3 Easy Steps to Begin Eating Right

1      Eat More Whole Grains

Eating whole grains instead of refined grains can lower the risk of many chronic diseases including:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease

It also can help with better weight maintenance. Making simple switches in your diet can make all the difference.

Replace THAT                                                 With THIS

White bread Whole-wheat bread
White rice Brown rice
Flour pasta Whole-wheat pasta
White-bread bagels 100% whole-wheat bagels

2      Stay hydrated

Our bodies depend on water for survival. Water actually makes up over half of our body weight, so it is crucial to keep ourselves hydrated in order for our bodies to continue to function properly. Without hydration, our bodies would not be able to maintain temperature, remove waste, and lubricate our joints. Remember, “8-by-8.” Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. Fluid can include juice, tea, coffee and milk, but remember that water is the purest source of hydration.

3      Make sure your veggies and fruits are nutrient-rich

As a general guideline, the richer the color of your fruits and veggies, the better they are for you. Give these a try next time you go to the grocery store.

  • Cherries
  • Red bell peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Spinach
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Eggplant

(Source: coreperformance.com)

CrossFit 101: Function, Fitness, Community

This post courtesy of guest expert
Josh Newton, MS, PES, CH-L1 Trainer
Manager, DMH CrossFit Enhance

CrossFit is an evidence-based fitness program. Meaningful statements about safety, efficacy and efficiency — the three most important and interdependent facets of any fitness program — can be supported only by measurable, observable, and repeatable facts, (i.e. data). The CrossFit methodology depends on full disclosure of methods, results and criticisms, and it has cultivated a strong online community to support these values. This open, collaborative charter allows coaches, athletes and trainers to be developers and evolvers of this program. CrossFit is factually driven, scientifically tested and collectively developed.
Crossfit classCrossFit employs a constantly varied approach to training and focuses on functional movements at maximum intensity. Intensity is essential for results – the more work you do in less time, the more intense the effort. And that’s what leads to dramatic gains in fitness. Thought some people are scared off merely by the word CrossFit, it doesn’t have to be a source of fear and trepidation. All movements can be scaled to each individual’s physical and psychological ability. Life is unpredictable, so real world fitness must be broad, both in terms of duration and type of effort.

The goal of CrossFit is to make you a fitter and healthier human being. The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad and inclusive fitness that prepared participants for anything life throws at them – expected or unexpected, unknown and unknowable. We want you to be well-prepared physically (and mentally) for every facet of life, from lifting a laundry basket from the ground to putting a box on the top shelf of the closet or even getting out of the car and everything in between.

The magic is in the movements. All of CrossFit’s workouts are based on functional movements. These are the core movements of life, found everywhere, and built naturally into our DNA. They move the largest loads the longest distances so they are ideal for maximizing intensity.

In CrossFit, trainers and trainees work together to cultivate an atmosphere of hard-work, dedication and encouragement. Finishing first or last in a workout does not matter. You will find your peers and coaches cheering and encouraging you to be better than yesterday. That is what we thrive on and what the CrossFit spirit is all about.

Weekly Health Roundup: May 5-9

Ideas for Mother’s Day, tips for Summer Vacay, and advice for longevity in this week’s Health Roundup!

24 simple tips for fitter vacay

Photo Credit | Kissairis Munoz, Greatist.com

Summer Vacation Season is just around the corner, and usually vacation also means vacation from healthy foods and exercise…which doesn’t make you feel very refreshed when you get home. Thankfully, Kissairis Munoz of Greatist has come to the rescue. “The good news is feeling healthy during and post-vacay is totally possible,” she says. “Making just a few smart choices will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of that vacay – and looking forward to the next one.” From snack advice to relaxation tips to exercise anywhere recommendations, 24 Simple Tips for a Fitter, Happier Vacation is a must-read before your trip.

Still struggling to find a last-minute gift for Mom this Sunday? Well, whether she’s a fitness guru or just starting out on her health and fitness journey, Leta She at FitSugar has compiled a great list of gift ideas for Mom in Give Mom a Little Health and Happiness: Our Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Get matching gifts for both of you and start on your fitness journey together! Challenge each other and keep one another accountable for a gift that lasts beyond just a one day holiday.

Almost everyone is aware that staying fit as a young adult  can prevent heart disease and other health problems later in life, but a new study published in Neuology, claims that young adult fitness may actually improve brain health later in life as well. In Gretchen Reynolds’s article, Early Fitness Can Improve the Middle-Age Brain, for the New York Times Well Blog, she says, “the more physically active you are at age 25, the better your thinking tends to be when you reach middle age.” There’s even more good news as well. Even if you are over 25 and haven’t had a moderate – rigorous exercise schedule, it’s not too late. You can start exercising now and still improve brain function. According to the doctors who conducted the study, the biggest lesson to learn is to stay active throughout your life.

Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or any other day of the year, Mexican restaurants in Decatur are steadily packed with hungry crowds. Often however, the sugary margaritas and cheese-drenched burritos mean busting your diet (and your pants button) wide open. If you look closely though and make a couple simple requests, Mexican food can actually be healthy – chock full of veggies and protein. According to Greatist’s Nicole McDermott, “there are other items that can easily be altered to keep them from obliterating your diet.” Check out these simple alterations to dishes and drinks in the ultimate How to Navigate a Mexican Menu guide.

We’ve asked the question before: What is the secret to living forever? Well, who better to ask than the oldest man on Earth – 111 ¼-year-old, Alexander Imich. During his life, he’s travelled all over the world, studied the paranormal and even mastered the computer. Imich attributes much his longevity to healthy living, moderation, and good genes. Michael mannion and Trish Corbett – founders of the Mindshift Institute – “lay his survival to an ever-curious mind. Mr. Imich noted in an interview with them, “The compensation for dying is that I will learn all the things I was not able to learn here on Earth.” Read more about his journey in Ralph Blumenthal’s article An Ever-Curious Spirit, Unbeaten After 111 Years.

Weekly Health Roundup: April 28 – May 2

Stay on the track to healthy this weekend with our Weekly Health Roundup!

Greens and Ham
Photo: Nick / Macheesmo – Greatist.com

Cooking for one can be an exciting adventure and provide a delicious sense of accomplishment. “Not only can cooking for yourself provide some much-needed alone time, but a healthy home-cooked meal can help you feel energized for whatever life throws your way,” says Kissairis Munos of Greatist. And any headline with the words EASY, HEALTHY and IN MINUTES has to be good. Munos has gathered recipes for every meal including some recipe-free meals that let you bring out your creative cookie side.

“Few things drive an emergency room staff quite as nuts as a patient who has, yes, carefully considered her preferences, designated a health care decision-maker should she become incapacitated, and documented all that information in an advance directive — which is sitting in a locked safe deposit box or stashed in a bureau drawer at home.” Paula Span’s article for the New York Times The New Old Age blog introduces audiences to a series of apps that allow you to digitally store medical information and other documents that can be accessed by email or bluetooth in case of an emergency.

Total wellness is more than just eating right and exercising regularly. Keeping your mind healthy is just as important as loading up on veggies and perfecting your plank form. To retrain her brain, Health.com’s Jancee Dunn tried “an array of research-backed brain-sharpening techniques over one six-week period.” From playing brain games to mastering new skills to getting enough sleep, you can jump start your memory and keep your mind sharp with her techniques.

Life is demanding between work, family, and attempting to keep up a social life of some sort. In the midst of all that, where does fitness fit in? “Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones, and in our communities. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” says Greatist’s Martin Bjergegaard. There are simple ways you can increase your activity and make it part of your daily routine.

  1. Work Out Efficiently.
  2. Cater to Your Own Likes and Dislikes.
  3. Use Competitions as Motivation.
  4. Make a Schedule and Commit to It.
  5. Track Your Activity Levels.
  6. Choose Something Over Nothing.

Set yourself up for success with this article.

What drives athletes to run 250 miles across a desert? To bike 3,000 miles across the USA? To compete in extreme triathlons through ocean, sand and hills? Mental toughness. As Sally Tamarkin says, “In fact, mental toughness (or ‘grit’) may be the defining factor between finishing at the front of the pack and not finishing at all.” Get inspired by five extreme athletes and their stories of training, competition and extreme grit.

Weekly Health Roundup: April 21 – 25

For a boost of healthy energy for your weekend, here is your Weekly Health Roundup!

When you start a new fitness routine, it’s tempting to push yourself too hard, looking for immediate results. You can be impatient with your body, but in the long run, that impatience can lead to injury, exhaustion and a lack of motivation. Experts recently told Reuters Health, take it slow as you get out there this season. Make sure your running form is safe and comfortable (check out the above video for beginner’s tips). Also, try these tips for transitioning from treadmill to pavement from FitSugar to keep you on the path to success. If you’re looking to set a goal, check out fatatthefinish.com for races of all distances in Central Illinois.

The budding trees, the warm sunshine, the beautiful flowers…the sneezing, the tissues, the allergy meds. It is officially allergy season and almost everyone is feeling it. Don’t let the pollen and dust get you down. Treat your symptoms early to prevent a full-blown infection and try these tips to fight the itchy eyes and runny nose. As always, talk to your doctor to find the plan that best works for you. Now, get out there and bask in the Illinois Springtime!

Love it or leave it, quinoa is one of the trendiest kitchen essentials. But what exactly is it? Until last year, you’d be hard pressed to find an average consumer who could give you a straight answer. Since then, it’s been embraced by health nuts and made fun of by the likes of Bud Light. So the New York Times Well Blog took to the experts to give you 5 Things to Know About Quinoa. Some of the facts may surprise you. If you want to try it out, check out New York Times’s Recipes for Health: Great Grain Salads for inspiration.

Old, young, honeymoon phase, or Golden Anniversary, optimism may lead to happiness and health in relationships. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research indicates that your spouse’s optimistic outlook may be a key secret to a long-lasting relationship. “The results showed that people with an optimistic spouse had better physical mobility and fewer chronic illnesses…higher levels of relationship satisfaction and better team problem solving,” the author noted.

Weight loss efforts do not have to be confined to a 50-minute gut-busting exercise routine or skipping out on French toast for a breakfast smoothie. The writers at FitSugar have put together an outline of simple things you can do throughout your day to help you reach your goal weight. Try a little tip every hour to cultivate successful, healthy habits.


Weekly Health Roundup: April 14 – 18

To keep you updated on the latest and greatest in healthy lifestyle and medical news, we present the Healthy Central Illinois Weekly Roundup – a collection of articles, recipes and tips to keep you on your way the a healthier you!

Now that we’re finally seeing the sun, many avid and beginning exercisers are starting the great seasonal debate: Cardio inside or outside? Of course, there are major advocates on both sides of the line, but this article from the New York Times Well Blog may help sway people who are still on the fence…or in the doorway. By comparing 2 of the most popular forms of exercise, walking vs. elliptical training, Well aims to inform cardio beginners and pros on key aspects of similarity and difference from muscle activation to calorie burn.

Spring Cleaning the house may be on everyone’s to-do list (or honey-do list) now that spring has sprung, but what about Spring Cleaning your overall health? Maybe you’re preparing for a trip to the beach this summer. Or perhaps you need a little reminder of that New Year’s Resolution that you’ve already started breaking. Whatever the case, the writers at Pop Sugar have gathered a list of simple habits you can start today to make you feel healthier, physically and mentally.

Beans, lentils and peas usually get a bad rap. However, a new study shows that they contain more health benefits that may surprise you. Not only are legumes rich in protein, but eating just one serving a day may help eliminate LDL, or bad cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease. So, jump start your healthier diet with these legume recipes.

From the mid-morning hunger pangs to the 2:30 p.m. slump, sustaining energy throughout the workday can be difficult. Many people turn to candy, chips and energy drinks only to find they feel more terrible after eating them than before. Snacking is essential to boost brain power and productivity, but you have to snack right to get you through. Try these 10 health-conscious snacks at work to fuel your body with nutrition and combat unhealthy cravings.

While living forever may not currently be possible, there are dozens of ways to help you live longer. One 15-year Australian study further reinforces the suggestion that exercise can lengthen your life. Researchers found that those who exercised least had about twice the risk of heart disease as those who exercised moderately and six times the risk of those who exercised vigorously. This NYT article shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore other risk factors, of course, but increasing physical activity can be a key factoring in lowering your risk.

Whether you’re looking to conquer a new paleo recipe or just hoping to spice up taco night, NerdFitness has the perfect recipe to kick off your weekend. Noel Fernando’s Paleo Tacos are easy, flexible and even includes a recipe for homemade guac! They make it even easier with step-by-step pics and printable grocery list.

The Basics of Eating, Exercising and Making Healthy Choices

Have you decided to get healthy, but aren’t quite sure where to start? Here are 10 practical and realistic steps you can take to help you make healthier choices.

  1. Eat Breakfast- Jump start your metabolism, and prevent over eating later in the day.
  2. Go Grocery Shopping- Having nothing in the fridge forces individuals to dine out. Grocery shopping allows you to have more control over what you’re eating, and will keep your fridge and belly full of healthier foods.
  3. Pack healthy snacks- Reach for healthy snacks opposed to processed, prepackaged vending machine snacks that are high in calorie, sugars, and fats.
  4. Know your diet pitfalls- Know what is not perfect with your current diet or eating habits. Do you add a lot of butter or creamy sauces to your food? Instead of cutting them out of your diet completely, cut back on them, and practice portion control.
  5. Avoid late night eating- Eating at night does not automatically cause weight gain, but it promotes a tendency to overeat. If your stomach starts to rumble in the night, reach for lower-calorie snacks.
  6. Get enough sleep- Proper sleep allows your body to give you the correct balance of hormones to help you feel rested, energetic, and prevent unhealthy habits.
  7. Exercise regularly- Exercise increases energy and your mood. Choose exercise as a source of fitness and stress relief.
  8. Exercise by doing things you enjoy- Exercise can come from places other than the gym. If you enjoy walking, playing with your children, or playing sports, do that rather than making yourself miserable on a cardio machine or in a cycling class.  You can get your daily half hour in by doing things you love.
  9. Eat after you exercise- To help your muscles recover and to replace their energy, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.
  10. Make changes gradually- Your body needs to time to adjust and adapt to change. Understand that life happens, and you will always have different stressors and obligations. Small changes made consistently add up to major healthy changes over time.
Caring for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Two women in kitchen with newspaper and coffee smiling“According to the data from Stanford University and the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 15 million people provide unpaid care for family members or friends with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.” Often, these people are the unsung heroes, making sacrifices in their work and home lives to provide care for those they love. And while it is an immense act of love, it can also be a source of tension and stress. Everyone needs a little extra support, even in knowing they aren’t alone in the journey to care for a parent or spouse. There are many others who go through similar challenges and joys of being a part- or full-time caregiver.

The New York Times Well Blog recently offered a touching and supportive reminder that often the caregiver needs just as much care. Whether it’s a little trigger to help an Alheimer’s patient remember their love for golf or a new experience that lends joy to the present, this piece gives insight into the lives of love that caregivers lead.

5 Ways to Fight the Seasonal Slump



In a winter wonderland like Central Illinois, the cold weather can seem endless – with surprise ice storms this week andstraight back to freezing temps next week. Even into March, the snow just keeps falling and the wind just keeps howling. Have you noticed, especially in this particularly brutal-polar-vortex-negative-temperature-snowpocalypse winter we’re having, that you don’t feel quite like yourself?

Well, first, know that you are not alone. Feeling down in the dumps during the colder months is completely normal because of shifts in your brain chemistry and circadian rhythm – your internal clock. Because we naturally become less energetic in the winter, we have to make a more concerted effort to combat lethargy and live it up in the beautiful scenery that a brisk Central Illinois winter provides (or at least make it through to the summer). So, combat crankiness, defeat depression and fight the funk with these tips and tricks.

1. Keep exercising (even outside!). Most everyone knows that exercising increases the endorphin release in your brain, but staying on the exercise wagon can have added benefits too. Getting some fresh air on a long walk outside (just make sure you’re properly bundled!) can make you feel refreshed, and the extra dose of vitamin D can have some serious positive power. Or if you prefer to stay inside, try joining a group class at the gym. It can be a great way to stay accountable for getting fit in the cold.

2. Make your house a warm and healthy haven. Because you typically spend more time inside in the winter, it’s even more important to have a clean and soothing environment (check out tips 5-11 here). Keep the air fresh with indoor greens or air purifiers. Or snuggle in with the comforting scents of lavender or vanilla with candles, essential oils, and homemade room remedies.

3. Eat your way to a better mood. Eat smart this winter by choosing foods that make you feel better – mind, body and soul. There are specific nutrients proven to boost your mood. From a dose of calcium in kale or a delicious yogurt smoothie to folate and iron found in the superfood, avocados, you can eat more of your favorite foods, discover new favorites, try some adventurous recipes and feel better doing it.

4. Stay social. Reaching out to friends and making new ones is a powerful way to prevent the seasonal slump. Indulge in a girls’ night or escape the winter weather altogether with a weekend getaway. Even just grabbing lunch and catching up with an old friend can keep you feeling warm and fuzzy no matter what the temperature. Share the positive energy!

5. Make a list. The Art of Simple had it right with their suggestion to make a Feel Good Menu (tip 20). Make a checklist of all the little things that make you happy and peaceful. These can include staying in and watching your favorite movie, making a classic hot toddy, or enjoying all the wintery season has to offer – sledding, skiing or just sitting on the porch and watching the snow.

What’s in your plan to keep yourself lighthearted and spirited through the winter?

Young at heart…and body…and mind…and soul…at age 94

What Makes Olga Run?

Almost nothing will inspire you more to get out and move like 94-year-old Olga Kotelko. New York Times writer, Bruce Grierson, met Olga in 2010, as he was swiftly realizing how old his 47-year-old body was feeling and looking. Naturally, seeing a 94-year-old woman who holds 26 CURRENT world records in track and field made him thinking twice about what really makes people old and the secrets to longevity.

So, they teamed up to crack the code. Olga would offer herself up to science, Bruce would take notes, and they would both get moving and learn from each other. The book that arose from their partnership, What Makes Olga Run, may not reveal some ancient-herbal-fountain-of-youth secret, but it will definitely show you the real and measurable impact of taking the advice we read on countless blogs, doctor’s pamphlets, and glossy magazines to heart. “Keep Moving.” “Believe in something.” “Don’t do it if you don’t love it.” “Begin now.”

Read the full article here along with a video of Olga’s incredible life and an excerpt of Bruce’s newest book.