Blog Posts by Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

  • User post: A Snack for the Long Haul

    When looking for a snack, you are often forced to find a sweet snack or a salty snack. Depending on your taste buds, having to choose one over the other can be a bit limiting. So, when I was asked to try Sahale Snack's Glazed nuts, I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet-salty mixture that satisfied both my salt-hound tendencies, as well as my sweet tooth.

    Sahale Snacks was started by two Climbers who felt the trail mixes they noshed on during a climb of Mt. Rainier were rather uninspiring. Wanting something more, they decided to create snacks that used whole foods, avoided processed and artificial ingredients, yet incorporated a bit of "culinary magic." So what can you look forward to if you take Sahale on a climb of your own?

    1. Unique Flavor: Their Glazed Nut Products come in three flavors: Almond PB&J, Almonds with Cranberries, Honey and Sea Salt, and Cashews with Pomegranate and Vanilla. All three flavors are unique, but the Almond PB&J, which is made with peanuts and
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  • 4 Cheap ways to get your spa on

    Chances are that a lot of us have been cutting back on our spending in areas that seem "unnecessary" or "luxurious". Makes sense: Budgets are tighter...economy is up in the air...and saving is a higher priority. So more likely than not, a trip to the spa is not in the offing too soon, or at least not as regularly as it used to be.

    Going to the spa, however, provides a lot of benefits beyond the touchy-feely stuff. Getting a massage , or even a facial, can provide benefits of relaxation, stress release and flushing of toxins. The mind-body benefits are hard to argue. As a result, if you can't get to the spa, try making spa a part of your life at home. It is cheap, fun and rewarding. Here are a few ways to indulge and decompress:

    1. Home Hydrotherapy: I talk about bathes a lot. The truth is, they can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing. They also can help your muscles loosen, letting go of the tension that builds up on a daily basis. Use bath oils to help curb dehydration of
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  • Optimal exercise order: Get the most out of your workout

    A lot of people choose to go to the gym only a few days a week, but when they go, they cram in several activities - cardio, strength training and abs - into their session. There is nothing wrong with this...especially if you can only get to the gym a few days a week.

    To ensure you are getting the most out of your workout, however, it is good practice to follow a certain order to ensure safety and maximized effectiveness. Below is an optimal order:

    1. 5 minute warm up and stretching
    2. Abdominal Exercises
    3. Strength Training
    4. Cardiovascular / Aerobic Training
    5. 3 minute Cool Down and stretching

    Here is why:

    1. Warm Up and Stretching: This warms up your body by increasing blood flow to the muscles that you will be working, warming up your joints and increasing your heart rate and body temperature…all helping to prevent injury, improve flexibility and prepare your body for the exercises to come. First do your warm-up and then
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  • Blueberries...5 reasons to enjoy

    Not too long ago, my mom served a wonderful salad with a healthy dose of blueberries. It was unexpected. Sure, I've had and love fruit in my salad...but I've never had blueberries, specifically, as a salad ingredient. The recipe is pretty easy, and I've found myself replicating it several times throughout the summer for dinner parties.

    At this time of year, especially, blueberries are in season. And when they are in season, they are that much sweeter. Beyond taste, however, they offer up a ton of nutritional and health benefits:

    1. Antioxidants Powerhouse: In a study at Tufts University, 60 fruits and vegetables were analyzed for their antioxidant factor. Blueberries won in its ability to destroy free radicals. Specifically, blueberries contain anthocyanidins, which help fight multiple health issues, including cataracts, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and cancer.
    2. Digestive Defense: Because they are high in fiber, blueberries help keep your digestive tract regular, relieving
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  • 3 Reasons weight-loss challenges fail

    My friend Heather was recently part of her office's weight loss challenge. When she signed up, she felt the in-office 'Biggest Loser' competition was exactly the motivation she needed to lose the extra 15 pounds she had been fighting with for some time.

    On the first day of the competition, all the participants 'weighed-in' and set a weight loss goal for the next two months. The only requirement of the challenge was that each participant come in for weekly weigh-ins. Heather set her goal to be a loss of fifteen pounds and enthusiastically threw herself into a healthy eating plan and exercise regimen.

    At the end of the competition, Heather was devastated and felt as though she failed: She only lost 10 pounds. Heather was so caught up in the number on the scale that she lost sight of all that she had achieved over the course of the two month challenge.

    Unfortunately, weight loss challenges often fall short if they aren't planned or managed properly. Here are three mistakes

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  • Would you want to know if you might get cancer or Alzheimers?

    As medicine continues to advance, so does the testing that becomes available to consumers. I'm not talking about typical lab-work, I'm talking about genetic testing.

    Companies, such as Navigenics*, promises consumers an analysis of their "DNA for genetic risk markers associated with a wide variety of important health conditions." Specifically, they claim they can predict your likelihood of developing Alzheimers, various cancers (Breast, colon, lung, prostate and stomach), multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, just to name a few. They also test for some more benign disorders, including: lactose intolerance and psoriasis.

    The concept of getting tested for your risk of getting a disease may sound very appealing (After all, if you could find out if you are at risk for a disease and then take action to prevent its onset, why wouldn't you?) The cons, however, seem to outweigh the benefits:


    1. Accuracy: Many of the tests are not definitively accurate. Further, the tests
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  • 7 Reasons you want body fat

    When I counsel people in health or wellness, I'm always the first to encourage them to lose body fat and gain muscle. The benefits are enormous. Having lean body mass (muscles) helps our metabolisms stay in high gear, keeps our bones strong, prevents injuries, and wards off disease, including osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, back pain and high blood pressure. And lets face it, toned and strong muscles look a heck of a lot better than fat and flab.

    But, what if I were to tell you that having body fat is ALSO important? Yep...if you are obsessed with losing every ounce of body fat, you might want to think twice. Essential body fat is needed for the body to function normally and healthily, while storage fat is the fat that lies just under the skin. Both types, however, are important to your health.

    Here are reasons why you should aim to maintain healthy levels of body fat:

    1. Insulation: Okay, you may have already guessed this one: Fat is important in insulating our
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  • Yes...Obesity impacts our healthcare system costs

    The annual health care spend for obesity related disease and health issues has doubled to a whopping $147 Billion in 2008 from $78.5 Billion in 1998. With TV shows like the Biggest Loser and More to Love, it is apparent that obesity and weight issues among the US population are becoming more common. To be specific, 2/3 of our population falls into the overweight category with 1/3 of our population falling into the 'obese' category.

    Many overweight individuals defend their weight and will state that they are unfairly treated because they do not fall within a weight range that the public deems acceptable. Further, some will even go so far to say that their weight is not the concern of anyone else but themselves.

    In these economic times, however, when we are deliberating day after day about the health care system and who will pay for what, I have to ask, isn't it our concern?

    This morning, a newscaster on CNN used the phrase 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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  • User post: Avocado: More than just a guacamole ingredient

    When summer is in full swing, it is hard to resist the temptation of fresh made guacamole. I'm a sucker for it. The wonderful combination of avocado, tomato, onion, salt and lime is like heaven in a dip. And, with avocado as its main ingredient, there are a lot of healthy reasons to dig in.

    Avocados are native to climates where the temperature stays warm year round. Some say that it is the most nutritious fruit, as it contains protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and a whopping dose of fiber. Here are some health benefits that avocados provide:

    1. Heart Disease: A rich source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, avocados reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
    2. Cancer Fighter: Avocados have been used in both the prevention and treatment of prostate and breast cancers. Scientists have determined that avocados contain a cancer fighting toxin.
    3. Anti-Aging: Rich in antioxidants, avocados fight free-radicals known to age our skin. Not
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  • Should you invest in a personal trainer?

    If you are trying to lose weight or get into shape, you may have considered hiring a personal trainer. Unfortunately, I've seen many people waste their money on personal trainers, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars, only to see very little improvement or give up.

    There are two things that influence the success of a personal training program: 1) The Personal Trainer and 2) You. If both people aren't properly invested, working with a personal trainer is as good as getting a car wash on a rainy day. So, if sessions with a Personal Trainer seem appealing, consider the following:

    1. The Personal Trainer: If a personal trainer doesn't take his or her job seriously, there is a good chance you are going to spend a lot of money for very little return. Here are five key things you want to understand about your potential personal trainer:

    • Credentials: There are a variety of organizations that certify individuals as personal trainers. For a little money and time, the
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