Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

WHAT IS A WHOLE GRAIN? HOW CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

What is a whole grain?

A whole grain seed, or kernel, is composed of three elements. The bran contains the fiber long associated with heart health. The second part, the germ, is thought to contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins and magnesium.

You get the starchy part of grains from the endosperm, where most of the calories are also stored.

How can you tell the difference?

Food companies don't make it easy on consumers trying to navigate the thicket of claims on food labels. A whole grain product must say "whole," as in "whole oats" or "whole wheat," before it says anything else. If it says "wheat flour," or if whole wheat is listed as the second ingredient, it's not a whole grain food.

The Whole Grains Council has developed black-and-yellow stamps to help consumers locate whole grain products in markets.

And since food manufacturers have responded to consumer demand for whole grains, it's relatively easy to find whole-grain breads, cereals and crackers in supermarkets. But sticking to these minimally processed foods for your whole-grain intake means you're missing out on a spectrum of grains that have been cultivated for human consumption for thousands of years.

The Ancient and the Exotic

The three primary grains cultivated around the world are wheat, corn and rice.

In the United States, corn is grown primarily for livestock feed or processed food additives, like high fructose corn syrup, also known as HFCS. But corn has been cultivated in Mexico for up to 10,000 years.

We all know the joys of fresh corn on the cob in the summertime, and popcorn is a fantastic whole grain, low-calorie satisfying snack.

Fresh or frozen corn adds flavor and fiber to soups and salads without adding many calories, and corn tortillas are a Latin American staple food-healthy and inexpensive, low in calories and infinitely adaptable.

Wheat was brought to America in the 1600's and has been cultivated in the Great Plains region since the mid-1800's. Because of its high levels of gluten, the protein that is essential in bread-making, wheat is a widely cultivated grain.

Without wheat, writes Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, "we would not have raised breads, cakes and pastas as we know them."

Other uses of wheat

But the uses for wheat go beyond bread. Bulgur, a form of cracked wheat, is used throughout the Mediterranean in pilafs, salads like tabouli, and casseroles.

Wheat berries, or whole grains of wheat, require overnight soaking and a long cooking time to transform them into satisfying and chewy grains that can be used as a side dish at dinner or hot cereal at breakfast.

Americans are familiar with white and brown rice, but up to 10,000 varieties of this food staple exist around the world. In recent years, pigmented rices have entered the U.S. food market-red, black, and purple rices are full of pigments that have antioxidant properties.

Exotic grains

Worldwide, people rely on grains and cereals as their main source of food. Before industrial agriculture introduced monocropping as the prevailing model of cultivation, different cultures grew dozens, if not hundreds, of grain and cereal varieties.

Many have disappeared, and many are hard to find, but as food choices continue to broaden, exotic grains are becoming more widely available.

Buckwheat: Native to Central Asia, buckwheat is most familiar to Americans as a pancake ingredient, where it contributes a nutty flavor and tenderness to this Sunday-breakfast favorite.

But this relative of rhubarb and sorrel has a range of uses. Japanese soba noodles are made of buckwheat, as are Russian blini, crepes from Northern France, and flatbreads and fritters from Nepal.

Millet: Although millet is mostly used as birdseed in the United States, this tiny grain is a staple in African countries. It grows well in hot, dry weather, and is a native of Africa and Asia, where it's been cultivated for 6,000 years.

There are many different types of millet, but each have between 16 to 22 percent protein content, higher than many other grains.

Millet is often fermented to make malts and types of beer, but it can also be used as an ingredient in pilafs, stews, breads, and soups.

Toasting millet and other grains before cooking intensifies their aroma and also breaks open the bran layer, allowing water to be absorbed more quickly, thereby reducing cooking time. To cook, use one part millet to three parts water or stock.

Quinoa: Pronounced Keen-wah, quinoa was first cultivated by the Incas, near the Andes around Lake Titicaca. Along with potatoes, quinoa was a staple food for the Incas.

Like millet, this tiny grain, a relative of beets and chard, is high in protein. But quinoa's protein contains all of the amino acids our bodies need.

This quick-cooking grain makes a light and fluffy side dish, and, like many of the other exotic grains, is a great ingredient in pilafs, soups and breads.

Many health food stores and natural foods sections of grocery stores now carry lesser-known grains and flours, so take a look and start experimenting. You may just find a replacement for plain old pasta or rice.

Cheers,

Eve :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The American Heart Association has just one word for you: Walk!

From Jan. 8 through Feb. 5, sign up by visiting the heart association's website or calling 1-800-AHA-USA1 - and you'll get up to 12 recorded "wake-up call" from actress Jane Seymour, singer Vanessa Williams, "Wheel of Fortune" letter-turner Vanna White, sportscaster and former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis, and Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

In addition, you can use the heart association's online fitness and nutrition tracker to enter what foods you eat each day, how much exercise you got, and how many calories you took in and burned.

Working too long, exercising too little

Health experts blame the lack of exercise as one reason why 65 percent of Americans - about 195 million people - are overweight and at higher risk for diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer.

To compound the problems, Americans are generally working 164 more hours than they did 20 years ago, and many of those jobs are sedentary in which people move hardly any at all, association leaders said.

But Dr. Raymond Gibbons, the association's president and a professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., said you can gain two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular exercise.

Four benefits of walking
Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day can:

• Lower your level of LDL "bad" cholesterol;

• Lower your high blood pressure;

• Help overweight people lose weight and maintain the loss;

• Reduce risk of strokes.

Focus on walking because it has the lowest dropout rate of any exercise, plus it's the cheapest.

Source: American Heart Association

Cheers,
Eve :-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weight Loss Red Flags

From a commentary by the Calorie Control Council, here are common pitfalls you may encounter on the road to weight loss and weight management:

• Diets that emphasize a quantity of certain foods vs. the overall nutritional quality of foods. Focusing on healthy meals that are low in calories but includes food from all food groups creates a way of eating that is easier to stick with for a lifetime.

• Quick fix diets that promise fast weight loss without effort. Slow and steady weight loss is not only the safest, but also the most effective, way to get slim.

Losing more than two pounds a week can signal the metabolism to go into survival mode, decreasing the calories burned every day and making weight loss difficult and maintenance nearly impossible.

• Restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups. Very restrictive diets that prohibit one type of food are not likely to satisfy for more than a few weeks. Making sure to eat foods from all food groups ensures you satisfy cravings and still get all the necessary vitamins and minerals essential to healthy eating.

• Setting unrealistic weight-loss goals or unrealistic expectations about life after the diet. Many individuals set themselves up for failure by desiring to be the perfect size six or to get back into 32-inch waist pants.

If you are unable to achieve these goals, you may get discouraged and give up. Sometimes people believe their whole life will instantly change if they just lose weight, but rarely does that happen.

By keeping goals realistic, such as improving blood pressure or increasing personal fitness levels, the likelihood of maintaining lifestyle changes and attaining a healthy weight over the long-term increases.

The chances of keeping the weight off also increases because the focus is on health and quality of life.

Bottom line

Calories count and physical activity is not optional!

The research is clear that there is no magic bullet for long-term weight loss success. Being able to incorporate some of the strategies of successful dieters from the National Weight Control Registry and avoiding the common pitfalls are the keys to achieving a healthy weight.

Like anything worthwhile, success takes hard work and dedication. In the end, your commitment to creating a healthier life is built on the cornerstones of a reduced-calorie lifestyle and daily physical activity.

Source: Calorie Control Council

Cheers,

Eve :-)


Monday, January 08, 2007

Which Diets Work Best At Melting Fat?

A healthy eating plan high in carbs but low on the glycemic index may help you lose weight and cut your risk of heart disease better than other diets, especially if you're a woman.

"Diets based on low-glycemic index, whole-grain products tend to be better for the heart, maximizing cardiovascular risk reduction, particularly if protein intake is high," says Joanna McMillan-Price, a nutritionist at the University of Sydney's Human Nutrition Unit.

McMillan-Price and other Australian researchers say that while they couldn't find any one diet that fits all weight-loss and healthy-eating goals, the high-carb, low-index diets beat out high glycemic index or high-protein diets at helping people shed fat.

Diabetics also use the glycemic index to ensure they don't consume food that will affect their insulin levels.

Foods with a low glycemic index include cereals based on oats, barley and bran; whole grain and sourdough breads; and rice.
Foods with high glycemic indexes include potatoes and white bread.

Doubled fat loss

McMillan-Price and Jeannie Brand-Miller, also a nutritionist at the Human Nutrition Unit, say their study is the first to compare the effects of the glycemic index and high-protein diets on weight loss and the risk of heart disease.

Their findings come after 129 overweight or obese adults 18 to 40 ate four different types of diets for 12 weeks. Two diets were high carbs, and the other two were high in protein. Half had foods high on the glycemic index, while the others were low on the index.

According to the results, people on all four diets averaged losing between 4.2 and 6.2 pounds, even on high-protein diets. But the high-carb, low-glycemic diets doubled fat loss, especially in women.

In addition, high-carb, low-glycemic diets performed better at lowering levels of total and LDL "bad" cholesterol. High levels of total and "bad" cholesterol are major risk factors for heart disease, health experts warn.

McMillan-Price and Brand-Miller wrote The Low GI Diet Revolution. Brand-Miller also helped write The New Glucose Revolution book series.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

Cheers,


Eve :-)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Let's Get Some BACK!

From a practical standpoint, we use our back often and building strength in the back, particularly the lower back, helps to prevent injury. How many times have you heard someone tell you he or she has a bad back?

I’m providing you with a practical understanding of the major back muscles. First I’ll briefly describe each major area of the back, and then I’ll give you an exercise so you can practice on your own. The exercises focus on the major areas, but in reality there are even more isolated areas of the back.

Let’s get right to it!

1. Lattisumus Dorsi: The latissumus dorsi muscles (also known as the lats) are the largest muscles of the back. The lats are large, fan-shaped muscles. If you spread your back and touch the outer end of each side of the back, you’re touching your lats. The function of the lats is to pull the arm down toward the pelvis. When properly developed, the lats will actually make your waist look smaller. Now, there’s a good incentive.

Here’s a great exercise for the lats:

Cable Two Arm Lat Pulldown

Starting Position:

  • Extend your arms up and reach for a straight bar with an overhand grip.
  • Sit tall with your knees supported under the leg pad, with the knees and hips at a 90 degree angle.
  • Arms should be wider than shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep your chest lifted.

    Movement:

  • Contracting the upper back muscles, pull the bar down leading with the elbows, stopping when the bar is just above your chest.
  • Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of the weight stack touching.

    Key Points:

  • Exhale while lifting the weight.
  • Inhale while returning to the starting position.
  • Do not allow your upper back to round or your chest to cave in.
  • Alternative exercises that target the lats: Close Grip Pull-Downs, Wide Grip Pulldowns, Chin-Ups, One Arm Dumbbell Row, Seated Cable Row, Stiff Arm Cable Push-Downs

  • 2. Rhomboid Muscles: The rhomboids originate on the spinal column and attach to the middle area of the scapula. They get their name from their shape. The function of the rhomboids is to assist in squeezing the shoulder blades together. When even slightly developed, the rhomboids give the back a look of utter beauty.

    A great exercise for the rhomboids:

    Dumbbell Bent Over Row

    Starting Position:


  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward from the hips until the upper body is at about 45 degrees.
  • Extend the arms down, keeping your shoulder blades together.

    Movement:

  • Contracting the upper back muscles, pull the dumbbells up toward your sides, stopping when your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Remember to slightly squeeze the shoulder blades together as you pull up to the contracted position.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of the arms fully extending.

    Key Points:

  • Exhale as you lift the weights.
  • Inhale while returning to the starting position.
  • If you have any discomfort or weakness in your lower back, avoid this exercise.
  • Start out with light weights to make sure your lower back can tolerate this position.
  • Alternative exercises for the rhomboid muscles: Rear Delt Raises, Seated Cable Rows, Dumbbell One Arm Bent Over Rows.

    3. The Erector Spinae: For the most part we are talking about the lower back when we discuss the erector spinae. The erectors are a group of muscles that support the spinal column. The functions of the erector spinae group are to extend the spine, as well as provide support for it. This area is extremely important to strengthen.

    Fitball Prone Trunk Extension

    Starting Position:

  • Lie on the ball with your knees on the floor and feet up on the toes.
  • Place your fingertips gently on the sides of your head.
  • Maintain a neutral spine with head and neck relaxed as a natural extension of the spine.
  • Movement:
  • Contracting the lower back muscles, raise your chest off the ball slightly.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

    Key Points:

  • Exhale while lifting your body.
  • Inhale while returning to the starting position.
  • Do not hyperextend your back and/or overdo the range of motion.

    Alternative Exercises for the erector spinae: Machine Back Extensions, Dumbbell Deadlifts.

    Attempt one to three sets of each exercise for 10-12 repetitions on alternate days of the week, and focus on precise form at all times.

  • Whether your goal is to look great or to improve your strength so you can comfortably pick up your groceries, focusing on the back muscles is your ticket to success.

    There you have it! Not only a better understanding of the back, but also the most efficient exercises to work the specific areas.

    Don’t forget, the ultimate key to a toned and tight body is the combination of proper nutrition, exercise and consistency. As always, check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.

    Cheers,

    Eve :-)


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