Spencer

April 22nd: May the Force Be With You

While balancing such busy lives its important to find time just to relax and jump into small passions that are really designed just for your enjoyment.  As you can tell from this blog, most of our time is spent dedicated to our profession, education, family, cooking, significant others, kids that once in awhile you have to find something fun an enjoyable.   Preferably something that requires as little thinking as possible.

A personal passion point for me is I am addicted to Star Wars.  I have the movie series on blue-ray and when I have a few minutes just to do nothing I watch Star Wars. Thanks to XBOX Kinect which I mentioned in an earlier entry Stars Wars has delivered a new way for me to find a few minutes to myself…and by the way I can wield a light saber at the same time!

Kinect Star Wars allows you to podrace, try a ton of different capaigns, and whether you’re racing or in the middle of a lightsaber battle its tremendous fun.

You have to check it out and may the force be with you!

Spencer

April 4th: Travel and Stay Healthy

Tomorrow I’m off to travel internationally which got me thinking…there has to be a way to enjoy the sites, sounds and yes, even tastes of travel with out gaining 10 pounds in a week.  Well there’s a way!  Lonely Planet produces  a series of informative books about ways to enjoy the culinary delights of other countries while still keeping on a moderate diet.

Check out this fantastic book should you ever be traveling out all the way to Asia and India.

<a href=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wosceapl-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1740591445&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr”>http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wosceapl-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1740591445&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr</a&gt;

Spencer

March 28th: This One’s For Wrigley

I am a huge dog person.  Love ‘em, can’t get enough of those four legged creatures.  Last year I rescued my dog who’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  The dog is completely attached to me and my life.  His name is Wrigley and we can’t imagined what we did around the apartment before we had the little guy.  Cavaliers are known to have heart conditions.  Furthermore with Wrigley being a rescue this puts him at an even further risk of having a poor condition.  Luckily this was not the case for me.  However in the spirit of health, here are some tips for Man’s Best Friend:

2. Chew teeth-cleaning chews or biscuits and have his/her teeth brushed 3 times per week.

3. Avoid people food as much as possible.

4. Get his/her vaccinations and visit the veterinarian for regular checkups.

5. Take his/her medications as prescribed by the veterinarian, if applicable.

6. Eat only the amount of dog food necessary to maintain an ideal body condition, measured with a standardized measuring cup, and monitor body condition regularly.

7. Exercise or play actively at least 3 times per day for at least 15 minutes each time.

8. Be trained to respond to my commands most of the time.

9. Be safe in the yard, on walks, and on trips by using protective barriers and gear such as fences, leashes, and dog carriers.

10. Be happy!

The last point is my favorite.  You can find more information on pet health here: http://www.realage.com/pet-health/

Spencer

Published on: Mar 20, 2012  Wired on Caffeine?

 Wired on Caffeine?

If you’re anything like me I am completely dependent on coffee the point where I remake my coffee for the next day the first thing I do in the morning is walk over to the coffee machine and press the on button so my caffeine fix begins to brew I am one of millions of Americans who are fixed on coffee this article below is a fantastic job of listing out The benefits and harms of caffeine.  Clearly not being dependent on anything is a good thing.  However since so many of us work so hard it’s it’s good to know there are some health benefits to that cup of Joe in the morning.

Coffee Pros

  • 1. Antioxidants. Coffee is rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging.
  • 2. Parkinson’s disease. Regular coffee drinking reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies [1],[2] have demonstrated that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  • 3. Diabetes. Coffee drinking has the potential to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. A prospective study[3] as part of theUS Nurses Health Study found that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  • 4. Liver cirrhosis. Coffee drinking may protect against liver cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
  • 5. Gallstones. There is some evidence [4] that coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation in both men and women.
  • 6. Kidney stones. Coffee consumption lowers the risk of kidney stones formation. Coffee increases the urine volume, preventing the crystallization of calcium oxalate, the most common component of kidney stones.
  • 7. Improved mental performance. Caffeine in coffee is a well-known stimulant. Coffee promotes alertness, attention and wakefulness. The cup of coffee can also increase information processing.
  • 8. Alzheimer’s disease. Regular coffee drinking may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Recent study [5] in mice showed that caffeine equivalent to 5 cups of coffee per day reduced the build up of destructive plaques in the brain.
  • 9. Asthma. Caffeine in coffee is related to theophylline, an old asthma medication. Caffeine can open airways and improve asthma symptoms.
  • 10. Caffeine safety. In 1958, caffeine was placed on the Food and Drug Administration’s listas generally recognized as safe. Coffee Cons

1. Heart disease.This is somewhat controversial. Most prospective cohort studies haven’t found that coffee consumption is associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies [6] have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Also, coffee consumption is associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
  • 2. Cholesterol. Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels [7]. Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising compounds cafestol and kahweol.
  • 3. Blood vessels. Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function.
  • 4. Heart rhythm disturbances. Coffee can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias).
  • 5. Blood pressure. Although coffee drinking is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure [8] and people prone to hypertension may be more susceptible. Recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in people with elevated blood pressure.
  • 6. Osteoporosis. Coffee intake may induce an extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake [9].
  • 7. Heartburn. A cup of coffee can trigger the heartburn.
  • 8. Sleep. Most are aware of the stimulatory effects of caffeine. High amounts of caffeine taken before going to sleep can cause difficulty falling asleep, tendency to be awakened more readily by sudden noises, and a decreased quality of sleep. However, some people can drink coffee and fall right asleep.
  • 9. Dehydration. The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion. This effect may be easily neutralized by drinking an extra glass of water.
  • 10. Dependence. Although “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, caffeine is still a drug, a mild central nervous system stimulant, and it produces dependence. Caffeine withdrawal is a real syndrome. You may get a few days of headache and irritability if you choose to quit drinking coffee, however, it is relatively easy to break this habit, and most people are not addicted to caffeine.

Check out the article here: http://katieb.hubpages.com/hub/coffee-pros-cons

Spencer

Published on: Mar 12, 2012 No Remote? No Problem!

 Sometimes getting to the Gym is hard to do. Furthermore, it’s even more difficult to enjoy exercising.  Running on a treadmill and simply staring at a TV can be incredibly boring.

Is there a more interesting way to stay in shape?  You bet!  With Nintendo’s Wii and Xbox Kinect these platforms now allow the common person to stay in shape. On Nintendo Wii Sports you loose an impressive 248 per game sitting.   Similarly Xbox Kinect’s Boxing game can help burn over 250 calories as well.

Not bad for just playing a game at home. As long as you get off the couch!

However the one research study I was able to find on the subject came fromMichiganStateUniversity.  The research studied over 350 participants through a meta-analysis while playing Dance Central on Xbox Kinect. Interestingly researchers didn’t find any significant difference between playing an active video game and traditional physical activities, however all vitals including a faster heart-rate and oxygen consumption were stronger than if the body was resting.

So if you’re trying to find a fun a way to get distracted while getting healthy, go ahead and pop in Dance Central to get the party started!

Spencer

 

Published on: Mar 3, 2012  Get Some Shut Eye

 I went to my doctor the other day and he gave me some interesting advice. In order to stay healthy you need sleep.  Infact the lack of sleep can result in illness and possibly other sever health issues such as a stroke.  What’s interesting is the body has been shown not to need sleep, however for the mind it’s critical to receive sleep.  Why?

During sleep helps store long term memories, helps reduce stress, and leads to you being more alert. There was an interesting article I found on about.com regarding some myths about sleep (http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongenergy/tp/sleep_myths.htm)

Here are some the highlights:

  1. Sleep is more than simply a period of rest; it is an essential time for your body to perform routine maintenance
  2. If you get less sleep your ability to do certain cognitive and physical tasks is decreased.
  3. You Can ‘Catch Up’ During the WeekendWhile sleeping      late helps catch up on your sleep debt, it alters your sleep schedule,      which leaves your body adjusting to different schedules.

Here’s to a good nights sleep!

Spencer

Published on: Feb 18, 2012 A Linsane Way to Stay Healthy

 Linsanity has hit all aspects of New Yorkand National news.  Jeremy Lin has dominated on the court and I can’t help to think that his nutrition and excersizing regiment is a big part of his recent success.  Check out this article I found on Diets in Review…

Most of Lin’s workout is geared towards strengthening muscles that will benefit him on the court. Lin follows a weight training program that builds endurance without adding bulk. “It’s all based on increasing my lateral speed, my agility, and my vertical,” says Lin. His strength training includes Olympic lifts, sideboards, lunges, squats, dead lifts and hang cleans. Once per week he does a dumbbell press with 20 to 40 reps per set, and then once per week he’ll do a heavier weight lifting set with fewer reps.

Lin also does yoga, which he says helps him stay flexible and prevent injuries. He also says he enjoys playing football in his free time, although he doesn’t consider that a real workout.

To fuel these workouts, Lin needs a diet that’s rich in protein and vitamins. His goal is to consume 205 grams of protein and eight servings of veggies per day, plus five bottles of water

….so as we can see, maybe taking a few of these tips may help us be a little more Linsane in our own lives.

Spencer

Link to site: http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/02/jeremy-lin-ditches-traditional-workout-to-stay-fit/

Published on: Feb 14, 2012 The story of two Me’s

 

When it comes to my diet I truly love the double life.  There’s a “Good Me” we will find during the week you would find him enjoying some egg whites for breakfast, perhaps a salad for lunch, and usually some sort of variety of proteins and vegetables for dinner.

However, there is a far less nutritionally dedicated version of myself, a “Bad Me” who you will find solely on Friday nights, Saturday’s and Sunday’s.  This bad me frequently eats cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, french fries, and more…sometime all in one sitting!  Clearly these drastic variances in diets is disheartening as both of these Me’s end up sharing the same body…mine!  All the momentum that’s built during the week is lost once the weekend rolls around.

A however there is a solution to offset this stark differences in diet.  There’s a natural need we all have to “let loose” once in awhile.   Therefore just deciding “I’m only going to eat Salads” is just unrealistic in my world.  What I try do now to appeal to the ever-present desires of my “Bad Me” yet is to have either one day or I just few meals over the weekend where I let loose…therefore appeasing the need to enjoy the nutritionally detrimental food that I love while keeping a solid diet the majority of the time.

At last we have peace amongst myself…or my Me’s.

Spencer

 

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