Glute Activation

When I was training for a marathon several years ago I tragically injured my knee. After numerous chiropractor and doctor visits, everyone was stumped as to what exactly caused the injury. My chiropractor came to the conclusion that I had over developed quads and that this caused my glute muscles to “turn off”. A runners world article talks about weak glute muscles and mentions ,

“Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shine splints, runner’s knee, and iliotibial-band syndrom.” (source)

Cycling in college, and my love for running assisted in the over-development of my quads. Recent studies have shown that chronic sitting (sitting for 6-8 hours a day) will also turn off the activation of these muscles and cause imbalances in the body structure. In the past, strength training was not something that I loved to do. However, I now know how much it aids in keeping me from not getting injuries while exercising!  I incorporate strength exercises quite a bit throughout the week. Below are my favorite glute activating exercises!

1.Clam Shell- This is by far my favorite activation exercise. They are so easy to do while watching t.v. Try doing 10-12 on each side, four times each.

2.Extended Clam Shell- This is the same exercise as above, just a little more intense. If you are having a hard time feeling the burn with the regular clam shell, these will be sure to do the trick. You can also alternate between this exercise and the clam shell.

3.Fire Hydrant- This is the first activation exercise that my chiropractor had me try .  Again, try doing 10-12 on each side, four times each.

4.Kettle Ball- Make sure to squat down as you do this exercise to feel it in the glutes. This can be used as a great interval workout. Try doing this exercise for 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off 5-8 times.

Fermented Veggie Recipe

There are so many benefits to eating fermented food, especially if you want to heal your gut. However, the benefits of fermented food is a post I am going to save for another day. Today I want to show you a basic sauerkraut recipe.  I introduced probiotic food into my diet about a year ago. At first the process of making these foods seemed scary. Do I really want to eat something that has been sitting on my counter for a week?!?! I have to admit, taking that first bite was a little intimidating. However, now that I have tried them, I will never go back to not eating them! Not only do they taste delicious, they make my tummy feel wonderful!

fermented veggie blog post

 

 

Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe

  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 

1) 1 head of purple cabbage

2) 3 TBSP salt

3) 2 Lemons

4) 2 Cloves garlic

5) Crushed Peppercorns to taste

Directions

1. Pour four quarts of filtered water into glass. I use The Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl

2. Add 2.5 TBSP of salt to the glass bowl and mix periodically with a wooden spoon. You want all of the salt to dissolve into the water.

3.Chop purple cabbage in small pieces. I use The Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper

4. Put pieces of small cabbage into glass mason jars (make sure the jars are sterile by cleaning them with boiling water). You may use more than one mason jar depending on the size, I used one large and 2 small for this recipe)

5. Add 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1/2 clove garlic and crushed peppercorns to each jar of cabbage

6. Add saltwater to jars and pour until cabbage is completely covered. If cabbage floats to the top of the jar you  can push it back down with spoon (you may have to do this several times over the course of the fermentation process.

7. Place lids on mason jars and leave the lids a little loose so that air can get in.

8. Place in a warm spot (I keep mine on top of my oven) for 5-7 days. As the fermentation process takes place you may see bubbles and the water may spill out a bit. I always place my jars on top of cloth towels.

After day 5 or 6 you can taste the veggies, they should have a sour/tangy flavor. The veggies should not contain mold, or have a moldy smell/flavor (believe me you would know if they went rotten by the smell). You can then transfer them to the refrigerator. You can keep the kraut for 4-8 months in an air tight jar in the refrigerator.

GAPS Legal Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

It’s the time of year for pumpkin! I am stocking up on the Trader Joe’s brand organic canned pumpkin and my cabinets are stocked! With all the pumpkin laying around, I started on a Sunday evening project of making an easy yet delicious pumpkin muffin recipe.

Pumpkin Muffins Blog

GAPS Legal Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/4-1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup pumpkin

3TBSP organic canned coconut milk

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 tsp organic almond extract

1tsp  cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and oil muffin pan with coconut oil

2. Add 4 eggs to mixer and whisk for 30 seconds

3. Add pumpkin, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin, coconut milk and almond extract and mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

4. Add coconut flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated

5. Scoop mix into muffin pan until they are 3/4 full

6. Bake on 350 degrees for 18 minutes

What is your favorite type of muffin? 

Take A Breather

breathing postBreathing is easy, right? It’s not something that we really have to think about. Its a good thing God created our bodies to breathe on their own, because if we did have to think about breathing, that’s what we would be doing… ALL. DAY. LONG.  There are also a couple of different ways that we can breathe. We can take short shallow breaths, or long deep breaths. Shorter chest breaths would demonstrate a time when our bodies are in a more stressful fast -paced situation. While longer breaths would indicate a more relaxed state of being. Now, which kind of breath do you think better aids you body’s functions? If you are following where I am going with this, and recognize how much our bodies need oxygen to survive, then you will understand the importance of making sure that we are breathing correctly throughout the day. First lets address what happens when we take shallow breaths all day long.

We are not meant to constantly breathe with shallow breaths. When we breathe in a shallow way, it is telling our bodies that something is wrong and activates our fight or flight mechanism . With low grade chronic modern day stressors such as traffic on our commutes, work deadlines, bills, ect, we can experience a lot of pressure that promotes these shallow breaths, or causes us to hold our breath all together. Its no wonder that many people experience symptoms of chronic fatigue when our bodies are preparing to flee or fight all day long!  In Cynthia Perrkins article, Chronic Stress and Its Effect on Your Health, she goes into detail about the stress response and that when it is activated,

“fear and anxiety pervade, heart rate goes up, blood glucose increases, digestion is shut down, immune function and circulation are downregulated, blood pressure rises, the detoxification system is impaired, sleep is disrupted, neurotransmitters get drained from excessive demand, hormone production and function is disrupted, our sense of smell, taste and sound are heightened, pupils are dilated, cognitive functions are impaired and we are less fertile.” (source)

As you can see, when we are in a chronic state of fight or flight it can wreak havoc in our body. I personally experience succumbing to this type of breathing at my current job. As a teacher, I am usually talking all day long and in a fast-paced work environment (aka I am constantly needed by 20 sweet 7 year olds all day). When you are talking a lot, it leaves little time for you to take quality breaths. Over the past year, I noticed that when I sat down to have lunch (a part of the day when I have a moment to myself) I was still very wound up and would end up scarfing down my food as if I was still in my “go go go” teaching mode. This is why it is important to consciously take deeper breaths throughout the day, especially when you find yourself facing a potential stress.

Now, lets talk about stopping to take deep breaths. When I say deep breaths, I mean breath that is coming from your nose to fully fill your lungs and belly, while shallow breaths would fill only your chest. This is going to slow down your heart rate and trigger a relaxation response in your body. When I have the opportunity throughout the day, I like to stop and take three breaths that are 15 seconds each. This would include a count of 5 breathing in, holding it in for 5 seconds, and exhaling for 5 seconds. Although, I don’t have very many opportunities to do this exercise at work, I make it a priority to do it before eating in order to activate the rest and digest phase in my body. You can practice this type of breathing when you have a good opportunity during the day, such as the car ride home from work, or if you feel a stressful situation arising. If you don’t have the opportunity to stop to take these long breaths during the day, just try to slow down your breathing and make sure that your breath is not rapid and shallow.

Breathing exercises are great to practice with kids too! If I have kids someday, I would definitely  want them to practice yoga. Yoga focuses on deep breathing and has been shown to increase concentration. Sometimes I find that the kids in my class are a little wound up after activities, such as lunch and recess, when they are talking a lot to their friends, or running around. I notice an immediate difference when I tell them that we are going to take our deep breaths! They start to quiet down as the oxygen is going to their brains and they are getting ready to learn. I also take the opportunity, when we are walking outside, to tell them to breath in all of the fresh air!

Taking The Time To Breathe

-Here is my favorite website for alternating nose breathing and meditation exercises, but you can find many others online.

-Cosmickids is a great website for children’s yoga. They incorporate kids stories and yoga videos!

-When you feel yourself shallow breathing take 3 deep breaths of 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds hold, and 5 seconds exhale

-When you don’t have a chance to stop to focus on deep breathing, just make sure you are aware and that you are not shallow breathing.

Natural Ways To Treat Lice

Being a teacher, I come into contact with students who have “itchy heads” at least once a year. The dreaded head lice is not something I have experienced on my own head, but something that kids typically face when they go to school. The traditional method of treating lice is full of harmful chemicals that I would NOT want on my head. In an effort to find a safe alternative, I had a request to do a post about treating lice naturally.

laus

Repelling Lice

We will start with a way to repel lice which includes incorporating the usage of both lavender and tea tree oil. Lice are deterred by the smell of lavender and tea tree oil. Homeremediesforlife.com talks about the many uses for tea tree oil and mentions,

“Tea tree oil contains natural antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties which help to kill the lice and prevent it completely.” Source

You can incorporate these two oils by adding them to your shampoo or making a water/oil spray and using it before heading off to school.

Treating a Lice Breakout

It seems to be relatively unnaniomous that people have the best outcomes of treating lice by using a comb, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Not only will you be able to be lice free, your hair will be silky and shinny!

Coconut oil- Have you ever head that lice like clean hair? Although you would THINK that lice would show up in “dirty hair”, lice are not able to easily attach to the scalp and hair when it is oily. This is why coconut oil is a perfect solution to discard off those pesky critters. The coconut oil will also suffocate and kill the lice. You will want to leave the coconut oil on for several hours, or sleep with it in your hair overnight.

Apple Cider Vinegar – There are so many uses for apple cider vinegar and this is just another use to add to the list. According to healthimpactnews.com you will want to first leave the apple cider vinegar on your hair until it dries because,

“The vinegar dissolves the ‘glue’ which sticks the eggs to your hair follicles”. source 

After the vinagar has dried you can lather the coconut in your hair and leave it for several hours. This gives it time to destroy the lice. If you are sleeping with the oil in your hair you can use a shower cap to protect your pillow case.

Finally, you will want to use a small comb and throughly comb the scalp to pick out all of the deceased lice.

Repeat this process for several days for best results.

Have you had success treating lice naturally? 

 


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Lemon Ginger Salad Dressing

I know, I have been a little obsessed with the ginger lately. It’s just with all of its great health properties, I can’t seem pass it by at the grocery store. I promise you won’t be disappointed when you use it in this recipe!

Lemon Ginger Salad Dressing

Lemon Ginger Salad Dressing

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe

Juice from two lemons

1/4 cup tahini

1 clove pressed garlic

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 TBSP shredded ginger

1 TBSP Raw Honey

1/2 TBSP dried basil

1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper

1-3 TBSP filtered water (depending on your preference)

Place all ingredients into blender and blend! Keep remaining dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week.

DIY Art Work For UNDER Five Dollars

Typically my blog has been focused around health and fitness. However, I believe part of a healthy life is having a relaxing home environment. Since Aaron is in school right now, we don’t have a ton of extra money to spend on decorating our house. We’ve wanted to get some artwork for a long time but haven’t wanted to “break the bank” to get it. We came up with a brilliant idea of using our own pictures to create works of art. Here is how….

Take a picture- Take a picture of something beautiful! My favorite part of running and biking is being able to see the gorgeous outdoors. In the past year, I’ve started moving away from streets and sidewalks to focusing on running the trails of out local state park. The scenery throughout the park is stunning and I always make sure to stop and snap a quick picture. Photographs of the outdoors are my personal favorite, but really you can use a picture of anything, just be creative!

IMG_1279

This picture was taking on the trail that I ran on all summer. I simply changed the style to black and white
Make an engineering print- We headed to our neighborhood Staples and the picture was printed within 10 minutes and cost us only about $2.00. Just send in your picture and ask for black and white 36” by 48” engineering print. 
Buy a wooden board- Our next stop was the hardware store to pick up a half sheet of 1/8in MDF hardboard, which is easily cut to size with a circular saw. Cut the boards 1in less in width and length so that you can wrap the edge of the picture around the piece of wood. Make sure to outline the size of the actual picture, not the white space.

IMG_1373Wrap the picture- Center the picture on board and wrap the white paper around the sides.   IMG_1375 Tape the picture- Tape the sides of the picture to the back of the board. Make sure you stretch it tight. IMG_1379Cut and fold sides- With a knife, you will want to make slits at the corner of the paper.  Fold the side in so that it makes a triangle (see 2nd picture below). This will allow the paper to fold over without any wrinkles.  Again, tape the sides of the paper onto the board. Its basically like wrapping a gift.   IMG_1381   IMG_1383     Voila! You are done! IMG_1389   Do you have artwork in your house? Would you consider making your own?

Five Tasty Tea Recommendations

I gave up coffee a year ago due to the fact that it can cause more harm than good in someone with an autoimmune condition. I was fine giving up the coffee, but still wanted a warm soothing beverage to start my day with. Switching my morning joe for a cup of tea has been a refreshing change. I have found several different teas that have happily replaced my morning coffee. The best part is that these teas support my body with healing and overall health. Read on to find out my favorite teas!

Tea

1.Tusli Tea-I talk about the benefits of drinking tulsi tea here. I love plain tusli tea, but recently fell in love with Organic India – True Wellness Tusli Tummy Tea  If you are looking for a relaxing tea, this is the choice for you.

2.Dandelion Root Tea-This tea actually reminds me of coffee. It has a bitter taste and is great for making a alternative “coffee” drink. I add coconut milk, collagen and a bit of honey for a sweet treat. The best part is that this tea supports liver function and will aid in digestion!

3.Ginger/Lemon/Turmeric Tea-I make this tea on my own. Just cut up a nub of ginger, lemon, and a shake of turmeric. I talk about the wonderful power of ginger here. I love to start my day with this tea or drink it after a big meal.

4.Throat Coat-This is my go to tea when I feel a cold coming on. This tea contains licorice root, marshmallow root, and slippery elm. These ingredients will help to sooth inflammation and were actually the first supplements my doctor recommend when treating my digestive problems. An added bonus is that this tea has an amazing flavor!

5.Bone Broth- I know this isn’t technically a tea, but it is a warm drink! Talk about starting your day off right as you drink up plenty of easily absorbed minerals. The gelation in bone broth is also great for treating leaky gut.

Do you drink tea? What is your favorite type of tea?

How To Stay Injury Free

Foam rolling is something that you may have become aware of due to the arrival of these tools showing up more in gyms and in the fitness world. Using a foam roller is a great way to experience the health benefits of massage without the price tag of going to a chiropractor or other massage therapists. While research points to the fact that this method of massage is great for runners and other athletes to use, what you may not know is that it can be beneficial for overall health use.

Foam Rolling For Athletes

Foam rolling can provide a type of massage called myofascial release. This type of massage will help to release restricted muscles and fascia. When a muscle is chronically tight it will eventually become week and turn off. Other muscles around it will have to pick up the load of that muscle, and can cause injury. By massaging the muscle you can lengthen short muscles and allow other muscles to activate. This will in turn decrease the frequency of injury. I personally try to use my foam roller before my runs to active all of my muscles.

Foam Rolling For Health

Foam rolling massage can also be beneficial for your overall health. This massage will promote circulation and blood flow within the body. This will remove harmful metabolic products from tissue. Better circulation will allow better oxygen delivery to muscles. It can also serve as a way to unwind and decrease stress as you can use this tool to massage out the areas of tension within your body.

 Interested In Learning

If you are interested in learning how to use a foam roller watch the video below.

Interested in purchasing a foam roller? This Foam Roller and this Pro-Tec Athletics Roller Massager are the two I recommend!


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