Personal Trainer Kelowna

Christmas

Christmas

Leigh Carter

Personal Training Kelowna

Private Gym

 

What will you be doing on Christmas Day? According to a survey done in my homeland, Christmas goes pretty much like this:

In the South West of England 25% of people had bought gifts and forgotten where they had put them.

In Yorkshire and Humberside gravy is popular and found on 70% of tables.

Northern Ireland pet owners are the most generous with an average spend of £15.98, compared to national average of £10.90, the region with lowest spend is the South West.

Londoners make the most puddings on Stir up Sunday. A third say they usually honour the occasion which falls on the Sunday before Advent, and is traditionally the day when the pudding was mixed in the homes across Britain.

Women are more organised with present buying, 84% had it all done by beginning of December compared to 65% of men.

More than one in five will be wearing a Christmas jumper

Average time to get up on Christmas Day is 8.01am

Average time present are opened is 10.03am

Average time for first drink on Christmas Day is 1.21pm

Average time people start eating dinner on Christmas Day is 2.49pm

Average time spent washing up on Christmas Day is 38 minutes

One in five 18-24 year olds has chocolate for breakfast

One in eight pets have their own Advent calendar

16% of pets open their own presents

26% of pets have a specially prepared dinner

18% of people will use a cooking planner to make lunch, 47% will just take a chance!

Four most popular TV shows for Christmas Day –

Festive film 34%
Strictly come Dancing Special 23%
Coronation Street 22%
Eastenders 21%

Christmas dinner in the UK includes –

Turkey 69%
Roast potatoes 68%
Gravy 60%
Brussels sprouts 53%
Pigs in blankets 46%
Parsnips 45%
Stuffing balls 44%
Cranberry sauce 34%
Broccoli 30%
Mashed potatoes 25%
Beef 16%
Cabbage 15%
Cauliflower cheese 15%
Bread sauce 13%

I don’t suppose it sounds that different to a Canadian Christmas and I’m sure my second Christmas in Canada will include much of the same.

Merry Christmas.

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Essential Minerals

Essential Minerals

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Our bodies not only need a range of vitamins to keep it working at its best but it also needs minerals working alongside to keep bone and blood cells healthy. Your body needs them to perform vital functions.

Zinc for example is necessary for the enzyme which activates vitamin A for good eyesight and without it, vitamin A cannot be used properly by the body. Adequate zinc levels are needed for proper immune function and zinc deficiency results in an increased susceptibility to infection. It is essential for the maintenance of vision, taste and smell. Zinc can be found in fish, shellfish, lean red meat, seeds, nuts, legumes and wholegrains.

Magnesium is an extremely important mineral and works to activate many enzymes, muscles and nervous functions. It provides energy, helps keep your cells healthy and strong and enables your cells to communicate with one another and enhance optimal functioning. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure, keeps your bones strong and prevents insulin resistance and migraine headaches. Symptoms of deficiency may include muscle cramps, headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia and a predisposition to stress. It can be found in kelp, seaweeds, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, almonds, wholegrains – bran cereal, brown rice etc and tofu.

Calcium is important in the activity of many enzymes in the body and is essential for building and maintaining bones and teeth. The contraction of muscles, release of neurotransmitters, regulation of heartbeat and clotting of blood are all dependent on calcium. Periods of growth, pregnancy and lactation may require increased demand. Deficiency in children can result in rickets, in adults it can contribute to high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Calcium is found in dairy produce, small-boned fish such as sardines and anchovies, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame seeds, spinach, beans, tofu and apricots.

Phosphorous is one of the most essential minerals, important in energy metabolism, calcium absorption and converting protein for growth, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues. It is mainly sourced in meat, milk and wholegrains, nuts and seeds.

Iron carries oxygen throughout your body and without it, you may end up feeling tired and even have trouble thinking straight. Research suggests iron may even help prevent postpartum depression. In addition iron functions in several key enzymes in energy production and metabolism including DNA synthesis. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency worldwide and can lead to anaemia. Iron is best found in red meat, sardines, dark green leafy vegetable such as kale, other good sources include offal, egg yolk and fortified cereals.

Selenium is important for a healthy immune system, fertility and thyroid metabolism. It works with vitamin E in preventing free radical damage to cell membranes. It also helps to regulate blood pressure. Good sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, offal, shellfish, prawns, butter, avocados and wholegrains.

Potassium can help your muscles and nerves to function properly, lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart problems, ease fatigue, irritability and confusion. Older people are more at risk of too much potassium in the body as their kidneys are less able to eliminate excess. Potassium is an electrolyte, meaning that it helps to conduct electricity in your body. It helps regulate blood pressure by offsetting the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium.

Potassium is found in many foods – all meats, salmon, flounder, cod and legumes contain substantial amounts of potassium, as do dairy products, and is especially easy to obtain in fruits and vegetables such as chard, mushrooms and spinach. But because it’s found mainly in fruits and vegetables, which most of us don’t get nearly enough of, many of us fall short of this all-important mineral.

Sodium, besides playing a key role in muscle and nerve function, helps maintain blood pressure and blood volume. Sodium is a component of salt, which is naturally present in the majority of foods we eat. Most people eat more salt than is good for their health. Three quarters of our salt consumption comes from packaged foods such as breakfast cereals, soups, sauces and ready meals. Sodium also occurs naturally in foods such as celery, milk and beets.

Chloride helps keep the right balance of body fluids. Some examples of good chloride-containing foods are seaweed, lettuce, olives, rye and tomatoes.

 

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Healthy Joints

Healthy Joints

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Over time, even normal, healthy joints deteriorate, but we can improve our diet to include some foods that can help our joints.

Eating a rainbow of fresh, dried and/or frozen fruit and veg will ensure your diet is full of potent antioxidant vitamins, which fight free radicals and reduce the damage caused by inflammation. Be sure to include broccoli, which has the vitamins that keep joints well nourished – A, a bunch of Bs, C, a little E and K – not to mention lots of calcium and some protein, and kale which also a good source of calcium, its cholesterol-free; much lower in fat and calories than dairy; rich in joint-protecting vitamins A, C and K; and packed with two minerals that joints need to stay robust, copper which helps build collagen and ligaments, the tissue strands that connect two bones and manganese which activates enzymes needed for tissue growth and repair. Both these vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane, which research has shown may protect joints from damage because this chemical may reinvigorate the body’s defences which decline as we age, raising the risk of osteoarthritis and other joint problems.

According to a 2004 study research showed that people who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C were three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who consumed more. This antioxidant penetrates into cells, where it protects DNA from free-radical damage.

Papayas have almost twice as much C as oranges, plus a hefty dose of beta carotene, another good antioxidant for joint health.

Apples are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that’s important in building collagen and slowing its deterioration. Raw apples have much more quercetin than processed fruit. Collagen is the main component of cartilage and acts like a shock absorber in your joints, helping them withstand years of pounding and pressure. Collagen breakdown is often a critical step in osteoarthritis development.

Green tea is an excellent source of compounds called catechins which helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage and collagen. Pomegranate seeds contain anti-inflammatory flavonols which also protect the cartilage from damage.

Nuts and seeds are full of omega-3, these healthy fats hold anti-inflammatory properties. Chai seeds are one of the richest seed sources of omega-3. Almonds are one of the best vitamin E sources, which protects the outer membrane of joint cells. This makes it a first-line defender against free radicals. Sunflower seeds or peanuts are both also rich in E.

Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout also contain a potent form of omega-3, which dampens inflammation and relieves stiffness. Choose wild salmon – farmed varieties have fewer omega-3s and sometimes none at all. Canned salmon typically comes from wild fish, so it’s a good low-cost option. Sockeye salmon also contains vitamin D, essential for healthy joints and bones. Aim for two or more portions of fish per week and try poaching and baking to protect their beneficial oils.

Protein is key for building healthy connective tissue and without it you could suffer a loss of muscle mass and diminished strength. Poultry, fish and plant-based proteins such as beans and pulses are good options.

Ginger which is known as a stomach soother, has been used in Asia for centuries to reduce joint pain and swelling. Thanks in large part to compounds called gingerols, the spice has much the same effect as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Turmeric is another spice that contains anti-inflammatory compounds.

The action of sunlight on your skin promotes the production of vitamin D and low levels of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin are associated with osteoarthritis, so head try to get outside in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense without sunscreen for 15 minutes. Include vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified spreads in your diet.

Certain medications interfere with the metabolism of vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium. Low levels of nutrients like B vitamins (which includes folate and B12) can increase your risk of joint degeneration, so include dark green leafy veg as well as gluten-free whole-grains like rice, buckwheat and amaranth.

Apart from your diet you can help your joints maintaining a healthy weight – for every extra pound you lose, you can reduce the load on your joints three-fold.

So get active – aim for 30 minutes of gentle exercise most days – try joint-supportive activities such as swimming. But do rest your joints regularly – listen to your body and know when you need to take time out.

And stop smoking – those who smoke are twice as likely to develop cartilage loss.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Grains

Grains

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Today former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was reported saying people should go meat-free one or two days a week to protect the climate, meat eating was an environmental problem, with farming creating an estimated 28% of global greenhouse gases, ask people to go totally vegetarian would be too demanding but giving up meat once or twice a week should be achievable. He said that you can get protein in different ways and has known body builders and weight lifters that have a vegetarian lifestyle.

Well you could do worse than to include some grains a couple of times a weeks as part of your diet, they offer a wealth of health benefits, plus they’re filling and a good source of fibre. Quinoa for instance a grain-like seed, has a higher protein content than most other grains, and contains all the essential amino acids you need making it equivalent to milk or soya. It is also high in fibre and a good source of iron and calcium. This ancient food, heralded by the Incas is also gluten free.

Other grains to include are wild rice which is richer in protein than brown rice and contains more of the immune-friendly mineral zinc. Farro and spelt are both ancient forms of wheat and make good vegetarian choices because they supply more protein as well as fibre than the modern wheat varieties.

Amaranth has been cultivated for over 8,000 years and was a staple in the diet of the Aztec civilisation, it contains a high level of lysine, an amino acid that is lacking in wheat, and it is therefore seen as a popular complementary protein to common grains, helping vegetarians and vegans receive all essential amino acids. Research shows that amaranth may benefit cardiovascular health, and some studies indicate its high amount of antioxidants.

Buckwheat doesn’t contain gluten and is safe for individuals with celiac disease. It contains all essential amino acids and can be used as a substitute for rice, oats, and flour if ground into a fine powder. It’s high in fibre and contains a lot of bioavailable antioxidants. It contains rutin, a compound that protects against the effects of high cholesterol and is rich in magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and helps keep blood flowing.

Millet has been a dietary staple for thousands of years and is considered a quality alternative grain that rivals wheat, rice, and oats. It has a low impact on blood sugar compared with other grains, and some research has shown that the grain may be helpful for supporting ocular health.

The grain kamut with kernels that are twice the size of common wheat and the grain supplies more protein which means it keeps you fuller for longer.

Rye is a very good source of manganese and a good source of dietary fibre, which can help reduce or control weight by making you feel fuller for longer periods, thereby curbing the urge to overeat at meals and snack between meals. Rye is packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is very rich in manganese, with one serving having 72 percent of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in phosphorous, copper, pantothenic acid (B5), and magnesium. It’s powerful antioxidants can help to prevent cancer and other diseases. Additionally, it contains plant lignans, which are phytonutrients that protect against breast cancer and heart disease.

As you can see grains can provide you with many health benefits as well as being delicious, give it a try.

 

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Raw versus Cooked Food

Raw versus cooked food

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

There are different opinions on whether our vegetables and fruit are best for us eaten raw or cooked. It seems to me both options have things in their favour.

Some vitamins are sensitive to heat, for example, cooking tomatoes for just two minutes decreases their vitamin C content by 10%. However when you cook tomatoes – whether you roast them slowly or make a cooked sauce – it helps to break down the plant cell walls, allowing us to better absorb the antioxidant lycopene.

A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that a group of 198 subjects who followed a strict raw food diet had normal levels of vitamin A and relatively high levels of beta-carotene (an antioxidant found in dark green and yellow fruits and vegetables), but low levels of the antioxidant lycopene.

So while cooking may cause the loss of some valuable nutrients, like vitamin C, there are some vegetables which offer useful health benefits when they’re cooked. Steaming or boiling asparagus, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and spinach, among other vegetables, supplies more antioxidants like beta-carotene, which we convert to vitamin A, from carrots and ferulic acid from asparagus to the body than they would raw. All these nutrients help to safeguard our cells from environmental damage, are heart friendly and may protect us from certain cancers.

Some vegetables certainly benefit from being eaten raw including broccoli and watercress. When these veg are heated an important enzyme is damaged, which means the potency of helpful anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates, are reduced. Similarly, cooking makes the herb garlic less potent because heat reduces the amount of health-promoting allicin so it’s best to add your garlic just before you finish cooking rather than at the start.

Cooking is important to our diets as it helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy. It softens food that our small teeth, weak jaws and digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle. We might hear that cooking kills vitamins and minerals in food as some nutrients are sensitive to heat there are others, like the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are unaffected by heat, but whether you choose to eat your fruit and vegetables raw or cooked you should still try to get the most out of them.

Only prepare your fruit or veg just before you need them.

You will increase your absorption of fat-soluble vitamins by eating your veggies with a little oil, a spinach salad with vinaigrette dressing, roast vine tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil or quickly stir-fry spring greens.

Choose cooking methods which use the minimal amount of water or preferably no water at all, like roasting to avoid losing water soluble vitamins like the B group and vitamin C.

Don’t forget frozen vegetables and fruit are not to be sneered at because they are frozen quickly after picking which means they retain more nutrients than some supposedly ‘fresh’ produce.

Store fruits like tomatoes at room temperature rather than in the fridge – this optimises the ripening process and increases levels of valuable lycopene.

Buy local produce as some vitamins are lost during transportation and storage.

But the important thing to realise is balance. Balancing raw foods with cooked foods is the best strategy as far as diets are concerned. Choose the middle of the two extremes ― don’t eat just raw foods and don’t eat just cooked foods — eat them both in equal harmony whenever possible. And remember for those watching their weight, eating some fruit and veg raw can help fill you up because raw fruit and veg tend to be bulkier and have a higher water content.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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