October 2018


I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any. Mark Twain – Author

Working extra movement into our lives is not easy in our modern communities.  In many places walking is discouraged by the lack of sidewalks and safe walking trails. Green space is sacrificed for even more building development, and there are few parks for children and adults alike to walk and play.

The price of fitness programs and gyms can be prohibitive to people struggling to make ends meet. Shift work encroaches on normal family living, and parents sacrifice their activity time for time spent inside just to see their children before tucking them into bed.

The way people have been overworked in their jobs by companies determined to squeeze every last ounce of energy from them leaves them too tired to go out again. Requests for more overtime at work and lengthy commutes eat into their potential time for activity as well. So instead, they slouch exhausted in front of the television for a blessed relief before they sleep and wake tomorrow to do it all again.

All over the world, people are living like hamsters on a wheel, just trying to provide the essentials for themselves and their families, and caring for their own bodies falls lower and lower on their priority list.

Effective repair

  1. Figure out one part of your day, no matter how small, in which you could take yourself and your family outdoors for a bit of physical exercise.
  2. Start small. Even if it’s only a Sunday afternoon outing, it’s better than nothing.
  3. Try walking home from work one night a week or take the family for a walk in the park on Saturday morning.
  4. Walk up the stairs at work instead of taking an elevator. Park as far away from the door as possible when you go to the supermarket.

The important thing now is that you try. We know you can’t completely change your life on a whim. But when your car is on empty and you’re short of cash, how many times have you just put €20 in to tide you over to the next payday?

One evening of exercise, one run up the stairs at your workplace, or one walk around your neighborhood with your children is the beginning of filling up your personal energy tank again.

You can get started today.

It͛’s not the load that breaks you down, it͛s the way you carry it͛. Lou Holtz – American Football Coach

Too often we equate exercise with expensive gym memberships and highly sculpted bodies running around in leotards and tank tops and lifting weights and posing on balance balls. If that is your scene, go for it. But if you don’t feel comfortable in such an environment, you still have lots of options to get into the fitness game. You can get your positive endorphins flowing just by playing sports in your neighborhood, washing your car, running on the treadmill in your basement or pulling weeds out of your back garden. You can stroll, walk, jog or spring around your neighborhood. You can hike country trails, go rock climbing or take up just a nightly thirty-minute walk.

The Mayo Clinic experts advise us that engaging in exercise helps alleviate stress in a number of ways besides increasing feel good hormones. It helps you gain confidence that you can meet your goals; it takes your mind off the things that stress you, it helps you socialize with others and that is encouraging. It helps you cope because of the positivity it creates.

The lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy͛. Tom Hardy – Actor and Producer

There are two kinds of complex carbs that will fuel your body best over the long haul. The first is starch, and it is longer-lasting than bad carbs because it needs to be broken down in your body’s digestive system before it turns into glucose. You get it when you eat vegetables like potatoes, peas, corn and dry beans and breads, cereals and grains. The second kind of complex carb is dietary fiber.

There are two kinds of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble (roughage). Fiber from vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods. Specific foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal and oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds, fruits like apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries. Insoluble fiber comes from fruits and most vegetables, whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, wheat bran, couscous, whole grain cereals, and seeds.

Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, (what your grandparents called roughage) does not dissolve in water. You need a healthy amount of insoluble fiber in your diet because it is what gives you a feeling of being full and it also feeds the good bacteria in your gut. It serves as kind of an interior sponge in your body, soaking up to 15 times its weight in water, and stopping you from wanting to eat more. The importance of fiber in our diets caught the attention of doctors in England just after 1890 when they witnessed a whole range of common diseases flaring up in the time after a new milling process removed fiber from traditional whole grain flour to produce white flour.

Of all the foods we take into our bodies, none have endured the universal disdain of fat.

Yet a certain amount of fat helps keep your body running smoothly. It helps you grow, it helps you absorb certain vitamins like A, D, E and K, and it fuels your body with energy. Not only that, in their own way, some of the fats are like brain food, helping your thinking and learning power.

But most of its bad press is also well deserved. Too much of the wrong kind of fat can hurt you badly, setting you up for life-threatening diseases.

Even good fats need to be taken in moderation because of their high caloric content. There are nine calories in every gram of fat compared to four calories per gram of protein or carbohydrate. However, as popular diets like Atkins point out, when you do eat foods that contain some fat, you are more likely to feel full for a longer period of time and less likely to return for snacks than if you rely totally on no-fat food. They also point out, and correctly so, that many fat free foods actually contained more calories than other foods, since the fat that has been removed is replaced with sugar or other carbohydrates to enhance the taste.

Good Fats: What Are They?

You will recognize good fats on a food label by such distinctions as ͞monounsaturated͟ fat and ͞polyunsaturated͟ fat. You get monounsaturated fat when you eat nuts and seeds (peanuts, cashews, almonds and pecans), vegetable oils (sunflower, canola, olive, sesame, safflower, and peanut oils) and avocados.You also get polyunsaturated fat from the vegetable oils listed above and the same nuts and seeds as listed above. Furthermore, you can get them from fish oils and from fatty fish itself, such as trout, mackerel, herring, smelt and salmon.

Good fats give your body a dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and these are vital in healthy cell growth. If you don’t have sufficient amounts of these fats in your body, you can never look the glowing picture of good health. Instead, you will have dry and lifeless hair, breaking and brittle nails and dry, flaky skin. It is important to get the ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 correct.

Even more important than how you will look outside is how you will feel inside. Vitamin D, so vital for the growth and strength of your bones and teeth and essential for your body to absorb the calcium and phosphorous it needs, cannot be absorbed into your body unless you have a certain amount of ͞good͟ fat in it. Failure to absorb calcium and vitamin D leaves you prey to painful and crippling diseases like osteoporosis.

Fat also is needed to move vitamin A, E, and K (as well as D) through your bloodstream. It is Vitamin A that helps your skin to stay healthy and nourished, Vitamin E that ensures the proper functioning of your cells with its antioxidant properties, and Vitamin K which is essential for your blood to clot when you sustain a cut or scrape.

Good fats also have been found to sharpen your brain’s cognitive skills. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied 6,000 women aged 45 and older for four years, asking them to perform a cognitive functioning test every two years. They discovered that by substituting good fat for bad fat, a decline in memory could be avoided. Your brain needs both Omega-3 fatty acids (a form of polyunsaturated fat) to function and good sources are fish, nuts, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. Omega-3 is instrumental in ensuring that nerve signals reach the brain for adequate responses. These vital connections are enhanced with new supplies of fatty acids.

Too Much of A Good Thing Is A Problem

If monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat is so useful to your body, why not just go unabashedly after all those high fat dishes we love and enjoy them?

Because like so many things in life, even too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. If you eat more good fat than your body needs, it is stored in your fat cells as well as your plasma, your blood and other body cells. Too much fat in storage means you become overweight and then obese. When you are overweight and obese, you become at risk for heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, and even dementia. The American Heart Association recommends that you get between 19 and 28 percent of your calories from unsaturated fats, and no more than seven per cent of your daily calories from saturated fat.

Bad Fats: Where They Are and Why You Want Them

There are two kinds of bad fats: saturated fats and trans fat. You find bad fats in meat and poultry, palm and palm kernel oils, shortening and lard.

Trans fat, which is recognized on food labels by the words ͞partially hydrogenated͟ means that a solid fat has been created from a liquid oil by means of a chemical process. Most of the trans fat found in a typical United Kingdom diet until recently came from commercially fried foods (yes, the beloved fish and chips), margarines, and bakery products such as cakes, cookies and doughnuts and snack foods made with partially hydrogenated oils and fats. In the United Kingdom, where 150,000 people die every year from coronary heart disease and stroke, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) commenced work in 2001 to develop healthy food strategies within the food industry Fats are a complicated subject in any nutrition manual because of the varying types, the complexity of their makeup and their contradictory nature (small amounts of some are good, larger amounts are bad).

Everyone looks for quick and easy rules to guide them, and it is difficult on the subject of fats, although we do offer effective repairs below.

Effective Repair

1. Try to have a moderate intake of saturated fats and totally eliminate trans fats from your diet. There is little or no good that will follow from the consumption of trans fat.

2. Eat a very little amount of unsaturated fats each day.

That means a handful of nuts or seeds, a small portion of salmon or mackerel or other fatty fish, and a sprinkling of vegetable oils.

3. Read food labels carefully to determine just how much fat and what kind of fat is in each product you purchase.

4. Choose lean cuts of meat; cut the skin off poultry prior to cooking.

5. Try to eat fish once a week.

6. Using small amounts of butter is better (more natural product) than margarine (which is highly processed and totally unnatural). However, this is not a license to add butter at will to foods – limit intake.

7. Make as many meals from scratch as you can. Heavily processed ready-to-eat foods and fast foods normally contain far more fat than the food you cook closer to its natural state.

8. Ensure that the bulk of your diet is comprised of vegetables, whole grain products and fruit.

9. Try at least one or two nights a week to enjoy a meatless meal using high-protein alternatives like nuts, seeds, or beans and lentils.

10. Instead of using high-fat commercially prepared salad dressings, create your own using olive oil with a bit of balsamic or other flavoured vinegar and a bit of lemon juice and herbs from your pantry.

11. Try eating a few walnuts or adding a bit of flax-seed to your baking to keep up your intake of omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).