Saturday, February 25, 2006

The info just doesn't stop coming!!

It seems like everything heart related is popping out to me! And I'm not even purposely looking! But I cannot pass up "passing" around this information. It's too important to "pass up!" Ok, enough.

Sutter Health Organization publishes a newsletter called "your health" for Northern California. The Spring newsletter just came yesterday, and there was an excellent article about heart disease, centered on women. Here is the top 10 symptoms that Women should know:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, arm or jaw
  • Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Indigestion or gas-like pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
  • Sense of impending doom

This is no laughing matter. If you feel you have the majority of the symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

They also listed 8 questions that you should ask your doctor:

  1. What screening or diagnostic tests for heart disease do I need?
  2. If I have a close family history of heart attack, am I at a greater risk?
  3. What are my numbers and what do they mean? Include blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index and waist circumfrence.
  4. If I smoke, what is the best way for me to quit?
  5. How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  6. What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me?
  7. What are the warning signs of heart disease or a heart attack?
  8. If I experience signs or symptoms of a heart attack, what steps do I need to take?

Also, nutrition-wise, there is much you can do to prevent heart problems in the future. Starting in your 20's, developing good habits will serve you well throughout life. Excessive carbohydrate intake will raise triglyceride levels: keep the intake off alcohol and simple sugars to a moderate level. And exercise regularly!! In your 30's, watch what type of fat you eat. Try and switch to olive oil and canola oil for cooking, which increase HDL. Omega 3 oils protect the heart by lowering the overall triglyceride levels and reduces blood clots. In your 40's, a higher intake of foods rich in B vitamin folate can reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. Elevated levels can damage the blood vessel wall lining and increase the probability of blood clots. 50's and older: reducing your salt intake to less than 2,400 mg per day can help reduce blood pressure. For everyone it is recommended that a plant-based diet rich in hole grains, fruits, and veggies will nourish and protect us for life.

All this is in the newsletter which is a joint effort between Sutter Novato Community Hospital and Sutter Marin General Hospital, here in Marin County, California. For more info please visit,, and

Friday, February 24, 2006

More Heart Awareness Info...

According to the CDC, every 34 seconds someone loses their life to heart disease. The AHA lists six major controllable risk factors:

1. High blood cholesterol
2. High blood pressure
3. Smoking
4. Diabetes
5. Physical inactivity and obesity
6. Stress

There are three uncontrollable risk factors also:

1. Gender
2. Heredity
3. Age

It is shocking to hear that men have a higher risk than premenopausal women; the risk is more equal after menopause.

I've already mentioned ways to prevent high cholesterol in the previous post, so I don't need to get into it here.

The AHA reports that people without heart disease live an average of seven years longer than those without.

Here's another thought- your diet also plays into the risk factors, although it doesn't seem like an immediate threat, it can be a long-term threat. So watch what you eat, as I have mentioned before, and add exercise to your daily routine. Don't play games with your heart! This is the most valuable asset that anyone has in the world, no matter what you think. If your heart is not healthy, then you are not doing the right job taking care of yourself. Think about it.

(my source- the USA Spring 2006 Melaleuca Catalouge, pp 9-11)
3/12/12- I had to edit out the company name here as well. I unknowingly violated a company policy on internet usage and advertising. Sorry for the inconvenience. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Heart Awareness

I almost forgot that February was National Heart Awarness Month. I should have remembered based on my emails. Oh, well. But I found some great information that I had to share with everyone.

In the March issue of Fast Company (go to and enter access code FCMARANNIV to read more) there is an article on the body. Some good news they shared: If you were born after 1970 your life expectancy is 71.1 years. If you were born after 1995, your life expectancy is 75.8 years. And if you were born this year, 2006, your life expectancy is 77.3 years. That means that we are living longer lives. But those added years may take a toll on us too. Between 1997 and 2003 the number of cardiac surgeries went up from 3.23 million to 3.55 million. Could it be our fast food diets causing this increase? Or could it be that the increase in surgeries and added life expectancy can be linked to our drug and supplement use? According to the number of prescriptions filled, maybe prescription drugs cause more harm than good: in 1994 only 7.7 prescriptions were filled (this is per capita), but by 2003 11.1 were filled. Fairly large jump. But how about the number of supplements used? 10 years ago, barely over $12 million dollars was spent on supplements. By last year- nearly $21 million!! That is in the sales of non-FDA approved supplements. That's good news for the health and wellness industry!! But also, it means that companies such as Pfizer have good competition. The New York Times reported in November ( that the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor has not proven itself statistically to the world yet. They compared the drug to Zocor. This information was also published in The Journal of the Amereican Medical Association at the same time. The study was conducted by Pfizer itself, and found that thier drug did not experience fewer coronary events during a period of five years when compared to Zocor. Both drugs had the close to the same number of coronary events, including nonfatal heart attacks and nonfatal cardiac arrest, which showed that the difference was not statistically significant. So we go to one of the fastest growing companies that sells incredible supplements. There are so many personal success stories that I could share with you that I've read, but I won't tell you all of them. In fact, I will only give a little info, because I don't want to get into trouble.
One older lady was about to be put on Lipitor by her doctor, but she refused, and said that she had an alternative that she wanted to try first. Her cholesteral levels were tested two months later, and they had startling news: her levels were amazingly lower than before.
Here's the breakdown:
Total cholesterol: from 264 to 181
LDL (bad): from 140 to 88
HDL (good): from 67 to 69
Triglycerides: from 287 to 119
Well, needless to say, her doctor told her to keep it up and continue those supplements.
Here's another:
This man's triglyceride level was 768!! His doctor wanted him to lower his numbers within one month or he would have to go on Lipitor. His son bought him these supplements, and when he went back the next month his triglyceride level was 75!! He had only been using these supplements for 26 days, and his overall cholesterol went down from 211 to 206.
One more:
This man had been using Lipitor since 1998, since having a triple by-pass operation. His total cholesterol levels stayed between 150 and 200, despite a change in diet and exercise. When he got the supplement he was screened for his levels. After a month he had his doctor check his levels and both were amazed.
Total cholesterol: from 184 to 141
Triglycerides: from 179 to 104
LDL: from 104 to 77
Ok, maybe one more and that's it:
This woman had extreme triglyceride levels: her doctor had never in his entire life of practicing medicine levels like hers.
Triglycerides: 1750
Total Cholesterol: 425
After four years of taking different statin drugs (Lipitor, Pravachol, Tricor, and Zocor) she successfully lowered her total cholesterol, but her triglycerides never went below 525. Her daughter in law was a registered nurse and mentioned that one of her patients was taking these supplements, and had much success (he faced surgery in his neck to open clogged arteries, but was able to decrease the clogging with the supplements). So she bought some for herself and her husband. After four years of different drugs, she had her tri levels tested again, after she started taking the supplements. Her triglyceride level had finally gone down to 350 and is slowly decreasing even now!!
"So, what in sam's hill are you talking about?" you may ask. Provex CV and Phytomega, two incredible supplements from Melaleuca. I myself take them, although I have not had my levels checked because I'm still young :) (actually I'm afraid of the doctor, but that's a whole different story). These supplements are the only heart healthy supplements on the market to contain both phytosterols and the essential fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Lipitor does not contain either. The Vitamin shoppe supplements only contain 1000 mg of fish oil. The Twin Labs Cholesterol Success only contains 900 mg of phytosterols. Phytomega contains 1500 mg of phytosterols and 1000 mg of fish oils. AND it costs less than all of them. Go to to get more information- or contact me if you want more info.
So that being said, it's important to watch your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. I'll get mine checked- sometime this year, just to be on the safe side. I'm pushing 30, so I really need to be careful of my health. Oh, and stop eating so much chocolate chocolate cake....
3/12/12- Edited out the names of the products and the company- I unknowingly violated a company policy of internet usage and advertising, so I just edited out the pieces that I violated so I will not have problems.  Sorry about the inconvenience. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information though about the products I mentioned.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This is another great source of information!!

This is another great source of information!! I subscribe to this newsletter, and I love the information that my friend Wendy has! Here is a copy of the latest newsletter:

Wendy: Yak's Healthy Lifestyles

Every now and again I am asked questions by my readers. I encourage this because if one person has a question or concern I just know that there are more women out there with the same or similar question.


How do I know if I am wanting to eat out of hunger or boredom?


As far as physical hunger, that occurs if you are doing some vigorous work, or if you havn't eaten for 3-4 hours. Other than that, you are more than likely wanting to eat due to boredom or stress. Fill those times with fruit and veggies only and as much as you like. You will be giving your body nutrients that will give you long lasting energy. You can also fill those times in with some of the gifts and talents God has blessed you with. What is it that turns your crank? Is it writing, painting, you and God can fill in that blank. I do want to add one thing here about water. If you are feeling tired, you may be a little dehydrated. Drink a glass of water or two and you'll feel a little more energetic.


I know I need to slow down when I eat. My parents were always in a hurry to finish dinner when I was younger. This is a habit I need to break. How do I relax and slow down on eating and give my body time to feel full so that I don’t end up eating too much?


Half the battle is knowing what your problem is. Which you do. I’m sure most of you have heard of chewing each bite 25 times, try it because it works. Also, only put a reasonable amount of food on your plate and eat only that. If you’re still hungry have seconds of your salad or grab a piece of fruit or two in place of a second helping of your meal.

If you have any questions please Ask Yak and see your question answered in the next issue.

WendyYak’sPersonal Trainer/Lifestyle Coach

Areas of expertise: fitness, nutrition, marriage, family issues, pms, de-cluttering home and life.

If you are interested in receiving these newsletters too, visit my friend Wendy's site as listed above. It's a great site, and full of great information!!!!
As I was browsing the internet I came across this interesting article in the America Heart Association journal- Circulation. Only the abstract is posted:
If you want to view the entire article, click on the link below:

Dietary Protein and Weight Reduction
A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association Sachiko T. St. Jeor, RD PhD; Barbara V. Howard, PhD; T. Elaine Prewitt, RD DrPH; Vicki Bovee, RD MS; Terry Bazzarre, PhD; Robert H. Eckel, MD; , for the AHA Nutrition Committee
Abstract— High-protein diets have recently been proposed as a "new" strategy for successful weight loss. However, variations of these diets have been popular since the 1960s. High-protein diets typically offer wide latitude in protein food choices, are restrictive in other food choices (mainly carbohydrates), and provide structured eating plans. They also often promote misconceptions about carbohydrates, insulin resistance, ketosis, and fat burning as mechanisms of action for weight loss. Although these diets may not be harmful for most healthy people for a short period of time, there are no long-term scientific studies to support their overall efficacy and safety. These diets are generally associated with higher intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol because the protein is provided mainly by animal sources. In high-protein diets, weight loss is initially high due to fluid loss related to reduced carbohydrate intake, overall caloric restriction, and ketosis-induced appetite suppression. Beneficial effects on blood lipids and insulin resistance are due to the weight loss, not to the change in caloric composition. Promoters of high-protein diets promise successful results by encouraging high-protein food choices that are usually restricted in other diets, thus providing initial palatability, an attractive alternative to other weight-reduction diets that have not worked for a variety of reasons for most individuals. High-protein diets are not recommended because they restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and do not provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities overall.

It is interesting to read that last statement. Based on my current eating habits, and exercise routine, I'm supposed to be on a high-protein diet (according to my Curves Member Guide). But this diet is not meant to last forever. At least while I am actively working out, I should be eating more protein. This article has different tables that describe relations of protein to your diet. The first table lists how much protein you should intake daily, based on your energy intake. It shows that your protien intake should be between 10% and 30% of your total caloric intake. The average diet is 15%. There is another table (#3) that lists 5 different popular diets, and what each diet entails foodwise and in practicality. It's an eye opener if you are considering one of these diets. It makes me wonder about the practicality of other diets not listed too.l

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Weight Loss Journey Update

Wow, I feel better now than I have in a long time!! The energy level I have now is amazing. So I started going to Curves November 28, 2005. I weighed in at 185lbs!! My doctor said that I was close to 50lbs overweight- that weigh in proved that I was 60lbs overweight(picture me crying). Between 11/28/05 and 1/11/06 I lost 4 lbs. Weigh in on 1/11, down to 181lbs. Not bad for getting a cold and not working out for two weeks straight. The 12 week challenge started 1/16/06, and I started becoming more serious about loosing weight and eating better. I eat more protein, less sugary foods, more fruit and yogurt, and walk everywhere if I can instead of driving. That combined with Curves has worked so far. Month one weigh in was Wednesday, 2/15/06. Down to 177lbs!! Five more lbs lost between 1/11 and 2/15!! And I got sick again, this time with the flu, and missed one week of workout. 9 down and 51 more to go!! Do you think that I can make it to at least 150 by April? We'll see!

In the Febuary 20 issue of US magazine, they investigated how much celebrities weighed. Also published was a chart for you to find what your healthy weight should be based on your height. I'm 5'3". So according to this chart I should weigh anywhere between 107 and 135 lbs. The ideal weight for someone at 5'3" height is 113lbs. I think that depends on your bone structure also. My weight goal is 125 or 130.

I also feel that the supplements that I am taking are helping me to succeed. What I am taking is called Daily for Life, from Melaleuca. They come in convenient AM/PM packets, which I love. Each packet contains 9 vitamins; the AM packet contains 2 Vitality for Women (multi vitamin and minerals), 2 Vitality Mineral Complex (time-release formula with a 1,000mg blend of calcium sources), 1 Cell Wise (broad-spectrum antioxidant derived from whole foods), and 4 ProvexCV (flavonoid to help prevent LDL oxidation). PM packet has 1 Vitality for Women, 1 Vitamin Mineral Complex, 1 Cell Wise, 1 Florify (to fortify and detoxify gatrointestinal tract with healthy probiotics), and 4 Phytomega (the only heart supplement with Omega3 fatty acids and phytosterols). Of course, I do tend to forget to take both of them daily, but I do take at least one packet a day. Which reminds me...

Another thing that I am using to help loose weight is another awesome Melaleuca product. It's called the Access bar, which is a fat conversion activity bar. One bar has 150 calories, and I only eat one before I go to Curves. It has been tested and proved to enhance fat metabolism, minimize muscle fatigue, and maximize endurance. I can attest to endurance and fatigue- the first week I went to Curves, I felt completely wiped out after the first ten minutes of exercise. By the evening I felt sore from exercising. I remembered that I had some Access bars at home, and decided to try them out the second week. What a difference!! I did not get tired at all, in fact I wanted to keep going past the 30 minutes! And I did not get any muscle cramps at all or soreness. So now I make sure I eat one on my way to Curves. They come in four incredibly mouth watering flavors, but my favorite is the mint chocolate. Peanut butter is not bad at all either.

I think I may have mentioned this before... supplementing with vitamins comes highly reccomended. But it is not for everyone. Taking supplements is completely dependent on your eating and exercise habits. I have to supplement, because I have never eaten properly, and I am at risk for osteoporisis and a few other things. So my doctor said that I can keep using what I am using, and keep up the exercise. I see this everywhere, on all supplements no matter what company you buy them from: " These statments have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before using this product." There may be too much of one ingredient in a supplement and your doctor may say that you shouldn't have so much. Its better to be on the safe side than cause yourself more harm than good.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Part 2- Eye Openers

I've been sick with the flu. But here is the rest of the information that I promised from the PTA meeting with the nutritionist.


Organic food!

A great arcticle in Parents magazine explains it all! If you read that mag, then look in the March 2006 issue on page56. If you don't, here's the quoted article:

Organic Benefits
Feeding your child organic food can significantly lower his exposure to pesticides, says a study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. After kids ages 3 to 11 were switched from a conventional diet to one with organic frutis, vegetables, and other foods, there was an immediate, dramatic decrease in two pesticide by-products in thier urine. Although the exact health risk of these pesticides is still unknown, they may be especially harmful for children- because kids' bodies are smaller and their brains are still developing, says researcher Chensheng Lu, PhD., of Emory University, in Atlanta. Dr. Lu recommends choosing orgainc when possible but especially with produce that tends to have greader pesticide residue such as apples, spinach, peaches, pears, potatoes, and strawberries.
from Parents magazine, March 2006, p 56

What I can say about organic produce, it is much tastier than regular produce. Finally we will have a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods opening in town, so it will be much easier for me to buy what I really like. Since both my children love fruit more than chips or candy (yeah, I know it doesn't seem real, but it's true!) it's nice to be able to buy them healthy snacks.

When I was at that PTA meeting with the nutritionist, the organics came up, but also the trend of using supplements. The owner of my local Curves had said that she wholly supports supplementing for this reason: we've depleted the essential vitamins and minerals from the soil, so even if we go organic, we won't be getting what we need. Therefore, taking supplements is essential. The other side to this is that supplements are not for everyone. It depends on what your body needs. But also, there are supplements out there that actually can do you more harm than good. I won't mention their names, but I can say that there is one place I found that the supplements are natural, with no synthetically derived ingredients. I've had much sucess with taking those vitamins, and I have found myself to feel better emotionally and physically when I remember to take them ;). The company is called Melaleuca, and they have an incredible 20 year track record. They also sell other products, such as cleaning, bath and body, and beauty products that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. To see some of their products go to Contact me if you want to learn more about the company and how to purchase the products for yourself.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Some Eye Openers About the Food We Eat

Tonight I went to the school PTA meeting. We had a guest speaker, who is a Metabolic Nutritionist, Christine N. Hardy MA, CNE (certified nutrition educator). Before our meeting, a parent survey came out to find out what we wanted to learn from her. So tonight the she came extremely prepared with 6 pages of answers to the survey questions. What she discussed were extreme eye openers.


There was a list with explanations on why we should avoid these foods.

1. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils/trans fatty acids: These would be oils such as soy, corn, sunflower, canola, and peanut oil, also known as polyunsaturated or monosaturated vegetable oils. These have been processed to indefinitely extend thier shelf life. During processing the structure of fatty acids are irreparably damaged in a way that they lose whatever nutritional value they origionally had, therefore becoming toxic in our bodies.

Someone had asked "How bad are those oils really?" Her answer: they disrupt the function of the cell membranes, interfering with the ability to transport nutrients into the cell and lets metabolic wastes out. This process is called "gumming up" the cell membranes, which can lead to auto-intoxication at a cellular level, disrupting the ability of cells to produce energy. She also stated that these hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils interfere with the production of omega-3 and -6 (essential fatty acids), compromise the efficiency of the immune system, increase the size of fat cells, lowering the levels of HDL cholesteral (which by the way is the good cholesteral), increases inflammation and blood clotting, and are implicated in the development of cancer!! HMMM, now let me see here- canola oil isn't as good as we previously thought then, so I must get rid of it now, but what can I use to replace it? Well, I already got that answer from my forum friends at Womans Day, and my workout friends from Curves: Coconut oil. But the nutritionist brought up two others that can be used, virgin olive oil and sesame seed oil.

2. Soft Drinks or Sodas: well what is there to know that we don't know already? It's been said to us many times, often from our doctors or health club trainers, that sodas are empty calories, and too sugary to do us any good. Yet we still crave those Pespi's and Dr. Pepper's. But did you know that most sodas contain 8-10 teaspoons of sugar per can? How about this: even though it says no sugar it still will contain an artifical sweetener that have been linked to neurological problems like headaches and seizures. (try aspartame and acesulfame)

3. High fructose corn syrup: this is just another name for sugar, which I didn't know about until tonight. Another thing I didn't know about sugar in general is that it tends to stick to protiens, forming nonfunctional hybrid molecules that speed up the aging process and tissue destruction. This is not to say that we absolutely have to avoid any kind of sugar, in moderation it's good for us. Just think about fruits and vegetables: they are good for us and also contain sugar, in it's good ole natural form, not a processed form that has no vitamins and minerals. Oh, and one more thing: the processed sugar that is common in packaged foods now will deplete your immune system for up to 5 hours after ingesting it! Makes you think, now doesn't it?

4. White flour products: Basically this is any food that is the color white. White bread, white rice, potatoes, crackers, pasta (though it's really off-white, she still has it on the list). Most of those, with the exception of potatoes, are "bleached" in a sense to make them white. In other words, refined. During the refining process, the b-vitamins, essential fatty acids, fiber, and amino acids that are naturally found, are lost, leaving behind the starch. These products also deplete our storage of zinc, which gives us our taste. So supposedly if we cannot taste anything or we don't have interest in food in general it's because we are zinc deficient. So we already knew that too much starchy foods will make us gain weight, what's the big deal? We get the same effects as sugar. We loose the energy that we need. Go ahead, look it up on the internet. The information is there if you don't believe me.

5. Anything that is labeled low fat or non fat: somewhere we were led to believe that drinking whole milk was wrong. So we started a whole new culture craze with the "non fat" "low fat" diets and food. Dairy that is designated those XX fat lables have been heated up to a degree where all the fat, protien, and vitamins are destroyed, basically leaving water and sugar. Our best bet to get the nutrients from milk- drink organic whole milk. For those of us who are lactose intolerant, like me for example, she recomends coconut, rice, almond, or goat milk. Not soy milk, which surprised me. So I had to ask her why not soy? Soy has become a processed food, and is no longer an organic product, even though it is labled as organic. It's what is done with the soy when they make the different products that come from soy. Ok then, so much for my soy lattes!! Maybe that explains why I have worse cramps when I drink soy milk.

I can go on, but I am really tired, and I need to get a few hours sleep before having to wake up agian.

The outcome of this meeting with the nutritionist will have to come tomorrow, or the next day. It depends on how tired I am (I think I need to stay away from food in general!!)


As most have known, this month is national heart awareness month!!

There is also another great cause that I've already made a donation to, and I'd appreciate everyone taking the time to do the same: Cancer.

In the last two months, I've lost two close family friends to cancer. Just recently joined a WAH forum, in which the site creator has created a wonderful project. It's called "Pixels for Cancer"

Basically it goes like this- you can donate a banner ad, or small picture and 50% of your cost will be donated to a cancer charity. Depending on the size of the banner or pix you will pay $1 per pixel. Mine was 100 pixels so I paid $100, which means $50 will go to the cancer charity.


Go to and click on the "pixels for cancer" button on the right hand side of the page. There, you will find all the information you need to understand this project better!! Don't wait- go now!!