Tag: healthy tips

Yoga for Digestion

Yoga for Digestion

Yoga for Digestion

   Photo by Matteo Canessa of FreeImages.com

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

 

Minimal indigestion is not typically a serious problem, but it is an annoying one, involving bloating, feeling too full at the beginning of a meal or after, nausea and stomach pain. If you have it, take heart you’re not alone. Millions are suffering right along with you. And even though it’s not often serious, it is the kind of thing that can really interfere with your life and keep you from feeling your best. It can interrupt sleep, cause you to cancel appointments, make you feel like not working out, and just generally put a damper on things. Surprisingly, yoga is a valid treatment or compliment to your treatment plan.

You probably won’t find a “yoga for indigestion” class, but you can help yourself by knowing which poses are most effective for this problem. The Cat-Cow pose is known to help. Women’s Health provides the perfect description: “On all fours with your wrists under your shoulders, knees under your hips, begin to breathe in as you lift your breastbone to the front of the room. Have a sense of stretching the skin from the pubis to the throat, and then exhale as you round your spine up towards the ceiling – feel as if you are stretching the skin from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Do this a few times, gently stretching your tummy out.”

Apanasana (knees to chest) is another pose that can provide relief. “Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended out in front of you. On an inhale, draw both knees into your chest, either holding onto each knee or wrapping your arms around your shins. Pull your knees closely into your chest. Hold this pose for three to five breaths,” writes our own Shannon Herbert.

Yoga Journal recommends the Downward-Facing Dog, the Triangle Pose, Revolved Triangle Pose, Extended Puppy Pose (particularly if your digestion issues are meal-related), the Bridge Pose, the Half-Gas Release Pose, The Supine Twist, and the Corpse Pose. I include instructions and a picture guide for Downward-Facing Dog and Corpse in The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet.

Healthline reported that there has been encouraging research about yoga’s effectiveness for GERD and peptic ulcers. And the International Journal of Yoga reports, “Practicing yoga in conjunction with medications can be helpful in controlling and/or alleviation of symptoms related to digestive diseases.” Reclining Boundary Angle, Warrior I, and Triangle are some suggested poses to try for acid reflux relief.

Pregnant women may have indigestion, and prenatal yoga, which we have offered at the L’ifestyle Lounge, is a treatment for that temporary issue. Yes, you can do yoga while pregnant!

Remember: you don’t necessarily need to do specialized poses to feel the results. Stress by its very nature can exacerbate indigestion, so if you lower your stress, that in itself could help.

It’s always recommended to see your doctor when dealing with any recurring health issue, or if indigestion appears along with other issues, but for occasional bouts of indigestion, you might want to give yoga a go. You may find it helps more than just your digestion!

If you’re determined to get a handle on your stress and/or digestive issues in the new year, and if you’re in or near Closter, NJ, check out our offerings for 2019. We’re offering Buddha Flow, a beginner yoga option, Yin, which is targeted towards those who lead super stressful and busy lives, and our “Ashtanga-inspired” Breathe and Bend, to name a few. Don’t forget our classes for kids, like Yoga for Junior Athletes. Kids are under stress too and may experience indigestion. They always can just generally benefit from yoga.

Resolve to make 2019 a healthier year for the whole family, whether it’s addressing indigestion or other symptoms of anxiety. And if our yoga has made a difference in you or your family’s stress or digestion, let us know on social media or Yelp!

A Look Back at 2018

A Look Back at 2018

Grateful for 2018

A Look Back at Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services and the L’ifestyle Lounge in the Media!

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Can you believe 2018 is almost at an end? We’re getting closer to that time when we reflect on our favorite moments of the year and think about what we want to accomplish in the future. Given that, Laura thought it would be an ideal time to compile all the articles we’ve been quoted in this year – to give you the latest health news from our perspective – and to talk about what we hope for in 2019.

This past month the L’ifestyle Lounge was featured in the Bergen Record. Laura was quoted in “Minivan musings: Practicing mindfulness can help children.” (The L’ifestyle Lounge is located in North Jersey – Closter, in case you didn’t know.) Writer Jackie Goldschneider opened the article by saying she honestly did not know a lot about mindfulness. Therefore, Laura took it as her job to educate her! She spoke of the “four prongs” of mindfulness, which include “being aware in the moment; being present in the moment; being nonjudgmental; and narrating to yourself as you go along.” She explained that it can help children manage their stress and impulsivity – and can be valuable when they’re in school. She also gave easy hints to incorporate mindfulness into your child’s life every day.

The Bergen Mama highlighted the L’ifestyle Lounge in their article “Learn to Love Both Kale and Cupcakes at the L’ifestyle Lounge in Closter NJ.” They took notice that we embrace a wellness plan that does not glorify diets but looks at overall health.

In early October, Marie Claire interviewed Laura about those “appetite-suppressing” lollipops Kim Kardashian advertised on her Instagram. The article was called “How Are Appetite Suppressing Lollipops Still a Thing?” Laura is not a fan of suppressing the appetite or of Kim Kardashian advertising such products, but she wanted to help Marie Claire investigate the nutritional science behind these pops. The research on these pops lead one to believe they may help with emotional eating, but Laura would need to see more research before saying that for sure. One thing we know is that they are expensive. “I’d be interested to know how many regular people end up actually buying these lollipops more than once,” wrote Allie Conti. “My guess is that, more than any reality star’s endorsement, Flat Tummy Co’s success may rely on girls selling each other these candies to get commission once they decide they’ve wasted their own money.” And just a reminder – regular old-fashioned lollipops can always be found at your local dollar store, and if you are a nervous person who finds you need help with emotional eating, consider reading “Intuituive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resche.

About six months ago, Laura contributed to an article titled “Foods You Should Never Buy Generic” for Readers’ Digest, all about generic foods that aren’t worth your hard-earned dollars. Laura thinks it’s worth it to buy the brand name when it comes to soup because she wants her soup to be made with whole food ingredients — don’t you? The article also points out that you may get additives in generic yogurt.

Travel + Leisure quoted Laura about  “The Best Time to Drink Your Morning Coffee.”  She said you should aim to have it “when the body is producing less cortisol, about three to four hours after waking.” You don’t want to crash harshly later in the day and this can help with that. Give it a shot.

If you have diabetes in your family, or if your doctor has told you you’re at possible risk for prediabetes, you may feel defeated. But you don’t need to be! Prediabetes doesn’t need to be your fate. Laura worked with US News, and one of her favorite writers, K. Aleisha Fetters, to bring you simple ways to limit your chances of developing prediabetes — in the article called “Got Prediabetes? 6 Nutrition Tips You Need to Follow.” One of the key things to remember is that you do not have to cut carbohydrates out of your life. That is a myth! Moderating and sometimes lowering your daily carb count and choosing whole carbs are strategies that can serve you well. An easy tip is to just eat – breakfast, that is. Do it one hour after you wake up to help balance your body clock (read more in Women’s Health Body Clock Diet).

Laura, Elizabeth Adler and Lisa Mikus were all quoted in a Prevention article titled “The 30 Healthiest Foods You Can Eat at Every Major Fast Food Chain.” For those who believe nutritious eating doesn’t mix with an “on-the-go” lifestyle, we beg to differ! Lisa recommends Popeye’s 3-piece Blackened Chicken Tenders and Zucchini Romesco from Noodles & Co, and Laura likes Broccoli Beef from Panda Express, among other options. Elizabeth likes the Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad from Arby’s.  Elizabeth and Laura were both quoted in Prevention’s 30 Anti-Aging Foods for Beautiful Skin. Fantastic skin starts from the inside. Feed your body and it will affect your glow! Elizabeth says just a small amount of cinnamon in your coffee could do the trick.

 

 

Laura was also proud to participate as a speaker at a number of events in 2018:

  • NEDA con 2018 Philadelpia on Saturday, May 12, 2018, where she presented Self-Care Tools for Sustaining Recovery. This was NEDA’s First Regional Conference held at Drexel University and audience size was 100.
  • Giuliana Rancic’s “The Pink Agenda” TPA Talks (a division of Breast Cancer Research Foundation) on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. The theme of the talk was You are More Than You Eat – Don’t Blame Yourself for Breast Cancer. Laura spoke about learning to eat all foods using the 21 Pillars to Positive Nutrition.” Laura spoke along with physicians, researchers, breast cancer survivors and previvors on empowering a positive lifestyle.
  • The Thriving Child, Happy Child Summit on June 9 and 10, 2018, where Laura spoke on the Eat Kale and Cupcakes philosophy that has defined her nutritional practice.

 

At L’ifestyle Lounge, we started our Fall 2018 yoga series in September, which includes our Paint and Poses series for grades K-4 and EmpowHer for ages 11-14, plus Tai Chi, which is returning in late November. We are so happy to have begun our L’ifestyle Book Club, which is a free event we are proud to offer the community. Our next one takes place on November 14, 7pm. We’ll be reading The Weight of Being by Kara Richardson Whitely. January’s book is Beautful Boy By David Sheff. We choose books that focus on wellness to inspire and help create meaning in your life. Consider this my personal invitation to join us for book club. Sign-up either yourself or your child up for our yoga classes. Our schedule is always available at this link.

L’ifestyle Lounge is excited about all we’ve accomplished in 2018, and look forward to bringing you more yoga classes, community events, and health advice in 2019! Stay tuned in with us and tuned-in to your “self.”

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting

 

 

Jennifer Lawrence picture by Gage Skidmore

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Even though strides have been made in the body-positive movement, we still live, by and large, in a diet-happy culture. Women’s websites and magazines try to promote body positivity, but they also publish news about the latest fad diets with annoying regularity. Both types of articles must be popular with audiences or they wouldn’t publish them, and I think that says a lot about us as women. We want to embrace body positivity, yet we’re still stuck thinking we have to be a size 6 (or what-have-you) to be “perfect.” Those who are older can remember when it was even worse: The body-positive movement wasn’t even a thing, so we lived in a world where bigger bodies were never celebrated in magazines or TV, not even a little. All of us –regardless of age — have been subtly brainwashed for years to think diets make us healthier and prettier, but the truth is health does not come from weight and all sizes are beautiful. Celebrities face even more pressure to look thin, but now more and more are speaking out about not dieting. Their voices are important because they have the reach to influence the most vulnerable.

Emma Thompson is one who is speaking out. In a recent interview with the Guardian she said, “Dieting screwed up my metabolism, and it messed with my head. I’ve fought with that multimillion-pound industry all my life, but I wish I’d had more knowledge before I started swallowing their crap. I regret ever going on one.”

Kate Upton has likely experienced even more pressure than Thompson, as a model. But she has said she’s refused to starve herself to become more commercial.

“I still want to hang out with my family and be a normal girl. You have to be confident, and that doesn’t mean starving yourself.”

Jennifer Lawrence, who had been pressured by Hollywood in the past to lose weight, told Vanity Fair that she simply cannot work without food, that she needs the energy it gives her for the day. “Dieting is just not in the cards for me.”

And that’s a great way to think about food – as something that provides you with energy, as fuel. That takes the emotion out of it. It’s not good; it’s not bad; it’s not a reward for doing well at work or a treat “just because.” Food is there so you can get through your day – so you can enjoy yoga class, so you can finish up those last-minute assignments your boss asks you to do, so you can play with your kids! And while all foods fit, you will likely want to choose foods that stay with you throughout the day, that give you nourishment so you can lead your life.

I’ve said this before, but I want us to get to a place where we go back to the original definition of diet (from all the way back in the 13th century!). It originally meant “habitual nourishment” and that’s what it should mean now. That means you take the time to listen to your body throughout the day and feed it regularly, being prepared for “hungry” moments with cheese sticks, Cliff Z bars, or similar snacks that’ll keep you going. And the snack does not always have to be a “healthy” one. Gone are the days of deprivation or treating food as the enemy.

You might think because I have a popular diet book out that I am pro-dieting, but I think of the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet as the anti-diet. Unlike traditional dieting, my book encourages you to consider your body’s needs and not your need to see a certain number on the scale. All foods fit, so have the ones you like (including cookies!) The goal is to create a whole new relationship with food and unlearn harmful messages you may have been taught in the past. It helps you avoid emotional eating and understand when your body actually is hungry (which can be quite difficult, as so many of us are used to mindless eating in front of the TV!). And the best part is once you understand how mindfulness in eating works, you can pass the wisdom onto your kids, helping them have a healthy relationship with food right from the beginning. (If you’re wondering what you can say to your child to promote mindfulness and healthy eating with your kids, check out this blog post.)

You may have spent a lifetime learning and internalizing destructive thoughts about food, so don’t expect it to turn around in a day. I hope you will look to the anti-diet celebrities and to my anti-diet book for some encouragement.

 

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi

 

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Perhaps you’ve heard of tai chi, but don’t really know what it’s all about, or perhaps you do know what it’s all about, but don’t really understand the many ways it can benefit you. Maybe you even remember it from the Patrick Swayze film Road House.

 

Tai chi is a martial art, an elegant marriage of moving and mindfulness. You are slowly moving without stopping from one posture to another. Deep breathing is also a part of it. As with any mindful activity, it takes concentration. You can’t just put your mind on autopilot and blast some tunes like you might be able to on the treadmill!

Tai chi involves no special equipment, is not competitive, and is a great low-impact workout. As WebMD points out, it does not place a high burden on muscles or joints. This makes it a nice, gentle exercise for seniors, allowing them to keep moving into their golden years, while enjoying the social aspect of a group activity. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. I-Min Lee of Harvard notes. Tai chi is also perfect for those who have arthritis, are pregnant, need to sit during workouts, or are in a wheelchair.

In addition to helping balance and potentially preventing falls, tai chi can also help circulation, cholesterol, the heart, strength, flexibility, energy and even the way the body aligns. The results may not even take that long to see – one tai chi teacher said he saw improvement in tai chi students in only 12 weeks. As this is also a mind exercise, it can help stress – everything from your adrenaline to blood pressure.

A recent medical study said that it could also help those who have fibromyalgia. This was the first big study that looked at fibromyalgia and tai chi. Two hundred and twenty-six folks with fibromyalgia were monitored for a year. After 24 weeks, impressive results were already in – those who had been taking tai chi classes were doing better than those in the aerobic exercise group. And those who did tai chi for a bigger stretch of time made more headway in controlling their fibromyalgia than those who took tai chi less often.

What’s so special about tai chi when it comes to fibromyalgia? Any exercise may help blood flow, but the relaxation aspect might make it a more natural fit for this population versus aerobics, which might aggravate physical and/or psychological issues.

Who should not do tai chi? Even though it is gentle, you should always check in with your doctor before beginning any exercise regime. Those with diabetes or circulation issues might want to reconsider, and tai chi can also be contraindicated if you’re taking certain medicines that induce dizziness.

You have lots of options when it comes to tai chi, but I think we have one of the best classes here at L’ifestyle Lounge — our all-ages Tai Chi w/Philip Cross. It is an especially light class that is ideal for beginners. Philip focuses on stretching and improving energy. The class features the 12 classical tendon exchange exercises that help strengthen the tendons and bones. There is also the Tai Chi Long Form which brings the mind into the mix. The goals of the class are to have a healthier immune system. lower stress, better your posture and slow aging. Philip has studied at Peter Kwok’s Kung Fu Academy, he is trained in Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan and Yi Gun Gin, and has taught at Blauvelt Library, Nanuet Community Education and Orangeburg Library. If you can’t join Philip over the summer, he’ll also be part of our Fall class schedule, starting September 12, with an 8-week class on Wednesday nights. It’s the perfect way to get over those Hump Day blues, and who doesn’t need better immunity during cough and cold season? I hope you’ll embrace tai chi and all its benefits for a healthier mind, body and soul.

 

The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, Whole Nutrition Services

 

BMI is a term you might have heard of — through either your doctor or a health article or maybe even your child’s teacher. If you don’t know what it is, the initials stand for Body Mass Index, and it is determined by making a calculation using your height and weight. The BMI categories are Underweight (any BMI less than 18.5), Normal (18.5-24.9), Overweight (25-29.9) and Obese (30 or more). These categories are taken very seriously by some in the medical community. The Harvard School of Medicine believes that measuring BMI can tell you if a person is at a “healthy weight,” while WebMD says “it’s important for your health to understand what it is and to know your number.”  Yet Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania researchers believe it does not accurately measure body fat content, or consider attributes like muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, race and gender. The BBC says that by itself, BMI can’t predict what diseases we will or won’t get.

I believe the BMI can be both misleading and quite damaging. This is something I speak about at length in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet and my former blogs at Mom Dishes It Out and Laura Cipullo LLC. I certainly do not use it to measure my own, my clients’ or my children’s health.

The BMI reduces poor health to being caused by just one issue – weight. With its’ categories, it clumps bodies to fit into “healthy” and “not healthy” boxes when the science doesn’t always back that up. These categories can lead you to assume that everything above a 24.9 is a problem. But this is not proven. In adults, only BMI measurements of more than 35 or less than 18.5 are affiliated with higher mortality. In fact, as TIME points out,  “some studies show that people with higher BMI tend to be healthier and have lower premature death rates than those with lower BMI.” Overweight and healthy are not mutually exclusive categories. It is entirely possible to be both. And it is possible to be thin and unhealthy. Researchers from Oxford Brookes University discovered that more than a third of 3,000 people who were measured as having a “normal, healthy” BMI were potentially likely to have cardiovascular disease, something you might think only affects those who are overweight. Athletes also may naturally have a higher BMI, and even the CDC admits that it is not sure the overall BMI requirements should extend to them. The CDC’s list of health consequences associated with a high BMI also do not necessarily apply to everyone whose BMI is higher than 30: Mental illness, certain types of cancer, and low quality of life are a few of the things a person with a high BMI is supposedly at risk of, but I’m sure there are plenty of folks in this category who are living and will continue to live happy, healthy lives with BMIs over 30, and many affected by those issues who have a “normal” BMI.

You can see, then, how taking the BMI as gospel could lead you down a dangerous road. Your health choices are your own, but I would personally not see a healthcare professional who uses the BMI as a health tool.

Health is a complicated thing, and it’s not something that can always be relegated to numbers. We have to see the bigger picture, and that’s what the Health at Every Size movement is all about. BMIs can make a person obsessed with numbers, which is such a terrible thing to do to folks who already feel biased against for being a certain weight. People with eating disorders fight daily with an obsession to hit a certain number on a scale, and an obsession with hitting a BMI can lead to similar negative consequences. Dieting to get to a lower BMI can be physically dangerous as well. As I mentioned in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, “The famed Framingham Heart Study showed that weight cycling (aka yo-yoing) as a result of restrictive dieting is something that is indeed associated with higher mortality and cardiac disease. It’s actually healthier to be at a higher set weight than to allow your weight to fluctuate up and down by 20 pounds.” Putting pressure on your child to be at a certain BMI can set them up for an unhealthy relationship with food for life. Remember that as a parent you are a role model. Don’t put your child on any kind of fad diet in an effort to achieve any arbitrary weight goals. Body dissatisfaction, body shaming and eating disorders are some of the things a focus on BMI can do to kids.

That being said, you should know that there is a chance your child will get screened for BMI in school. One agency – the Institute of Medicine – endorses that, but others – including the CDC– do not. New York, Arkansas and California are some of the states that do BMI screening for children in schools. BMIs are also part of the FitnessGram. If your child does bring the results of a BMI screening from school, consider asking your child if they have any questions about this screening. Whatever you do, don’t place urgency on it and restrict your child. Be curious. Ask yourself questions such as, Is my child active on a daily basis? Does my child eat in respect to his/her body? Does my child eat all foods without guilt? Does my child hide their food? This is not a question of how many veggies are they eating. Rather, is your child getting caught up in using food or restricting food for emotional reasons? Any concern you have about your child’s health should be discussed with your pediatrician and/or registered dietitian specializing in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders or HAES. And always remember, choose healthcare professionals who share the same All Foods Fit, All Bodies Fit value system you do.

 

 

 

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