Blog Posts by Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

  • When Water really Isn't Water

    Water

    Call me crazy, but to me, water is just that..water. And for that matter, it has always been water. It is a resource. It is a pure, natural element. Yet, consumer product companies are doing an incredible job taking huge liberties with 'water' by adding several ingredients to it and selling it back to the consumer as none other than...water.

    In my mind, once you start adding multiple ingredients to water, it just isn't water anymore. It is a 'drink'. Yet, a lot of people drink products like 'Vitamin Water', 'Life Water' and 'Propel Water', believing that they are a form of good ol' fashioned water. Although you could argue that they have some nutritional benefits, such as added vitamins, they also have ingredients that make them less than nutritious and full of empty calories.

    Let's put aside the ethics of consumer product companies misleading consumers by disguising something and selling it as something else. Instead, let's look at the situation from a more analytical

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  • 5 Reasons to Never Return to a Spa

    Going to a spa can be a wonderful experience. It is also a great way to bring balance into your life. Massages on a regular basis help to eleviate stress and tension, while facials provide a great foundation to maintain and promote beautiful, youthful skin. That said, throughout my work in the industry, I've experienced and heard about all aspects of a spa experience: what works, what doesn't and what makes one go back for more. Here are some reasons that warrant you never returning to a spa:

    1. Dirty Dungeon: Under absolutely no circumstances should you ever accept a dirty spa. Spas should be very clean...all the way from the locker rooms to the linens and towels you use. Everything from the nail clippers to the massage tables should be clean and free from mold, dirt, bacteria, etc. Not to say you want a sterile 'feeling' environment, but if you ever visit a spa and wonder when was the last time they washed the floors, you probably shouldn't go back.
    2. A Better
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  • 5 ingredients to avoid

    IngredientsReading ingredient labels doesn't have to be difficult. It is pretty simple in fact. Basically, if you don't know what the ingredient is, or if you have never heard of it, there is a good chance that it is a chemical or processed ingredient that you don't want to ingest. In general, each ingredient should be a whole food that isn't processed. That said it can still be a bit daunting.

    Below, I've listed five typical ingredients that you should avoid at all costs. And if they are listed first, second or third on the ingredient list of a packaged product, you definitely want to take a pass and opt for something else.

    1. Sugar: Refined sugars should be avoided for several reasons:
      • They raise your insulin levels and as a result, can depress the immune system, weakening your ability to fight disease.
      • Further, they cause weight gain and promote storage of fat.
      • Lastly, refined sugars provide you with no vitamins or minerals, so in order for them to be
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  • 8 traits of a bad fitness instructor

    Let's face it. If you are taking any type of fitness class, whether it be aerobics, body sculpting or yoga, there is a good chance you are there to learn, to be motivated and to get a good workout. As a result, you are probably looking for an instructor who will be a great teacher, fun and effective.

    Having taught aerobics for over ten years, I'm extremely atuned to the level of quality an instructor brings to the class. I am often amazed at how many instructors aren't very good, or for that matter, aren't very inspiring. As a result, I've outlined some traits that you should look for to know if the instructor is worthy of your time and money or if you are better off with someone else. If you take a class and find that you leave underwhelmed, there is a good chance that the instructor was lacking in one of these capacities...if not all of them.

    1. Forgetful Freddy: Look, all of us can be forgetful at times, but if there is a pattern of forgetfullness on the part of your
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  • Diet or Lifestyle? Why to choose the latter...

    healthy Diet

    This morning at work, I was making my second breakfast for the day and someone asked me what I was eating. I explained it was berries, oats and non-fat yogurt...a good balanced, lowfat meal. Is a matter of fact, a very tasty meal. The response I got was: "You look like you are in shape! Why do you eat something non-fat? You don't have to worry about that!" Mind you, this wasn't coming from someone who was overweight. On contrary, she is somewhat on the 'extra thin' side.

    This kind of commentary always amazes me. It tells me that people think that eating healthy means you have to and that you are dieting. It also shows that people think that if you look good, then you can eat anything you want...you don't have to worry about good nutrition; and it is only when you don't look good, that you should be eating healthy. This couldn't be further from the truth! It is a way of living...a lifestyle...a choice:

    1. You are What you Eat: Food is your body and mind's fuel. It is your
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  • The Corporate Challenge: Why you should do it

    Chase Logo

    I am not a marathon runner...probably never will be...but I do like to run 3 1/2 miles or so a couple of times a week and last night, I took part in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Boston. The 'Challenge' is an annual series of 3.5-mile (5.63 km) road footraces owned and operated by JP Morgan Chase, with an intended focus on promoting "fitness in the workplace," as well as raising money for non-profit organizations. The last time I ran it was in 1997 in New York. For various reasons, I hadn't had the opportunity to run it again until last night and I'll tell you, there were lots of good feelings all around.

    The majority of the course is on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, where after a mile and a half or so, you literally make a major U-Turn and pass by the thousands of runners going in the opposite direction. At one point, the course takes you through a short 'Under-Pass' where participants running in both directions cheer loudly. This is where it hit me. Seeing

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  • Tips for Healthy Eating in Flight

    AirplaneI travel a lot for business and it can take a real toll on your wellbeing. Nutrition, especially, can be a real challenge. I find that flying is the worst, because if you are anything like me, and you take several hour flights, you have to eat. If you don't go prepared, you can be forced to do the dirty deed of eating poorly, sabotaging all of your good intentions. What is worse, if you fly often, your repetitive patterns of eating poorly will eventually catch up with you.

    Below are some general tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of air travel and poor eating:

    1. Do your Research: Many airlines will post their in-flight meal options online. Prior to your flight, visit the airline's website and check out what your options are. Do a quick nutritional analysis to help you pre-determine what is most nutritious and what will be healthiest for you. When on board, stick with that pre-determined choice to make sure you stay on track.
    2. Buy before you Fly: Over the last couple
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  • Obsessive compulsive "health" disorder

    Recently, I have been hearing about a lot of adults who obsess over some aspect of their health. I'm talking about adults that fall into the age group of 40 something to 60 something. I'm also talking about individuals whom most would perceive to be 'perfectly healthy and fit'...individuals, that if I looked at, I'd say, 'They are in good shape.' I guess, for some reason, I always assumed that this type of obsessive behavior around weight, eating and exercise was mostly prevalent among people in their teens and early 20s. I never really associated this kind of behavior with adults in a mature age group.

    I personally know many individuals who at some point, struggled with their weight, were bulemic or anorexic or would work out extensively to 'work off their calories'. Many of these individuals eventually saw the light and have overcome these problems, but many, unfortunately haven't. It isn't easy. Whether it be stress induced, peer pressure or an emotional response, many

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  • An Anti-aging Secret: Sleep

    Good Night SleepHave you ever missed a good night sleep and then the next night stayed up late to watch your favorite rerun of Friends, Frasier or Scrubs...because even though you had seen it five times, you just couldn't get enough? And then the night after, you went out with friends for drinks and dinner, and it went later than you expected? Before you knew it, you were 4 or 5 nights in the hole. I find that not sleeping becomes some sort of an addictive behavior and unless you break the vicious cycle...you end up feeling like I've been these last four or so days...extremely sluggish and moody. Basically, falling quickly into a downward spiral. It is funny how, sometimes, although you might know what is best for youMore...More... and might be able to give the best advice in the world, when it comes to yourself, you somehow forget it all and everything you 'should do' goes out the window.

    Sleep is more vital than people give it credit for and as we get older, it becomes even more important. It is harder to

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  • Top Ten: Sabotaging your Salad

    Brett Blumenthal - Salad

    Ah yes, the ever noble salad entree...the dieters delight...the healthy individual's staple. Truth is, I'm a huge salad lover. Actually, the rawer the vegetable, the better. As a kid, I would scarf down carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers...you name it: If it crunched, I loved it. Once the crunch was gone, however, I didn't love it as much. Even as a child, I had some sort of intuition that raw vegetables were healthier for you...as they are higher in nutrients as compared to their cooked counterparts (vegetables lose some of their nutrients when they are cooked).

    I'm lucky in that I really love salad and when I don't have it, my body craves veggies. And frankly, it is my choice of meal for lunch. I've learned how to make a great salad that is fulfilling and well balanced. That said, not all salads are created equal. Not a day goes by that I don't see individuals b-line to the salad bar at lunch, with all good intentions of choosing a healthy meal, and then sabotaging

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