Please Do Not Over Complicate This Holiday Season

Christmas brings unforgettable memories with family, friends and loved ones. It also brings the need to shop in crowded malls, house guests, and so many opportunities to indulge in food and bevvies! SO – do we throw our hands up and say “F. IT! I’ll get back on track in the New Year?!” Dr. Dan says NO WAY! Christmas CAN be enjoyable, even though you’re on a journey to wellness! Dive in now.

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Vegetable Supplements and Powdered Greens

Vegetable Supplements & Powdered Greens

Last week we received a great question from one of our community members – Angie wrote in: 

Would it be possible to talk about vegetable supplements like the powders?? So many fit people I know put them in smoothies or juices to get their greens in.  I sometimes struggle with getting all the veg in. Below is a picture of the brand I am curious about. Protein powders also have been suggested in my baking. Can you please elaborate on pros and cons? 

Ivana, co-founder of Healthcare Evolution, weighs in:

Answering the question whether powdered greens/green supplements are good or someone should take them isn’t a straightforward yes or no. But, hopefully the following will give a bit more info regarding this topic.

Green supplements are designed and advertised to meet your daily fruit and vegetable intake, and it is fairly good for exactly that. It is there to top you up. It’s easy to assume that a supplement which is made of vegetables is good for you, and should be the next best thing to eating the actual vegetables, but there are a few things to consider…

 

PROS TO VEGETABLE SUPPLEMENTS:

  • Provides lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties depending on the makeup of the mix used – which can help in improving long term health 
  • Great for travelling when fruits/veggie intake is usually lower
  • Could improve energy if it has green tea or caffeine ingredients in it
  • Low calorie
  • Contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals
  • Could have enzymes and probiotics as well

 

CONS TO VEGETABLE SUPPLEMENTS:

  • May have added sugar for better taste
  • There is not a lot of evidence out there on vegetables and their benefits in terms of long term health – although there will be claims made 
  • Could have contaminants, pesticides, etc. depending on how the vegetables/fruits were grown
  • Doesn’t have water or fiber which food would have – missing out on that benefit
  • Too many different blends and brands out there to compare which one is best
 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

There are claims that veggies/fruits are more alkaline (most basic) than meats, dairy and grains, and adding more veggies/fruits will help to restore the acidic balance of the body which leads to better recovery of your muscles and longevity of health… These claims are backed up with experiments of testing urine that was successfully made more basic after a diet high in veggies or green supplements. The body has a great buffering system in place, which is tightly controlled, and is much more accurate when checking the blood than checking the urine. Urine is always more acidic and can easily be changed depending on what food you eat because we eliminate a lot of our body’s waste through our kidneys (urine). So LONG STORY SHORT – this claim isn’t true.

 

LOOK AT THE INGREDIENT LIST

Also, when we look at the ingredient list, the items which are in highest quantities are always listed first, and the amount shown last have the least amount. I went on the company website to see if i could find what was actually in your blend, and this is what I found.

 

Looking at the ingredient list, the first 3 are carrots, apples and beets. As far as I know, they don’t have any extraordinary health claims. They are very affordable and are probably added for fillers. The ingredients that are interesting with some health benefits are spirulina and the cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard, spinach, moringa leaves (because of their antioxidant properties). These are much further down the list, so I don’t know how much is actually in there. There are generally 20+ ingredients in this blend, and the serving size is fairly small, so you may get the vitamin content, but not necessarily the actual benefit from the individual ingredients. Many of the ingredients are also not uncommonly found at the grocery store, so you can probably just incorporate more of the things you actually like into a smoothie or on its own and get the additional benefits. 

What I did like about the product is based on the website they use organic food to make the powder, no GMO foods, they test for trace metals, and they test their batches for bacteria, mold and pathogens. So, it appears to be a higher quality product from the manufacturing end. 

Overall, the product you are currently using is a quality product, but unless you really are below your daily intake for veggies, it is redundant in terms of the variety of vegetables you are getting from the mix. If you take a good multivitamin, you should be getting what you need in terms of a top up. If you do like using the powders, here are a couple of articles that provide some guidance as to what to look for in green supplements. I don’t have one I would recommend over another, but if you have more questions we will do our best to provide you with more answers – just make sure to ask!

https://legionathletics.com/best-greens-supplement/ 

https://wellnessmama.com/124151/greens-powder/

Hope this helps!! 

Layering for Exercising Outside in the Winter

Walking outside in Snowy Winter

Layering for Exercising Outside in the Winter

As in the summer, spring, and fall, there are innumerable reasons for you to get outside and exercise all winter. There are even a few bonus reasons in the winter. Working out in the cold means your body works a little harder to stay warm, burning extra calories. If you find working out in the summer uncomfortably warm, you might actually prefer the winter.

With the cooler temps, there are a few things to think about that may not have occurred to you if you’ve always been a fair weather runner. The goal is to stay warm, but not so warm that you’re sweating hard. Sweat will make you cold, so we’re aiming for that happy middle ground, which will take some trial and error. There are three key differences to dressing for cold weather exercise: layers and clothing material and more layers.

 

Material

This can get complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. A rule of thumb is to stay away from cotton. Cotton is a poor insulator and holds moisture (sweat) and keeps it close to your body, keeping you cold and chilled. The science is to use materials that allow moisture to travel as readily as heat, wicked away from the skin. Instead, wear clothes that are made from synthetic material blends, or wool if it’s comfortable. For most exercise, synthetics are fine. Synthetic materials will wick sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry, and thus warmer. If they do get wet, synthetics will still maintain their insulating properties, keeping you warm. Same for wool. This is more important for layers next to your skin > socks, pants/leggings/underwear, sports bra, top and gloves.

Layers

You’re going to need a few more of these, but likely not as many as you think. The layers that work best vary from person to person, as everyone has a different tolerance for cooler temperatures. There is also no need to wear leggings or tights if you prefer loose clothes. One rule of thumb for inner layers and mid layers is “Thin is in.” Keep them thin!

Lots of layers.

When you’re learning, it’s better to err on the side of caution. A freezing, miserable experience will leave you skipping your next workout. It’s annoying to have to remove layers, but you can always tie them around your waist and make a mental note to go lighter next time. Build your insulating layers intelligently– Useful layers include:

1.     The inner layer- Something fairly snug and thinner next to the skin. (thinner whisks the moisture to the outer side of that layer travelling with the heat loss, thereby keeping the inner layer next to your skin dry- remember “Near the skin keep it Thin”).

2.     The mid-layer- Next, a looser long sleeve on top (or two). If cooler, add more layers here. 

3.     Outer layer- A light jacket to break the wind yet breathes or a light insulating jacket (pick and choose, depending on the temperature). If you don’t have these, start with what you have, as long as it’s NOT cotton.

Go bold, start cold.

This will take some experience. As you exercise, your body will warm up and keep you warm, even when it’s cold outside. A good rule of thumb it to wear enough layers so that you feel cool (not freezing!) standing still before you begin.

Don’t “lose” your head!

We lose lots of heat through our heads and the back of our necks, so as the air cools down, remember to bring a hat (Canadian Toque) or a headband! Thin headbands are great if you sweat a lot and need to release some heat, yet still keep your ears warm. Bring a pair of gloves or mittens for your hands too – nothing is more miserable than cold, chapped hands that never warm up. For your feet – wool or synthetic socks (layers of socks… thin next to the skin) will make a big difference in avoiding blisters and keeping your toes warm, even if your shoes aren’t water proof. These materials insulate, even after they get wet, unlike cotton.

It may feel like a lot to think about at first, but like all things exercise, the best way to learn is just to start . Pick a day that’s not too cold, to get started, layer up and head out to enjoy the many activities winter has to offer! You can run, walk, hike, cross country ski, skate, bike/fat bike (be careful on roads!), and snowshoe! Plan on rewarding yourself with a hot tea or coffee afterwards – one of the best parts about getting out in the winter is getting cozy afterwards!

Is Your Social Life Wreaking Havoc on Your Weight Management Goals?

Is Your Social Life Wreaking Havoc on Your Weight Management Goals?

 

Wine with the ladies. Beer and wings with the boys. Friday night pizza. Date night dinner out or skip-the-dishes on Saturday. Family breakfast on Sunday. Does your social life revolve around food? Food is a universal connector, offering us comfort in good times and in bad. But could your social life be wreaking havoc on your progress toward your weight management goals?

Maybe.

We really loved this blog written by Kristyn Hall of Energize Nutrition. She covers how:

  • Eating with other people can change how we eat
  • Eating out can increase our overall calorie intake
  • Even when we choose to eat at healthy restaurants…. we STILL consume more calories that we’d think

Read it now > why your social life could be wreaking havoc on your weight management goals.

PHOTO CREDIT: JANET PLISZKA, VISUAL HUES PHOTOGRAPHY

3 Ways Exercise Helps to Reduce Stress

3 Ways Exercise Helps to Reduce Stress

 

Everyone reaches points in their life when they feel stressed out. Maybe they’re anxious, or worried about current and future events. But… how do we deal with these moments? You can try many different “destressing” tactics. Everything from taking a nap, to spending a night out at the bar with some friends. While these things can help you to feel better in the moment, nothing has the long-term benefit that you get from exercise, why is this?

We know that regular physical activity has a range of health benefits. Everything from the heart and circulatory system, to food digestion rely on staying active to function properly. Our stress response systems need us to take part in regular activity as well!

Anxiety and stress are controlled, partly by the central nervous system, and partly by the endocrine system. When you’re exposed to something that stresses you out, the hypothalamus in the brain gets going and signals the adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol [4]. When the situation that the brain is detecting goes away, this response should disappear.

Now, in our modern society, it’s not just once in a while that we find ourselves exposed to something that triggers a stress response. If you find it easy to manage the stressors in your life, then well done! But many people out there find that stress is a regular issue in their lives.

Whether you’re running late for work, freaking out about an upcoming date, or maybe cutting it close on the rent… These are all things that add anxiety to our lives. If you don’t have a way of mitigating the effects of the stressors you’re faced with, they can have a negative effect on your overall health.

So, how can we avoid letting the stress build-up to the point where we’re getting beaten down? Well, one great way is to maintain a regularly active lifestyle.

Increases Productivity

Before you say “I don’t have time, I have to get to the things that are stressing me out first!” you’re actually way more proactive and productive when you regularly exercise.

Why is this? When you exercise, it drives blood flow to the brain, which increases alertness. There’s also the added benefit of an increase in dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which all help to elevate your mood. Exercise even increases your cognitive ability and problem-solving functions [5]. All of these together end up making it much easier to tackle any problem or stressor that is bringing you down.

What’s more amazing than just the benefits, is the fact that it only takes 5 minutes of activity to see these results (which increase further as your bout of activity continues). So, if you’re feeling stressed out, get out there and go for a quick jog, get a few rounds of walking up some stairs, or maybe do few sets of squats and push-ups wherever you are. It literally only takes 5 minutes!

Helps Reduce Anxiety

Now, what if you’re someone who’s developed an anxiety-related disorder? Well, for anxiety and panic disorders, there is a range of benefits that stem from different levels of activity.

When a person with these disorders engages in vigorous physical activity it can be considered to fall under the title of exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of treatment where a person is repeatedly exposed to a trigger with the knowledge that this will lessen the effects of said trigger over time. With vigorous activity the heart rate is elevated, which can lead to certain stress responses e.g. Panic/anxiety attacks; evidence suggests that over time these stress responses will decrease in frequency and severity.

Of course, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional and get their opinion on your specific situation.

Releases Endorphins

When engaging in any level of activity endorphins are produced, which help with reduced perception of pain, increases in sleep quality and ability, and reduced feelings of stress. These are all shown to be contributors in reducing the negative effects of panic/anxiety disorders. Although most people experience benefits from physical activity, researchers agree that it may not be 100% mentally beneficial to those with anxiety and panic disorders; like all forms of therapy the results may vary. With this in mind, there is no dispute over the physical benefits of leading an active lifestyle and therapists suggest being active if at all possible.

If you’re just starting to implement your healthy active lifestyle, it’s good to start out easy. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that there are notable differences in stress levels and demeanor after as little as 5 minutes. They also express that a good initial objective for regular exercise should be 3-4 sessions per week ranging between 20-30 minutes in duration of moderate aerobic physical activity [1]. This is a good start, but eventually, you want to aim towards hitting at least one 30-minute session a day of moderate to vigorous exercise to get the most psychological benefit.  Good luck, and hopefully you’ll soon begin to enjoy an active lifestyle as much as we do at GoGet.Fit

References:

1.       Exercise for Stress and Anxiety
https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

 2.       Study: Physical Activity and Anxiety: A Perspective from the World Health Survey

Stubbs B et al, 2017, Journal of Affective Disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27802893

 3.       Study: Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety

Elizabeth Anderson, Geetha Shivakumar, 2013, Frontiers in Psychiatry

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/

4.       Effects of Stress on the Body

https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#3

5.       Exercise Increases Productivity

https://www.livestrong.com/article/422836-how-does-exercise-improve-work-productivity/