Martial Arts for Life

On A Quest To Be The Best!

How to Eat Healthy, Away From Home…

By M. Hemmelgran (originally featured in Natural Awakenings magazine)

Health-conscious and sustainably minded folks know how challenging it can be to eat well on the road. Most restaurants dotting interstates and interstates and airports offer super-sized portions of soulless, processed foods, devoid of satisfying whole-food goodness or regional flair. They’re more like a drive-by shoot up of fat, sodium and sweeteners.

Yet it is possible to find healthy foods while traveling, given a little pre-planning that can add fun and excitement to the adventure. Whatever the mode of transportation, follow these tips from seasoned registered dietitians to feel fit, trim and happy while out and about for business or pleasure.

Bring Food: Number One Rule of the Road

Once we feel hunger pangs, we’re more likely to eat whatever’s within arm’s reach, so for driving trips, take a cooler of healthy options that are kind to the hips. and waistline. If flying, pack non-perishable snacks in a carry-on bag. Diana Dyer, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based dietitian and organic farmer has logged thousands of miles traveling and speaking about “food as medicine.” Her secret: “I carry dried organic fruits and vegetables, organic granola bars, organic nuts and organic peanut butter.” Before arriving at her hotel, she’ll ask the cab driver to take her to a local food co-op to pick up organic fresh fruits, juice and yogurt. Dyer is adamant about organic food, no matter where she goes, because she doesn’t want to consume hormones, antibiotics and agricultural chemical residues, many of which contribute to weight gain, especially in combination with typically high-fat Western diets.

Dyer rejects hotel breakfast buffets too, which typically offer low-fiber, highly processed fare. Instead, she packs her own organic rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts and green tea. Then, all she needs is the hotel’s hot water to stir up a fortifying, satisfying, health-protecting breakfast. Hotel rooms with mini-refrigerators make it easy to store perishable items. If a fridge is unavailable, use the in-room ice bucket to keep milk, yogurt and cheese at a safe temperature.

Roadside rest areas and community parks provide free access to picnic tables, clean restrooms, and a place to romp and stretch (read: burn calories). Plus, Mother Nature’s entertainment surely beats a potentially dirty, plastic, fast-food play space.

When it’s time to restock supplies, ask for directions to the closest supermarket, food co-op, natural foods grocery store or farmer’s market. Most are located close to major highways.

Melinda Hemmelgran is a registered dietitian and awar-winning writer and radio host.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one family at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

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June 15, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything Counts!

As featured on the New Providence Patch: Read our Blog on The New Providence Patch

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

When it comes to your exercise and eating habits – everything counts. Research in the area of human behavior indicates that over 90% of our daily actions are habitual. Everything that you decide to do (or not do) on a regular basis adds up to shape your level of health, fitness, and well-being.

In his book, “The Compound Effect,” Darren Hardy uses the example of a person who chooses to eliminate just 125 calories per day from his or her diet and in 31 months loses thirty-three pounds. The math works like this:

31 months = 940 days

940 days x 125 calories/day = 117,500 calories

117,500 divided by 3,500 calories per pound = 33.5 pounds!

Is this a bit of an over simplification? Perhaps, but the principle is sound. The calories that you consume (and burn) according to your daily habits will compound over time.

By the way, a 12 oz. can of cola has 150 calories. By simply substituting one bottle of water for one can of soda each day, you would instantly eliminate 150 calories from your diet. Do you work in a place where co-workers take turns brining in doughnuts or doughnut holes each morning? Two of those little doughnut holes contain between 120 and 140 calories. Half of a glazed doughnut contains about 125 calories. Caloric values of almost anything you eat can be found by doing a quick internet search.

You can now see how making a very small improvement in your diet could easily lead to cutting 125 calories. Now just imagine if you combined that change with a regular exercise routine – your results would increase exponentially.

“The things that are easy to do are also easy not to do.” – Jim Rohn

The best way to make this simple, healthy change is to track what you eat every day for a week. Keep a small pad and a pen with you and jot down everything that you eat or drink. This is not fun or easy, but it is educational. You will uncover hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of empty calories in your diet that are the result of mindless snacking and poor food choices. Armed with this information you can then take a step towards making small (or even large) changes in your daily eating habits and start your own positive compound effect.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one family at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should You Eat Organic Foods?

By Natalie Digate Muth. As featured on The Ace Fitness Blog

Organic food choices fill supermarket shelves – and it’s not just at the Whole Foods and other natural food stores where you would expect to find them. Even Wal-Mart now offers organic selections. Many people happily cough up the almost double it sometimes costs to go organic whereas others balk at such a high price for a food that usually tastes no different than its conventional counterpart. So who’s right? Well, it turns out that it depends.

To get the USDA organic seal, foods need to have been grown, handled and processed by certified organic facilities. These facilities must be wholly organic. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products need to be produced from animals that have never been given antibiotics or hormones and who have been fed organic crop. Organic crops must be grown free of conventional pesticides, free of fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, and without bioengineering or use of ionizing radiation. The USDA is careful to note than an organic seal does not mean that a food is healthier or safer than its conventionally grown equivalent.

In fact, a 2010 review looking at studies of organic foods and health benefits over the past 50 years determined that there’s not enough good data to say one way or the other if organic foods are healthier. Of the studies that had been done, the only one that found a health difference showed that the risk of eczema was decreased in infants who ate strictly organic dairy products. Overall, there just isn’t enough good information to say.

As for safety – a study of preschool children in Seattle found that kids who ate conventional diets had significantly higher levels of urine pesticides than the kids who ate organic. But higher urine pesticides haven’t been connected to real health outcomes, although intuitively it seems like a good idea to minimize consumption of toxic chemicals. (See the sidebar for a list of the highest and lowest pesticide-containing produce.)

Ultimately, it may not be the health and safety for the consumer that will tip you one way or the other with organic foods, but many consider the broader health and environmental outcomes including the working conditions of farm laborers and their exposure to pesticides which can contribute to serious health outcomes including birth defects and cancers. Furthermore, some consider the extraordinary amount of environmental resources and energy go into shipping a crop from halfway around the world to your local grocery store. Though, honestly, these days it’s not unusual to see organic food that was grown abroad. This becomes more common as an increasing number of companies jump on the organic bandwagon.

At the end of the day, everyone has to make their own decision whether or not to buy organic based on the limited information we have on whether or not organic foods are worth it. It may be that the spirit of organic foods (which you can often tap into at a local farmer’s market or by nurturing your own garden) — like good use of natural resources, minimal use of toxic compounds, sustainable farming and supporting local business — is more important than whether or not the food is actually grown organic.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one family at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Discipline: A Pearl Which Grows Slowly…

As featured on the New Providence Patch: Read our Blog on The New Providence Patch

“Self-discipline is a pearl which grows slowly.” – Chinese Proverb

In nearly two decades of working with adults looking to gain health and fitness, I have found that most people are generally well-meaning but easily overwhelmed. Many men and women start out with over-ambitious workout and meal plans, only to give up on their goals within weeks of starting. I believe the key to avoiding joining the masses with unused health club memberships, basements filled with dusty workout equipment, and shelves stocked with unopened workout DVD’s  is simply to practice small daily disciplines.

Small Daily Disciplines

Small daily disciplines are seemingly minor actions that relate to one’s diet or level of physical activity. For example, when approaching a weight loss goal, instead of drastically altering your diet and slashing your calorie intake (the “cold turkey” approach), start by committing to just having a healthy and sensible breakfast each day. Besides being a very doable goal, it can help build momentum leading to healthier choices of snacks and meals throughout the rest of the day. Even seemingly marginal improvements in eating habits can add up quickly.

Here are some examples of small daily nutritional disciplines that can be easily implemented:

–          Have a glass of water with lunch each day instead of a sugary soft drink

–          Eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of an over-processed breakfast cereal

–          Replace white flour products with whole grain products

–          Drink a glass (or two) of water before meals so you will consume less calories

The same philosophy is highly effective for beginning an exercise routine. Rather than jumping into a hardcore four day per week workout program right away, begin with easier, less intimidating steps towards physical fitness. You can always add more daily disciplines or increase the intensity of your exercise regimen if things are going well.

Here are some examples of small daily fitness disciplines that can be easily implemented:

–          Begin a workout routine by going to the gym or taking a class just one day per week

–          Park further away and take the stairs when possible

–          Commit to taking a walk around the block after dinner each night

–          Start a weight training routine by doing just one set of each exercise

The whole concept here is to remember that a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing! In addition, as your self-discipline improves you can tackle bigger daily disciplines which lead to better results.

As an aside, the small daily disciplines concept can also be applied to folks who are already highly disciplined with their exercise and eating habits. By disciplining yourself to add incrementally more mileage to your runs, do one more set of exercises, or eliminate processed snacks from your diet, you can continue to take your health and fitness to a whole new level!

Martial Arts for Life

Making our community healthier & safer, one family at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment