This is the corner of our website where you will find all kinds of information to keep your grey cells happy and exercised, which will, of course, make you super smaht (or smaht-er).
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How Do You Define “Healthy Food?”
It seems the debates keep going on and on about what constitutes healthy food depending on the latest research.
- Fat is bad for you.
- Fat is good for you.
- But just the healthy fats.
- Carbs are bad for you.
- But just the starchy kind.
- Well they aren’t baaaaad, per se, but they’re not good.
- Sugar is bad for you. Even in fruit.
- Fruit is ok.
- Agave, maple syrup, and honey are ok.
- Agave is bad, and only raw honey is good.
- And let’s not even get started on gluten and dairy.
How do we navigate all this research and figure out what is healthy and what we should eat? It seems that lobby groups have had (and maybe continue to have) undue influence over what we are taught is healthy. Different cultures and even generations have conflicting perspectives on what constitutes a healthy meal.
This article from Fast Co.Exist provides more “food for thought,” without having any kind of hard and fast answer. Except maybe that apples are the safe way to go.
Click here to read more, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in our comments section.
Posted October 11, 2016
Endorphins – Fact or Fancy?
We’ve all heard it before – exercise releases amazing endorphins that make you feel amazing! Well, some of us (Ruth) think it’s a load of hooey, and she feel the need to look it up and find out why she’s never experienced it the way she hears others talk about it.
Turns out there are a number of things that can trigger endorphins, including exercise. But there’s a catch – look below and you’ll notice that those who do heavy lifting or hard aerobics are most likely to feel it. (“Ahhhh,” said Ruth, the cardio avoider.)
Check out this article from howstuffworks.com for more information on the science of endorphins and why they are important. (Click here.)
- Exercise — The “runner’s high” really exists, but you’ll need to work for it. Heavy weightlifting or intense aerobic activity that includes periods of sprinting or increased exertion will trigger the greatest response.
- Meditation or controlled-breathing exercises — Tai chi, Pilates and yoga are believed to trigger endorphins.
- Childbirth — Giving birth to a child is clearly a subcategory of both pain and stress.
- Alcohol — Light to moderate drinking stimulates endorphins, but heavy drinking doesn’t. Drugs that block the attachment of endorphins to receptors have been shown to eliminate cravings in alcoholics.
- Chili peppers — Capsaicin, which puts the burn in chilies, also triggers the body to release some fire-quenching endorphins.
- Bodywork — Both acupuncture and massage therapy trigger your inner drug dealer.
- Ultraviolet light — This may explain why some users of tanning beds achieve something of a “runner’s high,” and why others may overuse them at the risk of their health
Posted September 29, 2016
7 Tips for Being More Badass
OK, this article we found isn’t titled “7 Tips for Being More Badass.” But it might as well be.
We found this post on Ellevate.com, which is a terrific website for women of all ages who are in, or hope to be in, the business world. In this article, there are 7 tips to help you feel and act like the amazing woman you are, even when you feel stuck in what is traditionally “a man’s world.”
While we don’t like the idea of shuffling blame for who we are and how we feel onto men, there are still many examples of gender bias out there, and it can be tough to navigate. Interestingly, these tips are what we promote as part of our BAM core values!
Posted September 9, 2016
Sugar Free Tomato Sauce
If you’re like so many of us BAMs, you struggle with finding products that don’t have refined sugar. Ketchup, a staple for so many who looooove the sauces and dips, can be a real killer – did you know it has 4g of sugar in each tablespoon? According to an article in the Washington Post (click here to read it), that’s more than the average chocolate chip cookie!
Well thanks to one of our BAMs in Austria, we have an easy, pretty much fool-proof recipe for sugar-free tomato sauce. She says it’s perfect for pizza, and we bet that if you wanted it thicker you could add in a cornstarch/water mix while it’s hot.
Thanks for this Betty!
Posted September 9, 2016
How to Set Goals That Stick
Following is a blog that appeared in January 2016, all about how to set realistic goals. Given that it’s September (which we feel is often a New Year as we get back to routine), why not take the time to set or re-set your goals? Read on for some helpful tips on how to do it and make it stick:
If you know us, you know we are not about drastic changes, and we certainly are not believers in magic wands that make everything perfect overnight.
On the other hand, we don’t believe in just leaving things to chance. Our BAM community is made up of real, awesome, badass women who face a myriad of challenges every single day, and who strive to overcome them and become healthier and stronger.
Some of you have shared your challenges: health issues, family concerns, job problems, kids who are a handful, relationship challenges – heck even broken teeth! And yet, we, as a community, come together to support each other to move through those challenges and remember to look after ourselves and continue on our journey towards health and strength.
We present to you: The BAM Goal-Setting Process. If you can, set aside at least 20 minutes in the next 24 hours to think through your goals for the coming year. You will:
- Ask yourself a few questions, and be honest with your answers.
- Ponder three specific areas for improvement
- Choose one, two, or three of those areas.
- Set a specific, measurable, realistic goal in that/those area.
- Sign up for the BAM Buddy program.
- Re-visit and re-assess quarterly.
Step One. Ask yourself a few key questions.
Find a quiet moment, make a cup of tea (or whisky, or both), and jot down your thoughts relating to the following:
- What is one thing I did in 2015 that I feel proud of?
- What things or conditions or people enabled me to be successful at that one thing?
- What is one thing that I wish I had done better in 2015?
- What were the barriers that prevented me from doing it?
- What can I do to eliminate those barriers (or at least make them a little lower to the ground and easier to climb)?
- Who can I ask for help? (hint: BAMs)
Step Two. Consider Your Health and Fitness, Personal, and Community Goals.
Now that you have an idea of your success factors, think about these three areas.
Health & Fitness. Do you want to:
- Be stronger? Maybe strengthen your back so lifting your kids or a snow shovel doesn’t hurt? Maybe deadlift a certain weight?
- Jump rope for 5 minutes and do double-unders without hitting your face with the rope?
- Fit into a size smaller pair of jeans?
- Lower your blood pressure?
- Decrease anxiety?
- Keep up with a CrossFit class at your local Box?
- Walk or Run a 5K? 10K? Half? Full?
- Do a Triathlon?
- Climb a mountain?
Note: goals here should be focused on well-being and strength, not numbers on a scale or physical appearance.
Personal. Do you want to:
- Improve relationships in your life?
- Continue your education? Learn a new language? Take a cooking course? Finish your degree? Get a Masters in something? Learn to do watercolours?
- Improve the quality and frequency of your “Me Time?”
Community. Do you want to:
- Perform Random Acts of Kindness?
- Get involved in your child’s school?
Step Three. Choose a Goal.
Now pick a goal (or goals) relating to one of the areas you pondered. Before you get all excited and choose all three, go back to the questions you answered in Step One.
Is it realistic for you to choose a goal in all three areas? Maybe it is, especially if you start with small goals. Maybe it’s not – you are just too busy and overwhelmed right now, and the least little thing will throw you off track, and you’ll be down on yourself.
Prioritize Fitness, Personal, and Community, and decide where you want to start. In which area are you most likely to be successful, and therefore motivate yourself to keep going?
Step Four. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
Whatever you decide, make sure your goal(s) has/have the following characteristics (based on SMART goals, if you’ve ever heard that term! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely):
- Make sure your goal is achievable. Ask a friend (or buddy) if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or if you’ve set a realistic challenge for yourself.
- Make sure you are very clear about what your goal is. This means it is measurable and has a timeline.
|Non Specific – BOO!||Specific – YAY!|
|Firm up my waist||Lose an inch off my waist by 03/31/16|
|Lower my blood pressure||Reduce my blood pressure by 20 points systolic and 10 points diastolic by 04/15/16|
|Run a marathon||Run the Main Street marathon in under 5 hours on 06/20/16|
|Go to the gym more||Go to the gym 3 times per week|
|Add more variety and healthy choices to my diet||Choose three meals from the Heart Healthy cookbook each Sunday night and add it to the meal plan for the coming week|
|Get along better with my teenagers||Spend at least 2 hours of quality time with each teenager each week. (What is quality time?)|
|Take more time for myself||Go for a walk/yoga/tea with a friend at least two times per week for one hour.|
|Look into volunteering at the library||Call Mr. Smith at the library by 01/10/16 and inquire about their volunteer program. Sign up for it or another program by 01/31/16.|
|Go to church/synagogue/mosque more||Go to church/synagogue/mosque at least twice a month.|
Step Five. Employ the Buddy System.
You need a buddy who will:
- Review your goal with you and make sure it’s specific, measurable, and realistic.
- Check in with you on a weekly basis to see how you’re doing.
- Doing well? Great! High Five!
- Slipped up? Your buddy should NOT be someone who says either:
- Oh that’s ok. Better luck next week, OR
- You idiot. Why didn’t you do that?
- Your buddy SHOULD say:
- OK, let’s take a look at what got in the way. What needs to happen next week, and how can I help you be successful? OR
- This has been happening for a few weeks in a row. Let’s take a look at the goal – maybe it wasn’t as realistic as we thought. We can tweak it and start again!
Do you have someone who will do that for you? Family member, friend, co-worker?
If not, let us know. We will match people in our BAM buddy program, and you can hold each other accountable.
How do you sign up? Send us a DM on Twitter. That’s all!
Step Six: Go Forth and Kick Ass.
Go! Do great things! Achieve your goal! This should be easy, right?
Step Seven. Have a Quarterly review.
You and your buddy will review your goal quarterly and decide if it’s time to up the ante and pick a new or another goal. Your First Ladies will also be here to check in with you quarterly as well, to see how we can help or simply hand out virtual high-fives!