Tag Archives: health

Movember – 11 days in

11 Nov

 

IT’S already 11 days into Movember, the month in which men around the world grow moustaches to raise money and awareness of prostate cancer and other mens health issues.

Havinging lost my dad to cancer at the end of November last year, I decided to take on the challenge of growing a ‘Mo’, as they call it, to help the effort.

Finding out that my dad had cancer was a shock, though not all together suprising as he had smoked and drank for the majority of his life. However watching the man who brought me up slowly disappear into himself and lose all his ability was tough to say the least and the effect it had on my mother was hard. While as a family we are coping with his loss, it’s not something I would wish on anyone else, so while my efforts may not stop cancer, at least they’re helping in some way.

OK harrowing bit over. So from my usual babyfaced looks, I have managed to transorm into a moustacheod man (I know that isn’t a word… is it?) and have already raised nearly £150 in donations, thanks to a lot of kind people, including a massive £100 donation from @Clarioncomms.

I'm unconvinced on my Mo and have never before realised quite how big my nose is... i't's massive

While I haven’t inherited my dad’s ability to wear and suit a moustache, I am determined to keep it growing until the end of November. Who knows I may even come to like it.

If you are kind and able enough to make a donation, or even if you just want to keep up on my progress and poke fun, please visit my Mo Space here: http://mobro.co/TheEndIsNi

You’ll also be able to see the efforts of the rest of the 34 Kelshall Court Mo Bros as the whole flat is in on the team!

Every little helps and it will all be very much appreciated and don’t forget we’re looking to get mo’ money for no problems.

 

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Sushi – things to make and do

17 Sep

I’ve always been a bit of a Japan-o-phile and as such, a lover of sushi. I’ve tried many different places and if you’re looking to get some great and affordable food you could do a lot worse than go to the Japan Centre in London.

But how healthy is sushi and is it easy to make I asked myself. It looks pretty healthy and simple enough…

Well thanks to a sushi making class at Suzu and some desk research I have the answers I was looking for. 

Firstly the health.

On the up side:

Very loosely speaking, sushi is a combination of rice and seaweed topped off with raw fish and/or veg, so far, so good.

Fish is a great source of protein and is lean and low in saturated fats and cholesterol, making it good for your heart. Salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Nori, the pressed seaweed sheets wrapped around the rice contain iodine, which is good for hormone function, magnesium, which helps build strong bones and iron which is used in the production of red blood cells  and helps stave off fatigue.  

Things to consider:

While a lot of sushi is healthy you need to watch out for mayonnaise and tempura  which are a source of hidden calories and fats. Also keep soy sauce to a minimum as it’s high in sodium, which counteracts the omega-3’s positive effect on the heart. Wasabi is OK, so if you like spice pile it on.

Fish can also contain high levels of mercury, which is a toxin, however the health benefits of fish far outweigh the risks, just don’t go overboard and be careful if you are pregnant.

Now the cooking, or not as the case may be…

I arrived at the class of around 15 people and sat at a place, which was set out with a rolling mat, some nori, salmon, avacado and cucumber, everything we needed to get started, well nearly.

After a brief introduction from our teacher, we were told how to make the sushi rice.

Making the sushi rice:

Start with three cups of rice, 660ml of water and 120ml of sushi vinegar

1. wash the rice some cold water

2. leave the rice in a sieve for a minimum of 30 minutes

3. put the rice in a pot with the water

4. cook on a medium heat for 10-13 minutes

5. Once the water has boiled turn down the heat and cook for 30 seconds

6. turn off the heat and leave for 10-15 minutes

7. drain rice

8. add the sushi vinegar spoon by spoon gently stirring

9. once the vinegar is completely soaked in leave the rice to dry

10. leave for a final 10 – 15 minutes

Preparing the sushi

We started with the seaweed on the sushi mat and spread a thin layer of rice over the nori, making sure it was evenly covered, with a gap at the top the width of our little finger. We then placed the cucumber horizontally along the middle and rolled the edge which had been covered in rice just over the cucumber so that it touched the rice. We then placed the mat on top of the rolled section holding the end with our left hands and pulling it away from us while pushing it down with our right hands, thus making a full roll. From there we simply cut the large roll into smaller maki.

The next lot of sushi was much more simple. We took a cherry sized lump of rice and put it into the crook of our fingers and squeezed it into a small oval shape. We then put a thin slice of salmon in the crook of our finger and put the rice on top and pushed the two together using the other hand.

We also went onto make california rolls, which were very similar to maki, but turning the nori and rice strip over before laying on the toppings.

So that’s what I’ve found out about sushi

Hope you like it

Good luck and good health,

Ni, the Supplementer

The not quite naked foot

15 Aug

So the running continues, this time for a 10k run with a difference – I went barefoot. well almost, I tried out my friend’s barefoot running shoes (pictured above).

After a few minutes of fumbling around putting these ‘foot gloves’ on and realising that I had no ideas where my toes were, I was ready to start pounding the pavements.

Ideally you should walk around in barefoot running shoes for a few days to wear them in, but I only had limited access to them, so I went straight into running and no real harm came to me. That being said, I would not suggest anyone do this – make sure you learn how to run barefoot first.

We live in shoes most of the day, they provide us with support, which allows us to develop bad habits. Losing the support of a good shoe can expose these bad habits and cause injury…

…Anyway, back to the run. Having done the 10k,  I can definitely see the appeal of these shoes. For me they helped in understanding my gait and in feeling out how my feet were contacting the ground.

The sensation of feeling the different running paths under my feet was also a revelation and helped me see just how bad my heel striking was. In the long run (no pun intended) I think running with these shoes will help reduce my heel striking – so I may just go out and get my own! Also I can imagine they would be great to take back home for beach running!

I’ll definitely be getting my mits on a pair of minimalist shoes and learning how to use them properly.

There’s a great article on the Runners World website by author of Running for Mortals and Marathon Running for Mortals, Coach Jenny Hadfield, which gives advice on learning how to run with minimalist shoes.

Live long and prosper,

Ni The Supplementer

Supplementer Challenge 1: Results

6 Aug

So it’s two weeks since I declared that I was going to run the 5-6km home from work every day (well except the weekends). The idea of the challenge was to supplement my lifestyle with a little exercise to get me back into running, having not kept to a regular running schedule for many months now. The second and most important role of this challenge was to help me get some sleep, having gone through a spell of bad sleep and more often plain old fashioned insomnia.

I’ve found out a few things about working exercise into your day from this challenge such as…

Life gets in the way

Life and more likely work, gets in the way. When you stay in he office until 9pm you can’t really run home and expect to achieve a good night’s sleep. Which brings me onto my next point

Be flexible

If you have to attend to social affairs after work, or at any time you have earmarked for exercise, improvise. I was caught out when I had to attend a friends leaving meal after work, so I popped into my gym on the way to the meal and knocked out a quick 20 minute run and 10 minute work out on the mats – some exercise is better than none. Even if you make time to walk to the event your attending you’ll be doing something.

It’s not as simple as lacing up your trainers and hitting the streets

Sadly it would appear that my legs were completely out of shape at the beggining of the challenge, which lead to shin splints as my calf muscles strained to keep up. I’ll be blogging shortly on how to combat this, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you try and pick up running after a long break.

So that’s the main things. Having finished the challenge I’m defintely getting back to the fitness I used to have and think that I look a lot more in shape than I did before. I’m also sleeping a lot better and am more enthused about fitness in general. I think I’ll keep this up, so expect more running blogs in future.

Now onto the next challenge…

Live long and prosper,

Ni, The Supplementer

New trainers… what to look for

30 Jul

 

With so much running going on, I realised it was about time I got a new some new trainers. So off to Runners Needs I went to have a gait analysis done, wallet in hand.

The analysis was very quick, just a few minutes on a treadmill and they had taken a selection of images of my feet and were able to tell me about my running style and advise on which trainers to get.

So what do you need to look out for when buying running shoes?

Over Pronation – Flat foot

This is where the foot rolls too far in, leaving a full footprint without any sign of the arch. In this running style the foot lands on the heel and then follows through more squarely, overworking the big and second toe. The knee and ankle are also put under pressure as they try to keep balance.

To counteract this ask for a trainer that has extra support for the inner arch of the foot. This will reduce the amount of pressure your knees and ankles come under when stabilising the body and stop you overworking your big and second toes.

Under Pronation – High arch

This is, as you may have guessed is the opposite of flat foot. This type of foot placement looks fine to the casual observer, but the key difference is that the arch is too large. With under pronation the foot doesn’t roll in enough, relying too heavily on the smaller toes for stability and relying on the lower leg to deal with shock. Under pronators are susceptible to shock injuries such as stress fractures.

To protect against this you will need extra cushioning to help absorb shock.

Normal gait (Natural pronation)

This is the ideal, the foot lands on the outside of the heel and comes down along the outside of the foot turning inward to incorporate the middle and ball of the foot. The motion finishes with the foot pushing off the ground from the big toe.

For this type of step you’ll need a trainer that supports your natural pronation, often called a stability shoe. This shoe will provide support without working against your step.

So what did I get?..

Thankfully I have a nice normal gait and have since bought a nice new pair of Nike Pegasus 27 trainers in grey and luminous green (I’m not getting run over any time soon!).

RANT ALERT…

I also managed to get them in the sale as they were and I quote “last seasons colours”… I’m sorry, but these are trainers! I am literrally going to run them into the ground… Though I shouldn’t complain, other peoples’ vanity has lead to me getting 20% off my trainers.

RANT OVER

Now I’m off for a run!

Ni The Supplementer

 

Supplementer Challenge: Running out of time

28 Jul

Time to lace up my trainers and hit the streets!

So we’re only a few days into the challenge to run a minimum of 6k (the distance between my work and home) and we’ve already struck a snag, namely work.

My first few runs have been fine, if a little slower than they used to be. However, yesterday I was stuck at the office until 9pm, which is no time to be going for a run when your bed time is 10pm.

The only way around this was to walk home. I managed to do some exercise, while not giving my body any reason to stay awake. I also managed to pick up a few ingredients for my next healthy meal on the way. Not a bad compromise all in all… Back to the running today though!!

Ni

Running to bed

26 Jul

So you may have noticed by now that sleep is becoming a big theme on the blog. This is sadly because over here at The Health Supplement I’ve been having trouble sleeping.

Refusing to dwell on this, I’m turning my sleeplessness into healthy blogs! What’s more, following a visit to the doctors, it’s inspired the first Supplementer challenge!

I’ll be ditching the bus to run the 6k from my work to my flat for two weeks. Exercies is good for wearing you out ahead of bedtime, but should not be done directly before you go to bed. Around 4/5 hours before you want to sleep is a good rule.

I’m hoping this first challenge should be quite easy as I was quite a proficient runner (I even managed 30k on a hilly coastline once), but having not run for a while, time will tell.

I’ll keep you updated with my adventures and will be posting some running related blogs along the way (so you don’t have to hear me harping on about tiredness!)

Wish me luck!

Ni, the Supplementer

Sweet dreams

23 Jul

Having looked at what happens when you don’t get enough sleep in our last post, we now turn our attention to how to get your forty winks without resorting to sleeping tablets.

Don’t sabotage yourself

There are simple things to avoid before you head to bed. Don’t drink coffee or eat foods high in quick release sugars such as chocolate before bed. Also avoid anything that raises your heart rate or is mentally challenging such as excessive exercise, computer games, action movies etc.

Give it time

It takes at least 20 minutes for your body to slow down to allow you to sleep so don’t stress yourself awake just yet.

Write down your worries

If you can’t clear your mind try writing down your worries as they come up. Whatever it is simply write it down and tell yourself that you are going to look at it in the morning with a clear head. The trick to this is letting the issue stay on the pad and reminding yourself that this is how you are dealing with the problem.

Get out of bed

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you haven’t fallen asleep within an hour of going to bed get up. The brain makes associations and by lying in bed thinking about your issues you are setting an example which your brain will follow. So in future instances your brain will associate bed with staying awake – not good!

If you need to get out of bed try doing a non-stimulating task, such as reading a book for 20 minutes to half an hour.

Make time for sleep

Use your brain’s tendency to make associations to your advantage, make sure you work your brain into associating a regular time at night for going to sleep and a regular time in the morning for waking. By sticking to these times your body won’t be caught off guard and will prepare itself for sleep and waking up.

Take out the distractions

If you are a very light sleeper make sure you turn off your TV and radio to avoid the sounds from effecting your sleep patterns. If you’re still awake when the music finishes get out of bed.

See a doctor

If you continue to suffer with sleeplessness, disrupted sleep or ongoing tiredness see a doctor. Tiredness is the first sign of many ailments and deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, so it’s best to get checked out

We hope this has helped, if you have anything to add please let us know : )

Sweet dreams,

Ni, the Supplementer

Stay in bed, it’s good for you

22 Jul

Sleep is good, we know this. We just hate being tired and yet we still stay up all night drinking, working, just playing computer games, etc, you get the idea. So why should we put down that glass of wine, computer mouse or console controller and get to bed? Here we look at what happens when you get less sleep than you should. watch this space for advice on getting to sleep too.

Losing sleep impairs your ability to learn

A lack of sleep has negative effects on attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to process information, hindering learning.

Certain sleep cycles also help cement the information you process during the day, meaning that the effects of sleep deprivation are twofold, in the first instance you don’t fully take information in and secondly, you don’t remember it effectively.

Sleeping less leads to a quiet bedroom

Studies have found that people suffering with sleep-deprivation report having lower libidos and a lower interest in sex. A lack of energy, tiredness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.

It’s also claimed that men suffering from sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, may have a lower level of testosterone in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002. The study found nearly half of the men who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.

A lack of sleep can lead to additional health defects

Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk of developing various conditions, including heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes. Tiredness can also be a sign of and a factor in developing depression. Which leads us to…

Tiredness is bad for your mood

Studies show that people who get less than five hours sleep a night over a period of more than six days feel more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. Long term sleeplessness can aggravate the symptoms of depression.

It has also been shown that people with insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, are five times more likely to develop depression as those without. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression.

Sadly the links between sadness and depression can lead to a downward spiral, with one feeding off and strengthening the other. Thankfully the opposite is true as treating one can improve the other too.

Looking tired sticks

While the immediate effects of bad sleep are easily spotted in the skin, puffy eyes, paleness, etc, it also has long term effects.

The body produces excess levels of stress hormone, cortisol when you are tired. This breaks down the skin’s collagen, which is responsible for keeping skin smooth and supple.

By missing out on sleep you also reduce your body’s ability to produce growth hormone, which helps increase muscle mass, healthy bones and thickens skin.

So forget the moisturiser and get yourself to bed – you’ve got your skin to think of.

Deciding to get enough sleep will lead to more good decisions

Well to be precise it’s actually the opposite that’s more accurate, as tiredness impairs judgment. OK so that’s not so surprising, it’s hard to decide on anything when you’re tired, but that’s only the half of it!

Being tired actually impairs your understanding of events, so before you’ve even begun evaluating a set of options, you’ve probably already misunderstood what you’re being asked to choose between.

What’s more, our ability to judge our impairment is itself, impaired. Studies reveal that people who regularly get between 5-6 hours of sleep a night claim to have adapted to less sleep, however they consistently underperform on mental ability tests compared to people who have 7-8 hours sleep and as sleep deprivation continues so their scores worsen.

Tiredness causes weight gain

That’s right, it’s the perfect excuse to stay in bed. Studies found that short sleepers gained more weight than long sleepers, even when they were more active than their well-rested counterparts.

A lack of sleep effects various hormone levels including the ‘hunger horemone’ Leptin. The imbalance causes people to consume more calories. The research showed that the effects of an imbalance of Leptin are staggering, with short sleepers being heavier despite burning an extra 1,000 calories over the long sleepers.

So there you have it, some very good reasons to get some sleep. So if your reading this last thing at night STOP and get some kip! If you’re reading this at a sesible hour, why not check out our tips on getting Sweet dreams

Health be with you,

Ni, the Supplementer


Welcome to The Health Supplement

19 Jul

Hello everybody,

So this is The Health Supplement. At the moment it’s just me (Ni – Hi nice to meet you), but I hope to get more people on board soon – I just have to convince them it’s a good idea… I aim to provide small steps to help keep your body running. We’ll be concentrating on health, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be having some fun too!!

The blog has primarily been set up to help people (including the writers – that’s me) get in shape and over the coming weeks, months and hopefully years, we’ll be sharing our adventures in the world of health with you, from diets to exercise and supplements to hobbies.

We hope you enjoy it and do let us know if you want us to cover anything.

All the best,

Ni, the Supplementer