Search

Angela Joy Health & Fitness

Tag

exercise

A Healthy Brain is just a Workout Away

BDNF Exercise

Did you know that your brain health is not definitive? Just because a family member has Alzheimer’s disease does not guarantee that you will too. There IS something you can do about it. Check out my latest article on Brain Health to learn more! 

By: Angela Joy

Increasing research is being done on brain health, specifically neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Recent findings have concluded that though there is no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or dementia, neurogenesis of the brain cells is possible! Confirming that brain health can be improved and potentially regenerated.

Neurogenesis is defined as the formation of new neurons in the brain, as stated by an article published by the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia. The article goes on to state that neuroscientists have discovered stem cells within adult brains, confirming that adult neurogenesis is now recognized as a “normal process that occurs in the healthy brain.”

The neurogenesis process can occur in any area of the brain, however in terms of its impact on neurodegenerative diseases specifically AD, the area of the brain we want to focus on most is the hippocampus. You may have heard of the hippocampus. It is a small organ in the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which is part of the limbic system. It regulates emotions, plays an important role in spatial navigation, in addition to its incredibly important role in memory (specifically long-term memory), among many other things.

 

 

 

 

In the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain that is affected. A recent study stated that “the hippocampus is one of the most affects areas in AD.” The study, published March 25, 2019 in the journal of Nature Medicine, discussed the process of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) and the correlation of AD development.

Hippo

Throughout the progression of the study it was discovered that “… the number and maturation of these neurons progressively declined as AD advanced.” In other words, as the neurons in the hippocampus formed, the development of Alzheimer’s disease declined. Furthermore, as Alzheimer’s disease developed in an individual it was concluded that hippocampal neuron development decreased.

Therefore, the study findings state that, “Restoration of normal levels of AHN in these patients emerges as a potential therapeutic approach to counteract the progression of this as yet incurable disease.”

BDNF Benefits

So, how can we promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus?

A 2016 study found that the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) can promote neurogenesis in addition to the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. BDNF, which is encoded by the BDNF gene, is a member of the neurotropic family of growth factors in the body, specifically the brain and periphery.

The study states that BDNF is “expressed in areas that are vital for learning, memory, and executive function (i.e. hippocampus, cortex and basal forebrain). It is also expressed in peripheral tissues such as kidneys and prostate and in blood and saliva.”

BDNF

In this 2016 study published in the American Academy of Neurology, the authors examined the expression of BDNF in the brains of 535 elderly participants annually for six years, measuring cognitive decline and dementia. Following their deaths, a neuropathic assessment was completed.

The results of the longitudinal study found that “high brain BDNF expression was associated with slower rate of cognitive decline during life.” The study measured BDNF levels among those with AD, dementia, and those with normal cognitive function. Those with Dementia expressed slower cognitive decline when higher levels of BDNF was present.

In summary, the study findings “promote the idea that increasing BDNF gene expression might be a reasonable therapeutic strategy for AD in humans.”

bdnf-2

How can we increase BDNF in humans?

Physical activity has been found to be one of the strongest methods associated with increased BDNF levels, thus decreasing rates of cognitive decline and dementia. Additional ways to increase BDNF and decrease cognitive decline include; social interaction and environmental enrichment.

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the book, “Brain Wash,” further discusses the impact of BDNF levels and brain health. In addition to his unwavering stance on the benefits of consistent exercise and brain health, he also recommends following a more ketogenic dietary approach (decreasing carbohydrate intake and reliance on high sugar foods), circumin/turmeric supplements, DHA in the form of wild caught fish or fish oil, optimal vitamin D levels (60-90), prebiotic-rich foods, and more.

BDNF-foods-630x315

In summary:

The consensus here is our brain health is not inevitable. There is something we can do about it. Our brain has the potential to regrow new neurons, thus improving memory.
Our first step, start exercising!

To learn more about your brain health, refer to the references listed below. Also, consider Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book, “The End of Alzheimer’s,” Dr. David Perlmutter’s book, “Brain Wash,” also the work of Dr. Daniel Amen. There are many more resources available on brain health and longevity, these are my favorites.

Brain Loves BDNF

References:

https://www.drperlmutter.com/can-our-brain-activity-affect-the-gene-expression-of-future-generations/

https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/brain-physiology/what-neurogenesis

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hippocampus-Functions.aspx

https://www.drperlmutter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/BDNF-reserve-Editorial-2016.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677569/

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise-64934

 

 

Why Do Pilates?

PIlates

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a low-impact and safe form of mind-body exercise. Pilates improves
overall body strength, posture, breathing, alignment and flexibility.

How is Pilates Beneficial?

Pilates is known to improve strength without the body taking a toll. The exercises
focus on movement quality opposed to the amount of repetitions or resistance.

Pilates can benefit everyone:

  •  Abdominal Strength
  •  Improves Posture
  •  Promotes Flexibility
  •  Improves Balance
  •  Confidence in Movements
  •  Creates Stability and Control
  •  Enjoyable and Relaxing
  •  Reduces Risk of Injury

Pilatess

Pilates Creates Increased Stability and Balance

Increased control and stability is important for older adults as it can help improve
functional movements including balance and posture. Pilates increases stability,
posture, strength and flexibility throughout the body, which can improve balance.

Pilates Creates a Strong Core and Straight Posture

Pilates exercises can develop a strong core (abs and back). Strong, lengthened abdominal and back muscles create fluid movements and a straight spine.

Long, Lean and Flexible Muscles are Formed

Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured. Pilates exercises train several muscle groups through smooth and continuous movements. Through the development of proper technique your muscles are trained to move in safe, efficient and functional motion.

*Information taken from http://www.Pilates.com

One-Week Whole Foods Cleanse: Meal Planning

Blog Post # 5: Meal Planning – What to Eat

This post is part of a series of blog post articles that will/are being posted throughout the week in preparation of the cleanse which will occur next week. You are welcome to join and/or follow along! Please notify me if you are interested in joining. I will be happy to offer assistance and guidance along the way! 
Contact: angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

Listed below I have created several options for daily meals plans that can be followed during the one-week of whole foods cleanse!

You can mix and match, or you can follow consistently.

Additionally, listed at the bottom are resources for additional whole foods recipes.

whole foodss

Meal Plan Examples:

Meal Plan – Provided by PCRM

Breakfast
3 oatmeal pancakes with applesauce topping, calcium-fortified orange juice, fresh fruitLunch
Black bean burritos

Dinner
Chinese stir-fry over brown rice: tofu chunks, broccoli, pea pods, water chestnuts, and Chinese cabbage (bok choy), cantaloupe chunks drizzled with fresh lime juice

Snack
Dried figs

Breakfast
1 cup oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, 1/2 cup fortified soymilk, 1 slice toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 grapefruitLunch
Whole wheat pita stuffed with hummus, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce, carrot sticks

Dinner
1 cup baked beans, baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed collard greens drizzled with lemon juice, baked apple

Snack
Banana soymilk shake

Meal Plan – Provided by Whole Foods

(Note: some recipes contain animal products) 

Breakfast

Lunch

Sunday

Hot Cereal; Fresh Fruit Roasted Veggie & Hummus Wraps; 100% Fruit Popsicles Carrot Cashew Spreadon Woven Wheats; Lentil Chili; Green Salad

Monday

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares; Fresh Fruit Lentil Chili; Salad with Peanut Orange Dressing Black Beans & Rice Extravaganza; Green Salad; Fresh Fruit

Tuesday

Green Smoothie; English Muffin with Nut Butter Green Pea GuacamoleWrap; Fresh Fruit Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup; Roasted Veggie Couscous; Green Salad

Wednesday

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares; Fresh Fruit Garbanzo & Veggie-Stuffed Pitas; Fresh Fruit Romantic Rice Bowl (for a vegan option, substitute portobello mushrooms for the chicken); Fresh Fruit Platter

Thursday

Fruit Smoothie; English Muffin with Nut Butter Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup; Romaine Salad Whole Grain Pasta with Greens & Beans; Green Salad; Fresh Fruit

Friday

Hot Cereal with Dried Fruit & Nuts Whole Grain Pasta with Greens & Beans; Veggies; Fruit Apple Cooked beans and Roasted Sweet Potatoes; Lemon Treats

Saturday

Loaded English Muffins; Fresh Fruit Salad Lentil Chili; Spinach Salad Layered Vegetable Enchiladas; Banana Nice Cream

Meal Recipe Ideas

Breakfast:

Lunch:

 

Dinner:

Snacks:

  • Apple slices with nut butter
  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits, especially raisins
  • Applesauce or other fruit cups
  • Nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
  • Soy yogurt
  • Individual boxes of soymilk, rice milk, or fruit juices
  • Breadsticks or pita chips with hummus
  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Homemade muffins or cornbread
  • Ramen soup with added vegetables
  • Fresh soybeans (edamame)
  • Tofu hot dogs
  • Tortilla chips with bean dip
  • Cheerios, granola, or other cereal in a bag
  • Toasted whole-grain breads or crackers with fruit spread or nut butters
  • Graham crackers or gingersnaps dipped in applesauce
  • Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Frozen bananas blended with a little non-dairy milk
  • Chopped raw vegetables and dip

Desserts:

 

Resources for Recipes and Information:

Oh She Glows

Happy Herbivore

Cookie & Kate

PCRM

Love & Lemons

Greatist.com

Whole Foods Cleanse

Will you join me in this special one-week cleanse?

  • Who: YOU are invited to participate?
  • What: One-Week Cleanse made up of primarily whole foods, no processed or packaged foods.
  • When: Monday, February 29 – Sunday, March 6
  • Additional information and instruction will be provided throughout the week.
  • Free guidance and support will be offered, by me, as needed 🙂
*Note: This cleanse does not include any animal products. If you choose to consume animal products during the cleanse that is up to you. However, I do suggest that you choose to refrain from consuming animal products during the cleanse and determine how your body feels upon completion of the cleanse* 

Please contact Angela Joy with any questions or concerns! If you are interested in participating, please contact Angela Joy at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

❤ Sending you love, joy, blessings and health,

Angela Joy xo

One-Week Whole Foods Cleanse: Tips for Cleansing

Blog Post # 3: Tips for Following the One-Week Cleanse

This post is part of a series of blog post articles that will/are being posted throughout the week in preparation of the cleanse which will occur next week. You are welcome to join and/or follow along! Please notify me if you are interested in joining. I will be happy to offer assistance and guidance along the way!
Contact: angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

whoole foods

Tips to Follow: The One-Week of Whole Food, Healthy Eating Cleanse

  1. Eat WHOLE foods – A whole food is a food that was created in nature – nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. Decrease/diminish processed and packaged foods from your diet during the cleanse
  2. Remove Sugars & Empty Calories – Refrain from eating foods with added sugars or that contain little to no nutrients (nutrient-deficient foods). During a cleanse you should be eating nutrient dense foods that only contain natural sugars created in the Earth.
    1. Example; An apple: No added sugars, no added ingredients, nutrient dense, grown on the Earth, Ingredients=Apple
  3. Read Food Labels – Read your food labels! Choose foods that contain five ingredients or less. If you cannot pronounce the food ingredient, your body cannot understand and assimilate it, therefore you should not be eating it. Choose ingredients that were created on the Earth, not in a laboratory.
  4. Start Cooking – Begin eating meals that you, or a friend made at home, this way you know what the foods contain. You will not be eating any miscellaneous foods, ingredients, added salt, sugar or oil.
  5. Snack Healthy– Don’t go long periods of time without eating. It is suggested that you eat something every 3-4 hours to prevent your blood sugar from dropping between meals. A drop in blood sugar creates unhealthy hormone reactions causing anger, frustration, binging, and cravings. Snack on fruits, vegetables, and/or grains between meals.
  6. Quality over quantity – Be aware of the quality of your food rather than the quantity. So many people cut down their portions, carbohydrates and meals, however they don’t consider the nutrient quality of their foods whatsoever. Nutrient-dense foods support our body function, which is the purpose of eating. Choose foods that are organic, fresh, in-season and nutrient dense!
    1. Organic
    2. Fresh
    3. In-season
    4.  Nutrient-Dense
  7. Balance Meals– When choosing a meal remember to balance the meal with a healthy amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Meals that contain a health amount of protein, fats and complex carbohydrates will keep you feeling full and fulfilled. A healthy balance will also prevent a drop in blood sugar levels, tiredness, brain fog and constant snacking.
    1. Protein: Tempeh, Legumes, Tofu, Nuts, Seeds, Green Sea Vegetables
    2. Fats: Avocado, Nuts, Seeds, Healthy Oils
    3. Complex Carbohydrates: Oats, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes
  8. Transition Into The Cleanse – Do not go from one extreme to the next. Depending upon where you are take one step towards a ‘cleaner’ diet each day. Every day you are able to make a change is a success! This transition process is gradual and will prevent any dramatic detox reaction within your body.
  9. Track your Progress – Keep track of what you eat during your cleanse and how your body reacts to it. Write down what works and what doesn’t. Be aware of the foods that bother you, create bloating, give you energy, improve memory, improve mood, etc. Keep progress of each accomplishment that you make, the foods you eat, how your body reacts to different foods and how foods make you feel. Write this down after every meal, or at the end of the day.

Additional Benefits of a Whole Foods Cleanse:

  1. Whole foods actually fill you up and fuel you, whereas empty calories – like those found in candy and chips – fill a mental craving but don’t physically fill you up. Your mindset will improve when you switch over to whole foods since it’s hard to feel guilty after filling up on genuine nutrients.
  2. Whole foods also regulate cholesterol levels and ward off cancer, dementia, and a plethora of other conditions. In addition, the high fiber content of fruits, vegetables, and grains keeps the digestive system in tip-top shape, which is essential to optimal health.
  3. Eating whole foods ensures you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients and minerals like vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, and more. Whole foods boast incredible nutrition profiles, and it’s best to eat a wide range of all the recommended foods to ensure any nutritional void is filled. Sure, you could pop vitamins in pill form all day, but nutrients are much more available to you – and more readily absorbed – when consumed through food.
  4. Clean eating is defined differently based upon the dietary theories that people choose to follow. However, the principle of eating ‘clean’ is one that should be followed by everyone seeking to improve their health.

Whole Foods Cleanse

 

Will you join me in this special one-week cleanse?

      • Who: YOU are invited to participate?
      • What: One-Week Cleanse made up of primarily whole foods, no processed or packaged foods.
      • When: Monday, February 29 – Sunday, March 6
      • Additional information and instruction will be provided throughout the week.
      • Free guidance and support will be offered, by me, as needed 🙂
*Note: This cleanse does not include any animal products. If you choose to consume animal products during the cleanse that is up to you. However, I do suggest that you choose to refrain from consuming animal products during the cleanse and determine how your body feels upon completion of the cleanse* 

Please contact Angela Joy with any questions or concerns! If you are interested in participating, please contact Angela Joy at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

❤ Sending you love, joy, blessings and health,

Angela Joy xo

Inspiring Thoughts and a Positive Outlook on Life

I was generously asked by blog writer Michael of “The Pantsless Bear” blog to provide my input on several health and wellness-related topics.

I have included the questions and responses below for you to read through.

I am incredibly grateful that Michael has asked me to share my input on these topics.

Through each response my intention was to inspire and motivate positive change within each of my readers ❤

If you have any additional questions, or would like to conduct and interview with me for your blog, please comment below. Or, send me an email at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Positivity

Q: You mention that it’s important to ‘live in the moment.’ This is a philosophy preached by both traditional buddhists and new-age mystics alike. The problem with ‘living in the moment’ is that people can’t seem to stop thinking about the past or the future. You advised people to ‘put their cameras away,’ which was wonderful, but what other things can they do to stay ‘centred?’

A: Living in the moment is a feeling that many of us have lost touch with. As a result of the technology and quickly moving world that we live in, our minds are usually off somewhere else while we are currently engaged in a task.

Many of us do not even realize this is happening. In an effort to encourage this behavior, society has idolized multitasking. We often hear others state how they were able to complete three tasks at once in a matter of only several minutes. This is great, but did you complete that task to the best of your ability? Do you even remember actually completing the task? Were you present during the task, or absent focusing on the next task at hand?

Multi-tasking is causing us to spread ourselves thin and lose sight of what is important in life.

An example to better explain my statement is when you see someone photographing a moment rather than experiencing it.

My best advice for those seeking to become more present in their lives is to first recognize what it means to be present. Understand the concept of being present and why it is important.

Then you can begin to recognize when you are not present.

This recognition alone will help you to reconnect with yourself, your actions and thoughts – while learning to enjoy and remember important moments in your lifeJ


Q: Whenever I eat cake at work I feel awful afterwards. Why do we seem to ‘crash’ after eating heavily refined foods such as cake and pasta?

A: When we eat refined foods that are high in sugar and lacking in nutrients our bodies go into a bit of a shock, which is followed by a low. This process is better known as hypoglycemina.

Foods that contain fiber and nutrition take much longer to be digested and absorbed into the body. Refined foods that are high in sugar do not contain much, other than sugar. Therefore they are broken down and absorbed by the body very quickly. This quick absorption process causes the blood sugar to spike up high – your hormones love it, your taste buds love it, and you feel great. Then the blood sugar drops. You feel tired, sluggish and unhappy. This is due to the jolt that the body just experienced leaving your hormones completely out of whack and your body craving more sugar.

In an effort to prevent this from occurring we should make every effort to consume foods that serve our body’s needs, and are made up of nutrition and fiber. Our bodies need food that contains nutritional value, vitamins, minerals and fiber to allow them to function at peak levels .

Although most of us do not like to believe this; food was created to serve our body, not just our taste buds. The food we eat becomes our cells, organs, skin, hair, and nails. If we want strong organs, blood, bones, hair and nails we must consume foods that support their functioning, not deprave them of what they need – which is what highly refined, sugar-filled foods do.

Berrries

Q: You preach a common phrase repeated among gurus in the wellness community that people should ‘love themselves.’ As much as it’s a good, marketable phrase, it’s not very practical. What does ‘loving yourself’ mean and how can people learn to love themselves?’

Loving yourself is waking up in the morning, staring in the mirror, and smiling at the person staring back at you. This may sound absurd, and even impossible for some, but by all means loving yourself is possible!

We are all wonderful and amazing human beings who were created for a specific reason and purpose. Yes, YOU were created for a very special purpose.

If you do not agree with me, and you do not think that your body is not all that great, then think about this:

–          Every second your body is producing 25 million new cells

–          A red blood cell moves through your body in less than 20 seconds

–          Your nerve impulses travel at a speed of 249 miles per hour.

–          Your heart beats 100,000 times every day – which is 30 million times per year!

–          Your blood travels 60,000 miles through the body every day!

–          Your lungs inhale two million liters of air every day – without you ever stopping to think about it.

–          One square inch of your hand contains nine feet of blood vessels, 600 pain sensors, 9,000 serve ending, 36 heat sensors and 75 pressure sensors.

Still think you are unimportant, useless, ugly, boring, uninteresting? I do not think so.

YOU, not anyone else, was created at the specific moment that your father’s sperm entered your mother’s egg. This is not by chance.

So what isn’t to love?

Your body is such a gift. Cherish your gift, love it, feed it and move it – and in return it will take care of you.

Self car and love

Q: Many of our married friends are 30 pushing 70. One unnamed 32 year old individual looks rather like Prince Phillip (the old Prince Phillip, not the young one). People seem to get settled into married life and find themselves on the couch every night eating mountains of choc-coated almonds. Why do you think some people in long term relationships discard health and wellbeing?

A: Regardless of age people find themselves becoming complacent. They have all that they need to get by, therefore they choose to live their current life (regardless of the monotony and unhappiness that they may be feeling) because they are afraid of change, they don’t know how to make a change, or they are so tired and stressed that they can’t even bear the thought of doing something different.

The biggest of these three that I have mentioned, I truly believe, is stress.

We are under constant stress from all areas of our lives. When it comes time to think about making changes or doing something out of the ordinary we are afraid this will create more work which we cannot handle (or, feel like we cannot handle because we are so overwhelmed).

This is better known as burnout.

Burnout is felt in all aspects of our life.

We feel so overwhelmed that we do not see how we could possible find the time to exercise, eat healthy, make dinner, spend quality time with friends and family, or do anything else that supports our well-being.

The truth of the matter is; you have time for whatever you WANT to make time for.

What do you consider your priorities in life? These are the things that get done. If health and wellness is not a priority in your life it will be ignored and you will spend valuable years of your life sitting on a couch eating ice cream.

Every day YOU choose how you will spend your day. Every day you have a choice.

If you want to change, you have to truly want to make that change.

If you make change a priority, you will have time for it.

Healthy Food

Q: As a fitness and wellbeing writer, what are your thoughts on the various illnesses that affect obese people, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Are refined foods really responsible for the rise in these illnesses?

A: Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the many digestive issues that people are facing all over the world.

The health of our digestive system is one of the most important components of our bodies. When our digestive system is not functioning properly our entire body will begin to function improperly – because it is not able to fully absorb and digest the nutrients our body needs correctly.

While there are other areas of life that also impact our health and digestion (stress, lifestyle, environmental exposures, and much more) diet and exercise is a large piece to the puzzle.

If someone is facing a digestive issue the first thing they should do is seek guidance to improve the health of their gut through a nutrient-rich diet, filled with healthy gut bacteria (probiotics).

Probiotics offer the body healthy bacteria which supports digestive health. Anyone facing any type of digestive issue should consider a healthy dose of probiotics which can be consumed through their food and through supplements.

Q: So I tried to lose weight through long distance walking, but found it utterly useless and not tiresome at all. In fact, I came to the realisation that the forced marching of POW’s in WWII wouldn’t have been nearly as traumatic as the so called ‘survivors’ say it was. So why is a 20-30 minute run is so much more beneficial to a 4 hour walk?

A: When the body walks at a steady, comfortable pace the metabolic system is not really altered.

When the body picks up the pace for a jog the heart pumps faster, the lungs pump more oxygen, healthy hormones are released, the body sweats out toxins, and much more. This process supports weight loss. A steady state walk will strengthen the leg’s slow twitch muscle fibers while slightly improving the cardiorespiratory system. The same benefits are possible when walking, although on a much smaller scale that may not be noticeable.

If you are hoping to lose weight try adding in job intervals. Pick up the pace for only a few seconds at a time throughout the walk. Get the heart rate up and push yourself to the point that you want to stop. Try to continue these bursts of fast walking or jogging throughout your walk, and each time you go for a walk try to jog a little longer.

Over time you will build up your cardiorespiratory ability, your heart will begin pumping more blood, happy hormones will be released, you will work up a little sweat, and you will build up strength. Intervals will help support weight loss. Steady state exercise is nowhere as effective.

Running

Q: During long bike rides, I’ve often found myself ruminating on why certain friends didn’t show up to my birthday last year. Finally, when the exercise is done, I return home in a worse mood than when I left. Our minds can be chaotic, especially when the body is under great physical stress. So how does someone manage their thoughts while training?

A: Try to focus on the positives!

When we endure long bouts of exercise we have time to think. You can use this time to think about anything you would like.

Your thoughts could be positive or negative. If you find yourself constantly thinking of negative thoughts this may be a sign to you that you have some negativity you are holding on to which is preventing you from being positive.

Work through the negativity and make an effort to find the good. Find the good in the situation, the upside, the positive, the other side of the coin.

Find a way to turn a bad situation into a good one. You are on a long ride, why not take the time to brainstorm.

Believe it or not this is an incredibly healthy process. You are on the right track.

Long bike rides are the perfect time to connect with your true self. Try to make the experience a positive one.

Positive

Q: Okay, this is an important one. What can you tell us about the importance of gut bacteria for both physical health and mental wellbeing?

A: As I mentioned earlier, our gut health is incredibly important for our overall health. Gut health is linked to our body’s functioning as well as our thoughts, actions and moods.

The gut is commonly referred to as the second brain.

When the gut is unhealthy, food is not properly digested, and food is not moving through quickly – our brain often times becomes foggy and slow moving as well, creating lethargy, lack of motivation and a drop in our mood.

If you want to feel better, have more energy, and improve your mood and outlook on life, improve the health of your digestive system. This can be done by eating healthy WHOLE foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes) that have not been altered and no ingredients have been added to them. Try crowding in these fresh, whole foods in an effort to crowd out unhealthy, processed foods that were made in a factory.

If the food was made in a factory and not from the ground, it will not support a healthy body and gut.

To supercharge the health of your gut, try these six tips:

  1. Eat fresh whole foods that are high in water content
  2. Drink 1 full glass of water in the morning, at lunch, and at dinner
  3. Exercise! Move the body and release toxins
  4. Sleep 7-8 hours per night
  5. Consume a probiotic-rich diet, or supplement
  6. Drink hot water or tea to promote positive gut flora

GBOMBSd

Q: I particularly enjoyed your post ‘Your Guide to Nutrition Packed Foods’ and found that providing professional advice from a real physician to be invaluable. Many quacks on the internet provide ‘expert evidence,’ advising people that formulated ‘weight loss drinks’ and expensive vitamin pills are the key to lasting health. Is supplementation really necessary or can we get everything we need essential vegetables?

A: For the most part we can get what we need from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes.

However, based on the location you live and the foods you have access to, or the resources you have access to, it may be difficult to obtain all of the nutrients your body needs.

For example, I live in New Jersey (in America) and during the winter it is very difficult for me to absorb the amount of vitamin D that I need. Therefore, I supplement this nutrient.

I chose to supplement this nutrient because I know that I am deficient in it. I recommend that anyone interested in purchasing a supplement, first go to their doctor and request a full panel blood test to determine which nutrients they are deficient or low in.

Request that your hormone levels are checked as well as all of your vitamin and mineral levels.

Once you receive the results check to see what areas you are lacking.

Once you learn what you are lacking make an effort to eat foods that are high in this nutrient – while also supplementing.

Health Happy

Q: Finally, what is your philosophy on life?

A: My philosophy is to live every single say with gratefulness. Everything that I do, say, or think is based on the notion that I am grateful to be alive, to have all that I was given, to do all that I can do, and to have achieved all that I have achieved. Every day is a miracle! If take the time to remember this we will begin to see the positive and wonderful aspects of our life, as well as the world around us.

I also truly believe that everything happens for a reason and we were all created for a specific and divine purpose.

Our mission in life is to discover that purpose and live it out to the best of our ability each day.

My purpose is to deliver joy to others. My name is Angela Joy; which translates to ‘messenger of joy.’ Before ever thinking of the meaning of my name I knew that I wanted to bring happiness into the lives of others (regardless of if it was through a smile, holding the door, or offering a kind word).Years later I put the two together and realized that this indeed is my purpose! I couldn’t be more grateful ❤

Take a moment and ponder the thought; what is your purpose? What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing? What brings you joy and fulfillment?

 

I loved the opportunity to share with all of you. If you enjoyed my responses and would like to connect with me, please email me at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com, follow my blog at www.angelajoyhealthfitness.com, or follow me on Facebook AngelaJoyHealth&Fitness.

Please share your thoughts, reactions and feedback below. I look forward to hearing and connecting with you! 

 

❤ Sending you love, joy and blessings,

xo Angela Joy

Why I Eat Healthy & Exercise?

Over the weekend I took the time and questioned myself, “Why do I live my current lifestyle?”

“Why do I choose to eat healthy food, refrain from eating unhealthy foods, exercise daily, express positive emotions and acts, surround myself with positive and supportive people? Why do I do these things?”

It is so easy to just eat whatever you want. It is easy to hang out with people who have been in your life for years, regardless of how they make you feel. It is easy to stay in that relationship. It is easy to stay in your current job, even though it sucks all of your energy. It is easy to just go to the school close by. It is easy to not exercise. Most importantly, it is easy to stay here. Here in this comfort zone that we are living in every day — afraid of change, growth and development.

BUT, should life really be easy? Are we helping ourselves?
Or, are we actually putting our lives on hold and preventing our real life
from happening?

Grateful heart

I live a every day with gratefulness.

Growing up in a hardworking, middle class family nothing was handed to us. Everything that I received my dad would ask me, “Is this something that you need?” Early on I distinguished the difference between a need and a want.

I watched every morning as my father went out to work in the wee hours of the day, returning late at night — tired, hungry, lacking ambition and full of frustration.

He gave his job his all – every day. There wasn’t a day he stayed home, no matter how sick or hurt he was. Even as a young child I realized this. We needed the money and he worked his butt off to provide it for us. He wanted us to live good lives. He wanted us to have what we needed. And for that I was grateful.

In addition, my family taught me the love of God, instilling values of gratefulness, appreciation, love, honesty and purity within me.

They taught me these beautiful values through their actions. Growing up I watched as they took in strangers needing a place to stay, donated food to the poor, donated money to children overseas, given rides to homeless and poor people, and basically given the shirts off their backs to anyone in need whenever possible even if they did not have it to give.

I have witnessed people who have nothing, and their gratefulness for so little, therefore I spend my days remembering that for any “bad” thing that happens there is always someone who has it worse and they are getting through it with less.
Grateful choiceGrateful thoughtGrateful day

As a result I wake up every single day with gratefulness.

No matter what is going on every single morning I remind myself that:

I am grateful.

  • I am grateful for my parents
  • grateful for our house
  • grateful for food
  • grateful for a bed
  • grateful for a job
  • grateful for clothes
  • grateful for my health, body and mind
  • and grateful to be alive

Therefore, as my connection to this mindset heightened over the years I became more and more conscious of the foods I eat, the people I surround myself with, the activities that I do, the movies I watch, the words I say – and overall the way that I live.

Grateful for body

I make every effort that I can to live the best,healthiest, happiest life that I possibly can.

Not because I want to be skinny, or look good, or feel good – really because I am so grateful for this life and I want to show God and the world that I am appreciative.

My body is a gift. I love my body. Every ounce of it. I am thankful for all that is does for me each and every day — regardless of how it looks.

As a result I make every effort to treat my body well giving it healthy nutritious food, love, support, care and exercise. ❤ 

This is my reasoning. It was incredibly eye opening to come to this realization. And, hopefully it was inspiring for you as well. ❤

*Every single life on this Earth is precious.

*Every single person has a specific purpose and plan.

*We were all placed on this Earth for a reason.

*It is your responsibility to live your life the best that you can in an effort to discover your purpose and live it out.

Reflection:

Take some time to ponder these questions and feel free to share below. I would LOVE to hear from you. You are also welcome to email me any time at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

  • Why do you live the way that you do?
    • Could a positive outlook improve your lifestyle and choices?
  • What is your purpose on this Earth?
    • What are your strengths and passions?

Please share your thoughts and reactions below! Sending you positive thoughts and actions today ❤

Positive gratefulPositiitvePositive let go

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

 

Angela Joy xo

Tips on proper hydration and electrolyte consumption

By: Angela Joy

As summer sets in, many are preparing to take their exercise routines outdoors. However, before you head outside for your next run, bike ride or even basketball game, make sure you are properly hydrated.

The heat of the outdoor sun combined with the movement of our body causes our skin to perspire water and minerals. We sweat out water and minerals to cool the body down, preventing heat exhaustion.

To properly restore the water and minerals lost through our skin, you can follow these helpful tips that will include; the adequate amount of water to drink; the electrolytes needed for proper body functioning; as well as natural, organic electrolyte sources.

What are electrolytes? 

The minerals we lose through sweat commonly known as electrolytes.

According to the online healthcare publishing company Medical News Today [MNT], electrolytes are defined as any substance that contains free ions that behave as an electrically conductive medium.

Electrolytes are made up of minerals including sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate.

According to the Medical News Today article titled, “What are electrolytes,” humans cannot function without proper electrolyte levels.

“Electrolytes regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure and the rebuilding of damaged tissue,” Medical News Today stated in the 2014 article.

Not properly restoring electrolyte levels in the body during or after exercise can lead to dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramping and more.

In an effort to prevent dehydration amongst athletes and exercise enthusiasts, the American College of Sports Medicine [ACSM] created proper hydration standards.

The ACSM suggests that those exercising outdoors, or for long periods of time, replenish the amount of fluid lost, as well as the electrolytes lost, during exercise.

According to ACSM, the amount of fluids and electrolytes each person should consume will depend upon the individual, the amount of sweat perspired, and the length or exertion level of their exercise.

Water

Photo taken from girlsgotsole.com

Tips for avoiding dehydration

To avoid dehydration, the ACSM suggests that those participating in exercise drink 16 to 20 fluid ounces of water, or a sports beverage, at least four hours before exercise with and additional 8 to 12 fluid ounces of water consumed 10 to 15 minutes before exercise.

During exercise, the ACSM suggests that exercisers drink three to eight fluid ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising less than 60 minutes.

Running water

Photo taken from getactivetampa.com

If exercise is longer than 60 minutes, the ACSM suggests that those partaking in exercise consume three to eight fluid ounces of a sport beverage, made up of carbohydrates and electrolytes, every 15 to 20 minutes.

The ACSM warns that those exercising do not drink more than one quart of liquids per hour, to avoid over-hydrating.

Once exercise is completed, the ACSM suggests that those partaking in exercise estimate their fluid losses, then restore the full amount lost within two hours of exercise.

According to the ACSM, if you were to feel very thin after a bout of exercise, this is the result of fluid loss and not weight loss — therefore the steps to properly restore the body’s fluids should be taken as soon as possible.

Tips for properly restoring electrolytes 

Proper hydrating fluids generally include a carbohydrate [glucose] that also offers electrolyte minerals.

The ACSM stated that a liquid that includes a carbohydrate, or sugar, will replenish the lost glycogen in the muscles — preventing cramps and assisting with muscle recovery.

The ACSM suggests that during exercise the beverage consumed should contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium.

Natural electrolyte options

Proper hydration restoration can be found in some standard sports drinks, however, in an effort to avoid white granulated sugar and unknown ingredients I chose whole, organic foods and drinks.

As I prepare for a long run, I pack my water bottle with diluted organic coconut water [two parts water, one part coconut water].

Other electrolyte-filled natural options include lemon water with honey and a touch of salt, orange-infused water or electrolyte-filled snacks.

My favorite go-to electrolyte-packed foods to eat during a run include: bananas, raisins and oranges.

Electrolyte 2

Photo courtesy of Angela Joy

Each of these foods contain electrolytes and carbohydrate to allow your body to properly restore the lost water and minerals levels – while also providing needed energy to sustain you.

Most fruits and vegetables contain electrolytes and are filled with water, allowing most raw fruit and vegetables to also serve as a great electrolyte-packed choice.

Group of different fruit and vegetables

Photo taken from enjoyagreatlife.com

Aside from natural foods, there are also many items available to purchase that offer electrolytes. Options include salt tablets, electrolyte-filled chews and gu, as well as electrolyte tablets and powders.

Vega

Photo taken from shopmyvega.com

(If I were to purchase a electrolyte item instead of eating it through food, I would purchase it from the Vega company)

I personally favor natural foods during my runs. However, if a supplement or tablet is more appealing to you, give it a try!

Since incorporating coconut water into my workout routines I have felt much more energy, I have been able to recover more quickly and I have completely avoided brain fog towards the end of my runs.

Coconut water

Photo taken from makecoffee.com

I inspire you to be stronger than your excuses – start exercising for at least a few minutes each day, gradually increase your rate each week, and never give up on yourself.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up,” Ultramarathon champion Dean Karrnazes said.

Remember, hydration is incredibly important — even if you are not an exercise enthusiast. We all should be conscious of our water consumption and never wait till we are thirsty to start drinking water.

Coconut Water Tip: When choosing the type of coconut water that you are going to consume, follow the Food Babe’s advice on the healthiest, purest options –>http://bit.ly/1l3r61i

Best,

Angela Joy

Originally published in Night & Day Magazine

Training Workouts to Increase Speed and Endurance

By: Angela Joy

As a runner, it is only natural to come to a point where you want to see improvement.

Some runners seek to run further distances while other runners seek to run at faster speeds.

Regardless of your goal, I have listed below several types of workouts to incorporate into your training routine to improve your overall speed and endurance.

Running

Image taken from talkfeed.co

TRAINING TIPS
One of the best ways to increase your speed and endurance is to create a change in your current exercise routine.

Several well-known workouts that improve speed include the fartlek run, the tempo run and interval training. Workouts that will improve endurance include long distance and hill workouts.

Each workout has its own challenges that will build strength, ultimately improving running ability.

Speed

Image taken from: realbuzz.com

SPEED WORKOUTS
The fartlek, tempo and interval workouts are each different forms of speed runs.

Personal trainer and running coach Jenny Hadfield, better known RunnersWorld.com’s Coach Jenny, explains the differences between the three.

The fartlek run is defined by its Swedish meaning, speed play.

Ms. Hadfield explains a fartlek run as an unstructured workout that varies between moderate to difficult running paces, for different amounts of time.

While completing a fartlek workout, the runner can alternate between faster and slower speeds for short periods of time – such as to that tree or to that sign – followed by slower recovery pace.

“The goal is to keep it free-flowing so you’re untethered to the watch or a plan, and to run at harder efforts but not a specific pace,” Ms. Hadfield stated in a RunnersWorld.com article.

The fartlek run is a stress-free enjoyable run that will improve speed, stamina and mental strength, Ms. Hadfield explains.

The length and speed of the workout and should depend on personal running ability and goals.

An interval workout is quite similar to a fartlek run, however it does include structure.

During an interval workout the athlete will transition between intervals of fast and moderate running for set amounts of time, Ms. Hadfield stated.

An example of interval running is to run for five minutes as a moderate pace, followed by an increase in speed for 30 seconds, consecutively for 20 to 30 minutes.

Interval training transitions between low and high intensity. The result of this form of exercise is increased endurance and strength, creating increased speed and running ability.

Interval training is also known for its ability to aid in weight loss due to the increase and decrease in intensity.

The third form of speed training is the tempo workout.

The tempo workout consists of a warm up, followed by a high intensity speed run without rest, and completed with a cool down.

Ms. Hadfield compares the workout to an Oreo cookie. The warm up and the cool down are the cookie, the increase in speed is the cream in the middle, she explained.

A tempo run is often completed by an athlete either once or twice a week, due to its difficulty level.

The average duration of a tempo run is to maintain a high intensity pace for 20 minutes. The length of time the athlete will run should be determined by on athletic ability.

In my training experience I have found that incorporating a tempo run every week, or every other week, makes a large impact on running speed and endurance ability.

If you are new to running, it is best to begin with fartlek runs followed by slowly easing into interval runs and once you are fully prepared, beginning to incorporate a tempo workouts.

Through each form of training, the athlete will see improved speed mental strength, endurance and improved performance.  

Long Distance

Image taken from: popsugar.com

ENDURANCE WORKOUTS
Aside from speed workouts, runners can also the incorporate long distance and hill workouts.

These runs are challenging which often causes most people to shy away.

One of the most common reasons runners will shy away is due to lack of confidence and fear.

If you are a short distance speed athlete a long distance run by seem ridiculous.

However, increasing distance will increase endurance, creating the ability to withstand a faster pace for a longer period of time.

A long distance run does not have to be 10 or 20 miles.

Long distance can mean a variety of distances to different people.

Beginners may see three miles as long distance, while an experienced runner may see 26 miles as a long run.

The key here is to increase distance to your current workout – wherever that may be.

The long distance run can be done at a slow or moderate speed – depending on athletic ability.

A hill workout is one that is common among more serious, dedicated runners.

Running up a hill allows the body to utilize different muscles than when running on a flat distance.

This effort can be much more difficult for runners, which is what builds strength and endurance.

One form of hill training is known as the Jack and Jill run. The run consists of going up a hill at a fast pace and coming down the hill at a slow, recovery pace.

Incorporating hill runs into your training routine will create confidence as a runner. It is will also build new leg muscle, ultimately improving running ability.

Both of these workouts are great to incorporate in an exercise routine. They break up the monotony and can be both rewarding and enjoyable.

WHERE TO BEGIN
A new workout, such as the ones explained in this article, should be incorporated into a training routine once or twice a week. Anything more may cause injury.

Choosing the type of run that you would like to incorporate into your running routine will depend on the type of workouts that you enjoy, your fitness level, and your fitness goal.

Be sure that when incorporating a new form of running you stretch properly and give your body adequate rest.

Important: To avoid injury, remember that any new exercise will create new stress on the body which must be fully recovered from with rest, proper nutrition, and stretching.

Tofu and kale

Stretch

Image taken from: espn.go.com

MOTIVATION
To motivate you to push harder and run faster during your next workout, refer to one of Oprah Winfrey’s greatest quotes: “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”

Your outcome will be determined by your efforts. The more you try, the better you will become – each step at a time.

Motivation

You can do this!! 

Run motivation

I thought this was cute 😉

Angela Joy: If you give these workouts a try, let me know how it works out! I am doing a tempo run today for 30 minutes — I am ready 🙂 

-Angela Joy

Originally published in Night & Day Magazine

The health benefits of mangoes — Also a great post-run recovery food

By: Angela Joy

After returning for a long, hard run one of my favorite foods to consume is a delicious and nutritious mango.

Mango with lobules on a white background

The sweet, juicy flavor and high water content fulfill my post run cravings, while also restoring my depleted carbohydrate and protein stores.

After doing a little research about my favorite fruit I discovered that the mango is a powerhouse full of vitamins and nutrition – along with spectacular flavor.

According to Medical News Today, the mango contains over 20 vitamins and minerals, is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world and it has been found to decrease the risk of macular degeneration and colon cancer while improving digestion, bone health and growth of skin and hair.

Medical News Today found that within 100 calories of mango, the fruit offers: 

  • 1 gram of protein
  • .5 grams of fat
  • 25 grams of carbohydrates
  • 100 percent of daily vitamin C needs
  • 35 percent of daily vitamin A needs
  • 20 percent of daily Folate needs
  • 10 percent of daily vitamin B6 needs
  • 8 percent of daily vitamin K and potassium needs

The informative medical website further concluded that mangoes offer minerals such as copper, calcium and iron. They are also a great source of antioxidants, which fight off cancer.

Eating Mangoes After Exercising

After completing a run the most common fruit eaten is a banana– and for good reason. The banana is fantastic.

However, I like to change things up. I am also very thirsty after a run, therefore consuming foods with a high water content serves me well.

Some of the benefits to eating a mango specifically after a run or workout include the carbohydrates, amino acids, sodium and potassium available.

During exercise:

While undergoing exercise the body burns energy and releases sweat.

To create the energy burned, the cells must bind together protein, fat and carbohydrates.

To create sweat, the body needs sodium.

After exercise:

Once a workout or form of exercise is completed, the body must restore the utilized protein, carbohydrates, fats and sodium – that was burned.

What is amazing about the mango is that it offers protein, carbohydrates, fats and sodium (not large amounts of each, but it does however offer it).

The chart below was taken from the United Stated Department of Agriculture National Nutrient database, and listed on the nutrition-and-you.com website.

Nutrition Value per 100 g of Mango
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
*Energy 70 Kcal 3.5%
*Carbohydrates 17 g 13%
*Protein 0.5 g 1%
*Total Fat 0.27 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.80 g 4.5%
Vitamins
Folates 14 µg 3.5%
Niacin 0.584 mg 3.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.160 mg 1%
Pyridoxine (vit B-6) 0.134 mg 10%
Riboflavin 0.057 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.058 mg 5%
Vitamin C 27.7 mg 46%
Vitamin A 765 IU 25.5%
Vitamin E 1.12 mg 7.5%
Vitamin K 4.2 µg 3.5%
Electrolytes
*Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 156 mg 3%
Minerals
Calcium 10 mg 1%
Copper 0.110 mg 12%
Iron 0.13 mg 1.5%
Magnesium 9 mg 2%
Manganese 0.027 mg 1%
Zinc 0.04 mg 0%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-β 445 µg
Carotene-α 17 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β 11 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg
Lycopene 0 µg

 Infograph taken from: nutrition-and-you.com

(Stars were added to the graph to emphasize the areas in mangoes that are beneficial to athletes after a workout) 

Essential Amino Acids in Mangoes

Mangoes are also one of the few fruits that offers such a great amount of essential the amino acids (the building blocks of protein in the body’s cells).

According to Chem4kids.com, amino acids are used in every cell of your body. The amino acids build/create protein in each cell – which we use in order to function (especially when exercising).

There are over 50 amino acids in the body – however, only 20 of them are actually used to create proteins, Chem4kids.com further explains.

Of the 20 amino acids utilized to create protein, nine are “essential.”

The difference between essential and non-essential is that the body has the ability to synthesize 11 of the 20 amino acids.

The body cannot, however, create the remaining nine amino acids (Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine).

As a result, the nine were named the essential amino acids – because they body needs to consume them in order to create long chains of amino acids (protein).

Like the human body, plant foods also do not contain all nine amino acids. They do however offer different varieties of the nine.

The only “food” that humans can consume with all nine amino acids is foods derived from animals. Foods from an animal (meat, eggs, dairy) contain all nine because amino acids have been broken down and synthesized inside of the animal to create a complete protein.

Many people often argue that a diet without the consumption of animal products is unhealthy because of the lack of protein.

The truth however, is that the body has the ability to breakdown and synthesize all of the amino acids it has consumed throughout the day to form a complete protein.

The best way to understand this is, say I eat fruit for breakfast, peanut butter for a snack, pasta for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner – I never consumed animal products, although my body would have all nine essential amino acids.

The body takes the amino acids from each food consumed and combines them – creating a complete protein (all 20 amino acids).

After my run:

20150330_124508 (1)

I consume one whole mango (two if available).

I will first drink water, then cut up the mango into cubes and eat it.

Mangoes can be eaten, raw, in a smoothie, mashed, or even mixed into meals to add flavor.

My favorite is to consume the mango whole and enjoy each of the outrageous and rewarding flavors (they taste 10 times better after a long run). 

Depending on the length of my run and the amount of calories burned, I will also consume a protein smoothie and a piece of toast with peanut butter (to fully restore what my body burned during my run).

*Always make sure to fully hydrate after completing a long run or workout*

———>The best part about this post: Mangoes are NOW in season <———

Mangoes in season

So pick one up today and begin enjoying the tasty flavor and wonderful benefits.

Wishing lots of love, joy and blessings ❤

Best,

Angela Joy

Resources:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/mango-fruit.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275921.php

http://www.chem4kids.com/files/bio_aminoacid.html

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑