Group Exercise – a supportive community


In this article I’ll explore the benefits of group exercise as oppose to trying to do it by yourself. We will look at why it’s so important for those wanting to get fitter and healthier plug into a fitness community.  Not only that, but we will see how this type of exercise helps individuals reach and maintain their health and fitness goals successfully.

I have been teaching exercise in one form or another for over 20 years.  It has been my full time occupation now for 8 years, and one of my greatest delights while teaching and training is to see people connect with one another and form a supportive and motivating fitness community.

I remember from my days of attending exercise classes how much fun it is to work out with friends, and have friends support and encourage you in your fitness goals.  But beyond that there is an added element of motivation that comes with being part of a group.  

This can be true of health and fitness clubs to a degree, but there is always the added element of being surrounded by mirrors, and working out with others you don’t know, who seem to be so much fitter than you are.  In a traditional health club environment, this can be the opposite of motivating, and many people have left feeling discouraged and given up before they even start.

At our Community Center location we do not have mirrors, which for many is a HUGE positive.  It makes sense to me that watching yourself and others exercise can be discouraging for those with insecurities about their body image and their abilities in a group class.  As much as a mirror can help us with our form, it can also highlight comparisons between exercisers in such a way as to be discouraging.  As quoted in this study “ Women in a mirrored environment reported greater self-consciousness and more social comparisons”

It also seems that our fitness community has been truly blessed with some of the very nicest people!  I am always so excited to see new participants welcomed and befriended when they join a class.  Many come and meet people they haven’t seen in a long time but used to know, so old friendships are reignited.  There is a wonderfully supportive element in our classes, and it’s very exciting to see people feeling accepted and encouraged not only by me but by their fellow class participants.


To continue to encourage the enrichment and growth of our fitness community, every month or so we invite those currently attending our classes or coming to me for one-on-one training, to join us for a meal at a local restaurant.  This added social element is designed to enrich our relationships with one another, and promote the continuation of support in our quest to reach and maintain our health and fitness goals.  Of course if one is to be truly and wholly healthy, then there is a psychological aspect to be considered.  Feeling accepted, loved, encouraged and supported by other members of our community makes us overall happier and more positive people.  Ergo our psychological health is also nurtured in a social or exercising group environment.

Personal Training is another method that has been proven highly effective in achieving and maintaining health and fitness goals.  The accountability of having a weekly or twice weekly appointment with a trainer is key to ensuring you are sticking to an exercise program and working towards your goals. As quoted in this article  “Anyone who has worked with an exercise professional understands that a personal trainer offers much more than just exercise advice and company during a workout. An experienced, educated and encouraging trainer will offer lifestyle coaching, time management and support on staying motivated. A registered personal trainer will also be able to tailor each exercise session to your individual needs, fitness & exercise levels, and health and injury history. Your workouts will be safe and effective.”

As you start this new year, consider what you would like to accomplish in the area of health and fitness.  Nothing is more important!  Ask yourself the following questions  

  • Am I stressed?  If so how can I decrease my stress?
  • Do I get enough exercise daily?
  • Is my diet healthy?
  • Do I have happy healthy relationships?

In answering the above questions, think about baby steps towards a happier healthier you.  Consider becoming part of a community that will support and encourage you in your goals.  Take one tiny step today towards improving your health and ultimately your life.

For those interested, below are links to studies that show the benefits of a supportive group when starting an exercise and fitness routine.

 Benefits of group support for weight loss and fitness maintenance

Group motivation for fitness

Positive peer pressure




A little bit of what you fancy does you good!

A little bit of what you fancy does you good!

A Little bit of what you fancy does you good!



My mother always used to say “a little bit of what you fancy does you good,” and I never forgot it.  I quote it to people all the time, to my children and always prefaced by ‘my mother used to say…’  My daughter suggested I use it as the name for my next blog post, so here it is!

In the context of health and wellness, I use this statement as a means to explain how important it is to eat “a little bit” of something real, rather than a lot of something chemically altered or synthetic.  In this day and age of genetically modified, chemically altered and artificially sweetened, so-called ‘low fat’ food products, it is a very important reminder to those of us who really want to eat clean and healthy, while still shedding a few pounds.

Let’s look at a few common things people tend to eat in place of something real:

Diet soda and artificial sweeteners


Diet Soda – can you say oxymoron? Of course I’m going to tell you that ANY soda is bad for you.   We already know that refined sugar is bad for us, and a glass of soda contains just under 1/4 cup of sugar!  But what about diet soda?  For some years it has been hailed as something to help with weight loss.

Artificial sweeteners still have an effect on your body by triggering the release of insulin, which causes your body to store fat rather than burn it.  It can also cause you to overeat in other areas feeling that you saved calories on a sugar free soda, so can then eat a bit extra (cognitive distortion).  The American Beverage Association insists the sweeteners used in diet sodas such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharine, are fully studied and completely safe.  However, there are over 900 published studies showing that artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic.  For more details follow the link to an article by Dr. Mercola:

Subsequent studies have said that there is no clear connection between artificial sweeteners and cancer, but those were also heavily funded by businesses who use artificial sweeteners in their products…

Artificial-SweetenersThe bottom line here is that it is really best to stay away from soda all together.  Look at your consumption of any sugar and/or sugar-like substances, and do your best to eliminate or at least reduce its presence in your diet.  The only safe low calorie sugar alternative is Stevia, which comes from a plant.  Personally I do not enjoy the flavor of stevia as it is much sweeter than sugar, but if you can take the taste, at least you know you are eating something natural rather than manufactured.

Getting back to the main message:  It’s far better to consume ‘a little bit’ of a natural sweetener than lots.  But it is better to stay away from chemical sweeteners altogether.  Your best options for sweetening agents are  honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar and stevia for a low calorie alternative.  Glucose has also been shown to be a healthy alternative, although it’s slightly less sweeter than sucrose.


You can’t believe it’s not butter?  I can!!!

notbutter-butteritsnotSo this is a hot topic: Should we eat butter, with its high fat content, or switch to one of the many low
calorie alternatives offered today?  When I was young, margarine was the big butter alternative touted to have lower saturated fat and cholesterol.  Of course years later we realized that margarine is actually packed with trans-fat,
which is way worse for you!  But these days there is a new generation of butter alternatives now advertised with no trans-fat BUT they instead contain a myriad of additives and preservatives. 

Just because something is low in fat doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

thIn fact, these low fat miracle products generally have a bunch of junk in them to make them taste good—extra sugar, chemicals, additives—which in the end are much worse for you than the slightly higher fat content, and prevent your body from losing weight. Skim milk? Might as well call it sugar milk.

Take it from Dr. Oz: “Don’t drink skim milk, you don’t need to. When you take the fat out of milk, what’s left? Sugar! Skim milk is sugar milk. You want to drink 2% milk, eat 2% yogurt…people who have a little bit of fat in the yogurt lose more weight, because your body is satiated.”

This harkens back to that cognitive distortion thing I mentioned earlier: With ‘low-cal’ products, mentally people think they can eat more, which means more of all that nasty artificial stuff in your system! Higher fat products not only don’t have all the junk added, but also make your body feel more satisfied, meaning you eat less.

Again, this simple rule always holds true: Chemical ingredients are never a good choice!

Butter itself contains only cream and salt, and is packed with a bunch of vitamins such as Vitamin A, important for our endocrine system and maintaining good vision as well as other bodily functions.  Also vitamins E, K and D, which play a role in maintaining our cardiovascular system.  It contains Lecithin which helps our metabolism work properly, and antioxidants which protect our bodies from disease.


This brings me back to my main point – ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good‘ … a moderate amount of butter (maybe not Paula Deen amounts!) in our diet is much healthier than the alternatives out there.

Always go for the natural alternative and teach yourself to exercise will power to not overdo it. Part of changing the way you eat is to learn how to enjoy things in moderation, and doing so will help you enjoy those little pleasures immensely more.

Fat free half and half and other fat free products

0003450063210_500X500And the oxymorons continue!  My first thought would be ‘what’s the point’!!!  But I assume people who buy fat free products are under the impression that fat is bad, and this is a way to save fat and calories while still enjoying a ‘fat like’ taste.  Well, that ‘fat like’ taste is created by replacing fat with corn syrup and chemical thickeners (carrageenan is most common, and has been linked with cancer in multiple studies) that create the ‘fat like’ flavor and texture.  Most fat free products are the same, instead of fat they add corn syrup and chemical additives.

Half and half is so named because it contains equal parts milk and cream—both natural products.  It’s far better to enjoy a little bit of half & half rather than a fat free alternative.

What about ‘Low fat’ products?

The recommendation for fat consumption is that we get 20%-35% of our daily calories from fat. That’s about 44 to 77 grams of fat a day assuming you eat 2,000 calories a day.  In order for your body to function properly, and your metabolism to work the way that it should, we need enough fat calories.  Saturated fat should be kept to a minimum, with mono and polyunsaturated fat making up the majority of daily fat consumption.

Here are a few foods that contain healthty fats:

  • Salmon
  • Raw nuts (roasting spoils the good oil content)
  • Avocado
  • Olive, avocado, safflower oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax meal

Low fat foods, much like fat free foods, often contain other ingredients to make up for the lack of fat.  The key here is to read the label. Don’t trust companies advertising “all natural; healthy; wholesome”—the fact is that these statements mean nothing, and any company can slap them on their products, regardless of whether the statements are true. If you see that the product contains chemical additives and sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup) to make up for the lack of fat, then it might not be the best choice.


The main take-away messages?

Real food in moderation is always better than low fat, low calorie, diet alternatives. 

Reading labels is so important.  Food manufacturers are always coming up with new chemical ingredients to add to our food to make it last longer, taste better, contain less fat or sugar.  A good thing to remember is that as much as they can test these chemicals before using them, it really is only once humans have been consuming them for years that the real effects will come to light. 

-It’s so much better to try to avoid additives and preservatives, artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes.  Buy natural whole ingredients and either make your own food or choose brands of prepared food that do not contain additives and preservatives.

I try to prepare all my food from scratch so I am in charge of what they contain.   I’m also less likely to eat them as much because they take work, effort and time to prepare.   On occasion I even like to make my own chocolate from scratch,  I maybe eat 2-3 squares of good dark chocolate in a day when I have it available … a square at a time with a nice cup of British tea!  I would eat one square of chocolate in place of a dessert after a meal, so I get a little sweet taste without overdoing my sugar intake.

I rest my case, a little bit of what you fancy does you good.

“Moderation.  Small helping.  Sample a little bit of everything.  These are the secrets of happiness and good health” 

 -Julia Child



Healthy Eating and Nutrition 101

Healthy eating and Nutrition 101

All our foods fall into three basic categories:  Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.




Carbohydrates provide the main source of energy for our bodies.  Carbohydrates come from plant based foods and include all fruits and vegetables, along with grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.  There are three basic types of carbohydrates:

  • Sugars
  • Starches
  • Fiber

Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.  However some carbohydrates are much better for your body than others.

Good carbohydrates

These are complex carbohydrates, that take longer to digest and do not turn immediately to sugar.  They also contain vitamins, minerals, phytochemical and fiber which are essential to health and well being.

  • fruits
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains

Bad carbohydrates

These are simple carbohydrates that turn immediately to sugar in your body.  Otherwise known as empty calories with little to no nutritional value.

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • White flour
  • White sugar
  • Includes white rice, white pasta
  • Proteins


It is recommended that 10-35% of our daily calorie intake comes from protein.  For women at least 50 grams per day and at least 60 grams a day for men.  For very active and athletic individuals, more protein would be recommended.  Proteins are essential in our diets specifically for the growth and repair of tissue, and keep our bodies functioning properly.  Proteins also contain 4 calories per gram, and can be derived from both animal and plant based sources.  Below are some good protein sources and show how easy it is to get enough protein into your diet.

  • A 3-ounce serving of meat contains approximately 21 grams of protein. While an 80z serving of meat contains over 50 grams of protein.
  • 8 oz of yogurt contains roughly 11 grams of protein.
  • A cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
  • A cup of dry beans contains 16 grams of protein.
  • Cooked fish has about 6 grams of protein per oz
  • One egg has 6 grams of protein
  • 1 oz of nuts has 6 grams of protein
  • 1 cup on quinoa has 8 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of kale has 2.6 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of rice and black beans contains 7 grams of protein


The American Heart Association recommends that healthy fat should compose 30% of your daily calorie intake.  For example, if you are on a 1600 calorie a day diet, you can dedicate around 477 calories to fat which is 53 grams.

Fats, also known as EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), are comprised of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.  Fats contain 9 calories per gram, so although need to be consumed in smaller quantities are an essential component of our daily calorie intake.

Essential fatty acids have many important functions:

  • Help the brain develop
  • Help the body absorb certain vitamins and move them through the blood
  • Help the blood to clot
  • Control inflammation

Saturated fat

This is the kind of fat found in animal products such as butter, whole milk and meats, and can also be found in some plant based foods such as coconut oil and palm oils.  These should be limited in your diet as they can increase the LDL cholesterol in your blood that can cause blockages, so should be eaten in strict moderation.  Coconut oil is reputed to be a ‘better’ saturated fat promoting heart health and increases good (HDL) cholesterol.   However, it is a more highly saturated fat than butter saturated fat can also increase bad cholesterol (LDL), so just be aware of both sides.

Unsaturated fat

This is the healthy fat that should make up about 80% of our daily fat consumption.  Unsaturated fats are found in fish, most vegetable oils and nuts.  Although healthier than saturated fat, these healthy fats are still high in calories so should be used in moderation.  These fats are divided into two categories:

Monounsaturated fat – These contain Omega 6 fatty acids, and are more readily found in mass produced and processed foods and common vegetable oils such as sunflower oil.


Polyunsaturated fat – These contain Omega 3 fatty acids which most of us are lacking in our diets.  Its important to focus a little more on getting enough of these type of fats.  The ration of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid consumption should be 1:1 but in todays world of refined foods Omega 3s have become harder to find, making this ration way off.

It’s not that Omega 3 is better than Omega 6, it is just important for our health and prevention of illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease that the ratio of one to the other is balanced, and that we don’t eat 5-6 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3.  Its for this reason that food company’s are now advertising ‘Omega 3’ on packaging.

Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids:

  • Free range eggs
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seed
  • Salmon, sardine, herring, mackerel
  • Walnuts


Recommended Daily Calorie allowance

Your daily consumption of calories should be proportional to your size, activity level, and your goal i.e. maintain, gain or lose weight.

The least amount of calories that should be consumed by a woman on a diet is 1200 calories, and for men it would be 1400.  This is assuming your goal is weight loss.  For maintenance a 1600 calorie a day allowance is recommended for sedentary women, and 2200 for active women.  2200 is recommended for sedentary men and 2800 for active men.

1 1b of fat is comprised of 3500 calories.  This means that in order to lose 1 1b of weight, you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit.  ie. you need to expend 3500 calories more energy than calories consumed.  Over the course of a week, this means a 500 calorie/day deficit needs to be created.

Daily recommendations of protein, carbs and fats:

  • Fats 30% (20-25%)
  • Carbs 50% (45-65%)
  • Protein 20% (10-35%)

If you are eating 1600 calories a day, this would mean aiming to eat roughly  53 grams of healthy fat, 200 grams of carbohydrates and 80 grams of protein.  You should also aim to eat around 22 or more grams of fiber daily which will probably be included if you make good choices for fats, carbs and protein.  High fiber foods include:

  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • Whole grains

10 Important tips on losing weight:

  1. Eat food that looks like how it grew – Some good examples are broccoli, a chicken breast, a potato.  Foods that come in packages are highly processed and rarely look like they did when they were growing.
  2. Exercise – there are no shortcuts!  If you want to lose weight and get in shape, you have to exercise as well as adjust your eating habits.  Begin to build exercising into your schedule, maybe a little at a time to start with then increase it slowly.  A variety of exercise is the best way to increase overall health including:  weight bearing exercises, cardio, stretching and strengthening (Yoga/Pilates).  Your body is designed to move, so move it or lose it.
  3. Eat 5 small meals a day instead of 3 big meals.  Meals should get smaller as the day goes on, not larger.  Dinner should be your lightest meal.
  4. Eat a good breakfast covering all the food groups.  This should be your largest meal ideally.  But at the very least, make it a good nutritious meal.
  5. Stop eating after 7pm.  No late night snacking
  6. Hydrate!  Drink lots of water, and minimal other beverages.  Definitely avoid sugary drinks.  You need about half your body weight in fluid oz of water per day, not including sweat lost during workouts.
  7. Keep a food journal – write down everything you eat or use one of the on-line apps to track your daily calories.  This way you can see where you need to cut down or improve your choices.
  8. Stay away from trigger foods – These are the foods that you KNOW once you start eating, it’s hard to stop.  Get them out of your cupboards, and replace with healthy alternatives that will not tempt you to overeat.
  9. Do more cooking – There is no getting away from it, if you want to eat better and healthier you will need to spend more time in the kitchen preparing food.  There are some quick and easy cheats you can use if your schedule is super busy, but some cooking will need to become a part of your weekly schedule.  Maybe take a morning over the weekend to prepare some foods you can eat the next week.  For example, one big vegetable frittata can last for a whole week of breakfasts.
  10. Swap breakfast and dinner – If you are really serious about losing weight and kick starting your diet, swap your dinner and your breakfast.  We usually eat a pretty small breakfast and a much larger dinner.   If we do the opposite, and eat very little last thing at night, I guarantee the pounds will begin to shift.


Daily servings suggested and some ideas with calorie counts:

3 servings of grains.

  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice. 214 calories
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread.  65 calories.
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla 160 calories
  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal.  145 calories

5-7 servings vegetables:

  • 1 cup of kale. 34 calories
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli. 31calories
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce. 16 calories
  • 1 tomato. 22 calories
  • 1 cup cucumbers 16 calories
  • 1 cup of raw carrots.   52 calories
  • 1 cup red pepper  39 calories
  • 1 medium sweet potato   112 cal or
  • 2 med red potatoes 153 cals each

2 fruits:

  • 1 apple 72 calories
  • 1 banana 105 calories.
  • 1 half avocado  165 calories (15g fat)

2 Servings dairy

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup of non fat Greek yogurt. 150 calories. Or kefir 170 cals
  • Or 1 cup almond milk 40 calories

5 servings protein

  • 1 cup cooked ground turkey 296 calories
  • 8oz salmon. 256 calories.
  • 1/4 cup uncooked =  1 servings. 170 calories. Or
  • 5oz chicken breast


  • 1/4 cup hummus. 109 calories

Fats 4t

1T Olive oil. 119

1T Coconuts oil 118 calories

1T peanut butter   94 calories


A Sample Meal plan with calorie count:

Option 1:

Prior to eating breakfast, try starting your day with a large glass of warm water with a lemon squeezed into it.  This promotes weight loss, helps flush your body and gets you started hydrating first thing.

Breakfast:  The most important meal of the day!  I like to start the day by incorporating as many food groups as I can, specifically focusing on raw vegetables.

  • breakfast1 slice whole wheat toast  80-110 calories depending on brand.
  • 1/4 avocado – spread on the toast – 50 calories
  • 1 oz smoked salmon – 33 calories
  • 1 egg – 70 calories
  • 1 cup raw spinach – 8 calories
  • 1/2 cup sprouts – 10 calories
  • 1 tomato – 33 calories
  • 1/2 cup cucumber – 8 calories

Total Calories here is just over 300.  I add a banana which is an additional 80 calories.

Snack:    Carrots w/ 1/4 cup hummus. 160 calories

Lunch:   Salad with quinoa and salmon.  approximately 550 calories

Snack:   1 cup of Non fat Greek yogurt 150 calories


  • Ground turkey w/sweet potato and broccoli 435 calories
  • Dessert:  apple 80 calories

 Total Calories:  approximately 1755

Option 2:

Breakfast:  2 cups oatmeal w/T honey and almond milk. 370 calories

Snack:  1/4 cup nuts 200 calories

Lunch:  Salad w/4oz salmon and 1 egg 1 T olive oil – 430 calories

Snack:  Apple w/1T peanut butter. 155 calories


  • 6 oz Chicken breast 280 calories
  • 1 cup rice 250 calories
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli. 31
  • Total = 560 calories

1700 Total Calories

Healthy Daily Habits

Healthy Daily Habits

Over the past few years I have developed some good daily habits, that work well for me, and that I thought might be valuable to share.  I have included some alternatives as well as some additional suggestions so you can choose those things that you feel might work for you.

The important word here is ‘habit’.  Doing something once in awhile when we feel like it or when inspiration hits is one thing, but unless you incorporate it into your regular daily routine, the result is limited to non existent.


Start your day with a glass of warm lemon water

Drinking water first thing in the morning is a great way to pre-hydrate apart from anything else.  Many of us find it challenging to drink enough water during the day, so starting with a large glass first thing hydrates your body up front.  I use fresh organic lemons and just squeeze one into a 22oz glass of filtered water, then warm it up.

Lemon contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Researchers think these bioflavonoids are responsible for the health benefits of lemon.


Benefits of lemon water:

  • Hydration.
  • Lemons are rich in Vitamin C which will help to boost your immune system and protect you from illness.
  • Helps to flush out the toxins in your system.
  • It helps the digestive system.
  • Lemons are a good source of potassium, magnesium, citric acid and phosphorus.
  • The potassium content in lemons help nourish the brain and nerve cells.
  • Lemon juice helps replenish the body after working out.
  • The pectin fiber contained in lemons is good for colon health.
  • Helps the health of your blood vessels
  • Helps increase urination to decrease fluid retention
  • Helps ward off or cure UTIs

For more good information on the benefits of lemon water, go to:

Eat a really good healthy breakfast


If you are serious about being healthy and losing weight, it is super important that your morning routine not only includes water (or better yet lemon water), but that you set yourself up with a good nutritious breakfast.  Studies show that people who eat breakfast weigh less than those who skip breakfast.

Benefits of a good breakfast:

  • Kick starts your metabolism
  • It will give you more energy throughout the day
  • It will improve your performance and concentration throughout the day
  • You will have energy to engage in physical activity
  • Helps with weight control

Suggestions for a good healthy breakfast:

I have the same thing every day with some small deviations in some of my breakfast vegetables (yes, I did say breakfast vegetables, you heard right!!).

I have a pile of spinach, a whole tomato, several slices of cucumber, a pile of sprouts (mung beans, or pea shoots or alfalfa or a combo).

To this I add a slice of organic whole wheat toast, spread with a little cream cheese, and topped with 1/4 avocado, a slice of wild smoked salmon and an egg.

After this I eat a banana and drink a cup of tea (I am British after all… I like Barry’s Irish Tea)

That’s my breakfast, but there are other options:

  • 1 cup oatmeal made with almond milk and sweetened with fruit and a little honey, with one slice of whole grain toast spread with a tablespoon of peanut or other nut butter
  • 2 cups oatmeal made with almond milk and topped with fresh, frozen or dried fruit
  • 2 egg vegetable omelette.
  • 1 slice wholegrain toast spread with nut butter and topped with a banana.
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt topped with fresh or frozen fruit, 1 slice of wheat toast

Oil Pulling


I take 20 minutes twice a day to whiten and clean my teeth and mouth with a tablespoon of coconut oil.  Not all dentists will recognize this as something beneficial, but my dentist does (Groton Wellness).

The following quote is taken from the WebMD site (, showing that Oil pulling does have some studies and history to support it’s use:

By Colleen Oakley

WebMD Magazine – Feature

Reviewed by Eric Yabu, DDS

Maybe you’ve seen something about it on the Internet, or a friend of a friend swears by it — but you’re not sure exactly what it is. Oil pulling is a growing trend, but it’s not new.

“This oral therapy is a type of Ayurvedic medicine [a traditional Indian system] that dates back 3,000 years,” says Jessica T. Emery, DMD, owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago. “It involves swishing approximately 1 tablespoon of oil — typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil — in your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spitting it out.”

Unlike some so-called natural home remedies, it’s not a practice that’s based on pseudo-science. Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. How? “Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell,” Emery says. “Cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.”

Oil-Pulling Tips

Use coconut oil. While you can get the same bacteria-fighting benefits with sesame or sunflower oil, coconut oil has the added benefit of lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents, Emery says, making it more effective. Also, a recent study found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay.



No matter what your schedule, you need to find some time during 6 out of 7 days in the week to exercise.  If you work in an office and are sitting all day, it’s important to get up and walk around regularly, stretch and just move your body.  Use the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away so you have more of a walk to get to your office.  Do whatever you can to ensure your day is not entirely sedentary.

Ideally you should set time aside to work out.  Try and incorporate this into your daily routine.  After all, we can all find time to do the things we really want or need to do ie. eat, watch TV, get your hair and/or nails done.  If you don’t incorporate it into your daily routine, it will never become a ‘habit’ and you will easily miss out on something your body desperately needs.  Here are some examples of ways to incorporate exercise into your life.

  • Join a gym
  • Commit to work with a trainer
  • Sign up for local fitness classes
  • Find a friend to take a walk or run with you during lunch
  • Use the stairs not the elevator
  • Ride a bike to get to places in your town
  • Play a sport
  • Join a sports club i.e.. tennis, racquetball
  • Sign up for on-line fitness classes such as daily burn or beachbody live


Recognize from the list above, what will work for you.  You want to try to pick a variety of activities that will cover: cardio, strength and stretching.

Remember that if you do the same thing over and over, you will burn less and less calories doing it, so in order to keep progressing in your exercise routine, switch things up on a regular basis.  A good trainer will help you do this as well as give you routines that you can do at home.

Here is a list of some of the benefits of daily exercise:

  • Increases your metabolism
  • Burns calories
  • Helps to prevent and cure many types of illnesses
  • Helps control stress
  • Increases your sense of well being
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases bone density which decreases as you age
  • Strengthens muscles which improves quality of life
  • Strengthens the heart which improves quality of life
  • Controls weight
  • Helps combat depression


Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can lead to so many health issues, and its so important to get a good 6-8 hours each night.  Exercise will help improve sleep patterns for those who have difficulty.  Late night snacking and excessive drinking will do the opposite.  Try to stop eating and drinking by 7pm.  That way you will maximize your chances of a good night’s sleep, and avoid the ultimate weight gain that comes with late night snacking.


For more information on healthy ways to improve your sleep visit:

So, I have shared a few of the things I do daily that are positive.  Please feel free to use the comment box to share daily habits you have adopted and found to be healthy and positive for you and those around you.

Conquer your Unhealthy Habits

Conquer your unhealthy habits

Next time:  Adding healthy habits to your daily life

Our health is, for the most part, in our hands. The choices we make each day will have an effect on our health.  Here are a few examples of daily choices that, over a period of years, will eventually result in you becoming sick and unhealthy.  Starting with the most obvious and then going into a few you may not think about.


  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not exercising
  • Not drinking enough water 
  • Drinking soda regularly
  • Overeating
  • Eating too much sugar
  • Eating too many prepared and processed foods
  • Sun – too much or too little
  • Using tanning beds
  • Using chemical hair, skin and dental products
  • Stress
  • Negativity 

Our health is not just about our body, in fact our body can reflect issues we have mentally and spiritually.  Its a proven fact that stress, for example, can cause actual physical illness.  We have to maintain ourselves as a whole person, and only then will we be able to lead lives that are as happy, healthy and fulfilling as they can be.

Slowly swapping out bad habits for good ones will be a process.  Take it in bite size chunks, one at a time.  Give yourself a realistic time period to accomplish the swap out.  Here are a few practical tips:

Smoking.  If you smoke, that should be the first thing you work on.    See below for the many health risks. Here is a good link if you are looking for ways to quit:     pasted-image-2

Alcohol is not unhealthy in moderation, unless you have alcoholism in your family.  It can be both a medicine and a poison depending on the dose.  Moderate alcohol is known to be good for the heart and the circulatory system, while overconsumption is associated with inflammation and cirrhosis of the liver as well as several types of cancer.  For more detail on the health benefits and risks of alcohol go to:

Lack of exercise.  The most common excuse I hear from people is the lack of time to work out.  Many of my clients meet with me specifically so they have accountability, and to ensure that they work out regularly.  They know I’m going to check in with them to be  sure they are pasted-image-3getting more than just our workout in during the week.  If a trainer is not possible for you, start by moving more, walking further, parking farther away from places.  Take the stairs and not the elevator.  Start small and increase gradually, keep a log so you can see the improvement.  Check out my workout page for some easy ideas for working out at home.

Not drinking enough watpasted-image-4er.   We each need about half our body weight in fluid oz of water daily.  This is the best visual image of why
water is so important that I found.  It’s an easy change to make, keep a bottle with you,  replace consumption of a sugary drink with a refreshing glass of water.

Drinking Soda.  Slowly replace soda with a healthier choice, could be herb tea with honey, or water  with cucumber or lemon.  Diet soda is not better as it contains harmful chemical sweeteners.  Here is some further reading on why it’s so important to avoid soda:  pasted-image

Overeating.  Many people overeat on a daily basis.  Treating food as an emotional comfort, or as a reward is part of the reason.  We need to take the emotipasted-image-5on out of eating, and see it as providing fuel and nutrition for our bodies.  Try finding a different habit to comfort you when things don’t go as planned, or a different reward when things go well.  This will be a big step in the right direction.  Diets can provide a short term solution, but unless you change the way you eat long term, eventually when the diet ends you will resume old habits and gain the weight back again.  Slowly purge your pantry of ‘trigger’ foods, those you can’t stop eating, and incorporate healthier choices.  For more on this topic go to the ‘Change the way you eat’ page of this site.

Eating too much sugar  This goes with the last one.  If you can’t eat sugar in moderation, try to stay away from it.  The only safe substitute sweetener that’s low calorie is Stevia which comes from a plant.  Honey, maple syrup and molasses are marginally better nutritionally but still have lots of calories.

Eating too many prepared or processed foods  Simple answer…. cook more.  Try to carve out some time to prepare your food from scratch, see the recipes section of this site for some great ideas.

Sun – too much or too little  Obviously one has to be careful about sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin.  But too little sun can lead to a vitamin D deficiency which can lead to health issues such as osteoporosis.  Many of the sunscreens out there contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals, so I make my own.  See my beauty recipes page for some tips.  Its best to avoid summer sun from 11am-2pm when it is the strongest, and to limit exposure.

Using tanning beds Cancer, premature aging, Immune suppression and eye damage to name but a few.  For more information go to:

Using chemical hair, skin and dental products  This may be something you don’t consider when assessing your choices health wise.  However, there are many harmful chemicals in the beauty products that we use daily.  Try reading the ingredients and look them up.  There are natural alternatives you can purchase or if you have the time and energy, you can make your own.  See my ‘Home made beauty products’ page for some recipes.pasted-image-2

Stress  If you can identify stressful situations that currently exist in your life, then perhaps you can make a commitment to yourself to remove the stress.  Studies prove that too much stress can make you physically ill if not dealt with.  ie. either ‘let it go’ if it’s something you are just stressing over.  Or perhaps its stress at work, in which case adopting a different mind set could work.  For some practical tips on dealing with stress check out this link:

Negativity  Do you find yourself thinking the glass is half empty rather than half full? Negativity and a negative self image can really get in the way of your journey toward a healthier, happier life.  Turning those negative thought processes around is imperative if you are going to be successful.  I found this article interesting in strategies to deal with negativity, be it your own or those around you:


Article on Dehydration

Article on Dehydration

This article is from

How to test whether a simple home remedy for dehydration can help relieve your rheumatoid arthritis pain

Before I give you the simple home remedy for dehydration that has helped relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain, let’s first review:

How water helps your normal joints work.

A joint is a place where two bones meet so your body can move. The bone surfaces are covered with cartilage which is a semi-soft tissue like that found in your nose.

In order for your two cartilage surfaces to glide easily over one another, the cartilage needs to be full of fluid—so its surfaces are smooth.

If your body or your cartilage is a little low in water, your cartilage surfaces will become dimpled, like the wrinkled skin of an old apple. Two wrinkled cartilage surfaces in your joint will not glide over each other very easily. They will rub, and stick to each other. You’ll get a mild abrasion on your cartilage, like a skin scrape from falling down and more. You’ll feel better and move more gracefully when your joints have enough water.

Dehydration may be a major trigger for the start of arthritis.

Many chronic and acute signals of dehydration were discovered in a stress filled environment in Iran by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj.

In his book, “You’re not sick, You’re thirsty!”, he describes many very painful conditions that he healed solely by having patients drink more water,

He proposed that dehydration is a major trigger for your rheumatoid arthritis.

His theory opens a new perspective on a cause and potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Here are additional aspects of your life that improve by drinking optimal amounts of water:

  1. Promotes easy weight loss,
  2. Relieves heartburn, and constipation,
  3. Improves food digestion and nutrient absorption,
  4. Enhances germ fighting ability of immune system,
  5. Catch fewer colds, flu and other infections,
  6. Improves memory and clearer thinking,
  7. Restores normal sleep patterns,
  8. Increases your ability to reach goals,
  9. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression,
  10. Makes skin smoother,
  11. Gives luster and shine to the eyes,
  12. Gives higher energy,
  13. 13. Washes out toxic deposits in tissues,
  14. Improves flexibility,
  15. Normalizes blood pressure and cholesterol,
  16. Increases libido,and more.

Could your rheumatoid arthritis pain– and the rest of your body– be signaling that you’re thirsty?

A home remedy for dehydration and your pains would be to recognize and quench your thirst.

Signals of thirst

When your joints hurt, you may not feel thirsty.

Unfortunately, many of us, probably you, may not be able to tell apart the signals for thirst from hunger because we weren’t usually taught this as children.

A dry mouth is a signal of extreme thirst. Low energy, irritability, and pain are all signals of thirst.

In addition, your ability to sense thirst diminishes as we age. In fact, a clinical study showed that elder men had lost most of their recognition of thirst.

The optimal amount of water and sea salt

You, like me, can only use the water we drink today.

Each and every day, you use up approx. 56-64 oz. of water in your daily life by breathing, eating, perspiring, moving, and removing wastes. In other words, you use up 7-8 glasses (8 oz. each) of water.

In addition, some beverages –like coffee, tea, and caffeine containing soda –cause your body to excrete more fluid than the beverage that you just drank.

Other beverages like milk and juice require water to digest (just like food). Otherwise, your blood and lymph becomes fuller as it picks up the digested nutrients.

This is why you should only count the amount of water you drink.

How many 8 oz glasses of water do you drink each day? (This does not include coffee, tea, soda, juice, milk or any colored, flavored fluid.)

  • a) none
  • b) 1-2 glasses
  • c) 3-4 glasses
  • d) 5-8 glasses
  • e) 9 or more

For a simple home remedy for dehydration, let’s compare how many glasses of water you drink now with how many Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends.

Simple Home Remedy for Dehydration:

To figure out how much you need to drink, Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends 1 oz of water for every 2 lbs. or 0.9 kg of body weight in his home remedy for dehydration.

So, if you weigh 125 lbs. (57 kg), Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends that you drink at least 7-8 glasses (1.75- 2 liters) of refreshing water each day with a ½ teaspoon of sea salt to replenish your lost salt in sweat, etc.

Or if you weigh 200 lbs.(91 kg), he recommends that you drink 12-13 glasses of water (3-3.1 liters ) and eat 2/3 teaspoon of sea salt in your foods each day.

If you exercise and sweat a lot, then he recommends that you drink 2-4 glasses more with a couple of extra pinches of sea salt.

However, it may be easier to remember to drink 2 glasses (8 oz each) of water approx. 30 min before each meal and drink 1 glass of water approx 1 ½ hr after each meal.

Dr. F. Batmanghelidj notes that he has even observed patients who are taking diuretics, improve with his water and sea salt regimen.

As with all changes, it is often good to begin changes gradually. For example, you could choose to begin drinking 1 extra glass of water approx 30 min before each meal in addition to your regular water for several days and then increase it.

When you are drinking optimal water, it’s also important to ingest enough minerals, like sea salt.

Sea salt is essential for your healthy life. It contains about eighty mineral elements that the body needs.

Trace minereals are vital for many essential functions. The minerals in sea salt improve brain performance, bone health, muscle tone, circulation, kidney excretion, digestion and lung functions.

One of the easiest ways to savor sea salt is to season your food with it.

How much sea salt do you eat each day on average?

  • a) none
  • b) less than 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • c) 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • d) ¼ – ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • e) more than ½ teaspoon sea salt

Sea salt can be in your food or taken as a little dab placed on your tongue each time you drink 2 glasses of water. After drinking the first glass of water, put a pinch of sea salt on your tongue—it tastes salty but ok. Then drink the second glass of pure refreshing water.

Note, if you eat many salty foods, then you may be getting enough salt.

However, sea salt or salt found naturally in foods contains many other minerals essential for your healthy body.

Since I’ve been following this home remedy for dehydration, which is based on Dr. Batmanghelidj’s water cure program, my knees don’t creak. It certainly helps and combined with the additional approaches has given me more energy, more strength, more clarity, and more joy de vivre! You’d probably enjoy the same or more benefits.

When you’re drinking more water, the color of your urine will become paler. When you’re drinking the optimal amount of water and ingesting sea salt, your urine will be a very pale yellow.

For further details, you may want to purchase one of Dr. Batmanghelidj’s books, “You’re not sick, You’re thirsty! Water for Health, for Healing, for Life”, or “Your Bodies Many Cries for Water, or “How to Deal With Back Pain or Rheumatoid Joint Pain”.

If you are concerned about your water or you’d prefer a better tasting water, check out reviews of different bottled waters, water purifiers and water filters.

You can find several brands of sea salt in health food stores. Just read the label. Some contain sugar (dextrose) and other additives. My favorite sea salt is Redmond’s Sea Salt.

In addition, most sea salt is not iodized so include a source of iodine such as deep sea fish, or kelp in your diet.

Although increasing water consumption while taking small amounts of sea salt has not induced any reports of negative, side effects, it may be prudent to consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have any kidney problems.

Please note that the information on this website  ( is a sharing of information and knowledge from the research and experience of Dr. Molnar-Kimber and her community. It is not intended to diagnose nor treat any disease or precondition nor replace your one on one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It also is not intended to be medical advice. However, it is often observed that patients who take a major interest in their disease and learn as much as they can about their disease and potential treatments often improve faster than those who don’t. Dr. Molnar-Kimber encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and discussions with your qualified health care professional.