The Treadwells go vegan! (kind of…)

Nutrition has always been a passion of mine…I love reading every new study, trying new products and wandering down every aisle of health food stores. Discussing nutrition is an integral part of my holistic approach with clients, as I really do believe that achieving optimal health and fitness is attributable significantly to nutrition (up to 80%). But as fascinating a subject as it is, I also think nutrition could be a lot simpler than we make it out to be. I believe it’s about eating a diet of mostly whole foods. In an effort to increase our own intake of whole foods and subsequently our health and energy levels, my husband and I have recently decided to adopt a “part-time” vegan diet. Maybe it sounds crazy to some…why do it only part of the time? Well, mostly it’s me…I’m not the “all or nothing” type. I like my routines and some of my favorite foods. And, as I tell my clients, long-term change comes from short, easy swaps in routines. I know I’m much more likely to stick to this change if 50% of my daily intake is vegan sources of foods (and, thus, a whole lot of antioxidants, plants and natural energy). But, by giving myself the chance to still enjoy my favorite foods allows me to experiment with new recipes, yet not go hungry as I (inevitably) mess many of them up.

After being on the part-time vegan bandwagon for a little while now, our thoughts? We’re loving this change! How could we not, with this delicious, and super easy breakfast to wake up to?

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…and lunch

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There are some amazing websites out there for vegan meals, gluten free meals, and just healthier meals that incorporate more whole foods than processed (my current favorite:http://deliciouslyella.com/recipes/ ). Surprisingly, I’m loving switching up my routine with these new recipes…and I’m not gonna lie, I feel great! The energy you get from eating whole foods is amazing. Yesterday, I didn’t even want to drink my usual cup of coffee in the morning (who am I??).

I’m not one to recommend any specific nutrition changes for clients, but what I can say is this: it never hurts to identify the areas in your life that can use improvements and commit to making small, sustainable and healthy changes in those areas. For some of my clients, that’s replacing a cup of juice with a whole orange in the morning. For some, it’s eating a salad just one day a week for lunch, instead of their usual sandwich and chips. Or it’s as simple as reducing the amount of sugar they put in their coffee every day.

The point of this whole rant is that changing our food intake for the better is really not so hard. Done through small steps, flavorful and exciting new recipes and the understanding of the benefits of whole foods, it really doesn’t make sense not to start a journey toward a healthier diet…today.

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Embracing The Challenge

As a fitness enthusiast and someone who has tried many fitness programs out there, I really am just a huge fan of the P90x series in general, particularly the latest series of 30 minute workouts that fit oh so easily into my schedule. I’m about a month into this newest 90 day program, and just this minute finished “The Challenge” workout – a routine consisting solely of push up and pull up moves. I’m surprised I can even type this right now, my arms are still shaking so much from fatigue. But I feel absolutely empowered! Believe me, I’m as much a fan of Barre workouts and running as many girls out there, but I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of a good strength workout, especially one that challenges me as much as pull ups do (and always will…)

Over the years, my clients have also come to appreciate the importance of strength training as a necessary component of any fitness routine. It’s something I emphasize all the time, probably more than my friends and family would like to hear. But it’s important, and I’m not quite done endorsing this vital category of fitness. So here’s a reminder of just a few of the many benefits of strength training:

1. First (and of most interest to many of us), building lean muscle is necessary for weight loss. It increases your resting metabolic rate and post-exercise caloric burn. Cardio workouts are important, and I love them, but they’re not enough for weight loss and overall health.

2. Strength training protects your bones. There are many ideas out there about why bone loss occurs as we age, and how we can prevent it. But what is supported consistently in studies is that strength training protects your bones and slows bone loss. As an Occupational Therapist working with an aging population, I am constantly reminded of the quality of life issues that result as osteoporosis and fractures occur…and I am positive that there’s a lot I’d be willing to do to prevent such a decline. If strength training is proven to work, why wouldn’t I do it?

3. It’s functional. In my job, as in many others, I have to lift on a daily basis. And I have to do it correctly and efficiently to protect my back (and neck, and shoulders…you get the picture). Having underlying strength is necessary to be able to do this. And for those of us who sit most of the day, maintaining functional strength is even more important, as it is even easier for someone who sits most of the day to hurt his back when doing something as simple as taking a suitcase out of the car. No joke…I’ve seen this happen. And the pain can last much longer than one would think.

4. It prevents fitness plateaus. Continually changing the muscle groups you’re working, as is common in a multiple day strength training routine, keeps us from getting bored. It works accessory muscles that are otherwise neglected. It challenges you to work muscles in many directions, thus promoting increased function. And building lean muscles throughout the body might just be the push needed to bust through a weight loss plateau.

5. It makes us more athletic. Whether you’re a runner or participate in a local basketball league, strength training will help you become stronger, faster and more powerful for your sport. Just try it and tell me it doesn’t help…

I could go on forever (and would love to), but you get the picture. The point is, fitness is multi-dimensional. It should be forever evolving and changing for the better. It should make you feel strong, fit, and healthy and never, ever bored.

Heart Smart

In honor of American Hearth Month, here’s a quick read to get ya’ll thinking about ways to keep your heart healthy:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/heart-disease-women-panel_n_4689608.html?utm_hp_ref=health-fitness&ir=Health+and+Fitness

My take on this? Here’s what I think we should do:

1. At noon time, instead of just walking to the cafeteria at work or driving to that sub shop up the street, take a quick walk around your building before you go grab your lunch. 5 minutes is good. Do it again tomorrow. And the rest of this week. Reflect on how it feels to actually move your body for just a few minutes.

2. Tonight, plan your meals for tomorrow. Maybe pack a lunch instead of buying one. Include a fruit or vegetable in each meal. See, this isn’t hard, right??

3. Just one night this week, set your DVR to record your favorite TV show and start heading to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. You’d be surprised what a little extra sleep does…you may not even crave that bagel and coffee tomorrow morning…

I’m committing to these three goals this week. Whose with me??

Happy Heart Month!!