Friday, December 31, 2010

Decide to be Fit, Decide to be Financial Free...

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Sticking to your Goals and New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s that time of the year to review your past years goals and resolutions. Time to create brand new ones to keep you excited and motivated for the new year, or modify last years ideas. Like many people, by January 2nd, you may have already fallen off the bandwagon and willing to abandon your resolution to have six pack abs, quit smoking, be debt free or spend more time with friends and family. However, there are plenty of people who will celebrate all of their accomplishments, and you can be part of that party. Let’s do it together!

Mother Theresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

While you’re upcoming resolutions might be identical to a failed resolution from years past. You don’t have to beat yourself up, so get back on the bandwagon. What you can do is to keep yourself present to the now, so you can move forward on your resolutions. Avoid dwelling on your failure, and move towards what you want in life. If you inch forward, you are moving in a positive direction. What can you be doing right now to accomplish your goals? While losing 100 lbs safely can take some time and seem very far off in the future, you can lose ½ lbs today. Eventually 100 lbs will have disappeared before you know it!

For me to stick with my resolutions, I need to be in the right set of mind, and know why I am doing this resolution, and write it down. Mostly my “why” involves being healthy for my family and friends, physically and monetarily. So know your why to keep you focused and motivated when you don’t want to be. Keep that reminder always visible. You can tape your “why” on the phone, the mirror, or on one of your t-shirts

In the past you might have said out loud, I am going to lose weight this year. Well, that is an awesome goal. This time write it down. Now let’s be more specific, how much weight and by when. Let’s narrow it down some more, and word it so that you are talking about how you will be. For example, you might write, On August 31 at 12:01pm, I will weigh 175lbs, with 8% body fat, have 6 pack abs, able to do 25 push ups in 30 seconds, be able to run around the block in 10 minutes, and…I think you get the idea. The more specific you are, you begin to paint the picture of your accomplishment.

Now that you know the eventual destination, how are you going to get there? For example, I will run 2 miles every other day, do 3 sets of 10 crunches and 3 sets of 15 push ups everyday. Now that you know what your activities will be, then put those activities into your calendar, so you can keep track of what is next, and be prepared for what is needed to complete the task. If one of your resolutions includes physical activity, please get a check up from your healthcare team hould include your healthcare team, to monitor and track your progress.

Sharing your resolution with your friends and family and have them hold you accountable. Even though it might be embarrassing, you will have plenty of supporters and even some will be inspired by your actions that they too want to have the same “drink” that you are having. It’s contagious when you see success.
Now that you have started and in the thick of things, take time to review and evaluate how you are doing, and make any changes to keep you on course.

If you are accomplishing your goals a little too easy, I would suggest making your goals grander. For example, I want to raise $1000 to feed 10 families for the winter, and that is an awesome accomplishment. How about raising the bar and raising $10,000 to feed 100 families or even $1,000,000 to feed 100,000 families.

I get so excited when people reach out beyond their initial boundaries and transform into something extraordinary.

So let’s recap
1. Write down why you are doing it
2. Write down your goals and resolutions with a specific deadline
3. Have a plan and stick with it
4. Share your goals and resolutions with your family and friends
5. Review and evaluate how you are doing with your goals, and make course corrections if needed

Make each second, day, month and year count, and enjoy the journey!

Click here to Transform your Life for the Better

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nutrition for a Busy Healthy Lifestyle

I always wonder with only 24 hours in a day, how does one balance a busy life, that includes a demanding job, three kids with different activities, some kind of personal physical activity to keep the heart pumping, eight hours of sleep, and grab three square meals? Unfortunately, without proper nutrition, you will soon run out of gas, and those 24 hours will seem shorter or longer in some cases.

Choosing, preparing, proportioning, and combing the best foods available will help you fuel your body and soul, so that you are able to perform all the tasks necessary for the day. However we all fall in the trap of eating what is convenient rather than what is good. So what can we do to supplement the food we eat? Nowadays, for convenience, the shelves of many delicatessens, quick marts, and 7-11’s are stocked with cans of some sort of nutrition. Some are better than others, however most are made from sugar with little or no significant nutrition. Basically, they taste good, rather than be good for you.

So where do you begin your journey for finding great nutrition?
· Start with consulting with your healthcare team when working on your diet.
· Working with your healthcare team, have a blood test to determine the vitamins and minerals that may be lacking.
· Write out a meal plan that would build up your vitamin and mineral levels. In addition to writing your meal plan in advance, this plan will help you stock your pantry with all the food you should be eating. Therefore, you choose to avoid foods that you were not planning to eat.
· Read all the ingredients and nutritional facts of all the foods you eat.
· Purchase organic foods
· Review with your healthcare team to determine if a nutritional supplement, shake, additional vitamins and minerals will round out your nutrition plan.

In your supplement, you should check to see if the ingredients have the following
· Prebiotic and Digestive Enzymes, which aid in breaking down food that improves digestion, regularity, and the absorption of nutrients.
· Protein and Essential Amino Acids to assist in building long and lean muscles.
· Antioxidants and Phyonutrients to help counteract free radical damage which can lead to degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
· Low Glycemic Index. This means that your blood sugar level rises less than other carbs that have a higher glycemic index. Foods with a higher glycemic index include, pretzels (GI=83), potatoes (GI=93), white rice (GI=64), and corn flakes (GI=81).*

Again, your healthcare team can determine what maybe lacking in your diet, and as a result of this malnourishment, you may have some associate ailments.

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipe
1-1/2 scoops or 1 package of Chocolate Shakeology powder (Greenberry is the other flavor)
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 stalk of kale leaves (note that the stem is kind of bitter so just use the leafy part)
1 banana
1 cup ice
8 oz. almond milk

Use a high-speed blender to blend. If you do not have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtech, do not add the kale leaves. Enjoy the shake!

Take action and enjoy life!

This is the scene from Forrest Gump that got me Runnin'

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.
So I ran to the end of the road, and when I got there
I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town.
President Carter, suffering from heat exhaustion...
And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County.
Now, thinking since I'd run this far,  maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama 
And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama.
No particular reason.  I just kept on going.  I ran clear to the ocean.
And when I got there,  I figured since I'd gone this far, might as well turn around, just keep on going.
And when I got to another ocean, I figured since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back and keep right on going.
When I got tired, I slept.  When I got hungry, I ate.  When I had to go... you know... I went.
- And so, you just ran.
- Yeah.
I'd think a lot about Mama and Bubba and Lieutenant Dan.  
But most of all, I thought about Jenny. I thought about her a lot.
For more than two years, a man named Forrest Gump,  a gardener from Greenbow, Alabama, stopping only to sleep, has been running across America.
Charles Cooper reports. For the fourth time on his journey across America, Forrest Gump the gardener will cross the Mississippi River again today.
- I'll be damned. Forrest?
- Why are you running?
- Are you doing this for world peace?
- For the homeless?
- Are you running for women's rights?
- The environment?
They couldn't believe somebody would do all that running for no reason.
- Why are you doing this?
- I just felt like running.
I just felt like runnin'...

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What is a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture?

Over the past 3 years, my family has slowly increased our levels of good nutritious foods and reduced our bad foods dramatically.  Actually reading what is in the packaging has been commonplace for me, my wife and children.  Every time we purchase something we flip it around and read the nutritional facts.

More recently, since my son has been diagnosed with sensitivity to gluten, dairy and eggs, we are more cautious in reviewing the ingredients on packaged foods.    So we’ve been actually cooking more and going out less, because we don’t know how careful restaurants can be in preparing the foods that we order and eat.  We love going to WholeFoods on Saturdays knowing they have plenty of good food.  A note of caution, not everything in WholeFoods is good for you, but definitely good for the soul.  So eat in moderation, like anything else

With all this cooking at home, my friend suggested that we join a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.  Basically a CSA provides a great way for local growers and farmers a different outlet for its produce versus the traditional grocery store.  When you purchase a share, subscription or membership you receive a box of seasonal vegetables.  Some have shares of fruits.  Most important, the produce is super fresh, and there for are full of flavor and vitamins.  In addition, most farms are Organic.  Also, you get to try vegetables that you normally won’t eat.  So exposure to variety is the spice to life.

My favorite so far is the heirloom tomatoes.  Their funky shapes and sometimes colors might be unappealing at first, but when you bite into one, the tomato flavor is so electrifyingly delicious.

At the beginning of the season, my wife and I were unhappy with the quantity items in the box, but a couple of weeks later, I don’t think we could have eaten all of the bounty.  It’s really worth the money for a family of 5.

There are thousands of farms that offer CSA. And here is a site that lists some of them  Treat your family to the freshest foods with Community Supported Agriculture.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What is ChiRunning or ChiWalking? Making Running or Walking Easier!

chirunning book

When I signed up to do the 2008 ING New York City Marathon, I sprained my ankle about a month before the start of the race. So after my doctor confirmed the micro tear in my left ankle. I’ve worked from never breaking a sweat for the past 15 years to running up to 20 miles alone. I told him that there was no way that was going to bow out of this marathon. So I wasn’t going to let some pain stop me from finishing. And so I hobbled across the finish line in over 6 hours and enjoyed every second of an experience of a lifetime. If I didn’t cross that finish line, I would have never gotten a very special chance to run with my wife, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and a couple of friends to raise over $15,000 for Team for Kids and run together in the 2009 ING New York City Marathon.

After receiving my finisher’s medal, I was hooked on being fit. However, I’ve been running with some kind of injury, ailment or ache in the limbs of the lower extremities. Do I suck it up or run with shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, and/or foot pain? I grew up in a family, where you don’t give up. All I know is that running started to become unfun. Dealing with all these injuries made me want to avoid running.

So I was at my local gym, and one of the trainers, actually two of them both recommended a method of running called ChiRunning . They basically said that the program would teach you how to run injury free. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

Earlier this year, I find myself with my wife, who also is dealing with similar injuries, sitting in a renovated manufacturing plant that has been converted into a artist colony, and towards the end of the building was a yoga studio. In attendance, was a small group with different backgrounds, shapes and sizes.

Danny Dreyer created ChiRunning during one of his Tai Chi classes. He noticed the inner focus and flow of Tai Chi and wanted to combine it with the power and energy of running. With ChiRunning you become more aware of your running so you can run more efficiently by running naturally with less pain. Danny is a renowned running/walking instructor with over 35 years of experience, and has run many Ultramarathons (26.2+ miles). Danny has written ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-free Running in 2004 and ChiWalking: Five Mindful Steps to Lifelong Health and Energy 2006. He is also a sought after speaker, and has spoken at the Boston and Chicago Marathons.

ChiWalking was created from all the ChiRunners who walked to share Most classes, such as ChiRunning for all the walkers in their lives. The basic principles are similar if not the same as ChiRunning .

Like most martial arts, it’s about technique. By having the right alignment and balance, you can avoid injuries. For example, by having your shoulders lined up over your hips, over your knees, over your feet, you make sure that the forces you create from running are maximized into the ground, and minimized in other directions. It’s the same principle of having all of the blocks lined up. If you start deviating just a little bit, you will notice the blocks will eventually collapse. Also, if you ever run or walk with something out of alignment, you tend to over compensate. This compensation results eventually an injury because you overuse that side of the limb.

Another technique is to use gravity to help you run. Gravity is everywhere, so why fight it. You can use it to help you run. When you lean enough into your stride, you end up having to move forward, so take advantage of the technique by continually falling. Most people, while trying to catch themselves from doing a faceplant, would put on the brakes by landing with their heel. If they practice enough they can then “catch” themselves and land in a way that would push off to the next step.

The more you practice, the easier it becomes. So I’ve been running since the summer using the ChiRunning method, and I have become very comfortable running like never before. I have been able to recover faster after long runs, and the pains that I usually have are no longer a hindrance. I’ve recently dropped 2 minutes off my pace, and I am looking forward to running more efficiently and faster as a result.

If you want to run or walk better, get out there and do it. Before taking on any exercise regimen, consult with your healthcare team, and take a lesson or class on running or walking, so you don’t have to deal with the constant aches and pains that I went through. Most classes, such as ChiRunning will include warm up exercises, after workout stretches, and plenty of advice.

Enjoy the run!

chirunning book

Here are some races that I have completed

Clover Run 2008
Farmingville Rocks 5K 2011
IGHL Run/Walk for Health 2010 30:49
St. John the Baptist High School Run your Tukey Off 4K 22.37
Stony Brook Turkey Trot 5K 2010 29:29
Stony Brook Turkey Trot 5K 2011
Suffolk County 5K 2008
Suffolk County 5K 2009

4 Miler
NYRR Jingle Bell Run 2010 36:34

Cow Harbor 2008
Cow Harbor 2009
Cow Harbor 2011

Half Marathon
Entemann's Great South Bay Run 2008
Greta's Great Gallop 2009
NYRR Bronx Half 2010
New Jersey Half Marathon 2011

ING New York City Marathon 2008
ING New York City Marathon 2009
Marine Corp Marathon 2010
Disney Marathon 2011
Vermont City Marathon 2011 05:19:00
Wineglass Marathon 2011
Steamtown Marathon 2011

chirunning book


Is your Health Drink, Shake or Smoothie Really Healthy?

In today’s society there are many pressures that keep us from taking the time to eat a proper meal, especially with a family that is getting ready for school and both parents preparing for work.  Most of the time, the parents sacrifice themselves to make sure that the kids have a nutritious meal, yet rush out the door for work as soon as the bus arrives, and grab a nutrient starved fast food meal.  Also, is your child’s lunch meal any good also? 
In addition, the nutritional value of our foods has declined, as farmers are creating quantity over quality, and we are slowly becoming starved nutritionally.  As a result, obesity is on the rise, and our bodies ability to fight diseases and ailments have become slowed and impaired.  Have you noticed more and more people are turning to organic produce and products.  An organic tomato tastes so much better than a conventional one, and could it be that the chemicals that protect a conventional tomato has altered the taste. 
With a busy lifestyle in a go-go-go world, is it possible to blend all of the good foods and make a drink, shake or smoothie?  That process is tough and finding the right combination of ingredients is probably near impossible.
What else can we do?
I know many people who use Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Resource, Slimfast, Muscle Milk or Myoplex.  Note that Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and Resource originated from hospitals and nursing homes where the elderly have a difficult eating real food, so they turned to formulas.  However, the top ingredients include water, corn syrup and sugar.  All of which a healthy adult can do without, but someone sick who needs quick energy may need it to thrive, and they have their place in the healthcare arena.
SlimFast has been marketed as a way to lose weight; basically, by substituting meals with SlimFast you would cut down your calories dramatically if you follow the program. However the top ingredients in Slimfast include skim milk, sugar, fructose, and cocoa.
Muscle Milk and Myoplex are used by body builders and athletes, which contain larger amounts of protein to aid in muscle growth and recover after a workout.  They are made from water, and a milk protein such as Caseinate and Whey. 
If you carefully review the ingredients list of these products, you will notice, that they really do not include any real ingredients.

Now Jamba Juice and Planet Smoothie create tasty concoctions with real fruit.  Their drinks are loaded with sugars (40-90 grams of sugar).  And you need to ask where are they getting the fruit from?  If it is not listed organic, it’s probably conventional.  These treats are great in moderation.

Now that I’ve been diligently turning the packages over to read the ingredients and nutritional facts, I was very happy to read ShakeologyWhen you look at Shakeology’s ingredient list, it includes a blend of 70 plus high quality ingredients from around the world.  What the makers of Beachbody Nutrition have done was to research many natives living in their indigenous environments away from all the toxins and nutritionally poor foods. 

They combined the best of these ingredients and created Shakeology.  With this combination and variety of ingredients, and since variety is the spice of life, Shakeology is like no other shake in the world.  For example, a├žai and goji berries, camu-camu, quinoa, wheat grass, flax, maca root, yacon, and sacha inchi are all included in Shakeology.
Shakeology’s ingredients include key nutrient groups which are;
·         Protein & essential amino acids to help build long, lean muscles and reduce food cravings,
·         Prebiotics & digestive enzymes to improve digestion, regularity, and nutrient absorption
·         Antioxidants & phytonutrients to aid counteract free radical damage that can lead to degenerative diseases
·         Vitamins & minerals your body needs to function for optimal health

Since Shakeology  is made from real ingredients, it has been used as a meal replacement or healthy snack.
Please consult your healthcare practitioner and team to review your diet plans, and always be informed by reading the nutritional facts and ingredients on the labels.
Click here for more information and reviews regarding Shakeology. Here you can review what other people are saying, include doctors.