Saturday, February 25, 2012

Energizing New Breakfast!

I'd been eating the same breakfast for about 15 years or so (posted on April 1, 2009 in this blog under the title "Breakfast of Artists") and, kind of all of the sudden, I started to feel that it wasn't right for me. I started wondering if having less carbs in the morning would help me feel better up until lunchtime and even through the afternoon. So I thought about creating a new breakfast that was composed of the most super duper vitamins and nutrients I could think of, and also balanced in a way that would keep my blood sugar as level as possible for as long as possible. We have a turbo charged blender called VitaMix that sounds a bit like a jet engine at takeoff, but any blender will do. I made this recently for my father and his wife, using their blender which was very small and pretty unpowerful, and it worked just as well. So here it is!

Energizer Breakfast Smoothie

Serves One

1 heaping Tablespoon whey protein powder
1 heaping Tablespoon brewer's yeast
1 heaping Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 level Tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 inch chunk of raw ginger, sliced but not peeled
1/4 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 to 4 leaves of raw kale or collard greens
1/2 teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
1 level teaspoon natural peanut butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups cold water

Blend all ingredients together until fairly smooth and enjoy! Your cells will dance with happiness for hours!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Overtraining, Tendonitis, and the Importance of Variety in Movement

Whether you’re painting, lifting weights, running, walking your dog, or clicking a mouse, if you do the same thing day after day without fail, you will very likely end up either with an injury or with a muscular imbalance that feels just like an injury. The difference is important, and often only a physician can help you determine what your course of treatment should be.

But there are some typical signs to look out for to let you know when you’re in the state known as “overtrained”:

First and foremost, you have a pain, dull or sharp, that just won’t get better and, mostly, it would be located near one of your joints. Also, it actually feels better with movement (like when you do the same exercise that seemingly caused the pain), but it is stiff and painful when you haven’t moved for a while (like first thing in the morning). If this sounds like you, you probably have tendonitis. Tendonitis is simply inflammation of a tendon (the tissue that connects muscle to bone) and it happens when your muscles are out of balance with each other. You may be very strong, but if one of your muscles lags behind surrounding or supporting muscles, it becomes the weak link that causes tendonitis. It feels horrible because your body wants you to pay attention to it and change what you’re doing so that it can get well! Often, if the problem hasn't gone too far, you can work it out yourself with yoga or Pilates (unless that's what you've been overdoing) or even just by changing up your routine (yay for Zumba!). For more serious cases, though, physical therapy might be the ticket. It usually works like magic to heal tendonitis, and often the physical therapy will be proper resistance exercises that strengthen the entire muscle group at the location of the problem.

Some other signs of overtraining are general fatigue, accelerated heart rate first thing in the morning, loss of appetite, loss of libido, depression, insomnia, and irritability. Whenever you notice that you’re just “not yourself”, it’s time to check in with whoever you are and figure it out!

The point of this discussion is that it is important to understand that our bodies work best when we incorporate a wide variety of movements into our lives. Just like we need a wide variety of foods to be healthy, our skeletomuscular system craves change. Rest is important, but even too much resting is going to cause a problem. Balance is the key, but it’s also the hardest thing to achieve. Why? Because once you have it, it changes again. And again. And again! Forever, as long as we live.