Top 7 Reasons to Have a Healthy Lifestyle

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the CanFitPro World Expo with one of our Fit Communications clients. He was looking to connect with the best of the best in fitness trainers for his business, so what better place than to head to Toronto for the biggest show of its kind in Canada.

We honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of who was really going to be there, what they would be looking for, and what was going to happen over the course of the six day expo. But I was truly blown away by it all. There were sessions for trainers to learn new classes, new techniques, about new equipment and nutrition. There were classes ran by some of the biggest names in the fitness industry like Tony Horton, The Brutes and Jillian Michaels. Walking the aisles of the expo you would see all shapes and sizes of people, from all walks of life, with all different fitness goals in mind. It got me thinking more and more about what motivates me to live a healthy life. In this week’s blog, I wanted to give my top seven reasons why I live a healthy lifestyle, with hopes that one or two will inspire you to live the same.

  1. There is a saying in yoga, ‘if you can, you must’. While at first I was taken back by this sentiment, I grew to love it. Perhaps I am putting my own spin on things, but my take is that if your body is able – you are able to run, walk, jump, swim, dance, kick – then do it. Do it as well as you can. Do it because your body is able. Do you know how many people wish they could that can’t? Maybe they are in a wheelchair, or perhaps dealing with an injury, or maybe just their age has limited them on what they can do. They WISH they could run, walk, jump, swim, dance and kick. Do it because you CAN.
  2. The healthier I am, the more energy I have. This sounds obvious, but how often do we hear people say the reason they don’t go to the gym is because they don’t have the energy? Or perhaps the reason they eat an unhealthy diet it because they don’t have the energy to cook? The cleaner I eat and the more consistent I am with my workouts, the more energy I have. This past weekend I spent with Sharon Delbridge who is over the age of 50 and has more energy than any human I have ever met. She teaches about five classes a day and is an absolute energizer bunny all the time. Healthy moves energize you!
  3. I set a goal in my twenties to live into my 100’s. I read a lot about centenarians and find their habits to be quite fascinating. Two things they always recommend is a lot of sleep and staying active. Maybe 100 isn’t for you, but I bet you want to live as long as possible in a healthy body. Treat your body right and you will.
  4. It’s fun! Running for an hour on a treadmill is my personal version of hell. Definitely not my thing! Instead, I do activities that I find enjoyable and fun so that it doesn’t seem like work to do it. Whether I am walking my dog, lifting weights, hitting pads at kickboxing or stretching it out at yoga, I truly enjoy it. Many activities I do solo, but I also have a few terrific friends that like to try new activities. Instead of doing the typical hang out sessions of drinks on a patio, we head to a fitness class, get sweaty, have fun and enjoy life. It really is what you make of it.
  5. Physical appearance. I can’t say I mind the benefit of the way it makes my body look. Of course it is more than that, but it sure is a terrific bonus. When you look good, you feel good. I can be proud of my body at the age of 40 in a bathing suit, and am not shy about it. I work hard at the gym and am mindful and consistent with my healthy nutrition. Whether you have a six pack at forty or not, you should be happy with the way you look when you look at yourself in the mirror. And that is different for everyone. Just be happy with where you are. It’s not a competition.
  6. I honestly think the biggest reason for me working out and eating healthy is because of the benefits to my mental health. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, it was the hardest time of my life. I maintained going to the gym every single day. I had to. It was the only place for 45 minutes that I could feel good. Sometimes I left there and cried my eyes out in the parking lot, but for 45 minutes I was doing something positive. It keeps my stress levels low and my happiness high. No matter what is happening in my life, when I finish a workout I always feel better about things and have a clear sense of the best next steps.
  7. To set a good example for the people in my life. Practice what you preach I suppose. Whether it is the little girls in my family, a close friend or even just a social media friend, I want to help inspire people to live their best lives. Part of that is to exercise, eat nutritionally dense food, sleep lots and laugh more. I love hearing that something I posted on social media or said in a conversation with a girlfriend inspired them to make a healthy life choice. Be the change you want to see – and I want to see everyone living their healthiest self.

What is your favorite reason for living a healthy life? Comment below and help those in your life stay motivated to live their best and healthiest life!

 

Let’s Talk About Menopause!

They say there are two things you can be sure of in life – death and taxes. However as women, we get a bonus third thing we can be sure of – menopause. Yay! Lucky us! Menopause is defined as “occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles.”

Such a simple definition obviously doesn’t capture the scope of this “change” women endure. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s and even into your 60s and beyond.

Some women are thrilled about the idea of no more monthly periods including cramping, headaches and inconvenience. They can also have copious amounts of sex without having to worry about pregnancy. It is a time where we have earned our womanly stripes and are more proud, confident and sure of ourselves than ever before. However some women are saddened by the idea of going through menopause because they feel like they may no longer be vital, fertile and sexual. I would argue this with the fact that Christie Brinkley is 61, Elle Macpherson is 51, Sofia Vergara is 44 and Jennifer Lopez is 48 this year! This is a sexy group of potentially menopausal women!

Besides having to come to grips with the idea of menopause, there is also the “in your face” physical symptoms that can sometimes be nearly unbearable. The physical symptoms include the infamous hot flashes, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, weight gain and slowed metabolism, thinning hair, dry skin and loss of breast fullness. Sounds fun right?! OMG!

Here are some symptoms (listed below) that you may experience in the thick of menopause and some ideas for relief. The reliefs listed are ones outside of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). MHT is an option that may alieve many symptoms of menopause. Be sure to discuss any of these options with your doctor prior to implementing them.

Hot flashes – Be cognizant of what trigger these – spicy food, alcohol, caffeine or stress – and avoid them if possible. Also do whatever else you would do in the middle of a heat wave of summer – fans, relaxing and “breathing”, dressing in layers etc… Consider taking black cohosh. It is said to be beneficial in easing feelings of depression as well as regulating body temperature.

Vaginal dryness – As mentioned above, just because you are menopausal, doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t want to get it on! So if you do experience dryness, there are lots of great lubes out there. I would suggest buying one at a sex toy store rather than the pharmacy – they have way more options there for you to use. Using a water based one is also where it’s at. If the over the counter variety don’t do the trick, talk to your doctor.

Problems sleeping – Everything’s better with a good night’s sleep. One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to be physically active. But don’t do this close to bedtime as it might make you more awake. Also, avoid working or “screen time” right before bedtime, caffeine after noon, and avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

Mood swings – Great! So as if we weren’t hormonal enough before menopause!?! If you are experiencing mood swings, getting enough sleep, reducing your stress and staying physically active will help ease your stress. Depression is another common side effect of menopause. If this is a new condition for you or is exasperated by menopause, talk to your doctor.

Here are a few other ideas that could help…

Healthy lifestyle – Menopause is another instance when proper nutrition and exercise are paramount in achieving benefits to your body and relief of symptoms.

Support – Consider joining an “in person” or online support group for women who are going through the same things as you.

Yoga – Continual evidence supports the notion that yoga can help relieve irritability and depression brought on by menopause. Women report that yoga relaxation and stretching techniques help stabilize their moods while improving their overall well-being.

Mindful Breathing – Another great idea to incorporate into your life is meditation (menopausal or not!). Meditation and “mindful breathing” can help calm your mind and any anxiety you feel including during times of hot flashes. It will also allow you time to decompress, destress and relax.

Acupuncture – Some women swear by acupuncture as a great treatment and alternative to hormone therapy for menopausal depression and hot flashes.

Supplements and Herbs – In addition to Black Cohosh, you may want to incorporate St. John’s Wort and Ginseng into your regimen. St. John’s wort is said to be an effective treatment for menopausal mood swings, improved sleep, relaxation, and reducing mild depression and anxiety. Ask your doctor before you begin taking St. John’s wort, as it might interact with other medications. Ginseng may be used to treat menopausal symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and stress.

Luckily we are in the best time in history to go through menopause. We know more about menopause now than ever – including best ways to relieve symptoms!

Everyone’s journey through the “change” (for the better) is different. For some, it’s hell and for others it’s a cake walk. Hopefully yours is the latter. If not, hopefully this blog will help you find some relief or at least have some solid options to consider and talk about – with your circle of “people” and with your doctor. I also hope you to consider the notion that menopause isn’t a curse, but rather it’s an end to cramps, bloating, tampons and headaches! That it is a path to freedom! Let’s all see this as a graduation – you made it through the trenches and now you can soar.

Canadian Female Athletes ROCK!

morning-row-rianne

Like an aftershock from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, our Manitoban women rowers are killing it!  

I, like most sport-minded women in this great country, were overwhelmed with pride by the achievements of our Canadian women at the recent Olympic Games.  What made me even more excited was all of the media covered (although sometimes gender-biased) of the female athletes. So now that the flame has gone out in Rio, I’m trying to continue to shed light on some amazing recent success of female athletes in our own backyard.

For the first time in Canadian rowing history, Manitoba athletes won the Canadian Rowing National Champion trophy, which equates to the Manitoba Rowing Association having the highest percentage of athletes to achieve world gold medal standards. The National Rowing Championships took place in Burnaby, British Columbia September 22 – 25, 2016.

What is so incredible is that this success comes from our “female” athletes.  What’s even more amazing is that the two most decorated athletes have been rowing for less than a year! To me, this shows two things: an overall “physically literate” athlete can have success in nearly any sport and the coaching in the Manitoba program is second to none.   

At only 18 years old and rowing less than a year, Emma Gray took home Women’s Open single scull Silver Medal and a Gold medal in the Women’s U23 and Women’s Junior categories. Rianne Boekhorst, 22 years, who has only been rowing for remarkable 7 months, placed 13th!

Placing 7th was the pair of Casie and Kaelyn Gauthier, 23 and 24 years. This placement was higher than two international crews in the Women’s Open pair.

In the National Canadian Cup, Manitoba won the silver medal and was only .50 seconds short of the gold!

All of the above results are the best Manitoba has ever achieved. In such, this shows that the Manitoba Rowing Association program and structure, led by Head Coach Antony Patterson, is the most efficient in the country. 

Patterson is beyond proud and excited about this success. “To shed some light of the greatness of this achievement by Manitoba Rowers… We achieved these incredible results against Olympic and world gold medalists in the most successful summer Olympic Canadian sport in history.  In my 30 years of international coaching I have come to realize the shear gravity of these accomplishments. I am finding it hard to compare this fantastic result to other results. I believe if this isn’t the best result including my 5 Olympics as a coach it would be a very close second.”

Keep up the incredibly inspiring work women!!!

To learn more about these athletes and other Manitoba Rowers and their accomplishments, please read these:

Check out more of the media coverage Fit Communications was able to secure for Manitoba Rowing here!

Fruit 411

fruits-and-pills

Everyone knows that fruit is good for you. However, very few of us know why certain fruits can prevent or treat specific diseases, illnesses or ailments. I know that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – but why? My curiosity has once again gotten the better of me so I decided to research the health benefits of a broad spectrum of fruits. Most, if not all, of these fruits can be found year round at your local supermarket.

Apple – The skin of an apple has a high amount of fiber – to lower cholesterol and keep you regular. It also contains quercetin that can protect you from heart disease and possibly allergic reactions. Apples contain antioxidants that may help lower the chance of developing diabetes and asthma.

Apricots contain lycopene which protects your eyes and prevent heart disease and skin cancer.

Bananas have more potassium than most fruit and may help lower blood pressure levels, reduce your risk of stroke and improve muscle function. They also are a great source of resistant starch – a healthy carb that fills you up and helps boost your metabolism. All the fiber in bananas helps to restore normal bowel function.

Blackberries help reduce the risk of stroke and cancer.

Blueberries are the top choice for antioxidants – which prevent cancer and macular degeneration. Blueberries are great for brain function and memory and may help lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They also contain a good amount of manganese – which assists in your metabolism. Blueberries have even been shown to prevent Urinary Tract Infections.

Cantaloupe is high in beta-carotene, which may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.  The Vitamin A in cantaloupes make it a great for your skin as it boosts cell reproduction, making it a natural exfoliator. Cantaloupe can help reduce inflammation, prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and help protect your skin from sunburn.

Cherries contain more of the antioxidant anthocyanin than any other fruit. Anthocyanin may help reduce inflammation and ease the pain of arthritis and even lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of cancer.

Cranberries are antibacterial so they can help treat and prevent urinary tract infections, prevent kidney stones and ulcers. They may slow the growth of some cancer cells.

Dragon fruit – These fruits aren’t scary at all as it turns out! They have a ton of essential fatty acids, which we need but can’t be made by our body. These essential fatty acids lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Grapes – Red grapes, like red wine, contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Grapefruit -Pink grapefruit contain lycopene and flavonoids, which may help protect against some types of cancer and have been shown to reduce cholesterol. It may also improve your metabolism.

Guavas – help treat high blood pressure, colds, constipation and diarrhea.

Kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges and help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. They can also help lower your risk of heart disease and of cataracts. They have also been shown to boost the immune system and prevent the effects of asthma and reduced coughing and wheezing. They also might help reduce the occurrence of colon cancer.

Mangoes are high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Oranges – We know oranges are a good source of vitamin C. But they also are good sources of potassium and folate – an important vitamin for pregnant women that can help prevent neural tube defects.

Papayas are a good source of folate and contain papain, an enzyme that aids digestion. Plus, their high vitamin A content aids in maintaining the health of the skin. This vitamin A coupled with vitamin E may help protect against heart disease and colon cancer.

Peaches regulate the immune system and help to fight off infections.

Pears can help prevent constipation, reduce blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

Pineapple contains a natural enzyme called bromelain, which helps digestion and may also help prevent blood clots, inhibit growth of cancer cells and speed wound healing.

Plums contain an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid which may decrease anxiety.

Pomegranates promote normal blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks. They also help reduce the effects of arthritis and have the ability to treat erectile dysfunction.

Prunes don’t just act as a natural laxative. They are also a source of boron which may help prevent osteoporosis.

Pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene, which combined with potassium may help to prevent high blood pressure.

Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that may help prevent and treat esophageal, cervical and colon cancer.

Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties to slow down the growth of cancerous tumors.

Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that may reduce cholesterol and protect against advanced-stage prostate cancer.

Watermelon has twice as much lycopene than a tomato!

So there you have it! The A-Z (ok only to W and missing a few letters but…) of fruits that not only are deliciously, naturally sweet, but are super good for you! I am pleased to know that you don’t have to break the bank to get antioxidant loaded fruits. I was surprised to learn that cantelopes, apples, watermelon and kiwis were such powerhouses!

Please note, that the information I have provided is based on my own research. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician nor an expert in the field. If you have specific questions about your health and which fruits may be best for you, please consult your health professional. All I can do is share what I have learned and hope to inform and inspire you to learn more about how to improve your health to make today a happier and healthier YOU!

If you found this blog informative, you may want to check out more of our blogs on nutrition! You may also be interested in signing up for our newsletter!

Kick Flu to the Curb!

 

chicken noodle soup

Having just survived a stomach flu, then a bad cold and yet another flu, I have done some serious research on not only how to naturally treat colds and flu symptoms but also how to prevent the illness from happening in the first place. One thing that is always recommended is to get a flu shot – especially for those “at risk”. I am not here to take a stance on whether or not to get the flu vaccine. I am, however, here to tell you what you and your kids or family can do help prevent this annoying life speedbump that won’t cost a fortune. I will also note what to do if you find yourself in need of cold and flu rescue!

So first things first – in order to stay healthy, you need to give your body what it needs – a constant supply of nutrients. Some studies show that “optimizing” vitamin D is a way to help prevent illness and shortening duration if you do get sick. Getting enough sleep is also vital to preventing illness. Even a couple nights of not enough sleep can leave the body worn down and unable to resist illness. (I have a 7 month old – hence my flu-cold-flu pattern!) Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce the number of times a person gets ill per year and the duration.

So that is what to do to “prevent”. But if you are stuck in the depth of flu-hell, prevention can take a hike. So here are some ideas on what you can do if you’re in the thick of it. There are so many natural herbs, oils and remedies out there – it is actually overwhelming! So I have picked my top faves. Some may seem unconventional and some may be “old news” but they are all worth a try for a variety of ailments and symptoms!

Hot Liquids– This one is a no-brainer but still a solid recommendation – load up on the hot herbal teas and hot lemon water at first sign of illness. The heat helps boost your immune system and a variety of herbs can help with infection.

Remove White Foods– At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. Given the reason, it may be a good idea to remove these for your regular diet!

Nettle Leaf – Some natural doctors say this is the only herb needed for illness treatment. It contains large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins.

Garlic– It’s a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal and antibacterial. For the most potent effect (and a sure-fire way to keep visitors at bay) finely mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and float in a small glass of water.

Cinnamon – Cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

Ginger – In capsule form, ginger can greatly help with nausea and vomiting associated with the flu. It can also help with high fever and headache.

Yarrow – I had never heard of this one! But apparently it is unsurpassed for flu and fever, and great for kids. If a lot is used in tea at the start of getting sick, it claims to shorten the illness to less than 24 hours.

Peppermint – It can be used as a tea or rubbed on the skin to bring a high fever down. It is antimicrobial and antiviral and kids usually love the taste.

Vitamin C – Perhaps the best vitamin for cold and flu, vitamin C in large amounts can greatly speed recovery.

Onions and Garlic – You may want to sleep alone with this one! Slice onion and garlic and place all over the bottom of the feet (rub olive oil on first). Then wrap the foot in saran wrap and place a sock on overnight. Onions and garlic have been shown to pull toxins and help the body heal.

Apple Cider Vinegar Gargle and Drink– Yes Andrea (Fit Communication’s HUGE Apple Cider Vinegar supporter) I will do it! Drink a tablespoon in water (gargle first) at the first sign of illness and repeat hourly until symptoms disappear. This alkalizes the body and helps kill viruses and bacteria.

Hydrogen Peroxide– At the first sign of cold, flu, sinus infection, or ear infection, put a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. Lie still with the hydrogen peroxide in the ear until it stops bubbling. Do this on both sides. This is especially effective for kids. Repeat every few hours until infection is gone.

Chicken Soup – It’s been used as a “cure-all” by our grandmothers and their grandmothers’ grandmothers – for good reason! Chicken soup stops certain white blood cells (neutrophils) from congregating and causing inflammation, preventing large amounts of mucus from being produced. The hot soup also thins the mucus. Adding freshly chopped garlic to your soup gives the system a powerful boost as the garlic kills germs outright. Adding red chili pepper flakes to increase the broth’s decongestant power.

Blow-dryer – As strange as this sounds, inhaling heated air may help kill a virus working its way up your nose. Set your hair dryer on warm and hold it at least 18 inches from your face. Breathe in the air through your nose for at least two or three minutes but preferably 20 minutes.

There you have it. Try these to prevent or seek relief from those nasty little bugs that wreak havoc on life. They are all natural remedies so they’re definitely worth a try!

If you liked this blog or found it helpful, you should sign up for our newsletter and check out some other of our health blog posts here!

 

Wellness Mission

Life's enjoyment

Most of us in today’s modern society have come to the realization that in order to live long and have a good quality of life, we need to be focused on our personal wellness.  Wellness is being is a “state or condition of being in good physical and mental health”. It’s a holistic view of health.

At Fit Communications we are passionate about the promotion of health and wellness for all Winnipeggers, Manitobans and Canadians.  As such, we are happy to share some ideas of things you can do on your own personal journey toward wellness – all in your neighbourhood, no matter where you live.

In my research, I was pleasantly surprised by how many “wellness” focused activities, groups and events there are in every corner of our great province. Great job Manitoba! In addition, some of the items discovered are free! So you it proves that you can be living well no matter where you are or how much money you make.

1)      Exercise – not only will exercise improve your physical condition.  Exercise will also reduce stress, release endorphins to create feelings of happiness, and increase relaxation. One fun way to exercise includes swimming. The City of Winnipeg, Steinbach, Thompson and most communities throughout Manitoba have public swimming pools. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to partake. You can leisurely lap swim, jump off diving boards or take an Aquafit class. Many pools even have “free swims” to make it an affordable event for the whole family.

2)      Yoga – Although it has been around for centuries, its popularity has risen steadily in North America since the 1980s. Today, yoga studios both big and small can be found in nearly every community. Yoga is both a physical exercise as well as a form of medication and spiritual growth.

3)      Winter outdoor activities – staying active in the winter months does amazing things for our mental and physical wellbeing. A few local Winnipeg favourites include tobogganing at “Garbage Hill” in the west-end, snowshoeing at Fort Whyte Alive, skating on the rivers at the Forks or building a snow man in your backyard. Get outside and embrace winter!

4)      Events! Educate yourself and do your homework.  In order to know what options are available in your area, you have to do your homework. If you have the internet, it’s as easy as a Google search for your interest and your area. Check out these websites that post local wellness-type events:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/manitoba-events

http://attachmentnetwork.ca/events/

http://www.manitobainmotion.ca/news/media/?id=79

5)      Cooking. Whether taking a formal cooking class from the town’s best restaurant’s top chef or a community centre class, taking a cooking class is a great way to learn how to choose, prepare, and eat nutritionally sound and healthy foods. This will help your physical self as you attain or maintain a healthy weight, as well as prevent and treat certain diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. Taking one with a friend also makes this a great outing and bonding experience to increase your social wellbeing.

6)      Take an art or pottery class – unleashing your creative side. Express your emotions in a different medium. Locally owned galleries may offer classes or check your local community centre or City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide.

7)      Gardening. By gardening you are getting back to nature. This is probably one of the greatest things to improve your overall wellness. Much research has been done and shown that the benefits to gardening are multiple and cover a wide spectrum. Gardening and participating in community food growing projects can help yourself and your community. They can “contribute to improved social interactions and community cohesion…reduce the occurrence of episodes of stress…reduce physical pain and improve attitudes to healthy eating”. This is especially helpful in northern communities where fresh produce is costly to bring in. Visit http://ahta.org/news/benefits-gardening-and-food-growing-health-and-wellbeing for the full list of benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing.

8)      Get connected with like-minded people to do a variety of activities while building your social wellbeing.  Join a few Facebook groups – or join or create a “Meetup Group” http://www.meetup.com/  The website is all about “neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…”If neither of those are really your thing, look to a local studio, store or community group that hosts workshops, events etc… You can join anything from walking or cycling to photography or parent groups.

I am sure there are many more ways to get fit, inspired or centered. If you have other ways, please share them – with us and your circle. Let’s pass on the positive energy!

Committing yourself to your own wellness isn’t a selfish or self-centered act only about you. It’s about building your community and being “present” with those close to you. Strive for constant self-improvement to live your best life – for life is short and we only get one chance to make the most of it!

Top 15 Favorite Thoughts on Bringing Positive Vibes Into Our Lives

FitnessMarketingHappy

At Fit Communications we are two women on a mission. We are an inspired strategic marketing and communications team dedicated to spreading the word of health every day. Whether it be on our personal profiles online, our Twitter feed, our Facebook Group page, our newsletter, or just our daily lives, we are truly dedicated to spreading the word of health and happiness daily. Happiness and positivity have to be a dedicated, daily effort if we want to see it manifest into our lives. And some days that is easier than others, so this week’s blog is my Top 15 Favorite Thoughts on Bringing Positive Vibes Into Our Lives.

  1. You can have, be, do and create every single thing you can imagine. If you can think it – go get it. The universe or God or energy or whatever you want to call it, LOVES you and wants to see you succeed. Remember that and then create your own opportunities.
  2. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Surround yourself with people who make you feel amazing, strong, smart, challenged and whole. When you put out the positive vibes, they come back to you tenfold. Don’t worry about when, because timing isn’t the important part. Just know that it is all on its way for you.
  3. Aspire to be a giver. Give love. Give good vibes. Give hope. Give strength. Give positivity.
  4. Believe good things will happen, and they will. Start every day by preparing your mind to receive the best that life has to offer.
  5. Be grateful. Even when it feels like you have nothing, find something. Every single day before I get out of bed I say three things I am currently grateful for. Every. Single. Day. Gratefulness and happiness are a HABIT.
  6. Be in love with your life – every single minute of it. Remember that your life is what your thoughts make it.
  7. Be so happy that when others see you, they become happy too.
  8. Once in a while, blow your own damn mind. Shock yourself at how great you are, or what you can accomplish. It will build confidence and inner strength.
  9. When you start to make terrific decisions for yourself the universe rewards you. Why? Because God/Source/the Universe LOVES YOU and wants to see you do, be, create and have so many incredible things in life. Make those decisions so you feel blessed, and POOF! You will be.
  10. The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.
  11. Believe in what you want so much it has no choice but to materialize. Envision it. Feel it. Work for it. Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
  12. Remember that you always get what you focus on. If you are focused on being broke, you will be broke. If you focus on being sad, you will be sad. If you focus on abundance, you will be abundant. If you focus on being happy, you will be happy.
  13. Love yourself. Like really truly LOVE yourself – all the parts and pieces, the good and the bad, the fabulous and the not-so-fabulous. Love truly can conquer all.
  14. You attract what you are, not what you want. So if you want it, reflect it. If you want to feel more love in your life, send out more love. If you want to feel more compassion in your life, be more compassionate.
  15. Choose to shine. Remember everything in life is a choice. So choose happiness. Choose positivity. Choose love.

I hope that this blog has served a purpose or need for you today. Next time you’re feeling like you need a boost, come back to this page and read again.

WHO Announcement – What It Means and How to Adjust

Bacon

The WHO (World Health Organization) broke many people’s hearts on October 26, 2015 when it announced that processed meats cause cancer. Who doesn’t love a great steak? Bacon and eggs? Jets Dog? Corned beef sandwich? Heck, even a turkey breast sandwich on rye? Yum!

Specifically, the WHO stated that eating processed meat such as sausages and ham causes cancer, while unprocessed red meat may also be carcinogenic. The WHO’s cancer research unit now classifies processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” based on evidence from hundreds of studies, and linked it specifically to colon, or colorectal, cancer. The report outlined that eating 50 grams of processed meat each day — the equivalent of two slices of ham or a few slices of bacon — can increase the risk of these cancers by 18%.

To be fair, there are many other things can be just as, if not more harmful, than enjoying your Keg prime rib roast. By not exercising, having a diet lacking adequate fruit and vegetables, sun tanning and smoking can all increase your risk of getting cancer. This also doesn’t take into consideration other potential risk factors including gender, family history and age.

That said, now that we have this information, what do we do about it? To start with, we need to know what exactly is a “processed meat”?  The WHO defines processed meat as “any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it. Processed meat generally contains pork or beef, but may also contain poultry.” Red meat refers to “all types of mammalian muscle meat,” such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat.

Sadly, my fear is that the people that will take this information to heart have likely already made this change to their diets. It has been suggested for years that eating too much red meat is not good for you. People should choose lean, unprocessed white meats and fish more often for overall better health. In addition, many of us already knew that bologna and other processed food are packed with chemicals to make them a) last longer and b) taste better. So those of us that already knew all of this will only be slightly affected by this announcement.

Will it really make a difference with the masses? If someone is driving thru a burger joint for the King Burger with Cheese, or are regularly frying up hamburger to add to a “Helper”, are they really going to stop these food choices because of this announcement? My fear is no. For there are so many other things that we know are killing us but people still continue to choose them as a part of their lives. Even if you are uneducated on the topic of health, you can pick up a package of cigarettes and see images of people and organs dying. But people still smoke. However, at least the information to try to make us healthier is out there.

Part of the problem with making the change into our daily routines is information and suggestions for realistic changes or substitutions. From school lunches to quick family meals, here are some suggestions for healthier alternatives to some of our newly “forbidden” foods.

Instead of: Bologna, salami or corned beef sandwiches

Try: Sliced chicken/turkey (unprocessed, not sandwich meat), tuna, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches

Instead of: Hot dogs, hamburgers

Try: Homemade turkey, chicken or veggie burgers or dogs

Instead of: Hamburger helper with ground beef

Try: Hamburger helper with ground chicken or turkey or even Tuna Helper

Instead of: “lunchables”

Try: Homemade bento box! You can include a variety of healthy choices including veggies and dip, hummus and pita (a complete protein together), fruit and cheese.

Thankfully the WHO is looking out for us and continuing to help make us all healthier. At Fit Communications, we are trying to do the same thing for Canadians by sharing knowledge such as this announcement to help reach more people. Please share this blog post with others so that we can all work towards leading our healthiest lives.

Fitness in Winnipeg

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I love trying new fitness ‘everything’! Be it a new piece of equipment, a new gym or a new type of class, I love seeing what is new, what I can learn and how I can add pieces of each to my personal workouts. So it is not surprising that only three weeks into the new year, I have already tried three ‘new to me’ places. This week’s blog I will tell you about each and why I loved them all.

Prairie Roots

Located at 562 Academy Road, this second floor space has a wide variety of wellness and fitness options for the whole family. Five local Winnipeg women are on a mission to bring wellness and showcase the physical, mental and spiritual side of health. They have everything from Yoga to Zumba to Ass Class. I tried the Guided Mediation class with Janet Lewis. As a meditation virgin, I was intrigued. Janet took the group through a 45-minute meditation where she assisted us in calming our bodies and minds. Similar to yoga in the idea of always coming back to your breath, she made me feel at ease, mellow and relaxed. That was a terrific way to start a Sunday, with a calm mind and soul. For more information about Prairie Roots find them on Facebook or check out their website at www.prairierootswpg.weebly.com

Shinobi Fitness

Located at 328 King Street with lots of free parking in the Exchange, I must admit I was slightly scared to try crossfit. It has an intimidation factor for some reason to me – not sure if it’s the people or the hardcore fitness factor, but I was scared. I tried an introductory course lead by owner Rich Thomas, which consisted of a group of eight women and two men, ranging in all ages, sizes and fitness levels. If you want to get in great shape, this will do it. Tons of squats which I love, and a workout that has a fitness-centered approach – strength, conditioning, speed, core. And without a doubt, I must say that owner Rich is perhaps one of the best trainers I have ever worked with in the gym. He really knows what he is talking about! He not only tells you what and how to do the moves but why. I have been doing squats for over 30 years and he gave me hints to make them better and in turn, cause less stress on my joints and increase my strength. Thirty years of working out and one hour with Rich made a difference. For more information about their classes and boot camps, find them on Facebook or check out their website at www.crossfitshinobi.com

Pilates Manitoba

Located at 390 Academy Road, I found Pilates Manitoba when looking for a pilates instructor for the high performance team with Manitoba Rowing. The Head Coach needed a program to increase the core strength of his athletes and build the base and stability muscles of the team. Owner Annabel Scott is really dedicated to her facility, pilates and her clients. Our one-hour classes lead by Tom for a ten-week session, started this part weekend and let me tell you – two days later I can still feel the workout over my entire core and upper body. The slight movements in pilates allow your body to focus on the smaller muscle groups that aid your larger muscle groups to be big movements. All high performance, dynamic athletes in the group – and we were all blown away with the difficulty of holding particular moves. An exceptional core workout, using various portable equipment pieces, including TR-X. I am really looking forward to these weekly classes. For more information about Pilates Manitoba and their wide variety of classes to suit all fitness levels, check out their website at http://www.pilatesmanitoba.com/index.html

Sugar Sugar

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By now, most of us have heard that sugar is bad for you. But why? The evidence I have read to support why is staggering. We have all heard that sugar promotes tooth decay. However, this is only one of the tens of health problems sugar is linked to.

A hundred years ago, people consumed an average of 15 grams of sugar a day.  Today the average person consumes 73 grams of sugar, most of which is in the form of high fructose corn syrup – which is in most processed foods we buy.

Commonly used white sugar is bleached with chlorine bleach – which is an obvious dangerous substance to ingest.

Sugar has no essential nutrients. In fact, people who consume lots of sugar don’t have important nutrients they need, especially vitamins A, C, B12, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, copper, magnesium and iron. It also interferes in the absorption of minerals.

One of sugar’s main components is fructose, of which there is no physiological need. We can eat it in moderation – in fruit, for example, and our liver can metabolize it properly into glycogen. However, eating too much of it will result in it being stored as fat. This overload on the liver can result in fatty liver disease.

Diseases and Conditions Sugar is Linked to and Why:

High Blood Pressure: Sugar causes elevated uric acid levels which ultimately raise blood pressure (systolic/high number).

High Cholesterol: Sugar raises total cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing the bad cholesterol (LDLs) and decreasing the good cholesterol (HDLs) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

Inflammation: Sugar causes free radicals to form that cause inflammation in the body at the cellular level. This leads to changes in skin tone and appearance. Common effects include deep wrinkles, saggy skin, and dark circles under the eyes.

Immune system deficiency (arthritis, asthma and MS): Our immune functions are reduced after eating high sugar foods which makes the body more susceptible to infections. Sugar consumption lowers the white blood cell count, which in turn weakens your immune system.

Obesity:  By its rapid absorption, sugar promotes excessive food intake.  The body changes sugar into fat at much greater rates than it does starches.

Cancer:  Many studies have shown that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer. Having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress, basically setting the stage for the disease.  Cancer cells feed on sugar and need it to survive as cancer is uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

Additional Problems and Effects:

  • reactive hypoglycemia, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis
  • food allergies
  • cataracts and nearsightedness
  • gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins
  • epileptic seizures
  • emphysema, varicose veins, hormonal imbalance, kidney disease

How much is too much?

We all need some sugar to feed our body cells. However we need to limit our consumption of real sugar to less than 10 grams a day (over and above that which we normally get from fruits & vegetables). As mentioned above, with the development and overload of processed foods, most people’s intake of sugar is far above what is should be.

It can be argued that sugar is only one of the culprits of many of the aforementioned health issues. However this is one that we can do something about. It isn’t about uncontrollable environmental poison, heredity, or lifestyle. We can all afford to eat less sugar. We need to do this and ensure we help our children do this in order to prevent diseases and conditions and lead healthier lives.