Archive for ‘Health’

January 7, 2013

Multivitamins: Are They Necessary?

People often ask, “should I take a multivitamin?” and after a semester of Nutrition Science, I can finally answer this question a bit more thoroughly than before, but my response remains somewhat vague: Sorta. Why not? Can’t hurt.

Our bodies require a whole pile vitamins and minerals to be present in our diets. If any of these are missing in an extreme way, something negative will happen, and that negative thing can usually be reversed if the nutrient is added to the diet. Yes, our bodies can operate with low levels of some of these vitamins and minerals, but in order for it to really thrive, it needs all this stuff.

Let’s see if I can still list them all off:

DSC03543

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Biotin
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Sulfur
  • Sodium
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Fluoride
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Manganese

I admit that I had to go back to old notes to get all of those.

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January 2, 2013

Spend Money On Fitness

With the new year come many new fitness resolutions, and this post is about what I think the #1 best way to ensure that fitness resolutions are met: spend a bunch of money on them. more than you really should.

As a graduate student living off loans with plenty of debt from undergrad, I am lacking in the money category. Nevertheless, last week I spent $10 to download Grand Theft Auto 3 (I am terrible at this game and stopped playing because I always killed the prostitutes who I was just trying to drive to the policeman’s ball so they could make some money, perhaps to afford a gym membership). We all throw money around stupidly sometimes.

My gym, with the student discount, is $90 a month. I just switched to it about a month ago. Since I pay $90 a month, the following things are true:

  • I go. Frequently.
  • There are about 15 classes each day, with everything from boxing and spinning to trampoline jumping and yoga.
  • The trainers are nice and helpful (and tell me when I look particularly badass, which I obviously love)
  • They have all the pieces of equipment & gagets I want (including punching bags)
  • They play classical music in the beautiful locker room.
  • There’s a whirlpool AND a sauna
  • The showers at the gym are much nicer than the shower in my apartment
  • The TVs are always playing a few chick-flicks (it’s an all women gym), SVU marathons, and random other things
  • The other people who go to the gym are serious about it, too, so aren’t drinking iced coffee and chewing gum (as previously experienced)
  • I go. Regularly. For all of these different reasons. And I love going.

In all practicality  I cannot afford this gym, but I don’t plan to leave it anytime soon. Exercise makes us much healthier, both in the long and short term. It’s winter in Boston–exercising outside is difficult, and I don’t have the equipment to do preferred strength exercises at home. Spending this much money on a gym ensures regularity for me. Knowing that I will continue to regularly exercise is priceless because healthy people exercise and that’s what I need to be forever and ever.

Fitness is truly is worth spending money on — and it makes us happier and healthier. Wanting to exercise and having a space in which to do it is worth much more than $90 a month. Our own health is, perhaps, the most worthwhile investment there is. When our bodies are strong, they are healthy. Exercise is shown to decrease risk for pretty much every single disease that we don’t wanna get. I’d much rather shell out $90 a month and feel strong and energized than save my money and hate going to a terrible cheap gym so instead and spend time trying to get better at driving prostitutes to the ball in grandly thieved autos. Pay for fitness!

December 29, 2012

3 Dietary Changes Inspired by 1 Nutrition School Semester

People often ask nutrition students what they should eat. I usually answer “eat real food” and then follow up that I have changed 3 things about my standard healthy diet since gaining 1 semesters worth of knowledge.

1. Milk Twice A Daymilk

How: While my roommate bet that I wouldn’t drink the first gallon of milk I bought before it went bad, I did. Challenge accepted. I just have a glass of milk with breakfast (or in cereal) and at some point later in the day, ideally after a workout. I prefer the taste and morals, etc, behind organic milk, but prefer the price behind regular milk, so I flip-flop.

Why: Most people have low calcium intake, and we really don’t want to be because after 30 our bone mass will start deteriorating, and if it deteriorates enough, SMASH, osteoporosis at an old age. And if it’s not osteoporosis, I mean. It’s not good–we want our old bones to still be strong bones. With menopause and decreased estrogen production, this is an even greater issue for women (estrogen helps calcium get where it needs to go in the bones). By ensuring adequate calcium intake we’ll have the strongest bones possible, and then it’ll be fine when they start deteriorating.

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February 19, 2012

The Strength Part of the Gym Is Not Male Exclusive

Sometimes I do weird stuff in the gym. I stare (to learn new moves), I make badass psycho faces (to amp myself up), and I mouth the words to almost every single song I listen to (because it’s fun). But today, I think my weirdness reached a new level: I walked around the gym and counted people.

There were 27 people doing cardio work. 20 of them were women.

There were 19 people doing strength training. 2 of them were women.

Are men & women really that different that our bodies require completely different forms of exercise? Absolutely not.

I watch a lot (read: all) of The Biggest Loser for a number of reasons, and something that I have been recently paying attention to is that the workouts that the trainers put the men & women through are essentially the same. You don’t see Bob screaming, “Ladies–ellipticals! Men–squat presses!”.

I’m not a fitness professional, but it’s easy to see that both strength work and cardio work are crucial for fitness. Strength work  builds muscle, and cardio work uses muscle — they balance each other out. If your muscles are stronger, they’ll be more effective during cardio.

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January 25, 2012

Ginger Honey Lemon Tea: an Excellent Cold Remedy

This is a great cure-all for the sinus-related ailments that are abound this time of year. It includes juice of half a lemon, some honey, and as much grated ginger as you can stand. This is tried and true — I’d much rather have this mixture things when I’m sick than pseudoephedrine and its cohorts, but sometimes drugs are good, too.

Anyway, if you have a cold, I’m sorry, but here, have some tea:

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January 20, 2012

Why I Was Vegan and Why Now I’m Not.

As some of you know, I was vegan from May-ish until October-ish. While I ultimately decided that I enjoy turkey sandwiches and easy healthy food options too much to be vegan, I learned a lot from those 5 months.

For those of you who might not know, vegans avoid animal products, which, in addition to meat, include milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and for some folks, honey. Basically, vegans only eat the plant-life that the earth produces (or things that are made only from that plant life). The fact that I live in a Vegan-friendly area made this whole experiment a lot easier, too.

I’ll try to keep the hippie bullshit to a minimum, but I’m a little bit of a hippie sometimes, so it’s challenging. Also, standard “I just Google Things” disclaimer.

Why I Was Vegan Once And What I Learned

The theory behind Veganism & clean eating intrigues me for a number of reasons, mostly because a ton of cultures survived healthfully off the land without using animal products (or by using animal products sparsely). The earth provides what humans need in order to live; if it didn’t, we wouldn’t still be around. I appreciate the “back to our roots” approach to food. Eating vegan made me feel more like I was fueling & nourishing myself than just eating. It was kind of neat.

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January 4, 2012

Thoughts on An Atlanta Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign

I believe that obese children (word up to my people) are a very unfortunate by-product of a society that is totally uneducated as to how to take care of the human body, and that, without question, our society needs to be shaken in order to do SOMETHING big to counteract childhood obesity so that each consecutive generation isn’t more removed from their health than the previous one.

Standard disclaimer sentence that I have no relevant degrees or letters after my name–I just google things & think about them.

Check this out: Grim Childhood Obesity Ads Stir Critics (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Or, if you don’t want to (you should), here’s a taste of the Ad Campaign (I have a hard time calling it an “Ad”) that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta:

This is why I find childhood obesity incredibly frightening & concerning:

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January 2, 2012

On Making 2012 About Health, Not Weight

I am conflicted over the fact that getting healthier comes with a huge emphasis on the scale, so as many people look at their new years resolutions with aims to get healthier, I wanted to write something to hopefully get everyone thinking about where they want their goals to lie.

Last year, before LLH existed, I guest posted on my friend (and former babysitter’s!) blog, and now, since I’m in the re-committing to the blogging process and am still pretty busy getting my life in order/organizing post-move, I thought I’d plagarize from Past-Sarah, with some edits & added thoughts. Hopefully it’s not so jambled — honestly, this is me trying to put up a good Welcome 2012 Post without all of the work… baby steps to becoming a regular poster again! 

I’ve done this weight loss thing from two different angles, and am going to tell my story again, in hopes that it will help others get a healthy & maintainable mindset from the start of their New Year.

As I’ve written before, on January 8 of 2006, at 305+ pounds and 19 years old, I went for a 12 mile walk all around my town. I was sick of my fatness defining me, and I wanted to get rid of it as fast as I could. And I’m a determined person, once I decide to take action, so for 5 months, I hardly ate (except after weighing-in, when I would stuff my face in celebration) and I exercised like a madwoman. I hit my goal of losing 10 pounds a month for 5 consecutive months. I was hungry, I was tired, but I was happy to overlook that because the scale was going down as quickly as I thought it should.

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