Top 10 Tips for Summer Hydration

Summer is here–and it’s not even half-way over! There are so many fun things to do outside and ways to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather. However, it’s important to remember that during exercise the increased temperatures put additional stresses on our bodies from the activity being performed. We might not have control of the weather and the humidity, but we have control over how we take care of our bodies and fuel ourselves for optimum physical performance. Dehydration can suck our energy and can become very dangerous to our health and that’s not something you want to spoil your summer when you can avoid it!

Here are some quick facts and tips on how you can stay hydrated and beat the heat so you can have a safe, happy and healthy rest of your summer!

1. Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of dehydration (i.e. fatigue, dizziness, dark urine, headache, dry skin, confusion). Remember to respect how you are feeling and rest or take a break when you feel you need to!

2. Remember to drink during the day and not just when you are exercising. Even sitting in the sun on a hot day can cause fluid losses meaning you need to drink more water.

3. Did you know? Foods you eat contribute to keeping your body hydrated. Those with a higher water content like fruits and vegetables are the best choices.

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Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

 

4. Drink before, during and after activities. A good way to gauge how much you should drink after your workout is to weigh yourself before and after. For every pound (0.5 kg) of weight lost you should drink about 500-700mL of fluids to re-hydrate after your workout.

5. Do you just forget to drink water? What reminders can you set for yourself to take a few sips of water–even before you get thirsty? If you are driving, you could set an interval of kilometers to drive and take a few sips every time you hit that interval (i.e. every 50 km). Or you could program a reminder into your phone to remind you throughout the day. Or wear a bracelet or elastic band on your wrist–something that will give you a visual cue to remind you to drink more often.

6. If you find it difficult to stay hydrated because you don’t like the “plain taste” of water you can make it more interesting by adding a touch of lemon juice or some fresh fruit and berries to your water bottle using a fruit infuser. This will give your drink a natural flavour boost.

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Image by silviarita from Pixabay

7. Dehydration starts when we lose as little as 2% of our body weight in water and can make you feel tired and irritable. It can start before you know it so don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink!

8. Consider a sports drink if you are exercising at a high intensity and for >60 min; if you are exercising in extreme heat and humid conditions; and if you have over one exercise session in a day. They design sports drinks to replenish fluid losses and balance electrolyte losses and give your body extra energy which can be helpful when you are working hard and sweating a lot. For low intensity activities, your body probably won’t need this extra support so water will be just fine for keeping you hydrated

9. Get a water bottle that you like and makes you feel good. When your water bottle is inspiring and motivating, it will create a positive association for you to remember to drink more often.

10. How accessible are your fluid sources? Keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a good practice to adopt. Sometimes it is easier to have a sip when your water bottle has a straw vs. having a top you have to unscrew, which takes more effort to get out. Find out what is the easiest option for you to make having a drink the absolute most accessible.

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Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Greek Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

Do you know the power of a family meal? There is nothing like the feeling of coming home to a home-cooked meal and enjoying good food with people important to you. On my recent trip to Greece to spend time with my family. While I was there, I had some incredible home-cooked and traditional Greek meals. I dedicate this recipe to my cousin, who made this very meal for me my first night in her home in Greece.

Greek stuffed eggplant,  also known as melitzanes papoutsakia. The translation of papoutsakia is actually “little shoes” which I think is rather cute, and so is this dish!

It is a very filling dish and one or two eggplants will be more than enough to satisfy you!

Not only does this meal taste incredible, but there are so many good things about the ingredients! Check out the nutritional benefits that some ingredients offer:

Eggplant is a very high-fibre vegetables which is one reason this dish is so filling! Owing to their purple colour, eggplants are high in anthocyanins, the blue-purple pigment with antioxidant properties which can help protect cells from free-radical damage.

Onion are a vegetable low in calories but which provides moderate amounts of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Onions are also a source of a phytochemical which may raise levels of a protective enzyme that inactivates cancer-causing agents in the body!

Tomatoes are highly nutrient dense providing fibre and many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and potassium. The red pigment “lycopene” which gives tomatoes their colour which may act as an antioxidant in the body to reduce the risk of some cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Olive Oil must be the most iconic of Greek cuisine ingredients. Olive oil is a source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Olive oil is a staple in any Mediterranean diet and may be one reason for lower rates of chronic diseases observed in those who follow a Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a source of two powerful phytochemicals which may protect against breast cancer, clogged arteries and high blood pressure.

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There are some variations you can try with this recipe. You can top your eggplant with cheese or a slice or two of tomato.

Whatever meat you choose, look for lean ground meat as it is lower in less healthy fats (the olive oil we use in this recipe will still provide with fat – which is important for good health – but a much healthier fat). If you really want to make something special, try substituting ground lamb for ground beef in the recipe below.

Of course, you can always make this meatless by swapping the ground beef for a can of lentils, rinsed and drained.

This recipe goes great paired with a Greek Salad!

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Sharing some of my favourite photos from Greece below to make this even more authentic!

 

 

Getting Back on Track with your Nutrition or Life

It happens to all of us at one point or another in our lives. We lose focus, get “off track” and suddenly are feeling lost, limited and inauthentic to who we are or who we know ourselves to be.

I am just back from two glorious weeks on vacation in Greece, but I am noticing how I have slipped in some respects from where I was in my health and nutrition habits and now it is time to get back to reality and back on track. I’m ready to get back on track with blogging so that’s why I posted this now.

Now you may not be ready to get back on track, summer is only just getting started, and some might say this is a topic more suited to fall. However, summer has a way of slipping by all too soon and with fall we all will feel the rush of going back to school and back to routine. So why not look for ways now to start the process or even just reflect on what it would look like for you? Just remember, there’s no “right time” for anything and if we are always waiting for the perfect time or perfect conditions to “get back on track” then we may never do so.

Wherever you are in the journey to aligning with your ultimate self in your nutrition and life, here are some reflections on how to get back on track and suggestions to empower you with realigning your fitness and nutritional habits.

Stop blaming yourself. It’s nobody’s fault. Things happen in life, sometimes they are in our control and sometimes (more often) they are not. Everything happens for a reason and it’s up to us to notice what happens and then decide upon the best course of action that takes us from where we are and move us toward where we want to go. Forgive yourself and move on. Forgiveness sets you free.

Be honest with yourself. It is one of the hardest things any of us will have to do but to get back on track you must be honest with where you are at and get clear on where it is you want to be. Also, realize that things are not necessarily as negative as they seem. Look for the good things too! At first you will probably be able to make a list of a multitude of unhealthy eating habits or practices but try to look beyond that and create a separate list and space to consider and recognize all the good practices you are doing regularly and think about how those practices make you feel.

Acknowledge the uncomfortable and unfamiliar feelings that change brings and then move forward. As human beings, our instinct is to stay in our comfort zone. But when it feels unfamiliar be forward thinking and remember why you have started on your journey to change and why it matters. Everyone must go through this and experiences the same feelings when entering foreign territory and unfamiliar ground.

Think of the long term and trust in yourself. Change is not always easy. Results take time. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing and what you are working towards is worth it. Writing a long-term vision or goals and looking at them every day is a motivational reminder to help you get back on track and keep you on track.

Be patient. When we think about where we were or where we want to be, we may get impatient and want to be there right now. Often improving our habits and well-being will take a lot longer than we would like or even plan for. Real and lasting changes take time and consistency. The work you do day by day is worth it. Just keep reminding yourself that. What would that look like and how would you feel?

Get over the overwhelm. When considering a big change, it can intimidate and even frighten us a little. This is probably the biggest thing that keeps people from changing their nutrition and lifestyle, no matter how important and worthwhile the change will be. When working on getting back on track, it’s important to have a goal, but also be realistic in what you are trying to achieve and where you are trying to get to? If it is a big goal, try breaking it down into more manageable sub-goals. That can make it more manageable and build your confidence. So maybe rather than a complete overhaul of your diet, try making one change this week and focus on that. For instance, adding new healthy foods to your dinner every day. Once you’ve accomplished that, move on to the next thing and so on.

How will you know you have arrived? For me, I think of it as a state of flow, like life is moving forward and I’m making progress while living each day at an optimal state of well-being. So, what does “getting back on track” mean to you?