“My Tummy Hurts…”

When you have a stomach ache… no, I’m not talking about sore abs from working out. I’m talking about the misery that keeps you from being able to relax because no matter what position you are in, your stomach is turning and you feel like you are going to vomit. Not pleasant to think about, but we’ve all been there. And unfortunately, we’ve likely not seen our last bout with tummy troubles. As often is the case with me, my focus is food. So, while we are not in the midst of an episode, let’s make sure we know how to eat the next time so we can get through it as quickly as possible with minimal suffering.

Ironically, some of the things that you eat when healthy to make and keep you strong, will further complicate your condition and make you weaker.

When you are at the stage where you can’t keep anything solid down, you need to do your best to stay hydrated. In addition to water; make sure to drink liquids that contain minerals such as potassium, calcium and sodium. Your body needs these minerals and some good options are clear broth, sports drinks and coconut water.

If you are like me, I want solid food the moment I am no longer nauseated. Make good choices that are not going to set you back. My grandma would start making rice porridge as soon as anyone uttered of stomach discomfort. Important to note here, that while brown rice and other whole grains are normally healthier, they are more difficult to digest as they are higher in fiber, so be sure to keep it to plain white rice to go easy on your stomach. For the same reasons, if you eat toast, you should opt for simple white bread, versus your normally healthy whole grain breads. If you crave more flavor, bananas are easy to digest and are a great source of potassium. Another option is natural unsweetened applesauce, which is full of nutrients and a good source of pectin which is a form of fiber that dissolves in water. Though other forms of fiber are to be avoided to minimize stomach irritation, pectin can help get you on the road to recovery.

If you are able to tolerate these foods and have not had other symptoms for 24 to 48 hours, then slowly try other foods, but stay away from fats and spices. So the obvious would mean no fried food or spicy cuisine, but even more than that, go simple at first. There is a reason that hospital food is bland. Less obvious, but because of high fat content, you should avoid dairy. Just like with whole grains and fiber, the focus isn’t about what is typically the healthier option. So even though many dairy items are good fat, ANY fat is harder for your body to digest. Let your stomach recover. The same goes for raw fruits and veggies. Hold off until you are in the clear. As, though these are normally fabulous healthy options, the fiber will put your stomach to work and you need to let it rest.

At the start, I mentioned staying hydrated and drinking clear liquids. Just as when you are healthy, soda is never an ideal choice. Often we are offered soda when we are feeling nauseous, but if you have a stomach ache, the carbonation will add gas into your stomach. Not what you want when your stomach is already irritated. Additionally the sugar can lead to or exacerbate diarrhea and drinking a sugar loaded liquid is the quickest way to get sugar into your bloodstream.

So now we know how to introduce food back into our lives after dealing with stomach aches, but better if we do what we can to avoid the predicament to begin with. Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies to keep your digestive system healthy and your immune system strong. Keep active and do your best to minimize stress. Not just your tummy, but your entire body will thank you!

Incorrect Username or Password @#$%!

OK, well which is it? Is the username or the password incorrect? Retrieve username… ok, that is correct, so it must be the password. Forgot password… wait. No. I don’t want to create a new password! Why can’t I retrieve THAT. Ok, I guess I need to jump through the hoops. WHAT?! I can’t use a previous password! But, when I tried to log in, you told me my password was incorrect! My new password is required to be a minimum of 8 characters; with at least one uppercase letter, at least one lowercase, a number and a special character but the the special character may not be @ or # and I must enter it using my toes while standing on my head! Ok, I actually made that last part up, but the rest of it is pretty spot on.

This wasn’t meant to be a rant, but feels good to get that out of my head. I need to save the space for more important things. I’ve been walking down memory lane recently and noted with friends, how it’s funny that we can remember things from childhood, like our previous addresses or our first phone number but can’t seem to remember passwords that are necessary in life nowadays.

It’s not you, here’s why your memory seems to fail you now. There are three stages in the memory process; encoding, storage and retrieval (Melton 1963). Encoding is the initial learning of the information, storage refers to maintaining of that information over time and retrieval is the ability to access and recall that information. Memories are created with the reactivation of neurons in your brain. That, coupled with your experiences form the memory.

There are many theories about the types of memory. Some researchers suggest that rather than types, there are stages. In this view, it starts with sensory memory, transitions to short term memory and then may become a long term memory. Every time we would give someone our phone number, in the days before everyone had a cell phone, we had to say our number out loud and while doing so we would hear ourselves saying it which created an Echoic Memory. An Echoic memory has to do with sound and hearing. We did this over and over throughout the years, to anyone that we wanted to give our number to, that is, unless we wrote our number down to give them. Writing it down created a Haptic memory. A Haptic memory is associated with your sense of touch. Between repeatedly saying it or writing it, the repetition created a long term memory. That is why you can still rattle off that phone number even though you haven’t used it for years… in my case, decades.

But why is it so hard to remember that password I need now? First of all, you never say it out loud. You keep that password to yourself because revealing it could wreak havoc upon your life as we know it. If you write it down, it is only the one time, because you are afraid you won’t remember it. To complicate matters, we are supposed to use a different password for every single thing we need a password for, which is basically EVERY SINGLE THING! Lastly, even if you commit it to long term memory, for the sake of cyber security you are forced to change your password when you are least expecting to do so! And when that happens, they keep changing the requirements to create new passwords. Sorry for the secondary rant, but it just proves that it’s not us. Our memory and brain are fine. It’s them.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.


pomuh-loh ]

So the debate may be decided by dictionary.com; it is pronounced with the emphasis on “pom” versus often heard “pa-mel-loh”. What is not debatable is that it is the largest of the citrus fruits. It’s latin name is translated as Citrus Maximus.

Though it looks like a giant grapefruit, it is sweeter and has it’s own unique flavor. It is refreshing when added to a salad, adds a pleasant tang atop fish and is a healthy way to top your waffles, pancakes or oatmeal. It can be also be added to a smoothie for a citrus burst that is neither too sweet or sour or simply peel away it’s thick rind and separate the juicy flesh of the segments from the skin, which you will want to discard, and pop the flavor burst right into your mouth. I enjoy the slightly sweet tangy segments on their own , not just for the taste but also for the health benefits.

Just one pomelo will supply you with four times the daily recommended Vitamin C, as well as a variety of other vitamins and nutrients. That single fruit will give you Protein, Carbs and Fiber as well as Riboflavin, Thiamine, Copper and Potassium as well as the Vitamin C.

Let’s break it down further. The fiber in a pomelo is about 1/4 of your daily recommended fiber intake. You might already know that fiber aids in digestion, but did you know that fruit fiber has also been shown to benefit bone density and a decreased risk in some chronic diseases. Combine the fiber with the protein and you will feel fuller longer, which can aid in weight loss or simply keeping calories low and maintaining gut health. Antioxidants, which are also associated with anti-aging, will fight the damage caused to your cells by free radicals and can therefore decrease your risk of cancer. Free radicals compounds that are found in the environment and in foods. As mentioned, a single pomelo will provide over 400% of your daily Vitamin C, but the main antioxidants in pomelo are naringenin and naringin.

…naringenin — one of the main antioxidants in pomelo — has been shown to kill prostate and pancreatic cancer cells, as well as slow the spread of lung cancer in test-tube studies.

Still, more research in humans is needed to fully understand pomelo’s effect on cancer. (National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov)

The anti inflammatory antioxidant Lycopene is also present in pomelos. Eating them may also benefit heart health. A study in rats has shown a reduction of triglycerides and LDL, bad cholesterol in your blood. However, if you are prescribed statins, seek the advice of your physician as pomelos, like grapefruit, can interfere with your metabolism of statins.

So the next time you see what appears to be a giant grapefruit, don’t overlook it. If citrus is not restricted from your diet, give a pomelo a try. They are most commonly found in your Asian markets but often, especially during the Lunar New Year, you will easily find them everywhere. If you don’t see it in your produce section, just ask. That’s pom-uh-loh… Enjoy!

The Sound of Quiet

Shhh… Listen. Do you hear that? You don’t hear anything? THAT is what I’m talking about. Actually, it is rarely totally silent, so really, I love what I call the sound of quiet. I love to be on the beach early, before many people arrive or even in the evening, when all you hear is the sounds of the waves coming to the shore. I love being on a hike with no one around and hearing the rustle of the wind in the leaves, an occasional scampering of a creature that makes it’s home nearby, or the flapping of wings overhead. So you might be thinking that what I enjoy are actually the sounds of nature. Yes, but I also am content to be sitting in my kitchen with a hot beverage and hearing the quiet purr of the fridge or even the whisper of the dishwasher as it washes away the remnants of a meal enjoyed by my family. These are just some of the sounds of quiet which I enjoy.

When did the idea for this article poke me? As I was preparing to teach an outdoor class, one of my students arrived early and we greeted each other and smiled and VROOM! VROOM! …and then the sounds of a leaf blower wiped the warm smile from her face and we both had to raise the level of our voices to speak to each other. Mainly, we both expressed that we wished the blower hadn’t disrupted the quiet.

More than just being annoying, exposure to loud noise can cause hearing loss. But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to the affecting your quality of life by threatening your hearing, noise can affect your health in other ways. A 2019 study in the journal Environmental Research found that daily noise exposure may significantly increase your risk of severe stroke. Living in a noisy area of a city could increase that risk by 30 percent, while being in a more quiet area with greenspace could reduce that risk up to 25 percent.

Here’s how it works: An incessantly loud environment stimulates a part of the brain known as the amygdala, which regulates stress response. The brain reacts by increasing blood pressure and levels of a stress-related hormone called cortisol; both are known to cause a host of cardiovascular issues, including stroke, says Douglas M. Hildrew, M.D., medical director of the Yale Hearing and Balance Program. In fact, the American Heart Association warns of an increased risk of heart attack for those who are regularly exposed to excessive noise, the kind found near airports and highways. (“Loud Noise: The Not-So-Silent Killer Is Back”, Kimberly Rae Miller, AARP, July 8, 2021)

So when is loud too loud? It is generally believed that damage to the hearing can happen at about 90 decibels. How can you know how loud that is? Well, just like most things nowadays, there is an app for that. But to give you an idea without having to watch an app everywhere you go, take a look at this chart:

What to do now, especially if you are in a situation where noise is unavoidable? Carry earplugs with you. There are different types which vary in how much noise is blocked. They are very inexpensive and can even be carried in your pocket so should you find yourself in a noisy situation, you have them handy. Another option is noise canceling headphones. Just be sure that you keep whatever you are listening to at a lower level so you avoid causing damage to your hearing. Also, while using them, be aware of your surroundings. Another gem of technology, as mentioned before, you can load an app to your smartphone to measure the sound level where you are and limit your time, or avoid altogether, being in noisy places. Instead, seek out a serene spot and enjoy the sound of quiet.

The Sweet Life

Oh how we love our sugar. Did you know that the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar each day? Seventeen! That’s equivalent to 119 in a week or weigh it out and you are eating more than a pound of sugar every week!

Too much sugar in your diet may not only lead to unwanted weight gain, but also to increases in your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The American Heart Association Recommends: Limit added sugars to no more than 100 calories a day (6 teaspoons) for most women and no more than 150 calories a day (9 teaspoons) for most men. (Added Sugar is Not So Sweet-Infographic, American Heart Association, 2019)

That means that men are consuming about double what they should be and for women, triple!

Added sugar is found in many other products as well, so a quick glance at the Nutrition Facts Label will blow the whistle on them as the amount is required to be listed. If you look at the list of ingredients, which is also required, added sugars might show up as molasses, cane juice/syrup, or fruit juice. Another thing to watch out for are ingredients that end in “-ose” like fructose or sucrose.

Wipe those tears away, no need to despair, even though you can consume them in the foods you eat without even thinking about it. Just as easily, your added sugar intake can be reduced with a few conscious swaps.

Soda can be swapped with sparkling water, you can even drop fruit such as berries or citrus slices into your water. If you can do without the carbonation, infused water can be made with any natural ingredients that appeal to you such as basil and strawberries, or mint. Even cucumbers will take your water up a notch. Just have a pitcher sitting, ready in your fridge. You can still have juice, just be sure to opt for unsweetened. Make your own salad dressing and sauces, with a few simple ingredients and you’ll also eliminate other additives and preservatives from your diet. Yogurt, which is always thought of as a healthy food, if flavored, is loaded with sugar. Switch to adding fruit to plain yogurt. Want something sweet, but don’t want to jump through hoops? Super simple; eat a juicy orange, a handful of fresh berries, a crisp apple, a fleshy peach or nectarine, summer ripe watermelon or go tropical with a mouthwatering mango, sweet like candy kiwi and so many others.

Be informed and make smart choices and you can enjoy a long, healthy and SWEET life!

Power of One

ONE, is it a big number or small? It depends on the context in which it is being used and the circumstances surrounding that context. Because even in the same context, “one” can mean very different things. In a sports competition, to be number one would seem to be the goal; unless you are the first one eliminated. When it comes to the mighty dollar, one doesn’t seem like a very grand amount; unless that dollar puts you over the top. In a medical emergency, one minute could mean life or death. If you are going into surgery in one minute, that time comes so quickly: if you are in pain during that minute, it seems like an eternity.

Drop an object into a still body of water and it will create a ripple effect that multiplies and reaches far beyond it’s origin. This is the Power of ONE in fitness. Yet, even in fitness, the circumstances surrounding “one” will vary the outcome. Today, let’s focus that power on YOU.

Believe in the Power of ONE and use it to your advantage. I challenge you; do this for each day for a month. Each day plan one thing that you will do to be physically active above your normal day to day living. At the end of 30 days you will have put in a month of extra movement, one day at a time. Now, you may have a setback and miss a day and that’s ok. You are not a loser! What happens next matters. Remember, we said that circumstances will vary the outcome. You have the power to let that day stand alone, or you can choose to miss one more, and then another. Like in all the superhero movies, your power can also work against you, BUT don’t forget that it is yours to control. Get back in the game and do one day of moving, then one more and keep taking it one day at a time.

Here’s the exciting thing, the Power of ONE can be utilized in multiple ways at once. Does that mean it is your super power? It can be. Once you get on a roll with it, you can take it up a notch. Do a movement that challenges you, one that builds strength. It may be rough going at first and you may need to build up to even one complete set. But once you get there, be sure to celebrate that win and then make a goal to complete one set more. THEN, you can even add a pound more of weight, just one, but that light sounding single pound can begin to feel heavier as the reps increase. Funny how that Power of ONE works. Then one day, you will find that you are doing the workout, but it doesn’t feel as much like work. That isn’t because the workout changed and became easier, it’s because you changed and became stronger, one rep at a time.

One last thing, lol… I want you to take a deep breath right now and have a laser focus on envisioning yourself six months from now, after six months of moving each day for your health. You did it! Six months of daily accomplishments that were sometimes hard, but you did them, one day at a time. How confident do you feel? How strong do you feel? How powerful do you feel? You have the Power of One. Use your power for good. Use your power for you. Tomorrow is day ONE!

Eating is Not an Extreme Sport

I am not making a dig at competitive eaters, though I personally would not choose that choice of activity because I love to savor food. This is the time of year that people look to make changes in their life and for many of them those changes relate to their health. Wanting to be healthy is a great thing. Wanting to maintain good health is vital. Extreme diets are not optimal for most people.

Carbs are not bad, they provide your body with energy. Carbohydrates broken down to glucose are an essential source of energy for our body, brain and muscles. They are also a source of stored energy, in the form of glycogen.

The liver contains approximately 100 grams of glycogen. These stored glucose molecules can be released into the blood to provide energy throughout the body and help maintain normal blood sugar levels between meals. (“What are the Key Functions of Carbohydrates?” Healthline, Keith Pearson, PhD, RD, November 9, 2017)

Additionally, glucose from carbohydrates will help preserve muscle mass as the body may break down muscle to amino acids to be converted to glucose when needed for energy.

Fats, healthy fats are not bad. You need adequate amounts of dietary fat for your overall health.

Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell function. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. (“Dietary Fats”, American Heart Association, November 1, 2021)

You just need to be consuming the right kind of fat. The wrong kind is saturated fat, keep it to a minimum. Too much can lead to high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. You need to consume unsaturated fat. There are monounsaturated fats which can be found in avocados, various nuts, several types of seeds and plant oils such as olive and sesame. There are polyunsaturated fats which can be found in plant based oils, some nuts and seeds, as well as in fish like salmon or tuna. Good dietary fat is also good for the brain and is associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Proteins are not bad. Your body needs it but you should manage your intake. When you consume too much, your body will take the excess and store it as fat. The average person should get between 10% and 35% of their total daily calories from protein.

Protein is also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in your blood. It also helps make antibodies that fight off infections and illnesses and helps keep cells healthy and create new ones. (“Benefits of Protein”, Nourish by WebMD, Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on October 12, 2020)

Carbs, Fats and Proteins are the macronutrients that your body needs in the greatest quantities. While extreme diets that promote cutting any of these almost completely out of your diet may get you a desired result, you would need to carefully monitor your overall health. Additionally, if the diet is not sustainable, the physical change will not likely be either.

Each month look to add a small change to benefit your health. Choose changes that you can reasonably accomplish to become part of your lifestyle. In January, you might choose to drink one more glass of water per day than you do now or you will eat vegetables with at least one meal each day. Then in February you add that you will only have soda when you go out to a sit down restaurant. By the end of the year you will have added a dozen healthy habits to your life and will no doubt feel better as a result. Happy eating!

Clear vision of 2022

On this first day of the new year, many spend time in reflection to gain lessons from the previous year. Hence, the saying “Hindsight is 20/20”. Indeed our life experiences aid in crafting our future endeavors. Therefore, I would propose that you begin THIS year with “Foresight is 20/20”, clearly envisioning what this year will be for you. Essentially start and continue with each day creating the year you will live. After all, we can all look back to New Year’s day last year and think, “What if I had started a year ago?” But let that thought be complete now. No regrets, because we go forth with a forward focus. We can affect our future. We can make choices that move us closer to our destination. We can propel forward motion. We can and we shall.

This article will focus on your health and fitness, but the steps can be applied to any area of your life.

So, where to start? First, make being healthier and fit a priority. How do you do that? You need to know why you should and be ready to go deep and possibly confront some pain and fear. What could you do in this next year that you haven’t been able to do as a result of your current condition? How would your life be better if that changed? How would you feel? How would the people around you feel? How would your life change? How about the lives of those you love? A year from now, what memories will you have because of the decision you made today? Is all that clear, so clear that you can see it?

Now, MOVE! Not just literally, but it is time to take action. Put together a plan and know if you are strong enough to attack and stick to that plan. Your success on this point depends on you being unapologetically honest with yourself. If you can do this step on your own, then power forward. If you are not sure, that does not mean that you are weak, it means you are strong enough to admit that you would benefit from having someone else make a plan with you and help you to execute it. So, go ahead and hire a health and fitness coach. It’s a good move. After all, it is their job and to their benefit to see you reach success in your health and fitness goals.

Warning! It may be hard and you may hit obstacles. If it were easy, this would be a nonissue. Finishing your education can be hard, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Giving birth and raising children can be hard, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Finishing a huge project can be hard, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Getting healthy and fit can be hard, BUT the rewards are well worth the effort! So remember this when you run into an obstacle or your journey seems hard. You knew it could happen, you knew it might be, but you are stronger than you feel right now and your success will be well worth pushing through this moment.

“Go YOU! You’ve got this!” Find your cheerleaders. If you’ve hired a health and fitness coach, I can almost guarantee that they will be your biggest cheerleader. As for others, be careful. Your cheerleaders are not always those that are close to you. I’m not saying those people don’t love you, but they could be speedbumps in your progress by enabling poor behaviors. They might bring foods into the house that you struggle to resist, tell you it’s ok to skip your workouts and watch tv, or simply not take your schedule into consideration when making plans. Your health and fitness support system should encourage you but also be willing to tell it like it is, no enabling.

So, where do you want to be a year from now? It begins with where you will be a month or even a week from now. That thought for me evokes another saying, “Think Big, Start Small, Begin NOW”. Open your mind’s eye and look. See it clearly and take a picture so you can see it even when your mind is tired. Focus, capture it… there you have your clear vision for your health and fitness for 2022. Go!

Find a Way

Man looked to the sky and thought, if only we could fly. If only we could soar as the eagle does among the clouds. Imagination turned into an airplane. Determination turned into breaking the sound barrier. Belief turned into climbing beyond the atmosphere. Vision turned into traveling into space.

So, you are stuck. You have a barrier keeping you from moving forward, from advancing towards your goal. There is a blockade in your mind and that nasty thing called Doubt whispering in your ear. “What are you thinking? You can’t do that? It’s going to be too hard. Why put yourself through the trouble? It will be much easier to give up and do something else. It’s ok, let’s go.”

HEY! Before you go. I have a few questions…

Why did you set that goal to begin with? What would reaching your goal mean to you? How would you feel once you achieved it? As you get closer to your goal, would you feel stronger? More empowered? Confident?

Answering “Yes” to any of the last three questions is the reason you must find a way. Do not give up and turn around. Do not go back! I’m not saying that it won’t be hard. I’m not saying that you have to crash through that wall. Not having the strength to break through does not mean that you cannot get through. The wall may be high, and the face of it may be sheer but there is a way over. But if you are afraid of heights and going that way would give Doubt an edge, then look for a gap. It’s there. Do what you need to do to squeeze through. You may have to get uncomfortable and stretch yourself. Is that gap just not wide enough? Then remember why you set the goal. Remember what reaching that goal means to you. Remember how you will feel once you achieve it. Know that if you can just get to the other side of the barrier, you will feel stronger, more empowered and confident and you would be closer to achieving your goal. Then, what is left? Dig… dig deep if you have to… and it will be hard and probably slow but do it. Even if it means you need to get down and crawl under, because when you do, and you emerge from the darkness, you will be on the other side!

Best Time of Day to Exercise

The other day, an article came across my social media feed, something about the best time of day to exercise. I didn’t have time to read the article, but thought to myself, “The best time of day is the time that you will do it!” Today, I went on a search for the article and could only remember that it was from the New York Times. I did a search “Best time to exercise, New York Times” and several articles came up. Can you hear me laughing? I only browsed the descriptions, but was amused that several articles stated afternoon, while others said the best time was morning; some even specifying early morning/afternoon unless you prefer the ones extolling the benefits of late morning/afternoon. I would say that all the articles have basis, as often, the time of day was to address a specific goal. For example, I found the original article that I was searching for and it was, “The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Metabolic Health” (Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, May 26, 2021).

I will stand by my original thought, “The best time of day to exercise is the time you will do it…”, and add “… consistently so that it becomes part of your lifestyle and not something you have to fit in.” Just as I wrote about a few weeks back in “The Most Effective Exercise” , each person’s circumstance is different. Is the best time for the person that works 9 to 5 mid-morning? What about the parents of a newborn? For each of my three, the late afternoon was the most challenging time of day. I was lucky if I could get a minute to use the restroom and one squat does not qualify as exercise time.

Find a time that will work with your schedule. When in the day, can you consistently commit 30 minutes? Remember, exercise is activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. So, it does not mean that you have to go to the gym, unless, for you, that is what will create the consistency. If you need to be taking classes to keep you committed, there are even virtual options. I teach online each week and many of my students tell me that if I did not have that option, they wouldn’t be able to take my class due to schedule and/or distance. Maybe you need the support of someone, to be consistent, who is just as eager to see you succeed in your fitness endeavors as you are. The clients that I train (either in person or online) know that I am going to show up and be ready to coach them, keep them accountable and encourage them through their fitness routine, so they, in turn, need to “show up”.

One last tip, don’t hold back from making a commitment because your schedule might change. Your schedule WILL change. You may change jobs, your kids will grow and need you differently, life is everchanging. Commit to at least 3 months, and you will begin to feel better and see differences and exercise will become a part of your schedule. So when life happens, you adjust your schedule with your fitness in mind. Your new more confident self will thrive and soon you your mind and body will know the routine. Time to Exercise!