Finding Your Balance

Dear readers,

this might be my last blog post, since I am now finishing a project. With this occasion I would like to give you a piece of advice, that hopefully will help you find your balance in life and everything else you work on.

One thing that I have learned and seen many times is that you cannot force things. You have to be patient in whatever you do. If you one day, wake up and decide you want to be more fit or gain muscles , then work hard for it. Do not expect results to show right away, but give it time and trust me the results will show. You would not believe how many times, it happens that people/ athletes etc. have great potential, but they give up, because they get tired and discouraged.

Furthermore, you should take great care of your body. Same thing applies though. Especially if you are young and do not get enough sleep, or do not have a healthy way of living, you probably will not see the consequences for another couple of years. So do get enough sleep, drink a lot of water and eat most of times as healthy as possible.

However, I think that the most important is to be happy with what you do. Accept yourself, accept your body, and if you want to work on yourself and be better, then do it without hesitation. Just make sure that you do not do it for anyone else but you, otherwise your satisfaction and happiness might be temporary. So I suggest you go out there, and try out new things, things that you always wanted to try but were always scared to. You will see how amazing the satisfaction is, when you manage to do something you never thought you could.

I hope that my posts have been helpful, and I hope that I managed to influence you at least a tiny bit, in making better choices for your health. Go out there, make yourself better and stronger, but most of all happier with yourself! Enjoy the journey!

Sleeping Well

 

How many of you think that you get enough sleep constantly?

 

If I were to guess, I would say that not many of you. There is always something to do, somewhere to go or in case of teenagers something else better to do. I admit myself, that most of the time I do not get enough sleep. I either want to watch something or I have homework, or I simply hang out with friends. Whatever my excuse might be. I can definitely say, unfortunately, that most of the time I do not get enough sleep.

Sleeping is more important that we think. There are so many ways that sleep can influence that way we function, that we could hardly believe. On the long run if we do not get enough sleep we are less likely to retain the things we learn, and it makes it harder for us to understand concepts or processes. Furthermore, it can lead to various health problems such as: heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. Over time, it also leaves traces on your body, and not just the classic dark circles around the eyes, but constant lack of sleep can also age your skin and make you gain weight. Because we tend to be grumpy when we do not get sleep, we tend to crave foods high in fat, and also our metabolism is slowed down and as a result, we burn calories a lot slower than usual.

As a result, it is safe to say that sleep should not be ignored anymore. It is part of a healthy lifestyle and by allowing yourself to get the proper amount of sleep, which for adults is between at least 6 and 8 hours, shows that you take care of your body and mind. Moreover, here are some benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep:

  • Improved memory
  • The risk of inflammations is reduced
  • Improves performance for athletes
  • Higher chance of having a healthy weight
  • Lowers stress
  • Lowers risk of depression and many more

 

Therefore, my dear readers try to get your sleep! Staying up late is not always the best options and even though the changes are not visible now, on the long run we will suffer from the consequences. Take of yourselves and stay healthy!

 

 

Image result for sleep

Sleep Tutorial – Better Sleep for a Better Body

 

 

Works Cited

Sparacino, Alyssa. “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep”. Health. 2016. WEB.

Peri, Camille. “10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss”. WebMD. 2016. WEB.

The Benefits of Weightlifting

Hello, dear readers!! I hope you all had a great week! This week’s topic will be about weightlifting. I have heard many people who avoid weightlifting in the fear or doing something wrong. Especially women are sometimes reluctant when It comes to weight lifting, because they are afraid that they will get too muscular. When I say this I include myself too. There were many times when I chose cardio over weight training or chose lighter weights, when I could definitely lift more in the fear of getting too bulky.

Personally, I think that the best way to train is to combine cardio with weightlifting. That way you cannot really go wrong. Of course you have to know what you are doing, and if you are a beginner you should make sure that you start with the right weights. If you decide to join a local gym you should try working with some of the trainers that are available, or maybe you have that friend that has more experience and could help you out. It also might motivate you more if you find a partner.

Many people do not know this but weightlifting actually burns fat. According to Boston University when you lift weights you develop type II muscle fibers and they improve the metabolism and therefore help develop a fat free body. Also another benefit of this type of workout, is that it can reduce depression. Last semester I was in full season with the tennis team and with ongoing classes. Sometimes we had four days a week matches all day, which left little time for anything else. As a result, I was very stressed because of school and the matches. However, I developed this habit of going to the gym every morning for at least an hour, and my mood and confidence improved immediately. It felt so good not only because I had that time for myself no matter what, but also because I was automatically developing healthier habits, which improved my mood and gave me energy for the rest of the day.

According to Live Strong some other benefits of weightlifting are:

  • Better movement in daily activities
  • Lowers risk of diabetes
  • Improves heart health
  • Prevents back pain
  • Improves strength not only physically, but also mentally

As for all of you ladies out there that, just like me thought you will get bulky if you lift too much, you should stop worrying. For you to get bulky means not only lifting a great amount of weights pretty much every day of the week but also following a diet with supplements that helps you build that amount of muscle mass. However, lifting combined with cardio once or twice a week, and eating healthy will actually help you get a lean and toned body.

With that being said, have a great week stay healthy and start lifting!

Image result for lifting weights

https://www.google.com/search?q=lifting+weights&espv=2&biw=1680&bih=925&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjg2-fx8ZfQAhXH1CYKHSUwD-0Q_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=lifting+weights&chips=q:lifting+weights,g_1:woman&imgrc=8-Qa-Z5VQuc0rM%3A

 

Works Cited

 

“Best Beginner Weight-Training Guide with Easy-To-Follow Workout!”. Bodybuilding. July 2016. WEB.

Braverman, J. “13 Benefits of Weightlifting That No One Tells You About”. Livestrong. May 2016. WEB.

Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Hello everyone! In the past few weeks I have been talking about how you should combine eating healthy with everyday exercising in order to improve your way of living. However, I think it is important to mention that recovery plays a very important role in staying healthy. Regardless if you are an athlete or not, after working out you should always give your body time to recover from the effort, otherwise the risk of injury in the future will increase. Recovery is in a way like sleep, because sleep is crucial for our body to function properly.

Besides drinking lots of fluids before and especially after effort you should also make sure to include stretching after workouts. People often forget to stretch, not knowing that it “increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and [it] sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind” (Usigan). For example, when you sit for long periods of time “your glutes shut down” which means that other parts of your body become over-stressed, and as a result you are likely to start feeling pain in other parts of your body (Hahamian). Furthermore, it has great benefits for your spine. When we are under a lot of stress we are very likely to get tight, and the back and neck muscles are the first places where you will get tight. However, if you try to include some light stretches in your daily schedule, it will help you keep your body more balanced and pain free. As for athletes that practice on a daily basis, this has huge benefits by helping you stay flexible and reduce soreness. And most important of all, on the long run stretching can minimize the risk of injury.

Please keep in mind that when I say stretching, you do not have do anything very elaborate if you have a tight schedule or you are stuck in the office all day. Just stretching your arms above your head, or grabbing your chair while you stretch your neck sideways can make a big difference.

Make sure that you give yourself those couple of minutes at least once a day in order to get great benefits. Also keep in mind that you might not feel a change right away, but keep doing it and in time you will definitely notice the differences!

 

I wish you all a great week! Stay healthy!

Image result for stretching'

https://www.google.com/search?q=stretching%27&espv=2&biw=929&bih=927&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ3Yjl7I_QAhXIOCYKHZMrDQAQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=2bDa27RoUc3nzM%3A

 

Works Cited

Usigan, I. “6 Good Reasons You Need to Stretch”. Shape. (2016). WEB

 

Exercising While You Are Sick?

I am sure that many of you have asked yourself weather exercising while you are sick is a good or a bad idea. As some of you may know I have been playing tennis mostly my entire life, and tennis is a very demanding sport like many others, but among other things it requires a lot of cardiac activity. This is a disputed topic among coaches, some will say it is best to rest until you are a 100% healthy again, and some are trying to push their players through the sickness. Personally I have had bronchitis for the past two weeks, and it was a difficult period because I could not do anything. However, although many people recommended me not to in the second week I tried doing some light cardio such as light biking for about 10 minutes. Do not get me wrong you cannot expect yourself to make it through a normal workout, those 10 minutes felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life.

If you are not too badly out of shape walking and low intensity biking are the most recommended activities. According to Precision Nutrition these activities have been proven to boost the immunity system. They are supposed to help improve the immune system because they do not put a great stress on the body, but it helps you “sweat it out” and it will help you recover faster.

An important thing to keep in mind though, is to not try to work out while you have a fever. Not only that you feel more than weak (I say this from experience), but there is a risk of actually making the fever worse, by increasing your inner body temperature (Maharam). As a result, before doing any type of exercise you should make sure that you do not have any fever, and do not get me wrong I am not saying you should not work out while you feel very sick, you should definitely give yourself some time to recover.

Finally please keep that the change of season tends to get everyone sick and your immune system will easily be weakened. Try to eat as healthy as possible and one thing that is underestimated is getting enough sleep. For the younger readers out there, I know we tend to think that we are invincible but actually going to sleep earlier from time to time and allowing ourselves a day to rest can have great benefits.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Mann, Denise. “Exercising When Sick: A Good Move?” WebMd. WEB. 28 October 2016.

Andrews, Ryan. “Exercise When Sick? “. Precise Nutrition. WEB. 28 October 2016.

 

Drink…. Lots of Water

 

 

This week’s post will be about the necessity of water. I am sure many of you heard it and every week I say how this and that is important, but in order for us to actually be healthy we need to hydrate, and water is one of the best ways to hydrate.

Some people cannot go through a day with drinking tons of water however, there are some people (myself included) who sometimes forget to actually drink water. Some people simply do not like the taste or prefer to replace it with other drink such as juices, smoothies, sodas. Apart from sodas, all of them might have their roles at one point or another but you cannot replace water.

Water helps you get rid of toxins, it helps you prevent kidney stones and constipation and it basically keeps your body going. Every person has a different need of daily fluids, and maybe some days your body is asking for more and some for less. It is all normal, remember it is always to be very well hydrated than close to dehydration. According to WebMD you should drink minimum six 8-ouch glasses of water per day. If you are sick, pregnant, athlete etc. you should definitely try to consume more.

Some signs that you might notice that should make you realize you are not hydrated enough are:

  • dry mouth & you are always thirsty
  • your skin is dry
  • you might experience joint pain (could also be missing essential vitamins)
  • you think you are hungrier than you actually are

 

Another interesting fluid that you might happen to like is the coconut water. Coconut water contains digested carbohydrate-sugar and electrolytes. Lots of athletes swear on how miraculous it is, some people love it for the taste. Personally, I never thought that the taste was that great but my conditioning coach would always make me drink it whenever I felt tired or had to recover fast. Not only that it is low in calories, but it contains huge amounts of potassium and it is therefore, very hydrating.

Image result for coconut water

https://www.google.com/search?q=coconut+water&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS706US706&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjeusDpyu3PAhVHSSYKHb6VDb0Q_AUICSgC&biw=1236&bih=580#imgrc=wo1EdlmmVhaISM%3A

 

These might be things you have already heard, however I think that is very important to keep in mind of the benefits that it has. To be honest it has helped me lose weight, on those long nights when all I wanted was to keep eating. So instead of eating, I would drink water. I hope you all stay healthy enjoying life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Drinking Enough Water- Topic Overview”. WebMd. Web. 21 October 2016.

Duczeminski, Matt. “14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water”. Lifehacks. Web. 21 October 2016.

Zelman, M. Kathleen. “The Truth About Coconut Water”. WebMD. Web. 21 October 2016

 

 

 

 

Pineapples- A Must Have In Your Diet

Pineapples- A Must Have in Your Diet

 

 

 

In this week’ s post I will talk about the amazing benefits of consuming pineapple. In case this is a fruit that you do not really like, maybe you will change your mind after reading about all the ways it can influence your body and health in a very positive way.

As many of you know, pineapples are tropical fruits that have originally been cultivated mainly in Hawaii. Now however, they are mainly cultivated in countries near the Equator such as Brazil, the Philipphines, and Costa Rica.  According to Organic Facts the fruiting season runs from March until June. The traditional name is known as “ananas” (Organic Facts).

Some of the possible benefits of pineapple are: reduced chances of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, increases energy level, improved immune system. As a result, pineapples contain vitamins such as: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin B-6. Pineapple is so vital for the immune system because only a single small cup contains 130% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, 2% of calcium and iron. However, keep in mind that the best way to eat pineapple is fresh. In supermarkets is found in various forms such as: fresh, frozen or canned. The reason why you should rather eat fresh pineapple, is because the fresh ones are the only ones that contain bromelain which is a very useful enzyme. It can be used to reduce swelling, joint pain and arthritis.

Furthermore, it is often believed that pineapple leads to weight loss, therefore, it is included in many diets. However, it has been shown in studies, that it does not directly lead to weight loss. Yes, it is great when it comes to digestion because it is a meat tenderizer and it helps break down heavy foods. Even though there are many benefits when it comes to it, it should not be consumed in excess. Maybe you have noticed, that when you eat it in large quantities you get a weird taste on your tongue and your mouth feels more sensible. The excessive consumption can lead to vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and headaches (Organic Facts).

Personally, I think it is very easy to include pineapples in the daily diet. I used to buy the canned ones so I would not have to worry about them going bad, but now I just buy the fresh one and if I do not use it all I just put it in the freezer until the next day. You can eat pineapple with other fruits and simply create your own fruit salad.

 

Image result for pineapple fruit salad

4-Ingredient Fruit Salad Platter and a Pineapple Boat

This looks very nice and it is not complicated to get done. It is perfect after a hot summer day and contains all the vitamins you need.

 

Furthermore, my favorite way to eat pineapple is by adding it to my daily smoothie. You can do any combination you like, it is very practical and easy to make.

 

Image result for pineapple smoothie

http://foodviva.com/smoothie-recipes/refreshing-rejuvenating-strawberry-pineapple-smoothie/

 

However, if you prefer you can also just eat it alone without any other fruits. You can use it as a snack during the day, before or between your meals.

 

P.S: Apparently pineapple is also able to stimulate and increase the Human Growth Hormone if it is eaten before bed. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology claims that pineapple helps the release of melatonin and serotonin which stimulate the hormone production (Kuoppala).

 

 

Works Cited

 

“Health Benefits of Pineapples.” Organic Facts. WEB.

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pineapples.html

 

Ware, Megan. “Pineapple: Health Benefits, Recipes, Health Recipes.” Medical News Today.  (2015). WEB: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/276903.php?page=2

 

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer “Bromelain.” WebMD. (2015). WEB: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-895-bromelain.aspx?activeingredientid=895&activeingredientname=bromelain

 

Kuoppala Ali. “The 20 Best Human Growth Hormone Foods.” Anabolic Men.  (2014). WEB: https://www.anabolicmen.com/foods-that-increase-human-growth-hormone-naturally/

 

“10 Healthy Snacks- 200 Calories or Less” Beneficial Bento. (2014) WEB

Sandy. “4- Ingredient Fruit Salad Platter and a Pineapple Boat.” Reluctant Entertainer. (2014). WEB

 

Benefits of Including Avocados in Your Diet

Coming from Eastern Europe, avocado was not the most popular fruit in our house. When I was a child in our kitchen you would rather find fruits such as: peaches, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and so on. It took me a while after I moved to America to actually try an avocado, and realize how amazing it is.  According to Authority Nutrition avocado is such a special fruit because while most of the other fruits consist of carbohydrates, avocado is very high in healthy fats (Gunnars).

Personally I think that preparing avocado for a meal can be one of the simplest and most effective meals. For example, sometimes before I am about to go to a three-hour tennis practice, I prepare two eggs with one or two pieces of toast with avocado on the side, and not only that it gives me a lot of energy, I do not feel “heavy” after eating it and I do not get hungry in the middle of the practice.

This fruit has lots of properties: rich in vitamins (vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium etc.), the healthy fats are very important for our heart because of the healthy oils that it contains. Generally, people who constantly consume avocados have proven to be healthier, according to the NHANES study conducted in the U.S. Moreover, avocados are not recommended just for adults for babies and kids.

One of the things that I like so much about avocados, is the fact that you can combine it with so many things, depending on the foods you prefer to consume. For example, you can combine it with tomatoes and make it into a lovely salad.

 

Image result for avocado with tomatoes

https://www.google.com/search?q=avocado+with+tomatoes&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=955&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgv3dk7DPAhUHKB4KHckPA88Q_AUIBigB&dpr=1#imgrc=sF2ReTH4z-LePM%3A

Here are some further ideas on how you can combine it with different types of foods:

 

Image result for avocado with tomatoes

A classic combination of toast, avocado, tomatoes and cottage cheese

https://www.google.com/search?q=avocado+with+tomatoes&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=955&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgv3dk7DPAhUHKB4KHckPA88Q_AUIBigB&dpr=1#imgrc=22owBQqHNevVAM%3A

 

 

Image result for avocado with tomatoes

Pasta with avocado and tomatoes. A very rich in healthy fats and proteins meal!

https://www.google.com/search?q=avocado+with+tomatoes&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=955&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgv3dk7DPAhUHKB4KHckPA88Q_AUIBigB&dpr=1#imgrc=xgGWbCduQp40nM%3A

 

As I was doing some research the other day, I found a blog called “Deliciously Emma” where I found an amazing recipe with avocado and potatoes. I will attach the link to this article so you can check it if you are interested. Personally I shortened the recipe and just boiled the potatoes, with the guacamole and some sour cream on top and it was delicious.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!! Have a great week!

 

P.S: Here is the link to the recipe called “Loaded Mexican-Style Potato Skins” :http://deliciouslyella.com/loaded-mexican-style-potato-skins/.

 

 

Works Cited

Kris Gunnars, “12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado.”, Authority Nutrition, 2016, WEB: https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/

 

“Super Tasty. Super Versatile. Super Food.”, California Avocados, 2016, WEB:

http://www.californiaavocado.com/nutrition/nutrients

Image 1:  Natasha, June 2015, WEB: natashaskitchen.com, http://natashaskitchen.com/2015/06/01/cucumber-tomato-avocado-salad/

Image 2: Gwen Walters, “Avocado Tomato Toast.”, Appetizers, Recipes, Vegetarian, May 2013, WEB: penandfork.com, http://penandfork.com/recipes/avocado-tomato-toast/

Image 3: Cassie, “Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes.”, Bake Your Day,  July 2011, WEB: bakeyourday.net, http://www.bakeyourday.net/creamy-avocado-pasta-with-roasted/

Cheat Meals – Yes, They Are a Must

How many of you have tried to keep countless diets for weeks, fighting to stay away from unhealthy foods only to fail only days after starting. It is so hard to eat healthy, especially if you are one of those people with a crazy appetite or running around all day. I speak from experience when I say that it is so easy to give in to sweets or a burger once in a while. Especially at the end of a long and exhausting day.

Image result for smart cheat meals

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Well guess what? I have good news. According to Medical Daily cheat meals are actually recommended. However, a cheat meal should not be confused with a cheat day. According to the 90/10 rule, we do our body a favor when we have a cheat meal after a couple of days of eating healthy. The leptin protein actually plays a very important role in this matter. According to Clinical Chemistry this a “satiety hormone, that regulates appetite and energy balance of the body” (Meier). When we diet our body will eventually get used to the healthy food, and our energy level will eventually start going down. That is the point where the cheat meal plays its role, by tricking our body that it has enough energy to burn fat, which has proven to be successful.

Image result for smart cheat meals

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Meaning that you can allow yourself one or more cheat meals per week, depending on your diet does not mean that it is recommended to eat whatever comes your way. One of the most important things when it comes to cheat meals, is trying to plan ahead when your cheat meal is going to be and even where. If you think about it, it actually smart because it helps you plan ahead and it makes it possible for you to cut down on some calories beforehand. Another important point is not to have a cheat meal when you are absolutely starved and because it is fast. I think we have all been there and done that, myself included. It feels as if no matter how much you eat the hunger will never fade away. This also stands together with another tip: eat moderately. Furthermore, another tip that I find helpful is to get a really good workout before your cheat meal, personally I always feel better if I know I have worked really hard and deserved that cheat meal.

I hope that this article was helpful!! Please let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

 

 

http://www.medicaldaily.com/9010-rule-cheat-meals-actually-boost-your-metabolism-and-help-you-lose-weight-327212

 

http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/50/9/1511.long

https://www.google.com/search?q=google+images&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=955&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi53-_ngbDPAhWHXh4KHeklCWEQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=smart+cheat+meals&imgrc=WXjvO6eJnmSOrM%3A

https://www.google.com/search?q=google+images&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=955&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi53-_ngbDPAhWHXh4KHeklCWEQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=smart+cheat+meals&imgrc=riO2D4XUyEBUuM%3A

 

Proteins

Hello everyone!!! I am back again this week with another post. I am going to talk about proteins today. I know that for some of you that might be nothing new, but for others this information might be helpful.

Basically proteins that are found in foods are mainly meat, seafood, beans and peas, eggs and nuts. These proteins are made up of a number of amino acids put together. The main reason why it is necessary in our diet is because it is essential for normal cell structure and function. During digestion proteins are decomposed and first they get into our blood system and afterwards they reach our cells. Proteins also help muscles to recover from workouts or practices and they help transport different substances in our body.

Image result for proteins in foods

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A very important question is when, or how much proteins should we consume daily? We should try to consume proteins daily, however every person might need a different amount of proteins. Otherwise the amount is influenced by our personal weight. A person with an average weight of 142 pounds should eat approximately 1,9 ounces of proteins during a day. An athlete on the other hand might need to consume around 3,5 ounces of proteins per day, depending on how often and intensive their practices / workouts are.

Image result for proteins in foods

https://www.google.com/search?q=proteins+in+foods&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjD88718KbPAhUH_IMKHfVzAToQ_AUICCgB&biw=1236&bih=602#imgrc=5l_Y7DkgGg4cnM%3A

In the last couple of year’s protein as powder has become more and more known and used. There are however people who do not want to start consuming those types of proteins. You can switch to the traditional way of gaining proteins and that is by consuming foods listed above. For example: 2 eggs contain 0,4 ounces of protein, 6 ounces of salmon contains 1,20 ounces of protein. A cup of oatmeal contains 0,2 ounces of protein. Therefore, if you want to save some money or simply do not like using protein powder here are some possibilities.

The important times when you should consume proteins are in the morning, before and after workout and before bed.

I will be back next week !! Stay healthy !

 

Works cited :

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protein