An Inspiring morning of  Fun, Fitness, Flowers & Friends.

You can’t ask for much more than raising awareness for a good cause while getting exercise in fresh air in an unbelievably elegant, artful environment.

L-R Kasseda, Cher, Wendy, Me (with candy in both pockets), Hannah, Colleen, Stacy

L-R Casseda, Cher, Wendy, Debbie (both pockets full of candy), Hannah, Colleen, Stacey

That’s what happened yesterday morning when I met up with friends at Vancouver’s magnificent VanDusen Botanical Gardens to support our mutual good friend Colleen Kohse. Colleen is the oldest living person (with the youngest spirit) with CF in all of Canada to have received a transplant.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Colleen is a miracle and a true inspiration to everyone because she doesn’t take life for granted.  She’s lost too many friends and two young siblings to this fatal genetic disease which primarily affects the lungs and digestive system in mostly young adults and children of which there is no cure.

Come this October it will be 28 years that I first met Colleen, just before she left for London, England to receive a heart/lung transplant.  But we didn’t get to really know each other until after that.  We’ve been friends for years and have travelled together to places like Jamaica, Havana, Florida, Savannah, Ga, Charleston, S.C., New Orleans, California and even a short Caribbean cruise out of Miami.  Always fun. Colleen is lucky to have the most wonderful, supportive family.

The morning started with a breakfast of pancakes & sausages, then dancing to warm up the crowd followed by a very pleasant walk through the most exquisite park to raise money to help find a cure for CF.  There were also fun great silent auction items.  I ended up with 2 out of the 3 items that I placed bids on.

 VanDusen Botanical Gardenvanduesen1

You will be inspired by 22 hectares of well-designed landscapes with plant species representing ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean, from Louisiana swamps to the Pacific Northwest.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Vancouver’s mild climate makes it possible for plants to bloom year-round – so there is always something wonderful to see. Our climate creates a unique environment where plants from varying climates thrive. At VanDusen you will see plants from the southern hemisphere, tropical areas and the high Arctic tundra alongside native species. Seasonal highlights include: Spring — bulbs, cherry trees, azaleas and rhododendrons; Late Spring — Laburnum Walk and roses; Summer — annuals, perennials and water lilies; Late Summer – wild flower meadow and the Heirloom Vegetable Garden; Autumn – brilliant autumn colour, heathers, perennials; Winter — witchhazels, viburnums and hellebores. The Elizabethan Maze is one of only six in North America. In addition to the plant collections, VanDusen’s eco-sphere is home to numerous fauna – small mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects. During the course of the year 65 species of birds make the Garden their home, either permanently or as a respite on their annual migrations.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

It’s a must-see if you plan to visit Vancouver.

To find out more about CF please visit: www.cysticfibrosis.ca

VanDusen website: http://vandusen.org/

Plant Info: Tourism Vancouver

Health/Exercise – What Happens When You Skip the Gym?

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I’ve belonged to the same gym which is located a very short walking distance from where I live for more years than I want to admit.  If I really stop to think about it, If I went every single day since day one, my body would be in perfect shape right now.  But because I only go a few times a week instead, it is in almost perfect fairly good shape right now with room for improvement..always. My criteria is location, equipment, cleanliness and classes.  The classes are excellent and I go to the varied yoga classes with different instructors and practices.  I must admit that as much as I want to love working out with weights I don’t.  I tried and tried and liked seeing the results because weights really do work but I didn’t enjoy it. I have some weights at home that are still sitting on the floor waiting to be picked up…someday.  I don’t even enjoy spinning because I’d much rather ride a bike outside and I don’t like to sweat very much.  So spinning is out.  Running, Yoga and Dancing (tango/swing) works for me right now.  And I always walk.  I can walk and walk and walk for miles as long as my footwear is comfortable.  Basically I feel better about myself when I’m doing a physical activity to improve my body, but sometimes…

No matter how dedicated you are to fitness, sooner or later, it’s going to happen: You’re going to skip a workout… and another… and another. Maybe you can blame a vacation, a mile-high pile of paperwork at the office or just your run-of-the-mill funk. Whatever the reason, before you know it, you’re out of shape.

A running buddy helps to get you motivated

A running buddy helps you to get motivated

Neglecting the gym every once in a while is nothing to worry about—after all, sometimes your body needs to rest and recover. But, when you hit pause on your workouts for more than a week, you might actually be throwing your fitness level into rewind.  Here is an article I read on thedailybeast.com

How Fast Will You Fall Out of Shape?

You worked hard to get fit, whether by logging regular runs, or striving for new personal bests in your bench press. When your workouts fall by the wayside, how fast you fall out of shape depends on more than just how much time you spent away from the gym. Your overall fitness and the type of workout you’re missing will also impact your losses, says James Ting, M.D., a board-certified sports medicine physician with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, CA.

As a general rule, the fitter you are, the longer it will take your muscles turn to flub, he says. Your physique doesn’t like change; it’s constantly trying to achieve homeostasis. So the longer you have been exercising (and the fitter you are), the more time it will take for your body to say, “Well, I guess we don’t need to build muscle anymore.”

If it’s only been a week since you broke a sweat, don’t stress. Whatever your workout history, it’ll take more than seven days for your body to soften. But two weeks? You might not get away with that as easily. One Journal of Applied Physiology study suggests that easing up on your workouts for just 14 days can significantly reduce your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity. Meanwhile, it can take two months or longer to see complete losses of your fitness gains, according to Ting.

Endurance vs. Strength: Which Will You Lose?

Your body will react differently depending on whether you’re skipping endurance exercise versus strength training, says exercise physiologist and trainer Marta Montenegro, M.S., C.S.C.S.

That’s because your muscles contain both type I (slow-twitch) and type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers. Type I fibers contribute to endurance performance. Type II fibers are more powerful, and their “fast-twitch” capabilities help you power through high-intensity exercise or strength training.

During your day-to-day activities (like walking, talking, sitting at a desk, etc.), your type I fibers are contributing to the bulk of your efforts. But you really have to work to get your type II fibers to switch into gear. So, when you take a break from exercise, your type I fibers are likely still being used, helping to prevent them from breaking down. But some of your type II, fast-twitch fibers may be rarely, if ever used, if you aren’t working out, she says.

That may explain why type II fibers tend to atrophy more quickly than type I fibers, she says. In other words, your max bench press will suffer before your 10K time does when you’re slacking. If you’re taking a break from strength work or high-intensity intervals, you’ll notice a huge difference when you finally do go back to the gym.

Endurance athletes aren’t entirely out of the woods, though. When you perform regular cardio, your type II muscle fibers gradually change from type IIx to type IIa, Montenegro explains. Type IIa fibers are key to endurance performance: They are powerful, but don’t tucker out as quickly as IIx ones, meaning they can help power your long runs. When you take a break from your long runs and rides, this essentially reverses, and your percentage of type IIa fibers decreases, while your IIx fibers increases, she says. So prepare to tire out way faster.

Breaks Aren’t All Bad

Before we terrify you into heading to the gym right now, know that it’s actually good for you to skip workouts from time to time. In fact, if you train hard , taking a break can actually help improve your strength, muscle development and aerobic fitness, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., assistant editor-in-chief of the Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Days off can also improve your mental fitness. “Your body and mind both need time to recover for overall health and in order to achieve optimal performance,” says Ting. “Failing to recognize this and training too hard can lead to fatigue and, ironically, underperformance, the so-called overtraining syndrome.”

If you’re sore more than 72 hours after a workout, you’re feeling ill, or your fitness progress is stalling, it may be time to back off. How long should your break last? “There’s no hard and fast rule for how long a ‘break’ from exercise should be,” Ting says. “It may be as short as a few days, but it’s important to realize as well that it can also be up to one to two weeks without any significant detriment or loss in previous fitness gains.

Just remember that taking a break from exercise doesn’t (and shouldn’t) equate to gluing your butt to the couch and Netflix-binging. “Taking up some light activity that isn’t part of your typical training regimen, such as yoga or even a long walk or leisurely bike ride, can all constitute a ‘break,’” Ting says.  (Oh, I see…I’ve been taking breaks all this time instead of actually working out).

How to Jump Back Into Your Workouts

Depending on how long you took off—and lazy you were—you might not want to jump back into your workouts, but rather ease into them. If you’ve taken any more than a couple weeks off, you’ll probably notice some differences. After a month or more, you’ll definitely want to get started with a less-intense version of your regular workout, Ting says.

“The most important thing is to back off a little for the first week,” Schoenfeld says. “Choose a weight where you will be able to stop several reps short of failure on your sets. The following week you should be able to train at your previous level, assuming the reason for stopping wasn’t an illness or injury.” Meanwhile, if you’re getting back into running, start at a pace at which you can run comfortably and are able to speak in short sentences. After a week, try turning up the speed.

It can be frustrating to exercise at anything less than your max effort, sure, but gradual is the way to go to prevent injury. The last thing you want is to walk into the gym after a month off, try to squat your “usual” load, and throw out your back. (Hello, another month off.)

Luckily, when it comes to getting back into your pre-break shape, you do have muscle memory working for you, Schoenfeld says. There are two aspects to muscle memory. One involves your ability to carry out movements in a coordinated fashion. Wonder why your first rep on the bench press looked so sloppy? It’s because your body was learning which muscle fibers it needed to recruit, and which ones it didn’t, to properly perform the exercise.

Then second component of muscle memory involves your cells. “Muscles have satellite cells—basically muscle stem cells—that help to drive protein synthesis. Resistance training increases satellite cells and these changes remain for years,” he explains. “So even if muscle is lost from taking time away for many years, a person can regain the lost muscle much more quickly after an extended layoff.” Score.

Exactly how long it takes will vary from person to person, but by and large, you can expect to be back in fighting shape in a few weeks.

What kind of exercise do you do on a regular basis?

Source: K. Aleisha Fetters, Life by Daily Burn (thedailybeast.com)

health MATTERS: a walk in the PARK

What a great idea!  I think there should be more parks like this one with exercise equipment sprinkled throughout, nice water fountains and especially a Healing Garden.herb01herb11fragrant & healing GARDENherb10  (double click to enlarge) to know about all the benefits of these historical herbs. Many are readily available at your local supermarket.

 

 

When life throws you a bunch of lemons, make the most of them!

herb1herb2herb4herb5herb6
herb3

this sign was a bit faded

Some signs are a bit faded

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Jojoba & Lavender oils are used in my new natural skincare line.  I’ll tell you about it soon.

LIVE WELL!

LIVE WELL!

I guess just the smell alone will make you feel happier

I guess the smell alone will lift your spirits to make you feel better.

 

Photos: d. king

 

Do you have a favourite herb?

 

 

Health MATTERS: the skinny on PROTEIN

 A crash courseprotein1Believe me there’s far too much information so I broke it down as best I could (even though it’s a lot bit longer than my usual posts) from researching a few articles. I think we all know that keeping a balanced diet is really key.

What do I immediately do after a run or workout using weights at the gym?  Go home to make a smoothie with a BIG scoop of *protein powder.  Of course the smoothie is more of a thick milkshake-like consistency with other good stuff like banana, yogurt, frozen wild blueberries (I like it cold), wild green powder or juice, coconut water, flax & chia seeds and a good quality matcha green tea powder (from Japan).  This to me is the Ultimate workout recovery.  I try to drink it as quickly as possible so that the protein will adhere to my muscles ASAP!  Who knows but it feels really healthy, works for most athletes as I am a major athlete (of which I am not) but why not do as they do?

 Because WITHOUT PROTEIN, life as we know it would not be possible.

They’re used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin.  Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions.

Bottom Line: Protein is a structural molecule assembled out of amino acids, many of which the body can’t produce on its own. Animal foods are usually high in protein, with all the essential amino acids that we need.

If we don’t get enough from the diet, our health and body composition suffers.

However, there are vastly different opinions on how much protein we actually need.     Most official nutrition organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.

  • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
  • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

Although this meager amount may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, studies show that it is far from sufficient to ensure optimal health and body composition.

It turns out that the “right” amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors… including activity levels, age, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health.

The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. They have all the essential amino acids that your body needs.  There are also some plants that are fairly high in protein, like quinoa, legumes and nuts.

All of this being said, I don’t think there is any need for most people to actually track their protein intake.

If you’re just a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then simply eating quality protein with most of your meals (along with nutritious plant foods) should bring your intake into an optimal range.

If you have a physically demanding job, you walk a lot, run, swim or do any sort of exercise, then you need more protein. Endurance athletes also need quite a bit of protein, about 0.5 – 0.65 grams per pound, or 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kg.

Elderly people also need significantly more protein, up to 50% higher than the DRI, or about 0.45 to 0.6 grams per pound of bodyweight.

What “Grams of Protein” Really Means

This is a very common misunderstanding

When I say “grams of protein” – I mean grams of the macronutrient protein, not grams of a protein containing food like meat or eggs.

An 8 ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams, but it only contains 61 grams of actual protein. A large egg weighs 46 grams, but it only contains 6 grams of protein.

What About The Average Person (of course we all think we’re all above average)?

If you’re at a healthy weight, you don’t lift weights and you don’t exercise much, then aiming for 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound (or 0.8 to 1.3 gram per kg) is a reasonable estimate.

This amounts to:

  • 56-91 grams per day for the average male.
  • 46-75 grams per day for the average female.

But given that there is no evidence of harm and significant evidence of benefit, I think it is better for most people to err on the side of more protein rather than less.

Protein and THE ATHLETE – How Much Do You Need?weights1

By **Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD

Whether running sprints, long-distance swimming or lifting weights, athletes expend more energy than the average person and their bodies need additional nutrients to recover from intense physical activity. Protein plays an important role in an athlete’s diet as the nutrient helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue. Recently, high protein diets have become popular among athletes — especially those seeking a leaner, more defined physique. But how much protein is really necessary?

OVERALL DIET

While protein is critical in building muscle mass, more is not necessarily better. Eating large amounts of lean protein will not equate with a toned body.

When determining protein requirements for athletes, it’s important to look at the athlete’s overall diet. During periods of both rest and activity, protein contributes about 10 percent of the total fuel an athlete’s body uses. The remaining fuel used is made up of carbohydrates and fat. Athletes who consume diets adequate in both these nutrients end up using less protein for energy than those who consume a higher protein diet. This means that protein can go toward preserving lean body mass (i.e. that lean physique). So in order to retain muscle, athletes need to ensure they are also meeting needs for carbs and fat, not just protein.

ACTIVITY

Muscle growth happens only when exercise and diet are combined.

For example, research has shown that *timing of protein intake plays a significant role. Eating high-quality protein (such as eggs, dairy or soy) immediately after exercise — either by itself or with a carbohydrate — enhances muscle creation.

Duration and intensity of the activity is also a factor when it comes to protein needs.

Endurance athletes (such as runners, bikers and swimmers) tend to synthesize more protein for fuel while power (or strength) athletes (such as sprinters, weightlifters and CrossFitters) tend to synthesize less protein for fuel but retain more for muscle development.

Because they are building muscle, power athletes require a higher level of protein consumption than endurance athletes. “[Power] athletes’ protein needs are highest during the initial training phases, when muscle gain is largest,” says sports dietitian Kelly Rossi, MS, RD, CSSD. “As any athlete trains more, their body’s efficiency in using protein increases so they may not need as much.”

RECOMMENDATIONS

While protein needs of both endurance and power athletes are greater than that of non-athletes, they’re not as high as commonly perceived.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend the following for power and endurance athletes, based on body weight:

  • Power athletes (strength or speed): 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kilogram a day
  • Endurance athletes: 1.2 to 1.4 grams/kilogram a day

For an adult male athlete, that’s about 84 to 119 grams of protein a day; for adult females about 66 to 94 grams.

By comparison, a sedentary adult male needs about 56 grams of protein a day; for females it’s about 46 grams.

Are POWDERS and SUPPLEMENTS Needed?

*Protein powders and protein supplements are great for convenience, but not to be solely relied on. Whole foods are always best, but with a busy athlete trying to juggle a million things, it is more realistic to provide them with the convenient shake.  It is for added reassurance.

*For the Ultimate protein, greens and fiber in powder form I use and recommend: http://www.ultimatevegan.com/products/

Source of info: http://authoritynutrition.com and http://www.eatright.org

**Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD, is owner of Delicious Knowledge in Sacramento, Calif. She specializes in plant-based diets, sports nutrition, food intolerance and weight management.

How about you?  What form of exercise do you regularly do and do you make a shake the minute you get home from your workout?

 

 

 

 

 

Feel-good Friday – take a cruise

Life is beautiful….enjoy the ride!cruiser3

If you can’t take a cruise to Alaska right now (like some friends of mine recently did) then you can always take a cruise around town.cruiser1cruiser2

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein letter to his son Eduard, 1930.

 

I thought of that while riding my bicycle. – Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity.

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tied to a dressed up pole

tied to a friendly post.

 

 

 

 

I've never seen a macramé  pole.

Move over bracelets, macraméd signposts are the latest trend.

 

Photos: first 3 from images.  Last 4: d. king

Relatively speaking I think it’s a good idea to ride a bike whenever you can.

 

Have a lovely weekend!

B well – B active: little healthful tidbits that go a long way.

You will find that both your mood and your energy improve when you work out.

This advice feels as repetitive as the fifteenth bicep curl, but the fact remains: Exercise is, hands down, the best anti-ager.steps

Everyone has a different strength capacity & choice of what works for them.  Ideally the best strategy for me is a combo of running, yoga & weight training.  When done properly (which is not always the case) it’s a winning combination.  A lot of times I don’t really get around to using actual weights as I should so sometimes I’ll run with little wrist weights and hope that the running and some yoga moves are enough weight bearing exercise.  Do what you can – no excuses.  Also try not to beat yourself up when you can’t bust a move like the yoga instructor – pigeon anyone? It’s best not to stress.  Read on…

 John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (Little, Brown), explains how a little sweat can rewire your brain.

sparkA fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer’s.  Some questions:

How does aerobic exercise help the brain:  “It improves your brain’s ability to form new neural connections.  It promotes blood flow to the brain, creating a rich environment for brain cells to grow and withstand stress.  It also appears to trigger the growth of new brain cells.”

Which exercise is best:  “Look for activities that get your heart rate up to the point where you’re sweating but also provide coordination challenges.  Activities like tennis, Zumba, kickboxing, or spinning all force you to plan your next move, which makes your brain work harder than if you were just doing a rote movement.

How can I tell if it’s working?  “You should notice an improvement in your overall feeling of well being.  If you don’t, then you’re probably doing too much – more than 90 minutes a day – or too little.  When people start an exercise program, they often overdo it, which not only increases risk of injury and burnout but also can impact brain function.  Once you work out, you should find that your  mood and energy improve for the rest of the day.

Fill in the blank – I work out because……………………….

“I work out because I feel stronger and healthier and it makes me look better”

Also, **Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health

B Well – B Motivated

HOW TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELING:

Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

An Interview with David Kirsch, fitness expert and author of “The Ultimate New York Diet” (McGraw-Hill).  David owns the Madison Square Club, a private training gym in New York City, and has worked with Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler.  This is an excerpt from his interview with Courtney Balestier.

 Kirsch equates exercise with brushing his teeth or talking a shower.  It gets the day going.  If you have that attitude, it’s easy to take fitness on the road.

       Get motivated bright and early:  Here’s a universal truth – if you’re not working out in the morning, you probably won’t do it later in the day either.  You’re going to be tired from meetings, buzzed from the wine at lunch, later for your dinner reservation, and so on.  Whether you’re on a vacation or business trip, get 30 to 45 minutes of cardio out of the way first thing, and it’ll energize your day.

        Use your hotel:  Predictability is a good thing at the hotel gym.  Don’t fool with machines you’re not familiar with – stick with the treadmill or elliptical.  If you’re in a country that’s on a metric system, be less concerned with speed and more dialed into pushing yourself.

 Improvise:  But you don’t need a gym – or a vacation’s worth of free time.             My Hotel workout includes Spider-Man push-ups (feet on the bed and hands on the floor) and hand-offs with a  pillow (lie on your back with arms stretched overhead and legs in the air, hold a pillow between your shins, then pass it from legs to hands and back).  You can do lunges and step-ups using a chair or ottoman.  Do three sets of 10 reps each for the push-ups, 10 to 15 reps for the pillow hand-offs, and 10 to 15 reps per leg for the lunges and step-ups.

            Be adventurous: Travel is the perfect excuse to change your routine.  If you usually run three miles, bring a great pair of cross-trainers (I like Brooks) and power walk for an hour around a new city.  If you’re a fitness-class-person, ask the concierge about great classes nearby.  This is often entertaining too – a body-sculpting class conducted in French can be pretty funny.

 Also – **Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America

Here’s the link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health