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How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

Much Debate

Its a question that has thrown up much controversy. Some say drink your 8-10 cups a day, others think its fine to let your thirst dictate how much water you should drink. Check out some of these articles for reference:

How Much Water Per Day – Fitness Black Book.

Drink Less Water – Mark’s Daily Apple.

Both are very good discussions on the topic and layout a good foundation on what you should and need to know about water intake.

My Take

In the past I have used my body as a means to experiment with water intake and see what works best. This has included drowning myself in water throughout the day right up until bed. And on the opposite end of the spectrum drinking very little water and going mainly by my thirst.

Through this I have learnt some pretty cool stuff and picked up some cool tips on how and when to drink for maximum benefit! Water is great and much needed in large quantities. The secret comes in knowing when and how to utilize your bodies ability to uptake water.

The best time to re-hydrate and have a large volume of water is upon waking. Our digestive system and internal organs are crying out for water after a long night in which they used so much water to perform their overnight maintenance tasks. Therefore it is important that before doing or eating anything in the morning to have at least 1 or 2 big glasses of water. I usually wake up and gulp down about 750 ml’s from my Sigg flask (which I always keep bedside)

After the initial morning water flush I am a firm believer we can let our thirst dictate when and how much to drink. Throughout the day if inactive there shouldn’t be too much thirst and therefore need to drink water. I usually get by on a few cups of Green Tea and sip on water here and there to refresh.

One time you should really void drinking large amounts of fluid are around meal times. Its a good idea to have a small cup of water before a meal (at least 10 minutes) but drinking liquid with a meal dilutes your digestive enzymes and hinders the absorption of nutrients so keep it to a minimum. Wine is fine in moderation with meals as it has a similar level of acidity to your stomach.

I also like to sip of warm herbal tea’s after meals as I find a hot drink can soothe and aid digestion. The Chinese have long known the benefits of drinking Green Tea after a meal as the heat helps break down the fat from the meal and it cannot be drunk quickly due to the temperature making it very hard to over drink

Another good time to drink a good amount of water is post workout. Usually 10 minutes after finishing. Drinking too much water during a workout isn’t the best idea as it will divert blood flow to your stomach which puts strain on your body. Therefore sip on fluid during workouts and gulp it after…..Another great way to hydrate after a workout is through juicy fruit’s, just think of the appeal a juicy watermelon has after a long hard workout! I also like to add a few dashes of sea salt to my water after working out. This gives it a nice balance of minerals.

Also be sure to wind down your fluid intake after dark. Its best to not drink too soon to bed time unless you are really thirsty. I always keep a flask of water bedside for the times I wake up really desperate for a drink. The problem with drinking too much before bed is that it can cause you to wake up multiple times throughout the night to go to the toilet, and this can disrupt sleep and therefore recovery…..

Tips

So to sum it all up let’s get the key points down:

  • Drink loads of water upon waking to flush the system.
  • Drinking water between meals is fine but don’t go overboard.
  • Listen to your thirst and drink according to how dry your mouth is.
  • Herbal tea’s are a great way to hydrate throughout the day.
  • Green tea sipped after meal is a great idea to improve digestion.
  • Wind down your fluid intake as your day progresses.

So in a nutshell I find its best to drink like a king in the morning and sip as the day progresses. I would be interested to hear what you guys have learnt about optimal water intake and how much you try to drink everyday?

The Link Between Exercise, Stress, and Anxiety

Health and wellness are common goals of millions of people across the globe, partially because the focus on what a worthwhile life is has changed.

Not long ago, working hard and earning a great living was considered the key to living a life without regrets. Now it appears that people are starting to realize the importance of personal health and happiness; that to truly live a great life, you need to live long, live healthy, and try to obtain enjoyment from everything that you do.

But there are roadblocks, and some of the most common roadblocks are stress and anxiety. Stress alone has the potential to harm your health and wellness, and anxiety makes it very difficult to focus on the positives in life. Both can be overwhelming, and even in light amounts they run the risk of harming your quality of life.

Solving the Problem with Exercise

There are a lot of different ways to improve your mental health. Therapy is very effective, and removing stressful situations (leaving a bad job, getting out of a bad relationship) can also go a very long way. Yet it’s exercise that may be one of the best – and often forgotten – solutions to general anxiety.  It’s benefits include:

  • Reducing Health Concerns

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that one of the main cause of anxiety – health – is much less of concern the more you keep your body in shape. Exercise isn’t a surefire solution to health issues, but it certainly reduces them and addresses a lot of the worries that people have about their health on a regular basis.

  • Relaxing Your Body

While a lot of anxiety is mental, there are other aspects of anxiety that are strictly physical. Misplaced energy can cause general anxiety, make it hard to sleep, and make it easier to feel the “fight or flight” system working. But when you exercise regularly and keep yourself active, your body becomes a little too tired to experience the severity of physical anxiety, which should lead to less actual anxiety. Also by improving your ability to get a restful night’s sleep you’ll experience less anxiety the next day.

  • Better Body Image

There’s a truth to the saying that looking good makes you feel good. Or, at the very least, looking your best makes you feel less bad. Exercise is a great way to stay in great shape, which in turn improves your self-image, which ultimately leads to you feeling better. Anxiety is not always caused by things like self-doubt or sadness, but feeling confident about yourself is still a very valuable way to relieve your stress and anxiety.

  • “Good Feeling” Chemicals

Exercise also has a positive effect on your brain. Exercise releases endorphins – chemicals in your brain that make you feel good –  and those endorphins lead to a nice euphoria. Even if you go right back to feeling anxious after the effects of the exercise wears off, that euphoria gives you a helpful break from the stresses of the day and may help take your mind off anything that was giving you pause.

  • Fun Activities

Exercise can also have indirect benefits as well. Not all exercise has to take place at the gym. You can play sports with friends and socialize, so that you’re staying active and improving your social support system. Keeping yourself active with your mind off of your problems, once again, represents a nice break from the things that cause you stress and anxiety and should greatly improve your happiness.

  • Temperature

Another interesting and indirect benefit of exercise is its effect on your body temperature. Exercise increases your body temperature, and for many people that increase in warmth is able to give them a little bit of extra relaxation that improves their calmness over the course of the day.

  • Coping

Finally, some people choose to use exercise as their method of coping with negative emotions. When you’re upset you have the option of going to the gym and using all of that energy on the weights or the treadmill. For many people, strenuous exercise represents a healthy and effective coping strategy and reduces the risk of anxiety disorders…

Conclusion

Your goal in life is to be happy. In order to do that, you need to reduce your stress and anxiety, because those emotions get in the way of contentment. Therapy certainly helps, as does eating healthy and staying away from anxiety fueling situations. But exercise may itself play a very fascinating, very real role in your ability to experience less anxiety on a regular basis.

Exercise is not a cure for anxiety, but it does have a lot of potential to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety and, in turn, give you a better chance of enjoying every single day.

Basic Leg Exercises for Balance

Balance and strength to the body are two different things but you would think that they come hand in hand. Unfortunately many people spend time their time working on strength with little or no attention on their balance and co-ordination. The important thing to remember is that there are leg exercises that work on your balance and strength giving you the best of both.

The exercises should be simple and effective – See this recent post from Conditioning Research on Wall Sits:

First of all it is simple to learn. Too many trainers or internet personalities present exercises that may be fine but are actually complex motor skills. Kettlebell snatches and swings for example may or may not be good exercises but they are not easy to learn without decent coaching and a lot of practice. The Wall sit is different – it is a very simple move. Once in position your task is simple – hold that position until you can’t hold it anymore, sequentially recruiting the muscle fibres.

Wall sits are a good example of a simple exercise that promote balance stability and strength. Here are a few others which you can include in your routine with little or no equipment.

The Air Squat – Which is a take on a conventional squat done with attention to form and accounting for breathing. Simple and effective.

The Prisoner Lunge – Another exercise that forces all the core and balance muscles to engage. By keeping the hands behind the head and the shoulders back forcing you to stabilise through your legs and work on co-ordination.

The most important thing about these exercises is that they not only recruit the superficial muscles but work deeper into the muscles which is where we build real strength and stability. As Bill DeSimone calls Congruent Exercise.

“Resistance that is challenging for the superficial muscles with their greater muscle torque is probably excessive for the deep muscles to try to move”.

This all stems from the idea of making exercises more useful to the body in that they are low impact, less stressful on the joints and recruit deeper muscle tissue. The concept works not only for legs but also upper body exercises. Take for example a Congruent Chinup.

So forget about trying to lift heavier and heavier weights and focus on form and functional exercises. Especially if your focus and goals include a better posture, sports performance, injury prevention and co-ordination.

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The 2 Minute Workout

Wanna Grab a Quickie? The 2 Minute Workout that Will Kick Your Butt!

Editors Note: This is a contribution from Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author of military books and inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards.

I don’t know about you, but I have too much stuff to do. Like you, every day I deal with email, Facebook, tweets, work, pets, family, and so on. Finding time to go to the gym is getting harder and harder each day. Well, have no fear. I have assembled for you a workout you can do anywhere called the 2 Minute Workout that only takes, you guessed it, 2 minutes! This workout will get your blood pumping, increase your energy level, burn some calories and strengthen muscles.  Not a bad way to spend 2 minutes!

Perform each of the below exercises, in order, for 30 seconds each.

Sky Kicks

Sit on the floor with your hands pointed toward your toes. Push up until your arms are straight. This is the starting position. Alternately kick your feet up and down.

Quad Hop

Get on your toes and place your palms on the floor facing each other. Keep your back parallel to the floor. Push up off the floor.

 Chest Taps

Assume the push-up position.  Lower your body until your arms are perpendicular to the floor, then explode upward tapping your chest.

Switch Backs

Put your hands and one foot on the ground aligned with each other. Put one leg back and bend your knees.  Keeping your hands on the ground, jump and switch legs. Each jump equals one rep.

For more bodyweight exercises check out Sergeant Michael invention Strength Stack 52 fitness cards, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into a fun and competitive workout. They are very cool – he just sent me a pack and I love them!

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Please consider Subscribing to our free articles and checking out our new eBook ‘All About Fitness’ for more ideas on building a lean athletic body! If you enjoyed this article please Tweet about it.

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Lower Extremity Acupuncture Points

Lower Extremities (22 Points) 

Ruan Tiao (217, GB 30) Located two-thirds laterally on a line joining the greater trochanter of the femur and the hiatus of the sacrum. It is in the center of the triangle formed by the gluteal tuberosity, the iliac tuberosity, and the superior posterior iliac spine, and is bounded posteriorly by the gluteus maximus muscle and anteriorly by the gluteus medius muscle. The sciatic nerve passes through the greater sciatic foramen below the piriformis muscle, and courses medially to this point (Fig. 32).

Nerve Supply Inferior gluteal cutaneous nerve (S 1, 2); inferior gluteal nerve (L4, 5, S 1, 2); sciatic nerve (L4, 5, S 1, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Superior and inferior gluteal arteries
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-4 tsun
Indications Sciatica, hemiplegia, poliomyelitis, lumbago, pain in the lower extremities, soft tissue disorders of the hip

Yin Men (282, BL 37) Located 6 tsun inferior to Cheng Fu (281, BL 36), on the midline of the posterior thigh midway between the inferior transverse gluteal fold and the popliteal fossa between the biceps femoris and semi-membranosus muscles. The sciatic nerve passes through its deep layer (Fig. 33).

Nerve Supply Posterior femoral cutaneous nerve (S2); sciatic nerve (L4, 5, S 1, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Perforating branch of the lateral femoral circumflex artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-3 tsun
Indications Sciatica, lumbago, lower extremity weakness or paralysis

Wei Chung (285, BL 40) Located in the center of the poplital fossa, bounded by the biceps femoralis, the semimembranosus, the plantaris, and the gastrocnemius muscles (Fig. 33).

Nerve Supply Posterior femoral cutaneous nerve (S2); tibial nerve (L5,Sl,2)
Blood Supply Popliteal artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 0.8-1.5 tsun
Indications Heat stroke, heat prostration, acute gastroenteritis, lumbago, sciatica, lower extremity paralysis, spasm of the gastrocnemius, disorders of the knee joint and its surrounding soft tissue

Cheng Shan (288, BL 57) Located between the two bellies of the gastrocnemius muscle, midway between the popliteal fossa (Wei Chung, BL 40) and the upper border of the calcaneum (Fig. 33).

Nerve Supply Medial sural nerve (S2); tibial nerve (L4, 5, SI, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-3 tsun
Indications Sciatica, lumbago, hemorrhoids, prolapse of the rectum, cramps of the gastrocnemius muscle, leg, sole of foot pain, lower extremity paralysis

Feng Shih (218, GB 31) Located on the lateral aspect of the thigh at the level where the tip of the middle finger touches the thigh about 7 tsun above the patella, between the biceps femoralis and the vastus lateralis in the iliotibial tract just lateral to the femur (Fig. 34).

Nerve Supply Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (L2, 3); femoral nerve (L2, 3, 4)
Blood Supply Lateral femoral circumflex artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-2 tsun
Indications Hemiplegia, sciatica, poliomyelitis, rectal disorders, lower back, hip or leg pain, neurodermatitis

Hsueh Hai (308, SP 10) Located 2 tsun superior to the medial border of the patella over the medial end of the femur immediately superior to the medial condyle (Fig. 35).

Nerve Supply Anterior femoral cutaneous nerve (L3); cutaneous branch of the obturatornerve (L3, 4); femoral nerve (L2, 3, 4)
Blood Supply Medial superior genicular artery
Method Perpendicular or oblique insertion 1-2 tsun
Indications Pruritus, urticaria, neurodermatitis, menstrual irregularity

Yin Ling Chuan (307, SP 9) Located on the medial aspect of the knee inferior to the medial condyle of the tibia between the soleus and the gastrocnemius muscles at the insertion of the sartorius muscle (Fig. 35).

Nerve Supply Saphenous branch of the femoral nerve (L3); anterior femoral cutaneous nerve (L3); tibial nerve (LS, S 1, 2)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial and inferior medial genicular arteries
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-2 tsun; if necessary, penetrate through to Yang Ling Chuan (221, GB 34).
Indications Abdominal distension and pain, menstrual irregularity, edema, dysuria, enuresis, spermatorrhea

Yang Ling Chuan (221, GB 34) Located in the depression anteroinferior to the capitulum of the fibula, 2 tsun inferior to the knee at the same level as Yin Ling Chuan (307, SP 9), between the peroneus longus and the extensor digitorum communis muscles

Nerve Supply Superficial and deep peroneal nerves (L4, 5, S 1, 2)
Blood Supply Lateral genicular and recurrent tibial arteries
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-2 tsun; if necessary, penetrate through to Yin Ling Chuan (307, SP 9).
Indications Neck pain, backache, intermittent claudication, hypertension, constipation, hepatitis, biliary colic, chest pain

Tsu San Li (178, ST 36) Located 3 tsun inferior to Tu Pi (177, ST 35), in the tibialis anterior muscle one finger breadth lateral to the tibial crest and inferior to the capitulum of the fibula (Fig. 37).

Nerve Supply Anterior femoral cutaneous nerve (L3); superficial peroneal nerve (LS, Sl); deep peroneal nerve (L4, 5, Sl)
Blood Supply Anterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-2 tsun
Indications Lower extremity pain or weakness, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, anemia, emaciation, and for purposes of improving general weakness

Feng Lung (182, ST 40) Located 8 tsun above the lateral malleolus, between the tibia and fibula and I tsun lateral to Tiao Kou (180, ST 38) (Fig. 37).

Nerve Supply Superficial peroneal nerve (LS, SI); deep peroneal nerve (L4, S, SI)
Blood Supply Anterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1-2 tsun
Indications Asthma, cough, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain, lower extremity pain

Chieh Hsi (183, ST 41) Located at the midpoint of the transverse malleolar crease and in the center of the inferior extensor retinaculum between the tendons of the extensor hallucis longus and the extensor digitorum longus muscles (Fig. 37).

Nerve Supply Superficial peroneal nerve (LS, SI); deep peroneal nerve (L4, S, SI)
Blood Supply Anterior tibial artery
Method Oblique insertion, 0.S-1.0 tsun, with needle pomting toward the calcaneus
Indications Painful disorders of the ankle and its surrounding soft tissue, foot drop, enteritis, headache

Hsuan Chung (226, GB 39) Located 3 tsun superior to the lateral malleolus, between the posterior border of the fibula and the tendons of the peroneus longus and brevis muscles (Fig. 38).

Nerve Supply Superficial peroneal nerve (LS, SI); deep peroneal nerve (L4, S, SI)
Blood Supply Anterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1.0-1.S tsun; if necessary, penetrate through to San Yin Chiao (304, SP 6).
Indications Painful disorders of the ankle and its surrounding soft tissue, lower extremity weakness or paralysis, hemiplegia, lymphadenitis, pain, neck stiffness and rigidity, migraine, poliomyelitis

Kun Lun (291, BL 60) Located between the posterior border of the lateral malleolus and anterior aspect of the tendocalcaneus at the same level as the tip of the malleolus (Fig. 38).

Nerve Supply Lateral sural nerve (LS); peroneal nerve (L4, S, SI)
Blood Supply Posterior lateral malleolar and peroneal arteries
Method Perpendicular insertion 1 tsun; if necessary, penetrate to Tai Hsi (336, KI 3).
Indications Backache, neck stiffness, dizziness, headache, sciatica, labor pains, hyperhidrosis of the feet

Chiu Hsu (227, GB 40) Located in the depression anteroinferior to the lateral malleolus at the lateral aspect of the extensor digitorum longus tendon (Fig. 38).

Nerve Supply Superficial peroneal nerve (LS, S1 ); lateral sural nerve (LS)
Blood Supply Anterior lateral malleolar and anterior tibial arteries
Method Oblique insertion 0.5-1.0 tsun; if necessary, penetrate through to Chao Hai (339, KI 6).
Indications Painful disorders of the ankle and its surrounding soft tissue, sciatica, intercostal neuralgia

San Yin Chiao (304, SP 6) Located 3 tsun superior to the tip of the medial malleolus and immediately posterior to the tibial border Fig. 39).

Nerve Supply Saphenous nerve (L4); tibial nerve (L4, S, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 1.0-1.5 tsun; if necessary, penetrate through to Hsuan Chung (226, GB 39).
Indications Enuresis, premature ejaculation, impotence, uterine bleeding, dysmenorrhea, leukorrhea, insomnia, edema of the lower extremities, nocturia, menstrual irregularity, labor pains

Fu Liu (340, KI 7) Located 2 tsun superior to the tip of the medial malleolus on the anterior border of the calcaneus tendon (Fig. 39).

Nerve Supply Saphenous nerve (L4); tibial nerve (L4, 5, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial artery
Mehtod Perpendicular insertion 0.5-1.0 tsun
Indications Nephritic edema, neurasthenia, fever, night sweats, lumbago

Tai Hsi (336, KI 3) Located midway between the tip of the medial malleolus and the tendon calcaneus (Fig. 39).

Nerve Supply Saphenous nerve (L4); tibial nerve (L4, 5, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial artery
Method Oblique insertion 0.5-1.0 tsun toward the lateral malleolus; if necessary, penetrate through to Kun Lun (291, BL 60).
Indications Neurasthenia, shortness of breath, uterine disorders, dizziness

Chao Hai (399, KI6) Located l tsun in the depression directly inferior to the inferior border of the medial malleolus at the origin of the abductor hallucis muscle (Fig. 39).

Nerve Supply Saphenous nerve (L4); tibial nerve (L4, 5, S l, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Posterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 0.3-0.6 tsun
Indications Neurasthenia, epilepsy, hysteria, menstrual irregularity

Yung Chuan (334, KI 1) With the toes’ plantar flexed, it is located in the depression at the junction of the anterior and middle third of the sole of the foot between the second and third metatarsals (Fig. 40).

Nerve Supply Medial and lateral plantar nerves (S 1, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Plan tar arterial arch which derives from the anterior tibial artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 0.5-1.0 tsun
Indications Coma, shock, epilepsy, hysteria, infantile convulsions, hypertension, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, frontal headache

Tai Chung (322, LI 3) Located 2 tsun proximal to the web margin between the first and second metatarsals (Fig. 41).

Nerve Supply Deep peroneal nerve (L4, 5, S l); medial plantar nerve (L4, 5, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Dorsalis pedis artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 0.5-1.0 tsun
Indications Dizziness, blurring of vision, infantile convulsions, throat soreness and dryness, amenorrhea, jaundice, hypertension

Nei Ting (186, ST 44) Located 0.5 tsun proximal to the web margin between the second and third metatarsals (Fig. 41 ).

Nerve Supply Superficial peroneal nerve (LS, S 1 ); lateral plantar nerve (L4, 5, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Dorsal digital artery
Method Perpendicular insertion 0.3-0.6 tsun
Indications Gastralgia, tonsillitis, toothache, trigeminal neuralgia, frontal headache

Chih Yin (298, BL 67) Located 0.1 tsun posterior to the lateral angle of the nail of the little toe (Fig. 41 ).

Nerve Supply Lateral sural nerve (LS); lateral plantar nerve (L4, 5, Sl, 2, 3)
Blood Supply Dorsal digital artery
Method Oblique insertion with needle tilted upward 0.2 tsun, or by puncturing until blood is drawn
Indications Headache, coma, difficult labor

The relationship between the most commonly used acupuncture points and the peripheral nerves of the lower extremity is shown in Figures 42 and 43 (anterior and posterior views).

Reasons To Go Fluoride Free….

I am sure you have heard of Fluoride before. The stuff in toothpaste that is supposed to keep cavities at bay and our teeth healthy. Well its time to re-consider as flouride has a definite darkside which could be reeking havoc on our general health.

Fluoride is an organic compound which we find in nature, in fact it is part of sea water in very small quantities and in even smaller quantities in fresh water supplies. Although fluoride is found naturally in “nature” we can safely live without it and it is far from an essential mineral like sodium or potassium.

The problem these days is that flouride is being pumped into most drinking water in the USA and these scheme is set to be rolled out across the world in order to promote better dental health. Not only this but every single commercial toothpaste around today contains huge amounts of fluoride. You see, fluoride is a well known thyroid inhibitor and often given to Hyperthyroid patients as an Anti-Thyroid medication, most amazingly though it only takes doses of around 1mg or less to have an anti-thyroid effect. This is because Fluoride fights for absorption with Iodine which is essential for thyroid health and normally wins the battle and therefore inhibits the thyroids function.

If the average person brushes their teeth twice daily with fluoride containing toothpaste plus drinks a few glasses of fluoridated water the daily dose is getting to a level at or above the 1mg prescribed to inhibit thyroid function. To add further insult to injury taking in too much fluoride specifically via toothpaste can even cause Dental Fluorosis which is from too much fluoride…..

Truth be told the case against fluoride goes on and on, the thyroid inhibiting effects are more than enough evidence. Especially when you take into account many many people are running around with low thyroid function as it is…..

I have included a video from Sean over at UGWellness which I really like. He runs over some of the toxic effects of fluoride. (skip to about 1:00 for the fluoride talk)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEKSU5FaVYA

I highly recommend checking out the video if you need more evidence to stop using fluoride. It is especially important for people with young children as they are most vulnerable to the thyroid inhibiting effects and toxicity of fluoride as they are still growing and developing their glandular systems.

Two Simple Changes…..

The first and most effective thing to do is stop using toothpaste that contains fluoride. This means buying any toothpaste that is fluoride free, you will probably find that most health food stores offer these products and Tom’s of Maine has been bought out so their stuff is widely available. If you are in the UK I really like AloeDent toothpaste which is a great product and I find works better than conventional toothpaste for keeping fresh.

The next thing to do is check if your water supply is fluoridated. If it is consider installing a water filter that blocks fluoride or drinking bottled water, watch out when buying the filter though as many do not block fluoride (take Brita for instance). If you are lucky enough to be in a fluoride free zone then feel free to drink tap water…..

There is no need to become an avid fluoride avoider as this will make normal living hard, but by just avoiding fluoridated water and brushing teeth with natural products you could save yourself a lot of trouble.

Thanks for reading this short post, and hopefully it will give you some knowledge on improving your health with Simple changes…..

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And also checkout my e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘. Thanks for reading.

The Many Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is hugely important – But just how important is it and to what extent should we be looking to eat Vitamin C rich foods or load up on supplemental Vitamin C? The first thing to remember is that our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C by themselves and therefore we need to get a good daily dose via diet at the very least.

A huge deficiency in Vitamin C can cause huge problems as we found out in the past when sailors and pirates in the 16th century would develop Scurvy due to their lack of nutrients in the diet. It was soon found out that by storing Oranges on the ships and allowing those on board to eat them on a regular basis would halt the symptoms: Old wounds opening up, depression and teeth falling out to name a few. So pretty horrible symptoms.

ortunately scurvy is pretty much a thing of the past now as even very small amounts of Vitamin C will prevent the disease. Saying this we do not need to exhibit symptoms of scurvy to be Vitamin C deficient….

What is often forgotten about Vitamin C is that it holds several important functions in the Human Body:

  • Anti-Oxidant
  • Helps Production of Neurotransmitters and Hormones
  • Forms Collagen
  • Boosts Immunity
  • Prevents CardioVascular Disease

So firstly Vitamin C works in conjunction with in conjunction with Vitamin E to function as a potent anti-oxidant reducing free radicals in the body. What is especially cool about Vitamin C is that it works directly against Nitrates and Carcinogens (the nasty stuff we find in burnt/charred foods and processed meats like salami and other deli meats).

When it comes to hormones and neurotransmitters Vit C is often forgotten. A good regular dose of Vitamin C is needed for the conversion of Phenylalanine to Tyrosine which in turn makes up all of our Adrenal, Thyroid hormones and Neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Melanin. These are the hormones that collectively allow us to regulate our metabolism, deal with stress and relax. So pretty important stuff and this is why Vitamin C is so important for adrenal health.

Collagen is the stuff that makes our skin stretchy and allows it to appear youthful and radiant.It also protects our joints from overuse and impacts and helps wounds heal. Without Vitamin C we cannot make Collagen.

We have all heard about Vitamin C and immunity, and while it is an essential part of what it does it is by no means its main function. Vitamin C basically works on the immune system by helping to produce anti-virals and increasing the integrity of the mucous membranes which help us filter out bacteria and viruses from entering the body.

Vitamin C is a great Cardiovascular Protectant. This is done via several facets – firstly Vitamin C Decreases LDL’s (the bad cholesterol) by turning it into bile which also helps your digestion (See this screencast for more info on Cholesterol in general).

It also increases carnitine synthesis which is a fancy way of making your body prioritise using stored fat as fuel/energy. Plus going back to collagen formation it allows your hearts arteries and veins to maintain their elasticity which is obviously a big help in preventing CV diseases.

So 5 huge points, unfortunately Vitamin C is often branded as a one trick pony and simply known for its anti-oxidant properties. The big question is should we supplement and just how much vitamin C do we need?

Well luckily the answer is not too complicated. If you can manage to eat Vitamin C rich foods on a regular basis a supplement should not be necessary, especially not the conventional type we see in stores today (more on that to come).

Vitamin C rich foods are pretty easy to find and your best sources are:

  • Citrus Fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit etc…)
  • Kiwis
  • Tropical Fruits
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli and Kale
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes

Basically anything plant based with a strong colour and tangy flavour is vervain to have a good hit of Vitamin C, For a more comprehensive list see here……..

Supplementing Vitamin C? I myself do supplement Vitamin C as I feel that in the world we live in (pollution, chemicals and nutrient loss in foods) and because of just how important Vitamin C is for so many functions in the body.

What is important though is to steer clear of conventional Vitamin C supplements or more specifically those made of Ascorbic Acid, these have been much popularised in recent years as they are cheap and easy to push by the Vitamin Industry. The problem with these is that they are extremely acidic and will therefore cause our bodies to leech minerals like calcium and magnesium to neutralise the excess acidity, this is especially not helpful when we take into account that most people nowadays are already acidic and deficient in key minerals. And the process puts stress on the body in general.

That is why it is important to pay slightly more for Vitamin C and opt for a form which is from a mineral chelate. This form is not only far better absorbed but it will not cause your body to leech minerals to compensate for the acidity. Another tip is to look out for a Vitamin C formula which is combined with things like Bioflavnoids, Bilberry extract and Rutin which mimic how vitamin C is found in nature…..Try a form of Vitamin C which is not acidic.

In terms of when to take supplemental Vitamin C? I would recommend using it when you maybe prone to infections (Travelling, Partying etc) or under times of prolonged stress. Also those who are recovering from any major trauma whether emotional or physical (surgery, recovering from illness) will really benefit with the extra Vitamin C. As will those who live in polluted cities and are eating on the go most of the time.

So in a nutshell – Vitamin C is hugely important for the human body and one does not need to be exhibiting any real clinical signs or symptoms to show they need extra in their diets. When we take into account that we need Vitamin C to do just about every kind of healing and bodily process as well as expelling free-radicals it seems like a no brainer to prioritise Vitamin rich foods in your diet.

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If you enjoyed reading checkout my e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘.

Some Morning Vitality Habits

First Thing

I like to start the day with a large glass of water, I try to make it at room temperature and drink it as soon as I get up. This will help flush and re-hydrate your insides and get things flowing for the day. After this I start boiling the kettle and will usually go for a Yerba Mate Tea.

I love this stuff and plan to do a post on it very soon. Its been a staple for me for a few years now. I love the way it clears the airways and opens me up giving a relaxed type of energy rather than the strong kick of even an espresso. I drink it from an Ultimate Bombilla (available from yerbamatecafe) and sometimes opt for a small spoon of honey inside to make it a ‘Dolce Mate’ the taste is terrific and it keeps me going until breakfast usually a couple of hours later…….

Some days I will skip the Yerba Mate and opt for something like a Mint tea, Nettle tea or Rooibos tea. Either way I like to start the day with a hot cup of tea, sometimes Squeezing in Half a Lemon is very refreshing.

Breakfast Rolls Around

On days I don’t workout I like a light breakfast. Usually just fruit and nuts but this really depends on my appetite as if I’m hungry I’ll eat. A favorite of mine is a plate of blueberries mixed with some buts and a small TBSP of ground flax, for an amazing treat mix in a TBSP of peanut butter I got this trick from Craig Ballantyne and boy does it taste amazing. I’ve stuck in a picture below trust me it tastes better than it looks….

This mini breakfast is best enjoyed with a fresh black coffee. That’s another thing for me getting Organic coffee makes all the difference I know that Poliquin regards Organic Coffee and Butter as two of the most important things to buy organic and I really agree with him. It tastes totally different to regular coffee and gives a fresh boost rather than jittery energy. So I recommend you go out of your way to look for a local fresh and Organic ground coffee distributor in your area. This Breakfast will normally last me through until lunch when I have something more substantial. Nuts and fruit give a potent mix of Anti-Oxidants good fat and slow releasing energy from the Fibre and Good Fats in the nuts. The coffee compliments it especially well as it cuts the sweet taste and makes each bite taste better.

Stretching and Body Weight

After Vic’s great guest post yesterday I thought I would outline my light morning routine I do most days I have time, its more of a relaxation routine that gets me limbered up and awakens me for the day.

First comes some light stretching mainly my chest and shoulders. After this I will do a few sets of 20-30 pushups and maybe some BW squats. This isn’t meant to be a workout rather a wake up call for my body. I also like to lye down for 5 minutes and focus on getting my breathing right for the day, deep breaths into the belly at a slow controlled pace to setup good breathing for the day…..

Weeks Reading

This is a post with some morning vitality habits I have gotten into the habit of doing over the years, hopefully you can pickup a thing or two from the pictures and descriptions. I’m going to plug some cool stuff I have read this week:

– 5 Random Nutrition Thoughts

– The CrossFit Balboa Blog

– Keith @ Theory to Practice does a great Critique and interesting Discussion

– Some Food pics from Free the Animal

Also I would love to hear about any readers Vitality Habits or little things they do to keep fit…..

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