beat that?  Seriously, you have to click the banner above and get one.   You’ll thank me, I promise.   And share this post with your friends! Better yet, buy it for your friends!

Don’t want to take my word for it?  Check out this video below:

P.S. TRX now has another amazing product call the Rip Trainer – learn more about that HERE.

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FLU PREVENTION & TREATMENT

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I occasionally start arguments when I tell people I do NOT recommend the flu shot.  Oh well, I just love stirring trouble big grin .  Well, instead of arguing the valid reasons why you shouldn’t get it, I will just offer you the best ways to help strengthen your immune system and treat a cold or flu the natural way, using supplements & eating healthy:

SUPPLEMENTS

Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E boost the immune system by increasing the white blood cells that fight disease, and blocking the enzyme neuraminidase, which viruses need in order to reproduce. A good quality antioxidant formula will do the trick.

Garlic: A very effective anti-viral (not to mention anti-fungal), it’s no wonder that our grandparents and great-grandparents used it for pretty much whatever ailed them. It’s best used raw and crushed within one hour of crushing; although enteric coated capsules are available (the capsule doesn’t break down until it reaches the intestines) so now we can actually consume garlic and still go out in public.

Resveratrol: In addition to inhibiting neuraminidase, Resveratrol also sends a message to cells to stop manufacturing viruses. This anti-viral found naturally in red wine, peanuts, raisins and red grapes but is more effective taken in supplement form, unless you’d like to drink many, many glasses of red wine daily–while this might be tempting, I don’t recommend it winking

Vitamin D: Plays an important role in the body’s immune defense system, so it’s a good idea to take 1000 IU of Vitamin D daily, especially during the winter months or if you always use sunscreen. If you are low in Vitamin D, as indicated through a blood test, you may have to take more for optimum health.

Green Tea: Another effective anti-viral, this can be taken in supplement form, although I prefer the actual tea. Green tea is high in antioxidants and low in caffeine, although if you are sensitive to caffeine like I am, decaf green tea is available.

Pro-biotics: Natural bacteria in the gut are essential to maintaining proper health (not to mention digestive function). It never hurts to take this important supplement, especially for people who have received repeated courses of antibiotics.

Echinacea: One of the more popular supplements, Echinacea helps stimulate the immune system and fight viral infections. (Do not use if you are allergic to daisies or ragweed. If you have asthma or a general propensity for allergies, you’re also more likely to have an allergic reaction to Echinacea, so it’s best to avoid in that case).

Influenzinum or Mucococinum: A homeopathic flu prevention remedy taken typically once a week or every 2 weeks during the flu season. (Do not take these if you are pregnant or have an auto-immune disorder).

DIET

Say no to sugar, additives, preservatives, and artificial food coloring: I know this is a tough one, but these items weaken the immune system and make it more likely that you will get sick.

Limit dairy products: Dairy products increase mucus production, certainly not helpful for a cold or flu.

• And of course, drink lots of water: This helps to flush toxins out of your body.

OTHER METHODS

Wash your hands. Purell your hands. You know the drill. Coming in contact with germs doesn’t mean you have to get sick. Washing your hands is a simple and effective way to destroy bacteria and viruses.

Gargle with salt water and clean your nose with salt water on a q-tip: Sounds hokey, but this is actually medical professional advice, not alternative medicine! Since it takes some time for the virus to take hold, much like washing your hands, these methods can kill it where it enters so it doesn’t spread.

Get enough sleep and try to relax: Do not under-estimate this one. Stress wreaks havoc on the immune system and makes you more susceptible to getting sick.

If you still catch that cold or the flu, the supplements listed as preventatives can also be taken to reduce the symptoms & duration, but here are some additional ones that help destroy the virus:

Oil of Oregano: Study outcomes vary on its effectiveness against flu, although for the common cold, much like that Buckley’s commercial, “it tastes disgusting but it works”.

St. Johns Wort: Oddly enough, this herb has nothing to do with warts. It’s normally used as an anti-depressant but it is also a very potent anti-viral. (Do not take if you are on prescription anti-depressants).

Olive Leaf Extract: Helps eliminate the flu virus by interfering with certain amino acid production processes.

Goldenseal and Elderberry: Two more excellent flu fighters.

Now, before you run out and buy every item I listed here, please note that not all supplements are created equal. The cheaper ones have fillers, binders and coatings that make them not break down as easily, and are certainly not absorbed well by the body. They may also contain much less of the active ingredient(s) than a high-quality supplement, and some have even been found to contain toxins. It’s better to spend a little more and get good quality supplements from a health care professional or at a reputable health food store. There, you will also find combination formulas that contain many of the ingredients mentioned in one easy to take capsule 2 or 3 times daily.

Additionally, please do not give any of the items listed to children because not only do you have to be careful with dosing, some are simply not safe for kids. However there are some herbal remedies, such as Echinacea, Goldenseal and Elderberry that are available in liquid form (tinctures) that are specifically designed for children. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult with a natural health practitioner. That being said, the homeopathic remedies listed below can be safely used for younger kids (and adults as well) to reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. Give 3 pellets, 3 times a day of your chosen remedy, 15 minutes away from food or drinks. If there’s no improvement after 3 doses, switch to a different remedy. If there is some improvement, stop the remedy and only give again if and when those same symptoms return.

Gelsemium, 30ch: A flu remedy when the symptom picture is complete and utter exhaustion.

Bryonia, 30ch: The remedy to try when everything in the body hurts, especially if there is a headache, cough, and irritability.

Mercurius solubilis, 30ch: for a lingering flu that just doesn’t seem to go away. Symptoms include sore throat and tender, swollen glands.

Wishing everyone a great Holiday Season!

This article was written exclusively for the Toronto Jewish Family Magazine and first appeared in their November 2012 issue.

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FREE NOVEMBER 2012 GIVEAWAY!

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FREE GIVEAWAY…..Just because I feel like it winking

Anyone can enter, no purchase necessary, and it’s quick and easy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This awesome kit of 6 Weleda body oils has NO toxins, all natural ingredients, and smells great!  It includes a terrific cellulite oil and Arnica massage oil for those achy muscles.

weight, Rebecca Lazar - FREE NOVEMBER 2012 GIVEAWAY!Good Luck! and P.S. Much appreciation for SHARING…..it will provide incentive for bigger giveaways in the future! happy

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UNDERSTANDING ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

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What are Essential Fatty Acids (or EFA’s as they are commonly known), and why are they so darn essential?

Essential fatty acids play a very important role in the prevention of cancer and heart disease, help reduce and prevent inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, eczema, and psoriasis; they improve the softness and smoothness of your skin and provide many other health benefits.  Essential fatty acids are important components of the outer skin or membrane of every cell. The membrane determines which chemicals and nutrients will be allowed to enter and exit the cell; within the cell membrane essential fatty acids are continually activated and converted into prostaglandin hormones, a process that allows essential fatty acids to supply their disease prevention and anti-aging effects to a wide range of tissues within the body

Anti-aging and disease prevention?  Sounds amazing, right?

Well, if your terrified of eating fat, as many people on diets are, you aren’t getting enough because your body cannot make this stuff.  You NEED to get it through diet and/or supplements.  But hang on a second, before you think “I KNEW those high-fat, carb-free programs are the best!,” because not ALL prostaglandin hormones are good for you.

Some more boring scientific stuff:

There are three main types of prostaglandin hormones (PG): PG-1, PG-2, and PG-3. PG-1 and PG-3 have positive impacts on our health, while PG-2 can lead to highly negative effects. It encourages blood vessels to constrict and blood platelets to clot abnormally,  increasing the chance of heart attack, ischemic stroke, and high blood pressure. It also encourages inflammation, worsening arthritis and other joint, muscle and tendon conditions, including Crohn’s disease and colitis. PG-2 is associated with greater risk of cancer in that it prompts rapid cell division. Finally, it can make the skin dry, rough, and scaly, and aggravate a number of common skin disorders, such as eczema, psoriasis, and possibly roscacea.  surprise YIKES!

Reading that makes you want to stay away from that stuff like the plague…..but unfortunately….you love it too much.  You see, PG-2 is formed from a saturated fat known as arachidonic acid, found in high-fat meats and high-fat dairy products.  Yep, your steaks, burgers, milkshakes, cheese and other yummy foods.  You know what else makes PG-2? The over-consumption of linoleic acid, an unsaturated fat found in your typical grocery store corn oil, sunflower seed oil, safflower seed oil, and mixed vegetable oils, all of which promote the production of arachidonic acid by the body. Unfortunately, the typical North American diet is a rich source of arachidonic acid and linoleic acid, and most individuals produce too much PG-2.

You can lower your tissue concentrations of arachidoninc acid by choosing chicken, turkey or fish, instead of high-fat meat products, and non-fat or 1 percent milk and yogurt products.  Remove from your diet any cheese that is more than 3 percent milk fat, and use cold-pressed olive oil or organic canola or grapeseed oil in place of other vegetable oils in salad dressings.  These are good sources of monounsaturated fat, which does not participate in the formation of prostaglandin hormones and is known to help reduce cholesterol and contribute to cardiovascular health in other ways.

So now you know how to reduce the formation of PG-2, but what about the good prostaglandin hormones, PG-1 and PG-3, the ones with all those health benefits?

The key building block for PG-1 is an unsaturated fat known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is found in high concentrations in borage oil or evening primrose oil. GLA can also be formed in the body from linoleic acid (the oils we consume too much of), but individuals who suffer diabetes, eczema, or premenstrual syndrome have a defective enzyme that prevents the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA.  Drinking alcohol, eating refined sugars, and hydrogenated fats (margarine, shortening, pastries, chips and other snacks) tends to inhibit this conversion as well, as does the aging process itself.  For all these reasons, virtually everyone has suboptimal cell membrane concentrations of GLA, so it’s a good idea to supplement especially if you have one of the conditions mentioned.

PG-3, on the other hand,  is formed from an omega-3 unsaturated fat called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is found in cold-water marine fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and tuna.  This is the reason that fish oil supplements are so popular, and rightfully so.  The body can also convert the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flaxseed oil, and chia seeds as well as walnuts, into EPA, increasing the production of PG-3, but as you can see from the chart below, it’s a much quicker process to go directly from fish oil to PG-3. Fish oil, by the way, also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which enhances immune function and the development and function of the brain, and is essential to good vision.  (This is why a higher DHA to EPA ratio fish oil supplement is often recommended for kids with ADHD).

PG-3 is considered very important for total body wellness, as it reduces risk of heart attacks by dilating blood vessels and discouraging abnormal blood clotting. It slows the rate of cell division and so reduces the risk, especially of breast, prostate, and colon cancer. PG-3 is also known to reduce inflammation, including skin inflammatory responses, a role it shares with PG-1.

If you are looking to build muscle, you’ll like this one:

For exercisers, particular relevance is the anti-oxidant and acute, exercise-related anti-inflammatory nature of EPA and DHA. Since high-intensity exercise and weight training cause increases in inflammation and oxidation, reducing this response may be beneficial in improving exercise recovery. Even more interesting for people looking to build muscle, EPA and DHA supplementation has been suggested to support muscle protein synthesis and limit muscle protein degradation. This can mean less muscle breakdown and more muscle growth.

Why supplement?

Most individuals suffer unknowingly from an essential fatty acid deficiency or imbalance, thanks to modern agricultural and food processing methods and the typical North American diet.  To ensure optimal essential fatty acid nutritional status, it is highly recommended to take a quality EFA supplement, preferably in the form of professional-quality fish oil.  This simple practice can result in significant benefits for your health, your appearance, the rate at which your body will age, and your risk of future illness.

The bottom line?

Taking fish oil daily may seem disgusting, but high quality brands like those found in our Online Dispensary make great-tasting fish oils, free from mercury and other impurities.  I also highly recommend Organic Atlantic Salmon Oil from Vital Choice.  Give either of those a try, you’ll be glad you did! On a personal note, I used to have high cholesterol as a teenager (if you’re thinking that’s insane, you’d be right!) and even after changing my dietary habits it still stayed on the border.  Taking a fish oil supplement daily has helped bring the levels down to normal, with no other meds required.

 A handy chart, which may or may not clarify things:  tongue

weight, Rebecca Lazar - UNDERSTANDING ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

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