Why T-tapp And Journal Week One

 Like many people with hypothyroid and/or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis I tend to have more trouble in the winter. Along with starting on some vitamin D supplements I decided to try adding some exercise as well. I chose T-Tapp because I had heard some great things about it. My husband had used Theresa Tapp’s program before, and enjoyed benefits from it. With all the hubbub of getting ready to tie the knot he fell out of the habit. However now that I’m doing it, he’s started back up again. We use the Basic Work Out Plus DVD. At $35.95 it is an investment, but it is totally worth it. You can watch videos and try some of the moves for free at their website at t-tapp.com. My mother-in-law uses a different version called T-Tapp More Rehab Program and loves it. It’s made “for those who have more to lose, more health issues to overcome or more birthday candles on the cake” and helps rehabilitate problems with shoulders, lower back, hips, and knees. She says it helps more than her physical therapy exercises did.

What makes T-Tapp different is that it your body provides all the resistance you need, so there’s no weights, or bands, or extra equipment. It uses comprehensive compound muscle movement. Here’s the plain English translation. Comprehensive means it uses both points of muscle attachment, so when your working your upper leg the part of the muscle that attaches to the hip and the part of the muscle that attaches to the knee are both being used. This gets double the workout from one movement, and helps build muscle density instead of bulk. Compound simply means more than one. Every move in T-Tapp uses 5-7 muscles at a time. You never just use your arms or just your legs. This means the basic workout does your whole body in just 15 minutes. The instructional video you use the first few days slows it down and shows you the moves step by step, so it takes 23 minutes. There’s only 8 repetitions of each movement, so unlike other exercises I’ve tried and I don’t get bored. It is also designed to help your lymph system function better to get toxins out of your body. I’m planning on doing some research on the how and why of that, so hopefully that will be another post soon.

I decided to keep a journal of how I do with this exercise program, and share it with you. You’ll find week one below. While I don’t get through the whole program every day, I am making progress and gaining stamina. The first couple days it tired me out and I’d have to sit and rest for a little while after doing it, but after the first week I can do the exercises then go right into washing dishes or whatever else it is I need to do that day. Another benefit I’ve noticed is that I used to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, but now the soreness and stiffness are gone. It’s just a little thing in the scheme of things, but it is good to feel that difference. If you have done this before, please leave a comment to encourage others who haven’t. Those of you who are thinking about it, go ahead and try some of the free videos on their website. You could also read some of the amazing testimonials to get you inspired. If you try it, leave a comment and tell me how it goes! I’d love to hear about your journey with it as I’m starting mine.

T-Tapp Journal Week One

Day 1: I did the instructional video through the jazz twist. That’s about half the video. I feel tired and drained

Day 2: I took today off, not feeling well. I’ve been trying to get over a cold and don’t want to over do it.

Day 3: I did through the oil well, felt tired but good. Later in the evening I noticed a lack of my usual soreness and tension in shoulder muscles

Day 4: I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I just did primary back stretch because I had a lot to accomplish and a late start. I used the basic video not the intro but had no problems keeping up.

Day 5: I didn’t get much sleep again, my work schedule is messing with my sleep schedule. I did basic video rather than instructional with my husband and got all the way through it! (Except the hoedowns at the end) Tip: since I tire easy I sometimes only do sets of 4 rather than the 2sets of 8 done in the video so I can get to all the exercises. Did that in the jumping jacks and the T-Tapp twist.

Day 6 Husband birthday! Slept really well last night, tried homeopathic remedy for sleeplessness. Did through oil well on basic, went back to instructional for ttapp twist. I still have trouble with that one a bit, maybe because I’m a short torso? I will have to do my measurements. I still only did 2 sets of four on jumping jacks and ttapp twist. I may do that for a while until I can build up my stamina. Noticed that I was more aware of my posture today, and my shoulders felt great despite all the scrubbing I did yesterday.

Day 7 Wasn’t feeling well, probably overdid the sugar a bit yesterday. Made myself do the Primary backstretch anyway, but didn’t go beyond that. I have to get my tired self to the bus stop later in order to make it to work so I didn’t want to tire myself out.

 

UPDATE:  Due to extenuating circumstances that will eventually be explained, I am taking a break from my regular exercise routine.  However, I definitely still recommend this program.

Non-dairy Calcium Sources

qeFMYJ1365273151When you tell people you’re on a dairy free diet a common question comes up. “But where do you get calcium?” We all know how important calcium is for our bone health, so that is a good thing to ask. Luckily calcium can be found in a lot of other foods. Dark leafy greens like collards and kale are a good choice. Any green vegetable will have magnesium which is needed for our bodies to be able to use calcium properly. The leafy greens also have vitamin D, which as many know, is needed for the absorption of calcium. Therefore, they are my first choice. Other calcium sources include nuts, sesame seeds, black-eyed peas, oranges, etc. Below is a list of foods and the amount of calcium they contain in mg per cup. It would be a good idea to take calcium supplements for what your diet is lacking. The recommended amount for adults is 1,00-1,300 mg a day. For comparison, milk contains 300 mg a cup.

 

Vegetables
cooked turnip greens 450
Collard Greens 357
cooked bok choy 330
cooked collards 300
cooked kale 200
broccoli (cooked) 198
cooked mustard greens 180
dandelion greens 150
Swiss chard 102
Chinese Cabbage 74

Herbs
dried savory 85 (per tbs)
celery seed 124 (per tbs)
dried thyme 57 (per tbs)
dried dill 53 (per tbs)
fresh parsley 200

Fruit
Rhubarb, cooked 348
Dried Figs 107 (in 8 whole fruit)
Oranges 72

Beans
navy beans 140
pinto beans 100
garbanzo beans 95

Grains
tapioca (dried) 300
quinoa, cooked 80
corn meal, whole grain 50

Nuts/Seeds
sesame seeds 2,100
almonds 750
hazelnuts (filbert) 450
Flax seed 428
walnuts 280
sunflower seeds 260

Sea Vegetables
wakame 3,500
kombu 2,100
nori 1,200
agar-agar 1,000

Sea Food
sardines with bones 1,000
mackerel with bones 600
salmon with bones 490
shrimp 300
raw oysters 240

Other
hummus 132 (average, varies with recipe)
Blackstrap molasses 172 (per tbs)

 

Sources

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1061

http://www.ellenskitchen.com/faqs/calcium.html

http://greatist.com/health/dairy-free-calcium-sources/

http://www.organicauthority.com/health/healthy-bones-with-non-dairy-sources-of-calcium-rich-foods.html

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/osteoporosis_and_calcium/page5_em.htm

http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-calcium.php

How to Make Chicken Broth

Bone broths are amazing.  They are good for every part of you, from the hair on your head to your toenails.  Broths are very simple to make, and are so much cheaper than buying an inferior commercial product.  Most of your ingredients for a good chicken broth are leftovers that would otherwise be thrown away.   You start with putting the carcass of a whole chicken in your slow cooker. Using the juices that escaped when you cooked the bird will add rich flavor.  If you have access to some chicken feet you can add half a pound to a pound of those. The feet contain quite a bit of gelatin which will add extra nutrition, but you can still get good broth without them.. Pour in enough water to cover the bones.  Adding about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar helps release the nutrients from the bones, but doesn’t affect the taste. There is another optional add in that requires a bit of forethought. If you save and freeze the ends of carrots and celery you can add those for more vitamins in your broth.  Set the temperature of your slow cooker or crock pot to low and let it simmer 8-12 hours.  Longer is better, so I’ve found overnight works best.

After the broth is done cooking let it cool and put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  Then take it out and skim off the fat that collected on the top.  I got in a hurry once and skipped this step.  The broth was greasy and had an unpleasant feel to it.  Don’t skip it, skim it.  (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)  Now you can freeze your broth and use it as a base for soups, stews, or in any recipe calling for broth or stock.  One more tip: if you want to freeze it in small amounts to use in a recipe you can add tablespoons measured tablespoons in an icecube tray.  Pop them in a freezer bag after they’re frozen and then you won’t have to thaw a whole container for just a couple of tablespoons of broth.

Enjoy the health benefits, great flavor, and savings from making your own chicken broth!

 

Necessity The Mother of Invention Aka Italian Chicken Quinoa

We keep most of our meat in the chest freezer in the garage.  Usually on the weekends I have my husband bring in what we will need for the week.  This weekend, I forgot.  Shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I somehow misplaced my key to the garage.  All we had in the freezer were some chicken necks and backs for making broth, cranberries, a chopped up zucchini, and one frozen cooked leg quarter.  If I had made my menu over the weekend or taken meat out of the inside freezer the night before, like I’m supposed to, I wouldn’t have had this problem.   I had to have supper made and ready to eat when he got home, because we were going to church tonight. Perfect storm.  After some frantic searching, I realized I’d have to come up with something using what I had.  So I started some quinoa cooking.  Quinoa is a high protein grain, I chose it because one leg quarter between the two of us isn’t much protein.  If you don’t have quinoa you could substitute rice. I put the chicken in the toaster oven to thaw, and thought.  After the chicken was thawed through I got to work. I put some olive oil in a pan and threw in the frozen zucchini.  I added the shredded chicken, a can of diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  And you know what, it actually turned out pretty good.  I admired my mom when I was younger because of how she could make a meal out of pretty bare cupboards.  I’m grateful that the creative tips she taught me has allowed me to do the same.  Here’s the handy dandy recipe for when you are low on ingredients, and need something quick and easy to make.

 

Italian Chicken Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

1 Chicken leg quarter, pre-cooked (could use any other cut of chicken)

1 chopped zucchini

1 tbs olive oil

1 can diced tomatos

2 -3 tsp Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cook up some quinoa. While that’s simmering do the following steps.

2.  Put olive oil in skillet on medium heat.  Add the chopped zucchini.  Stir occasionally.

3.  While the zucchini is warming, shred the chicken. Add it in to the pan.

4.  Stir in a can of  diced tomatoes. Add Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the skillet.

5.  Its done with the zucchini pieces have turned semi-transparent, about 20 minutes.

Serve chicken tomato mixture on a bed of quinoa.  Feel free to add to this; some crushed garlic, extra oregeno or basil, or other vegetables you have on hand could go well.

 

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is an ancient high protein grain.  It looks a little like barley, and has a very subtle nutty flavor.  It can be used as a substitute for barley, bulgur, or rice in many recipes. It is a staple in our gluten-free house. When preparing quinoa it is best to be prepared.  Soaking it for 4-8 hours before cooking makes it easier to digest.  In a pinch you can skip or shorten this step.  Quinoa grains are covered with bitter tasting powder called saponin so they need a quick rinse in a strainer. Place the quinoa in a sauce pan with 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa.  Add a pinch of salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Then cover it and bring the heat down to a simmer.  Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on letting it steam for 5 minutes. The water should be fully absorbed.

Quinoa is huge online right now. Its high protein makes it a great alternative to less nutrient dense carb choices. You can use this in many recipes, such as my Italian Chicken Quinoa.

Sherpa’s Pie Recipe

Lately I’ve been playing around with some Indian spices. They make you feel nice and warm, so they’re great for this time of year. I had a craving for some classic comfort food, but I wanted something a bit different too. So I made this Indian inspired shepherd’s pie. My husband decided it would be called sherpa’s pie, he’s better at naming things than I am. Feel free to play with the ingredients. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. In the pictures you’ll see a carrot, I took it out of the recipe because I decided it didn’t another sweet orange ingredient. You could substitute ground beef if you don’t like, or just don’t have, the lamb. If you’re a vegetarian go ahead and use tofu or chickpeas for your protein.

Filling

1 medium zucchini

1/4 pound pea pods

1 head of broccoli

1 can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 lb ground lamb

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp ginger

3/4 tbs marjoram

Salt pepper to taste

 

Topping

4 1/2 cup mashed butternut squash

1/8 -1/4 tsp ginger depending how much kick you want

1/2 cup coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Your first step is to roast the squash. This can be done the day before. For this recipe then mash with a potato masher with the 1/2 cup of coconut milk.

Cut vegetables into diced size pieces.  Pictured is a double amount of vegetables.  When I’m chopping anyway I like to do extra and freeze them for later.

Fry ground lamb at medium heat until browned and cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste while frying. Stir frequently and break up large clumps. Place lamb and vegetables in 9×13 pan. Mix in spices and the diced tomatoes. Spread it out nice and level so you can later easily smooth on the squash topping.

In separate bowl mix together the mashed squash, ginger, coconut milk, and salt and pepper. Spread topping on the filling in the pan.

Put in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Makes 6 generous servings, unless you ask my husband over.

How to Roast Squash or Pumpkin

I was spoiled growing up. My mom always used fresh pumpkin in her holiday baking. It makes such a difference in the flavor. Roasting a pumpkin, or squash, isn’t difficult. I had a big butternut squash i needed to cook up for preparation for another recipe. First, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Then cut the squash in half.

Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. To keep the squash from sticking tothe pan smear some coconut oil, butter, or ghee on the cut side of the flesh. Place the squash on a large sheet pan with lips, or roasting pan.It’s better if you can fit them both in laying flat,but if you need to lean one on the other a bit like in the picture below it’s ok. They just might not cook as evenly.

Put them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the squash. These I did for an hour. They are done when you can stick the tines of the fork through the skin of the squash with almost no force. Take the out and let them cool.

The one on the left is done, if they get as dark as the one on the right, they are a little bit overcooked.

The skin will peel right off, just watch out for pockets of heat. At this point prep it for whatever recipe you are using. Or you can mash it up with a little of your favorite milk/milk substitute and enjoy as a yummy side dish.

 

Response to Eggs And Cigarettes Study

Eggs have been given a bad name. Recently a study compared eating eggs with the effects of smoking. The study was flawed, but the media ran with the dramatic statement. In the study researches went to the vascular clinic of Ontario’s Western University Hospital. They asked patients there a few questions, and then tallied results. They asked about how many eggs they eat, and about their smoking habits. This information was used to come to the conclusion that eggs cause plaque to build up in the arteries at 2/3 the rate of smoking. The problem with this is that many variables were not accounted for.

Let’s play a little game of fill in the blank. If I say _______ and eggs, what is the first word that you think of? The top answer is bacon, and ham is also popular. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that the people who reported eating more eggs also ate more processed meat. But we don’t know. We also don’t know any of their other lifestyle choices that could lead to plaque build up and heart trouble. How active were they? Did they exercise? Were they overweight? Were many of them diabetic? All of these questions could change how we interpret the results of the study. All the study does in point out a correlation. In this sample of people, those who ate more eggs had more cholesterol build up in their arteries. However, correlation is not causation. The fact that these thing happened in the same people does not mean that the eggs were the cause. We can not say this without accounting for all the other variables.

If you have an expected answer to a question then the chance that you will find evidence to support it is much more likely. This little story is somewhat silly (and possibly gross and a little cruel), but it illustrates the point nicely:

The scientist yells “JUMP!” at the frog and the frog jumps one meter.
Then he cuts off one of the frog’s legs, yells “JUMP!” and the frog jumps half a meter.
Then he cuts off another of the frog’s legs, yells “JUMP!” and the frog jumps a fifth of a meter.
Then he cuts off a third leg, yells “JUMP!” and the frog does not jump. He yells “JUMP!” again, and the frog does not jump.
“Aha!” he says. “I have my result!” So he carefully writes in his lab book: “When three legs are removed, a frog becomes deaf.”

I know this is a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea. Now, Dr David Spence was one of the leaders of this study. His record shows that he believes dietary cholesterol to be bad for the heart, despite many new studies that suggest otherwise. Since that was what he believes to be true he went looking for evidence to support it and found what he was looking for. Dr. David Jenkins was another lead researcher, he just happens to be an ethical vegan, meaning he believes eating eggs to be morally wrong. It is possible he was also looking for a certain outcome.

This research was a type of study called an observational study. It was based on self-reporting, which the scientific community agrees is not a very accurate way to gather information. Unless I was to go look at my old meal plan, I can’t tell you what I ate this past month and certainly not how much. That is one reason why this style of study is not used to determine cause and effect. The type of study that does is called an intervention study. In this type one group of people is told to make certain lifestyle changes such as eat x number of eggs for breakfast, while another group is told to eat x amount of oatmeal. They are also to report exercise levels and other information so the researchers can factor those variables in to the study. In this more controlled manner it is possible to find cause-effect relationships. Two examples of such studies, found here and here, show that eating eggs does not harm your heart. There are many more.

So, the lesson here? Don’t believe every news article you read. Do your own research and ask trusted experts. Eggs have absolutely nothing in common with cigarettes. In fact, eggs are full of good nutrients, especially if they are from pastured hens. But for brevity’s sake, that’s another post.

*No frogs were harmed in the making of this post*

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-checkup/post/what-do-egg-yolks-and-cigarettes-have-in-common/2012/08/15/f5053b7a-e71b-11e1-9739-eef99c5fb285_blog.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/eggs-health_b_1818209.html

http://frobinett.edublogs.org/2010/11/12/a-couple-of-interesting-examples-of-bias/

 

Avocados The Super-est Super Food

Image

avocado

In my opinion avocados are the most super of all super foods. I wasn’t introduced to them until college, and I’m glad I didn’t know what I was missing. The world would be a darker place without avocados…. ok, I exaggerate.

Anyway, they are really packed with essential nutrients, including Vitamins B5, B6, C, E and K, potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, fiber, and good fats like omega-3’s. Not only are they full of good stuff themselves, they bring out the goodness in what’s around them. Avocados contain a lot of oleic acid which helps our body absorb fat-soluble nutrients. For example, one study found that adding a cup of avocado to a salad with romaine, spinach and carrots increased carotenoid absorption 200-400%!

But, but, high in fats, isn’t that bad? Nope! Many fats are good. The one fat you really want to avoid is trans-fat, and saturated fats should be taken in “moderation”. In other words, just don’t pig out on them every day. Only 10% of an avocado’s fat content is saturated, and it contains no trans-fats. Monounsaturated fat (70% of the fat) is actually GOOD for your heart. Avocados are also anti-inflammatory thanks to two more fats; PFA’s (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, usually only in ocean plants) and phytosterols. These are particularly good for those with arthritis. Then there are the well known omega 3’s (another fat) that actually lower your blood cholesterol.

And listen to this: new research shows avocados target and kill cancer cells. Sounds too crazy to believe right? I thought so too, so I looked into it a little more. Avocados contain antioxidants, which is this great word we throw around a lot that I knew was good but wasn’t quite sure why. Free oxygen radicals damage cell tissue and DNA and cause aging. They are a natural waste product of our metabolism, but we make more around things like cigarette smoke, radiation, and pollution. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals. Somehow the avocado is able to target cancer cells. It seems to increase the damage caused by the free oxygen radicals in the cancer cells while antioxidizing (new word?) the healthy cells. I knew when I started researching this post that avocados were awesome, but I never expected this.

In summary: avocados are full of good nutrients and make healthy food we eat with them even healthier, they are good for your heart, anti-inflammatory, lower cholesterol, and they kill cancer. Oh, I almost forgot, they’re delicious too. I say avocados are the super-est super food. Who’s with me?

 

 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/8-healthy-facts-about-avocados

http://www.avocados.org

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9220272/Avocados-could-protect-against-cancer.html

http://einron.hubpages.com/hub/avocadocuresprostateoralcancer

Creamy Salsa-mole

Story Time!

Shortly after I went non-dairy, a craving struck. I needed something creamy, but not necessarily sweet, and I needed it right away. Okay, so what foods are creamy? I had recently been introduced to avocados, and they are kind of creamy, but I needed REALLY creamy. So, I decided to add some mayonnaise. Right. So then I had this messy green goo, that’s kind of bland and, well, green. I needed to add some kick to it somehow. I opened the fridge, and my eyes fell on the jar of salsa. Just the thing. So I stir in some of that, and now I have a messy green goo with red in it. Well, at least it didn’t look boring anymore, but I didn’t really want to just eat this stuff with a spoon…. so… lets pretend its a dip. I grabbed some crackers and dug in. And WOW this stuff actually tasted really good…. not sure how that happened. Out of a craving a recipe was born.

Creamy Salsa-Mole

1 medium avocado

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Spectrum brand)

2 tablespoons salsa

lime or lemon juice (optional)

  1. Chop up an avocado and toss it in a bowl. Not sure how? Check out this video.
  2. Add 2 tbs of mayonnaise. Using a fork, mush the avocado and mayonnaise together against the side of the bowl
  3. Mix in 2 tbs of salsa

Serve with your favorite gluten free cracker. I like using Sesmark’s original rice thins for this, though I love Mary’s Gone Crackers. If you’re not going to be eating this right away, add a splash of lime juice (if you don’t have that lemon works too) to keep the avocado from turning brown. Feel free to add more salsa if you like more kick. I’m not big into spicy.