Healthy Eating When You're Older

Healthy Eating When You’re Older

The older you get, the more difficult it is to get all the nutrients you need, so focusing on healthy eating becomes even more important. Activity levels diminish as most people age and so do appetites. Digestive enzymes and stomach acid also reduce, making digestion and absorption more difficult even when you do eat. Some foods are not only difficult to digest, but they’re also difficult to chew if you don’t have healthy teeth, or dentures, or are missing several teeth. To make matters worse, seniors may lack the energy to cook for themselves or don’t cook because they’re living alone.

Seniors may eat less because they require fewer calories.

As you age, your metabolism tends to slow. You have less muscle mass. Muscles require more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Seniors also tend to be less mobile, too. Not only do they burn fewer calories, but their appetite is also reduced. One way to solve the problem and encourage eating without weight gain is to exercise regularly, whether it’s in a gym with a trainer or just going for a walk.

Medical and digestive issues may prohibit consuming several types of food.

Some health conditions occur more frequently as you age. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis are a few. Many of these conditions come with dietary restrictions or they take medicine that interacts with various foods. Grapefruit, for instance, may interfere with metabolizing warfarin, a blood thinner. Food sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies can also develop. They include everything from gluten and dairy to fish, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Getting a healthy diet plan from a dietician that can help you develop new habits to address your issues is a good idea.

Many seniors don’t have a social outlet.

Meals are social times for many people and eating alone can be even more depressing. Seniors often fail to cook for themselves and eat bits of food throughout the day which often aren’t nutritious. One way to avoid the problem is to share meals with friends of the same age. You don’t have to eat together, just make enough for several people and share. Meal planning and prep can also help by making meals all at one time, so all you have to do is heat and eat.

  • Dental issues can become a problem that isn’t easy to solve. If poor oral health is a problem, smoothies are the answer. Fruit and vegetable smoothies can also be good for people with smaller appetites.
  • Exercise can ward off digestive issues. The body builds a healthier microbiome the more you exercise. Food moves easier through the digestive tract, too.
  • Hydrating is often a problem for seniors. Some people avoid drinking water since it can increase urination and incontinence may be a problem. Others may not feel thirsty. Dehydration symptoms can mimic dementia in older people.
  • No matter what your age, you can’t go wrong by putting a rainbow of color on your plate. Each color represents different phytonutrients that help boost your body’s health.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

Why It's Important To Time Your Workouts

Why It’s Important To Time Your Workouts

There’s a Goldilocks moment for every activity. It’s the sweet spot where everything is “just right.” When you exercise, there’s the perfect amount of time to do it and the perfect time of day for you to exercise. It’s why I tell clients in Houston to time their workouts. Working out too long can be counterproductive or it can mean you’re wasting time. Working out too little won’t achieve the results you want.

Timing is even more important for some exercises.

If you’re a runner, knowing how far you ran in a half hour can help you calculate how much progress you made. It lets you know how much you’re accomplishing. Circuit training can be timed with the challenge of increasing the number of repetitions at each station. This time the number of repetitions in a specific amount of time can provide you with information about your progress.

Whether you work out at a gym or home, timing your workout can keep you focused.

People often spend a lot of their exercise doing non-exercise things unless they’re accountable for their time. If your workout is created to take 30 minutes, but it constantly takes longer, you might be one of those people. Do you take frequent breaks? Do you stop to talk to others at the gym? Take long breaks between exercises? If so, you aren’t focused and either spend far more time than you should or finish the entire workout because it’s time to leave. You may be “putting in the time” but not putting in the effort, so you’ll get less from every session.

Maybe you’re too dedicated to exercise.

You might be spending more time than you should exercising every day. That can be as bad as not working out at all. That’s especially true if you’re doing strength training. When you do strength training, it creates small tears in the muscle tissue that takes from 48 to 72 hours to heal. When the tears repair, the muscles are stronger. Doing strength training too frequently with no rest between sessions doesn’t give time for the body to heal. That can cause a loss of muscle tone and can make you sick.

  • Spending too long doing a grueling workout increases the stress hormones and affects your immune system for up to 72 hours. Timing a tough session helps prevent that.
  • If you aren’t sure how intense your workout is, consider using a heart rate monitor. If you’re not as active as you should be, your heart rate will be low consistently. If the exercise is intense and you need to cut it shorter, your heart rate will be high.
  • Rapid transitioning from one exercise to another can improve your muscular endurance and cardiovascular health. It keeps you more focused since you have to think quickly.
  • Timing your sessions also includes the time of day you exercise. If you exercise at the same time every day, you’ll develop a habit, and habits are hard to break. That means you’ll be more likely to work out regularly.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

Caffeine before a workout can provide benefits to improve your performance. There’s a point when the caffeine ceases to help and becomes a detriment to your health. Ensuring you don’t have negative consequences is important. A cup of coffee may be just what you need, you can also get caffeine in other forms. Caffeine pills are examples. They can make it far too easy to take too much caffeine which can cause dehydration, jitters, headaches, and an increased heart rate. All of those things can detract from your workout.

What are the positive benefits of caffeine?

As noted earlier, caffeine can improve your performance, particularly for aerobic activities. It doesn’t take much to do that either. Drinking a cup of coffee 60 minutes before working out allows the caffeine in your blood to peak during your workout. Caffeine can improve long-term memory. It can help relieve headaches. Many OTC pain killers like acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen contain caffeine. Some studies show it may provide protection from Alzheimer’s and dementia and when consumed in coffee provides protection from cardiovascular disease.

At what point are you taking too much caffeine?

You’ll get a boost to your endurance if you have between 200 and 350 mg of caffeine. If you translated that to cups of coffee, it’s about two cups since the average cup of coffee contains between 90 and 100 mg of caffeine. Some people want to bypass drinking coffee or think if a little is good, a lot is better. They often opt for caffeine powder or pills. You can overdose on caffeine very easily by using the powder. It’s so concentrated that one teaspoon has as much caffeine as the equivalent of 28 cups of coffee.

Every is different.

Most people can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day and not have side effects. That’s equivalent to two energy shots, five cans of Red Bull, or four cups of brewed coffee. That’s not true for everyone. Some people have side effects with just one cup of coffee, while others may drink energy drinks, pots of coffee, and a few colas with no problem.

  • Caffeine is a diuretic. It can lead to frequent urination and may lead to dehydration. It can also affect the digestive system, causing stomach upsets and diarrhea.
  • If you overdose on caffeine, it can cause far more problems than the jitters. It can affect your heart and nervous system. High doses of caffeine can cause muscle tremors, rapid heartbeat, and seizures.
  • If you don’t like coffee but want the benefits of caffeine, choose green tea. Green tea offers half the amount of caffeine as coffee, but it is loaded with antioxidants and contains phytochemicals that can prevent jitters.
  • Caffeine is addictive and has withdrawal symptoms. Those include headaches. Ironically, you can’t take most OTC pain medications for the headache since they contain caffeine.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

How To Beat Your Soda Habit

How To Beat Your Soda Habit

Whether you’re drinking sugary colas or even diet drinks daily, they take a toll on your health and your waistline. The caffeine and sugary taste of coke can be hard to beat but it’s possible to overcome the soda habit forever. While the sugar in regular soft drinks is damaging to your body, soft drinks contain other things that can negatively affect your health. They contain phosphorus, among other things. Too much phosphorus in your body leaches the calcium from the bone linked to bone and deposits it in blood vessels and other parts of the body, leading to heart attack, stroke, and more. It’s hard, but you can make the break and be soft drink free forever.

You can start slowly and wean yourself from soft drinks.

It’s hard to do, but you can do it. Most people don’t realize how many colas they drink daily, so the first day, don’t stop. Instead, write down every time you drink a soda. By the end of the day, you may see a pattern. You can drink them with meals or down one every hour. Whatever it is, eliminate one of those times and replace it with water, infused water, tea, or other zero-calorie healthy drink. Do it for a week or until it becomes a habit, then add another time until you don’t drink any.

Go cold turkey.

Before you start, find an alternative drink that doesn’t contain sugar, phosphorus, or other harmful additives. Explore other options, like green tea, herbal tea, coffee, infused water, or just plain water. Stock up on your alternate drink of choice. Why are you giving up soda? Is it to cut down on sugar? It won’t help if your alternative contains sugar or is tea or coffee and you add sugar. Make your alternative fit your goal. Only unsweetened tea, coffee, or alternative will do.

Giving up soft drinks cold turkey can be hard if you’re addicted to caffeine.

If you’re focusing on flushing it from your system don’t choose options like coffee or traditional tea. They contain caffeine. When you give up caffeine, expect side effects, including headaches. Be careful about the pain medication you take for the headache. Many of them contain caffeine and just prolong the withdrawal period or destroy your attempt to kick the habit. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen normally don’t, but always read the ingredients label.

  • If you’re quitting, whether in increments or cold turkey, and have a setback all is not lost. Just start again. As you make it a habit to substitute healthy drinks, there will be bumps in the road.
  • While you’ll cut calories by drinking low or no-calorie soft drinks, studies show even zero-calorie soft drinks can increase your waist circumference and add belly fat.
  • You don’t have to buy expensive infused water; you can make it yourself. Just add slices of fruit, vegetables, or herbs to water. Give it time for the flavor to infuse into the water. It’s almost zero calories and delicious.
  • If you drink soft drinks mostly in restaurants, consider unsweetened iced tea. Most restaurants have that option. Whatever your substitution choice is, stock up on it and have it ready when you want a cool refreshing drink.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

Quick And Healthy Meal Ideas

Quick And Healthy Meal Ideas

Nobody enjoys cooking during the scorching hot months in Houston, TX. Healthy meals that don’t require that much cooking. Living on take-out isn’t an option. The food is often bad for your health and is loaded with sugar, potassium, and additives. You can make any meal preparation easier by washing and cutting fresh vegetables ahead and storing them in the refrigerator.

You may have to do a little cooking but make that effort worth it.

Use your air fryer to make rotisserie chicken. Set aside enough for the nightly meal and store the rest in the freezer for other meals. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and add your favorite chicken salad ingredients. They can include grapes, apples, pecans, celery, onion, red bell pepper, or other healthy options. Top it with a healthy dressing, such as a combo of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. Put it atop a bed of lettuce or in your favorite wrap.

Tuna or Salmon add some Omega-3 fatty acids to your meals.

Make tuna or salmon salad and keep the house cool. Just open a can and add the ingredients. One salad uses either fish and adds chopped celery, capers, onions, and pepper. Top it with a mixture of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt and put it on a bed of lettuce surrounded by sliced tomatoes. Grilled salmon is delicious with spinach salad as a side pepper, strawberries, and vinaigrette.

Make a “cheat” Gazpacho with canned tomatoes.

Real Gazpacho requires a little extra effort if you’re making it from fresh tomatoes, but you can cut some time by using canned or a combination of the two. It takes a pound and a half of fresh peeled and deseeded tomatoes or 2 ¼ cups of canned. That’s about 1 ½ 14-16 ounce can. Use the “chili ready” type that contains jalapenos or if using fresh tomatoes, chop and seed one small jalapeno. Add ½ cup each chopped onion and red bell peppers, 1 cup of peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber, 1 medium minced garlic clove, ¼ cup olive oil, and a cup of tomato juice. Put half the mixture in a blender until smooth, then add it back to the bowl. Add in the juice of one lime, 2 tsp each of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, a dash of cumin, 1 tsp sea salt, and ground pepper. Chill for an hour and serve with your favorite salad.

  • Whole grain burritos are quick and save time and money when made with canned refried beans. Heat the beans in a pan and warm the burrito shell in a skillet. Top with chopped lettuce, chopped onions, cheese, and chopped tomatoes.
  • You don’t have to reserve eggs for breakfast. A spinach feta scramble can provide a meal for any time of the day. Sautee onions, mushrooms, and fresh spinach. Whip several eggs and add them to the pan. Top them with crumbled feta cheese when the eggs are almost cooked.
  • A rice cooker can make meal prep a breeze. You can make quinoa or rice for main dishes, including salads. Add avocado, radishes, cucumbers, and a cumin-lime vinaigrette to quinoa for a quick summer salad.
  • Who doesn’t love pasta salad? Almost any vegetable can make it delicious. Add any vegetables, cheese, or protein source you want. A favorite of mine includes cheese cubes, chopped celery, onion, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It’s topped with a vinaigrette.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

How Different Types Of Sugar Compare

How Different Types Of Sugar Compare

Many people in Houston, TX, are cutting back or giving up sugar completely. Does that mean they don’t eat fruit that contains sugar? In most cases, the answer is no. There are many types of sugar, but the first large division is food with added sugar and food with naturally occurring sugar. While not all naturally occurring sugar is necessarily healthy, most food with it also contains fiber. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. That helps eliminate blood glucose spikes and a rush of insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and the accumulation of belly fat.

Monosaccharides are sugar’s simplest form.

Glucose, fructose, and galactose are the three simple forms of sugar. Other types of sugar are made from those three simple forms of sugar. If two different monosaccharides combine to create a new sugar, it’s called a disaccharide. Glucose is commonly found in plants. It’s what the body uses for sugar. Fructose, another monosaccharide, is also found in fruit, but also some root vegetables, and honey. Galactose is similar to glucose but found only in peas.

Common disaccharides include sucrose, lactose, and maltose.

Sucrose is another name for table sugar. It’s created from sugar beets or sugarcane. It is one part glucose and one part fructose combined. Lactose is the sugar found in dairy. People who are lactose intolerant don’t have enough lactase to break it down to the simple sugars’ glucose and galactose. Maltose is a naturally occurring byproduct when carbohydrates break down, like after the starch breaks down when plant sprouts. It’s in sprouted grain.

Sugars that are combinations of glucose and fructose can damage the body.

Both glucose and fructose absorb into the bloodstream in the small intestines. Glucose raises blood sugar levels more quickly. Glucose enters cells after insulin is released, where it’s either used for fuel, stored in muscle tissues, or goes to the liver for storage in the form of glycogen. Fructose doesn’t raise insulin levels as quickly. It goes directly to the liver and the liver stores it and later converts it to glucose. When glucose and fructose, it increases the amount of fructose absorbed. It’s unhealthy to eat the two together. It occurs with table sugar and other types of sugar, like high fructose corn syrup.

  • Excess fructose causes the liver to become overburdened. It only occurs with added sugar and naturally occurring fructose doesn’t have the same effect, possibly from a different combination of glucose and fructose.
  • High fructose corn syrup—HFCS— is widely used in products with added sugar. Table sugar is a 50/50 combination of glucose to fructose, while HFCS ranges from 55% fructose to 90% fructose, making it even more damaging.
  • Both food with added sucrose—table sugar—and HFCS are bad for the body. Naturally occurring combinations of fructose and glucose don’t have the same effects and provide nutrients.
  • High amounts of fructose can create metabolic disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and raise triglyceride levels.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

How Can I Know I'm In Ketosis?

How Can I Know I’m In Ketosis?

One of the most popular diets today is the keto diet. It forces the body to switch from using glucose to burning fat. That causes the increase in ketones in your blood. They’re the energy source for the brain when limited glucose is available and created by the liver. Ketosis indicates the diet is working, so you need to know when you’ve achieved it. Here are some signs to help you.

Test your blood for more ketones.

Probably the most reliable way is to test the blood for ketones. That requires you to prick your finger and a special kit that can be expensive. Since excess ketones leave the body as acetone in the urine and breath a breath analyzer, is a second choice. The most often used and cheapest way is to test the urine. The urine strips aren’t as accurate, but they are less expensive and give you a good idea of how much progress you’re making.

Your breath smells odd and not in a good way.

The breath analyzer indicates ketones, which are acetones, are being expelled. A good friend or family member can do the same thing. The release of acetones makes your breath smell like a combination of nail polish remover and rot. It’s a side effect of ketosis. No matter how much you brush your teeth or gargle, the smell lingers. Don’t quit brushing more often or attempting to eliminate it by chewing sugar-free gum or gargling. Those still help a bit.

Losing weight is one of the most positive ways to know you’re in ketosis.

You went on the keto diet and noticed that you shed far more weight than expected in the first few weeks. Rejoice! The diet is working and your body is in ketosis. You won’t have such fast weight loss after that, since the loss is mostly water weight but your weight will consistently drop. It will just be slower. The upside is that it will be true fat loss.

  • After you start the keto diet, you may notice you’re not as hungry as you might normally be. Some believe it’s due to the increase of protein and change that causes diminished hunger hormones.
  • You might feel exhausted initially. Fatigue can affect physical and mental performance. It’s all about switching from using carbs to burning fat for energy. Once your body adjusts, your energy level returns.
  • The keto-flu includes both brain fog and digestive issues. The feeling of being sick is common when first starting a low-carb diet. It takes a few days for the brain to adjust to burning ketones. Since you’re eating less fiber, digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation occur.
  • The good news is once your body adjusts, you’ll be more focused and have improved brain functioning. You’ll have more stable sugar levels. If you initially had insomnia, it disappears after a few weeks.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

Is Stretching Really That Important?

Is Stretching Really That Important?

If you never stretch, you won’t have the flexibility to protect it from injury. Stretching performs many different functions. It can wake up sleeping muscles after a night’s rest and get the blood flowing to ready them for the day. It can also help relax tight muscles after a hard day. There are many different types of stretching, but one truth that permeates all forms of stretching is that it plays an important role in every exercise program and daily living.

Get your body ready for the day with a yawn and a stretch.

After a long slumber, your body temperature is lower, and your muscles are completely relaxed. A good stretch in the morning and yawn can change all that. It’s a natural reaction to increase circulation and prepare the muscles for the day’s work. Yawning increases oxygen intake to add to the preparation. Animals do both, too. A stretch before becoming active warms the muscles and prepares them for use. That can help prevent muscle injury.

Achieve better posture by stretching.

Poor posture throughout the day can cause health issues. Conditions like headaches, difficulty breathing, heartburn, incontinence, and constipation are known to be caused by poor posture. Poor posture can cause other, less common, physical issues, too. TMJ is just one of those. Traditional workouts for building strength can help improve posture, but stretching is also important. Stretching increases the range of motion and lets you extend muscles so your body aligns properly.

A pulled muscle can put you out of commission for weeks or months.

If you workout, stretching should play a vital role in that workout. It should also be part of everyone’s daily life, since pulled muscles don’t always occur at the gym. A person may bend down to tie a shoe or pick up the baby and pull a muscle in their back. Tripping, even if it’s minor, can cause muscle injury. Stretching increases your range of motion and oxygenation of the blood, which can prevent lactic acid buildup after exercise.

  • Stretching provides a transition from sedentary to active. It helps acclimate the heart and prepare it for a workout so there’s no sudden spike in blood pressure.
  • There are several types of stretching, but the two most often used are dynamic and static. Static is a stretch-and-hold type of movement, such as toe-touches, and dynamic involves movement, like lunges.
  • If you have a sedentary job, you need to stretch and walk around every 55 minutes. The stretching will help prevent or relieve any back pain and both will improve overall health.
  • Stretching before a strength-building workout can help build muscles faster. It allows a fuller extension of the muscles during the workout and allows you to work muscles on all planes.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

The Best Plant-Based Protein

The Best Plant-Based Protein

If you’re like many people in Houston, TX, who have switched to a plant-based diet, you’re having a problem identifying a good plant-based protein or how to introduce vitamin B12 into your diet. For vegans, adding nutritional yeast or fortified products are good ways to include B-12. The answer isn’t as simple for plant-based protein. There are far more options and some require combinations to create the best amino acid balance.

Before getting into the best plant-based protein choice, you need to understand protein.

Protein is one of the three macronutrients. It’s created from 20 amino acids. The body can produce all but nine of those. Those are the essential amino acids. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine, and valine. When a food with protein contains all essential amino acids, like animal products do, it’s considered a complete protein. Few plant-based proteins are complete proteins and must be combined to ensure the diet contains all essential amino acids. You don’t have to eat them at once for a complete protein. You can consume several types of amino acids throughout the day.

A few plant-based options are complete proteins, like soy and quinoa.

There’s a wide variety of soy products on the market. Soy is one of the better quality complete plant-based proteins available. A cup of chopped tempeh has 34 grams of protein. A half-cup of raw firm tofu has 21.8 grams of protein and the same amount of edamame has 7 grams of protein. Quinoa is another complete protein source that can be used in place of rice. If it’s not a staple for those choosing plant-based options, it should be. It has a long shelf life and has 8 grams of protein per cooked cup.

Hemp seeds and chia seeds are complete proteins and make good supplements.

Hemp seeds contain complete protein. Three tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds contain 10 grams of complete protein. That’s about 1/6 the amount required daily amount. You can use it to increase protein intake by sprinkling it on salads, adding it to oatmeal, or incorporating it in other ways into your diet. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide five grams of protein—1/12th the DV. Like hemp seed, you can use it to supplement your protein intake.

Pistachios are a great snack and an excellent way to increase protein in your diet. A one ounce serving provides 6 grams of protein. They’re a delicious snack that will increase your protein intake.

Combine two plant-based incomplete proteins to get a complete protein. Beans and rice and peanut butter on whole wheat are a few combinations.

Plant-based protein sources are often inexpensive. Many have a long shelf life, making it good to store for emergencies. Lentils, beans, rice, quinoa, nuts and nut butter, and nutritional yeast are a few examples.

High-protein breads, like Ezekiel bread, provide a source of protein. Coat it with peanut butter and it’s a high-protein meal or snack.


Tips To Motivate Yourself To Workout

Tips To Motivate Yourself To Workout

Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to workout. There’s always something to do in Houston, TX, that can divert your attention from exercise. The same thing is true of every city and municipality in the country. Whether it’s a busy schedule or just dreading the workout, it can end an exercise program very quickly.

One way to motivate yourself is to remember why you started working out in the first place.

Was it a glance in the mirror that made you wince or how tight your favorite outfit was? Sometimes, it’s not about looks but having stamina to keep up with others. A health scare is another motivating factor. Write down your reason for starting your program and post it where you can see it. When you’re tempted to skip a workout, that subtle reminder can help. Visualize accomplishing your goal or have pictures or posters that represent that visual.

Take a picture of yourself before you start your workout.

Every two weeks put on the same clothing and take a picture in the same spot. Changes are slow, and seeing the changes is very motivating. By taking pictures every two weeks, you can see the changes. If you’ve worked out for several months, comparing the before with a recent photo is eye-opening and dramatic. Those changes can spark pride and make you glad you started exercising.

Trainers get results. Holding you accountable is one reason.

If you’re working out at home and don’t have a trainer, you can get some of the benefits of a trainer by having a workout partner. When you workout with a trainer, you know the trainer is waiting for you at the gym, giving you more impetus to go. Like a trainer, the workout partner can do that and push you harder when you’re not putting forth enough effort. A workout buddy can provide friendly competition, too.

  • Be consistent and make your workout a habit. Put your workout in your schedule as you would any appointment. Doing it the same time each day makes it a habit, which is harder to break.
  • Change your mind. If you dread working out, it makes it harder to start. Find reasons to love your workout. Focus on how you feel, how it will feel to accomplish your goal or the new control you have over your muscles.
  • Track your progress and make it a game. Write down every workout, the number of reps, and how hard it was to do. Record your weight, endurance, or any way you measure your success.
  • You might not see changes in your body immediately, but you will notice changes in your energy level in the first few weeks. Look for every change and write it down or make a mental note about your improvement.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness