Hiking Benefits

Hiking Blog

Hiking takes walking, as a healthy exercise, to the next level. Both are excellent cardio workouts, great for the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, our bones, and our muscles. Each will lower our stress levels and is great to support any weight loss program. But hiking gives us the extra piece: it can improve our balance and increase our strength and endurance as we navigate the steep and/or bumpy trails. An old English term used for hiking was “hillwalking”. Walking poles can be included for balance or stability in order to provide additional security and safety.

 

Hiking uses muscles that are rarely used in the gym. It is also considered one of the best ways to burn fat – even that stubborn belly fat. This physical exercise promotes the release of endorphins – the hormones that make you happy.

 

Studies have found that exercise and cardio workouts benefit us – mind, body, and spirit. So why choose to walk outside or hike? For many, exercise can be tedious and boring. Something on our daily routine “have to” list. Not something that brings us pleasure. On a treadmill, an hour can feel like a very long time. So we manage to pass the time by watching TV, reading our emails, and/or talking on our cell phones. By doing this, we are being mindless. Our focus is entirely outside of ourselves. We are still working, still obsessing, still stressed. Being outside, on the other hand, on a hike, maneuvering the trails, time seems to fly by. It also adds the extra dimension of being in beauty. Surrounded by nature, we reduce our levels of anger and fear and increase our feelings of wellbeing.

 

Exercising at the gym or at home is usually a solitary act. Hiking with friends may turn this dull activity into a fun-filled experience. Connecting with friends in a natural setting, can involve opening ourselves up and even allow them to see our limitations, our stumbles, our vulnerability. It encourages us to share stories that we might otherwise keep hidden or have even forgotten. We may deepen some of these friendships, making them more meaningful. There is something very special about sharing this experience with others, making memories, and changing relationships. We may even get out of our egos and become ourselves.

 

Many have written about the benefits of hiking. Lao Tsu wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Ken Ilgunas: “On a hike, you’re less a job title, and more a human being.” “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” – Edward Abbey. “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” – Henry David Thoreau.

 

Hiking, whether alone or with others, is a way of enjoying the beauty of nature while promoting mindfulness, as we remain closely aware of what is underfoot so as not to stumble or fall. Focusing on our surroundings and the possible dangers stops the monkey mind from regretting the past and worrying about the future, thereby lowering anxiety and improving our mood. Hiking is also a great way to unplug. Rarely do we see a hiker spending their time on the hills checking emails, texting, taking selfies, or tweeting.

 

Whichever you choose to engage in, whether walking or hiking, remember to dress accordingly, wear the proper footwear, and stay hydrated. Bring your water bottle and, of course, your phone, (just in case of an emergency)!

Gilda By Line11

Organic Eggs

Organic EggsEggs are referred to as one of the “most perfect” sources of protein – six grams of protein in just one large egg – and have even been called “superfoods”.  In Healthline, it reads that “an egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken” and that “eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet”.

 

They contain all of the essential amino acids – the body’s building blocks – in perfect ratios. Eggs are rich sources of Selenium and Vitamin D for the immune system; Choline for the brain and the heart, Iron for the blood, Folate for our Moms-to-be, B6 for energy, B12 for the blood, Zinc for healing, and Lutein and Zeaxanthin for the eyes. Most of the nutrients are found only in the yolk – not in the egg white, if eaten alone. Many people on weight loss and low cholesterol diets have turned to eating only egg whites, eliminating the yolk for all of their cooking and baking needs. Egg whites are high in protein and lower in calories, but contain fewer vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats than whole eggs. The precious yolks have been unfairly maligned for decades.

 

Although demonized in the past, recent studies have concluded that eggs do not cause heart disease and stroke. Low in calories, about 75 in total, eggs are filling, rich in healthy omega 3 fats, and make a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, even on a weight loss program. 

 

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eggs are one of the proteins that make up a healthy eating pattern. Research suggests that eating two to three eggs per day may have cardiovascular benefits”. That being said, we are unique. Although eggs will benefit HDL levels for most, for some whose LDL levels are too high, they could raise them a bit more. So, it is important to know your numbers and not to overdo if you are in this category.

 

Does colour matter? For the shell, the colour does not determine a difference in the nutritional value or taste. The colour of the yolk is a different story. It usually depends on the food that the hens are being fed. Rich, dark yolks contain more antioxidants than pale yellow ones. Pale or medium yellow yolks usually come from conventionally raised hens that are grain fed. The grains usually include corn, which is genetically modified so contains glyphosate. A darker, more orange coloured yolk is a result of carotenoids, particularly xanthophyllis, in the hens’ feed, which is organic with no added GMO ingredients.

 

Eggs should be organic, meaning they are totally free range. If not, you are probably eating eggs laid by chickens that have been raised crowded together in cages. “free range” or “cage free” label may describe chickens that are crowded, closely together, into hen houses with no fresh air or sunlight. Organic eggs are laid by chickens that are allowed to move freely through the outdoors into the sunshine. Which chickens, and therefore, which eggs, do you think will be healthier and contain more nutrients?

 

Happy and healthy chickens will lay healthier eggs. The vibrational energy of our food impacts our health and well-being. Ancient Greeks knew the importance of food having good energy and bringing unconditional love “agapi” to their families.  Also, many an Italian grandmother has announced that the most important ingredient in their food is “the love”.

 

Banana Blueberry Muffins
(Organic & Gluten-free)

 

INGREDIENTS: 

 

  • 2 organic bananas, mashed
  • 4 organic eggs, beaten
  • Fresh, or frozen, organic blueberries

 

Directions:

  1. Blend the mashed bananas with the eggs. 
  2. Oil the bottom of a muffin tin and/or line with paper cups
  3. Place blueberries into the bottom of each cup
  4. Fill each cup with the egg & banana mix 

 

 Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Gilda By Line11

Sleep Issues

Sleep Issues Blog

The first sign of a problem with the brain is shortened sleep, in particular, napping during the day and not sleeping through the night. With even one hour loss of sleep per night, the brain slows down, we become more emotional and our thinking slows down. What is the major cause of sleeplessness? For most, it is chronic stress and anxiety, resulting in elevated cortisol levels, particularly in the evening, keeping us from enjoying a proper night’s sleep.

 

Sleep affects every organ system. The body does not do well without an optimal 7 to 8 hours per night. The more sleep deprived we are, the less effective our immune function, the more prone we become to injury and accidents and, even, to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

 

27% of sleep deprived people are more likely to become overweight. Sleep is vital for learning and memory so is necessary for education and maximum productivity in the workplace. Sleep allows for the body to balance itself.

 

There are four major sleep cycles. In general, we go from falling asleep, to light sleep, to deep sleep, to REM sleep. These cycles are repeated many times throughout the night. Earlier cycles have longer periods of deep sleep and later cycles, more REM sleep. Deep sleep makes us feel refreshed and keeps us healthy. During REM sleep, the brain becomes more active, the body more relaxed, and most of our dreams occur. “REM sleep is important to your sleep cycle because it stimulates the areas of your brain that are essential in learning and making or retaining memories.” Longer periods of REM sleep occur in the morning hours.

 

Suggestions for improved sleep include going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends; sleeping in a totally dark, quiet, and comfortable space; removing all electronic devices, particularly computers, tablets, and cell phones from the room where you sleep; avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco for at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime; keeping all daytime napping short and before 4 or 5 pm. Try not to go to sleep hungry or stuffed. If you do wake up during the night, avoid checking the clock or looking to see if you have any new texts or emails. In a study of 20 volunteers, after 8 weeks of meditation and yoga, novices in meditation expressed 2209 new genes, most improving health and the body’s response to psychological stress.

 

Magnesium before bed is a great, safe source of calming and relaxation. Bananas are loaded with magnesium. You can enjoy a banana tea by washing a banana, removing the tips, cut it in half and boil it, with the peel on, in 3-5 cups of water for 4-5 minutes. Pour the liquid into a tea cup, add cinnamon and a little honey and enjoy! You may find that you sleep like a newborn baby.

 

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Gilda By Line11

Kicking Sugar

NPP TIP Blog kick sugar1

Rarely do we experience obsessive cravings for chicken, broccoli, or green juice, so why sugar? It may be due to a habit, a blood sugar or hormone imbalance, poor sleep, stress, depression, anxiety, insufficient protein, nutrient deficiencies, food allergies, dehydration, or fatigue. Sugar can change your physiology. Giving into this craving or addiction can actually raise the dopamine levels in your brain, giving you a temporary feeling of well-being. A particular food may even trigger a pleasant memory, like the day your Dad took you for donuts to celebrate your fifth birthday. Continually giving into every sugar craving can foster an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to binge eating and a feeling of being out of control.

 

So, how do you kick your sugar cravings? Start your day with a high protein breakfast, followed by a protein at every meal. Increase your daily intake of healthy carbs, like vegetables, and decrease or, preferably, eliminate the starchy carbs, like white potatoes, pasta, and bread. Choose high fibre foods, like almonds, chia seeds, avocados, and berries, which will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, therefore preventing blood sugar spikes. Stay hydrated throughout the day with 8-10 glasses of water. When the craving does rear its ugly head, drink a glass of water and then distract yourself. Try knitting, needlepoint, or a 1000 piece puzzle. Grab your sneakers and go for a walk. Sink into a warm, soothing bath, prepared by dissolving one or two cups of epsom salts and/or 4 or 5 drops of compatible essential oils. EFT tapping can work wonders to stop a craving in its tracks. My favourite instructional videos are by Jessica Ortner on YouTube. Or, if all else fails, take a nap.

 

Thinking about weaning slowly off sugar? This is rarely the solution. Kicking sugar is one issue that requires going cold turkey. Your first few days may see withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, anxiety, or irritability. Each of these symptoms may be accompanied by a strong craving for something sweet that is hard to resist. Take heart and persevere! The results will definitely be worth it. Remember, it takes 21 days to create a new habit although you should begin to feel better after 5 days. The cravings will diminish, the hunger will disappear, and your feelings of well-being will grow.

 

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Gilda By Line11

New Year’s Resolutions

“I Resolve…”

 

A brand new year, a new page, a fresh start! As we say farewell to 2020, a difficult, unusual, and introspective year, we ask ourselves to commit to making major changes. For many, it is a desire to lose weight, begin an exercise program, or kick an addiction or habit, like alcohol, drugs, or sugar. We are determined to be different. We are actually saying that there is something wrong with us – that we need fixing.

 

Losing weight is one of the most common resolutions and one that often fails year after year. We realize that we need a plan. But not just any plan. We may begin by asking ourselves the following questions:

 

Why do I want to do this? To look better? To be healthier? To have more energy? To fit into my clothes?
What am I prepared to give up? Sugar? Carbs? Snacks? $$$?
Who can help me? A weight loss group? A nutritionist? A gym?
When will I begin? Today? Tomorrow? Next week?

 

As a natural nutritionist, I would suggest an alternative approach. By having you complete an intake questionnaire, I would be able to assess your body’s nutritional deficiencies. A full history and consultation would inform me of your past health issues, any familial genetic diseases, medications, and current symptoms and/or medical diagnoses. This would allow me to make recommendations as to supplements, remedies, and lifestyle changes and to create a diet plan specifically for you. I would see you approximately every six weeks and offer my continued support. We would work together to help you achieve and maintain your goals in a healthy and safe manner.

 

Changes take time and none of us are perfect. By asking ourselves the Who, What, Why, When questions, we can examine our thought patterns regarding the changes that we want to see and our confusion as to how to achieve them. This understanding will offer us a much better chance for success.

 

By working as a team with the same intentions and the right type of support and no judgement, occasional missteps will not derail your success. It is all about moving towards your goals, one day at a time – not an all or nothing approach.

Gilda By Line11

Snowshoeing

NPP TIP Blog-snowshoeingWinter, in Canada, is a magical season but, generally, the streets and hills are covered with snow and ice. Walking, running, and even hiking are not as easy or as safe as they were during our other three seasons. So, how do we exercise and stay in shape out of doors during the winter months? We suggest Snowshoeing, originally used by Native Americans and European Explorers to forage for food and travel through deep snow for almost 4000 years, and even longer in Central Asia.

 

Snowshoeing, now seen as a recreational exercise, is a fun way to lose the calories that we generally pack on during the winter months. It is said to burn off anywhere between 420-1000 calories per hour. The colder the weather, the more energy we use; the taller the snow, the higher we lift our legs; thus, a great fat-burning, muscle-building exercise. Snowshoeing is a terrific low-impact aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints, healthy for the heart and the lungs, strengthening for the muscles, and great for improved balance and stability. If balance is an issue, poles can keep you upright and protect you from slipping.

 

This is also a wonderful way to dispel the winter blues. Being in nature is known to decrease depression and stress levels. Practising mindfulness, while walking along the snowy, beautiful terrain on a sunny day, will stop the monkey mind from taking you to the past, where you house your regrets, or into the future, worrying about what lies ahead. Good for all ages, including children and seniors, Snowshoeing is a safe and healthy way for us to get outside all winter long, burn calories, strengthen our glutes, quads, and our calves, unplug, relax, and simply have a lot of fun. Check out the many schools, recreational facilities, and resorts that offer snowshoeing lessons for beginners. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Please remember to stay hydrated, so bring along your water bottle!

Gilda By Line11

Organic Cucumber

NPP TIP Blog cucumbersOrganic Cucumbers, actually members of the fruit family, have a high water content (95%) and are packed with  B vitamins, vitamin A, and antioxidants. They were once thought of only as a great addition to green salads, or a side to a meal, adding variety, colour, and a light, pleasant taste. They are now seen as helping with weight loss, constipation, blood pressure, skin, eyes, and bones while, at the same time, keeping you hydrated. You will derive even more benefits if you eat the entire cucumber, including the seeds and skin, after a thorough scrub and wash.

 

Cucumbers are rich in carotenoids and flavonoids that have been shown to help with blood sugar regulation. These, and other phytonutrients found in cucumbers, have also been studied with respect to their ability to lower chronic inflammation, decreasing the risk of many chronic diseases. Studies have suggested that the lignins found in cucumbers may help lower cardiovascular disease and prevent cancer. An anti-inflammatory substance, “fisetin”, found in cucumbers, are thought to have “the ability to reduce the impact of age-related neurological diseases on brain function” and may also help to “maintain cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s Disease”.  

 

As a beauty treatment, cucumber slices have long been applied directly to the eyes to reduce puffiness. Spas feature cucumber slices floating in elegant carafes of water to help with water retention. In a YouTube video, a fellow, named Bryan, drank organic cucumber juice, skin and all, for seven days in a row. On day 1, he found that he was experiencing a huge diuretic effect. On day 2 & 3, he was feeling very hydrated. After day 4, he felt like he could run a marathon; full of energy.  At only 16 calories per cup, enjoy a snack of fresh, crisp slices of cucumber dipped into your favourite organic hummus.

 

Organic Cucumber, Goat Cheese, & Black Olive Salad

Organic Cucumber Recipe

  • 2 cups organic cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup organic goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup organic kalamata black olives
  • 2-3 tbsp organic cold pressed olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

  1. Slice the cucumbers, into rounds, skin on or off
  2. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
  3. Place cucumbers & tomatoes into salad bowl
  4. Combine the other ingredients and toss with the veggies
  5. Sliced red onion may be added, if desired

                                             ENJOY!

 

Gilda By Line11