Meow and Happy Summer my human friends!  Hope everyone is out and about playing, or travelling or just having tons of FUN!  As you may remember, my month of May was chock full of parties and celebrations so I am taking the month of June to rest, recreate and rejuvenate.  To that end, I have begun my summer 2010 with some thoughtful, quiet meditations.  

In fact, while reading recently, I came across some information about the health benefits of some readily available herbs and spices.  These tasty treats not only add flavor to meals but may also add years to your life!  So our June Newsletter will introduce you to the health benefits of items you already have in your kitchen.   

In the meantime, if anyone needs me, you will find me gazing out the window listening to my meditation tapes... 

Or rolling on the floor, luxuriating in a pile of fresh catnip...because of its health benefits, of course.

 Fresh Herb Benefits
Mr. Mojito gives some great advice this month, suggesting that some readily available herbs and spices can go a long way toward fighting illness and disease.  While Catnip acts as a stimulant for our feline friends, it has been used for just the opposite effect in humans.  Brewed as a loose-leaf tea, catnip has been used for centuries to soothe coughs, cramps, indigestion, and as a sleep aid.  There is little, if any scientific evidence to support those claims, but there is also nothing to suggest it could be harmful.  But there is ample evidence to promote consumption of other readily available herbs and spices.

For instance, Rosemary, Oregano and Garlic are considered Cancer fighters.  Who among us doesn't have those common ingredients in our kitchens?  Garlic is actually a vegetable that can be used in whole form, as powder, salt, oil or extract.  There is clinical evidence demonstrating increased garlic consumption resulting in decreases in certain cancers.  Rosemary and oregano are spices with tremendous anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial powers.  Rosemary, perhaps the most versatile of the three, can be eaten, inhaled, applied topically, or brewed for tea.  

  • Anti-cancer
  • Control blood sugar
  • Prevent/treat diabetes
  • Prevent age related diseases
  • Prevent inflammation related conditions
  • Reduce the fat oxidation in high heat cooking
  • Help fighting colds and other viruses


Visit www.cancer.gov for more information.

Another common kitchen spice - cinnamon - is credited with being an antioxidant that reduces the risk for heart disease by controlling cholesterol.  I may also help regulate blood sugar by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.  These findings are preliminary and research continues.  You can read more about cinnamon at http://www.thehealthysnacksblog.com.

Cayenne Pepper will not only add quite a kick to your jambalaya but may also control the pain and swelling of arthritis.  This fiery spice also aides in digestion and circulation, and can successfully impact the battle against high blood pressure.  A simple Google search reveals many more uses and benefits of this bayou favorite.


Overcoming the Afternoon Lull
If you, like Mr. Mojito, plan to spend a lot of quiet time this month, you may want to factor in some regular breaks for movement and refreshments.  While this may seem counterintuitive, better focus on the task at hand is achieved if your blood is flowing and your energy level is strong.  The typical afternoon lull makes many of us yearn for a nap.  But that nap may just be a result of slowing down to "idle speed".  Movement and appropriate nutrition will put some pep in your step and increase your cognitive abilities.  

If you are at work, take a restroom break and head to the "head" that is farthest away.  The walk will get your blood flowing, your heart pumping and your brain engaged.  You might also stoke the fire within with a handful of fresh blueberries or strawberries.  You could also munch on a couple of stalks of celery stuffed with low fat or fresh ground peanut butter.  Did you make any protein pancakes from the recipe featured in last month's newsletter?  Of course you did.  So make some more because you know those tempting treats make a great afternoon snack and are easily portable.  Additional suggestions include a splash of low fat Greek yogurt or even a serving of oatmeal.  

Regardless of the circumstance, movement and nutrition are essential ingredients to healthy living.

For further clarification, we suggest reviewing this slide show to avoid getting tricked into believing certain foods may be good for you when, in fact, they are not.

Healthy Foods That Can Make You Fat - 1 - MSN Health & Fitness 
Human Growth Hormone
Speaking of trickery, it is easy to believe that Human Growth Hormone serves no useful purpose because of all the bad press it routinely receives.  Esteemed NY Times Personal Health columnist, Jane Brody, delivers a great overview of HGH, its applications and benefits, while still acknowledging the bad reputation achieved because of abuses suffered at the hands of professional athletes.

For many hormone-deficient children, HGH is the only hope for a life close to normal.  Medically supervised, regularly administered dosages help children reach age-appropriate height that would be otherwise impossible.  This brilliant dissertation is available here: www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/health/04brod.html?nl=health&emc=healthupdateemb3

"While properly administered, medically necessary HGH injections are often literal lifesavers, the same cannot be said for those same injections delivered to healthy adults.  Research indicates that healthy adults use HGH to ward off old age, to lose weight, to grow stronger and to heal faster.
 
However, two of our favorite medical sources, WebMD and the Mayo Clinic, both offer information regarding potential nasty side effects of HGH when taken by healthy adults.
                
Healthy adults who take HGH put themselves at risk for joint and muscle pain, swelling in the arms and legs, carpel tunnel syndrome, and insulin resistance. In the elderly, these symptoms are more profound.  Men may suffer gynecomastia (breast tissue enlargement).
 
In order to be effective, HGH must be injected so anyone taking a pill might just as well eat a Tic-Tac.  Injectable HGH is by prescription only, so unless it came from a doctor, the quality and safety are dubious.
 
WebMD and the Mayo Clinic indicate there is no substantial evidence linking HGH to significant weight loss or strength-building.  For that matter, they find nothing to suggest it is a "fountain of youth" either.  If your goal is to lose weight, get stronger and live longer, your best bet is to make lasting lifestyle changes.  Maybe hire a personal trainer...just sayin'..."

Are You Cross-Contaminating Your World?
Finally, we issue a cautionary warning about germs.  We know all of you can identify the typical germy places like shopping cart handles, gym equipment and just about any part of airplane seats, but we wanted to take this opportunity to bring awareness to some of the less obvious germ incubators that we all come in contact with regularly.

We applaud your use of reusable totes for shopping but want to make you aware that these well-travelled carryalls should not be placed on kitchen counters or in sinks without proper surface cleaning thereafter.  And just as those totes go everywhere you go, your purse, gym bag or laptop case have most likely visited places both germy and clean as well.  So be advised, that every time you set your bag on the ground, or on your desk, or on the bar, or your own floor, you are cross-contaminating your world.  Cleanliness and sanitation are often overlooked aspects of healthy living!

So as you make plans for your summer 2010, remember to spice it up, pick it up, clean it up, and MOVE!    And we'll see you same time, same place, next month.
Tomato and Watermelon Salad
4 cups watermelon cut in large dice

4 cups tomatoes (about 5 medium, yellow and red) cut in large dice

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons thinly sliced (chiffonade) basil, divided

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper

1. Place the watermelon, tomato, onion and half the basil in large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil and vinegar.

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, toss, sprinkle with the remaining basil, and serve.

Each serving: 111 calories; 246 mg. sodium; 0 mg. cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 2 grams fiber.

Copyright 2010, The Los Angeles Times

"You can't find peace until you find all the pieces"!

Sincerely,

Trish Chard
Trish Chard Personal Training

PO Box 541050
Orlando, FL 32854
407-619-9357 Direct
407-872-0017 Fax
www.trishchard.com

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In This Issue
Fresh Herb Benefits
Overcoming the Afternoon Lull
Human Growth Hormone
Are You Cross-Contaminating Your World?
Tomato and watermelon salad