This Chicken and Bacon Wrap with Southwest Ranch Dressing is so easy to make! Using the Instant Pot speeds this recipe up so everything is done in under 20 minutes! Chicken and Bacon Wrap with Southwest Ranch Dressing Sometimes I just really want a wrap but don’t want to pay at the drive thru for…
During the last 26 years, we’ve certified over 119,000 health, nutrition, and fitness professionals. Each month, we recognize one of our distinguished graduates who use what they have learned to inspire others and make a difference. Meet our graduate for the month of July, Charlotte Faith, an AFPA certified holistic nutritionist.
Whether you’ve just started your journey to becoming a personal trainer or you’ve been a certified personal fitness trainer for a while, finding the best ways to communicate with your clients is essential.
I learned about two important studies from the Cooper institute on Clarence Bass’s website. This institute was founded by Dr. Ken Cooper, whom many call the “father of aerobics”. Reading his classic book Aerobics way back in the early 70s helped get me started on a life of fitness.
The first was a landmark study in 1989 that showed a strong reduction in all-cause mortality risk with increasing cardiorespiratory fitness . This study had an important impact on preventive health care, and prompted the American Heart Association to add physical inactivity to the list of risk factors for heart disease. The second study is a follow-up in 2020  that confirms the findings of the ’89 study. In the intervening years we’ve developed better screening, and important medical advances like the use of statins and stents. Death rates from major diseases like heart disease and cancer have dropped a lot thanks to modern medicine.
But the fact remains that staying more physically fit still considerably reduces the risk of all-cause mortality. The findings are summarized here on the Cooper institute’s website.
These results also have a bearing on the “how much is too much exercise” argument. The ability to exercise at 15 METs is very high fitness, yet still shows reduced mortality risk.
Blair, S.N., et al. (1989). Physical fitness and all-cause mortality. Journal of the American Medical Association. 262:2395-2401
Farrell, S.W., et al. (2020). Relevance of fitness to mortality risk in men receiving contemporary medical care. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Published online March 30, 2020.
During the last 26 years, we’ve certified over 119,000 health, nutrition, and fitness professionals. Each month, we recognize one of our distinguished graduates who use what they have learned to inspire others and make a difference. Meet our graduate for the month of July, Charlotte Miller, an AFPA certified holistic nutritionist.
Tacos… but with an avocado. It’s hard to go wrong with this switcharoo! Load up the halved avocados with the easiest taco meat and toppings of your choice for an easy dinner in under 30 minutes! Taco Stuffed Avocado On this week of cooking with what’s in my kitchen as we’re holed up inside, I’m…
This is a nice loop that starts out semi-rural going from Morgan Hill towards Gilroy, then climbs up over the foothills separating Gilroy from the next valley over, which is rural, with ranches and vineyards. I’m not sure of the name of that valley, but Watsonville Road runs through it on the way to Hecker pass highway, which goes over the Santa Cruz mountains. One way to cross the foothills is the very steep Mantelli Drive, which offers this view from the top, with the Santa Cruz mountains in the distance. As you can see, I got a nice day for it.
After winding my way over to Watsonville road on Burchell drive, I came out right a Chictactic-Adams Heritage County Park, which has a lot of interesting petroglyphs and other artifacts from Native Americans that lived in this area. I’ll cover that in detail in a future post.
This all took a couple of hours of pleasurable cruising.
This easy Coconut Rice is the perfect side dish! Make it in a couple of minutes on the stovetop with only a couple simple ingredients! WHAT IS COCONUT RICE? Like I mentioned in my Instant Pot Coconut Rice recipe post, I’m one of those crazy people who keep buying up all the cans of coconut…
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone“- Blaise Pascal, 1654.
When we have nothing to do, no tasks to perform, just sitting quietly, our brains enter “default mode”. You would think that would be relaxing, but for many of us it is not. That’s when we start ruminating, a word which comes from “ruminants”, or animals like cows that chew their cud. Only our “cud” is mental stuff we bring up to chew on. And this is often not relaxing.
The existence of the default mode was accidentally discovered by neuroscientists, who were surprised by it. Dr. Marcus Raichle and colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis were measuring how much energy the brain was using when performing mental tasks. They compared this to energy use when “doing nothing”, and surprisingly found that the brain often used more energy when supposedly resting quietly. Looking further, they found it was anything but quiet when we’re supposedly “chilling out”. Neurons are firing away in a variety of areas of the brain that have been collectively dubbed the “default mode network” , p 149.
This is what makes us antsy, leading to the Pascal quote. Although we need to update it for modern times, you have to be able to sit quietly in a room, without your smartphone. The difficulty most people have doing this was shown in the study described here. A group of adult subjects were asked to sit quietly in a chair. No one to talk to, sleeping not allowed, nothing to read, no “tech” (watches, smartphones, tv, ipod, etc), no music. The only thing available to them was a button that would give them an unpleasant electric shock. They were asked to try the button out at the beginning, and most said they would pay money to not be shocked like that again. But sitting their quietly with their thoughts, for 12 minutes, was so difficult for them that a significant number of them administered the shock to themselves at least once.
Fortunately, there are remedies for this. The first is to work on addiction to smartphones and other screens. I think they have many good uses like email, texting, wayfinding, etc., and many frivolous uses like posting selfies and hoping to get likes. It helps to cut down on the amount of time spent on the latter, as well as cutting down on video games and tv watching or media streaming.
The classic remedies are meditation and mindfulness. Both of these work directly on calming the default mode. Some advance Tibetan Buddhist monks, who practice both were studied and showed a remarkable difference in how calm their minds get when not engaged in a task, compared to control groups . We cannot perhaps expect to reach this level since they’ve been practicing for decades, but we can do better. I have noticed just in the few months spent on my “Covid19 retreat” that my mind seems to be noticeably quieter when I’m not doing a task. I’m less prone to impatience and less easily bored. It’s a nice feeling.
Goleman, D, and Davidson, R, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, Penguin, 2017.