wellness

Is it important to use all natural or organic products?

The answer is YES, YES, YES.

The skin is the largest organ we have and it absorbs everything we put on it. We know this from skin patches being used by the medical community for everything from birth control to pain management. So if we’re eating organic and putting chemicals onto our skin with make-up, skin care products and cleaning supplies, we’re exposing ourselves to more chemicals than we would get in our food.

The human body is an incredibly complex system. Our bodies are all natural and it’s important that we keep them that way.

There’s a dangerous amount of chemicals in everyday things from diapers to sunscreen and in the food we eat. Most of us have been touched by cancer in some way and we all understand that from the best athletes to children, we’re all at risk. One of the ways we can have some control is by what products we use for ourselves and our families in addition to the food we eat.

It’s been reported over and over that women eat several pounds of lipstick over their lifetime. That’s a great example of why we need to use all natural or organic products on our bodies.

We only get one body, so if you want your body to last and serve you well, stay organic and all natural, just the way you came into this world.

Are you organic? Do you feel it’s important? Why or why not?

I love questions and comments, so please, feel free to offer me your thoughts. I love it!

Here are some great companies where you can find wonderful organic and all natural products:

https://www.honest.com/shop

http://www.juicebeauty.com/store/all-products.html

http://www.seventhgeneration.com

Mardee Calkins is an ACE certified personal trainer, wellness coach, double certified Pilates teacher, a PMA certified Pilates instructor, Spin instructor, registered yoga teacher, Kettle Bell Instructor, Rebounding instructor, expert at using food as medicine, author and mom of three.

Healthy Eating

The Secret to a Toned Body

The Secret to a Toned Body

Jack LaLanne (if you don’t him Google him, he was amazing) had a great saying, “Exercise is the King and diet is the Queen.” I love Jack LaLanne, but he had this one backwards. Diet is the King and exercise is the Queen, and that’s a fact.

More than 80% of how we look depends on nutrition. Exercise is VERY important, don’t get me wrong, but without the right food at the right time, you’re spinning your wheels as far as how you look and maximizing the benefits of your workouts.

Exercise works on us internally, which is why it’s so important. It keeps our heart working great, our cells detoxifying with fresh oxygen turnover, our muscles get harder, stronger, and more beautiful, it’s ALL good. The problem happens when people feel that their exercise routine is going to give them the look they want. It certainly can, but not unless they’re willing to cut out the sugar (98% of the time), cut out the processed foods (all the time), and get back to eating foods that support leaning out the fat and building muscle.

What foods help build muscle and get rid of fat? Lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and eggs. Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, buckwheat groats, spelt and quinoa are great, too, but keeping the carbs down in the form of grains is important to a leaner-looking body.

In addition to what you eat, when you eat is just as important. You should have 4 ounces of protein every 2-3 hours. Adding a serving of fruits or vegetables (preferably raw)is a great compliment to helping your body utilize the protein. It’s most important that you eat some protein within 45 minutes of a workout to give your body the nutrition it requires to build up the muscles you worked out. Remember, the purpose of working out (breaking down the muscle tissue) is so that you can build the muscles back stronger than before. Without the right nutrition at the right time, your body will actually consume the muscles you have in order to keep more vital body parts working (your brain, your organs, etc.). That’s why eating the right food at the right time is so important to how you look.

Are you eating for health?

Please let me know if this post was helpful to you. I’m also always open to questions about fitness and nutrition, I love it!

Mardee Calkins is an ACE certified personal trainer, wellness coach, double certified Pilates teacher, a PMA certified Pilates instructor, Spin instructor, registered yoga teacher, Kettle Bell Instructor, Rebounding instructor, expert at using food as medicine, author and mom of three.

Diet, Health and Fitness

Stop Dieting and Start Eating to Lose Weight

It’s natural to feel like we should cut back on our calories if we want to shed some pounds, but the reality is, it’s the quickest way to get your body to store fat.

Why is that? Our bodies recognize distress signals fast, and hunger is a very important one. It’s genetic. In times of hunting and gathering, food wasn’t so readily available, so the body knew to store food as fat for times of famine.

When you keep your body from having food at reasonable intervals, it triggers the body to store future calories as fat. It’s easy to avoid this, simply eat every three to four hours. Most importantly, eat whole foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, eggs and nothing processed.

Eating whole foods that are rich in all the nutrients and minerals your body needs keeps you from craving the foods that you don’t need. Our bodies don’t crave food when we support our system nutritionally. Eating sugar makes you crave sugar. Eating carbs makes you crave carbs. Why? Because your body is incredibly intuitive and it understands that it did not get what it was looking for with those last few calories you gave it, so it triggers hunger because it needs more. More calories? No, more nutrition.

So give your body what it needs and do it at regular intervals. Never go more than four hours without eating something healthy and full of vitamins and nutrients. Have an apple or a handful of nuts, keep it simple and notice how you feel. As you stabilize your blood sugar levels, your energy levels will increase, your cravings will diminish and those extra pounds you’re not so fond of will fall right off.

Send me your thoughts and ideas on how to improve your health, lose weight and look better. It’s never too late and it’s almost always simple.

Fitness

Pilates and Sex

Have you ever been in a Pilates mat class or a private Pilates session and had your instructor tell you to squeeze your heels in Pilates “v” position? Wonder why? Squeezing your heels together activates your inner-thighs (go ahead and try it now). Maybe you were told to put a ball or a magic circle between your knees and squeeze? What does that have to do with sex? Activating your inner thighs is the gateway to activating your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor is a great way to improve your sexual response.

Strength in the pelvic floor is important for everyone. It helps before childbirth (improving your sexual response), during childbirth and after childbirth (helping you to reconnect those muscles). Not having kids? It’s no less important unless you have a secret desire to wear a diaper prematurely in your geriatric years :O).

The pelvic floor muscles are also know as your “kegel” muscles and although you don’t have to do Pilates to strengthen them (you can learn to contract these muscles without inner-thigh activation, think stopping the flow of urine), Pilates is the perfect way to get you connected mindfully to your body. The connections in the body that Pilates teachers offer their clients become positive life-changing habits. Learning to contract your pelvic floor muscles is just one of the outstanding benefits you’ll get from Pilates, and one that many people are never even aware of.

Want more information? Check out this article:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119

Got questions about Pilates? Send them to me! I love to talk Pilates and what it can do for you.

“Do Pilates 10 times, you’ll feel the difference, 20 times, you’ll see the difference, 30 times, your body will be changed for life.” Joseph H. Pilates

wellness

Food Allergies-Where do they come from and what do they mean?

I had a fascinating meeting with one of my holistic doctors a few years ago. He explained to me why my body, and so many other bodies like mine, have stopped digesting the foods we’ve eaten all of our lives. Why all of sudden, we can’t just eat what we want. It was a light bulb moment for me, so simple, yet so profound. He said that as our food has been genetically modified over the years, infused with pesticides and hormones, our bodies have become confused. They no longer know what to do with wheat because wheat doesn’t look the same to our enzymes and cells. It’s an impenetrable substance that clogs up our system now. Why are so many people lactose intolerant now? Because our bodies could handle digesting casein when they didn’t have to figure out what to do with pesticides, hormones, fake fats, enhanced sugars and chemicals we can’t even pronounce. Our bodies are finely tuned machines and when we began to think we could change our foods to make them more cost-effective on the grocery store shelf, we got too smart for our own good.

So it’s time to back-track. Go back to the basics. Meat, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables. That’s quite a bit of food, all you have to do is stick with those simple things for awhile (keeping in mind that you can react to eggs).

A few good rules of thumb are: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If it’s in a box or bag, that’s a problem. And if you can drive through and get it, don’t do it, there’s no telling what you’re actually eating. Think you’re too busy for this? Think of it as saving time by not needing to go to the doctor. Think it’s too expensive to eat organic fruits and vegetables? Think of it as saving money on prescriptions and doctors bills. It’s your body and your health and you get to CHOOSE how you feel by choosing healthier food options. It’s a beautiful thing!

Do you have any ideas on:

1) How to rebuild the immune system?

2) Why some people can’t process even healthy, organic foods?

3)How hormonal imbalances effect the immune system?

I know I’m not alone. Let’s figure it out!

Healthy Eating

Acid, Alkaline and Inflammation

Have you or anyone you know had cancer, an autoimmune disease, or heart disease? Most of us have lived through one of these issues, or know someone who has. All three problems have one common denominator: inflammation. As a matter of fact, almost all of our health issues start with inflammation. Even common allergies cause inflammation and in the next ten years modern (western medicine) is going to become tuned in to this problem and how we can minimize inflammation in our bodies. Controlling inflammation is the key to staying healthy and controlling it starts with keeping your body alkaline.

Acidity and alkaline in the body can be a little confusing, but it’s very important for the body to remain alkaline for many reasons, most of all to keep inflammation at a minimum. So put simply, acidity causes inflammation and being alkaline minimizes inflammation. Staying alkaline can make all the difference in how a person with an autoimmune disease feels.

How do you get alkaline?

Let’s start by looking at how a body gets acidic. And, like most things that have to do with how you feel, acidity comes from what you put in your body.

Acidic foods include: meats, table salt (not sea salt), milk (a huge offender), sodas, coffee, chocolate (heartbreaking), sugar, alcohol, cheese, and some grains.

So, one of the best ways to get alkaline is to try to eliminate these often tasty items from your diet.

Why? Because being acidic can cause lots of serious problems ranging from general inflammation to life-taking cancer. Other potentially serious acidity problems include: osteoporosis (an acidic body will steal from the bones), kidney problems and cardiovascular disease. So… you really don’t want to be acidic, even if you don’t have an auto-immune disease.

What are some things you can put into your body each day to make it alkaline?

It’s easy :O)… most fruits and vegetables, apple cider vinegar (in place of acid causing regular vinegar), and adding half a lemon in water. Adding these things to a meal that may have some acid-forming foods provides balance for the body. If you’re feeling inflamed, avoid the acid forming foods and drink lots of lemon in water. See if that helps how you’re feeling.

Some great books that discuss the importance of staying alkaline are Clean, by Alejandro Junger, M.D. and The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. Both books address autoimmune diseases and have some great ideas on how to care for the body holistically.

Got some thoughts about acidity and alkaline? I’d love to hear it!!

wellness

Holistic Medicine to the Rescue!

Our bodies are amazing vessels that house our souls. It’s up to us to treat them with respect by how we feed them, groom them, and use them. You do have healthcare choices, and they don’t have to do with insurance or the government. Start with loving yourself, detoxing through sweating,  and cleansing your body with healthy fruits and vegetables.

Thank Goodness for old school medicine and common sense. How has it become the norm to get sick, get pills, and get sick again? What are we doing to our bodies with all of these chemicals, both in our food and our medicine? It seems more like we are the lab rats now and a brief warning of the myriad of side effects you might experience on any medication is the pharmaceutical company’s free license to see how the public weathers the chemicals that are pumped into us by the billions, and that’s billions with a big $$$ behind it.

Have you ever wondered how we can improve the healthcare system in this country?

Here are a few ideas:

1) Start with demanding ORGANIC FOODS that are pesticide, hormone and anti-biotic-free. You can do this simply by only purchasing organic foods. It’s not expensive when you put your focus on the value of a healthy body and saving money on medical bills.

2) If you get sick, or your kids do, with an immune system issue, try an elimination diet. Start with gluten and yeast, the most common offenders. If you can afford to go to a holistic doctor, have them do an Immunolabs (http://www.immunolabs.com/patients/) blood test for food intolerances.

3) EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE!!! There is NO substitute. Our bodies are designed to move, beautifully, so make that happen. Get sweaty! Sweating is one of your bodies best systems for detoxification. Sweating purifies the blood, the lungs and the organs. Once you get going with a workout routine, you’ll crave it. Start a new habit. Don’t have time? MAKE TIME, it’s your body, get to know it and take care of it :O).

4) If you need a doctor, go to one that is trained in a holistic approach to medicine, sometimes we need the big guns- cancer, for example. But if it isn’t life-threatening, try to figure out WHY YOUR SICK, with a good holistic practitioner to find a natural solution.

Please share your story, ask questions, or offer answers. We’re all in this together.