Will You Follow Me on my Fitness Journey?

imageLast month after having my yearly physical, I found out that I am pre-diabetic. That means that I am at risk for getting diabetes in the next 2 years.  I do have a family history of it, and I also gained 11 pounds this past year.  It’s time for a change!

I took my first step today and started working with a personal trainer. It was a great session. I truly have to be disciplined in all areas.  I work at a place that has free lunch often, chocolate laying around, and everything in the vending machines is $0.25.  Since I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll be working out at 6:30am at least twice a week. Working out 3 days per week is the only way that I can realistically achieve my goals. I’ll be following up with my doctor in 6 months, so I want a positive report.

I’ll also be meeting with a dietician. He will be able to tell me which foods I can eat and which ones to avoid. I know mostly what’s “bad”, but I would like another prospective.  I’ll need some guidance in the beginning, so I have to decide if one-on-one sessions are best, or would group sessions work best for me. It’s always nice to have others on that journey with you. I will keep you updated on my progress. Maybe even motivate some of you out there.  I look forward to this weight loss and diabetes-free journey.

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Time for Tea

It’s almost the end of October. Soon, it’ll be time to turn on the heat and pull out our sweaters and coats. When it gets cold or if I’m under the weather, a cup of hot tea always makes me feel better. Various types of tea, whether it’s black, chamomile, green, or another variety, has its benefits.

  1. Black Tea. With a little honey and lemon added, black tea is soothing for a sore throat. Also, many Asian dishes have tea incorporated into them to enhance color and flavor (National Geographic). Also, black tea can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and control diabetes. Organic black teas are always a great choice.
  2. Green Tea. You can use green tea for cooking as well to enhance the flavor of food, like shrimp or rice. It also works as an antioxidant, lower cholesterol levels, burn fat, control diabetes, and reduce inflammation in the joints and digestive tract.
  3. Lemongrass tea. If you like lemon, this is very soothing for your stomach and helps to fight cancer.
  4. Herbal tea. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine. When you go to an upscale spa, they have a variety of these teas available. The idea is to relax. A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime will help you sleep.

If you drink at least one of the teas mentioned above, you should see a difference in your health.

Continue reading “Time for Tea”

How to Keep Warm This Winter

As much as we don’t want to admit it, winter is fast approaching us. As lovely as summer has been, the nights will start drawing in and we will be soon grabbing those woolly jumpers and turning the heating on. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford the heating on throughout the whole of winter, so knowing how to keep warm is very important. Whether it is a woolly jumper or an electric blanket, we will run through the best ways to keep warm this winter, without reaching too far into your pocket!

If you are young or old, keeping warm is an important part of life, as it keeps our blood flowing and heart rate up. Without the warmth, we soon start to feel uncomfortable and ill, which can instantly lead to various problems. Whether it is you, yourself who wants to keep one step ahead of the weather this winter, or you are caring for somebody who may need to utilise these tips; then we will try to cover everything so that you winter isn’t miserable, and in fact you can become cosy and relaxed in your home and out of your home.

Clothing

Even though clothing may seem like the most obvious way to keep warm this winter, there are plenty of ways to utilise this warmth. Often we think that grabbing the thickest jumper we own might be the best at keeping us warm; however, this isn’t always the case. Even though the woolly, cotton, fleece-like materials are great for keeping warm and feeling cosy in your house, or out of it, various thin layers can sometimes be the best option. Wearing several thin layers will trap the warm air closer to your body, and your body will heat up quicker and stay warmer for longer.

Even though it may sound crazy, wearing a hat and scarf indoors can instantly make your body feel warmer as the majority of heat is lost through you head and neck. Even if you just leave them on for half an hour, you will feel the benefits of it straight away.

When you are sat at home, grabbing a blanket to put over your legs can instantly make you feel warmer, creating a cosy feeling within your home. Whilst you have the blanket on, raising your feet off the ground and putting them on a small table or pouf, can make you feel warmer without realising, as cold air stays lower to the ground.

When you are in bed, try to wear warm clothes. If you are not used to doing this, it can sometimes feel uncomfortable but you will soon get used to it. You are able to buy thick pyjamas in your local clothes shop at a reasonable price, and they are guaranteed to last all winter. When it is really cold, thermal underwear and bed socks are a good choice, as this will not only keep you warm, but also you will be able to have a better sleep without waking often.

Food

When it comes to winter, it is best to stick to thick, hot meals that will keep you warm throughout. If you are on a budget, thick, chunky soup is ideal, as it is cheap to buy from your local shop and very simple to make. If you struggle with diabetes, having a diet based on sugars and fats is not good, however, there are plenty of ways to get around this. By looking at the amount of carbohydrates that is in your meal, you can keep track of your daily intake. With plenty of information online, diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at all, but being aware of what you can and cannot have is always a good idea! If you are stuck for things to cook, try something different with your leftovers, maybe a homemade soup or stew, ideal as it will last for days.

Small things to prevent the draughts

Unfortunately, we all struggle in our homes with the unwanted drafts that flow through our houses in winter. When the wind gets up, it sneaks through our homes, instantly creating that chilling temperature. To prevent these chills there are certain things you can do to keep the draught away. Keyhole covers may sound silly, but the amount of draught that can come through various doors in your house can be ridiculous. These are available to buy at garden centres and many other high street shops. They will stop the draught and you will instantly notice the effects. If you have somebody who can help you, a relative or friend, then fitting thermal linings in your curtains can not only prevent the cold from entering your home, but can also keep the heat in as well. Regarding curtains, in the winter it is best to close you curtains as soon as it gets dark, if you are able to, as this will keep the heat in, and you don’t have to be looking out at the dark night sky. If you have spare blankets or throws lying around your home, laying them at the bottom of doors is ideal, as this will stop the draught from sneaking in and it will certainly keep your toes a bit warmer!

Known to work instantly, a hot water bottle is ideal for both day and night. You can put in under your blanket whilst you are watching TV in your living room, or even when you go to sleep, making it easier to drift off. Wherever you choose to put your water bottle, it will most definitely be the best thing you buy this winter. You can buy hot water bottles from most local stores at a reasonable price.

Whether you, yourself needs to keep warm this winter, or you are caring for a relative or friend, just remember, using some of these simple tips will instantly make your home feel warmer, and you are able to relax this winter. Whether it is a glass of coco in front of the TV or a hot water bottle in your bed, you will be able to be comfy and cosy this winter.

Georgina Evans

19.8.14

Alternatives to Refined Sugar

In order to get refined sugar, there is a process that removes the molasses from raw sugarcane. Raw sugar is brown, not white. Now, most of us probably have been consuming white sugar for years in the form of granulated sugar, sugar cubes, or powdered sugar. You may want to consider trying some healthier alternatives. Some reasons are:

  1. It increases blood sugar levels. Refer to my blog post entitled How to Avoid Diabetes. Blood sugar levels spike; dopamine increases and secreted insulin drops blood sugar levels. The cycle begins again when blood sugar levels drop, and the hunger and cravings start.
  2. It is addictive. Just as some people struggle with drug addiction, it’s the same with sugar. I have friends and acquaintances that put multiple packets of sugar in their cups of coffee and tea. We all know folks that drink soda after soda on a daily basis. They need the sugar “high”. Refer to my blog post on Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda-Regular and Diet.
  3. It depresses your immune system. Consuming too much sugar inhibits the immune system cells to attack bacteria. For example, diabetics, whose bodies produce little or no insulin, are prone to frequent yeast infections because the yeast is attracted to sugar.

Here are some healthier, natural alternatives.

  • Stevia-you can find this at any health food store, Trader Joe’s, or you can order it on Amazon
  • Honey-make sure it’s all natural and not the blend
  • Maple syrup-you can purchase from any grocery or gourmet food store
  • Molasses-this results from refining sugarcane or sugar beets
  • Agave nectar-this is extracted from the blue agave plant 

For some healthy additions:

  1. Try adding honey and fruit to plain oatmeal. Instant, flavored oatmeal has lots of sugar.
  2. Now that the weather is getting cooler, you can add stevia, honey, or agave nectar to a cup of hot tea. They all work well.
  3. For coffee, depending on how you like it, just add flavored creamer and not sugar. There are many non-dairy, gluten-free creamers on the market. This is how I like my coffee.

Continue reading “Alternatives to Refined Sugar”

How to Avoid Diabetes

Having a family history of diabetes does not necessarily mean that one will automatically inherit it. There are ways that it can be prevented. One way is by lifestyle changes. Losing 10 percent of your body weight can make a big difference (Collier, 154). For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 20 pounds would be a great start. Exercise is also recommended; thirty minutes of activity per day is sufficient. Walking is the best way to start if you’re not used to exercising. The treadmill or even group exercise is also effective.
Losing weight is not always easy, so it is better to start making gradual changes. Here are some tips:

Cut back on junk food. Instead of eating that jelly donut or chocolate chip cookies as a snack, opt for a healthier snack, like almonds. Research has shown that almonds can prevent blood sugar spikes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol (National Geographic, 168).

Eat smaller portions. It has been said to only eat what can fit on your plate. So, it is best to use smaller plates; don’t go back for seconds (Collier, 154). It is also best to have more vegetables on the plate than starches.

Drink a glass of water ten minutes before eating. When you do this, it curbs the appetite (Collier, 155).

Cut back on fried foods. The fat tastes good, but too much is not good for you.

Don’t add additional salt to your food. It is an insult to a chef or cook when you add salt to your food before you taste it. Also, many processed foods are high in sodium.

Make the switch from white rice to brown rice. Eating white rice increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 10 to 27 percent. White rice has a “high glycemic index”, which means that it raises blood sugar levels (Roberts-Grey). Brown rice has four times the fiber per cup, and fiber makes you feel full longer(Roberts-Grey).

Load up on spices. USDA studies have shown that cinnamon and curcumin have shown to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Curcumin is a substance found in chili powder (WebMD). Chili powder is often used in a lot of Indian dishes.

Works Cited

Collier, Andrea King and Willarda V. Edwards, MD. “The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health”. New York: Warner Wellness, 2007. Print.

National Geographic. Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2012. Print

Roberts-Grey, Gina. “Body & Spirit: Changing Your Health Destiny”. Essence. Publishing Solutions, June 2012, Volume 43, Number 2. Web. 04 Feb 2013.

WebMD Diabetes. “Hot Topics! What You Need to Know About Diabetes”.