Health and fitness can go through so many trends and fads but yoga can be traced back more than 5,000 years and when it comes to exercise practices, this one is a marriage of mind, body and spirit. Whether you’re new to yoga or you’ve been practicing for years, we love sharing new resources for growing! Pop Sugar is one of those resources and today we’re sharing some of our favorite routines to start in your home or studio: Continue reading
Our Intent community is pretty great about transparency and vulnerability. They are honest about their process and where they are going, the change they want to see.
If you were to welcome change into your life, what would it look like?
Consider some of these areas of your life: Continue reading
We’re entering the holiday season where we’ll be sitting down to meal after meal with family and friends. In preparation, we shared about the 21 Day Meditation Challenge to help get your head and heart ready. We also have something that will help get your body ready!
We at Intent.com have long been big fans of Tara Stiles and all she does for fitness and healthy living. Now, we’re excited to share about her new book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”.
Medical journals are filled with stories of men, women and children losing their lives to bacterial infections, infections which came to them via going about their daily lives. The alarming thing is that these stories didn’t stop happening after the arrival of penicillin.
We read today that every year, 2 million people acquire antibiotic-resistance infections in the US alone. If that’s not cause for concern, we don’t know what is.
This week we got to sit down with filmmaker Michael Graziano and screen his new documentary “Resistance”. We’ll be sharing our interview with him on health, bacteria and living in the US tomorrow, but today we wanted to share the teaser to his film:
Here in Los Angeles alone, it feels like you can find a restaurant to accommodate any dietary needs or preferences. Restaurants that serve only cold-pressed juice, vegan items or traditional fare from countries you’ve never even heard of. Gluten-free Southern food sounds like a paradox, but people can try.
There is a lot of talk about what you should be eating more of and what you should be avoiding so we decided to review three of the biggest buzzwords in health and diet these days.
Everyone’s going gluten free because it’s healthier, right? That’s right, right? Interestingly enough, gluten is only a problem for the approximately 1% of Americans diagnosed with Celiac’s disease who’s immune system actually damages the lining of the small intestine while trying to process it. The problem with everyone else avoiding gluten, according to some experts, is not with the ingredient so much as how easy it is to miss out on other vital nutrients like iron and fiber by avoiding foods like whole wheat. There are certainly grains without gluten but the key here is knowing that going gluten-free isn’t necessarily the key to a healthier lifestyle.
Traditionally a winter crop, this hearty green that’s sneaking it’s way into salads everywhere is actually super good for you. It’s got a ton of Vitamins A, C and K. We’re talking 684% of your daily value of Vitamin K in just a cup. It’s low in calories and while it might be an acquired taste, it’s worth considering as a dietary staple. Something to note- Kale will be less thrilling if you are low on calcium or taking anticoagulants as it blocks calcium absorption and can mess with certain medications, so check with a doctor before you start eating it by the bucket loads.
We spend a lot of money on cleaning products every year to get rid of bacteria from our homes, but so why are buy bacteria to put into our bodies? Made more well-known thanks to the family favorite, yogurt, Probiotics are good bacteria that, when added to your digestive system, can help ease bloating and get your body processing food like it should. Stress, sitting on planes for hours, eating like a maniac can wreck you, or more specifically, the living microbes in your body that break down and retrieve the nutrients you need. Probiotics are valuable to keeping your intestines in good shape otherwise. We’ve also learned that just having some yogurt here and there won’t be enough to set everything back in balance which is why many opt for a probiotic supplement like SCD Essential Probiotics as opposed to consuming more miso soup than you know what to do with.
Before you hop on the health fad popping up in your grocery stores, make sure you know what works best for you and your body. If it means cutting the gluten, by all means. If not, you’ve made a knowledgeable decision. The point is that you’re in the know.
So, maybe have a donut. Not too many donuts. And maybe wait for dessert ’til you’ve had a kale salad.
When you think of drinking a glass of water, you probably don’t worry about drinking a bunch of sodium. However, depending on where you live and your local water supply, you could be drinking saltier water than you have to. Many households use water softeners that contain sodium to get rid of hard water. Understanding how water softeners work and your options for softening your water will help you make the best decision for your home.
What Is the Difference Between Hard & Soft Water?
As water moves through pipes to reach your house, it can pick up minerals from the pipes and the ground. Depending on the amount of minerals in the water, chemists classify water as hard or soft. Hard water has lots of magnesium and calcium ions. Soft water has less magnesium and calcium ions but may have sodium or potassium ions instead. These ions in your water can affect everything from the water’s taste to how well your detergent works to build up in your plumbing.
The minerals in hard water can combine with detergent to produce a sticky scum that will end up anywhere you use soap. Hard water can also leave water stains on glasses washed in a dishwasher. Because of these issues, most people use water softeners to remove some of the minerals from hard water and have better-washed clothes and dishes. Soft water may feel more slippery and sometimes has a slightly salty taste.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
Water softeners are systems that contain a resin through which your drinking water passes. As the water moves through the resin, the resin pulls the calcium and magnesium ions out and puts in either sodium or potassium ions instead. These sodium and potassium ions work better with your detergent to help remove dirt and oil, to the point that you can use less soap to get everything just as clean.
Water softeners typically treat your drinking water and not water used in irrigation. You need to backwash the resin in the water softener system to remove any dirt and make sure that the correct balance of sodium or potassium ions is present to remove the magnesium and calcium. Sometimes water softening systems need more salt added to recharge the resin with sodium ions.
How Much Sodium Is Added to the Water?
The amount of sodium added from a water softening system varies based on the manufacturer and specifications of the system. Untreated tap water already has a small amount of sodium in it. If you live in an area with very hard water, you will need to add more sodium to make your water soft. Typically water softening systems add between 10 to 40 milligrams of sodium per eight ounce glass of water. While this may not seem like a lot of sodium, it presents a source of sodium that most people don’t consider when they think of dietary sodium in their daily intake.
Why Should You Avoid Salt-Based Water Softener Systems?
If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you should avoid using salt-based water softener systems. These systems will introduce more sodium into your diet. Even if you are not concerned about the sodium, these systems use extra water during the backwashing phase. Salt-based water softener systems waste water because water is used to flush the system. Salt-based water softener systems are not environmentally friendly due the excess sodium pumped back into the sewer system.
There are options for non-sodium based water softeners to suit your needs. Saltless water softener systems do not use chemicals or salts of any kind. No added salt means that your water is not slippery or salty tasting. Because there is no salt, the salt-free water softener systems do not waste water or add sodium to the sewer system.
When dealing with hard water in your home, you have options to keep your plumbing free of buildup and your dishes and clothes as clean as possible without using excess detergent. Understanding the differences between the various water softening systems can direct you towards the system that will work best for your home. Which system would you prefer for your home?
The most popular resolutions that are made for New Year’s relate to health and fitness. At Intent we really push the idea that you should strive not to make resolutions or physical goals like “I want to lose 30 pounds” but dig deeper in yourself and set intentions about how you want to feel for the new year – “I want to feel healthier and have a better sense of wellness.” It’s also important that to achieve your intent you set realistic smaller goals to motivate you to satisfy the intent desire in your soul. But once you have set your intent and created realistic landmarks to help you get there, how do you stay on track? According to StatisticBrain.com, 24% of people never reach their intended resolutions.
Your chances of succeeding at your intent increase as long as you keep the passion for it alive, and that means not letting yourself get bored. More than half of new exercisers quit within three to six months after starting a workout program, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If you get bored or dread working out then you are much less likely to keep up the regimen. So how do you step out of your comfort zone? Try these tips.
- Try a new healthy food or recipe once a week – By expanding your food vocabulary you force yourself to learn more about the nutritional values of food, making it easier for you to make decisions about meals and snacks in the long term. Think of finding a new recipe as a new adventure. You can learn to love new foods or love your current favorites in brand new ways and this will prevent you from getting burned out on the same routine meals. “Find healthy foods you love, or learn creative ways to prepare foods so that eating is not a punishment, but a pleasant, (sometimes even spiritual) experience that involves mindfulness and togetherness,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood.
- Take a group fitness class – There are so many ways to get in shape besides tying yourself to a treadmill or elliptical. It can be as simple as going for walks outside or changing your running route. Look at your local fitness center for their classes and pick something that you’ve never tried before. In September, Sports Club/LA launched their “Recess” classes, which helped adults work out by playing the games they had so much fun playing as a child. Or you may try one of their Blitz classes which is a full body work out designed to improve your endurance, strength and power. Take a yoga class for a month and then switch to cardio dance classes. Not only do you allow yourself the chance to try new things and meet new people, but also you work out different parts of the body and you allow exercising to be something you really enjoy rather than an appointment with a machine you’ve grown to dread. You are not a hamster on a wheel, so why create a work out routine that makes you feel like one?
- Stay centered and in touch with your intent – Sometimes our intents evolve as time goes on and it is important to stay connected to that feeling. Trust yourself to change as your intent changes. By building a meditation or yoga practice to keep your center you can feel when a routine has started to not work and you can use your inner instincts to adapt your routine to what your body and mind are telling you it needs. “Physical activity along with peaceful practices such as yoga or meditation to help build a refreshed sense of self. This is the glue that seals in the new lifestyle as the body begins to change physically, resulting in a new stream of motivation,” Sherwood explains.
By combining these tips you not only increase your chances of reaching your intent, but you also give yourself more opportunities to grow and learn more about your health. Being adventurous with your fitness and nutrition routines not only makes the journey more interesting but you get a deeper appreciation for the journey as you go on, and that will propel you forward. We hope you take these tips to heart and that your 2014 is healthier than ever.
In our fast paced culture, sleep is often elusive. The proliferation of news on sleep research makes clear that the quality and quantity of our sleep directly impact the quality of our health and lives. What happens during sleep remains mostly a mystery for most. We lie down and surrender to slumber.
Yet, how we feel during our waking hours is often tied to how we slept. Sleep is essential to our mental, physical and emotional well being. But what of our spiritual well being? What role does sleep play in this integral facet of our Being, beyond the dimensions of body and mind?
The fascination with sleep and where we go during this seemingly still period has puzzled philosophers, masters of wisdom, writers and spiritual seekers for millennium. Amidst a wealth of literature and religious texts are insights about sleep, communicated long before modern scientists could quantify the stages of sleep. This powerful information offers a gateway to balance in our lives, both when asleep when and awake.
Literary masters have had much to say about sleep. Shakespeare proclaimed in 1599, “Sleep may be the image or brother of death, for in sleep the body rests while the soul remains awake, so in death the body rests while the soul and spirit live.” From a religious perspective, abundant references to sleep can be found in the Bible, Torah, Kabbalah, Koran, and in Buddhist teachings. The spiritual traditions of Kabbalah and Tibetan Buddhism offer methodologies to prepare for and arise from sleep, including gratitude, breathing and dream techniques.
From the wisdom of Kabbalah, going back millennium, we can glean a foundation from which to explore sleep’s part in the rejuvenation of our spirit. Upon going to sleep, the body and mind settle down from daily activity. Our eyes are closed. Consciousness drifts away from the pace of our waking lives. Our physiology and neurology begin their critical restorative processes (which is another story for another time). And for the soul, now unencumbered by the body and mind, rejuvenation can begin. The soul leaves the body and travels towards the Light, towards God to connect and recharge.
But what if we aren’t properly prepared for sleep? Could our souls be inhibited from taking this night journey? How can we get the quality and quantity of sleep we need? How do we set the stage to experience the deep sleep essential for our souls, our spirits, to take this valuable and necessary night journey? How do we optimize the sleep we do get, both in quality and quantity, so our body, mind, emotions and spirit are given the rejuvenation and restoration they need?
A first step is to learn the basics of sleep, a course which most of us have never taken. The resulting understanding of what happens during 1/3 of our lives leads to a respect for sleep. In turn, a self assessment of our personal sleep habits and behaviors helps us determine what needs modification, be it our bedtime routine, our sleep environment, the schedules we keep, or what and when we eat and drink. These and other practical sleep strategies set the stage for sleep improvement. Furthermore, knowledge about sleep can lead to seeking medical diagnosis and treatment if a sleep disorder is suspected. Sleep provides a portal for your body, mind, and spirit to embark on their rejuvenating night journey so you can awaken to live fully.
Running a specialist center for medical weight loss, each day I see patients who have struggled for a long time with failed attempts at losing weight. And without a doubt, hunger has been their biggest obstacle.
Although calorie restriction is necessary for weight loss, extreme and constant hunger shouldn’t be a side effect. Experiencing this type of hunger means that the body is not functioning optimally, and that you are not eating the nutrient-dense foods needed to get through the day.
Often, other issues like fluctuating blood sugar or hormonal imbalances like poor thyroid function, alongside nutritional deficiencies, are preventing your body from running properly. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including extreme hunger.
If you have struggled with hunger and want to make a new intention to lose weight and improve your health, here are some simple steps to get you on the right track.
1) Ask some key questions
Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself “How do I feel?” Consider how you feel today, this week and longer term. Then ask yourself, “Do I like what I see?”
If the answers to these questions are negative, it’s probably time to consider how you can improve the way you look and feel.
2) Assess the facts
If you want to deal with your hunger and lose weight, it’s important to equip yourself with some essential basic data. First, find out what your body fat percentage is, and where the fat is located – hips and thighs? Abdomen?
Also find out your BMR or basal metabolic rate, which indicates how many calories your body naturally uses each day.
Your doctor can help with these assessments and tell you exactly how much fat you have in your body at present. Tracking body fat is essential to assessing progress in both weight loss and health improvement. Be sure to get a complete assessment – BMI alone is not an accurate measure of health, as it is just a ratio of your weight and height.
3) Consider Appetite
Hunger is a normal physiological response when your body has not been given fuel for a while. But experiencing constant hunger and cravings — even shortly after eating — can be a sign that your body is not functioning optimally. That’s why it’s wise to see your doctor if hunger is a real problem for you.
Control of appetite is essential for effective weight loss but there is good new for those who struggle with it. There are now many FDA-approved medications that were not available even a few years ago which can make a real difference.
I use these medications with my patients in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and physical activity, tailored to the individual’s needs. Remember, consuming nutrient-dense foods is important to how you feel, how your body is functioning and how your appetite is controlled.
4) Diet and eating plan
For weight loss success and weight maintenance, calories must be controlled. However, it is not just a question of reducing the number of calories. Instead, close attention must be paid to the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat in specific grams. A doctor and dietitian can help you with this.
Ideally, you should have an eating plan customized to your own metabolism and specific needs. This means a plan based on your metabolic rate, body fat percentage, and muscle percentage, which are used to determine the amount of calories, protein and carbohydrates your body needs to run properly. A tailored plan like this will help control hunger and appetite, setting you on the path for success.
Once the plan is set, progress can be tracked on a Body Composition Scale to ensure fat is being lost and muscle is maintained.
5) Physical Activity
Physical activity revs up your metabolism, burns calories and strengthens your muscles, making it essential not only for weight loss, but especially for weight maintenance. This is why I always prescribe my patients key exercises to help them achieve – and maintain – their weight loss goals.
That’s why it’s important to track not just overall weight, but body fat and muscle percentage. Patients who maintain muscle mass throughout the weight loss process have higher success rates in keeping the weight off and staying healthy.
6) Nutritional support
Nutritional support in the form of pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements are also key to my patients’ success. These high quality products are more effective than over-the-counter products, which can often be cheap imitators.
I recommend a multivitamin, fish oil and probiotic to all patients, as well as adding tailored formulas depending on individual needs. This is dependent on age, medical and nutritional status, health history and possible allergies.
One of the most popular and most effective supplements I use is the Slim Plex supplement, which contains Green Tea Leaf Extract in addition to other herbs and vitamins.
The most important thing to realize about weight loss maintenance is that you may gain a few pounds back. The key is regular follow-up with your doctor and understanding that this requires lifelong management. Weight loss is not just following a “diet” and going back to old habits once you reach your goal weight.
To keep yourself on track, always keep healthy foods on hand, continue to schedule time for physical activity, be aware of external stressors and try to stay in tune with your body. If you don’t feel well or it seems that your body is not functioning as it used to, consult your doctor!
The key to our patients’ success is the multifaceted approach we take in treating them and helping them achieve their goals. Oftentimes weight control is not just a matter of “calories in versus calories out”. It’s about getting to the bottom of what’s going on in the person’s body, especially when it comes to hunger and appetite.
Dr. Sue G. Decotiis has over 20 years experience helping women with complex weight issues.
This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today.
By Stuart Fife
In as much as the name describes a singular, cohesive, medial practice, there’s no such thing as physical therapy.
If you go seeking relief for an aching joint or an overworked limb, you’d likely be offered one of two phases of therapy, which are interrelated but not interchangeable. The first is physical phase, meaning a host of exercises and activities designed to prepare the body to cope and perform well. The second is the therapy phase, designed to make sure all the joints and muscles are free to function in the way we want them to. The differences are significant: when joints and body synergies have become altered, nothing but a hands-on treatment, informed by careful analysis, would help.
And yet, in the last two decades or so, many physical therapists have come to see their profession as centered around exercise. In part, this trend is driven by simple economics, as escalating health care costs made many in the field realize that the sort of treatment that could allow therapists to tend to multiple patients simultaneously was preferable to the old-fashioned physical therapy, a leisurely, one-on-one, hands-on affair.
It may seem like a solid calculation, but it’s not. It undervalues the most ancient, most basic, and most comforting of media: touch. The people who walk in to my practice expect me and my colleagues to take the time and understand their bodies, assess their condition first hand, and figure out how to make their recovery faster. And they know that no amount of catchall exercises could ever replace the careful and precise treatment that they get from a therapist committed to their individual healing.
And if you think arguing that every person is different and therefore therapists should be able to master a great number of therapeutic approaches in order to make sure that they’ve got something up their sleeves for everyone, you haven’t been catching up with the times. Sadly, more and more therapists are specializing, declaring themselves neuromuscular experts, say, or adherents of that particular approach or another. Such pigeon holing, I believe, might make sense for medicine at large, where doctors and patients alike benefit from developing a highly specific mastery of highly specific fields of practice, but it’s detrimental to physical therapists. We don’t heal livers or arteries or brain lobes; we heal human beings, and human beings are holistic creatures.
Such an approach to therapy isn’t only more pleasant and more effective, it also makes better business sense. It used to be that anyone needing physical therapy would co-pay a small sum per visit; now, that price has jumped up considerably. If you require therapy three times a week, say, you’re looking at a hefty monthly expense. And if you’re paying this kind of money, you don’t want to go somewhere only to be told to do some exercise you could’ve looked up yourself on YouTube. You want someone who takes their time, who looks and touches, who is focused on you and you alone.
Sadly, such seemingly self-evident expectations are anything but. Frustrated with the current state of physical therapy, more and more people are seeking solutions elsewhere, in other hands-on practices like deep-tissue massage. There will always be room for the purely physical aspect of our profession; it’s crucial, and serves the needs of many. But the best physical therapists, the ones that would thrive both professionally and financially, are those who get back to the traditional stuff, roll up their sleeves, and rediscover how rewarding it is, for therapist and patient alike, to work with your hands.
Stuart Fife is the Director of Physical Therapy for Optim Health