By Clare Welage
The Sitting Epidemic
When I decided to make the career switch from the culinary industry to the role of paralegal, my main concern was not the work or the demands of environment, but rather the amount of stationary sitting required. I am an active person and being in a constant state of motion makes me feel alive. The last 23 years of my life I spent on my feet, rarely sitting down for a break, let alone to eat. If lunch didn’t come through a straw, I would opt out and keep moving. I had more energy eating less, compared to today when I eat lunch and leave work drained and exhausted. How could this be? I was active and running almost every morning but my morning energy charge wasn’t lasting…Why not?
A study published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine on January 20, 2015, suggested that sitting for prolonged periods increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death, even among people who exercise regularly. Researchers conducted a systematic review of published research and concluded that the most pronounced health effects of prolonged sitting were in people who never exercise or do so only occasionally.
Jason Matuszak, M.D., of Buffalo, New York, a sports medicine specialist and member of the American Association of Family Physicians Commission on Health of the Public and Science, said, "People who don't exercise can be healthier even if all they do is reduce the amount of time they sit, and people who do exercise can be healthier by decreasing the time they spend sitting, too.”
Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health. In a 2011 NPR interview, Blair studied adult men and their risk of dying from heart disease, and he found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity, even though they routinely exercised, had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity.
According the Blair, "If you're sitting, your muscles are not contracting, perhaps except to type. But the big muscles, like in your legs and back, are sitting there pretty quietly," Blair says. Because the major muscles aren't moving, metabolism slows down. We're finding that people who sit more have less desirable levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size, he says, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems.
So, here are some tips for those who sit:
- Every hour, get up, take a walk and stretch.
- If you must use the elevator, use it less. Take the stairs. Stair climbing pumps blood and strengthens the heart muscle.
- If you park in a garage, walk up the ramp to your car vs. using the elevator.
- Consider different snacks. Consuming sugary snacks, drinks, even high carbs will only add to the feeling of being tired, which is a double whammy, especially if you like to exercise after work.
- Invite yourself to walk and wear shoes that are more conducive to walking - not heels.
- Be unafraid to move your arms, legs and knees. It’s invigorating and feels great.
Did you know:
On May 6, 2015, more than 2,700 business and organizations—plus countless individuals—joined the American Diabetes Association for our first National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!
They committed to getting up and moving at least every 90 minutes, as research shows that changing our sedentary habits is one of the most effective ways of preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Make Get Fit Don’t Sit part of your everyday life. Pass it on and get your friends moving too!
See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/wellness-lives-here/mission-engagement-days/get-fit-day.html#sthash.OcWX1Qt1.dpuf
Food for Thought:
I don’t know about you but food stresses me out. With so many choices, options, possibilities, studies of the benefits of, findings and research, fresh this, raw that, recipes, books, websites, tools, techniques, gadgets, not to mention the plethora of ingredients shooting out of the pipeline almost every day…Yikes! I find it stressful. So, I thought I would share some tips how I weed through all of that and if you have some tips, please feel free to send them to me for the next newsletter, and we will publish it:
1. I drink my vegetables. It is easy, convenient and I get the variety, vitamins, fiber, and flavor without the bulk. I add vegetables, a plant protein, few frozen fruits, banana, celery, spinach/kale and blend. It’s great and takes away the stress of eating them later.
2. Read the label. I know what is in my food, but do you? There are ingredients in your food that can affect your mood, overall health and energy levels. The more you know the more selective you’ll become and the less overwhelmed you’ll feel at the grocery store.
3. Resist buying snacks and instead make them. The advantage is having control over the ingredients and not getting fooled by the packaging.
4. Eating well is not expensive if you know how to do it. Skip the grocery stores and head to Costco, Sam’s and/or Amazon. Buying in bulk saves money, gas and time.
5. Freeze the fresh. Freezing is a natural way to preserve food without the preservatives and the stress of that item spoiling. I freeze all my vegetables and some fruits and drink them later.
6. During the summer, skip the grocery and shop the area farmer’s markets. The advantage of the farmer’s markets is the ability to speak directly to the grower, ask questions about their process, try something new and buy local organics without spending a whole lot of money.
7. Make your food work for you, not against. This wasn’t overnight but took me a number of years to understand. It’s a process, but once I developed an appreciation for food, I found myself naturally gravitating towards certain food groups and away from others. Getting in touch with food meant getting in touch with myself, how I feel today vs. how I wanted to feel tomorrow and nourishing my body to maintain it. Eventually feeling balanced becomes a natural addiction.
8. I love peanut butter but I no longer buy it because I found that when I buy what I love, I have absolutely no willpower over it, and I mean no willpower. So instead, I buy unsalted nuts, I like them but I don’t love them, so therefore I consume less. Problem solved. The same holds true with chocolate - no will power. In fact, I am so weak that I can’t even make it out of the store with just a few pieces. So I quit buying it and instead replaced it with raw unsweetened chocolate – Guittard. Guittard is creamy, not dry or noticeably bitter like Baker’s. If I want a little sweetness, I sprinkle it with coconut sugar, which tastes like brown sugar and is low glycemic.
I couldn’t end this section of the newsletter without a little reward. When you make changes and start feeling great, I believe in rewarding the self, otherwise it is no fun, right?
Summer Berry Compote w/ Fresh Vanilla Cream:
Ingredients: Berries, Grand Marnier, sugar, Vanilla bean, and fresh heavy cream
In a bowl combine:
2 cups strawberries (washed, sliced or quartered), pitted cherries and blueberries
In a sauce pan heat:
2-3 Tablespoons Grand Marnier Liqueur (Triple Sec will also work)
About 1 teaspoon granulated or coconut sugar.
The goal is to very lightly sweeten the liqueur, make sure sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat, toss with berries, and then chill.
In another bowl, add entire pint of fresh heavy cream and the seeds of the vanilla bean. Split the vanilla bean down the center with a knife, scape out the seeds, and add to the cream. It is the seeds inside the pod that give the vanilla flavor BUT don’t throw away the vanilla bean, even though you have scraped the seeds out from it, the bean itself can be used to make a wonderful vanilla sugar (see below). After adding the vanilla bean seeds, whip the cream until soft peaks form. To serve, place berries in a dish and top with a scoop of fresh cream and mint (optional but adds a nice flavor and color). For the left over whipped cream – it makes a great caramel sauce but that recipe will have to wait for another time.
If you have a Cuisinart, combine about 2-3 cups of sugar, add the bean and pulverize for 15 seconds or so, and then place in a glass container until needed. If you do not have a Cuisinart, no problem, simply cut up the pod and submerge in a container of sugar and stir every few days. Vanilla sugar is great as a dusting on top of cookies, over fruit, muffin and or pie topping, etc.
Until next time, Cheers to a healthier you!