Friday, November 30, 2012

Fabulous Fiber!

We see it everywhere; eat this it is filled with Fiber! So what is fiber and what does it do for us? 

Low Calorie - High Fiber!

Fiber is largely a complex carbohydrate. The building blocks of all carbohydrates are different types of sugars and then can be classified according to how many sugar molecules are combined in the carbohydrate. Dietary fiber includes non-starch polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, liginin (not a carbohydrate), and associated plant substances. 

Fiber is exclusively a plant nutrient, so by increasing our intake of plants in comparison to animal foods you will be increasing your fiber intake. 

The Fiber in complex carbohydrates slows down the digestion of these foods considerably. As a result the glucose enters the blood in a slow, steady stream providing us with sustained energy over a prolonged period of time. Fiber also adds bulk making us feel full when eating more plants versus simple carbohydrates. 

Dietary Fiber is indigestible by the body, but plays an important role as it moves through the digestive tract helping to move wastes out of the intestines, keeping our bowels in good health. Fiber also holds water making our stools soft to prevent constipation. 

A diet with sufficient amount of fiber may reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower blood fats, help balance sugar levels, boost energy, improve immunity, minimize risks to bowel and digestive disorders and enhance elimination and detoxification. 

Current recommendations suggest that adults consume 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Children over the age of two should consume an amount equal to or greater than their age plus 5 grams per day.

Soluble Fiber: Barley, legumes, oat bran, oatmeal, nuts and seeds, fruit (apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries) and vegetables!
  • In the cells walls of plants
  • Includes gums, mucilage, and pectin
  • Partially dissolves, blends with water to form a gel in the intestinal tract
  • Promotes regularity, fullness, slow digestion

Insoluble Fiber: Whole grains (couscous, barley, whole wheat), nuts, wheat bran, fruit and vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, tomatoes).

  • Plant cell walls that do not dissolve in water
  • Cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin
  • Does not break down during digestive process
  • Does not dissolve in water but can bind with it (absorbs it like a sponge)
  • It causes bulk to ease and regulate bowel movement through intestines, and softness to stool

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two Horses

Two horses were carrying two loads. The front Horse went well, but the rear Horse was lazy. The men began to pile the rear Horse’s load on the front Horse; when they had transferred it all, the rear Horse found it easy going, and he said to the front Horse: “Toil and sweat! The more you try, the more you have to suffer.” When they reached the tavern, the owner said; “Why should I fodder two horses when I carry all on one? I had better give the one all the food it wants, and cut the throat of the other; at least I shall have the hide.” And so he did.
~Fables, Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910

There are two very important dynamics at play in this fable; one of great work ethic and one of great leadership.

Work ethic is a learned trait, meaning it is something we gain from observation and trial rather than a given skill at birth. In this fable one horse is given an extra load of work and without complaint or resentment, takes on the work and does their job. Why? Because it was a load that they could handle despite being more difficult than the original load they were given. In putting in the extra work and completing the job, the horse was recognized and rewarded for their efforts, therefore being given the chance to prove itself again with greater responsibility.

Leadership is also a learned trait and the owner of the horses acted in a fashion by which all great leaders act. First, the owner noticed the exemplary efforts of the lead horse and gave it the recognition and reward that was deserving of its actions. Secondly, the owner recognized that he had the wrong horse for the job he needed and cut ties with that horse immediately (and literally).

As employees we will be given tasks that will test us emotionally and physically where our leaders will be watching to see how we perform. We will be given extra loads sometimes where we are given the opportunity to either accept the challenge or complain about being challenged. What Tolstoy really hits on in this fable is that with opportunity comes consequence and the choice we make within the opportunity we are given can either lead to promotion or termination. What we need to take away from opportunity is that our decisions will not always be easy ones, but when we make the decision to put all of our efforts into a task, the end result will always have some type of positive undertone.

As leaders we must be able to recognize our faults and take action on them immediately or we will suffer greater in the long run. By recognizing that he had the wrong horse for the wrong job, the owner cut his losses immediately and did not have to invest more time and money into an employee who had neither the attitude nor motivation to succeed in their job. By identifying his mistake in making a bad hire and empowering his employee who did have the right attributes, the owner now put himself in a win/win situation. The first win being that he had an employee who would lead by example and the second win being that through leadership he made it very clear what his expectations as a leader are.

Minus physiological actions of the body, everything we do in life consists of traits that have been learned. If we expect excellence from ourselves then we must learn from those who are excellent. If we want to be a great employee then we must ask questions to those we deem great employees. If we plan to be great leaders then we must study those who have proven their greatness in leadership over time. If we plan to succeed in life then we must gain the skills necessary from those who are successful. Positive observation and action lead to work ethic and leadership, which ultimately distinguishes us from those that are fed well and those that are taken for their hide.

Written by Scott Boyle. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Abundance Mindset

Fear & Greed.
Supply & Demand.
Abundance & Scarcity.

  • Are all economic terms & descriptions that we have heard over the year(s) as we have taken a much dedicated approach to learning & understanding the economy and paying attention to what is taking place around us.
  • However, these terms & descriptions are also transferable in our own behavior and not just words that are used to describe the economy or the stock market. These are words that can describe our behavior – which in turn impacts the outcome from the decisions that we make.
  • And two that we are going to look at is the Abundance & Scarcity mindset in our leadership style.
  • If you have ever read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – you may remember the discussion of the abundance and scarcity mindset. 

Why we do things - is a mindset. 

  • Just like viewing the ‘glass 1/2 full’ or the ‘glass 1/2 empty’ (a mindset of perspective)...OR... ‘positive thoughts bring positive action’ (a mindset of thought process)...there is a mindset behind why we do things.
  • WHY we do a combination of a mindset of abundance or a mindset of scarcity.  
  • The scarcity mindset is....
    • a view of the world that tells you opportunity is limited and that you need to compete with others in order to achieve success.
    • fuelled by a motivation to compete with, to retaliate for, or to receive something in return.
    • limiting ones success by consciously or unconsciously creating obstacles, barriers, conflicts, or challenges.
    • a mindset where there would be a high level of hoarding information.
  • While the abundance mindset is...
    • a view that tells you there are plenty of opportunities available to you, so it will not hurt you to help others along the way.
    • fueled by an inspiration to exponentially give for no other reason but success.
    • supporting ones success by consciously or unconsciously removing obstacles & barriers, engaging in supportive conversation, and assisting in times of challenge. 
    • a mindset where there would be an accelerated amount of sharing information.
  • And although, most (if not everyone) will experience both the abundance and thescarcity mindsets - it is the amount time that we engage in both of these mindsets...and HOW we manage our scarcity mindset to give reason why we do things.

Examples of these differences.

  1. to ‘have to’ OR to ‘want to’ - this is a simple example of our approach to why we do the things we do. When we engage in the abundance mindset we are internally inspired to do what we ‘want’ to do. On the other hand, when we engage in the scarcity mindset we are internally motivated to do what we are doing because we feel there is a force / reason why we should be doing it. Hence why we always see – when one does something because their love & passion for what they do...the sky is the limit (abundance), yet when one does something because of the money...there is never enough.
  2. push vs. pull – this is an example of the differences in both mindsets when we lead. When we engage in the abundance mindset we are inspiring others through our actions, education, and direction to follow the path of least resistance and support their success. We are unconsciously ‘pulling’ them closer to the ‘promised land’ of ‘getting it’. However, when we engage in the scarcity mindset we are motivated to lead others by ‘pushing’ them towards what we want them to believe and forcing them to ‘get it’. Causing them only to 'fight it' or 'flight it'. 
  3. expectations – when we are leading others and are ‘paying it forward’ (ie. information, tools, knowledge, advice, etc)...if we automatically have an expectation that people will pay back the favor at some point in life or career we would be engaging in the scarcity mentality. When we have zero expectation when we give (and not to receive) but to simply give to enhance what we are doing, to support personal growth and learning, to improve...we are engaging in abundance mentality. This example will also prevent ourselves as leaders to reduce the amount of time for disappointment. 

It’s the mindset we take everyday...

it is the exact thing that separates the good from the great.

As leaders we must look to engage in the mindset of abundance when we look to share insight, knowledge, and advice (to positively enhance what we are doing and who we are leading) because when we do this, we will exceed our own expectations of success. 

This success will be driven by the people that you are leading as they will rally and support your vision, direction, and leadership - because they want to and not because they have to. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Be adaptable

Be sure to plan and follow that plan to success but be able to adjust with opportunity.
Each week can be organized the week before and when we receive a gift like today, make the necessary arrangements to take advantage.
-an unexpected invite away for the weekend
-a beautiful sunny day
Don’t let these types of openings slip away…
If you fail to plan you are planning to fail but it is very important to navigate life by seeking out positive experiences along the way. With so many things happening around us and our paths partially set, pursue the chances that make days stand out or that make you nervous. Remember that eustress is potentially positive stress so why not sometimes choose to do things that will make you nervous or out of character when available…

Be big, be open, be anything you want.

Gotta go sort my morning so I can change it up and go snowshoeing in this sun. Good luck today!

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Does Your Gut Tell You?

Digestion is one of the most interesting topics I found as a nutritional student and in my opinion is one of the most important functions of our amazingly complex body. 
We spend a lot of time thinking about what we are eating, where it is coming from but how many of us think about the next step? What happens when it goes in our mouth and we start to chew?

First question, how many of us actually properly chew our food? In order to properly break down your food you must chew approximately 20-50 times. Taking the time to properly initiate the digestive process is key to how the rest of the processes, by other organs, may proceed. It can also affect how you feel as improper chewing leads to improper digestion, presented by symptoms such as gas and bloating. 

It is typical to rush when we are eating, as that is the way of the world right now. We are often on autopilot or we may be multi-tasking. The first step is to take a 15-20 minute break and pay attention to what you are eating such as the taste, the smell, and the texture. Simply, enjoy your food!

The breakdown or mechanical digestion of food begins before it even leaves the mouth. If, for example, a complex carbohydrate is chewed a lot you may taste a sweetness to it. Physical digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth, and for protein and fats it begins in the stomach. Chemical digestion also begins in the stomach for proteins only. Carbohydrates and fats are not chemically broken down until the small intestines. 

The small intestine is the body’s major digestive organ and it is where chemical digestion of all food happens.  It is also the body’s major absorption area. It is a muscular tube extending from the pyloric sphincter to the ileocecal valve and is actually the longest section of the intestinal tract, but “small” due to its diameter.

Next our food enters the large intestine where the major function is drying out any remaining indigestible food residue. It absorbs water to produce solid feces.

If all of these are functioning top notch then your system will be running smoothly.  However, if we take in to account what we are eating, drinking and ingesting through the environment you can imagine how the organs have to work hard to keep the good stuff (nutrients) in and the bad stuff (toxins) out.  

What happens if food is not properly chewed or our system is overloaded? A commone  problem may arise is when we do not have adequate Hcl levels to activate pepsin to digest proteins. When undigested food particles leave the stomach and enter the next the small intestines, it can place stress on the accessory digestive organs such as the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.  The intestines may be irritated. The large undigested particles now have a chance of seeping in to the body via increased intestinal permeability. This can lead to the body creating defences against harmless foods, thinking they are an invader in the body. 

Read more about leaky gut symptoms and ways to improve your digestion here!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So you’re pregnant!

Now what?  How do you avoid packing on the pounds and not harm the precious life growing inside of you? 
Ask yourself some questions:  Are you generally healthy?  Are you already active?  What activities are you currently involved in?
If you are starting out in good health and already exercise regularly, then keep at it! Both you and your baby will benefit. You may need to modify some activities.  It also depends if you are engaging in high risk sports, or impact sports.  Specific contraindicated exercises are downhill skiing, contact sports, scuba diving, and any sports where there is a risk of falling and losing your balance (horseback riding/gymnastics/even some racket sports).  This also depends, of course, on your skill level and how comfortable you are with each sport.
General guidelines for pregnancy are:
1.    After the first trimester, avoid lying down flat on your back.
2.    Keep your heart rate below 160 bpm.
3.    Avoid over-heating.
4.    Focus on your stability and balance.
5.    Keep your movements smooth and even.
6.    Include cardiovascular components, muscular fitness components, and flexibility components in your routine.
7.    Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated.
8.    Wear a good supportive bra.
9.    Make sure you consume the extra daily calories that you need when you are pregnant and exercising.
If you have a high risk pregnancy or are new to exercise, make sure you contact a professional for advice and support.  Each individual’s needs and capabilities are different.  Start slowly because, just by being pregnant, your body is already working hard. Your oxygen demands are higher and, as the baby grows, you are moving more weight.  Remember that hormones have been released that allow your ligaments and joints to become looser and more pliable which can make you more unstable and your center of gravity has shifted. Your activities may have to change because of these differences.

Regular exercise during pregnancy is very positive. It can help reduce back ache, constipation, bloating and many other maladies.  It can improve your posture and your mood. It gives you more energy and promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance.  Regular exercise reduces your risk of gestational diabetes and helps you to sleep better.  Regular activity can also help prepare you for the birth so that you are better able to cope with the demands of labor and recover more quickly after childbirth, thus making it easier for you to get back in shape after the baby is born.

You are pregnant, not sick or an invalid.  Being active while pregnant is fun so enjoy it. Be physically active, just be smart about it as you are making choices for someone else besides yourself.

 ~ Sheryl

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What’s the REAL story?


We all have two stories.

#1 is the real story with an unfiltered account of events that are genuinely happening to us / us to them.
#2 is the story we tell / have told ourselves with an account of events that is filtered through our perspective but may not necessarily reflect the true narrative.

Examples of #1 stories. .

  • I don’t exercise because I have not made exercise a priority in my life
  • I’m not friendly with them because (in a two person relationship) I haven’t brought my 50%.
  • I need to communicate with the people who can make decisions about what I can do to earn more.

Examples of #2 stories.

  • I don’t exercise because there is no time.
  • I’m not friendly with them because they’ve done this to me.
  • I deserve more at my work because I’m a hard working asset to this organization.

    We create #2 stories to validate & justify decisions we make that lead to behaviors we take. They are largely created to protect our ego’s in times of vulnerability and the more we tell them to ourselves and others, the more we believe them to be the real story. #2 stories enable us to defer or deflect taking responsibility to a power that’s beyond our control. Again, this is commonplace because it’s easy.
The reality is, few things in life that are easy are worth while.

We need to stop thinking we’re going to be the #1 best seller while penning the narrative for #2.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Conversation : The Core of Networking

In today’s challenging economic environment, being able to network effectively is becoming increasingly important.  Building your network and maintaining existing contacts is vital, with it you will gain introductions and, ultimately, work opportunities and personal opportunities. And although social media allows us to stay engaged & ‘connected’ to our contacts, it is necessary to peel back the layers of the onion and ensure we are still getting to the core of networking – which is the conversation.
Prior to breaking down the key element of conversation, we need to be reminded that networking requires initiative and persistence. It needs to be adopted as a way of life and results are unlikely to be instant.  Networking needs to be worked at and following up with people that you meet is essential.  It is important to remember that while the person that you are talking to may not give you business, they may know someone who will be able to use your service or product. Most importantly remaining aware of where there might be opportunities for others is very potent and will encourage others to look out for opportunities for you. A conversation in many environments can often create opportunities and develop your profile more effectively than any other method.
That said, are you a good conversationalist? Are you someone that is able to strike up an engaging conversation to achieve a specific goal? Yes a goal. Many people might think that having an agenda is a bit ‘self-serving’ but a conversation without a focus just wastes time from the limited time we all already have. And our focus & agenda might be to ‘re-connect’ to the individual which is completely a-ok, however, how can we plan accordingly to make the most of every conversation!
When you talk with people, personally and professionally, it’s important to know where they are coming from. If we understand a bit about their ‘realities’, purpose, motivation, or values – we can make the interaction that much more effective. As an example, in business, do a little research beforehand by ‘Googling’ their name or viewing their profile on LinkedIn. This will give you a window into what they are interested in, possibly their work experience, and who they are. Learning about people and preparing before your conversations will take you a long way and help to distinguish you from the rest.
The greatest conversationalists are memorable: They influence a person’s thinking in positive ways for the better. A proactive, upbeat communication style – when talking and writing – sprinkled with a little wit and humor goes a long way. Lastly, it is imperative that although we may have a goal, purpose, or agenda for the conversation, we still need to be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. If not, our ability to have an effective conversation goes out the window because listening & being engaged are qualities of great conversationalists.
So, how do we make every conversation count? Here are 10 things to keep in mind to maximize our networking opportunities and make every conversation count:
1. Be excited by the outcome.
2. Be inspired by your purpose.
3. Be masterful through your preparation.
4. Be connected through your caring.
5. Be focused by your listening.
6. Be magnetic in your language.
7. Be inviting through your openness.
8. Be responsive through your improvisation.
9. Be deliberate in your practice.
10. Be consistent through your follow up.

Whether you are in sales or marketing, at a networking event or at a social party, striking up and holding great conversations is at the core of everything we do – and of achieving success. It starts with being confident to striking conversation and ends with a level of follow through. 
Curtis Christopherson