The Traveling Gym

Chances are good that you’ve heard your body could use some exercise every day. But for those who are busy globe trotters or regular business travelers, finding time to exercise can be challenging, and a gym may not always be accessible. Although many great workout routines are now more focused on using your own body weight, packing your suitcase with some light equipment may be a good idea if you’re not sure what might meet you at your next destination.

Two of my favorite light-weight pieces are the jump rope and these Gliders.

20120720-101651.jpg

The jump rope is a great cardio alternative to the treadmill, and can get your heart rate up pretty quickly. Certainly a rope made of any material could do, but a light-weight plastic one (like the one pictured) may be the best option for your suitcase.

Gliders are round disks that help reduce friction, and are great for doing variations of the mountain climber. To do the basic mountain climber, place each foot on the Gliders, assume the push-up/plank position, and shuffle your feet like you’re scaling the floor by tucking your knee to your chest. This exercise targets the abdominals while building core strength and agility. Although Gliders aren’t completely necessary, they can help you climb faster, making your work out more efficient. This exercise is best on a tiled bathroom floor, since most hotel rooms are carpeted.

And of course don’t forget to stay hydrated and wipe off your sweat!

Morning Buzz: Summer’s Perfect Cup

Many of us share the common morning ritual of sipping on a cup of coffee to help start our day…and what a great ritual it is! The benefits of coffee are ample—from increasing your rate of metabolism…to enhancing performance and focus, it is no wonder that coffee has become a staple in our society. I mean…there’s more than um…10,000 Starbucks, 6,000 Dunkin Donuts, just over 200 locations of Peet’s, and a countless number of wonderful independent mom and pop cafés!

Because this drink is so deeply ingrained in our culture, the process of brewing coffee is often considered a form of art. There are a variety of techniques and many methods to yield a great cup—traditional dripping, French pressing, stovetop pressurizing are only a few at the tip of the iceberg! With the rising temperatures this season, colder versions of coffee are becoming more popular; if you are trying to save a buck (or four) this summer, I recommend cold-brewing your coffee at home.

Cold brewing coffee is a slower process, where you mix cold water with ground coffee and let it steep in your fridge overnight. Here, I used Adagio’s ingenuiTEA for the process, but you can easily achieve the same results by making the mix in any glass jar and filtering with a regular coffee filter.

20120719-095707.jpg

20120719-095723.jpg

The taste is milder and smoother than a hot cup, and this is because less alkaloids are extracted. This also means that your end product will be less acidic and much easier on the stomach. Cold brewing is an especially good option for people who avoid coffee because of stomach cramps or excessive jitteriness…and if you like this method because of its milder effects, you can still have it hot when the weather cools down! Just use more grounds and less water in the steeping process; end product will be a thicker and stronger coffee syrup, which you can later dilute with hot water.

Wishing you all a fabulous and productive Thursday! Cheers!!!

Medical Prescription: Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that can be produced in the body, but it can also be absorbed via dietary measures. If your gut is in good condition, foods like salmon, egg yolks, and milk are some great ways to give yourself a dietary boost of this fat soluble vitamin. Alternatively, one of the easiest methods of staving deficiency is to simply kiss the sun….think: human photosynthesis! It works like this: UV rays convert a type of cholesterol that is found in skin into something called Vitamin D3. The D3 form then gets processed further by your liver, then kidneys, into an active form of vitamin D called calcitriol. The most popular role of this vitamin is linked to calcium levels and bone health maintenance. However, less know that vitamin D also plays an important role in taming the immune system, which has likely gone haywire in people who can’t tolerate gluten. For these people, sunlight plus supplements may be the solution.

20120515-141540.jpg

Coming from California, getting enough sun was never an issue…because back on the best coast…getting sun just happens. It wasn’t until I started paying attention to the quality of my skin that I realized: no sun + gluten intolerance = zilch Vitamin D. I had to do something about it.

As with all things in life, balance is key. Too much sun invites skin cancer, and although it is rare to have too much vitamin D supplementation, toxic levels can lead to damage of the kidneys. So how do you approach this balancing act of risks and benefits? Before slathering on goops of anti-UV, allow 10-15 minutes for the sun to do its thang so that you don’t have to pop these ginormous pills…but if you do decide to supplement, make sure you aren’t overdoing it, and as always, let your doc in on the plan so that vitamin D levels can be monitored properly!

20120515-145331.jpg

Safety First: how to handle rice.

One of the key staples in a gluten-free life is rice. Because it finds its way into most meals, it is good to know that washing these grains before cooking is important for your health. Now the question is why?

Rice and other starchy foods are commonly contaminated with a fungus called Aspergillus. When rice is stored for a long period of time–which it often is–the fungus may produce a substance called aflatoxin, which can cause liver cancer. But this does not mean you need to cut rice out of your diet! Simply remember to give it a good wash, cook thoroughly, and enjoy as usual!

20120405-083522.jpg