Water…Water…Water!

Water…Water…Water!

What’s all the fuss about drinking water?  Why is it so important to our health?   Living in the desert I know what it’s like to be dehydrated.  I even suffered a mild case of heat stroke a few summers ago which left me in a sad state for a few weeks.  Beyond that, from my nutrition training I knew that water supports our cells but I didn’t know just how deep the story goes until I researched the facts for this story.

The U.S. Geological Survey was created 125 years ago by an act of Congress and provides scientific expertise on a variety of topics concerning our natural environment.  Here’s what they say about water:

Our bodies are mostly water!

  *Our brain and heart are 73% water! 

*Our lungs are about 83% water!   

*Our skin is 64% water! 

*Our muscles and kidneys are 79% water!   

* Our bones are 31% water!   

Why does this matter?  It’s a thing called fluid balance (homeostasis for you science types).  Too little water inside our cells and they shrivel up and die.  Too much H2O and those cute little things up and burst!  Fluid balance ensures the normal functioning of our body and its optimal health.  It’s vital for physical and mental performance every day of our lives.

Here are just some of the jobs that water performs for us:

*It regulates our internal body temperature through sweating and breathing.

*Carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream.

*It helps flush waste through urination.

*Acts as a shock absorber for the brain, spinal cord and fetus

*Water forms saliva.

*Water lubricates the joints.

Replenishing this Water Daily

According to the USGS:

Men need to drink 3 liters (3.2 qts) of water each day (about 13 cups).

Women need to drink 2.2 liters (2.3 qts) each day (9 cups)

You’re probably thinking, “How is that humanly possible?”  Well, take heart people.  Here’s some good news.  20% of our water intake comes from food!  We only have to make up the other 80%!  

In my next article I will provide a list of foods that are rich in water.  Many of them are already in your diet.  I will also warn about some foods to avoid or at least eat in moderation because they encourage the body to dehydrate – not a good thing! 

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

https://www.reference.com/science/fluid-balance-important-9336ab4013e84cf

Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Fitness:  Just Diet and Exercise?

Fitness: Just Diet and Exercise?

Affirmation  Fitness is more than a healthy diet and daily exercise routines…but these are the basics…the prerequisites to building all the rest.

mental fitnessThere’s Mental Fitness which covers developing a healthy self image, self discipline, lifetime of learning and growing, tolerance and respect for other people’s ideas…the willingness to listen without judgment, and engage in civil discourse in order to learn from others who are different from ourselves.  I’ve learned from my own experience that it takes a quiet mind and body to listen patiently while another is speaking…especially if they have different ideas from my own. This is where a healthy diet comes into play.  For example, complex carbohydrates like brown rice feed the nerves and provide a slow and steady stream of energy throughout the body. Proteins and other nutrients supply the nutrition that keeps the blood sugar on an even level…they feed the brain so we can think clearly, and react reasonably.

emotional fitness  Emotional Fitness begins with self awareness and builds to understanding yourself so that you can deal with your emotions in a way that fits into your moral values.

Animals in the wild like Elephants show extraordinary compassion and empathy for each other, especially their young. These two qualities in humans can lead to a more loving and forgiving way of life.

Self Awareness can lead to a healthy self image  …which can lead to self love…which can lead to loving others…which can lead to a more compassionate and loving society.

We’re all works in progress and these qualities I’ve described are goals to achieve in baby steps…one situation at a time…one thought or feeling at a time.

baby steps

For further reading about the Self Image read:

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S.  “A New Technique for Using Your SUBCONSCIOUS POWER”

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Posted by DSaull in Communication, 0 comments

My Daily Workout…Part 2

Exercise RoutineIn Part 1 I wrote about the music I use for my workout and gave some general information about my routine.  Now I’d like to go into a little more detail about it.

Living Room Workout  I like to exercise in my living room where I can control the elements…so I’m usually  in some comfortable garb.  On my wall are some Creative Visualization pictures that I look at during my workout…I’m a strong believer in Creative Visualization as a motivation tool.    (You should see my office wall!) It’s a combo of some magazine photos showing some elegant and sophisticated women dressed in beautiful outfits.  I aspire to have their shape (I’m almost there!) and wear their clothes (I’ll make them myself) so they motivate me to stay with it.  The other picture is the cover of Fitness magazine.  The gorgeous male blond hunk doing a pushup keeps me very motivated to work on my fitness!

   I posted in Part 1 that I haven’t been doing my stretches on the carpet because of the discomfort factor…I’m happy to report that I got my exercise mat out of hiding and tried it…turns out it wasn’t half bad…the plastic is a little sticky and the height makes it a little awkward to stretch out comfortably (2″ high), but at least I can do them…and the plastic is cool…Exercise Mat  unlike the prickly carpet.   

I’d like to share some personal experiences and some techniques I use during my workouts.  Sometimes I’m not awake at the start so my eyes are closed as I listen to the music and begin to warm up with some gentle movements.  It’s all intuitive for me…never the same twice…I just let it flow…I learn how I’m feeling by the way I move…slow and lethargic?  Slow to more energized?  Ready to rock?

Exercise to Music  As I wake up I find myself doing more energetic moves.  If I really get energized I’ll add free weights and Taebo to my workout during the cardio phase.

I use 4 lbs weights and work a variety of muscle groups as I feel it.  I learned some techniques from videos, others from TV shows, and others from people I met at the gym…since I’m a tennis player I instinctively work those muscles that will help me with my game.  I used to get strange looks from people at the gym who had never seen my moves before (just curious I think).  I get creative letting my imagination take me to new places.  I like to work on body memory for tennis so much of what I do is guided by that…serving a ball while holding a weight, or moving through a backhand holding a weight.  These are just some of the things I do to improve my technique and strength.

  My aerobic workout is a combination of techniques learned in aerobic classes, cardio and Taebo videos, and dance training, as well as my tennis lessons over the years.  I’ve learned something from each and I’m grateful for that…even the videos that bored me and got trashed taught me something of value.

*A note about videos…most of them disappointed me…maybe it was the warmup I didn’t like or the routines.  I tried a few of Billy Blanks’ Taebo tapes but found that his warmup was too fast and he didn’t explain moves well.  I’ve even tried online videos but they soon bored me and I went back to my own workouts.

Clock  I set my time goal for 30 minutes…sometimes I make it…other times I don’t…that’s ok…my body tells me what is right for me each time.

Warmup  I start off with steps side to side letting the music guide me intuitively.  I add some swagger while stepping forward and back as the music moves me.  Then I’ll add some arm movements and maybe some twisting as I move.  I love Latino dancing so I often find myself moving to some Latin rhythm with Latin moves.

Cardio:  Once I’m warmed up I add more vigorous steps with some kicks and some more intense arm movements.  If I’m really feeling good I’ll do some Taebo kicks and boxing moves. 

I’ll do 3 or 4 fast songs for intense cardio…then use a slower one to do some leg work…I do several slow plies in wide stance to condition my thighs, hips and butt.  Sometimes I widen the stance even more to get a deeper stretch and conditioning while working my feet and toes.  Then I go back to some more fast cardio before finishing up.

Identify Helpful Hint  I alternate days with free weights because it takes 24 hours for muscles to repair themselves.  On free weight days I’ll do the classic moves with 8 count reps repeating once or twice depending on how I feel.  I don’t push past discomfort…I use it as a guide for how far I can go with each move and I never work a muscle when I feel pain.  That’s a signal that I’ve reached a limit.

Cooldown:  My cooldown is a combination of slow arm stretches on each side and slower movement.  Then I’m ready to stretch. 

*Note…never stretch when your muscles are cold…that’s how you cause injuries.  Muscles need to warm up and get the oxygen flowing to them first.

Stretching   Stretching:  I like to begin with classic calf and Achilles stretches…forward and back with flexed foot.  Next are the classic thigh stretches…straight back, across the back of the body, and my favorite (a ballet move) lifting the thigh and stretching behind me (I hope to create a visual of my workout at some point.)  Then I move into some easy backbends and side stretches.  Much of what I do is ballet floor barre but they’re simple to learn.  I like to work my feet in each ballet position while working the front of the foot and the toes.  Then I move to the floor (carpet).

Exercise Mat  Floor:  Here I stretch out from head to toe with arms overhead usually 3 times holding for count of 5.  Then I move into some stomach crunches and side stretches followed by forward stretches with legs to the side and some split stretches to work the thighs and hip areas.  Next is some yoga with the alternating concave and convex spine stretching (cat poses)…then some downward dog and maybe some other yoga moves or some pushups.

Each day is different because my needs are different and my energy level is different.  I just listen to my body and do what it tells me. 

Identify Helpful Hint  My advice:   Have fun with your workouts…enjoy the music you choose.  Listen to your body and be sensitive to its needs.  Sometimes all we can do on a given day is baby steps.  That’s part of the process.  Remember that it’s a spiritual and mental experience as well as a physical workout. 

Online Journal   Final note:  I keep an Excel journal that includes a sheet called Fitness and another called Tennis.  I record experiences worth noting, and any thoughts or feelings that come up during workouts.  It’s a way for me to track my progress.

 

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Posted by DSaull in Physical Fitness, 0 comments
My Daily Workout…Part 1

My Daily Workout…Part 1

I like to do my daily exercise routine in the morning prior to working in my office.  It motivates me mentally and gets the oxygen flowing through my body, especially to my brain…waking me up so I can think.

I’ve been using these first 2 CD’s for 5+ years.  I found them at a yard sale and they’ve been my rock ever since.  

   CD #1…Alpheus…” Quality Time” by Studio One… Reggae music recorded in Kingston, Jamaica

I start with the first song called ”Nothing Can Stop You” .  Its words help me to block out negativity from my thoughts and feelings; and approach my day with a sense of renewal and desire to create something wonderful.

Chorus:
Don’t worry ‘cause it’s there for you
No matter what dem say or do
Believe that it’s there for you
Nothing can stop you no

Verse 1
You’re gonna reach that goal you want
‘Cause you learned all the golden rules
No one can discourage you
Gwaan let screwface screw

Verse 2
You’ll get your house and land and a car
And put your kids through school so they go far
Don’t worry about a thing, just believe inna yourself

Verse 3
‘Cause we’re too strong for the bad minded
Look straight ahead and don’t be blinded
Ah, just persevere you’ll make it through,
You’ll make it through

Verse 4
No one is perfect, we’re only human
We all fall short along the way
Fall down, get up, brush yourself and keep on moving
Yes, just keep on moving.

Identify Helpful Hint  When I have some special project or work to do other than my website, I‘ll play “Nothing Can Stop You” for motivation and just dance to it, and let the words flow over me.

The other song I play is  “Let’s Take the Vows”because I like the words and the melody.  It gives me a good feeling to hear them.  It helps me feel the love. 

Verse 1
I feel I was made for you
My love is genuine it’s true
Let’s walk hand in hand and show the world 
We’re worth a million grand
It’s all about our love
You’re made for me only me
My baby we’re meant to be
We’re gonna go all the way.

Chorus:
It’s you for me and me for you
It’s you for me and me for you

There’s another verse which I’l let you discover on your own.  

This CD is available at Amazon for a very reasonable price…you can also check it out here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HHq0L3Jw7k

   CD #2…Yankee Dreams by Frank Ferrel, “Wicked Good Fiddling from New England”

This is all instrumental music … Irish tunes … wonderful for reaching that next level.  Some are faster than others but all are great.  I move to the first 4 or 5 tunes to get me ready to really crank it up.

It’s available at Amazon and Ebay…very reasonable…no YouTube link for this one…sorry…but I do have an image.    

CD #4…Clint Black’s “All American Country” gets my adrenalin pumping.  I play the first 3 songs:

1..“When My Ship Comes In”
2..“Nothin’ But the Tailights”
3..“A Better Man”…all fast tempos

Then I scroll through for a few other fast ones like “Money or Love”  (great one!)

Cooldown CD
“Intimate Piano” by Canadian Sunset

All easy going popular instrumentals like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” by Gordon Langford and his orchestra, and “Rhapsody in Blue” by Henry Mancini.  I love the calming effect it has on me…perfect for this section … my stretching.

   Since this is summer in Tucson and the temps are over 100 degrees everyday, my stretching has been limited to standup work…not feeling like being on the carpet. 

Identify Helpful Hint I’ve learned that it’s ok to do less in these hot summer months.  Going with the flow is part of nature.  It’s frustrating at times because I want to do my regular routines but acceptance is also a part of life.

Next time I’ll share more about my exercise routine.  ‘Til we meet again!

 

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Posted by DSaull in Physical Fitness, 0 comments
Tennis Ball Fun!

Tennis Ball Fun!

tennisAfter a month of 100+ temps here in the Old Pueblo which zapped my strength and desire to hit a tennis ball, I finally got out this morning and had some tennis fun!  

After sleeping away most of my Saturday I awoke to some cool and cloudy weather which motivated me to take advantage of this brief respite from the desert heat.

I was reunited with my favorite “tennis wall” down the street from my home and enjoyed about 30 minutes of practice before the humidity and sun made me stop.

I keep an Excel journal of my tennis activities to monitor my workouts and progress.  This morning it was a joy to write the following:

11am   Finally cool enough to play..slept all day yesterday
and still slept last night…wow…woke up and felt some
energy…hit for about 1/2 hour…maybe less…too hot
and humid to keep going…great reflexes…both sides…
short shots, deep high ones…good slices and dices.
felt great to hit…especially on the left…really had some
control…

When I say “both sides” I mean that I practice hitting “forehand” on the left side as well in order to train those muscles in forehand technique…I think I do it for the challenge and the fun…it’s really coming along!

I love  to dive for shots…low ones, high ones, especially the ones just a few inches from the ground…if I can get underneath it and bring it up to hit a good shot…well!  That’s the fun!  I think it’s a rhythm thing…brings out the dancer in me…

funny tennis

 

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Posted by DSaull in Physical Fitness, 0 comments
Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

I found this somewhere and saved it as the first thing I read when I open my journal.  There is no author attached to it so I can’t give credit to anyone.  If you happen to know its origin, please let me know and I will give proper credit to the writer.

Be not afraid of growing slowly,  Chinese proverb   Be afraid only of standing still.        (Chinese proverb)

******

baby steps        I call it “Baby Steps”

“One step a day towards a goal, no matter how distant, is progress.  It’s not much…but it’s progress.

Want to write a book?   Okay…one word a day.  A sentence if you wish…all right then, a paragraph…if you must…but not more than a chapter.

Want to draw?  A blank piece of paper is a start of sorts…holding the pencil is the next obvious step.  Putting pencil to paper is the breakthrough.  Now stop!  I dare you.  You can’t.  The pencil moves and the muse awakens.

Starting is the hard part, not the moving onwards…moving is easy…moving fast…without error, with confidence…that’ll come later…maybe.

But in the meantime, it’s one foot in front of the other, and the horizon rolls towards you,,,another word and another one, until out of the sentence a character forms and begins speaking…another line on top of a curve to form a suggestion of a shape…until the mountain rises from the paper.”

********

I use this process for building new habits, writing articles for this website, or learning a new piece of music on my keyboard.  It helps me focus on the present task and feel accomplishment in each small success.

When I studied piano years ago, my teacher had me play each note at a snail’s pace, gradually picking up speed as I was mentally ready.  Playing slowly built body memory and accuracy…only then could I move a little faster, and a little faster than that.

It taught me to grow at my own pace, and feel a sense of accomplishment in each tiny successful step. Sometimes it was playing one bar at a time correctly without looking at my hands or the keys.  Playing 2 bars and then a whole line with both hands was a cause for celebration!

Try applying this process to something you are trying to learn…it could be self talk that you are trying to change for the better…an attitude…better listening skills…breaking that sugar habit…

Baby Steps!

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Posted by DSaull in Mental Matters, 0 comments
An Affirmation for You

An Affirmation for You

Affirmation   I use affirmations and creative visualization every day as part of my daily work routine.  I’ll have more to say about that in another article.

Affirmations guide our subconscious mind toward beliefs we want to adopt, and dreams we want to come true.  

I’m reading “Ageless Body Timeless Mind” by Deepak Chopra.  On page 183 he shares an affirmation:

“I am perfect as I am.  Everything in my life is working toward my ultimate good.  I am loved and I am love.”

I posted on his Facebook page that this is unrealistic.  Nobody is perfect and trying to program ourselves to believe it is not helpful.  I offered an alternative:

“I love myself unconditionally and feel safe exploring ways to improve and grow.”  It’s simple and powerful…

I’ve added it to my book of affirmations and creative visualizations that I read every day at the beginning of my work routine.

Affirmation

https://www.successconsciousness.com/blog/affirmations/affirmations-how-to-define-them/

 

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Posted by DSaull in Mental Matters, 0 comments
Don’t Like Fish?

Don’t Like Fish?

fish brain food   I liked tuna sandwiches as a child…loved them with celery chunks.  As an adult…not so much…in fact I’ve tried to like tuna but don’t like the fattening mayo and the high sodium content…I went through a phase of eating lots of canned salmon…too much hassle separating the bones from the fish…having more luck with canned boneless and skinless sardines in oil.  I put them in salads with lots of french dressing.   Not too bad…

How to get my omegas without eating the fish?  I take a fish oil supplement…that takes care of that, right?  Well, there’s more to the story…

It seems that fish offers more than just omegas…there’s a reason why they call it brain food

Eating fatty fish a few times a week can ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s, enhance the condition of your brain improving concentration and cognitive function. 

So, what do you do if you don’t like fish?  You hide it inside something else so you don’t taste it as much!

recipe    Turkey Burger with Sardinessardines

*Skinless and Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil

*3/4 cup of raw turkey burger

Mix together in a bowl and form a patty…pan fry in medium heat (I use a nonstick pan:  no extra oil).  They’ll be a little from the sardines which will give it a lovely crisp flavor.  “Fry” on both sides for about 10 minutes (turkey cooks fast).

That’s it…really tastes good!  Add a salad and you have a delicious lunch or dinner!

https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-benefits-eating-fish/

 

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Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
2% Milk…Who Knew?

2% Milk…Who Knew?

                Moo!                     

I’ve been drinking whole milk all my life…except for a brief moment years ago when I tried 2% because I thought it would help me lose weight.  It tasted like dish water and I never tried it again.

The other day I was in my favorite supermarket to buy milk…no whole milk to be found…ordinarily I would just wait or go somewhere else, but it’s summer in Tucson…100’s every day..so I decided to be brave and go for it.

Have they changed the process?  Must have…not the 2% I remember!  The coating in my throat and on my tongue was gone!   It tasted great…actually better…lighter but still good!  No lingering aftertaste.

 Tip:  If milk is too “sweet” for you, trying sprinkling a little salt into your glass.  I use Himalayan Pink Salt and it adds a little counterbalance to the flavor.

If you read my article on “change” you’ll relate to this experience.  I dared to try something new and it turned out to be great for me!

Food for Thought!  

Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Soup for Hydration?

Soup for Hydration?

   Just a quick reminder to count that soup as part of your daily intake.  Whether it’s water based or milk based, it still counts.  (Milk is 88% water!)

If you add wine or some other alcoholic cooking beverage to your soup it won’t matter since the alcohol will cook out and you’re left with the flavor.  

Food for Thought!

Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Alcoholic Drinks for Hydration?

Alcoholic Drinks for Hydration?

 

We drink them, we enjoy the buzz and the socializing with our friends and family.  “Alcohol” is that magical and somewhat mysterious ingredient in our beers, wine, vodka martinis, and after dinner liqueurs.

What exactly is Alcohol?  We drink it, we rub it on sore muscles, and use it to cleanse cuts.  Is there a difference between these types?  Why is one safe to drink and not the other?

 

There are actually 6 kinds of alcohol and if you happen to consume the wrong one you could wind up dead.  Let’s take a look:

(1)   Denatured:  This is ethanol that has added ingredients making it unfit to drink.

(2)  Fuel Grade Ethanol:  This is the fuel you put in the gas tank of your car.  Don’t think you want to drink this one.

(3)   Isopropl:  This is used as a solvent in fuel, and in small amounts as a surface disinfectant.  It’s the one in the bottle under your bathroom sink used to cleanse cuts and other wounds.

(4)   Methanol:    Here’s your wood alcohol…highly toxic…used as a solvent , fuel and to prevent water-based liquids from freezing.

(5)  Ethanol (Industrial):  This one is produced for non-beverage uses which may contain additives…toxic to humans

 (6)  Jackpot!  This Ethanol (C2H6O)    is used to make alcoholic drinks.   Beer, Wine and Spirits all contain it.  This is the only one that is “safe” to drink.

Alcoholic drinks fall into 3 broad categories:

Beers      usually made from sprouted barley and roasted into malt, cooked with water, fermented with yeast and flavored with the flowers from the Hop plant. 

Wines    made from grapes and sometimes other fruits that are juiced and fermented.

Distilled Spirits     made from grains, fruit or other sugar sources that are fermented and distilled by heating and cooling to get alcohol.

All of these drinks start with fermentation…the natural result of yeast digestion of the sugars in fruit, cereal grains or other starches.  Two products are produced:  1)  Ethanol; and 2) Carbon Dioxide.

Now that we know what it is, let’s see if these popular social drinks can be counted toward our daily fluid intake.  Most important to remember is that alcohol is a diuretic which means it causes your body to remove fluids from your bloodstream through your renal system (kidneys, ureters, and bladder) at a much quicker rate than other liquids.

Warning:  If you don’t drink water with an alcoholic beverage you can become dehydrated quickly.

 What are some ways that it can dehydrate us?

 *Drinking on an Empty Stomach…allows the liquid and alcohol to pass through the stomach lining and small intestine, and into the bloodstream within minutes.

 *Buildup in the Bloodstream…from there it can go anywhere in your body.  When it reaches the brain, alcohol can impair judgment and lead to a serious drunken state.  If it reaches the lungs it can be released when you exhale- hence the reason for breathalyzers being used by police officers if they stop you on the road.  It measures BAC (blood alcohol concentration)…the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.

 *This one is key (in my humble opinion)…alcohol reduces how much Vasopressin      your body makes.  This is an antidiuretic hormone which causes the body to hold onto water, limiting how much urine the kidneys make.  Suppression of this hormone increases the diuretic effect causing dehydration.  Water is flushed out much faster than alcohol is processed.

Dehydration can have serious effects on our bodies and I’ll let you read about it in my sources at your convenience.   I am concerned here about whether alcoholic drinks can actually hydrate us. 

Bottom Line:  Based on what I’ve learned I advise not to count alcoholic drinks toward your daily fluid intake.   However, any water you drink along with that beer or wine will help.   I was not able to get a clear sense of how many drinks in one sitting would directly cause serious dehydration but since alcohol suppresses Vasopressin I would be very careful about quantity.

 Tip:  Listen to your body – not to your friends or anyone else.  Don’t let anyone intimidate you into drinking more than you know you can handle or want to try to handle.  It’s about personal responsibility…and self-love.

http://www.responsibledrinking.org/what-are-you-drinking/what-is-an-alcohol-beverage/

https://www.healthline.com/health/does-alcohol-dehydrate-you#in-the-body

Posted by DSaull in Nutrition