Go Red For Women

February is The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women month.

Just as pink has become the official color in the fight against breast cancer, red is being used to symbolize the fight against heart disease in women.  If you’ve seen anyone wearing a red dress pin, that is what it represents.

Friday, February 4, is the official Wear Red Day for 2011.  There are a number of corporate sponsors who will be participating by making donations to The American Heart Association on honor of this day.  The sponsors include Macy’s, Campbell Soups, Cutco Cutlery, and many others.   To see what specials they are offering, go to sponsor programs.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.   Check out the Go Red For Women website to find more ways you can get involved.

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Farewell, Jack LaLanne

Jack Lalanne was the original fitness guru.

Back when his television show started he was the only one doing anything like this.   This was at a time when the words “ladies” and “exercise” were never used together.   Who would have guessed that it would lead to the massive fitness industry that exists today!  Let’s take a look back at the birth of that industry.

Did you notice how gentle his approach was to this revolutionary idea? And how terribly uncomfortable the workout clothing looked! But Jack LaLanne, with his low key, black and white tv show, introduced the idea of using television to promote fitness, and he aimed the show at women. He was truly ahead of his time!

Pinto Bean Soup

I absolutely love making a big pot of soup when it’s cold outside and this pinto bean soup is one of my all time favorites.

This is a delicious, nutritious, filling meal for a cold winter night.  Being meatless even makes it vegetarian friendly!  It is also low fat unless you choose to garnish with cheese, which I always do!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 small can minced green chilis
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (28 ounce) stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

Rinse and soak the beans over night or use the quick soak method: Cover beans with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.  Drain, rinse, and the beans are ready to be cooked.

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.  When they are tender, add the beans, chilis, salt, sugar, cumin, and 3 cups of water.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.  Stir now and then.

Add the tomatoes with their liquid and the oregano.  Mix well, breaking up larger tomato pieces.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the beans are as tender as you like them.

Sprinkle cheese on individual servings if desired.

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Proper Form For Using Exercise Machines

If you have decided to begin working out at a gym, here’s a good video to get you started with the proper form for using exercise machines.

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4 Strength Training Tips

Maybe you’re just beginning a brand new strength training program for the first time

Or maybe you’re returning to strength training after a long absence.  Either way, congratulations!  Here are some helpful tips to get you started along the road to success!

  1. Get expert advice. Schedule at least a few sessions with the trainer at your gym to learn the correct technique to use in order to avoid injury.
  2. Take it slow.   Don’t try to start out with the most reps or the heaviest weights.  You will be sore when you begin training but, if you over do it and feel miserable, you’ll be more likely to quit.
  3. Take rest days. Plan rest days into your training schedule.  Your muscles will respond better and you won’t burn out.
  4. Don’t quit! You must have had some reason or goal in mind when you started strength training.  Don’t stop because the going gets a little tough.  Stick with it and you’ll be glad you did!

What advice can you offer to someone who is  beginning or returning to strength training?  Please share in the comments!

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4 Reasons You’re So Tired

Of course, the most obvious reason you’re so tired is not enough sleep.

Everyone is so busy these days that it’s not uncommon for women to report sleeping 6 or fewer hours per night for weeks at a time.  But if you try to keep up that pace, your body will probably begin to send you some strong signals that you need more rest.  However, this reason for tiredness has an easy cure – just get more sleep! Even getting one 7 or 8 hour night of good, uninterrupted sleep can make a world of difference.

And we all know that stress/anxiety can be very insomnia inducing.

But there are other, less obvious causes of unusual fatigue.   The good news is there are treatment options for all of them.  The following is not a list of all possible tiredness causes on earth (for example, sleep apnea is a topic for its own post) but it is a place to start if you think your fatigue might be caused by something other than lack of sleep or extreme stress.

  1. Hypothyroidism Having an underactive thyroid gland can cause you to feel as if you have no energy and maybe even cause you to have the blues.  Since the thyroid controls your metabolic rate, it stands to reason that if it’s not doing its job, you will feel tired.  Your doctor can do a blood test to measure the level of hormones your thyroid is producing.  If it’s not working up to par, you can take synthetic thyroid hormones which will allow you to feel back to normal pretty quickly.
  2. Anemia If your periods are extra heavy you may be losing enough blood each month to develop anemia.  Abnormal blood loss causes you to have  reduced hemoglobin which carries oxygen through your bloodstream to all parts of your body.  You feel tired because your body is not receiving enough oxygen.  Besides heavy periods, other causes of anemia can be low levels of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid, uterine polyps, certain chronic diseases, and fibroids,   In addition to fatigue, other symptoms of anemia could be feeling irritable, dizziness, or feeling cold.  Again, a blood test can determine whether or not you are anemic.  The treatment is eating more iron rich foods and taking iron supplements.
  3. Too Much Caffeine What?!  How can caffeine make you tired?  Apparently some people react to ingesting too much caffeine by feeling tired rather than wired.  If you drink more and more coffee but just feel more and more tired, you may be one of these people.  The only cure is to cut caffeine completely out of your diet.  :(
  4. Heart Disease If you notice that you feel extremely fatigued after doing something ordinary that never used to bother you, it might be a symptom of undiagnosed heart disease.  Notice that I highlighted might because I don’t want you to panic!  This is only one of many possible causes of tiredness but it is something your doctor might want to check out if she can’t find any other reason for your fatigue.

If you’ve been getting sufficient sleep and eating a healthy diet but your fatigue continues for more than a week, you might want to consider making an appointment with your doctor to find out if there’s another reason you’re so tired all the time.

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