Thursday, December 26, 2013

What's Your Feeling on This?

How’s it going? Have the holidays treated you well? Mine have been rather chaotic.

First, I received late notice that my building was going to be closed on unexpected days, so I had to cancel a few client appointments for those days. Then, the AC/Heat went out in the building and I was forced to cancel more appointments. Then, my five year old got sick and I had to cancel out the last few remaining appointments of the year. Not to mention I had family in town, Christmas shopping (and wrapping) to get done, a dinner party to cook for, AND an office to move, too!

I felt VERY out of control and uneasy. And, I don’t LIKE feeling out of control. Who does?

Lucky for me, Lexi is a resilient child and felt better after just a few days (I think the thought of Christmas Day toys had a lot to do with it. LOL!), and I was able to take some time to chill, meditate and plan for my office move, and for the 2014 year.

As 2013 comes to a close I’ve been reflecting on this crazy year. To me it felt rushed. I always felt like I was playing “catch up” on personal things or business actions. But for me, January always brings a sense of revival and a clean slate.

So, as I planned for the coming year I thought about how I want to feel in 2014.

This was an “A-Ha” moment and here are some of the core desired feelings I came up with…

Efficient
Passionate
Empathetic
Uncomfortable (just a little)
Effective
Peaceful
Grateful
Silly

This time of year is usually fraught with resolutions and goal setting; including the B-HAG (Big, Hairy, and Audacious Goal). By the way, I had to look up “audacious” in the dictionary… LOL!
Audacious: showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

Although I’m a HUGE fan of goal setting, I firmly believe it’s time to shift the focus from WHAT we want to accomplish to HOW we want our accomplishments to make us FEEL. What’s the point of reaching your boldest dreams, only to feel like a tired, burnt out piece of, well…. crap, once you’ve done it?

So, how DO you want to feel next year while you accomplish your Big Hairy Audacious Goals? Got any idea? It’s a huge task, I know.

But, if you haven’t considered how you want your goals to impact how you feel in 2014, make some time to do it this weekend. Dream HUGE! (Remember your goal is supposed to be audacious)

Then do me a favor; let me know what you’ve come up with. Seriously! I really do read your responses! Just reply to this email. Maybe I can help.

Anyway, from my family to yours; we wish you a safe, and very happy, New Year! Now, go ahead and eat a couple of those left over holiday cookies (tis the season) and don’t forget to share your B-HAG with me.

Be well, and always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

713-562-2474

P.S. I’m making a HUGE exciting (at least for me) announcement on January 6th and you will get 24-hour advanced notice before it goes public on January 7th. Talk about B-HAG… this is a B-HAG actualized.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Natural Ways to Relieve Migraines

The Migraine Research Foundation reveals that there are about 6 per cent of men who suffer from
migraines while 18% of American women have it. Richard Lipton, a neurology professor from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City says that the causes of migraines can be 50 per cent genetics while the other half includes a lot of different environmental factors. If you are suffering from migraine, read further for some tips that will surely work.

Stick to a low-fat diet.
A study showed that participants who were on a low-fat diet for three months reported that their headaches reduced for up to 40%. And, by the time they experienced headaches, the pain was 66% less severe while its duration also reduced by 70 per cent.

Make time for exercise.
A 2011 research conducted from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden provided additional proof to the theory that exercise can be beneficial to migraine sufferers. The said research revealed that exercise is just as effective as topiramate in relieving headaches and migraines. Topiramate is the generic drug name that is commonly prescribed to people with migraines. In the said study, participants were asked to exercise using a stationary bike for 40 minutes three times in a week. After three months, the group of people who exercised and those who only took topiramate reported reduced migraine attacks. However, those who chose to take topiramate also experienced some side effects. Therefore, instead of relying on what medications can do, better opt to indulge in a regular exercise regimen.  But, be careful not to overdo it to avoid triggering your headache.

Try peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the cheapest and the most natural way to relieve an individual from the searing migraine attacks. Just dab a little on your temples and leave it there for thirty minutes or less and you will find yourself relieved from the pain. This sweet-smelling oil has anti-inflammatory properties that provide a soothing relief to the nerves.

Manage your stress levels.
Stress and its cousin anxiety are huge contributors to headaches and migraines. Unfortunately, many people are working too hard every day that they barely have enough time to take a break and slow down.  As a result, they always find themselves suffering from headaches.  Never wait for yourself to become all too stressed out.  Take a proactive approach against stress by evaluating just how much you can do in a day.  Start by checking your to-do list and see if something in there can be done the next day.  This way, you will not have to exhaust your physical and mental energy just to get these things done all in one day.

Practice relaxation techniques.
Headaches and migraines are often caused by not having enough time for relaxation.  As a result, they find themselves experiencing frequent headaches or migraine attacks. You may try indulging in Yoga exercises or just learn how to do transcendental meditation.  Of course, there are also easier and less complicated ways to relax such as sitting on the couch while listening to your favorite mellow music or hop in the bath tub for a soothing bubble bath. This just goes to say that relaxation is a very important part of one’s lifestyle and is a very effective way to ward off any symptoms of headaches and migraines.

Stick to your sleeping time.
Headaches and migraines are often hinged on sleep deprivation.  When you do not get enough sleep, your brain will not be able to defragment all those thoughts and memories leaving you with symptoms of anxiety, crankiness and intense headaches all throughout the day. This is why if you want to spare yourself from the debilitating pain caused by migraine, better come up with a definite sleep-wake routine.  A good night sleep will give your brain and body the chance to recharge and refresh so you would feel more relaxed, composed and calm the following day.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera loves to help his readers achieve a healthy lifestyle that is devoid of anxiety and other health problems.  For more effective health-related tips, just visit his Calm Clinic Google+ account.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Herbs and Spices Make Great Salt Substitutes


It’s been a general rule of thumb; less salt = lower blood pressure. So, why is it so difficult to use less of it at the table and in cooking? My guess is that we’re afraid to miss out on flavor. So, to avoid salt without sacrificing flavor, I have listed some of my tried and true remedies for you to add to your pantry. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with making your own seasoning blends. Just be sure to share your favorite blends with me.


Chinese five-spice blend for chicken, fish, or pork
Combine ¼ cup ground ginger, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cloves, and 1 tablespoon each ground allspice and anise seed.

Mexican blend for chili, enchiladas, and tacos
Combine ¼ cup chili powder; 1 tablespoon each ground cumin and onion powder; 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper; and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

Mixed herbs for salads, steamed vegetables, or fish
Combine ¼ cup dried parsley, 2 tablespoons dried tarragon, and 1 tablespoon each dried oregano, dill weed, and celery flakes.

Hidden salt
In this age of tricky consumer marketing, it is doubly important to always check the nutrition labels of prepackaged foods for the amount of sodium it contains. Salt is commonly added as a preserving or flavoring agent in frozen entrees, luncheon meats, canned vegetables, and even frozen chicken and turkey breasts. So be careful!

Condiments like soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles, MSG (monosodium glutamate), and some prepared seasonings typically contain lots of salt. Not to mention that restaurant and fast foods are notorious for containing high levels of salt.

Sodium causes the body to retain fluid, and this fluid retention is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Excessive water also means excessive body weight and inflammation that can produce physical pain. Experts recommend adults over forty limit daily sodium levels to 2,300 milligrams per day — the equivalent of about 1 tsp. of table salt. However, a lower sodium level — 1,500 mg a day — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who have already developed hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

I know this doesn’t seem like much salt to work with, but that's because we have become so accustomed to the flavor of excessive salt in our foods. Once your palate has had a hance to re-adapt, you will begin to enjoy the actual flavor of the foods you are eating and the combinations of seasonings that naturally enhance the dining experience.

Stay fit. Eat healthy, and Always – Enjoy Your Life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Friday, November 29, 2013

Stay Fit and Active and Delay the Effects of Aging


As you approach and go over 40, you can start to feel a difference in your body. Even if you were an athlete all through your younger days, it is inevitable that changes happen in your body that will prevent you from doing things you could. However, you can largely reduce the effect of these changes. You can keep your energy levels, strength and flexibility in good shape enabling you to delay the effects of the aging process. This is because inactivity and poor nutrition actually speed up the aging process.

Some of the first changes you will notice are:

Losing your balance

Getting out of breathe easily

Tightening up of your body

A decline in muscle mass

Weakening and thinning of bone mass

Cartilage, ligaments and tendons becoming less elastic

Understanding why these changes are happening, what your new nutritional needs are, and which kind of physical activity is good for you will help you stay fit without hurting your body.

A sedentary lifestyle is letting your heart become frailer, your joints grow weaker, and your bones and muscles to slowly deteriorate. The body is an amazing creation, and it is incredible how it will respond to any effort you put in to grease your joints and strengthen your muscles. It is never too late to start, and you can actually reverse some of the aging process that has set in by previous inactivity.

Limit the Loss of Balance

Losing your sense of balance is probably one of the earliest things you will notice as you enter your 50s and 60s. There could be several reasons for this including a decrease in your vision, weaker legs, developing poor posture, having a longer reaction time and low blood pressure. All of these conditions can be improved with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Your heart is a muscle and needs to be exercised just like the muscles in your arms and legs. The longer it goes without being pushed, the harder it will be to push it and continue an activity for any length of time. It doesnt mean you need to try and run ten miles every day or join a high impact aerobics class. You definitely need to adjust your activity to your level. Your aim should just be to make sure your heart gets a little workout at least three times a week.

Improving Bone Density and Muscle Mass

As said on ifeelgood24/7 gym blog, the decline in bone mass is the leading cause of osteoporosis and a reason it is important to keep doing some form of exercise as you grow older.

It is also important that you get enough calcium in your diet and Better Health has an excellent post covering this. When you have a deficiency of calcium, your body will take it from your bones as it is a necessary mineral for your muscles, including your heart, to function properly. Along with an adequate intake of calcium, the most beneficial ways to build and maintain bone density are with weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

Beneficial Low Impact Exercises

It is essential to find an exercise routine that you will enjoy. You dont have to go to the gym and do the same routine every day to get the benefits. Do something different every day, and you will find that it will be easier to maintain.

Weight bearing exercises that are easy on the knees and ankles include walking, going up and down stairs, golf, yoga, Tai chi and dancing.

Muscle strengthening exercises are done by lifting weights or doing exercises using your own body weight. Using an elastic exercise band to create a resistance and doing repetitive movements is a popular alternative to traditional weight lifting. A great way to incorporate weight training into your cardio is by strapping weights on to your wrist and ankles as you walk or dance.

A brisk walk that includes going up and down stairs is probably the easiest way to incorporate cardio into your day. However, if you are up to it, joining a low impact aerobics class or a dance class is a fun way to exercise. You can also join a group of friends and go for a bike ride. A bike ride would be beneficial for your balance as well.

Joining a yoga, Pilates or Tai chi class has numerous benefits. These exercises have specific benefits for increasing bone density, muscle mass, balance and improving your posture. The high amount of stretching involved is excellent for keeping your body flexible.

Images from Wikipedia (1, 2, 3)

Stay Fit and Active and Delay the Effects of Aging is a guest blog by Andre Smith.

Andre Smith is a fitness and nutritional enthusiast and an advocate of living a healthy life. His two passions in life are cars and fitness and you may find regular updates and his views about health and fitness industry on his Google+.

Monday, November 18, 2013

4 Lower Back Exercises To Help Relieve Back Pain

Back pain and sciatica relief
Back pain affects at least 4 out of 5 persons. Whether it's due to lifting heavy objects, twisting or turning, bad posture or stress, this widespread medical condition can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. But you don't have to suffer. There are ways you can strengthen your back so that you can be pain free. These 4 simple exercises will go far in helping ease your back pain and strengthen your lower back.

Before you start any new exercise program, it's important to always check with your doctor first. Choose comfortable clothes that have some give to them and find an area with plenty of room for you to stretch out and do your exercise routine.

Back Pain and Sciatica Relief:
The first and most simple of all exercises you can do for your back is walking. Yes, plain and simple taking a walk will go far in helping to reduce back pain. Start with a light stretch and set a small goal. Don't stop to rest until you have reached this goal.

All forms of lower back exercises are a series of easy going gentle movement that will help to reduce the stiffness and soreness in your lower back. They will strengthen your back and provide you with a base for more mobility. It will also carry over to your stomach and leg muscles so be prepared for some soreness during the first few days of your new routine.

The first few times you do your exercises you're going to have to concentrate on slow and gentle moving. If something hurts you need to immediately stop. If you're not sure which exercises to be doing, you may wish to check with a physical therapist to find out which ones would benefit you the most.

Knee Rolls
You'll be carefully stretching and mobilizing your spine. Simply lie on your back, you may wish to roll up a small towel under your neck for support. Bring your knees up gently until your feet are lying flat on the floor. Keeping your shoulders flat let your knees drop to one side for five to 10 seconds and then slowly repeat the move on the other side. Repeat this for two or three times each.

Back Extensions
These will help to stretch and mobilize your spinal area. Start out by lying on your stomach. Propping yourself up on your elbows. Don't bend your neck backwards. Keeping your neck long, arch your back and push down with your hands. You should feel this in your stomach. Hold this pose for five to 10 seconds making sure to breathe the entire time. Back to the starting position and repeat this from eight to 10 times per set.

Deep Abdominal Strengthening
This exercise will strengthen your supporting muscles in and around your spinal area. To begin, lie on your back and roll a small towel up to put under your neck. Again, bend the knees and place feet flat on the floor. Keep your legs apart at hip width. Relax your upper body and tuck your chin in. Picture an imaginary line as your breathe out and draw this line through your muscles in your abdomen and your stomach. Tighten and hold for five to 10 breaths. Relax and repeat this exercise five times. Don't tense your neck or shoulders or legs during this exercise.

Pelvic Tilts
These will strengthen your lower back. Again, lie on the back with feet flat on floor. Pull in the stomach and picture your bellybutton being sucked to the floor. Hold this for ten second and repeat eight to 12 times per set.

"4 Lower Back Exercises To Help Relieve Back Pain" is a guest written article by Geoff Roy

Geoff Roy gives advice on various back problems for chiroprators in Surrey.
Featured images:
 License: Creative Commons image source

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Proactive Approach to Preventable Death

A Proactive Approach to Preventable Death
As much as we hate to admit it, there are times where death seems inevitable. Whether it’s a severe terminal illness or the body slowing down with old age, certain conditions can make death unavoidable.

Preventable death, however, is different. Just as it sounds, preventable death is any kind of death that we actually have the power to avert. Sadly, although these deaths are preventable, and therefore largely within our control, they still occur at an alarming frequency. For more information on preventable death, check out this infographic by Katherman Briggs & Greenberg.

Top Causes of Preventable Death

Smoking
If you’ve ever thought about lighting up, you might want to think again. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, causing 467,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, and it’s the culprit behind 1 in every 5 deaths. In addition to causing cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease, smoking can shorten your life span: smokers die on average 10 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.

The fix: If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you are a smoker, find a way to quit, whether it’s through a nicotine patch, joining a support group or both.

Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the second leading cause of preventable death, resulting in 395,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. It’s the leading cause of death in adult women, killing roughly 230,000 American females each year, culminating in 19% of all female deaths. To put it in perspective, this number is over five times the 42,000 deaths that result from breast cancer. The problem with high blood pressure is that it can be a silent killer that comes without any symptoms. Making matters worse, people with high blood pressure are also more likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, aneurysms and kidney problems.

The fix: If you’re concerned with your blood pressure stats, talk to your doctor about possibly going on a blood-pressure-lowering medication. You should also follow a healthy diet and exercise program, and try to cut out as much salt as you can.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases
In the United States, 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diagnosed annually, and all of these are preventable. Almost half of all cases occur among young adults ranging from 15-24 years old, and they cost the health care system nearly $16 billion each year. Left untreated, STDs can lead to severe infections in multiple sites of the body, and they can cause devastating irreversible problems, such as infertility, cancer and even death.

The fix: If you’re sexually active, practice safe sex. Use condoms for protection, and talk with your partner about his or her sexual history. If you’re concerned that you might have an STD, see a doctor so you can get tested and begin a treatment plan if necessary.

Obesity
Each year in the United States, an average of 374,239 people die from obesity. Over 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. (35.7%) are obese, and recent data suggests that obesity is on track to overtake smoking as America’s number one killer! It’s the complications stemming from obesity that make it so deadly: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer are all closely linked to being severely overweight or obese. And obesity isn’t just costly in terms of our own personal health; the annual medical cost of obesity in the United States is estimated to be around $147 billion.

The fix: If you are obese, get on a healthy diet and exercise regimen ASAP. Consider seeing a dietician who can prescribe an eating plan for you. And don’t forget to enlist people for support. Try joining a group like Weight Watchers, where you’ll be motivated by other people who are striving to reach the same weight loss goals you are. You can also join a gym, or if the thought of setting foot in a gym terrifies you, make walking with a friend your new form of happy hour.

Nobody likes to think about death, but the good thing about preventable deaths is the fact that they are preventable. By making smart choices and incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle, you can avoid being one of these statistics and start taking control of your health today!

Adrienne is a health-conscious freelance writer and blogger.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Food Focus: Oils and Fats

healthy fats omega-3 olive oil
Ever since the fat phobia of the 1980’s, I’ve been battling the misconception that all fats are evil. They are not. However, oils and fats are not all created equal. Which means some are more beneficial while others are downright dangerous.

For example, heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used to prepare the vast majority of packaged and fast foods can be extremely damaging to the body. In contrast, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly and even help our brains process and think more clearly.

Including a small amount of high-quality fat in a meal also serves to give us a feeling of satiety, energy, fulfillment and warmth. It is when there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, that we can experience weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness.

If you’ve been guilty of “fat phobia” and have neglected to include sufficient healthy, high-quality fats in your diet, you may already be suffering some side effects such as; brittle hair and nails, overly dry skin, excessive hunger even after meals and feeling cold.

To give you an idea of the many sources of healthy fats and oils available to you and how to incorporate them into your diet, I’ve listed some suggestions:
  • If you are sautéing or baking, try butter (yes, the “B” word), ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil because they’re less likely to break down and become carcinogenic when used at high temperatures.
  • While we’re on the subject of sautéing, for foods prepared at moderate temperatures, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
  • Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains.
  • Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini.
  • Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, too.
  • Finally the tried and true wild salmon and omega-3 and omega-6 organic eggs.
Experiment with these healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied.

Don’t be cheap when choosing you oils, either. Since you will be using them sparingly, buy the highest-quality organic products you can afford and enjoy them to their fullest.

FYI: One final note. Be sure to look at the labels. Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.

Stay fit. Eat healthy, and always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!
 

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm Feeling Kinda Dizzy

Dizzy slip and fall

How was your Halloween? This year I took four children trick-or-treating; a five, a four, a three, and a two year old. Talk about work! And, dang it if one of them little boogers didn’t give me a head-cold!

Anyway, Halloween swooshed by me like those kids chasing candy door to door. It was enough to make your head spin. What’s more, the coming holidays don’t seem to be slowing down for me either. Life can be a whirlwind at times, but it’s all good.

It’s when things feel like they’re ‘literally’ whirling around you, that you may want to stop and reconsider. When you’re over forty, loss of balance can mean your health is out of whack.

While some of us older folk will feel dizzy from time to time, the sense the surroundings spinning is called vertigo (yes, like the old Hitchcock movie).

Your inner ear works with your brain to give you a sense of your body’s position. Your skin, joints, and muscles also send balance signals to the brain. If something goes wrong in any of these areas (like me and my head cold), you might feel dizzy or lightheaded or have blurry vision.

The immediate danger is that you might fall and hurt yourself - permanently. Slip and falls are a leading cause of death in older adults.

While we’re on the subject, some balance disorders can be caused by an ear infection, a head injury, or as side effects of certain drugs. So it’s important to see your doctor.

While some of us might get better on our own, a spell of dizziness can last days or even weeks. There are medications and certain exercises that may help, but the first step is getting assessed by your doctor.

On the whole, you should talk with your doctor if:

  • You often feel unsteady.
  • You feel as if the room is spinning around you.
  • You feel as if you’re moving when you know you are standing or sitting still.
  • You lose your balance and fall or feel as if you’re falling.
  • You feel lightheaded or as if you might faint.
  • Your vision becomes blurred.
  • You sometimes feel disoriented, losing your sense of time, place, or identity.

As for me, well, I’ll get over the head-cold and get back to my “less dizzy” self in no time. Ave a great week!

Stay fit. Eat healthy. And, as always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!
 

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day of The Dead

Life and Death for the over forty crowd
For those of us that have managed to live for over 40 years or more, an interesting and somewhat morbid thing begins to happen to us. We become increasingly aware of the reality of mortality and just how precious our time here on Earth is. Perhaps this semi age related milestone helps us bypass the trivial things that distract us from living our remaining years to the fullest.

Today many celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead). Traditionally a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. This holiday focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for, remember and celebrate loved ones that have died. Now, I'm not one to read the obituary column, but plenty of my over forty clients are. I guess it's like a scorecard; as long as we're not on the list I suppose we're still winning.

The unfortunate truth is that life comes with no guarantees but with one exception: death. It's a harsh reality, death. We take life for granted so easily that we sometimes forget that there is an ultimate finish line. It will happen, you know. However, the way we choose to live the years between birth and death are entirely up to us. We can make them glorious or dismal.

But for today, I will think back to the loved ones I have lost over the years; Azalea Martinez, a Christian woman and friend who lost her battle against lymphoma in 1999 but taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. I also will think of Craig Whitlow, who lost his battle against AIDS during the height of its epidemic, but taught me the meaning of dedication & devotion. Mrs. Patricia Wild and Mrs. Betty Dickinson whose strength and loving encouragement allowed me to believe that I could be a great father. And, most recently, Michael Penny who taught me it was ok to be imperfect.

Today I celebrate them with much love and deep appreciation for all they have done to enrich my life and make it what it is: a life of passion.

In their memory I make a promise to myself and hope you will join me in making it, too. That promise is to squeeze ever drop I can from the life I’ve been given; not only to value this life but to fully enjoy the ups, downs, the good and bad, the tailspins and whirlwinds that it can bring.

Stay fit. Stay healthy. And, as always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Got Pain? Drop the Dairy.

milk and arthritis pain and inflamation
The consumption of dairy – specifically cow’s milk products, has been a much debated topic. I mean, how bad can it be? We grew up on the stuff, right? Well, now more than ever, people are becoming aware of the health impact that dairy may have on their bodies.

Cow’s milk products have certain protein molecules (casein and whey) that can cause our immune system to over react and stimulate immediate allergic responses such as hives, wheezing and vomiting, or longer term issues such as loose stool, abdominal cramps, and skin rash. However, it seems that you do not have to be allergic to dairy to experience a negative physical response to it.

Food sensitivities can equally trigger the immune response and any time the immune response is activated, inflammation will present itself.

Why is this important? Well, if you are one of the millions of people that suffer from joint pain or inflammatory diseases such as, Arthritis, Lupus or Fibromyalgia, you can understand that having more inflammation in your body directly translates into more pain you will physically experience.

So what can you do to fight dairy related inflammation?

Begin with an experiment. Try an elimination diet. If you suspect dairy products increase your joint pain, removing it from your diet for a few weeks may help confirm it. Chart your pain for the two weeks you are dairy free. Then, on the third week, reintroduce dairy into your diet and chart your pain to compare. If the pain and inflammation increase during the “re-introduction” phase, you may consider avoiding all dairy products. Just don’t forget to look for ways to get adequate calcium from other sources, such as green leafy vegetables and supplementation.

If you find that you just love dairy too much to eliminate it from your diet then opt to significantly reduce your dairy intake. Try some of the many dairy alternatives on the market today. Rice milk, oat milk, coconut, almond and soy milk can be used in place of cow's milk in cereals, baking and even gravies and stews. Soy yogurt and cheese products alternatives are also available in just about any supermarket. Experiment and find alternatives that you enjoy.

And, if you need help developing a nutrition based health and fitness program that will work for you, feel free to contact me at any time.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!
 

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Power!

the nutritional value of pumpkins do more than decorate
Have you seen them? I just visited Whole Foods and was floored by the selection! So many shapes, colors, sizes. Some with bumps; some smooth. Some full and round; others short and squat. No matter how many varieties there are, you can’t deny that pumpkins are a very popular purchase in the month of October. Though they are mainly purchased to adorn a porch stoop, become a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, or a serve as a centerpiece for autumn decorating, I want to remind you that they are also quite nutritious and delicious.

For example, did you know that…

Pumpkins contain loads of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is vital to the health of the eyes. This vitamin helps the eyes adjust to changes in light. Vitamin A is also important to the functioning of the immune system – quite important to note as we head into the middle of Flu season.

Pumpkins contain Potassium
Zombies would be happy to know that you were eating your pumpkin! Why? Because the potassium contained therein helps to keep your brain functioning well. On a side note; potassium helps to reduce blood pressure and can also help to relieve anxiety and stress.

Pumpkins are a good source of Fiber
Fiber not only helps you eat less by making you feel full, it is essential to keeping the gastrointestinal tract running well, too. Fiber, ahem… helps to flush out toxins from the body. Need I say more?

Pumpkin Seeds can Make for a Healthy Snack
The more mature pumpkin seeds get, the more nutritionally valuable they become. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of vitamin K, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds also contain those energizing B vitamins! And, pumpkin seeds are rumored to be good for prostate health.

So, while pumpkins are a great autumn decoration, don’t forget that they boast many health benefits, too! So roast’em up and serve them in pies, salads, smoothies and side dishes. You’ll not only be surprised at their versatility and flavor, but you’ll reap the benefit of this seasonal, “fairy tale” fruit.

And, if you need more ideas on how to make the best food choices for getting your waist trim and your heart healthy. Call me at 713-562-2474 and let me set you on the right path with a complementary consultation.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!
 

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Feeling Guilty...

So I was at the gym today doing my time at the treadmill when I look up to one of the feature stories on Good Morning America. It's about Maria Kang and her “offensive” posting of a picture of her and her three boys. Can you believe that? A mother of three post a picture of herself in excellent form to motivate and inspire, yet people find reason to be insulted? How can that be? The pic was family-friendly, certainly nothing pornographic or “artistic” about it. No suggestive poses, or excessive cleavage. So, why the big hullabaloo!?!?

Then it hit me. It's the mirror. Know what I'm talking about?

It's the times when you look in the mirror and you really don't like what you see… It's those times when you notice the extra inches of flab or the little jiggle-in-the-middle that you just can't seem to get rid of. Then someone posts a seemingly perfect pic of themselves and we compare… What’s worse, we feel judged and our “defensive mode” kicks in quickly followed by self-justification.

To justify our late-night snacking or frequent visits to happy hour we tell ourselves; “Well, I work hard! I deserve this time, this treat, this... [insert vice here]!” We justify not going to the gym by saying; “I work hard, I have SO many things to do, I'm BUSY, I don't have time to go to the gym!”

Then, someone like Maria Kang shows up... Someone who has a full schedule, a competitive career, a husband, and three very energetic kids. And, the most offensive thing? She reminds us that it CAN be done! We CAN control our weight, our bodies, our health, and our lives. We CAN voluntarily limit our access to excessive calories and lack of sleep. She reminds us that, while working and earning a living is important, it's not an excuse to ignore your health.

In all honesty, I am 100% sure that Maria never posted that photo to snub to anyone. Not once did she stick her tongue out at us and say, “You're so fat!” Nope. Not once. Instead, it was the inner-voice that lives inside each of us that mouthed those words. The unfortunate and bitter truth is that this inner voice is often times correct. We just find it easier to blame her for our insecurities – our guilty feelings.

Clearly there is a whole lot more going on here than a controversial picture. Living life is complicated, and each of us must find the right balance for ourselves. So the challenge that I have set for myself, and hope you will pursue as well, is that we don't look at the Maria Kangs of the world and compare ourselves to them.

Instead, I challenge myself to be the best that I can be. Does that mean making more choices that lead me in the direction of better health and a leaner, stronger body? Absolutely!

The fewer self-destructive actions I take (like overindulging in food or alcohol), means the further I get from that flabby guy in the mirror, and the closer I get to actually living a life filled with energy, activity, and happiness. I choose to stop feeling guilty about all the choices I have made in the past that took me away from that goal and I pledge myself to move forward to the greater good. I hope you do the same.

As always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal
713-562-2474


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!
 

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Breakfast really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Are you one of those people that just doesn’t see what the big deal is about eating breakfast? Despite the fact that nutrition experts and health professionals have always said how important a hearty breakfast is, I continued to skip breakfast on a regular basis.

I know I’m not the only one to do this. A large percentage of us who avoid eating regular breakfasts say it’s because they don’t have time to eat in the morning. A similar proportion say they don’t eat breakfast because they just don’t feel hungry when they first wake up. Whatever your reason for avoiding breakfast, I’m here to say I no longer plan on missing out on the whole range of health benefits this one little meal can bring. Benefits like;

Better Concentration
Eating a breakfast with complex carbohydrates has been shown to increase concentration and brainpower throughout the day. High-quality carbohydrates that release energy slowly, such as those found in wholegrain breads and cereals, are far more nutrient-rich than white bread and refined grains that are often high in sugar. Eating just one slice of wholegrain toast in a morning can improve your cognitive abilities throughout the whole day.

Weight Loss
I’ve discovered that some of my very own clients would skip meals, especially breakfast, in the mistaken belief that it would help them to lose weight. However, skipping breakfast has been shown to have the opposite effect, with many studies suggesting that eating breakfast is an essential component of long-term weight loss. Eating breakfast helps you to maintain control of your appetite and reduces the risk of food cravings later in the day. If you are trying to lose weight, choose a low-fat breakfast with plenty of lean protein and a small amount of complex carbohydrates. Eating a small breakfast is far more likely to help you achieve your weight loss goal than skipping breakfast completely.

Increased Energy
The human body is a complex mechanism that needs fuel in order to function properly. Skipping breakfast means your body is trying to work without the fuel it needs and this leads to a significant reduction in your energy levels – and a greater dependency on caffeinated drinks like our morning coffee. However, a breakfast with good quality protein, such as eggs, lean meat, or low-fat dairy, will give you consistently higher energy levels throughout the day. Add some fresh fruit for an extra energy boost.

Improved Mood
Adding to the theme of increased energy, skipping breakfast puts your body into a “fasting” state, where it has to work harder to function properly because it has no fuel. This leads to irritability, anxiety, and low mood. Eating a breakfast complete with complex carbohydrates and high-quality protein can help to stabilize your moods for the day and leave you better able to deal with the problems you may face at home and work.

Preventing Serious Diseases
Having regular meals, including a balanced breakfast, are essential for keeping your blood sugar levels stable and balanced. Stable blood sugar levels help to prevent diabetes and improve your long-term health. Regularly eating a balanced breakfast also reduces your risk of developing heart disease and cardiovascular problems.

So there you have it. My five reasons I (and YOU) should have breakfast daily. I encourage you to eat a breakfast that incorporates complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fresh fruit or vegetables for a health-boosting start to the day.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal


Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program.