Posts tagged ‘health’

My First Video

I had a go at creating a video/slideshow sort of thinggy …….. What do you reckon?

November 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

What is an OBESOGENIC environment?

I first saw this term yesterday in a report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, called Weighing it up: Obesity in Australia.  I had not heard it before and wasn’t sure what it meant.

So I searched for and found this definition:

“A strange-looking word, it comes from obese plus the ending -genic, something tending to generate or create. It refers to conditions that lead people to become excessively fat — a worrying trend in developed countries, especially among young people, who are eating too much of the wrong things and not taking enough exercise. The problem is variously put down to social causes (too many sedentary pursuits available; fear that the outdoors in cities is dangerous, leading to less cycling, walking and running about) or to the results of our consumer lifestyle (eating pre-prepared meals that contain excessive sugar and fats). The term seems to have appeared in the last decade and is not as yet mainstream, though it is increasingly turning up in newspapers and medical journals.” Source: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-obe1.htm

The Weighing it up: Obesity in Australia report says this about an obesogenic environment:

Societal changes have created an environment where we are time poor, rely on cars, walk less and have increased access to convenience foods. Maintaining healthy weight has ceased to be a by-product of everyday life, and instead has become a personal project requiring constant vigilance and resistance to widespread cultural and social patterns. (summarised from page 140)

That is true, isn’t it? Our whole way of life is geared towards making us unhealthy, and optimal health is something we have to consciously and actively pursue.

The Weighing it up: Obesity in Australia report also referred to a UK study, the Foresight Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project report which can be found at http://www.foresight.gov.uk/Obesity/17.pdf

Here is a quote from Future Choices:

“The common perception is that if only people ate less and did more, the problem of obesity would be solved. The evidence …. shows that this deceptively simple analysis masks the real challenge of achieving that solution. There is an underlying complexity to obesity, which means that tackling it will be difficult and will require a multifaceted approach. Obesity is the consequence of interplay between a wide variety of variables and determinants related to individual biology, eating behaviours and physical activity, set within a social, cultural and environmental landscape.” (page 84)

The Future Choices project report contains a very interesting obesity system map, which attempts to show diagrammatically the complex relationships between the myriad of factors that lead to obesity and the implications for intervention. (Refer to pages 89 and 94 of the report) An examination of these factors shows that many of them are in fact beyond our control – we are immersed in an environment which is making it increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle – an obesogenic environment.

However, my take on it is that the situation is not hopeless. A wellness revolution is happening. People are taking responsibility for their own health, and I believe that the demands of many individuals with a common purpose will force changes to government policy, infrastructure, food growing, processing and sales methods, media and advertising, and medical interventions. The fact that we live in an obesogenic environment does not render us powerless to achieve optimal health for ourselves, but it does explain why it can sometimes be such a battle!!

Let me encourage you that YOU are the power in your world. I believe You CAN achieve your health and wellness goals.

It is part of my life’s purpose to help you achieve success 🙂

Please leave me your comments on what makes it difficult for you to achieve optimal health – whether they are internal or external influences.  I’d like to do a future article based on the input I receive.

July 18, 2009 at 3:24 am 2 comments

Relief from pain and stiffness

knee-painIf you need help with extra strains and pains experienced when over exerting or suffering from minor injuries, inflammation or muscular cramps and spasms, then I have some good news for you!

I’m sure you would prefer not to take anti-inflammatory drugs, but there are times when you really need some help and have to take something.

There is a natural alternative to help your body heal itself. This is not a pain-killer, or a drug, but rather a natural food supplement designed to give your body what it needs to repair and rejuvenate after an injury or operation.

I have personally experienced the benefits. I started running at 52 years of age in 2008. I had never run before in my life, but I wanted to have a go at the 12 kilometre City to Surf fun run (just for something different – it seemed like a good idea at the time). I immediately began to experience pain in my knees and went off to the physiotherapist for some very expensive treatment and was taking anti-inflammatories, until I discovered this natural alternative. I didn’t recover sufficiently to do the 12 k fun run in 2008, but I am in training and on track to do it in 2009. I participated in my first ever triathlon on 1 March 2009, coming first in my age group and 12th overall. I have also seen the results of this supplement in Eddy, an 84 year old from Perth in Western Australia, who could easily bend down and touch his toes and was jumping around like a delighted two year old at his new found freedom of movement after years of stiffness and reduced flexibility.

This all-natural product has a combination of ingredients that set it apart from other supplements. Some of the key components are:

PROTEASE (Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus Meulus) a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins and aids in recovery from overexertion.

BROMELAIN – a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the root and stem of the pineapple that may reduce swelling, bruising, and pain following surgery or minor injuries suffered during physical activity.

CURCUMIN – a member of the ginger family, is a potent antioxidant which when consumed in concentrated doses shows positive effects as an anti-inflammatory.

RESVERATROL – a phytoalexin that is from Japanese knotweed. It can also be found in red grape skins and other berries. Resveratrol is known for its antioxidant effects.

I take two tablets first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then wait 45 minutes before having my breakfast. Easy! I ride, run, swim, play tennis and do two structured exercise sessions per week, so I just take the product every day to maintain pain-free mobility.

Whether you’re working out in the gym, playing with your children, doing housework, playing golf or any sport related activity, or generally leading an active lifestyle, this product help the body take care of the extra strains and pains experienced when over exerting or suffering from minor injuries, inflammation or muscular cramps and spasms.

Want to know more? Go to http://www.mannapages.com/suzi, browse products under WELLNESS MANAGEMENT for further information. Or click on the CONTACT ME link at the top right hand corner of the mannapage and I will respond.

April 12, 2009 at 3:11 am Leave a comment

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

mind-power11

There is an intimate relationship between the biological and the mental/emotional aspects of our being – referred to as “the mind-body connection”.

Your mind controls your body (not the other way around) and therefore your mind has a huge impact on the state of your health. Your mind can produce chemical changes in the body that were once believed possible only through the use of the most powerful drugs. The state of your mind can raise or lower your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, alter your brain chemistry, create hormonal imbalances and negatively affect both metabolic and immune function. Pretty powerful stuff, I think you’ll agree.

Mind-body medicine doesn’t just make you feel better, it alters your physiology, improves immune system functioning, lowers blood pressure, eliminates chronic pain, reduces reliance on medication, increases strength and mobility, heals inflammation, reduces recovery time, prolongs life, and ramps up the production of endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals in the brain.  It is instrumental in the treatment of heart disease, hypertension, respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, MS, autoimmune disorders, infertility, dysmenorrhea, obesity, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. For any illness or injury, it can make the difference between a full or partial recovery, joy or despair, even life or death. If you are ill you should know that only 40 per cent of your solution can come through conventional means like surgery and pharmaceuticals, and 60 per cent of your solution can come from your mind.

Your mind is powerful, and the most powerful part is the subconscious mind, which is always working either for you or against you. The thoughts you think and the way you program your mind on a conscious level affect the state of your subconscious mind. The cells in your body respond to every emotion you have, every thought and every word you speak. Negative emotions such as anger, resentment and bitterness will eventually manifest as disease in the body, even if you try to suppress these emotions. Forgiveness, acceptance, self love and connectedness are healing, health-giving states. How is your mind programmed? Simply look at the results you are currently receiving in your life and it will be evident.

Some strategies for making the mind-body connection work for you:

MEDITATION – you don’t have to be a meditation master, even just five minutes of quiet time with a focus on relaxed diaphragmatic breathing can make a huge difference in de-stressing you.

PICTURES – make up a “dream board” with pictures and words about your vision of the future.

EXERCISE – is a great stress buster, provided you do something you enjoy. It doesn’t take large amounts of time. Remember that short, high intensity exercise is more effective than long stints of cardio.

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS – take like a prescription. You will need multiple doses daily to counteract that negative self talk. Either read them from a book of affirmations or listen to them on a CD or MP3 player. They can be posters, screen savers on your computer, book marks and cards in your wallet and pocket.

READ GREAT BOOKS – inspirational success stories and autobiographies that take you out of your narrow world and open your mind to new possibilities and other realities. Educate yourself and create a better life.

TIME – is the way you use your time moving you towards your goals or away from them? Notice how much time you spend watching TV, reading newspapers or magazines. This time can be used to educate yourself and plan your success. If you’re not putting good stuff into your mind, how are you going to get anything good out?

Strive to ensure that your MIND-BODY connection works for you, and not against you.

Here’s to your health and happiness.

SUZI

March 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

HYDRATION and WEIGHT LOSS

Weight loss requires a few things – water being one of the most important.

Many of us do not realise we are dehydrated, or the effects of this.

* In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
* Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.
* One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of people.
* Lack of water is the No 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
* A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and diffuclty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
* Having 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

Drink … drink … drink … water.

Put away the frizzy drinks. Stop buying sweetened fruit beverages. Don’t think that “diet” drinks are a good alternative – the artificial sweeteners used are really bad for you: they stuff up your liver function and make it almost impossible for you to lose weight. Forget the sports and energy drinks – with caffeine and other stimulants, multiple types of sugars and artificial ingredients they are not the health foods they are marketed as. Ignore the advertisements for milkshakes, cold coffee beverages and iced tea. Choose water instead.

Why? Water has zero calories, quenches your thirst better than sweetened beverages and helps keep our bodies cool in the summertime heat.

How much water should you drink? The basic recommendation is 8 x 8 oz (240 ml) glasses of water a day. But the amount of water you need depends on your weight and activity level. A good indicator as to whether you are drinking enough water is to check the amount of coloration in your urine. If your urine is dark yellow in color then you are probably not drinking enough water. If it is close to clear in color then you are drinking enough to give your system a good cleansing.

Water – The Miracle Worker

When it’s pure and free of contaminants — water is truly a “wonder drug.” Without chemicals, additives, or anything unnatural, a steady dose of 8 glasses of water a day will:

* improve your energy
* increase your mental and physical performance
* remove toxins and waste products from your body
* keep skin healthy and glowing
* help you lose inches
* reduce headaches and dizziness
* allow for proper digestion
* help to keep you more alkaline

Drinking Water and Weight Loss

Water is a natural appetite suppressant, so developing a good water drinking habit can be a long-term aid in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Most times your “hunger” is your body asking for water – not food.  Many of the calories we consume come from what we drink. So drinking only water is an easy way to reduce calories without making drastic changes in diet or lifestyle. Incorporate these tactics into your daily routine:

* Bring along a water bottle in the car.
* Keep numerous filled bottles on your desk so that you don’t have to refill as often.
* Keep a cooler full of water with you on outings.
* Add a twist of fresh lime or lemon for a zingy taste.
* Make it a personal challenge. Keep a pitcher of ice water in the fridge, and drink it all by the end of the day.
* Place an 8 ounce glass on the counter. Every time you walk past, fill it up with water and drink.

March 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

OVERWEIGHT but STARVING?

The majority of people in Australia, including overweight people, are STARVING for good nutrition.

In general, all Australians eat way more than they need. However, what we eat does not give our bodies the nutrition we require to be healthy. Sadly, we are eating more and more take away foods, pre-packaged, refined foods with chemical additives and preservatives that are essentially devoid of good nutrition.

Some factors outside of our control contribute to the lack of good nutrition. Even if you make the effort to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, the nutrition in these foods is decreasing. This is due to modern farming methods, where food is grown in impoverished soils with the addition of artificial fertilizers to produce large succulent looking plants which are sprayed with insecticides and then picked green, stored for long periods of time and in some cases gassed to artificially ripen. In 1951, two peaches supplied the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A for adult women. Today, a woman would have to eat almost 53 peaches to meet her daily requirements.  The fact that we eat much of our food cooked rather than fresh further depletes the vitamin and mineral content of the food.

It is my belief that we need to do two things:

(1) primarily eat fresh, organic, Low GI whole foods. Two good rules to follow: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient – don’t eat it, and if a food was not here 10,000 years ago – don’t eat it.

(2) supplement our diet with good quality glyconutrients, vitamins and minerals to give the body what it needs to be truly well. I use and recommend Mannatech’s products for this purpose.

I really believe that Low GI eating is the way to go. The Low fat, low carb, low calories diets that have been promoted do not work. The Australian statistics on obesity tell the story:

1996 2006
Male 52% 62% (2/3)
Female 37% 45% (1/2)

As you can see, despite all the “diet” advice, obesity is increasing, rather than decreasing.

Low GI eating is not a diet – you don’t have to starve yourself to be slim and healthy.  You can adopt Low GI eating by gradually substituting one high GI food in your diet with a Low GI alternative.  Eventually you will have switched to a Low GI style of eating foods which are nourishing and enjoyable.  This kind of eating can be sustained for life.  There are many great Low GI cookbooks available from Amazon.  Or do a google search for Low GI recipes.  Get inspired.  Get healthy!
low-gi-cooking Contact me:  suzimorrisblog@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

February 25, 2009 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

What is health?

Do you enjoy good health? What is health anyway?

A lot of people define health as the absence of disease. The reasoning is: “I don’t have a disease, therefore I am healthy”. When do we know we have a disease? Usually not until some symptoms surface to alert us to the fact that all is not well and we go to the doctor for a diagnosis. We then begin treating the symptoms and may not even be fully cognisant of the underlying causes. Many diseases develop over a long period of time, so the absence of symptoms does not guarantee the absence of disease.

What about ageing? Can we be healthy as we age? Do we have to lose mobility, suffer arthritis, dementia and diabetes, rattling from the volume of blood pressure and other tablets we need to control the myriad outworkings of old age?

Our definitions and expectations of age are changing. In 1924 the average Australian male lived for 60 years, and the average female lived for 64 years. Have a look in a family photograph album at pictures of your parents and grandparents at 50 years of age. At 50 they were old people – only a little more than 10 years from death. Advances in medicine and better health care have now pushed life expectancy to 78 for men and 83 for women. Today’s 50 year old has 30 years or more of life ahead of them!

We are starting to realise that we need to invest in our health and wellness to be able to enjoy the longer lifespan with which we have been blessed. It is possible to have a biological age which is lower than our chronological age. In 1991 Evans and Rosenberg formulated a list of 10 measurable “biomarkers of ageing”. They are:

1 muscle mass
2 strength
3 basal metabolic rate
4 body fat percentage
5 aerobic capacity
6 blood sugar tolerance
7 cholesterol/HDL ratio
8 blood pressure
9 bone density
10 ability to regulate internal body temperature.

All of these biomarkers of ageing can be altered for the better by changes in lifestyle. Muscle mass and strength are the primary biomarkers. As we start to age and the “mid life spread” begins, many of us focus on losing or maintaining body weight, but that is not the key thing. Our target should be body composition, improving the ratio of muscle to fat. The key is to minimize inactive fat tissue and maximize active muscle mass. People with a greater ratio of muscle to fat burn more calories, enjoy a higher metabolism and don’t have to worry as much about gaining weight or about how much they eat. Conventional wisdom that muscle mass and strength decline with age, accelerating after 45, is wrong. If you use your muscles frequently, you can maintain their strength. And, if you push your muscles to the limit of their capacity by exercise, you can actually increase their strength—no matter what your age.

The ultimate goal of controlling the 10 biomarkers of ageing is to extend our years of good health and compress the years of decline. By making positive changes in your biomarkers through a combination of exercise (especially strength training) and eating right, you can enjoy optimal health – right throughout your life.

Contact me if you would like more information on achieving optimal health:  suzimorrisblog@gmail.com

February 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

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