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The Protein Bar

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RS1966 shutterstock 189234521When it comes to a quick on the go snack that can keep your energy up and stave off cravings, the protein bar is the way to go.  There are many over the counter options but often if you are not looking at what is put into them they can be loaded full of sugar and unnecessary additives.  Some are even comparable to eating a candy bar! 

Here are ten quick and easy recipes that can be made at home with fresh ingredients and quickly added to lunch boxes, gym bags and purses to help you and your family get through the day!



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Probiotics

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RS2733 iStock 000003176288XLargeIf you are at all interested in looking into what can be beneficial for assisting in good health, the use of probiotics is a hot topic as of late.  A probiotic is“good for you” bacteria as well as specific yeast found in some foods and supplements.  Research has been identifying these bacteria and yeasts as highly helpful in reducing a wide range of disorders, from GI distress to allergies, ulcerative colitis to bloating.  These bacteria also help to assist replenishing intestinal flora following a round of antibiotic usage.

Is the use of probiotics right for you?  Here are four things you may not know about the world of good bacteria:

  1. The collection of microorganisms in the gut is ENORMOUS!  Some estimates are as many as 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria.  The amount of microorganisms number 10 to 1 to the cells in our body.
  1. The strain does matter.  Probiotics are bacteria that are helpful to the body when either swallowed OR applied to it.   Most probiotics will be identified by three names, their genus, species and strain.  The Food and Drug Administration does not currently require manufacturers to disclose their strains on food or supplements
  1. Probiotics should be taken frequently but may not be needed every day.  Unless you are having a specific issue with your digestive system where you would use a strain specific probiotic shown to assist with a specific symptom.
  1. Most major brands have been shown to contain what they claim.


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Family Fitness

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Childhood obesity is on the rise as children spend less time being active and too much time watching TV or playing video games. If you are an engaged parent, it is hard to miss this information. The news reports it, parenting magazines write about it, and teachers and physicians send information home about how inactive and unhealthy kids are these days.

As parents we want what is best for our kids, but balancing work and family schedules can be challenging. So how can we make sure that we are giving our families the best opportunities for a healthy active life now and into the future?

RS2051 Doctors WEBFirst, some facts:

  • Childhood obesity is on the rise
  • Over a 32-year period (1980-2012), there was an 11% increase in obesity for ages 6-11 and 16% for ages 12-19;
  • More than one-third of children and adolescents is classified as overweight or obese;
  • The annual cost of obesity in the United States is $14 billion;
  • Overweight children and adolescents have a 70% greater chance of becoming overweight adults.

How can you prevent your child from becoming an obesity statistic?  The best advice out there regarding family fitness is to model what you want for your kids. Again, as with most parenting tasks, finding the balance in life to include exercise for yourself and your family can be difficult.



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A New Way to GO

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eliptigoIs pain keeping you from running or walking?  Does riding a bicycle hurt your back or give you ‘saddle sore’? Are you bored on the cardio machines at the gym or at home? Are you looking to improve your time in your next race? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the ElliptiGO may be the tool for you.

What is it:  Think bicycle plus elliptical machine.  The ElliptiGO was invented in Southern California and came to the market around 2010.  It has the familiar bicycle components (handlebars for steering, hand brakes, gears, two wheels) with a stride similar to the elliptical machine.  The stride is very comfortable and smooth.  It is slightly longer and narrower than the average indoor machine to match your running stride better. The handle bars and stride length can be adjusted to accommodate heights of 5’ 0” to 6'8". 

What the research says:

A recent research study by Rendler and colleagues found that workouts on ElliptiGO improve cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in line with fitness industry standards and American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.  (You can read the full article here)

ElliptiGO riding expends 33% more energy compared to cycling at the same speed.

ElliptiGO also conducted many case studies with their elite athletes that you can check out.

Who uses it?

The ElliptiGO is a useful tool for all runners and fitness enthusiasts.  Elite runners are using it to supplement their training and achieve their goals.  Former runners who are unable to run due to pain use it to get the ‘runner’s high’ and build fitness without pain.  Injured runners use it in their rehabilitation to keep fit while allowing their injuries to heal.

If you do not have pain, the ElliptiGO can supplement your training to improve your cardiovascular fitness without the impact that running puts on your body.  Recovery is an important part of training.  You can add additional training time without putting excessive stress on your body.  My friend Tina Muir, an elite marathon runner, posted a blog about the benefits of cross training for runners.  You can check it out here.



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