I'm not the enemy   CARBS–bread, pasta, rice, just to name a few–are part of an ever-expanding hit list.  By the way, let’s not forget about this either.milk & bread  Does anyone besides me, recall athletes and celebrities lining up to wear the milk mustache?  You couldn’t open a magazine (especially health & fitness) and not see this ad.  What about the “milk your diet,” commercials?  They’re not that old.

In the quest to become fitter, thinner, and more svelte, seems we’ve lost a few friends (yes friends) along the way; not to mention more than a few nutrients.

Let me back up a minute first.

If you have celiac disease, gluten is definitely not your friend.  If you are lactose intolerant, you know what too much dairy can do to you.  Those who struggle with these issues–I am not making light of your symptoms, or your need to watch your intake.

That being said, let’s take a look at our dietary hit list.


If you are attempting to cut fat, but won’t give up real milk, maybe you’ve switched to skim.  Realize then, you may be cutting back on some key nutrients as well.  Vitamin D and calcium are two.  However, if you are looking for a less caloric alternative, you can try almond milk.  It contains more calcium, with fewer calories.  Almond milk for me though, is an acquired taste.  It is much thicker.  I find myself drinking less of it, because of the density.  Yes you can add H20 to it.  But then, how much of the nutrients are you really obtaining?  Who knows.  Because of this, I’m not sure how much of an alternative to milk this really is; at least for me.  An alternative (however healthy) has to be a substitution which fills or exceeds the expectation of what is being replaced.  This means content, appearance, and in this case–taste.  Vitamin content may be there.  Less fat and calories sound great.  If getting it down you or your family is questionable, how viable is this?  You be the judge.

I am persistent though.  I bought almond milk combined with coconut milk, and find it enjoyable in tea.


Our crusty friend seems to have fallen out of favor–except in private.  He seems to be what one relishes in private, but publically–not so much.  We say we’re cutting back.  Or, “I don’t eat bread anymore.  Pasta isn’t even in my house.  Flour?  I gave that up long ago–and I’ve lost so much weight!”   Bread and pasta especiallyseem to have taken on the persona some people may take in our lives.  But that’s another discussion–one well outside my scope of practice.

Bread has been called the staff of life–and for good reason.  It was and continues to be a staple in most households.  True, our choices may have changed.  We don’t buy the white bread our parents did.  Our choice is usually grainier, lighter or thicker depending upon our tastes, and maybe gluten-free.  If you wonder whether you need to be gluten-free, check out my post “Do I really need to be gluten-free?”  It is dated 7/10/13.

My question as with any deprivation is this:  what am I sacrificing?  We all want weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.  Most of us are willing to make the changes necessary to this end.  Like milk, have you considered the vitamins you may be giving up?  If cutting the fat and sugar is your goal, you may want to re-think your gluten-free choices.  Something has to give that bread or pasta taste and texture.

As with exercise routines, before you jump on the latest trend, do your research.  Side by side label comparisons in-store can be quite a revelation; especially if you’re trying to cut calories.  On a budget?  Then you definitely need to invest some homework time.  If it’s not a fit for you or your family– however healthy, time-saving, or cost cutting it may be, it may not be your best bet.  That being said, your family doesn’t get a pass from eating healthier.  It just means you have to be a little more savvy and creative.

So tell your kids they probably won’t be getting a pass from eating their veggies.  And just to clarify, neither will you.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

???????????????????????????????????????  Let’s face it.  Nutrition, diet, and exercise are words that sound great.  Implementing them however, can be tricky to navigate.  Therefore, I’m always interested in what might make this journey easier.

Recently aired on Dr. Oz (http://droz.com) was how different body types may react to a change in diet.  If you are attempting to lose the flabby midsection, his idea was to integrate more protein into your diet.  Carbs should be kept to a minimum; meaning once or twice a day–and then they should be complex.  Protein enables your body to think lean, saying “enough carbs already, I’ve got plenty of reserve.” Therefore potato chips, french fries, and spaghetti need not apply.  Brown rice is what he showed accompanying dinner.

If your problem is your derriere, his idea was to add oregano to your meals; it appeared to be as much as possible. The idea being was to “turn off” your body’s assumption that it had to store fat in your hips and rear end.  According to Dr. Oz, estrogen is what keeps your gluteus maximus, maxed.  Oregano tells your body, “ok, you can let go. Storage space full.”  If you have this body type, the good news is you can eat more of the complex carbs.  Still you must choose wisely.

This show aired Friday September 20th, in the Chicagoland area.  However when I went to his website, this episode was cut short; stating to tune in Friday.  Maybe a glitch–and available later.  Look for “Viewer takeover.”  You will know if you have the right episode if it begins with Dr. Oz riding a white horse, wearing scrubs sporting his name in sequins.

Below the video of this show, is a quiz entitled “What’s your Metabolism Type?”  A few short questions, and it categorizes your cravings into “types.”  There are videos below that, illustrating Dr. Oz explaining which foods to eat based on the outcome of the quiz.

In the battle of the bulge–regardless of where that bulge may be, there is little quarter given.  Fat doesn’t fight fair; it’s in everything we consume.  Here’s to tipping the scales, but in your favor.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

healthy living waterfall  We’ve all heard it.  Infomercials touting the latest gadget to prepare healthier food, to campaigns in communities to fight the “obesity epidemic. ”  You can’t escape.  Obesity is public enemy number one.

As a renal nurse, I am well acquainted with how most of the dialysis population found their way to their present circumstance.  In short–diabetes and hypertension, and usually a combination thereof.  I’ve seen patients (at times in less than a year) go from losing a toe, to a foot, and eventually become a BKA (below the knee amputee).  So now, they contend with the complications of renal failure, AND face life without use of a limb.

For this reason and many others, I traded my uniform for workout gear.

A major part of nursing is education, as well as preventative care.  I have worked as a dialysis educator, classroom instructor, and now I see myself in the preventative arena.  It may not be the way most of my colleagues see prevention.  But we all play on the same team; just with different approaches.

Every type of disease wreaks havoc in its own way.  However, I wonder how obesity fits in.  Yes, it has far-reaching implications–but does it really fit the description of a disease?  Maybe.  Though I have a few questions.  How would this classification work anyway?  Do we assign stages to it–like renal failure or cancer?  How would insurance companies handle this?  Would they? Should it be considered a pre-existing condition if you begin/change insurance?  Will there be specialists in this field?  Treatment and patient compliance face dilemmas all their own on this one.

Take a look at http://mercola.com. “Why Branding Obesity as a Disease is a step in the WRONG direction.”  The article is dated July 6, 2013.   It has interesting perspectives on who benefits by calling this weighty issue a disease.

In the meantime, consider who benefits by regular exercise, proper nutrition, and a reform in habit.  I can give you one hint–it’s not those who would benefit from calling obesity a disease.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.  Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

the world is my track

So cooler temperatures are on the horizon.  If you are among many who enjoy outdoor activities, but live in a climate where winter is looming, what do you do? Sure moving is one option.  But if that’s not part of your agenda, read on.

I know there are those who simply can’t run anywhere but outside.  Maybe an outdoor court holds memories of neighborhood friends gathering for impromptu hoops.  Playing inside just doesn’t hold the same mystique.  The idea of kicking a soccer ball across anything but grass is sacrilege.  Softball and baseball enthusiasts–I can already see the mist welling up in your eyes.  Seeing your children return to school leaves you a little dismayed; well maybe that’s a stretch.

If you are among those whose sporting dreams fade and fall with the dried leaves, what do you do?  What’s your off-season plan?  Do you have one?

Nothing replaces what you know and love, and replicates it in circumstances you desire, without the idea of “it’s not the same.”  Acknowledging this fact helps.  Running on a treadmill doesn’t come close to a sunlit trail strewn with heavy shade.  However, losing what you’ve worked hard to accomplish shouldn’t be an option.

What do I do?  I get bored easily.  Therefore, I mix it up with a variety of combination workouts.  Perhaps the INSANITY warm-up coupled with BALLET BEAUTIFUL legs and arms.  Or TAE BO FLEX coupled with yoga stretches afterward.   Who said you have to stick to one workout in its entirety?

Was I always this adaptable?  I could say yes, but too many who know me read my posts.

Though running on a treadmill never bothered me, I understand how strictly outdoor runners feel.  I can also empathize with those in situations I mentioned earlier.  The trick is to find something which simulates what you enjoy.  Also, consider the repetitive stress you place on muscles used for your sport Change in seasons might signal a break–one where you develop muscles which support your habit. 

If you play softball, what will enable you to keep your arm strength and rotation?  What can help you develop muscles supporting your shoulders and back, as well as your torso?  If soccer is your passion, what will help you maintain your running endurance, as well as your kick?  You also need a strong core and back.  These are just a few considerations to keep in mind.

Maybe you have an off-season plan; but maybe not.  The parts of your body used primarily for your sport are not subsets; they are integral to the whole.  Allow cooler temperatures to herald a time to integrate the whole, and stop focusing on a part.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need strategies to keep you going through your off-season?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

recovery needed  You’ve been told weight loss, exercise, and nutrition must be your priority.  That monologue is usually followed by an “or else” phrase.  You may be hearing it for the first time from your physician, or the hundred and first from your spouse.  The underlying theme might carry more weight from the MD.  However the meaning remains the same–get up and get moving.

You’ve seen the ads for P90X.  INSANITY pops up on an infomercial at 2am, just as you were starting to doze off.  It promises results in 60 days.  After previewing parts of it on You-Tube, you understand why.  You’ve also seen ads for Urban Rebounder, 10 minute trainer, and Tracy Anderson on nights when the television was your Ambien.  Yet for all of the choices offered; the rigor, intensity, or daily grind wasn’t for you.

Another scenario.  You want to exercise but your joints?  Not so much.  There are days when getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom is a challenge.  Sitting on the toilet and then getting up? Well–that’s another story.  What choices are there for you?

Believe it or not, the advice remains “get up and get moving.”  But how?  With what?  Doing what?  Here’s a few options.

1. Sit & Be Fit.  If the description above is part of your life, even if only a few times a month, these videos offer movement on your “off” days.  You-tube has a few selections; ranging from 5-30 minutes.  The key to remember is that even with altered or limited mobility, you have to move.  Range of motion is essential for ADLs (activity of daily living).

2. T-tapp.  T-tapp is a series of exercises isometrically designed.  They are low intensity, and promise to rev up even the most stubborn metabolism.  Posture and “muscle activation” are the core principles here.  Check out http://www.ttapp.com

3. Yogalates.  This is a video I found on You-tube, which is divided into sections.  If you are looking for a slow-paced introduction to yoga, this might be the answer.  The instructor is soothing, articulate, and moves with intention.  The entire video is 90 minutes, but again, there are 4 sections to choose from.

4. 60 minute Yin Yoga for Spine.  This is another You-tube find.  It may be an ideal start for those wishing to begin a yoga practice.  Even if yoga isn’t quite your thing, it will serve tired, achy muscles well.  Stretch days should not be an option; they should be part of your routine.  You can also check out http://www.eckhartyoga.com for more ideas.

5. Tai Chi.  Tai chi is quite possibly 2500 years old, if not older.  While many videos display smiling seniors performing rhythmic movements, don’t be fooled.  There are more rigorous forms of Tai Chi–including techniques used in MMA.  Whether you are seventy-five looking to improve posture and mobility, or twenty-five using it as part of your Crossfit routine, there is something for everyone.  Meditative as well as restorative, Tai Chi is adaptable–yet its principles remain the same.  Effective breathing coupled with fluid technique.

As with any workout, cleanse, or change in dietary habit, it is always a good idea to talk to your medical professional.  You are responsible for your own healthcare.  However, part of that responsibility means enlisting the guidance of a trusted physician or nurse practitioner.  This is essential if you are just beginning to exercise, have mobility issues, in need of cardiac rehab, or taking prescription medication.

While not every exercise is for every body, every body is in need of some form of exercise.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it. 

Questions? Comments? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com