About Me

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New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
This blog is dedicated to the low-carb menu challenge presented by Jimmy Moore. I'm living the Louisiana low carb lifestyle, where low-carb is the new way to go ! I live southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana....have three awesome kids. We are deep down in the heart of sweet Cajun Country, where we kick back and relax, go hunting, fishing, or make groceries! My doctor told me that my blood pressure numbers were getting too high, so I had to loose weight. She challenged me with ten pounds in three months. That was October 7, 2008. I lost 26 pounds !!! In February of 2011, I found that I had gained a few pounds more than I would have liked, weighing in at 170 pounds. I had to get back into the swing of living the low carb life again !! I am loving the 'low-carb' style and wish to contiue it . I exercise three times a week at the gym, and off the 'off' days, I learn to RELAX !! November 2011, finds me in different circumstances -- a new lifestyle, great community of friends and a challenge to keep that 45 pounds that I lost OFF. Feel free to read my blog, browse around, or just sit a spell!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

10 Walking Mistakes You're Making

Prevention Magazine has an awesome article to read. Great advice. ENJOY !! :)

10 Walking Mistakes You're Making

10 walking mistakes you're probably making

Photo by David Epperson/Getty Images
You've been walking nearly your entire life, so surely you know a thing or two about putting one foot in front of the other, right? Not so much. "Walking for fitness isn't the same as taking a walk in the park," says Katherine Dreyer, co-author of ChiWalking: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy. In order to stay injury-free while reaping all of the disease-fighting, fat-blasting, and mood-boosting benefits of walking, it's important to pay attention to what your body is doing from head to (big) toe. To make sure you're striding right, beware of these 10 common pitfalls:
Mistake: Thinking it's all about your lower body
Your feet, ankles, and legs are propelling you forward, but the rest of your body—especially your core—shouldn't just be along for the ride. "When your core muscles are strong and activated while walking, they take some of the pressure off your feet and toes, which reduces your risk of overuse injuries," Dreyer says. While walking, draw your belly button toward your spine, being careful not to grip the muscles ("It should feel like you're doing a small crunch," says Dreyer). Lean your torso slightly forward to keep your core muscles engaged—leaning back releases them.
Mistake: Skipping intervals
They're not just for runners and cyclists: Research shows that intervals can help you burn more fat and increase your fitness level. A recent study published in the journal Diabetologia found that interval training while walking—specifically, walking 3 minutes briskly followed by 3 minutes at an easier pace, repeated for an hour—can also help you better control your blood sugar. Researchers suspect that during high-intensity bursts, your muscles gobble more glucose for fuel. If you're walking 4 to 5 days per week, incorporate intervals into at least 2 of those walks, Dreyer says.
MORE: 3 Treadmill Workouts That Beat Boredom And Blast Calories 
Mistake: Walking with flimsy arms
Allowing your arms to just hang there creates more work for your body and slows your pace, Dreyer says. Instead, bend your elbows to 90° and relax your shoulders. As you walk, move your arms naturally in opposition with your feet so that when your left foot is forward, your right arm is forward and vice versa. In addition to making you more efficient, bending your arms increases calorie burn and toning compared to letting them go limp, Dreyer adds.
Mistake: Allowing your dog to walk too far ahead of you

Photo by Jordan Siemens/Getty Images
Letting your dog take the lead can affect your alignment, slow you down, and result in injury, Dreyer says, because you may have to lean back to pull on the leash or stop completely to get control of your pup. Instead, walk with your dog by your left side, holding the leash with both hands—place the end of the leash in your right hand and hold about 30 to 50% of the way down with your left hand. This gives you control over the leash (and your dog) while keeping your elbows in a relaxed, neutral, and bent position. "If your core is activated and you feel strong and solid, your dog will sense this and be less likely to pull, too," Dreyer adds.
Mistake: Focusing on what you wear to work out, but not on what you wear to work
"Ballet flats seem like a better choice than heels, but if you have flat arches they don't provide enough support and if you have high arches they allow your arch to collapse every time you take a step," says Megan Leahy, a podiatrist at the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute in Chicago. Over time, these issues can cause plantar fasciitis, a common and painful condition in which the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. "An injury like that can derail your walking program no matter how great your walking shoes may be," Leahy adds. Opt for a wedge or low heel, which provide more support than completely flat kicks.
Mistake: Letting your mind wander the entire time
If you always let your mind go free on your walks, you're missing an opportunity to strengthen your mind-body connection. Instead, periodically check in with what the different parts of your body are doing: Are your shoulders relaxed? Are your elbows bent? Is your core engaged? And so on. And, like yoga, pay attention to your breathing. "A very common mistake is that people don't breathe enough while walking," Dreyer adds. For every breath out, take about 3 to 4 steps, and for every breath in take about 2 steps. Not only will you keep your mind focused and calm, but you'll send your breath deeper into your lungs and give yourself more energy.
Mistake: Sticking to the treadmill
For an even more zen-like experience (while torching calories and challenging your cardiovascular fitness), head for greener spaces. Several recent studies show that people who exercise outdoors experience less tension, depression, and fatigue than those who walk indoors.
MORE: Happiness Can't Be As Simple As A Walk In The Park...Can It? 
Mistake: Avoiding hills

Photo by Jacom Stephens/Getty Images
Heading for the hills isn't always possible, but if you can find them, climb them. Huffing up an incline strengthens muscles that may otherwise get neglected when walking on flatter surfaces. A study in the journal Gait & Posture found that when walking at an incline, the activity in muscles such as your quadriceps, glutes, calf, knee, and ankle increase by up to 635% (which of course means more more toning power!). You can get the same benefits by increasing a treadmill's incline about 9 degrees or regularly adding stairs to your walking routine.
Mistake: Going too easy on yourself
All walking is not created equal: Strolling is better than sitting, but to score walking's cardio, strength, and fat-burning effects you need to push yourself a little harder. "If you ask a runner what their one-mile pace is she'll probably know it, but many walkers don't," Dreyer says. But you should! When walking for fitness, Dreyer says you should aim for a 15-minute mile. Not there yet? No worries. Simply work toward that goal. Keep track of your pace with a free app, such as Strava or MapMyWalk, or a fitness-tracking device (here are some of our favorites), or simply use a stopwatch or pedometer.
Mistake: You overdress (especially in the cooler months)
As you walk, you build heat and sweat. If you overdress, you'll start to sweat sooner, and as the sweat evaporates, you'll get chilled and uncomfortable, which can affect how fast and how far you go. Of course, you can shed layers as you go, but anyone who's ever tried to tie a puffy coat around her waist knows it's a little clunky. So how should you dress? "You should feel slightly chilled when you first step outside," Leahy says. What's more, research from the National Institutes of Health shows that cooler temperatures may increase the activity of calorie-burning brown fat. Yet another reason to leave your parka at home.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

6 Brain-Boosting Foods That Should Be In Every Kitchen

When you're retraining your brain — trying to acquire a new habit or pick up a new skill — you'd be surprised by the little things that can have a big impact on your brain's overall health and function. One of the most important things you can do for your brain's health is eat brain-boosting foods.
Of course, people who are already taking on a brain regimen of some sort already have enough on their plates without adding meal preparation with exotic ingredients only found in specialty grocery stores. So here are six foods you can find at any neighborhood grocery store that will help you retrain your brain.

1. Coconut oil

Why eat it? There are so many advantages to swapping out the cooking oil in your house with coconut oil. One of the biggest is that coconut oil has a much higher heat tolerance than other oils packed with good-for-you fats (like olive oil). That means it remains stable at higher heats, retaining more of the beneficial fats.

Coconut oil is also a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are broken down into ketones, an ideal brain food, in the liver.

How to eat it: Use coconut oil in any of your recipes that call for oil. If you don't care for the flavor, just a little bit of salt goes a long way in cutting that tropical taste.

2. Turmeric root

Why eat it? One reason brain function declines is the oxidation and inflammation of the neurons in your brain. A compound in turmeric called curcumin inhibits a neurotoxin that's been linked to neurodegenerative disorders and shows promise as both an anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory agent.

How to eat it: Fresh turmeric root probably isn't the most grocery-store friendly, but you'll definitely find it in the spice aisle. It's got a peppery, almost mustard-like flavor and will turn just about anything it's in contact with a lovely golden color. You'll see it used in Indian and African cuisine, so choosing recipes from those areas of the world is a good way to start experimenting with turmeric.

3. Blueberries

Why eat it? You're probably already heard that blueberries are high in antioxidants, which certainly helps promote brain health. They also contain flavonoids, compounds which are thought to enhance memory. Flavonoids have been shown to enhance spatial memory in both animals and humans, and fruit-derived flavonoids are thought to be especially potent, making blueberries a perfect choice.
How to eat it: Blueberries are great for breakfast in oatmeal, yogurt, a smoothie or part of a fruit salad. They're tasty tossed in a salad at any time of day and you can make some decadent desserts using these little brain-food bombs. You can even toss them into a container and bring them along as a snack food.

4. Broccoli

Why eat it? Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables in the US, so hopefully you already know that it can be delicious when it's not boiled within an inch of its life. It's also contains lots of lignans, which have been shown to benefit assorted brain functions such as thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining and learning new words. They're also high in glucosinolates, which help promote levels of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
How to eat it: Don't boil broccoli until it stinks up your house. It's delicious lightly steamed, roasted in the oven, sauteed with some healthy oils or even finely chopped and served raw in a broccoli salad.
5. Green Tea

Why drink it? We've known for a while that green tea is another food high in antioxidants, but recent research also indicates that a green tea extract enhances cognitive function, particularly in the working memory of the brain.

How to drink it: Unlike black tea, green tea is best made with not-quite-boiling water and steeped only for one to two minutes. Green tea mixes and blends are also available: green-and-white blends or jasmine green tea are smooth options that will tolerate boiling water for tea novices. And if you don't like hot tea, you can always drink it iced and infused with some honey, mint or both.

6. Black Pepper

Why eat it? Black pepper is the most widely used spice on the planet. And in the past couple of years, we've learned that it can also have significant benefits for your brain. Piperine, an active compound in black pepper, can help inhibit the breakdown of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters crucial to brain health and mood regulation. Piperine also appears to help control the flow of calcium in the brain, which gives the compound anti-seizure effects.

How to eat it: Fresh-cracked black pepper is much tastier and more beneficial than the already-cracked versions you can buy in stores. So buy a pepper grinder if you don't already have some and keep it on your table. Crack fresh black peppercorns over anything that strikes your fancy.

Photo Credit: Getty Imageshttp://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16278/6-brain-boosting-foods-that-should-be-in-every-kitchen.html

Friday, November 28, 2014

Eating the Right kind of PROTEIN is important :)

Eating the Right kind of PROTEIN is important :)

Muscle Definition Is About More Than Just Fitness

By Lara Hudson

There's a saying in fitness that six-pack abs are made in the kitchen. As a Pilates instructor, I believe that proper focus, form and technique are required to gain maximum benefit from your workouts. But I've witnessed the most ardent exercise enthusiasts fail to earn results because their diet doesn't possess the right nutritional components to help them lose fat and gain muscle.
Misconceptions about food still abound in our cultural consciousness and sabotage our efforts to build a lean, strong body. The more we learn about nutrition, the more we realize that food is not as simple as "carbs, protein and fat." So what should we eat to promote the achievement of a bold and sinewy physique?

Eat fat.

Dietary fat does NOT equal body fat. In fact, it's essential in absorbing vitamins A, D, E and K, critical compounds promoting bone and tissue growth, immune system function and the transport of antioxidants. If we eat a fat-deficient diet, we feel constantly hungry and suffer mental fatigue.
In our attempt to replace the energy reserves we're missing, we overeat "low-fat" foods teeming with sugar which DOES equal body fat.
Eat foods containing mono- or polyunsaturated fats like almonds, avocado, olive oil, sardines, walnuts and wild salmon. Most of these foods are also packed with protein, guaranteeing satiety and long-term energy.

Eat less meat.

Muscles need protein to repair damaged tissue and develop new cells, and meat provides you with all nine essential amino acids to support this process. But meat is highly acidic and difficult to digest, leading to bloating, constipation and lethargy. Eating too much meat is linked to risk of heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer.

So can we benefit from the pros of eating meat while also eating less of it? Absolutely.
Wild salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as milk and yogurt, are complete proteins. They're just as effective at building muscle as meat and possess the dietary fat needed to metabolize our fat-soluble vitamins. Fish provides the bonus compound of omega-3, reducing inflammation throughout the body and helping to lower cholesterol.

Eggs win the gold standard for nutrition. One egg has 75 calories, 7 grams of protein, omega-3, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Purchase quality eggs laid by pastured chickens who are free to eat their natural diet of grass, herbs and bugs. If the egg yolk is a vibrant orange, you've hit the nutritional jackpot. If the yolk is an anemic yellow, the mama hen was most likely malnourished, too.

If you don't eat animal-based foods, eat nuts, seeds, legumes and the superfood quinoa to meet your protein needs. These foods do contain an abundance of carbohydrates, so use them not as a mainstay, but to supplement a protein-rich, plant-based diet.

Eat more plants.

If you want proof that a plant-based diet is just as good as a meat-based diet, just ask a gorilla. I don't think this vegan King Kong needs a T-Bone when it comes to building titanic strength and power.
Leafy greens are so low in calories relative to their nutrient density that you can eat a lot of them and still lose weight. Leafy greens are also brimming with hundreds of phytonutrients associated with liver and gut detoxification, blood sugar regulation and disease resistance.
Some of my favorites:
  • Arugula is packed with natural nitrates that promote blood flow to muscles.
  • Collard Greens have the highest vitamin K content for bone growth.
  • Kale is delicious, versatile and great in smoothies and juices.
  • Mustard Greens have detoxification enzymes that protect the body's organs.
  • Spinach has the highest protein content for muscle building.
  • Swiss Chard has the highest fiber content to fight heart disease.
Keep it real.
No matter what dietary road we walk, the most important choice we can make is to eat whole foods. If it's in a box or a bag, throw it away. If it's been parsed, pulverized, packaged or otherwise processed, leave it and head to the produce aisle. If it walked on four legs, buy only organic, grass-fed meat that once belonged to happy, frolicking animals just the way nature intended.
Eating whole foods supports our body's ability to self-regulate and self-heal, so that the Real You emerges – lean, healthy, vibrant and beautiful. Foods free from chemicals, additives and hormones sing a song of clarity within the body and the body sings back with a chorus of strength and vitality.
You have within you the power to create the body you want, and your journey begins with the choices you make in the kitchen. Remember that you are what you eat. So eat well, and listen to your body sing.
Photo Credit: Stocksy

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Still Crazy After All These Years....

In case yall haven't noticed, it's been quite a while since I blogged. Starting a new life, relocating and having major surgery kind of puts the whammy on ya. Doing The Big Easy on Low Carb was not only a passion of mine ~ it was a way of life.  Eating properly, exercising and being motivated to do those such things put things into perspective.

When your balance is knocked off, its not that easy to think things through, or to follow your heart or make life changing decisions.  Things fall by the wayside.  Everything is at a Halt. So like the sails on a boat in the wind ~ we need to change direction, appropriately adjusting the sails, and move on.  Landing.

But how do we get back to where we were ? To the niche ~ all the necessary components needed for an organism to survive in - the habitat, the food sources, the weather, etc. There's genearlly two different types: the fundamental niche and the realized niche.

The fundamental niche is basically the "ideal" setting for an organism, imagining a niche without being influenced by predators, competition, etc. that the organism will thrive in.

The realized niche is the "actual" setting the organism lives in. The realized niche always has some elements of the fundamental niche. However, now there's also competition for food, space, homes, and predators, so you'll find there's usually some differences.

So which niche are you ? Is your lifestyle  the 'fundamental niche', where you eat healthy, workout, etc ? or are you the realized niche  ~ where there is no schedule, dietary outlook or exercise ?

Finding a place to start is a great idea. That is where I am now. Starting over. Won't you join me for the journey ?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Weight Loss Resistance is REAL !!

lWeight loss resistance is real

| Conditions
Weight is not a behavior, and weight is not a choice. Nobody wakes up and decides what to weigh today. In an age when healthy and unhealthy behaviors are increasingly subject to incentives and disincentives, respectively, this is all too easily forgotten.

Of course, weight is largely the byproduct of behaviors and choices, namely what and how much we eat, and what and how much we do: calories in and calories out. But the simple math of energy balance and the simple premise that our choices are in charge of it are complicated by two considerations.

First is that the choices we make are in turn dependent on the choices we have, and in the case of energy balance, all of modern culture conspires against good choices. In particular, foods designed to be all but addictive and maximize the calories it takes to feel full – designed with the aid of such powerful technologies as functional MRI scanning no less — are a potent sabotage of personal responsibility and good choices.

Second, two people may make the very same choices and wind up at very different weights. As a clinician with some 25 years of direct patient care experience, I can say categorically that two people can eat the same amount and exercise the same amount, yet one gets fat and one stays thin. This, of course, is not at all fair. But we have all, I trust, been around that block a time or two. We know life isn’t necessarily fair. Or at best, it’s fairly unfair over time, as bad things happen all too often to thin people, too.

Let’s quickly acknowledge that differential weight outcomes despite comparable diet and activity levels do nothing to repudiate the laws of thermodynamics. The relationship between matter and energy characterized initially by Newton is a basic tenet of physics, and all but unassailable. Certainly, it is stationed well above the pay grade of new age iconoclasts who debate the relevance of calories to no valuable end. Yes, calories do count. They are a measure of energy, and anyone wanting to contest the relationship between energy and matter has to go toe to toe with Sir Isaac. He’s never lost yet.

There is no need to revisit laws of physics to explain the paradox of differential weight outcomes. We need only visit the local car dealership. We are well accustomed to the list of attributes highlighted when cars are on sale, and among these is fuel efficiency. Obviously, it varies. That does not alter the properties of the fuel. It does not challenge the reliable meaning of a gallon or liter. It merely indicates that not all engines are created equal.

That is exactly true of the human engine, our metabolism, as well. We vary markedly in fuel efficiency due to various factors. Some are as obvious as our heritage. There are whole populations, such as the Pima Indians of the American Southwest (and originally, Mexico) whose ancestors adapted to survive in a very frugal desert environment, who are remarkably fuel efficient. Such groups, notably including many Native Americans and Pacific Islanders such as the Samoans, gain weight with stunning ease when exposed to modern living, and shed pounds very laboriously.

Underlying such ethnic variation is, of course, genetic variation — so variable response to particular doses of calories in and calories out is partly explained by genes. It is partly explained by body composition as well, which is in turn partly explained by still other genes, as well as experiential factors. A higher mass of muscle increases the calories needed to maintain weight. A lower mass of muscle and higher fat content has the opposite effect.

And then still other factors, some known and some doubtless yet unknown, influence weight outcomes in ways we are just beginning to appreciate. One that is well established is hormonal responses, in particular that of insulin. People who need higher levels of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar are preferentially disposed to deposit calories into body fat and gain weight. Weight gain then tends to worsen insulin resistance, and this very readily becomes a degenerating and very frustrating, spiral.

A more recent and increasingly salient consideration is the status of our microbiome, the bacteria that colonize our bodies, and especially our gastrointestinal tract. We have long known that bacteria outnumber our cells roughly 10 to one, and figure importantly in digestion. We are learning all the time how important they are to other body functions as well, from immune responses to hormonal balance.

One of the new frontiers in medicine is the recognition that significant alterations of the gastrointestinal flora can produce significant alterations in weight. In some cases, it can apparently result in extreme weight loss resistance.

I have had patients in this category, people who eat very frugally, exercise strenuously and just can’t seem to take off weight. Of course, sometimes people seemingly in this category are telling themselves and their doctor, perhaps inadvertently, little white lies — exaggerating how few calories they consume, or how much they exercise. But among my weight loss resistant patients are some who have undergone full metabolic testing, verifying the truth of their claims. Some people are almost shockingly fuel efficient, vulnerable to weight gain and resistant to weight loss.

There are cases, few and far between thus far, where extreme weight loss resistance has been linked to disruption of gastrointestinal flora, due to antibiotics or some other trauma. And, in some cases, the still extreme option of fecal transplant – introducing a full suite of normal intestinal bacteria — has proven therapeutic. Lesser instances of the same basic problem may respond well to probiotics, prebiotics or a combination.

In some cases drugs, such as the diabetes drug metformin, may prove useful: Metformin enhances insulin sensitivity, and has a potential role in treating insulin resistance in addition to diabetes. In some cases, nutrient supplements may be appropriate. Cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels. Green coffee bean extract appears thus far to be a safe and effective means to boost metabolism slightly. Garcinia cambogia may help attenuate appetite, among other effects. A product called PGX made from dietary fiber can blunt the glycemic effect of food.

The right response to weight loss resistance will vary. In some cases, it will be learning to love the skin you’re in — not everyone who wants to lose weight really needs to do so. If you carry extra pounds but are fit and vital and healthy, perhaps you can and should learn to accept rather than fight your “natural” weight, shape and size. Your life may be better if you do.

For those who can’t or won’t accept their weight, or whose health is compromised by it, the options for addressing weight loss resistance should be explored with a health care professional who knows what they are doing. The approach should be individualized, and given the limits to our current knowledge, will likely involve some trial and error. But it can result in success, so keep the faith.
Weight loss resistance is real. I’ve seen it, up close and intimately.

Weight, per se, is not a choice. Addressing the variable challenge of weight management with insight, understanding and compassion certainly is. It’s a choice we should all be making.

David L. Katz is the founding director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. He is the author of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well.

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