Vitamin E and Your Diet (Guest Post)

The Importance of Vitamin E and how to Incorporate it into Your Diet

Daily vitamins and minerals are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. We all know how important Vitamin C and B12 are—we hear about them all the time. The market is inundated with B12 vitamins. Vitamin D supplements sell well in the winter because we worry we’re not getting enough sun. What about the other, less popular vitamins? Vitamin E is an equally important part of the diet. Today, we’ll talk about why and how you can work it into your daily meal plan.

Vitamins help the body grow and develop. Each one does this in a unique way. For example, Vitamin E is organically built to protect the body from neurological and mental diseases, diabetes, and ailments of the eyes. There are two main types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is more resilient and the effects can last longer in the body. Water-soluble vitamins like B12 are flushed out of our system whenever excess water is. Comparatively, a person would need more B12 than Vitamin E since Vitamin E stays reserved in fat tissue. Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous for the body. Toxicity is often times more dangerous than a deficiency.
A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, which, if severe enough, can cause anemia. The symptoms of anemia include malaise, fatigue, and abnormal heart-rate. Not enough Vitamin E can lead to more serious complications like Retinopathy, which can render patients partially or completely blind. Since Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the body from eye disorders like this, it is important to make sure that you get your daily amount each day. Skeletal Myopathy can also result from a deficiency. This condition is categorized by weakness in the muscles and skeleton.
Vitamin E can be found in oils. Krill oil is virtually tasteless and it is a bounty of vitamins and minerals. While it is most known for containing Omega 3, a daily serving of krill oil can also get you a portion of your other essentials including Vitamin E. Vitamin E is vegetarian and vegan friendly. It can also be found in a variety of plant-sources. Since the vitamin is fat-soluble, you can cook any of these ingredients without worrying about losing some of the nutrients to the heat. Avocados, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and wheat all contain Vitamin E. You can also pick up a supplement at the pharmacy to give you a boost!
The benefits of Vitamin E are absolutely free so make sure you’re taking the most advantage of them each and every day. All vitamins are important to understand and consider. By building a vitamin-rich diet, you can be a healthier and stronger person.
Writer’s Bio

Meet Jane Grates.

jane-grates

Jane:  new best friend material.  🙂

Jane is an award-winning web lover and the co-manager of RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag, and Janes Kitchen Miracles (<– Go check out that site!  So cool!).
Jane is a travel scholar, writer, health enthusiast, and food and health practitioner.
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Getting Strong

Getting Strong

I saw this meme the other day and instantly thought “YES!”

I can attest to its truth.

You see, for years, I wanted to get fit, healthy, strong.  But I wasn’t ready.  Yes, I wanted it, but, I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I was – on the outside.  I had struggled with my weight my entire life and my insecurities prevented me from really going for the gold with my weight loss.

Instead, I succumbed to eating disorders of many variations, to extreme diets, to weight loss supplements of all forms.  When I exercised it was in secret and privacy and for vanity, not for my health.

For several years now I have carried the mantra “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight“, and I cling to that.

When I finally joined a gym more than 10 years ago I would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, before the sun was up, and would sneak off for my workout while the rest of the world was still sleeping.  Even then, I was exercising for the wrong reasons.  It was still about vanity.  And I didn’t lose any weight.

It wasn’t until at least a year later when I decided to change my life.  That’s when the changes came.  That’s when I decided to put the work in.  Wrapping my head around that in this moment is so easy, but way back then, I just didn’t get it.

When I started to exercise and changed my eating habits, it was for my health.  And I was putting the work in.  And you know what?  The changes came so quickly.  My health improved and my insecurities subsided (to a point) and I finally felt good.  I fell in love with my life.  And with exercise.  I got over my fears of what people would think of me if they saw me on the treadmill or lifting weights or on the rowing machine.  I got over myself, essentially.  I didn’t look to anyone else for inspiration; I looked at myself.  I inspired me.  My life was worth more than how I had treated it before hand.

Sometimes it can be scary venturing into new or unknown territory.  But your health is more important than being afraid to ask someone for guidance.  Or fearing what others might think of you.  In all honesty, when I’m at the gym I’m not worried about what others are doing there (unless they’re hogging equipment).  I’m there to improve myself.  I’m not there to judge anyone.  And more than likely, the people at your gym aren’t concerned with what you’re doing.

I know, from personal experience, that when I feel like I look better, I actually feel better about myself (back to that vanity thing).  If that means swiping on some lipstick or revving up in cute (although durable) new workout gear, like Adore me, then so be it.  Do what you’ve gotta do to motivate yourself; to encourage yourself; to love yourself.

Don’t be afraid to go for that jog or kick the soccer ball around or try a Zumba class.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Get out of your head.  Give yourself a break.  And just do it already.  Your life is worth it.

Fit Bitch

 

Ya Gotta Have Heart!

RUNNERSI saw this yesterday in my Facebook feed and was inspired…..for a minute.  Then I realized, I do indeed have a runner’s body because I AM a runner, dammit!

The above photo was posted by one of my bootcampers – who also ran in the Harvest Marathon this past weekend.  I’ve watched her during my class and she works for it.  She gives it her all.  And she did such a great job in the race and she deserves to be so proud of herself.

We should never let anyone or anything diminish our accomplishments. And certainly not because we don’t conform to a required “mold” or ideal.

I am well aware that my arm skin jiggles when I’m running, thank you.  But you know what?  I’ve worked my ass off for that arm skin, because 10 years ago it was arm fat.  (Don’t even get me started on the boobs!)  I continue to work on toning and strength training but sometimes life, genetics, and just stubborn fat cells get in the way.  Does that make me any less of a runner or an athlete?  Hell no!

We need to stop idolizing the idea of what’s perfect and what’s acceptable and what’s “normal“.

Don’t let anyone ever take away of your greatness.  And please don’t let that someone be you.  You got this.

~Fit Bitch

Confessions

I don’t ever remember being comfortable in my body.  Not even as a little girl. I remember being 3 years old and having an uncle call me “fatty”, and my entire life my brother has tormented me about my weight. 

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

When I was in high school I started skipping meals and eventually developed full-fledged eating disorders. I initially thought I had the control but in reality, the disorders were controlling me.  And so the struggle continued.  My weight has almost always fluctuated – up and down, up and down – until I discovered fitness those years ago.  I changed my lifestyle completely – exercising regularly and eating differently, and I saw the payoff quickly – losing close to 60 lbs in just about 3 months.  I’d gained around 30 lbs after college and the extra weight that came off was bonus.  I was quite thin for my frame and certain bones poked out here and there.  I loved it.  But I still wasn’t comfortable in my body.

Starting off my exercise routine was pretty basic – a few times a week.  Then, about 4 years ago I started doing Shaun T’s Insanity routine again.  It’s a 60 days program where you work out 6 days a week.  I did this program twice, back-to-back, rarely taking that scheduled day off, therefore working out nearly 120 days straight.  I did another 30 day program, twice, back-to-back, not taking a single day off.  Somewhere in and around these times is when I developed my exercise addiction.

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

I didn’t realize at the time that I was actually doing a disservice to my body (and mind and soul).  I was proud of my commitment to physical activity.  I was excited that I had fallen so deeply in love with exercise and I craved it.  I planned my days, no, my life around my workouts as they were the most important thing.  I missed out on social events because they conflicted with my exercise time, If I had to travel I ensured the hotel had a fitness center and was certain to pack my gym clothes, and sometimes, many times, I’d double up on workouts the few days before just to ensure I had met my own personal quota.  For a little while, it got to the point where I was working out two and three times a day just for the hell of it.  I still didn’t see any issue with my exercise addiction.  

I worked through injuries – a torn rotator cuff, a sprained ankle, and a stress fracture in my foot – refusing to give up on my exercising.  Two years ago when my eye surgery was confirmed and the surgeon told me no exercise for 6-8 weeks my initial reaction was a full blown panic attack with sobbing and tears and partial hyperventilating because the mere thought of not exercising (especially for that amount of time) stressed me out, gave me guilt and, literally scared the crap out of me.  I considered not having the surgery so that I could continue my workouts. I still did not see a problem with my exercise addiction.  I often said that “it’s a healthy addiction.”

Then my weight started creeping back up. I didn’t understand it because I was exercising every day.  So I increased my workouts and my exercise time.  And my weight continued to climb, not a lot but enough to really piss me off – and confuse me.  How was it possible that I was working out every single day; sometimes spending 3-4 hours at the gym, taking tons of fitness classes, running, strength training, you name it, yet my weight was still climbing.  I was beyond frustrated.  Every time I went to my doctor about anything, the subject of my weight came up and I’d end up in tears.

One day this past winter I was having a conversation with a cousin and the subject of my fitness addiction came up and I got really emotional – choked up, teary eyed, cracking voice.  It was the first time I realized that my love of fitness had gone beyond that and once again, something I thought I controlled was, in fact, controlling me.  Unfortunately, I tried to ignore it.  For me, the guilt of not exercising was so overwhelming that I just couldn’t fathom the idea of taking days off. So I didn’t.  And I continued to struggle with my weight climb over the winter and spring.

Then at the very start of summer I went to see a nutritionist.  Although the offer for dietitians and nutritionists have always been there, it was the first time since my eating disorder days that I decided to speak to someone.  And to be honest, the only reason I sought to speak to someone this time around is because it was my fitness instructor who’d just completed her nutrition course and, although somewhat intimidated, I also felt (semi) comfortable with her.  She knew about my whacked out exercise habits – at least to some extent – and I told her that my weight was ever-increasing and I wanted to bring it down, especially since I was working toward my certification as a trainer.  I wanted to get back to looking the part.

She and I discussed my routines and I disclosed to her that, over the last four years I’d logged every single workout I’d done – I accounted for every exercise, every class, and the amount of time I’d put into the workout.  She said to me “So, you can tell me, for the last four years, how many days you’ve worked out and how many days you’ve taken off??”  Of course I can.  (And I’m certain the number of days I’ve taken off from working out can be counted on maybe 3 or 4 hands.)

After a little more discussion (and soul-baring) she determined that I have adrenal fatigue syndrome and over-training syndrome.  That, because my body has been under constant stress for the last 4 years – with little or no rest – my cortisol levels have been elevated for so long and it’s the reason for my weight gain.  She told me I had to start resting and with rest, eventually my weight should start to decrease.  Coincidentally I had an appointment with my doctor the next day, discussed this all with her and she concurred. 

So I started taking rest days.  And I felt no guilt.  I feel no guilt.  What’s really sad – really sad – is that, deep down I knew what the problem was.  Hell, I’d JUST taken the PTS course and read over and over that one only need exercise 3-5 times a week.  Yet, I did not allow myself off the hook that easy.  I think maybe I needed someone to actually tell me that my over-exercising was the root cause of my weight gain but until that happened I wasn’t ready to let go of my addiction.

When it comes right down to it, addiction is addiction.  If I were hooked on heroin or an alcoholic I wouldn’t be able to just quit in the instant because I knew it was bad for me.  And even though exercise is wonderful and so good for your health, I couldn’t – no, I wouldn’t – allow myself to grasp that my over-training was detrimental to my health.  I was so proud of my lifestyle change over the years and my successes that I was determined to keep going, to keep striving for this stupid idea of perfection, to finally feel comfortable in my body.  I still haven’t reached that point yet.  I have a feeling that this will be a lifelong journey and struggle, and although fitness and healthy living has become such a huge and important part of my life, that one little meeting back at the start of summer helped me realize that it doesn’t have to be my whole life.

~Fit Bitch

My Accidental Watermelon Slushy

It’s summer and it’s hot. And when it’s summer and it’s hot I sometimes like to cool off with a big, drippy slice of watermelon. So yesterday morning I picked up some pre-sliced melon from the grocery store and put it in the spare fridge with a few other things that just wouldn’t fit in my regular fridge.

This morning I’ve been sitting outside, reading my book, soaking up the glorious sunlight and watching my cat chase after the wind. And as I felt myself melting into my lawn chair I figured it was a perfect time to grab a slice of that delectable watermelon. Unfortunately, to my surprise, the temperature on the spare fridge had been turned up to ice-age and everything is frozen.

Now, the remaining items in that fridge can be salvaged once they thaw, but have you ever tried watermelon after it’s been frozen and thawed? It’s mushy and gross. So I just chopped it all up and threw it into my Nutribullet and *whoosh* – I have the most delicious watermelon slushy. I literally have to keep stoping typing so I can take sips. It’s so good and refreshing. I dare you to try it.

WATERMELON

🙂

~Fit Bitch

My Beautiful Beet Shake

I’ve been wanting to add more beets to my diet because of all their wonderful health benefits.* So, last night I sliced and roasted a few beets and then stored them in the fridge overnight. This morning I just threw in a couple of slices into my regular shake (which also includes almond milk and avocado) and the results are fantastic.

Pretty, delicious and healthy

Pretty, delicious and healthy

First of all, let me say that I think beets are the prettiest root vegetable out there.
beets bunch
They are so pretty and their color is so gorgeous – when I was in junior high I read a beauty tip in YM Magazine that said if you slice open a beet and rub it across your lips it will stain them a pretty blush color and there you’d have a natural “lip-stain”- so, I got my grandfather to dig me up a few beets from his garden….thus began my love affair with the beet – and they are chalk-full of goodness:

* 1) Beets have ZERO trans fat and ZERO saturated fat. They are also low calorie!
2) Beets are a great instant energy source, but unlike processed foods which are high in (bad) carbohydrates, beets will energize your body. Beets can be regarded as body fuel.
3) Beets are high in vitamins and minerals. They contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorous! They are also considered a fiber food and contain vitamins A and C as well as niacin.
4) Beets cleanse the body. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, work as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer (skin, lung and colon).
5) Beets are nature’s Viagra. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. (Kiley Dumas, Healthy Eating)
6) Reduces Birth Defects: Beets are good for pregnant women since they are a source of B vitamin folate which helps in the development of infant’s spinal column. Deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects.
7) Beets boost heart health and lower the risk of stroke.

I’ve juiced with beets before so I was ecstatic when I discovered that I could include them in my shakes. I should have realized how easy it would be since I’ve included cauliflower in my shakes before (my Nutir Bullet is my best friend!). (Roasting the beets soften them so that I don’t kill the blades of my blender.) And now I’m sure I can include them in pretty much everything – in baking (yeah, because I do so much baking), shakes, soups and salads. The possibilities can be endless.

Playing with your food is fun!

~Fit Bitch

1200 Calories

This is an EXCELLENT read!!

~Fit Bitch

Sophieologie

I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…

View original post 2,040 more words

Question of the Week

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of questions in my inbox and from friends so I’m going to attempt to do a Question of the Week from here on out.  I’m not going to guarantee that I’ll succeed in posting every week but I will certainly make the attempt.

So here it is…the first Question of the Week:

“If I Stop Working Out Will My Muscle Turn to Fat?”

Muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue, so even if you slack off, that hard-earned muscle won’t turn into fat.  With lack of use, muscle cells atrophy.  If they shrink to a certain size, they undergo apoptosis.

If you stop working out you lose strength and muscle mass.  Exercise uses calories and if you stop working out and don’t decrease your food intake then you (may) get fat.

Muscle occupies less space than fat :)

Muscle occupies less space than fat 🙂

There ya go.  Hope that settles that.  Keep the questions coming and I’ll do my best to continue a weekly Q&A.

~Fit Bitch

Healthier Version Fish Burger

This is not my fish burger....my fish burger did not last long enough to be posed for a photo

This is not my fish burger….my fish burger did not last long enough to be posed for a photo

There’s a little restaurant a few towns over that boyfriend and I love and they make the most delicious fish burger.  I know what you may be thinking “Fish burger?  Gross.”  But it’s not gross….it’s soooo good.  *And I live in Nova Scotia where there is an abundance of seafood. Jealous?)

When I was really little I loved McDonalds’s Filet-o-Fish.  Back in the day, eating at McDonald’s was a treat, not the everyday norm that it seems to be now – and again, I’m not that old.  But my parents raised us on pretty healthy home-cooked meals and eating at fast food joints just didn’t happen that often.  But when I got to go, I almost always  got the F-o-F.  I can’t even recall the last time I’ve had one of those…probably high school.

And, as I was saying, this particular restaurant makes a YUM fish burger and it’s not super battered or super greasy – which is perfect.  So, a few days ago I got a craving for a fish burger.  But, because of my evening fitness classes, I have to plan my meals out so that a) I’m not going to the gym and then classes with a heavy stomach  b) I’m not getting home until close to 10pm and chowing down and hitting the sack on a heavy stomach (PLUS – who wants to clean up all those dishes at, like, 11 o’clock at night?).

So, here’s the thing: Tuesday nights are (for now) my no class nights which means I left work, hit the gym and then made myself a great dinner of a healthier version fish burger.  I literally just inhaled it because it was so good.

I baked a lightly seasoned haddock filet – NOT battered and NOT fried – and threw it on a whole grain crustini bun with some spinach and light garlic mayo and had a side of grilled purple cabbage*.

Not quite as good looking as mine

Not quite as good looking as mine

It all was so wonderfully indulgent and delicious and to be perfectly honest, if I had made two fish burgers I probably would have eaten two fish burgers because it was just.that.good.  (Okay, just want to say here that I really wouldn’t have eaten two fish burgers, I’m just trying to emote here how darn good my dinner was.)

*By the way, cabbage is delicious raw or cooked and has an abundance of health benefits including being packed with fiber and vitamins and potassium.  I often chop some up and eat it when I’m craving something sweet or crunchy or snacky.

Let me just say this, my dinner tonight was better and obviously more nutritious than any fish burger and side I could get at a restaurant (especially a fast food restaurant).  So, the next time you’re craving an indulgent, try making your own healthier version of it.

~Fit Fish Bitch 😉

 

Mantras

I’ve been seeing and hearing the phrase “Strong is the New Skinny” a lot lately.  A lot!  And normally, in text, the phrase is accompanied by a photo of a young woman who looks like this:

Skinny

Um…sorry…this woman doesn’t look strong at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she’s a lovely person but strong?  I’m not feeling it.  She’s definitely skinny.  And long.  I’m 5’6 with short legs, muscular calves and I have a huge ribcage – I’m built like a linebacker.

I think the mantra of “Strong is the New Skinny” is a little insulting to everyone.  First, skinny people – it’s okay to be skinny.  Most thin people can’t help being thin anymore than I can help having blue eyes…it’s just the way it goes; the way they were made.  Second, for strong people: Athletes, weight lifters, arm wrestlers, etc.  These people work hard and their feats are being downplayed.  To say that being strong has taken the place of being skinny makes it sound like working hard at taking care of your body is a fad and that it will be replaced by something else sooner or later. It’s insulting.  It takes a lot of discipline to get to the level of fitness these people get to and they should be respected and commended for it; certainly not compared to a fad diet or regime.  Third, for people who are like me, who are NEVER going to look like that chick above…it can be devastating.  Some of us work our asses off at the gym and with our healthy eating and whatnot and our bodies are still going to be our bodies.  No matter how much I exercise I am not going to wake up tomorrow and be 5’11 and lean and slender.  I am still going to wake up tomorrow and have muscular calves and a huge ribcage and that’s just the way life goes.   This is my body.  This is my temple.  And what’s really unfortunate, is that many young girls are going to strive for that long, slight look, not realizing that, for most of them, it’s unattainable and they will end up doing harm to their bodies.  I speak from experience.  As a mid-teen, growing up in a world of supermodels, I was driven to be uber skinny and to do whatever it took to reach my (unrealistic) goal of thinness.  I succumbed to eating disorders and did damage to my body, my mind and to the people who loved me.

If ad companies want to promote healthy, strong, fit bodies why not post a photo of this girl:

strong-fit-girls-women-27or this girl:

LifterThese women are badass and should be praised for these accomplishments.  I would LOVE to see a real strong woman like this in an advertising campaign promoting strong bodies.  But, unfortunately, that probably won’t be happening because what it still boils down to, after all these years, is the same old: Sex Sells.  The ads are usually super thin models with long flowing hair, full makeup, teensy, tiny outfits with tons of cleavage.  Are they strong women?  They could be.  Are they gorgeous women?  Absolutely.   Do the ads make us feel guilty?  Likely.  They used to make me feel guilty for not getting to that physique.  Now I just laugh.  I have my own demons to deal with.  I don’t need to fight with the ad demons too.

Yeah, this is exactly how I look when I hit the gym...PFFFFFT!!!!!

Yeah, this is exactly how I look when I hit the gym…PFFFFFT!!!!!

And we (women and men both) should not be made to feel guilty by advertising companies to look a certain way.  That can be a path to living a very unhealthy lifestyle.

Years ago The Body Shop came out with the greatest advertising campaign:

Courtesy of The Body Shop

Courtesy of The Body Shop

I loved it.  It helped get rid of the stigma that followed women around that we should all be tall and thin.  (This ain’t Hitler’s world.)  Obviously we need to exercise and follow a healthy diet – those are just given – but we also need to respect, accept and embrace our bodies.  No matter what.  Embrace all of it – thin or heavy, tall or short.  Loving and respecting yourself is the first step too good health.  Once you do that you can accomplish anything.

~Fit Bitch