The Newest Health Drink That’s Already In Your Kitchen

I’ve always been one to have my friends’ backs. And today, I’m defending a dear friend of mine who has gotten a bad rep. A friend who is always there for me, to add some pep into my step….. Okay, it’s coffee. But I’m sure many of you hold this lifesaving drink in as high of regard as I do. I would classify myself as fairly dependent on the stuff, but I’ve always had a lingering feeling of guilt for getting that extra cup. Somewhere along the way, I had been brainwashed to think it was unhealthy for my heart….or something. I recently came across some pro-coffee health articles and started digging further. It turns out that most of coffee’s health drawbacks are myths!

Recently, researchers far and wide have been discovering several serious health benefits associated with coffee. If you want the nitty-gritty, I’ll post a link to the articles at the end, but here’s the breakdown for you…

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Heart

  • Three separate studies looking at the long term consumption of coffee and the risk of (1) cardiovascular disease, (2) stroke, and (3) heart failure showed moderate coffee consumers (2-5 cups a day) were at lowest risk for these conditions, compared with those who drank none.
  • Consumption had to reach 10 cups of coffee to see negative associations
  • Coffee previously blamed for causing heart disease – new research suggests in may actually help prevent it
    • Study of more than 25,000 middle-aged people (aka A LOT) – those who drank 3-5 cups per day had 41% less calcium buildup in arteries than non-coffee drinkers

Cancer

  • Anti-cancer effects come from coffee’s high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds
  • Italian scientists gathered 16 years’ worth of data (A LOT) to find direct link between coffee consumption and fewer incidences of liver cancer – 3rd most common cause of cancer death
  • May improve insulin signaling, which helps prevent diabetes, which can increase the risk of developing liver cancer
  • Drastically reduces the risk of malignant melanoma
    • National Cancer Institute study of 450,000 men and women, controlled for other factors that could impact skin cancer risk, showed decreased risk
    • Regular coffee only, not decaf
    • Only people consuming 4+ cups of coffee saw significant risk reduction

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Other Awesome Benefits

  • Shown to slow the cognitive decline of aging including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Drinking coffee before your workout: increased energy and effectiveness
  • Drinking after your workout: coffee combined with carbs helps glycogen transfer more quickly from blood to muscles, essentially restoring muscles after a workout

Another myth to debunk is that tea is better than coffee…some researchers now believe that coffee is better for you than tea because it contains more caffeine and antioxidants, which are the main factors that result in benefits. Like most things health-related, there’s a right amount, but surprisingly, less is not always better. The recommended dosage is 3-5 cups a day, which doctors say allows you to reap the benefits without negatively impacting blood pressure. If that seems like a lot to you, remember we are talking 8 oz. cups here. I, for one, know that’s not my standard size. We’re also talking black coffee, not vanilla lattes and mocha frappucinos…now that would be too good to be true.

Bottom line: bust out the WhiteStrips and drink up!


Links: Here, Here, Here

The Diet That DOESN’T Work

Why do so many people go on a diet, to then end up gaining more weight than before? It’s because there are so many misconceptions out there about dieting and weight loss, and the majority of dieters are under-informed. Like most things out there, there is a right way and a wrong way to diet, and it all comes down to the means you use to get to the end. The end being the weight loss.

Arguably the most common method of dieting is counting calories. While it is proven that consuming less calories leads to weight loss, there are other factors to this method that also determine your short-term and long-term results. Let’s take Weight Watchers for example. As a former user of WW, the goal is to stay within your assigned number of daily calories. Let’s say you cave and eat a muffin along with your normal egg breakfast and suddenly realize you are already up to 550 calories and it’s only 8:30am. It looks like you’re skipping lunch to make up for that overindulgence, and by dinner you’re ravenous and can’t resist that second serving. Even if you managed to stay under your daily calorie allotment, this method WILL NOT lead to long-term sustained weight loss.

Skipping meals is not the way to go, and will usually backfire…right back on to your hips. Studies have shown that skipping meals can mess with your metabolism and cause you more trouble; here’s how it works.

When you skip a meal and don’t eat for an extended period of time, your body triggers a famine response, which means that your metabolism slows down in an attempt to preserve energy and your body increases fat storage for survival. The longer you go without eating, the more you are training your body that it must store (rather than burn) fat and calories, because it doesn’t know when the next meal will come. Our bodies are biologically programmed this way for survival.

diet cycle

Inevitably, one day you get off your diet and go back to eating normally. Even if you had temporarily lost weight from the calorie decrease, you’re in for a surprise. With the slower metabolism you have created, every mouthful you take is going to affect you more than it did before the diet. You will likely regain the weight from the fat that your body has learned to store during those starvation periods. And then it was all for what???

While everyone is different, these are scientifically proven processes in your body that many people don’t take into consideration. More frequent eating keeps the metabolism running and active, and prevents the body from using the emergency-like famine responses. If you think that this means your food choices don’t matter and you can eat whatever you want as often as you want, then you need to go back to the basics. Obviously, when you are eating more often (and even when you’re not), you should choose healthy food options, which also will keep your calorie count low.

So, my friends, permission to snack. But put down the Cheetos…

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Embracing Your Body

This video moved me when I came across it today. The way that us women often describe our bodies is heartbreaking. Eating right and exercising rank high on my priority list, oftentimes in the interest of health, but also too often in the interest of physical appearance.

Each of us has our own insecurities that influence this body shaming, but where did we learn the rules of how a body is supposed to look? We start off as babies with beautiful round tummies and rolls on our legs, and as we grow up, we are taught by our surroundings what a “perfect body” is. Our society, family, friends, and social media are some of the things that teach us how we’re supposed to look. I, for one, can’t remember many times in my life that society helped me feel BETTER about my physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I love my social media and don’t plan to give it up anytime soon, but it surely contributes to the perfection standards that exist all around us.

Each person’s body acceptance is a deeply personal process, but this video served as a good reminder for me to be less critical of myself and to focus on health and fitness as tools to refuel and refine this vessel that God has given me to carry me through this life.

I’m looking forward to what the Embrace Documentary will bring us in the future. Follow their progress here.

The Go-To Online Workout You Must Check Out

I’ve been on a bit of a personal hiatus lately, after the death of someone dear to me. I may address this subject later when the time seems right, but for now I’m trying to move back into normal life.

I was out of town for several days due to this situation, and missing my regular ass-kickings at the gym. Fitness is a very important part of my life, and I just about go crazy if I haven’t had a workout in a few days. I become convinced that I can feel the extra pounds around my waist and face, and miss the endorphin-inducing sweat that I’m used to.

When I’m on-the-go, I refer to my repertoire of online workouts to keep me moving. I am by no means a gym rat and need variety to keep me motivated, so my online exercise sources are a weekly complement to my classes at the gym. I want to share with you one of my favorite places to go to quickly pull up an exercise routine.

Tone It Up was created by two beautiful young women to inspire women everywhere to get moving and get results. Staring at their rockin’ bods during your workout video is motivation enough! On their website, they feature hundreds of before-and-after photos of amazing results from women using their workouts and healthy eating plans. Perhaps one of the transformations that caught my attention the most was of one of the creators herself. Here it is…and don’t attribute it to photoshop. You can witness her toned bod for yourself in her workout videos.

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I’ve tested out countless numbers of online workout videos in my years, and these girls nailed a few of the factors that make me come back for more.

  • Targeted workouts for specific parts of the body: the drop-down menu under “Fitness” allows you to choose from abs, arms, booty, legs, etc.
  • Light-hearted, fun workouts: these 2 ladies bring their cute personalities to the stage, making you want to be their best friend (who you secretly loathe for their body)
  • Recipe ideas
  • SHORT WORKOUTS: people, most of the workout videos are less than 15 minutes, but still get the work done! Combine a couple of videos to focus on different parts of your body, or do a short video in addition to a walk or run
  • Social media: their Instagram account is a fun mix of their daily lives and new, exciting exercise content on the site

Check them out at toneitup.com, and I guarantee you won’t regret it!

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