Yearly Archives: 2014

LEBERT EQUALIZER BARS

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I’ll admit, I love getting new fitness equipment – to use personally or with my Personal Training clients – the way some women love buying shoes.  Maybe it’s weird, but new and innovative ways to exercise are very exciting to me!  That being said, some fitness equipment designed for home use are downright ridiculous – I won’t list them, but let’s just say *cough* Shopping Channel *cough* has some products that make me laugh; I sometimes watch the sales pitches late at night for pure amusement.

The good news is, my latest addition, the Lebert Equalizer Bars is a serious piece of fitness equipment that can get you real results. Actually, it’s 2 peices, as the product comes with 2 bars that you can work in a variety of  ways. I put off purchasing this particular item for a while because I thought, really, what can this do that free weights/TRX Suspension/Rip Trainer/Resistance Bands, etc., can’t?

I was pleasantly surprised that you can do an entire body workout using this product.  Depending on the positioning of the bars and/or your body placement, you can make the exercises easy if you’re a beginner or more advanced if you are looking for a real challenge. But what I really love about them is they weigh about 8 lb. each and can easily be taken to the park for a fun outdoor workout, or stored out of sight when you are done using them.  The weight of the bars also makes them useful for some traditional weight training exercises – initially I thought it was a little strange to be using them for bicep curls or shoulder press, but I realized it worked the muscles in a unique way that I think people will find enjoyable

Check out this cool video showing several different ways you can use the bars:

Some of the exercises shown in the video can obviously only be done if you have more than one set of bars or in a group setting, but even when working out alone there is a tremendous variety in the movements you can do.  If you’ve been looking for a simple, inexpensive piece of home fitness equipment that won’t take up a lot of space, then this one is definitely for you.

Here are the Product Specifications:

As I mentioned Each Equalizer bar weighs about 8 pounds.  The bars come in 3 colors – yellow, pink or lime.  While I have a hard time using fitness equipment that is pink (shiny silver or black are my go-to fitness equipment colors), the yellow was the least girly of the 3 so I went with that.  But hey, if you want to go pink and matchy-matchy with your workout outfit, please be my guest – if you feel good, you will use it, right?

The dimensions are 28-1/2 inches high by 25 inches wide, although you can purchase the “Lebert Big Boy T-Legs” separately to make the bars a few inches taller if you are over 6 feet tall.  I am 5’10 and do not have an issue with them as is, but I can see if I was any taller I’d want that extra height.  It has been tested to support up to 400 pounds of body weight so this isn’t some flimsy piece of garbage that will break, even if you have a lot of weight to lose!  The Equalizers can easily be stacked together, taking up little storage space.

Package includes 2 Elebert equalizer barsqualizer Bars, a Beginner/Intermediate Workout DVD with Marc Lebert (the creator of the Lebert Bars, among other useful fitness products) and a laminated poster depicting proper form for some of the more popular exercises.

Click HERE to purchase or if you just want to learn more about what the Lebert Equalizer Bars can do for you.

 

Please note:

  • The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you.
  • If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link.
  • I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.
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THE BEST NATURAL ORGANIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS

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Beautiful young woman applying organic cosmetics to her skinI love beauty products as much as the next woman.  What I don’t love, though, are all the chemicals, preservatives and other garbage added to a majority of these products on the market.  We put so many toxins into our bodies on a daily basis through the food we eat, the beverages we consume, pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies, why add to that level of toxicity with the stuff we put ON our bodies?  There are so many awesome, natural brands out there these days that there is really no reason to spend a fortune on department store brands…..especially when most natural organic brands are a LOT less expensive and the results you get are the same – if not better – than their unhealthy counterparts. It takes time finding the products that work best for you. I recently saw an article where Miranda Kerr shares her favourite KORA Organics products in an interview, which I thought was extremely interesting and worth a read! I have found that when buying products like the ones I will discuss with you, it is important to take time out to read the reviews that other people have written about them. If you get google reviews coming up for the products you are looking at, it gives reassurance that the products you are looking at are real and you can start to find out about other peoples experiences.

Now…it’s time to ditch all those toxic skin, hair and body products and try these instead.  Here are my favorite natural product companies and why I love them so much*:

PACIFICA – While I have not tried their makeup or skincare, I absolutely LOVE their amazing smelling  perfumes and body washes.  You will not believe that these are all natural – until you realize you don’t have the blinding headache you get from the commercial stuff anymore.  You will also be thrilled with the low prices!

What to try:

  • Hawaiin Ruby Roll-on Perfume for a delicious, fruity scent.  Don’t blame me if you look weird sniffing your wrist all day.
  • Kona Coffee Body Scrub – the scrub you will literally want to eat in the shower, it smells like the best coffee you ever had!

WELEDA – For those of you who love moisturizing body washes and body creams, this one is for you.  Rich smelling, lathering body washes and lightly scented creams feel and smell amazing.  Weleda also has some of the best skincare products for babies.

What to try:

  • Skin Food for ultra dry skin on knees, elbows and hands; has a light citrus scent.
  • Arnica Oil for massaging in to tired, achy muscles; take it with you when you get a professional massage and tell them to use this instead!  Sounds weird, but I do it all the time and even got a massage therapist to start using it in his practice.
  • Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for baby – a little more expensive than Johnson’s, but SO much better.

ANDALOU – Beauty products with 70% organic ingredients, I especially love their facial skincare products.  Very inexpensive, this product line is great for teens or those on a budget.

What to try:

  • BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask – Who doesn’t want to smell like a bowl of berries while relaxing with a facial mask?
  • Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – this one stings a little but in a good way because you know it’s working! It makes a tired face glow, so if you’re a Mom like me you might want to have a few of these on hand. happy
  • Chia and Omega Scrub – my husband’s favorite facial scrub, he keeps accusing me of using it up, but I’m partial to my Yum scrub (see below) so I’m innocent, I swear!

NATURES GATE – Another company with a long list of natural products, I really enjoy their shampoos and conditioners.  Some of them do not smell all that great, so definitely try before you purchase but the ones listed below are excellent and do not have that problem.

What to try:

  • Lemon and Clary Sage Volumizing Shampoo is fantastic for very fine hair and/or hair that lacks volume.  I use this on my youngest daughter who has fine hair and have really noticed a difference.
  • Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Shampoo and Conditioner is excellent for color-treated hair.
  • Aloe Vera Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for thick hair or normal hair that gets washed often.

YUM – For real beauty aficionados, this gourmet organic skin care line is simply put, the best that money can buy.  I love the high quality look, feel and results you get with these products.  Note: for customized recommendations and excellent pricing, purchase this line directly from Rina Deutch, my esthetician at Eizeh Yofi.

What to try:

  • Adzuki Blueberry Exfoliant, as I mentioned earlier in the post, is my all-time favorite facial scrub (I mean “exfoliant”, pardon me! winking ) Your face will feel smooth as silk from this product.
  • Bilberry Leaf Matte Moisterizer is excellent for normal to oily skin – just the right amount of moisture, without the shine or the weird “too matte” effect.
  • 23 Karat Intensive Eye Treatment does double duty as treatment for lines and dryness as well as having a subtle sheen that wakes up tired eyes.  Yep, I’ll need a case of this, please. tongue

HUGO NATURALS – This company makes their products with with 100% natural ingredients and no toxic chemicals whatsoever.

What to try:

  • Grapefruit Liquid Hand Soap – Wash your hands effectively but gently, without any harsh chemicals or strong detergents that dry them out.
  • Vanilla & Sweet Orange Shower Gel – a subtle scent with a rich lather, you won’t miss those chemical body washes.

UNDA – Not quite a beauty products line, Unda is the company behind many formulas used for Biotherapeutic Drainage.  However, I included them in this list as they have several beauty products I could not live without.  Note: Unda products can be purchased HERE.

What to try:

  • Homeofresh Chlorophyll Toothpaste – while I’m generally not a fan of the taste of non-commercial toothpastes, this one is the best by far with a refreshing flavor that mimics mint.  This toothpaste was designed for people taking Homeopathic remedies as mint can be an antidote for some, but it is widely used in Europe due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and ability to halt tooth decay with it’s natural plant extracts.  Personally I alternate this with regular toothpaste to get the best of both worlds.
  • Calendula Cream contains Calendula, an ingredient known to heal skin conditions and promote tissue repair.  This product is water soluble and can be used anywhere on the body.
  • Cicatrican cream is a natural alternative to antibiotic creams such as Polysporin.  Made with botanicals, it can safely be used as often as needed on all types of  cuts, burns, insect bites and minor skin infections.

GODDESS GARDEN – the best organic, all natural sunscreens for babies, kids and adults; protects from sunburn without the addition of toxic chemicals.

What to try:

  • Sunny Face Natural Facial Sunscreen – finally, a facial sunscreen that doesn’t feel icky or smell weird.
  • Sunny Kids Natural Spray Sunscreen – stop chasing the kids around to rub sunscreen on them and just spray them while they’re arguing with you that they don’t need it – yes, they still have to rub it in, but they’ll have no choice once you got it all over them.  You’re welcome happy

There you have my top natural organic beauty picks but keep in mind that there are many many more organic, plant based beauty product companies out there.  I’d love to hear about any brands or specific products that you have tried and what you thought of them!

*Please note: I have not been compensated in any way for review of the above products.  Website links to brands mentioned are non-affiliate; other links are options to purchase online directly from Real Health and Fitness.

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10 SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

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Lean muscleSome people can literally look at a free weight and get beautifully sculped and defined muscles.  Others, like myself, can lift a lot heavier weight than we seem on first glance and yet the muscle growth and definition takes a longer time and a lot more hard work.  Mind you, I’m not talking about the muscle-bound women found in bodybuilding magazines, (sorry, but ew), rather the lean and defined muscular look like the girl shown at right.

So, how does one put on lean muscle?  Well, with commitment to the right exercise program  you CAN change the shape of your body but there are also a number of supplements that can help get you there. These supplements can be used to boost energy levels. That being said, if you aren’t eating a clean, healthy diet (no chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, GMOs, etc), then don’t waste your money ordering a truckload of supplements because all it will do is add further stress to an already exhausted liver.  Once you are committed to these lifestyle changes, then adding some of the following supplements is the next logical step.  While these are not the only beneficial supplements for weight training by any means, they are simply the ones I either personally use and/or have recommended to my clients with good results (in no particular order):

1. BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids are 3 amino acids (isoleucine, leucine and valine) that may help you have increased energy during your workouts.  They are also involved in creating new muscle tissue and can help protect your muscles from the catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect of dieting.

Preferred brand: The powder form from AOR, which has no other ingredients; It tastes a little bitter on it’s own though, so I recommend adding a tsp of [easyazon_link asin=”B0026SAEIM” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Truvia[/easyazon_link].  Dosage: 1 scoop with water before and/or after your workout.

2. CLA: An omega 6 fatty acid, Conjugated Linoleic Acid is different than other omega-6 fats in that it supports fat loss while promoting muscle growth and strength.

Preferred brand:  Genestra  Dosage: Take 1 cap  3x/day with meals.

3. B-Complex: B-vitamins help your body derive energy from the food you eat and helps get oxygen to muscle tissue.  Certain B vitamins also help the body use the protein you’re eating to help build muscle properly.

Preferred brand: While many professional brands make good quality B-complex formulas, I like Orti B from Genestra  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal, but there are plenty of other protein products that you can get yourself.

4. Magnesium: Without Magnesium the body cannot produce adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism and is critically important in building lean muscle.  If you have muscle or joint pain or spasms, magnesium may help to relax your muscles and ease the aches. Additionally, magnesium helps to block excess calcium from depositing in your muscles.  I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate since it’s readily absorbable and easier on the digestive system than other forms.

Preferred Brand: CanPrev.  Dosage: 1 – 2 capsules/day.

5. Matcha Tea: While you can take Green Tea Extract in supplement form, I prefer to drink it in my tea! Green tea extract contains EGCG – epigallocatechen gallate – which helps muscle recovery after intense workouts, and increases metabolic rate and fat burning.  To learn more about matcha tea and how to make the perfect latte to replace your morning coffee, click HERE.

Preferred Brand: DoMatcha  Dosage: 2 cups/day

6. Bovine Colostrum:  Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like but it’s not as weird as you might think! Colostrum is the initial type of breast milk mothers produce during pregnancy and for several days after giving birth.  It has high levels of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and antibodies called immunoglobulins. (The molecular structure of colostrum from cows is identical to human colostrum).  Several studies suggest that colostrum supplements may improve exercise performance and increase lean body mass, especially during periods of high-intensity training and recovery from high-intensity training.

Preferred brand: SurThrival, which is not de-fatted like other brands, is verified 6 Hour Colostrum, tested to be free from herbicides, antibiotics and hormones, and taken only after baby calves have had their share.  You can purchase SurThrival Colostrum HEREDosage: 3 capsules, 2x/day on an empty stomach.

7. Vitamin C:  Vitamin C fights free radicals created by weight training, reduces cortisol production (cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and tends to promote extra abdominal fat storage), and helps decrease muscle soreness.

Preferred brand: AOR – Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal.

8. L- Glutamine: An amino acid, L-glutamine has many benefits including improved muscular recovery, lower levels of muscular pain, and reduced risk of muscle breakdown.  Additionally, it’s very beneficial for intestinal health, so you will be able to utilize all the nutrients you eat in your diet, which in turn helps build lean muscle.

Preferred brand: AOR  Dosage: 1 capsule, 2x/day.

9. Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil improves endurance and athletic performance, promotes fat burning, and maintains muscle mass.  What this means is that it is one of the best ways to get lean AND ripped.  Many people are afraid of the fat content in coconut oil but I assure you it’s very different than other types of fat.  Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil HERE.

Preferred brand:  [easyazon_link asin=”B000AN36I0″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Spectrum Naturals – Coconut Oil Unrefined[/easyazon_link]  Dosage:  1 teaspoon, 1 – 3 times per day, preferably before and after your workout.

10. Whey protein: Due to its complete protein content, Whey protein, derived from cow’s milk, helps increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat.  It also helps enhance exercise performance and protect against free radicals.  While there are many brands and types of whey protein, one thing is certain: steer clear of brands made with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Aculfame K.  There is also some debate as to whether it is better to use Whey protein in concentrate or isolate form – each have pros and cons.  For example, whey concentrates contain high amounts of lactose, which many people are sensitive to, however they contain more health promoting compounds.  Isolates, on the other hand, are more rapidly absorbed and contain higher amounts of protein.

Preferred brand:  (Kosher-certified)  Integrated Supplements; For those who do not require Kosher certification, I prefer the comprehensive combination of healthy ingredients in Shakeology (they have 2 vegan options as well which contain plant-based proteins instead of whey if you are sensitive/allergic to whey protein and want to help build lean muscle).  Dosage: 1 serving per day.

[Note: unless indicated otherwise with a website or Amazon affiliate link, items discussed above are available for purchase in our Online Dispensary.  If you sign up for our monthly newsletters, you will receive 15% off all available supplements.]

Have you tried any of the above items? I’d love to hear your feedback on the supplements that worked for you and the ones you felt were a waste of time or money.

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HOW TO EAT HEALTHY ON PASSOVER

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Cottonseed oilI wrote this article last year for the Toronto Family Magazine, and I wanted to post it here a week ago but I have been so busy cooking and preparing that I totally forgot! surpriseops: .   Hopefully it’s not too late to incorporate some of these healthy alternatives:

Buy organic potatoes: I know what you’re thinking: “A gazillion pounds of organic potatoes will cost me a fortune!” But this isn’t the case; organic potatoes are really not much more than conventional ones.  The reason to spend a little extra? A 2006 U.S.D.A. test found 81 percent of potatoes tested still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the potato has one of the highest pesticide contents of 43 fruits and vegetables tested, according to the Environmental Working Group.  So with all those potatoes being eaten, wouldn’t you feel better knowing you were giving your family a lot less potentially harmful substances?

Eggs should have no hormones or antibiotics in the feed:  While I don’t recommend buying organic eggs, because there are too many blood spots found in them, the next best thing when consuming as many eggs as we do on Pesach, is eggs with no hormones or antibiotics in the feed. The only brand I have found to specify this on the label is Earth’s Best, which is found in most supermarkets.  Note that eggs labeled Omega-3 are not the same thing and this causes a lot of confusion among consumers.  The Omega-3 label simply means that flax seeds have been added to the feed; it does not mean that hormones or antibiotics have not been given as well.

Use spelt matzah instead of wheat:  Spelt is nutritionally superior to wheat and easier to digest.  While spelt does contain gluten, the gluten content is less, and many people sensitive to wheat find they can tolerate spelt.  (Note that spelt is not suitable for those with celiac disease or those on a gluten-free diet).  Even if you aren’t sensitive to wheat, another benefit to choosing spelt instead is that it remains unaffected by concepts such as ‘agribusiness’, ‘cross-breeding,’ ‘hybridization’ and ‘genetically modified’ – words that have come to dominate our modern food supply.  What does this mean to you? Less toxic substances and chemicals being consumed, better for your health.  It is easy to find Organic Spelt Matzoh at you local grocery store.

Cook and bake with grapeseed oil instead of cottonseed oil:  According to most health experts, cottonseed oil is one of the unhealthiest oils around.  Cottonseed oil contains natural toxins because in order to extract oil from cottonseed, these seeds have to be modified genetically.  The oil also contains unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues, since cotton is not classified as a food crop and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it.  Additionally, since there is a similarity in the molecular structures of the composition of cottonseed and peanut oil, some people who are allergic to peanuts also suffer from the same allergic reactions after consuming cottonseed oil.

In contrast, grapeseed oil is rich in proanthocyanidins (OPC) a compound that is high in antioxidants which are 50 times more effective than Vitamin E and 20 times stronger than Vitamin C.  Grape seed oil is also able to handle high-temperatures without smoking, burning or splattering.  This means it can be safely used for high-heat stir-frying and baking.  Another great benefit – Grapeseed oil has a light nutty flavor lacking the heaviness of other oils, so it will not affect the flavor of your food.  While Kosher for Passover grapeseed oil is difficult to find in Canada,  [easyazon_link asin=”B00H3QFANQ” locale=”US” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]De La Rosa Kosher Italian Grapeseed Oil [/easyazon_link], which has an OU-p, can be ordered from Amazon in the U.S.

Bake, don’t buy, Pesach cakes:  In addition to saving you lots of money, baking your own cakes for Pesach has many benefits over purchasing ready-made ones.  First, you can decrease the amount of sugar in almost every Pesach cake recipe, without affecting the final result.  Second, you can use Organic sugar according to most halachik authorities, as long as it has a reliable kosher symbol, no special Kosher for Passover certification required.  Third, commercial Pesach cakes are loaded with chemicals and preservatives in order to increase their shelf life, contains food coloring, unnatural flavoring and cottonseed oil.  Baking your own allows you to use grapeseed oil and the healthier eggs discussed above, eliminates the need for chemicals and gives you the opportunity to incorporate ingredients like raw almonds or walnuts (if there are no nut allergies in the family) to add healthy fatty acids as well as fiber.  Choose recipes that have the lowest amounts of potato starch for the healthiest result.

Drink dry red wine:  Dry red wine has some antioxidant properties as well as bioflavonoids, which help to fight free radicals — the damaging agents in your body that can lead to heart disease and cancer. What this means is that the cups of wine you consume for the Seder do offer some health benefits in addition to all those calories.  Speaking of calories, avoid sweet wines, which contain more than 45 grams of sugar per liter and therefore a lot more calories, as opposed to the 4 grams of sugar per liter that dry red wine contains.

If you or your children are drinking grape juice at the Seder, brands like Kedem and Concord now make organic grape juice with no sulfites. Sulfites, or sodium/potassium metabasulfite as it is commonly labelled, are a potential food allergen that can cause headache, facial flushing and itching and are found in all wines and grape juice unless it specifies “sulphite-free” on the label.  It is more difficult to obtain wine without sulphites, but if you tend to get any of those reactions after drinking wine, you might consider making the switch. That being said, some people get a reaction due to other substances in wine.Since white wine often has a higher sulfite levels than red wines, if you don’t react to white wine, then you know that it’s something in red wine other than sulfites that is causing the problem. (Note that organic wines are not necessarily sulfite free).

Stick to whole foods:  Simply put, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, roasted vegetables, fish, chicken and lean meat and drink plenty of water.  This way, you won’t find your health adversely affected by this holiday!  Check out the Recipes page for healthy recipes suitable for Passover.  While you’re at it, see this previously written post about what to eat on Passover.

Wishing you all a Chag Kasher V’sameach! happy

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