Having Back Problems? – Benefits of Foam Rolling

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Foam-Rolling

As its name implies, a foam roller is a large “log” made out of foam that helps your body to warm up for exercise and recover afterward. Among its many benefits are:

  • Improved circulation
  • Increased blood flow
  • Releases muscle tightness
  • Breaks down knots in your muscles
  • Reduces pain

Black High Density Foam Rollers – Extra Firm – 6″ x 36″ Round

Using a foam roller is actually similar to getting a massage (only less expensive!). As you roll on it, fibrous tissue is broken down and circulation is boosted, helping to relieve tension and pain. When you perform various exercises with the roller it also helps to engage your muscles and build strength. Plus, because the foam roller is unstable, using it works your core muscles and helps improve balance. Many people wait to use a foam roller until they feel a tight spot in a muscle, then simply ‘roll’…

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Fitness Fridays – Graphs showing why people are getting FAT (Science is Awesome)

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1. People Are Eating More Junk Food Than Ever

Food Spending, Smaller

Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Fast Food, Weight Gain and Insulin Resistance.Whole Health Source.

People are eating more calories than before… but pretty much all of the increase has come from processed foods.

In the graph above, you see how the population changed its eating habits in the past 120-130 years.

At the turn of the 20th century, people were eating mostly simple, home-cooked meals. Around 2009, about half of what people ate was fast food, or other foods away from home.

This graph actually underestimate the true change, because what people are eating at home these days is also largely based on processed foods.

2. Sugar Consumption Has Skyrocketed

Sugar Consumption in the UK and USA

Source: Johnson RJ, et al. Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of…

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Survival of the Fittest – List of Common Chemicals that are making you Fat & Depressed

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We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely…

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What Causes A Panic Attack & Dealing with Anxiety attacks?

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One of the most baffling and maddening questions to either ask or be asked when it comes to panic and anxiety disorder is the question of “Why?” What causes a panic attack? Where does it come from? How come you have it? How to deal with a panic attack?

It’s hard for those who deal with anxiety attacks and it’s hard for those who go through them and it’s hard for those who lived with someone in their life who’s going through it.

It’s difficult and it is especially maddening when you realize that what people believe is the cause really turns out to be symptoms of something and not the cause.

I will give you an example what causes a panic attack. Many people will have a panic attack that they will say their first panic attack came from out of the blue. I don’t know where, just they may be in the grocery store or they may have been in a shopping center or on a plane or a train or maybe they were stuck in traffic or alone or maybe there’s a storm that was coming and they just started feeling nervous and the next thing you know, they’re hyperventilating and they don’t know why.

A lot of times people will be in those situations and they will say, “Aha! That’s what caused my panic attack” Truth is that my friend is the opposite of what I believe you need to do when you’re trying to find out what caused it. 

What cause a anxiety attack? 
The real thing to do is now to backtrack and find out what was the sequence of events that kind of led you to where you were. I don’t suggest this is easy and there are a lot of causal relationships that you might not recognize.

But there are some big red flag events or lifestyle choices that you can make which can cause a anxiety attack:

Are you a Highly Emotionally Intelligent person?

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  1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary

All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 per cent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

  1. You’re curious about people

It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

  1. You embrace change

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

  1. You know your strengths and weaknesses

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

  1. You’re a good judge of character

Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

  1. You are difficult to offend

If you have a firm grasp of whom you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

  1. You know how to say no (to yourself and others)

Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification, and you avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

  1. You let go of mistakes

Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

  1. You give and expect nothing in return

When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

  1. You don’t hold grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

Credit: Waking Times

Argentine Stuffed Flank Steak: Matambre Recipe

0808_Food_ClassicMatambre_full_600 ARGENTINE STUFFED FLANK STEAK: MATAMBRE

INGREDIENTS 

– 1 (2 1/2 pound) flank steak, trimmed

– Extra-virgin olive oil

– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

– 1/4 pound fresh spinach, washed and drained, stems trimmed

– 4 small thin carrots

– 4 large hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

– 1 cup large pitted green Spanish olives, halved lengthwise

– 1 large onion, sliced into rings

– 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

– 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine (recommended: Argentine Malbec)

– 1 head garlic, halved

– 1 large onion, halved

– 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs

– 1 handful fresh oregano sprigs

– 2 bay leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Butterfly the steak by slicing lengthwise and opening it up like a book. Pound the meat gently with a mallet to flatten and even out the thickness; rub all sides with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. 

With the steak lying lengthwise, scatter the spinach leaves evenly over the surface of the meat, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Arrange the carrots in long rows across the steak, about 2 inches apart. Put the egg strips and olives between the carrot rows. Scatter the onion rings and cheese over the filling, sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Carefully roll the meat up over the filling, from bottom to top, into a long thick cylinder (jellyroll-style.) Tie with butcher’s twine to hold it together, as you would a roast.

Coat a large Dutch oven or pan with olive oil and put over moderate heat. Lay the stuffed steak in the hot oil and sear until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the wine and enough water to come up almost to the top of the meat. Toss in the head of garlic, onion, and herbs to flavor the broth. Cover, and slowly simmer on medium-low heat until the meat is fork-tender, about 1 1/2 hours, turning the meat over once halfway through cooking. Taste the broth before serving and adjust spices, if necessary.

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Transfer the matambre to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove the kitchen strings and cut crosswise into 1-inch slices – the colors of the filling will look absolutely gorgeous spiraled in the steak. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve. Matambre is good hot, room temperature, or cold.

 

Survival of the Fittest – Benefits of Strawberries

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1. Helps burn stored fat
The red coloring contains anthocyanins, which stimulate the burning of stored fat. When a group of animals was fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins, they gained 24 percent less weight than the animals eating the high-fat diet without added anthocyanins. (The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry)

2. Boost short term memory
The anthocyanins boost short term memory by 100 percent in eight weeks. (The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry)

3. Low in Calories – High in Fiber
One cup contains only 54 calories.

4. Ease Inflammation
Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. In a study, women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of CRP. (Harvard School of Public Health.)

5. Lower cardiovascular disease
Flavonoids — which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries — lower the risk for heart disease.

6. Promote bone health
Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K and magnesium which are important for bone health.

7. Prevent oesophageal cancer
Studies show freeze-dried strawberry powder may help prevent human oesophageal cancer.

8. Anti-aging properties
Strawberries are filled with biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails. They also contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging. 

9. Good for weight loss
The compound nitrate found promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body, which is great for weight loss.

10. Promote eye health
Eating three or more servings of fruit like strawberries may lower the risk of macular degeneration, a condition resulting in vision loss. (Archives of Ophthalmology)

Credit: Care 2

Happy National Kick Butts Day!!! – What are you doing to kick the habit?

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Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:

  1. Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
  2. Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
  3. Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.  

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The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. To achieve our mission, we:

  1. Promote public policies proven to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. These include higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and stop-smoking programs, and tough regulation of tobacco products and marketing.
  2. Expose and counter tobacco industry efforts to market to children and mislead the public.
  3. Strengthen tobacco control efforts in the United States and worldwide by providing support and information to our many partners.
  4. Mobilize organizations and individuals to join the fight against tobacco.
  5. Empower a tobacco-free generation by fostering youth leadership and activism.
  6. Inform the public, policy makers and the media about tobacco’s devastating consequences and the effectiveness of the policies we support.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. We rely on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations and other non-profit organizations.

Get more information from Kick Butts Day

Survival of the Fittest – Brain Hacks to instantly improve your Memory!!! – Give us your tips to remember things

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Having a sharp memory is important for a lot of reasons. Not only should it improve your professional life, but going to dinner parties and remembering everyone’s name is downright impressive. If you think you have been cursed with a terrible memory, I have good news for you: that’s not true. Anyone can improve their memory by following this simple advice. Learning how to remember things is vital. Many intelligent people have a hard time remembering things simply because they’re not attempting to recover the information (or store it) properly. Just follow these tips, you’ll see an improvement.

1.)   Use the “snooze button:” To remember random information like an address or phone number, instead of repeating it to yourself, just rehearse it every 15 seconds or so for a few minutes. Don’t wait longer than that or else the memory will decay.

2.)  The peg system: This may seem like a bizarre method to recall information, but he human body peg system works. What you do is imagine parts of the human body itself and use them as “pegs” to store information. You visualize an image of what you are trying to remember and associate it with a corresponding body part.

3.)   Just sincerely FOCUS: Many people listen to music or have the television on while they study, but this actually significantly impairs the ability to memorize information. You can’t actually multi-task, you just jump in between tasks. So, to memorize information, just focus and limit other stimuli.

4.)   Linking: If you link items together in a list (even if they are unrelated), it’s easier to remember them. A common way to link items together on a list is with a short story, where you incorporate every item.

5.)   The keyword method: This is a useful trick when you need to memorize vocabulary when learning a foreign language. To use it, take a sound that you recognize from the new word, visualize that sound and then relate it to the new word you are learning.

6.)    The method of Loci: This is also known as the Journey Method and the Roman Room Method. This old memory technique uses a “memory palace” or house. You mentally walk through an area where you have stored information. By walking through different rooms or areas, you can remember the information you stored in those rooms.

7.)   Use the chunking method: According to research, you can hold about five to nine (seven on average) items in your working memory at one time. However, we can remember things like a phone number (10 digits-long) by chunking the information into groups. Therefore, that 10 digit phone number is only really three pieces of information.

8.)   Setting the information: There is a phenomenon called context-dependent memory, where you can give yourself clues for remembering things based on the sensory input you are experiencing at the time of the memory. Researchers found that when test participants learned something underwater, they could recall the information better when underwater again.

9.)   Using music to enhance memory: You shouldn’t distract yourself with music if you’re trying to remember something. Instead, putting long strings of text TO music (like lyrics) is an effective way to remember something. Think of all of the songs you learned in grade school to remember facts; that’s this mnemonic at work.

10.)   Smell enhances memory: Smell is one of the most powerful memory recall devices possible. This sense memory is exceptionally strong because the nose is able to go directly to your memory center. If you were studying for a test and wearing a certain perfume, if you wore the same perfume during the test you may perform better.

Credit: viralnova.com

Survival of the Fittest – RAGE Yoga “Be Zen as F*ck!!!”

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A Canadian woman is offering unique “Rage Yoga” that employ shouting and swearing to promote good health.

Lindsay Istace founded the practice, which she described as a “bastardization of Vinyasa Yoga”, as a way to stay in shape and become “Zen as [expletive].”

Classes are held weekly at Calgary’s Dickens Pub on Mondays and Wednesdays and feature a slower paced yoga style “with more F-bombs” and welcomes students to stay around for a beer afterward.

Istace first developed “Rage Yoga” as a way to change the culture of traditional yoga to better fit her personality.

“When I started going to yoga classes, I felt like I didn’t really fit in at a lot of those different studios,” Istace, a trained fire eater and contortionist told CBC. “[There’s a] very deadpan, serious, overly serene approach to things. And that’s just not how I roll.”

Classes cost $12 for drop-in visits and $55 and $100 for 5 and 10 class passes respectively. Her classes usually see around five to 12 students and she is planning to launch monthly online classes in March.

Istace also told CBC that some yoga teachers disapprove of the practice, but said she and her students enjoy the unorthodox style just the same.

“They don’t really think that it’s real yoga, that swearing and drinking beer makes it illegitimate. And that’s fine,” she said. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Different things work for different people and not everyone has to be on board.”

Credit: UPI