Tag Archives: Health

Bliss Blew Into My Being Riding On a Blanket Stack

While I have been a yoga teacher for over 1o years I have not always taken the best care of my personal yoga practice.  Running a fitness studio, being a doula and parenting three children did not leave me enough time for my own personal effective yoga practice.  Well, that is a little bit of an untruth.  The real reason I am in pain is because I had not yet let go of ego.

Yes, I said it.  I have in the past had a larger ego than I currently do. Not the healthy type of ego either that keeps us alive and choosing the path of self preservation.  I indulged in the type of unhealthy ego that many individuals with body image disorders do – that ego that compares you and your self worth with everyone else around you.  My ego in particular liked to prey on my feelings of insecurity around my weight and being in an industry fraught with lean, toned, almost impossible to attain bodies bending into ridiculously compressed positions.  So for me, the more I pushed myself into poses, the harder I worked my muscles, the more I ached after a class, or the further I went into a pose the less I worried about people perceiving me as “less than” because of my fuller figure.

I also ran my own business which required me to teach until 40 weeks pregnant, and go back to work less than 2 weeks postpartum in order to pay rent, instructor’s salaries and for groceries.  I wasn’t the type of newly liberated woman who could make the statement  “I’m skipping maternity leave because my job is important” – I would have loved to stay home and relax with my newborns for even a full six weeks, I can’t imagine saying no to a paid maternity leave of any type.

The stage was set for pain.  Ten pound babies, 40 classes a week teaching aerobics and power yoga with hundreds of planks takes a toll on the pregnant and postpartum body.  Sixteen months after my daughter was born I was still experiencing searing pain in my SI Joint (posterior near the hip) and buttocks, my inner groin (I suffered through diastasis symphysis pubis, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone) and my lower back.  I made old man sounds every time I got off the couch, so many that my little sponge of a daughter started to grunt when she would stand up in solidarity with me.

What changed? I started teaching a prenatal yoga class at Yoga-Rhythms in Lisle, IL.  Years ago I used to take Svaroopa yoga with the same owner at a different location, many pounds, children and years ago when I was youthfully flexible and in class just to relax after a workout.  Now I attend classes every two days to manage my pain and release anxiety. And it works. Really works. If you let go.

Letting go is supposed to be a big part of yoga – letting go can’t truly occur if you are getting dressed up with $150 yoga pants to go to class for whatever the reason – because you can, because everyone else does, because your butt looks great, because you saw an ad for them – you are possessed by your possession still. You haven’t let go if you intensely stare at yourself in a mirror while instructed to push yourself as far as possible while your body goes through the stages of heat stroke – and shocker – the teacher leading you isn’t teaching yoga. I’m sorry to say this and I know some people will disagree ardently with me on these points but there is nothing to argue about.  If you care how you look in a pose, if you care about being seen in class, if you care about how far you can go or if you are addicted, drawn to a certain name on the marquee, only feel like you get something out of the practice if you look like you escaped from somewhere, are drenched, red faced, sore – you get the picture – you aren’t practicing true yoga. You are stagnant, stuck within the Annamaya kosha. I was once there too so I know it can seem as though you are truly practicing yoga and you may be going through the motions, making a good show, even living a very yogic life – I was but I wasn’t truly practicing.

blnk Yoga is about “removing the root cause of suffering and pain.” The first sign that my yoga practice wasn’t authentic were anxiety and panic attacks.  Then came pain. I could also say then came some medical conditions (tumors, gallstones, questionable skin tags, etc) but that may not be a fair assumption.  To those on the outside I had a steady yoga practice and taught daily but to me I was missing something – missing that feeling of bliss.  Sure, I took classes where I felt good at the end, felt like I stretched or got a workout, learned something new – but the bliss was missing.

Then I started taking Svaroopa classes again and the bliss blew back into my being it rode in on a stack of blankets.  I left the first class a little sore and if you saw the class from the outside looking in you would have a “What the? How could that be?” expression on your face.  The style is beyond gentle, it involves lots of blankets and propping – lots of letting go and even more self awareness.  You can’t get through more than 5 minutes of a class without hearing “Do you notice the difference?” or “Does it feel different?” or “How do you feel now?” you get the idea, teachers want you to contemplate your practice, something that is missing in many of the fly by night certifications out there. Teachers in this lineage receive a great deal of training I can attest as a yoga instructor with a great deal of training behind me that I had to let go of.  It isn’t that Svaroopa Yoga (now in its 21st year) is that far removed from “ normal yoga” – it is truly ingrained in the heart of yoga – it just isn’t as capitalized or commercialized and that may be why you haven’t heard of this amazing answer to pain problems.

For me it has been a journey of letting go not just of pain but of that evil ego.  Every time I mention this in class a teacher will say “Why do you have an ego about this?” or “why wouldn’t you want to use more blankets, don’t you want to feel bliss?” I do, I do! But my ego has a hard time admitting that all of these years I have been over stretching ligaments and tendons, listening to instructors tell me to go “more straight” or “deeper” into a pose and all the time piling on more pain for myself.  Its hard to look around a class and see “normal students”, average sized men and women of all ages not pushing themselves.  There is no-one to be “more flexible than” no-one to compare myself to and that was the hardest part – realizing my self worth isn’t tied to anyone else’s.

This revelation couldn’t have come at a better time – I’m ready to move on from teaching yoga and start a new/old career in academic teaching.  I have been practicing Vipassana meditation more seriously and learning to wish peace and loving kindness to others in situation where I once may have compared/judged myself. I’ve taken it a step further into wishing happiness to others in their situation instead of feeling jealous or dejected and it is very liberating to be detached. 

Four, maybe five weeks have passed and each class I attend I find new areas to release, I come up against new blocks now that I am getting into the muscles instead of stretching superficial tissues and I am pain-free. The potential to be pain free in one class really does exist, but the more you go – the more you let go. 

Pregnancy Health Yoga Book Explores Bump, Birth and Beyond

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I was contacted to review this new book that is out in March.  I received no compensation and all opinions expressed are my own and given freely.

Let me start by saying I wasn’t impressed by the introduction that states you can start the book after your “12-14 weeks scan” after clearance from your
“doctor”.  I was under the impression that the UK was more midwife friendly, in turn meaning less intervention friendly and anyone into gentle natural birth I had assumed would keep propaganda such as this out of their book when a simple, “12-14 weeks pregnant” and “care provider” would suffice.

With the introduction out of the way I could focus on the bulk of the book which was very impressive.  Full color photos accompanied many if not all of the postures, each section started with affirmations for the expectant mother (something I have become very fond of in my own practice) and very detailed instructions.  I was familiar with all of the postures and found them to be well explained.  With any book you can always find subjective points to take issue with.  As I have progressed as a yoga teacher and doula over the last decade I have been made aware of some flaws in my past thinking and teaching.  One such flaw that I had was the need for all pregnant women at all times of pregnancy to “tuck the tailbone under” as shown on page 54.  After a recent training in prenatal education an interesting point was brought up about birth position, fetal position and pregnancy posture.  The optimal birth position is a supported squat that allows the tailbone to move away from the pubis and create space for the baby’s head.  Too much tucking during pregnancy can have a deleterious effect on what is actually a natural change in the body.  Weight does shift forward and create a slight anterior pelvic tilt for a reason, to place baby in the optimal birth position. I agree that lengthening the spine can alleviate lower back compression, but pregnant women should not worry about tucking the tailbone all the time unless they are experiencing pain symptoms.

I also thought the example on page 105 of leaning into the hands could be a little too much for some moms to handle.  The women in the photo is in a pose similar to ustrasana (camel pose) by the last frame, a more appropriate pose that would lessen the compression of the lower back that you can visibly see would be a tabletop (shown in the postnatal section) with the hips lifted, knees bent, feet on the floor firmly – it would accomplish the task of “leaning into the hands” without the possibility of overstretching the ligaments and bands in the front.  Sadly I speak from experience on this one, I do not recommend anything close to back bending unless it is fully supported during pregnancy.

After more than a decade teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga I have not found a more complete and user friendly guide than Pregnancy Health Yoga.  After baby there is a small postnatal section in the back of the book. It also comes with a 30 minute supplemental restorative yoga DVD that follows the outline provided by the book. You can use this to help you better visualize what the book outlines, or to prep you for your first prenatal yoga class. Had I not been a yoga instructor during all three of my pregnancies I would have definitely enjoyed a book such as this, it even contains brief “birth stories” in the margins.

Lee and Attwood have created this accessible guide and DVD of key practices that takes moms-to-be through every stage of pregnancy, birth, and beyond.  They explain breath work and provide guided meditations and visualizations; illustrated step-by-step routines; a directory of postures that target common pregnancy-related ailments; and exercises to get back in shape after giving birth. This is a definite baby shower gift or congratulations on your pregnancy announcement present.

80 is the New 40 Keep On Working Out

Study: Octogenarians indicate 80 could be the new 40

MUNCIE, Ind. – People who exercise on a regular basis up to the age of 80 have the same aerobic capacity as someone half their age, says a new study from Ball State University.

“New Records in Aerobic Power Among Octogenarian Lifelong Endurance Athletes,” a Ball State research project conducted in collaboration with several Swedish researchers, found that the long-time athletes in the study are enjoying vibrant and healthy lives. The study was recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

“In this case, 80 is the new 40,” said the study’s lead author Scott Trappe, director of Ball State’s Human Performance Laboratory (HPL). “These athletes are not who we think of when we consider 80-year-olds because they are in fantastic shape. They are simply incredible, happy people who enjoy life and are living it to the fullest. They are still actively engaged in competitive events.”

Researchers examined nine endurance athletes from northern Sweden and compared them to a group of healthy men from Indiana in the same age group who only performed the activities of daily living with no history of structured exercise.

The endurance athletes were cross-country skiers, including a former Olympic champion and several national/regional champions with a history of aerobic exercise and participation in endurance events throughout their lives. The athletes exercised four to six times a week, averaging 3,700 more steps per day than the non-exercisers.

Members of the two study groups rode exercise bikes as researchers measured oxygen uptake. When the participants reached total exhaustion, they had reached maximum oxygen uptake (also known as VO2 max). Skeletal muscle biopsies were then taken to measure the capacity of their mitochondria, the aerobic base of their muscle and other cells.

The study also found the endurance athletes established new upper limits for aerobic power in men 80-91 years old, including a maximum oxygen uptake that was nearly twice that of untrained men their age.

“To our knowledge, the VO2 max of the lifelong endurance athletes was the highest recorded in humans in this age group, and comparable to nonendurance-trained men 40 years younger,” Trappe said. “We also analyzed the aerobic capacity of their muscles by examining biopsies taken from thigh muscles, and found it was about double that of typical men. In fact, the oldest gentleman was 91 years old, but his aerobic capacity resembles that of a man 50 years younger. It was absolutely astounding.”

A person’s VO2 max is a proving to be a better predictor of mortality than many better-known cardiovascular risk factors, Trappe said.  Based upon the VO2max findings, the lifelong exercisers have a 50 percent lower all-cause mortality risk compared to the untrained men.

The current research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Examining the potential for exercise to improve the quality of life for America’s aging population has been a cornerstone of research for HPL.

Trappe said the study fills in an important knowledge gap for aerobic capacity, given that individuals living beyond 80 are the fastest expanding age demographic in our society

“Since we are living longer, our research indicates that lifelong exercise enhances physical capacity, has powerful anti-aging effects, and emphasizes that exercise is medicine, Trappe said.  “If we can get people to embrace some sort of regular exercise routine, we can improve their lives.”

Holiday Gift Giving, 8 Titles from @Lionsgate for the Fitness Buff @skyyogastudio .com

Billy Blanks Jr: Dance Party Boot Camp

Get ready to sweat and have some high-octane fun with Billy Blanks Jr. Dance Party Boot Camp arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this holiday season from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Son of the famous Tae Bo creator, Billy Blanks Jr. brings his spin on fitness to your home where he will rev up your workout with the ultimate dance party. This 30-minute workout will supercharge your calorie burn with a non-stop mix of the hottest dance moves and boot camp conditioning. Available on December 4th for the suggested retail price of $14.98, Billy Blanks Jr. Dance Party Boot Camp is designed for all ages, shapes and sizes.  It’s the best time you’ll ever have losing weight!

Billy Blanks Jr. continues to build his brand as teacher and creator of the “Dance With Me” fitness classes available at 24 Hour Fitness and currently being rolled out worldwide.

PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System

From Jimmy Peña, founder of Prayfit, best-selling author and faith-based exercise physiologist whose clients have included Tyler Perry, Mario Lopez and LL Cool J., comes Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System, arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment this December.  Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System is a complete workout and motivational system designed to tone, tighten and sculpt your legs, shoulders, chest, back, arms and abs. Bolster your faith and reshape your entire body in 33 minutes a day for 33 days. The DVD includes the popular “Prayfit Minutes,” weekly devotionals to inspire and encourage you to improve your life by giving your best effort. Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System DVD is available December 4th for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Jimmy leads you through a workout that builds lean muscle with targeted exercises and blasts through body fat with several bouts of high-intensity cardio, so you will see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. Ideal for any fitness level, your goal is to improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith.

Denise Austin Fit in a Flash –

7 Min Solutions

Denise Austin wants you to have the body you’ve always wanted in 7 minutes! Ignite your metabolism and start shedding pounds and inches with Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand December 4th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash provides seven dynamic workouts (plus a warm-up and cool down) focused on cardio, strength training and toning, all delivered in a quick seven minutes each! Start with the level 1 workouts, and when you’re ready, advance to level 2. When you’re feeling good, combine the workouts for a total body blast that will get you Fit in a Flash! Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash features a custom workout and music-only options and is available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

A five-foot-four-inch dynamo, Denise Austin has sold more than 25 million workout units (DVD and VHS), authored more than 10 books on fitness, and starred in the longest running fitness show in the history of television. An innovator in fitness, Denise Austin has been on the President’s counsel for over 12 years and has new branded fitness products launching with 35 skus November 2012 at Rite-Aids nationally.  

Denise Austin Shrink Your 5 Fat Zones

Blast away unwanted fat with Denise Austin: Shrink Your 5 Fat Zones arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand December 4th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Lose inches with Denise’s favorite fat burning, cardio exercises to target tone trouble zones on your butt, belly, back, thighs and arms. Each workout is 10 minutes and delivers maximum calorie burning results. When you’re short on time, get in what you can, and for optimal results, do all 5 Fat Zones for a total body fat-burning workout that you’ll love! Denise Austin: Shrink Your 5 Fat Zones will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

A five-foot-four-inch dynamo, Denise Austin has sold more than 25 million workout units (DVD and VHS), authored more than 10 books on fitness and starred in the longest running fitness show in the history of television. An innovator in fitness, Denise Austin has been on the President’s counsel for over 12 years and has new branded fitness products launching with 35 skus November 2012 at Rite-Aids nationally.  

Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast

Get a fit, firm and graceful body with this ballet inspired workout from Mary Helen Bowers, former New York City Ballet dancer and trainer to Natalie Portman for her Academy Award-winning role in Black Swan. Bowers shares her ballet-inspired workout that’s getting the celebrities fit and feminine bodies through the Lionsgate Home Entertainment release of Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this winter. This total body routine will help sculpt a lean, long dancer’s body with four 15-minute targeted workouts. Mix and match these workouts to tone your arms, abs and butt. Perfect for anyone pressed for time and looking for a quick and challenging workout with great results! Strengthen and stretch muscles simultaneously to elongate and tone the entire body. The workout includes Ballet Beautiful Swan ArmsTM, a 15-minute Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast and Butt Series Parts 1 & 2. The Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast DVD will be available on December 4 for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Mary Helen Bowers, Ballet Beautiful founder, is an accomplished ballerina, a visionary fitness expert and a leader in the global trend of ballet-inspired fitness. Her signature Ballet Beautiful method uses customized, low-impact cardio and toning exercises to sculpt a strong, graceful physique and beautiful posture. She has been sought out by A-list actresses, celebrities and supermodels around the world including Kirsten Dunst, Helena Christensen, Liv Tyler, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jaime King and Zooey Deschanel. Mary Helen opened her first studio in New York City’s Soho neighborhood in May of 2011 and released her first book,Ballet Beautiful, with a forward by Natalie Portman, in June 2012. In addition, she has a global online training program and has sold thousands of videos in over 50 countries worldwide.

Biggest Loser Belly Power Ab Blast

Six-pack abs and a sculpted core have never been as attainable as in The Biggest Loser:  Power Ab Blast arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment this winter. Join all-star trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince, along with your favorite show contestants, in six targeted exercise routines that focus on strengthening your core. The latest in “The Biggest Loser” home entertainment line, The Biggest Loser:  Power Ab Blast DVD will be available December 4 for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Drop inches from your waistline with the sculpting moves in Power Ab Blast. You’ve seen contestants dramatically slim down on NBC’s hit series, “The Biggest Loser,” and now it’s your turn! Shape a strong and defined core withPower Ab Blast workout!  Burn belly fat and get those chiseled abs you’ve always wanted with trainers, Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.

Biggest Loser Power X-Train

Throw out your excuses and get into a heart-thumping exercise routine when Lionsgate Home Entertainment releases The Biggest Loser:  30-Day Power X-Train on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand on December 4. Shed pounds and burn mega calories with the Power X-Train regimen and you will feel better than ever. The latest in “The Biggest Loser” home entertainment line, The Biggest Loser:  30-Day Power X-Train DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Take it up a notch with the fat-burning moves in 30-Day Power X-Train! You’ve seen contestants drop pounds on NBC’s hit series, “The Biggest Loser,” and now it’s your turn! Using cross-training and core movements, you’re going to shed unwanted pounds, burn maximum calories and tone and tighten your legs, abs and arms for a total body workout.   Get ready to sweat with trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince as they challenge every muscle in your body.

Jane Fonda AM/PM Yoga 

for Beginners

Fitness pioneer Jane Fonda is back again with Yoga designed for Baby Boomers! Build strength, improve flexibility and relax the body with Jane Fonda: Prime Time AM/PM Yoga For Beginners available on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this winter from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The perfect gift for this holiday season, the DVD features Fonda’s five favorite beginners yoga exercises designed for mornings and evenings. Available on December 4th, Jane Fonda: Prime Time AM/PM Yoga for Beginners contains three AM yoga workouts, designed to make you feel rejuvenated and energized, and two PM workouts that will help you relax, unwind and release tension and stress from your day. Includes a bonus 5-minute workout to improve your balance and help you get the yoga body you desire. A towel, chair, yoga mat and light weights are recommended.

A fitness guru and author, Jane Fonda has produced and starred in over 20 exercise videos since 1982. The Jane Fonda’s Workout video became the highest selling home video ever moving over a million copies. Fonda subsequently released 23 workout videos with the series selling a total of 17 million copies combined, more than any other exercise series. She also released five workout books and thirteen audio programs.  After a fifteen-year hiatus, she returned to fitness, releasing two new fitness DVDs in 2010, and then two additional DVDs in 2011, which she designed to address the unique fitness needs of boomers and seniors.

I received review copies of these DVDs, this post is a press release of the DVDs in time for Christmas, my personal reviews will follow on individual DVDs.

11 Memory-Boosting Diet Recommendations Info @skyyogastudio .com

11 Memory-Boosting Diet Recommendations
By Richard Isaacson MD and Christopher Ochner PhD

Adapted from their new book, "The Alzheimer’s Diet"


At the recently held 2012 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease Conference held in Monte Carlo, Monaco, we presented groundbreaking new evidence, based on a number of recent clinical trials, showing that specific nutritional interventions can significantly improve memory function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
This is exciting news, since AD is anticipated to be the largest health crisis of our lifetimes. Already, AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, and more than 5 million (1 in 8) older Americans have AD. Following a brain-healthy diet will benefit anyone who’s over 40, has a family history of AD, or is experiencing problems with memory.

Nutritional interventions can buy time for AD patients and their families. Scientists have found a predictive marker for AD, a protein called amyloid beta, that can be detected up to 25 years before the onset of the disease. This gives future AD patients time to implement neuroprotective measures. Further, new research shows that specific nutritional interventions may delay the onset of AD in memory-compromised patients by 2 years–potentially long enough for a cure to be discovered–and improve memory function in AD and MCI (or "pre-AD") patients, a win-win for the patient, family, and caregivers.

Here are 11 memory-boosting dietary recommendations, based on the latest scientific research and our clinical experience treating patients with AD and MCI.

1. Proportion your macronutrients. Every day, make sure that you aim for 25% of your total calories from fat (but less than 7% saturated, or "bad" fat); 30-45% from complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole foods that are low on the glycemic index); and 25-35% from high-quality lean protein.

2. Wean yourself off high-glycemic carbs. These include sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, processed cereals and grains, anything baked, ice cream and sorbet, crackers, salty snacks such as chips and pretzels, and anything made with white flour.

3. Eat Mediterranean style. A brain-healthy Mediterranean-style diet includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein (fish, chicken, and turkey); low-fat yogurt and cheeses; and nuts and seeds. Stay away from red meat and processed foods.

4. Have more good fat and less bad. Brain foods high in good fats include: olive oil, avocados, certain nuts, natural peanut butter, certain seeds, and certain fish. Foods high in bad, or saturated, fat include: most fast foods, anything hydrogenated, dried coconut, butter, animal fats, milk chocolate and white chocolate, and cheese.

5. Boost your omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are essential for memory function and brain health. Most of us don’t get enough from dietary sources (such as fish), so consider high-quality, pure fish oil supplements that contain a minimum of 250 mg of DHA in each capsule, and aim for 1,000-1,500 mg of DHA daily if approved by the treating physician.

6. Feed your brain antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are great for mental function. Some of the best are berries, kale, 100% pure unsweetened cocoa powder, mushrooms, onions, beans, seeds, sardines, herring, trout, and Alaskan wild salmon.

7. Consume enough brain vitamins. Ensure adequate intake of folic acid, B6, B12, and vitamin D in particular. If you’re not eating vitamin-rich foods on a regular basis, it’s good to supplement as needed in pill or liquid form.

8. Choose whole foods. In general, whole foods have only one ingredient–for example, strawberries, broccoli, or barley. If you must have a convenience (manufactured) food on occasion, find those packaged, canned, and frozen items with the fewest ingredients–especially ingredients that you readily recognize and understand.

9. Opt for low- or nonfat dairy. Any recipe you make with full-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt can be made with nonfat versions. If you drink whole milk or half-and-half in your coffee, try mixing it with skim milk and increasing the proportion of no fat to high fat every day. Pretty soon you’ll be used to it and never have the urge to go back.

10. Enjoy a cup or two of Joe. Caffeinated coffee, 1-3 cups early in the day, may be beneficial over time to your brain. Studies done in Europe over several years demonstrate that men who drank coffee regularly for many years showed less of a decline on memory tests than those who did not drink coffee.

11. Fast 12 hours at night. If you routinely wake up at 6 a.m., try to eat your last meal at 6 p.m. the night before. There is scientific evidence that substances called ketone bodies, which are produced when there are no carbohydrates to burn for fuel, may have a protective effect on brain cells.
* * * * *
Learn more about nutritional interventions for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment in The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment (http://www.thealzheimersdiet.com/), coauthored by Harvard-trained neurologist Richard Isaacson MD and Christopher Ochner PhD. Dr. Isaacson is an associate professor of clinical neurology specializing in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory and cognitive impairments at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Ochner is a leading researcher on nutrition and the brain at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center (Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons). 

Top Five #Herbal Teas to Prep for #Winter @skyyogastudio .com

Top Five Herbal Teas
to Prepare You for the Winter Months Ahead

NEW YORK – December 4, 2012 – Brace yourself. The winter weather is about to arrive and hang around for a while. But you can escape the hustle and bustle of the season, as well as the single-digit temperatures, the herbal way – with a variety of (hot) teas like these.

Holy Basil – Unwind from all the frantic running around that contributes to holiday stress with a cup of Holy Basil tea. Its spicy clove aroma and delicious taste and smell will help you forget all about that frizzy-haired guy who stole your parking spot at the mall.

Ginger – Did you eat too much bean dip again? Stuffed yourself on stuffing? Ginger tea could be the perfect after-dinner drink. It’s commonly known to improve digestion and reduce flatulence.* (Come on…we are adults here, right? We can say flatulence with a straight face, can’t we?)

Elder Flower –  A hot cup of tea can be soothing after a long day, so boil some water and steep some elder flower tea, which is traditionally used to help support respiratory health.* Elder flower tea has a delicate floral aroma and a soothing, pleasantly mild flavor.

St. John’s Wort – Holiday stress and gray skies can sometimes get you down. This is not a new phenomenon; hundreds of years ago, the Greeks and Romans dealt with this same reaction to “lack of sunlight” during the winter. So, as the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and grab some St. John’s Wort tea to help lighten your mood.

Echinacea – Of course, one of the most frequently thought of herbs during the months ahead is Echinacea, which is traditionally known for helping to support the immune system*.

All of these teas are available from Alvita®, the oldest single-herb tea brand in the U.S., and can be purchased here.

About Twinlab
Twinlab Corporation is a leading manufacturer and marketer of high quality, science-based, nutritional supplements, including a complete line of vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, herbs and sports nutrition products. Since 1968, the Twinlab brand has manufactured and marketed nutritional supplements in both the vitamin and sports nutrition categories. In addition to its namesake brand, Twinlab Corporation also manufactures and sells other well-known category leaders including the Metabolife® line of diet and energy products; Twinlab Fuel® line of sports supplement products; Alvita® teas, established in 1922 as a single-herb tea line; and Nature’s Herbs®, a complete line of herbals and phytonutrients. Twinlab’s manufacturing facility in American Fork, Utah is a NSF GMP-registered facility. Twinlab also runs an R&D facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and has its corporate headquarters in New York, NY. Visit www.twinlab.com for more information.

Why to Skip the Flu Shot: Toxic Chemicals, Alzheimer’s, and Illness from Dr. Martha Howard

Winter is quickly approaching – with that comes the debate regarding whether or not to get the flu shot. Before you rush to get your shot,  Dr. Martha Howard of Wellness of Chicago lets you know why this is not the best idea, unless it contains a particular strain (such as the swine flu) going around, which rarely happens.

Reasons not to get the flu shot:

· Toxic Ingredients

o The mercury preservative thimerosal is still in all multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine. There are single-dose injections that do not have it; however they are not commonly available.

o There are other toxic ingredients in flu vaccines: metals, such as aluminum hydroxide and phosphate, preservatives (such as sorbitol and polysorbate); antibiotics (neomycin, gentamycin); formalin; formaldehyde; fetal bovine serum, foreign animal tissue containing genetic material.  Several brands of flu shots also contain egg proteins, a common allergen. (For a table of all ingredients in most common vaccines, see:  

cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf)

· Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

o A 10-year study done by Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, M.D. about the connection between flu vaccine and Alzheimer’s showed that people who got a flu shot every year during that time (10 flu shots) had 10 times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to people who got only one or two flu shots.  

· Study Found Flu Shots Ineffective

o A 2005 Lancet article about the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine reveals that the flu vaccines were not significantly effective for the elderly. The article reported a study that analyzed data on the worldwide performance of the vaccine over the past 37 years in people 65 years and older. See the full article at: http://vran.org/about-vaccines/specific-vaccines/influenza-vaccine-flu-shot/effectiveness-of-flu-shots-wildly-overestimated/

· Even the FluMist® Nasal Vaccine isn’t a Good Alternative

o This vaccine is targeted to people aged 5 to 49—those who need it the least.  It also causes flu-like side effects—you are trading a mild flu-like illness at a time you choose, for a potentially worse flu at a time you did not choose.  Worst of all, it is a “live attenuated” virus—that is, a weakened virus that is still alive. According to the packaging insert, people who get the nasal vaccine can shed the virus for 21 days and potentially infect people around them who have compromised immune systems.

Top ways to prevent getting the flu or a cold without a vaccine:

· Keep Hands Clean

o The number one way to prevent getting sick is simple, wash your hands frequently.

o Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also great – CleanWell™ is a good one. 

o When you sneeze, if you do not have a tissue handy, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.

o Train yourself not to touch your nose or eyes, except with a clean tissue.  One of the common entry points for bacteria or viruses is the eyes.  It is especially hazardous if you touch a surface like the hand rail of an escalator and then rub your eyes.

· Take Vitamins

o Vitamin C! Take 500 milligrams of Vitamin C every 4 hours throughout the day, with plenty of water.  Chewables are easier than pills for most people, but if you use chewables, be sure to drink water when you take one, at least 6-8 ounces.

o Elderberry is a known natural flu fighter.  A study published in the Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics done during the 2009 flu season showed that 28% of flu sufferers who took 175 mg. of elderberry extract were completely symptom free in 48 hours.  For a good report of this study, see http://www.healthyfellow.com/elderberry-flu-protection/

· Healthy Habits

o Drink plenty of water—at least six 8 ounce glasses a day.

o Stop smoking, and cut down on alcohol—one drink a day, with food, and not every day. Alcohol dehydrates the body.

o Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Eat 5-6 servings (a serving is a half cup) of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and get at least 4 ounces of protein; and be sure to get some exercise.  It’s all too easy to be a couch potato in the fall and winter.

o Relax – High stress levels mean high cortisols (your body’s own steroids) which suppress your immune system.  Relaxation has been shown to speed the release of interleukins, the “lead fighters” in the immune response to flu.

o Stay home if you don’t feel well.

5 #Vitamins that Help Increase #Muscle Tone Info @skyyogastudio .com

Dr. John Cuomo, USANA Health Sciences

Executive Director of Research and Development

Five vitamins that help build muscle strength and tone

Muscle is mainly made up of protein. Therefore, protein metabolism (breaking protein down into amino acids and combining those amino acids into new proteins) is critical for muscle building. Collagen is also made of protein and is the connective tissue in muscle that anchors muscles to bone. In addition, muscle function is dependent on energy production. The energy used by all cells is called ATP. Glucose (carbohydrate) is a key fuel for ATP production. We use glucose as the main fuel to produce energy in all cells, including muscle cells. 

1. Vitamin D plays a very important role in immune and muscle function. There are numerous studies showing that vitamin D is essential for overall immune system function. Studies have shown that proper vitamin D levels in the body are associated with muscle strength and performance.

USANA research shows that to have an optimal range of vitamin D in the body, most people need to take 4000 to 6000 IU supplemental vitamin D every day. USANA’s Vitamin D supplement has 2000 IU of vitamin D per tablet. Keep in mind that vitamin D is also required for the uptake and utilization of calcium and phosphorous—and both of these minerals are required for muscular contraction and function as well as bone growth and strength. Phosphorous is also required for ATP production and energy metabolism.

2. Fish Oil or the omega-3 fats in fish oil may decrease muscle protein breakdown. This may be through improvements in insulin sensitivity, and insulin resistance is associated with muscle breakdown. There is also a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that fish oil helps enhance the effect of strength training in elderly women. Fish oil is most commonly obtained through supplements and food, such as a variety of fish.

3. Vitamin C is important for our muscles, and we need it to function properly. Vitamin C is required for collagen and elastin synthesis, and it is also an important supplement to take daily because it’s responsible for the health of the blood vessels, which support the muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients. Good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, and grapefruit.

4. Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant that helps cell membrane recovery from oxidative stress. Cell membrane reliability is essential for cellular function and growth. To add vitamin E into your diet, try almonds, spinach, carrots, and avocados. Many different oils are also good sources of vitamin E, such as olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.

5. An array of B vitamins are essential to muscle strength and tone. B1 (thiamin) is important for protein metabolism and the formation of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to cells, including muscle cells, and without oxygen energy, production is compromised. B1 nutrients can be found in cereal, bread, meat, rice, and nuts. B2 (riboflavin) is involved in energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, the oxidation of fatty acids, with some effects on protein metabolism. B2 nutrients can be found in cheese, eggs, milk, and peas. B3 (niacin) is essential for energy production. B3 nutrients can be found in milk, eggs, fish, legumes, and potatoes. B6 (pyridoxine) is important for protein metabolism, growth, and carbohydrate utilization. B6 nutrients can be found in soybeans, butter, brown rice, and fish. And B12 (cyanocobalamin) is important for the maintenance of nerve tissue and is essential for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, energy metabolism, and cell regeneration. B12 nutrients can be found in milk, poultry, eggs, meat, and liver. B7 (biotin) is important for amino acid metabolism, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Good sources of B7 include mushrooms, egg yolk, beef liver, and brewer’s yeast.