What does eating healthy mean?

Making healthy food choices is more than just eating more fruits and veggies while eating less junk and sweets. I recently answered a question about how to eat healthy without a lot of additives on Yahoo!Answers. The person was mainly concerned with eating organic. However, organic is only part of getting rid of additives and other chemicals in the diet to eat healthy.

This was an issue for me too, although I haven’t seen the movie (the question mentioned the documentary Food, Inc). My family, especially my son, is very sensitive to food additives which affect his behavior.

Learn to read food labels carefully. Once you switch to more healthy brands, shopping doesn’t take any more time than normal. I was surprised when I read sour cream labels. I found that many brands have more additives than cream. Try Daisy, it is just sour cream. The more long chemical names you can’t pronounce, the less healthy the food.

Watch for marketing traps. The more modified a product is, the worse it can be for your health. “Healthy” convenience products may have lots of substitutions to make them taste good. Low fat products often add sodium or sugar. No sugar usually means artificial sweeteners which are worse. Also, don’t assume just because a product is organic, that it is healthier. Many processed organic foods have just as many additives (or more!) as the regular versions.

When shopping consider an 80/20 principle. 80 percent of the food should have no label like from the produce section or be whole foods like fresh lean meats, eggs, rice and oatmeal. Dried beans and bagged veggies (frozen or fresh) without sauce count here as well but not canned. The other 20 should be healthy things with labels like whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread; natural cheese; low sodium spaghetti sauces; natural peanut butter; and dairy. Avoid heavily processed foods. You’ll do most of your shopping from the outer aisles. Then get a good cookbook for making healthy meals from scratch.

Keep in mind that you may have behavior changes and/or mood swings for a few days after you get rid of the processed food and other junk as your body detoxes. However, then you should have more energy, better moods, and possibly lose some weight.

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Aqua Fit

As my last post said, I am now a water fitness instructor at my gym. The class is called Aqua Fit and meets twice a week on Monday and Wednesday evenings. So what is Aqua Fit?

Aqua Fit is an hour long freestyle water fitness class. It’s a little of this and a little of that, and hopefully a lot of fun. We start with a warm up and stretch. Generally, this is the same every time. Then we do about 20-25 minutes of cardio. This segment is similar to water aerobics classes. Then comes conditioning. First we do some body weight exercises like leg lifts. Then we get out the toys, either noodles or hand “weights” for strength and toning exercises. Some days we may do squats and push ups or calves.

I teach from on the deck. This allows students in the water to better see what I am doing. Some instructors teach water classes while in the pool, but being short, I find it is easier to demonstrate proper form from the deck. My class seems to like me up on deck like the last woman was. I just need to remember to modify so I don’t jump. This is bad on the knees because of the hard concrete and tile.  There are padded rubber mats for on-deck instructors, but we don’t have one at my gym. I’ve asked them to consider getting one.

Water fitness classes have many advantages. You use the water for resistance so you don’t have to do as many reps. It’s lower impact and easier on joints. It is especially beneficial for people with joint problems because of the lower impact you can exercise in the water but not on land. Just about any exercise that can be done on land, can be done in the water. You can do some exercises in the water that you can’t on land because of the buoyancy.

Aqua Fit day 1

Last Wednesday was my first day teaching Aqua Fit water fitness class at my gym. As I posted recently, I was hired to teach the evening class twice a week. The woman I was taking over from was there to help guide me through it. I taught most of the class, but she kept me from getting lost when I forgot the routine. After class she spent over 2 hours just talking and going over things with me (I must have put in and taken out the pool stairs a half dozen times) and gave me her phone number.

Everyone at the gym has been very encouraging of my taking over this class. The class was very supportive Wednesday night too, at least no one left in the middle and some had encouraging comments to me after class. I just need to be sure to YELL. We have no mic for the pool and I’m normally soft spoken. Hopefully they will give me a chance and I can keep the high member attendance the prior woman had.

The woman I am taking over from suggested I write out a routine to follow so I’ve been working on that. However, it’s harder to get the right timing without having music. Hopefully at least one of my orders will be in Monday’s mail. So far I have the warm up and stretch (which doubles as the cool down) as well as the strength portion using dumbbells written. That just leaves the cardio section which is about 20-25 minutes. I’d also like to have a noodle part to change up with the dumbbells by Wednesday.

I spent some time last week talking to the fitness director and we re-named the class as Aqua Fit. I’m keeping the format, but want to energize it more. To help me do that, I ordered some music last weekend, but it isn’t here yet. I’m a bit concerned because the next class is Monday night.  I ordered Biggest Loser 80’s remix, a general cardio remix, and an Abba remix. The Abba is the original songs with an added beat track to standardize the tempo. It’s actually well done and full of energy. I need my music!

This week I’ll be assisted one evening each with the two other water fitness instructors. Then I’ll be on my own unless I ask for extra supervision days. The fitness director was going to stop by on Monday.

The Astronomy Book

It’s back to school time. Many parents, both homeschool and regular school are ordering books for their kids education. Astronomy is a hot topic. I want to warn you about one popular book, The Astronomy Book part the the Wonders of Creation series. It is a $15, hardcover, 80 page book with full color illustrations that’s supposed to be a children’s science text. I recently ordered it and am greatly disappointed. I would not recommend it at all. Here’s why.

This is a terrible book for teaching science! It is a fair book for creation propaganda, but lousy for scientific fact. For every scientific fact, there are 3 creationist parts that give no specific scientific backing (either to support or refute). I am a conservative Christian, but this book goes too far.

It seems to go out of the way to debunk scientific facts, yet provides no research to contradict or as rebuttal proof (only a few Bible verses). There are only 14 end notes for the entire book. Most of them are references to single pages in journals and magazines.  I wouldn’t mind it if they give proof, but there isn’t anything. Yet, I know there is research that back the Biblical creation view. I’m disappointed this book didn’t give any. With books like this, no wonder many people say Christians are illiterate to science.

For instance it says on page 14, “Some scientists claim the universe is anywhere from 7-20 billion years old. Scientific data do not support theses estimates. In fact many types of scientific evidence indicate the universe is only a few thousand years old.” No footnotes or anything is given to support this statement. This book is full of generalizations like that without referencing specifics.

It gives the impression that hypothetical situations are imaginary rather than simply theoretical. Page 16 says “Believers in cosmic evolution say that a hypothetical (imaginary) event called the big bang started the universe.” By putting imaginary in parenthesis, it is misleading and voids the scientific method. A hypothesis isn’t imaginary. It is a theory. Therefore a hypothetical situation isn’t imaginary, it’s theoretical. This kind of bias is again without documentation for either side, yet there is abundant research for both. Just because you do not agree with a contradictory hypothesis, it does not make it imaginary. Hypothetical and imaginary do not mean the same things nor should they be used interchangeably like this. If they want to say cosmic evolution is imaginary, they should just do so, not confuse kids in the correct use of hypothetical.

It uses such vague phrases as so-called, somehow, of course, some, and in fact throughout the book. These phrases have no place in a scientific text. There are lots of large pictures and drawings. The font is larger than most science texts (even for elementary school level science texts). I can only assume this was done to make the book longer. I would not purchase the other books in this Wonders of Creation series either, for the same concerns and problems exist with them.

This book is a poorly researched, pro-creationist persuasive essay themed on astronomy, not a science text as evidenced by the last page. The last page seems to almost say all science is evil and a waste of time. “Cosmic evolution and astrology trap many people in systems of belief which prevent them from ever coming to Christ for salvation…come to Jesus Christ alone for personal salvation can have wisdom and intelligence simply by asking Him for it (James 1:5). Why should we search anywhere else?”

My own aqua class

Wow! Suddenly my temporary on-call substitute position has turned into a regular twice a week position. The wonderful woman who has taught the evening class for several years has decided to move on.  Since I was already attending her class they offered me the position as instructor. I was expecting this, but didn’t think it would happen until later in the winter. I start on Wednesday night.

I’m excited but nervous. The class has morphed over the years from the original water aerobics description. It’s now a combination of water aerobics and strength/tone. I’ll probably keep it that way. As such, I talked with the fitness director and we came up with a new name for it: Aqua Fit! She wanted the word aqua in the title but nothing very long like “aqua aerobics, strength and tone” would have been. I wanted fit so I wouldn’t be tied to any pre-set format. We combined and both like the results. This is good timing because the new fall schedule starts Tuesday, so the new class name and updated description should be in it.

This morning I went to the gym and talked briefly with 2 other water instructors who will be helping me as I first get started. The water aerobics class is tomorrow. I’d like to go and see how she runs it and get ideas.  I’m nervous taking over someone else’s class like this. Several of the other participants are very loyal to the current instructor and don’t show up if there is a sub. Hopefully they will accept me as the new instructor since I was part of the class.