Win a Free Book!

This Saturday September 30th I will be co-co-co-co-co-hosting an author Facebook event with contests and giveaways including the chance to win an autographed copy of my book Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives. A variety of authors will take turns hosting all day, so come check it out for cool conversation, great books, and freebies.

From 8:30-9:00 a.m. I’ll be sharing some fun facts about diet, exercise, and health in ancient Rome (the event is sponsored by a Roman romance series). Here’s a joke to get us started: A Roman walks into the bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “Five beers, please.”

Click here for the Love & Warfare Facebook event and a whole lot of fun!

Advertisements

Put Your Heart into It: Exercise and Heart Health

Imagine that you’re a sailor on a sailboat. You and your four friends have been trained to sail, but you’re still new at it. The wind pushes you along peacefully for a while, but then a storm rises. It’s all hands on deck, working frantically against the wind and waves. You make it through that storm and a few more that follow and then one day you realize that you and your friends are stronger, faster, and better sailors than you were before that first storm. When the weather is good, it only takes three of you to man the boat where it once took all five.

heart sailors_0001Exercise is a storm for your heart. Exercise makes your heart work harder for a while which at first can feel like you’re being keelhauled*, but your heart is a fast learner. Before long it’s so used to the battening down the hatches that when your heart is at rest, it can take it easy. Studies show that the resting heart rate of people who exercise is lower than the resting heart rate of landlubbers*. A lubber’s heart (land or otherwise) is not being challenged, so it’s weaker and has to work harder to do less than an exercised heart. More storms makes for better sailors.

Storms have a way of cleaning the air because the extra wind and water (i.e. rain) remove the dust and particles. When you exercise, your blood moves faster which allows it to pulse into every tiny capillary at the tips of your fingers and toes. This allows the blood to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the cells and allows it to remove more junk from those cells. The strong blood flow also helps keep the arteries themselves clean, flexible, and inflammation free. It’s like a storm watering your garden and cleaning the air at the same time. Or sailors scrubbing the deck from jib to mizzenmast. Those are officially now my favorite sailing terms.

heart stormInactivity (keeping your ship docked, so to speak) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Exercise lowers your risk for heart disease by 45%. And that’s exercise at the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise every week level. Even if you’re a landlubber who spends most of her time in the brig and only halfheartedly hoists the mainsail, you’re still reducing your risk of heart disease by a LOT. Anchors aweigh! By the way, those recommended 2.5 hours can be 30 minutes per day five days per week, or 2.5 hours on a weekend, or 25 ten minute bouts of movement sprinkled throughout the week. A bit of climbing the rigging here, a bit of casting off there, maybe a bit of barnacle removal just for fun. Your heart gets stronger with every minute of exercise you do.

We can’t talk about sailing without adding pirates to the mix. Arr, Matey, did you know that your muscles are pirates? Well, they are when you exercise! Our bodies have strict rules about how oxygen is transported, how glucose is absorbed, and so on. When an exercise storm hits, pirates can break those rules. Under the strain of exercise, your pirate muscles are able to steal oxygen and glucose (i.e. energy) straight from the blood instead of waiting for a delivery. This is a very good thing. The heart has to deliver oxygen and glucose to the muscles anyway, so pirate muscles save it some work. I never said they were smart pirates; just that they steal.

heart-pirates.jpgHere are some heart-pumping exercise ideas to get you started:

Walking (to the mailbox, across the parking lot, around the block, etc), biking, running (after toddlers, not your mouth), jogging, vacuuming (under the beds counts double in my book), gardening, roller skating, swimming, jumping (like on a trampoline, not when you see a spider), playing tag (as in chase, not on social media), taking the stairs, jumping jacks (or jills or up the hills).

 

*Keelhauled: a truly awful punishment from sailing days that usually ended in death. Exercise can feel uncomfortable, but if it feels like you’re tied to a rope and being passed under the keel of a ship, maybe pick a different exercise.

*Landlubber: a lubber is old slang for a person who is lazy. Sailors added the land part to make fun of non-sailors. In modern terms we say “couch potato”.

 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

 

Sail back next week for Her Heart Sank onto the Bed: Sleep and Heart Health

 

References:

Sailing terms – http://brethrencoast.com/Pirate_Glossary.html

Exercise and heart health – http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/specialtopic/physical-activity/exercise’s-effects-on-the-heart.html?print=1&mcubz=3

Exercise and heart health – http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/clinical_services/centers_excellence/womens_cardiovascular_health_center/patient_information/health_topics/exercise_heart.html

Do You Have a Good Heart?

Kind hearted, his heart went out to her, from the bottom of my heart, have her heart set on it, let’s have a heart to heart. So many of our expressions demonstrate what humans have known for thousands of years: the heart (and the blood it pumps) is the literal and figurative center of our physical being. If a heart stops, a life stops. We’re going to take the next few weeks to learn about the heart and how best to care for it. Turns out it’s not that hard; easier than taking care of a guppy. I mean puppy. Guppies are way easier.

Label Circulatory System Picture Of A Circulatory System With Labels Human Body DiagramYour heart contracts (or pumps) rhythmically every second of every day of every year of your life. The force of the contraction (labor flashback! Anybody else grimace when they read that phrase?) pushes the blood through the arteries beginning with the big ones near the heart and ending with the teeny tiny itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini capillaries in your toes, organs, eyeballs, and everywhere in between.

Blood is the transportation system of the body; it is every highway, byway, back road and railroad put together. Wait, blood is liquid. Let’s make it all rivers creeks and wetlands and tributaries. Imagine if the whole world was like Venice, Italy. Don’t worry, my imaginary Venice is full of pasta and gelato too. It may be best to think of the heart as HeartDOT (Department of Transportation).

Map2_VeniceOnLineHeartDOT makes sure that traffic keeps moving. Blood delivers oxygen, nutrients, medical personnel (white blood cells), hormones, repair crews, and a host of other goods and services to the body. It also transports the body’s junk (dead viruses, bacteria, toxins, etc) to the Kidney Export Service for permanent removal from the body. HeartDOT doesn’t make the goods or the trash, it just keeps the flow moving.

Imagine for a moment that the entire world’s shipping and transportation shuts down. No boats, planes, rafts, not even people swimming from place to place. Each person is stuck at home. Within a few weeks, food runs out and people starve. Medical emergencies end in tragedy. Nothing new can be built. Trash piles up. Human life ends. In the grand scheme of our Earth-wide analogy, death takes weeks or months. Since the average heart beats 60-100 times per minute, blood transportation works much faster than our Venice Earth analogy and death takes mere minutes, not months.

river trafficNow imagine that transportation around Venice is not shut down, but travel has slowed. Storms have washed silt into the waterways, making them narrower. A tanker sank in the lagoon and traffic bottlenecks as vessels go around it. Priority is given to those carrying food and oxygen, but repair crews are delayed and trash removal is minimal.

A heart can fake it until it makes it for years, but the longer it has to struggle to pump, the more likely it is that it will stop working altogether (heart attack) or that blood flow to major organs will be interrupted (stroke). The good news is that if you read my blog regularly, you already know how to take care of your heart! The same healthy habits that help you lose weight also help your heart stay healthy…and help prevent type 2 diabetes and stroke, keep you looking younger…It’s a win-win-win-win-win.

Tune in next week for Put Your Heart Into It: Exercise and Heart Health!

 

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

 

Venice map (Venice Online), circulatory system (humananatomylibrary.com), river traffic (http://www.neatorama.com/2006/09/16/traffic-on-river-thames/)

Sleeping is Sexy

When your body feels good, you make better choices about the food you eat and drink. Few things make your body feel better than S.EX. That statement holds true for sex itself and for the acronym that S.EX. stands for: Sleep and EXercise.

The exercise-health connection is kind of obvious. Exercise burns calories, builds and tones muscle, and keeps our heart, lungs, brain, skin, and every other part of us in good working order. Getting our blood pumping just a few times per week works wonders for our health. Agreed? Agreed.  On to sleep.

sleep-lose-weight.jpgWhen you sleep seven to eight hours at night, your body has the time and rest it needs to mentally process your day, repair cellular damage (that’s body cells not smart phones), hunt down and remove toxins, and wake up with energy for a new day. When you’re deprived of sleep—even short a few hours a night—your body can only partially recoup. You’re left feeling run down because you are run down and we tend to try to fix ourselves with sweets, junk food, or caffeine for an energy boost.

Sleep does so much more for your body than making you feel awake. “Sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts”(Shape.com). We start with sleep because sleep is going to make all of our other healthy decisions easier to make and more effective. What is the key to weight loss? Eat less and move more, right?

Eating: Studies have shown that sleeping less than 7 hours per night makes you crave high calorie foods, buy more food, and take larger portions than a rested person. Lack of sleep increases cortisol, the stress-related hormone, that ends up making you feel hungry all the time, even when your stomach is full. Fatigue affects your brain, activating the pleasure seeking cerebral section (Donut, anyone?) and slowing down the good decision making (inhibition) center (Fabulous idea! Let’s have two!).

napMoving: Regular sleep helps you burn more calories even when you’re not moving. Sleep is when your body builds and repairs muscle, making any exercise you do more effective. Sleep helps your body regulate hormones like insulin and gives them time to do their job. The result is that sleepers burn more fat than non sleepers, even if their calorie intake is the same.

Sleep to lose weight? That seems too easy. Many of us think weight loss has to involve hours of sweaty torture at a gym, but the secret turns out to be snuggling under the covers in blissful repose. Now that is my kind of weight loss plan!

 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/sleep-weight-loss Six Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

*http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/why-sleep-no-1-most-important-thing-better-body Why Sleep is the No. 1 Most Important Thing For a Better Body

 

Eat More Vegetables with VISIBLE VEGETABLES™!

Eating vegetables is important, but how can you be sure you’re eating enough of them? New from the makers of VISIBLE WATER™ come VISIBLE VEGETABLES™! VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ are nutritious, delicious, and naturally inspire the hand to mouth motion that guarantees VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ will end up in your stomach where they belong.

placereadytoeatveggiesVISIBLE VEGETABLES™ are easy to use! Simply place VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ on a table or kitchen counter or inside a lunchbox or cooler and watch them disappear! As you pass by VISIBLE VEGETABLES™, your hands will automatically reach for the bright colors and cool textures. You’ll enjoy hours of happy crunching!

Don’t settle for invisible vegetables that cower in refrigerator drawers and plastic containers. You deserve vegetables that are VISIBLE™!

VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ come in a rainbow of colors like Red Pepper, Orange Potato, Yellow Squash, Green Spinach, and Purple Eggplant! You can match your dinner to your outfit, your table setting, or your mood ring.

VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ provides bowel-cleansing, disease preventing fiber and health-promoting vitamins and nutrients! Add VISIBLE WATER™ for an extra health boost!

packaged veggiesVISIBLE VEGETABLES™ come in two nifty varieties: Pre-Prepped™ and DIY™!

Enjoy our Pre-Prepped option straight from the store. Dine on carrot sticks, bites sized peppers, and ready-to-sauté zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and more! VISIBLE VEGETABLES Pre-Prepped™ are even available in easy-serve party trays for family snacking.

VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ also offers handy Do It Yourself kits for the adventurous consumers. VISIBLE VEGETABLES DIY™ comes complete with vegetable peeler, paring knife, and a variety of whole vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and zucchini. Simply peel, chop, see, and eat!

IMG_5283VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ are great for night binging in front of the television and mindless munching during long car rides. VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ are portable, eco-friendly, filling, and satisfying. Display your VISIBLE VEGETABLES™ today and feel the benefits!

VISIBLE VEGETABLES™: If you see them, you eat them!

Don’t forget to try VISIBLE VEGETABLES for KIDS™! They stop the “I’m hungry! When’s dinner?” mantra. Plug those complaining mouths with growth promoting goodness!

 

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” Colossians 1:16a

 

Images courtesy of: (veggies in container) https://celebrate.hy-vee.com/Health/articles/25936/11-ways-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables.aspx, (packaged veggies) http://www.foodprocessing-technology.com/projects/himalaya-food/himalaya-food2.html, (DIY kit) Katie Robles

Local vs. Organic Produce

Produce season is upon us and you may find yourself wondering which is better for you and your family: locally grown or organic produce. Should you support local farmers even if they spray chemicals on your food? Should you support organic farmers no matter the dent it makes in your wallet?

It doesn’t matter.

You’re eating produce and that is what really matters.

mission-impossiblePicture it this way: if you don’t eat plants, you’re like the action hero who clings to the top of a speeding car as it careens through traffic. He’s spread eagle, fingers and toes gripping any crevice in the vehicle’s exterior as momentum threatens to dislodge him. Riding on a car like this is bad for our hero’s health. It’s only a matter of time before the car comes to a stop and our hero catapults over the hood. Injury and death are givens if our hero stays on top of that car.

If you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and/or legumes, on the other hand, you are the hero who sits inside the car and buckles up. Are you guaranteed not to ever be injured or die while riding inside the car? No, of course not. But your health is in a much safer position than when you were clinging to the roof. Locally grown organic produce is the five-star-safety-rated top-of-the-line vehicle with a police escort, but any fruit or vegetable gets your butt firmly inside the car.

veggie carThe documentary Food Choices touches on the topic of pesticides. Dr. Michael Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org, states that if half of Americans would eat one extra serving of fruits or vegetables a day, it would prevent 20,000 cancer deaths per year. All of the pesticides on that extra produce would cause 10 cancer deaths per year. The number of people who potentially get sick from pesticides on produce is statistically insignificant compared with the benefit of those people eating produce…even non-organic non-local produce.

My personal recommendation is to eat local produce whenever possible simply because it tastes better. If you can pick your own, that’s great. If you can grow your own, that’s even better. But don’t sweat it if you’re getting your non organic produce off a truck from across the country or the world. By eating produce, you, the hero, are no longer spread eagle on the top of a careening car. Your butt is planted firmly inside the safety zone. Well done, Hero!

Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. Leviticus 25:19

 

Both images courtesy of Pinterest.com