Blog Posts by Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

  • Healthiest and unhealthiest options at a restaurant

    Weekends are, by far, my 'splurge' time. I really look forward to eating out at our favorite restaurants; enjoying time with friends and family, while indulging in some epicurean delights. That said, eating out at restaurants more often than not can do damage to a healthy diet. This isn't only true for those trying to lose weight, but also for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    Fact is, even those dishes that 'appear' healthy on the menu, often come with hidden ingredients like butter and oils that can take a seemingly healthy dish and turn it into a calorie and fat intensive meal.

    So how can you ensure your choices while eating out are healthy? Here is a quick guide of foods you should stick with when you navigate the restaurant menu:

    1. Salads: Salads can be very healthy...and they can also be devastatingly unhealthy. Here's how to ensure that they are the healthful meal you are looking for:


    - Salads with fruit, veggies, beans and lean protein,

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  • 6 Tips to get a good night sleep in a hotel

    When we travel, whether for business or for pleasure, a hotel stay can make or break our trip. Traveling in itself can easily throw off our systems, and as a result, getting a good night sleep is crucial to our ability to be productive (as in the case of business travel), to overcome jet lag, to limit stress and ultimately, to stay in balance.

    As a frequent traveler, I'm a bit picky about where I crash for the night. I've racked up millions of points on various hotel brands, and as a result, have developed the 'perfect night sleep' checklist:

    1. Location, Location, Location: The location of your room is one of the most important aspects to getting a good night sleep. Why? Because certain locations will most definitely be noisier than others, easily disturbing you from a deep sleep slumber.
      • Which Floor: When possible, choose the highest floor. If you can't get the highest, then try to get on a floor that is a 'concierge' or 'suite' level. Higher floor levels often
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  • 12 most unhealthy beauty ingredients

    Are your beauty products doing more harm than good? Today, there are tons of beauty products on the market, all touting miracle worthy results. Whether the product erases fine lines, plumps lips or makes skin appear younger, you can bet there is a skin care product that promises to take care of those unsightly 'imperfections.' Unfortunately, some of the same products that claims these results can also do great damage to your skin and your health.

    Truth be told, the FDA doesn't approve beauty products. And, many beauty products contain ingredients that are less than healthy for you. Many ingredients used by the beauty industry are manufactured, are synthesized in a laboratory or are toxic...none of which are great for your skin.

    Here is a list of ingredients worth avoiding:
    1. Benzoyl Peroxide
    2. Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA, Triethanolamine (TEA)
    3. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (DLS)
    4. DMDM Hydantoin & Imidazolidinyl Urea
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  • Nutrition in your 30s and beyond

    If you are in your 30s, 40s or older, you may have noticed that it has become a bit harder to keep off weight. Why? Because our metabolisms slow with age, and for many of us, 30 marks the beginning of that change. In our 30s, we also go through other transformations: we start to lose bone mass, we may start seeing other medical issues pop-up and yes, aging starts to show. Why do all of these changes start in our 30s? Because our bodies start to reduce production of certain hormones that are important in preserving muscle mass...which is KEY to having a higher metabolism and keeping off weight. Further, in our 30s we have more stress and responsibilities, all while having less time to prioritize ourselves.

    Lisa Drayer, M.A., R.D. addresses all of these issues in her book Strong, Slim, and 30! As a Registered Dietitian, she has encountered hundreds of women who struggle with weight loss, reduced energy and other health issues as a result of hitting the big 3-0. In Strong, Slim,

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  • Do you celebrate your accomplishments?

    Ever since I can remember, I was always goal setting. Whether it was competing for first chair in the high school band or getting into the college of my choice or raising funds for a thesis in a third world country, goals have always been a big part of my life. I have always been the type of person who would put my mind to something, achieve it and then would quickly move on to setting and achieving my next goal.

    Hmmm...did you notice the ever so tiny missing part of this cycle? You guessed it, there was no step between achieving it' and 'then moving on.' Recently, it has become clear to me that I have never spent much time celebrating my accomplishments. Sure, there is always a little 'Woohoo!' expressed or a dinner with a toast, but once the next day arrives, I move on as if nothing special ever happened.

    Recently, this pattern repeated itself when I received my architecture license. You aren't officially considered 'an architect' until you get your license, which requires

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  • 10 Reasons worshipping the sun is actually healthy for you

    If you happen to live in the Northeast, you probably have felt as though you have been mysteriously transplanted to the Northwest. With a good portion of the Northeast plagued by rain for what seems like a small eternity, it is no wonder. This last Saturday, however, we managed to get a day's reprieve with the sun poking its head through the clouds for several hours. It felt like a small gift from heaven.

    Sunny days really do have a tremendous impact on us. We perk up. We feel better. We feel more motivated to be out and about. It feels SO much better to basque in the sun than to hide out from the rain. Granted, too much sun exposure can potentially be harmful in regards to aging and skin cancer, but exposure to the sun also provides enormous health benefits:

    1. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be synthesized in the skin through a photosynthetic reaction triggered by exposure to UVB radiation. Vitamin D, specifically, is important for immune response, mood
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  • Do we live too long?

    Every morning, NBC's Today Show wishes a slew of centenarians a big ol' Happy Birthday. To do it up right, they slap a picture of each 100+ something on a Smucker's Preserves Label, with a listing of their name, age and hometown. Impressively, Willard Scott, the Today Show's Centenarian Birthday Spokesperson, gets many more requests than he can fulfill on the air. OK, never mind the irony in the use of a 'Preserves' label to frame the Birthday girl or boy, but this daily episode always gets me thinking: Are we living too long?

    There are two things that come into play here...cost and quality of life:

    1. The Cost Factor:

    Not long ago, I wrote an entry asking the question, 'Is Medicine the Culprit of Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices? There was great commentary, some of which started a separate discussion around health care costs. The following was posed: Are unhealthy decisions really that much more costly when those who are healthier, are living twice as long? Doesn't the

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  • Why eating like a kid doesn't work

    When I was a child, we ate pretty healthy in our household. We had well-balanced meals that included vegetables, fruit, grains and lean protein. However, we also had our indulgences.

    Although all of us enjoyed each others' guilty pleasures, each of us had our personal favorites. If you were to ask my mom, her weakness was Lay's Potato Chips. By nature, she always craved savory foods over sweet foods. If you were to ask my dad, he probably would have said chocolate ice cream, as he craved sweets. And although I loved chocolate ice cream and potato chips (especially dipped in ketchup - don't ask), I had a terrible weakness for Double Stuf Oreos and Chips Ahoy cookies with a big glass of milk.

    Back then, I could down a whole sleeve of Chips Ahoy cookies (that was 6 1/2 servings of the little devils!) or 1/2 a package of Double Stuf, without much thought. Today, however, those moments of eating a few of these cookies, let alone a half a package, comes few and far between. Here's

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  • User post: July 4th: Black bean salsa

    Just in time for July 4th! This tasty salsa goes great with barbecue, and will hold off the hunger pains as guests wait for their hot dogs and hamburgers. This salsa is filling and will satisfy even the most discerning taste buds. It is loaded with fiber and protein. Serve it with baked tortilla chips or pita chips for a low-fat option.


    • 1 15 oz. can black beans
    • 1 ripe tomato
    • 1/2 avocado diced
    • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
    • 1/3 cup minced red onion
    • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
    • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • Pepper to taste
    • Salt to taste
    • Tabasco sauce
    Put the black beans in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly. Shake them to get rid of excess water. Place them in a mixing bowl. Core and seed the tomatoes. Finely chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl with the beans. Stir in the celery, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, vinegar, oilRead More »from User post: July 4th: Black bean salsa
  • User Post: The best secret to weight loss

    When I started teaching aerobics classes in college, I mostly taught the then-popular typical classes of Step, Double Step, Hi/Lo Impact and Abdominal classes. After college, however, I started teaching a class called Body Pump at Bally's Total Fitness.

    Body Pump went beyond body sculpting and incorporated strength training with REAL weights (we actually used barbells, not dumbbells). It would involve a circuit of exercises that would target all major muscle groups for a full hour. This was when my love affair with weight training began. After teaching the class for a couple of months, I started to see my body transform into a leaner, more sculpted one. I fell in love with the muscles I developed and felt sexier and stronger. Today, although I'm not teaching anymore, weight training is core to my exercise regimen.

    When I see women and men running endlessly on the treadmill and then complain that they don't look the way they want, the first thing I tell them is that they are

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