Welcome back to Active Life Health Clinic's February 2007 newsletter.
18th is 2007's Chinese New Year's and is the beginning of the Year of
the Pig. While many of us think that being called a "pig" is
unflattering, it is actually a wonderful sign to be. Pig
people are fun, honest, noble, and loving, and are said to know a life
filled with serenity and riches. In fact, 2007, as the year
of the Fire Pig, is said to be an exceptionally lucky year to be
born. It comes only once every 600 years and is known as the
year of the "Golden Pig" whereby children born in this year will live their lives in comfort and wealth with luck always near.
Are you a Pig? You are if you were born in 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, or 1995.
Love Your Life!
One thing that we can learn from the Pig is to enjoy the finer things in life.
People often think that living healthy means sacrificing all the things
that you love. This isn't necessarily true. While I
do suggest that you quit smoking, limit alcoholic beverages, avoid junk
foods, and live your life with some moderation (a weakness of the Pig
is impulsiveness and excessiveness), you can still have fun with this healthy lifestyle! Read on for tips on food, mood, exercise, and treats!
Gift certificates for Valentine's Day available--free organic dark chocolate with certificate over $80 (offer valid until Feb.28,2007).
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Can you have comfort foods and not pack on the pounds? You can if you do it right. Foods that Fit
||Not in a Merry Mood? What you can do if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
||Easy Exercise and Terrific Treats lets you find the best of both worlds.
Helping you help yourself!
To work in partnership with you to bring you to your optimal health.
Ongoing health, not just temporary relief.
This is active health.
Foods That Fit
Want some healthy foods that can help to keep you slim and healthy, yet still satisfy your cravings?
1. Go Nuts (and seedy)!
Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and sesame seeds are rich sources of
omega-3 good fats, and they help to stabilize your blood sugar
levels. Make sure that they are whole nuts, not chopped or
sliced so that their oils are not rancid. Grind the seeds
yourself with a coffee grinder and keep extra in the fridge for only a
2. Oats Hit the Right Notes.
Oatmeal is a fantastic comfort food that is high in soluble fibre, thus
helping to lower cholesterol and keep you full longer. Make
it fun by adding berries, rice milk, and/or yogurt.
3. Sprout it Out! You Love Grains! Sprouted
grains are rich in fibre, helping to keep you full. Sprouted
grains are also easy to digest. You can find sprouted,
non-flour, grain breads in most grocery stores.
4. Pass on the Pasta.
Try some yummy spaghetti squash instead. Scoop out the inside
of a squash, sprinkle it with olive oil, and bake it at 350 degrees for
50 minutes. Top it with your favourite tomato sauce
(preferably organic to avoid GMO), and a lean protein.
5. Sweet Colour.
Swap the white potatoes for colourful yams and sweet potatoes to get a
low sodium, low fat, high fibre treat that are also rich in potassium,
vitamins A and C and manganese. Because they are higher in
sugar, eat in moderation, but enjoy!
6. Bean There?
Comfort foods! Make chillis, hummus, stews, and soups using
black beans, navy beans, mung beans, chickpeas, lentils, and other
legumes. They are loaded in fibre and are low on the glycemic
index, meaning that they don't spike your blood sugar and then leave
you sagging and hungry again soon after you eat them. Boil
them for 15 minutes and then soak them overnight for easier digestion.
7. Keen on Green.
Green tea is an energy boost that will help to boost your metabolism,
burn fat, protect against free radical damage (rich in antioxidants),
and lift your spirit with its ability to increase calmness and
clarity. Research has demonstrated that drinking 3 cups daily
of green tea is enough to contribute to weight loss.
from seasonal blues? Otherwise known as Seasonal Affective
Disorder, SAD is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus
because of a lack of sunlight during the winter months. The
most obvious solution to this is to bring light into your
life. But it has to be the right kind of light, certainly not
the glow of a computer screen, the depressing awful light of overhead
fluorescents, or even your favourite chandelier. Average home
and office lighting only emit an intensity of 200-500 lux, but the
minimum dose for light therapy is 2500 lux and a bright summer day can
be 100,000 lux. Consider purchasing or renting a light
box. Most can be purchased to emit 10,000 lux, which means
that you only need to use the light box for 30 minutes a day.
Get outside for at least 15 minutes daily to try to get some natural
light. Because we often don't get enough sunlight in the
summer, taking vitamin D supplements (800-1000 I.U. of D3 daily) can
replace the vitamin D we'd normally get from the sun.
Learn from the Pig People that
you know and find something that you
enjoy. Do you like to dance? Learn to salsa, hip
hop, or even pole dance. Creative? Learn to knit,
scrapbook, paint, play an instrument. Need to express
yourself? Sing, write a book, take a comedy class.
Introspective? Meditate, take a bubblebath, read a
book. Want to get in touch with nature? Go for a
nature walk, hike, hug a tree (really, try it), kayak.
Talk to friends and family. Don't keep it all boxed inside
you. You might be surprised with how those close to you can
help, or how even just expressing yourself can release some of your
inner demons. If your SAD symptoms are more severe, consider
speaking to a counsellor or psychologist.
Remember that body and mind are connected, and Traditional Chinese
Medicine recognizes this by using acupuncture, TCM herbs, and nutrition
to rebalance your body, not just treat the symptoms to quiet the mind
and lift the spirits.
Easy Exercise and Terrific Treats!
It doesn't have to be about lift, release, lift, release, lift,
release, lift...you get the picture. Make everyday dull chores
fun by turning on some fun music and dancing as you clean. Take a
fun class. I tried a hip hop class recently. I was horrible
at it, but it was fun and everyone else was so concerned about how they
looked, that no one cared about my goofy moves. There are so many
options, that I'm sure there's something for you: ballroom dancing,
yoga, boxing, bellydancing, running, rollerblading, walking, skiing,
snowboarding, bootcamp, swimming, tai chi or qi gong, etc...
Like chocolate? I know I do! This is where moderation comes into play, as does quality. Dark chocolate
is rich in flavonoids--plant-based antioxidants--that appear to protect
against skin cancer and promote healthy skin, according to a German
study. The researchers believe that the benefits of flavonoids
may be due to increasing blood flow and decreased free radical
damage. Italian experts found dark chocolate to lower blood
pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes. Chocolate is also rich
in magnesium, and magnesium deficiency is related to heart disease,
joint problems, and PMS.
This doesn't mean, "go chocolate crazy"! Chocolate is still high
in sugar and saturated fats. Avoid cheap chocolate. You'll
finish off the whole bar, maybe even two, and still might not be
satisfied. Choose organic dark chocolate and have just a piece or
two. Put the rest of it away for another day and savour the piece
that you have.
Treat yourself to a sauna session. You'll get to relax and "workout" at the same time, both healthy benefits with minimal effort. Gift certificates available.