Hurts So Good: Foam Rolling 101

20161025_141545-01Post submitted by:
Fit Running Mom Blogger, Strong Momma Christina

When I first learned about foam rolling about 10 years ago, I initially thought it was odd and useless. I was working as a personal trainer at a large health club and I remember one of the master trainers raving about it so I figured I would give it a shot. I laid on the long peace of foam, rolled vigorously back and forth for like 5 seconds and insisted it had no benefit. Luckily for me and my future client, that master trainer caught me with my terrible foam rolling technique and took some time to show me how to properly use it. And let me tell you, it changed my life! Since then, foam rolling has not only become a regular part of my training regimen (just as important to me as a training run or lifting session) but also a staple in our training programs for all of our athletes. Foam rolling and other forms of SMR (self miofascial release), if done properly, have several great benefits which I will discuss below. However, people often neglect rolling because they feel as if they have no time or do not see immediate benefits from it. So I will also cover proper technique, key areas to roll and tips for incorporating rolling into your training routine.

Benefits of Rolling
First, let’s discuss why we roll. Our active lifestyle, from running to lifting weights, causes our muscles to tighten up. These tight areas, or “trigger points,” can eventually lead to weak areas which, if neglected, can potentially lead to injury. Loosening up tight tissue not only alleviates discomfort, but it can also help you become a more efficient athlete with increased range of motion, better form and improved running and economy. Waiting until you feel significant tightness and pain, however is not the solution and often where people go wrong when it comes to SMR. Foam rolling is not just for rehabilitation, rather it is a great tool for preventing muscles from getting too tight, which of course will aid in recovery, prevent soreness and, of course, prevent injury.

When to Roll
As I stated above, don’t just wait until you’re sore to roll. Use roam rolling as a preventative tool as a part of your regular training routine to see the most benefit. At our gym, we have our athletes roll out before each training session, and even during and after if necessary. I myself, as a runner and weight lifter, typically start each of my training sessions off with several minutes of foam rolling focusing on key areas. So to answer the question of “when should you foam roll?” here are a couple of key things to remember:

1. Rolling can essentially be done daily
2. Do not wait until you are sore, roll regularly
3.  Roll BEFORE training sessions as a part of your warm up to loosen up tight muscles
4. If you experience tightness during or after a workout, take a moment to roll that specific area
5. Rolling does not necessarily have to occur during training, it can be done first thing in the morning or even at night, just make time for it!

Types of Rollers
At our facility, we have several types of tools including regular long rollers, half rollers, “The Stick,” and lacrosse balls for our athletes’ SMR needs. I typically suggest to people to first invest in a long roller that can be purchased anywhere from online to running stores and even Target or Marshalls. You do not have to break the bank buying the latest and greatest products in SMR. A simple long piece of foam will serve as a great tool to loosen up those tight muscles. Here is a break down of what we use and for what:

1. Long Roller (AeroMat Elite High Density Foam Roller, 6″ x 36″ Firm): Can be used for most areas, especially larger muscle groups like quads, glutes and adductors. Long rollers are also great for the back, lats and of course those pesky IT Bands.
2. Half Roller (AeroMat Elite High Density Foam Roller 6″x11): Although not necessary if you have the long roller, half rollers can be a little more user friendly for hamstrings and calf muscles.
3. “The Stick” (The Stick Travel Stick, 17-Inch G-1750): Is great for zeroing in on tight calf and soleus muscles as well as peroneals. If you do a good amount of traveling, The Stick is a great investment because of it’s size, it can be a great SMR tool for on the go.
4. Lacrosse Ball (Lacrosse Balls – NCAA NFHS Certified – Purple): Yes, you can purchase a fancy rolling ball from a running store, but if you can get your hands on a lacrosse ball, there are several areas you can roll with this simple tool. The neck and shoulder area, certain regions of the hips and the rotator cuff are all areas that a hard lacrosse ball can help loosen up.
5. Others: If you head into a running store or search around online, you can be overwhelmed with the practically endless types of SMR tools available as well as the claims that each product is “the best in the industry.” My advice when it comes to starting off with foam rolling (and actually when you start off with anything) is to keep it simple and fairly inexpensive. Invest in one good roller that seems to suit your needs and commit to using it before breaking the bank on all the products on the shelves.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Foam Roller
I’ve discussed the importance of rolling, when to roll and of course what to use. Now I will cover some key things to remember as you roll in order to get the most out of it. Like I said above, my first experience with foam rolling was less than impressive, and this was of course I was doing it all wrong. Many times, I will see people lay on a roller, rapidly roll back and forth for a handful of seconds (pretty much exactly how it went down the first time I tried it), hop up and proceed with their workout or leave the gym thinking they just successfully broke up all that tight tissue. Sure they have seen pictures in magazines or other people at the gym foam roll the same way, so they think they are doing in right. And maybe they did get something out of it that way (mostly likely a placebo effect though). In order to feel the full benefits from SMR, one must be a little more methodical with their rolling. So here are a key things to consider next time you grab your roller, stick or ball:

1. Start with larger muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, then work your way into the smaller ones.
2. Find the “trigger points,” or areas of tightness and discomfort, and focus on breaking up those areas the most. If you feel nothing over a certain muscles, don’t spend too much time there.
3. Roll directly over the tightest spots, as it becomes less and less tense, begin rolling further away from that area to cover more ground and loosen up more tissue surrounding it.
4. Take slow deep breaths, letting out long slow exhales as you roll over those extra tight spots that cause you discomfort while rolling.
5. Spend on average about 20-30 seconds per area, longer for the tighter areas. This really should take only about 10 minutes of your time, so no excuses on skipping out on it!

What to Roll
Here are the key areas we focus on rolling with our athletes:

glutes

Glutes: Sit on top of foam roller. Rest ankle on top of thigh. Place same arm behind body. Lean toward the bent leg side and roll forward to back over glute.

it-band
IT Band: Lay sideways with outer thigh (IT Band) on top of roller. Place bottom forearm on grown beneath shoulder and top hand down for support. Cross top leg over bottom placing foot on ground. Roll body forward to back.

quads

Quads: Lay upper thighs on top of the roller with forearms rested on the floor for support. Roll from top to bottom of thighs and back up.

hamstrings

Hamstrings: Place foam roller underneath one leg. Use your arms to help hold your hips off the floor. Roll up and down over hamstrings.

adductor

Adductors: Place roller parallel to body. With forearms underneath shoulders for support, place inner thigh on top of the roller with knee bent. Roll from upper thigh down towards the knee and back up.

lower-back

Lower Back: Place foam roller underneath your low back. Place hands behind head to support neck. Lift hips off floor and roll up and down low back.

upper-back

Upper Back: Lay your shoulder blades on top of foam roller. Cross your arms across your chest. Lift your hips off floor. Roll foam roller up and down your upper back.

lats

Lats: Place roller underneath upper lats, roll up and down along lats. Then, laying on roller, roll chest front to back.

calf
Calves: Place The Stick on top of the calf muscle below knee, roll Stick down and up the calf.

peroneals

Peroneals: Place The Stick on outside of the lower leg, above ankle. Roll Stick up and down the lateral leg.

No, I Really Do NOT Have Time For That

IMG_0509 5x7 WEBPost submitted by
Healthy Body Image Team Blogger, Strong Momma Heidi 

My mother recently emailed me a New York Times article about teaching children resiliency, specifically emotional resilience. In the article, Dr. Susan Davis, psychologist, noted

Research shows that when teachers help preschoolers learn to manage their feelings in the classroom, those children become better problem solvers when faced with an emotional situation, and are better able to engage in learning tasks. In teenagers, “emotional intelligence,” or the ability to recognize and manage emotions, is associated with an increased ability to cope with stressful situations and greater self-esteem. Some research suggests that a lack of emotional intelligence can be used to predict symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Emotional skills, said Dr. David, are the bedrock of qualities like grit and resilience. But instead of allowing a child to fully experience a negative emotion, parents often respond with what Dr. David describes as emotional helicoptering.

“We step into the child’s emotional space,” she said, with our platitudes, advice and ideas. Many common parental strategies, like minimizing either the emotion or the underlying problem or rushing to the rescue, fail to help a child learn how to help herself.

That passage came back to me last night as I sat with a friend at a bar in my sleepy suburb of Minneapolis, sipping on a glass of wine, and listening as she echoed my own feelings back to me. We weren’t talking about our children. We were talking about ourselves. I find just as much truth in what Dr. David says about children in adults, and specifically, in the moms I know. img_5406

My friend and I are both struggling with self-love right now. She has twin 9-month old boys and has just started her own successful LuLaRoe company, and among all that, is finding it difficult to prioritize time for herself, and especially for her fitness and nutrition. She feels bad about it.

I, too, have found it increasingly difficult to meal plan or track macros or make sure I work out every day as my life has become consumed with pressing things not at all related to my body or my fitness. And I, too, feel bad about it.

We’ve both gained a little weight. We both feel less strong than we were at our peaks. But we’re also both going through some major shit. And shit that can and should not be minimized simply for the purpose of looking like we have our shit together.

The reason my mom shared that article on resiliency with me is because our life, mine and my children’s, has been in upheaval for the past two months. Nine weeks ago, my husband asked me for a divorce, and in the short time since, we’ve sold our house, I’m in the process of buying a new house, and, well, we’ve gotten divorced. Yes, it really can happen that quickly.

I’ve coped the way humans naturally cope with stress and uncertainty. I’ve reached out to some friends. I’ve withdrawn from others. I’ve immersed myself in work to stay busy at the same time that I’ve distanced myself from any work that is too mentally taxing. I’ve talked about it. I’ve had some wine. And I’ve fallen back into comfortable eating patterns with food that brings me comfort.

I forgive myself each day that I decide that a dark chocolate cappuccino truffle really is exactly what I need to end my day on a high note.  I forgive myself when I do not roll out of bed at 4:40 a.m. to hit the gym after having been awake from 2-3 a.m. in the midst of intense anxiety about what my and my children’s future now holds.

I forgive myself that comfort food for it really does bring me comfort. And I really am consoled and comforted by friends who join me over food and wine. These things are comforting, and we should not feel ashamed by that. Nor should we feel ashamed by the fact that life sometimes really is utterly overwhelming. And if we feel guilt or shame about that, rather than self-love and forgiveness, then we’re not helping ourselves learn the lasting behaviors we need for wellness. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

Playground Workout

image1-4Post submitted by:
Fit Toddler Mom, Team Blogger, Strong Momma Anita

Exercise doesn’t have to be mundane, mulling away on the treadmill. Or a compromise from your family. What better way to get a workout in while keeping an eye on your toddler, AND enjoying the warm weather than to use the playground!

This ascending ladder uses the monkey bars and can be modified as needed-

*5 Pull-Ups (strict, kipping, jumping or assisted using the ladder/step as needed)
*10 Push-Ups (on the ground, incline or decline)
*15 Squats (assisted, regular or plyometric)
*20 Knees-to-elbows (or knees-to-chest or toes-to-bar)
*25 Tricep Dips (legs close, extended, or on one leg)
*30 Toe Taps (or plyo lunges)

Repeat! Complete as many rounds as possible in playtime.

More workouts like this at littlebitoffitness.org

Children's Nutritional Needs to Succeed

jennadPost submitted by
Strong Momma, Jenna 

A balanced diet plays a major role when it comes to learning and behavior in and out of the classroom. Packing lunches full of soda, sugar, and processed foods are proven to get in the way of concentration and retaining information, which has become all too common in today’s schools. junkfood

Imagine having to sit in a meeting after having coffee, chocolate, a sub, and chips for lunch? You would start out with shaking legs and playing with pens caps, followed by the struggle to keep your eyes open from the sudden crash of energy.

What we need to focus on is supplying our children with whole foods for steady energy (blood sugar) and focus, proper hydration, and enough movement outside to help with anxiety while sitting at their desk.

What the schools will not provide, has to be done at home.

1. Eat A Hearty Breakfast.

~A bowl of whole grain cereal with milk of choice, sliced banana and blueberries. Some great choices are Barbara’s Puffins, Purely O’s , Cheerios, and Kashi Whole Grain Puffs. You want to look for less than 10g of sugar, at least 3g of fiber and protein, as well as known ingredients, whole grains being number one. No artificial colors or preservatives.

~Oatmeal, Steel Cut Oats, or Oat bran with silvered almonds and a pinch of brown sugar

~Whole grain toast with nut butter and banana slices

~Whole wheat wrap with scrambled eggs and 1 oz of cheese

~Whole wheat waffles,french toast, or pancakes with fresh fruit and dollop of yogurt.

~Greek or Non Fat Yogurt with sliced strawberries, granola, and cinnamon. Make it into a parfait to look kid friendly.

~Cottage cheese with melon and a side of wheat toast

~Scrambled eggs with toast and turkey bacon

~A smoothie made with any frozen fruits, 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup milk of choice), 1/4 cup raw oats and ice. My favorite is 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1 cup almond milk, and 1/4 cup oats. Add spinach for a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals!

2. An Afternoon Pick Me Up

~Carrot and celery sticks, or an apple, with nut butter

~Raw vegetables and whole wheat crackers with Hummus

~Frozen grapes with plain yogurt

~”Ants on a log

~Pirate Booty or Popchips

~Dried fruit and nuts

~Whole grain crackers and string cheese

~Graham crackers with banana slices and peanut butter

~Dried Fruit Crisps

Also send them with a water bottle full of lemons, limes, or orange slices so they can refill and drink all day.

3. A Legitimate Lunch

healthy-lunch~ Boars head low salt turkey, provolone cheese, and mustard on whole wheat bread. Side of baby carrots, and a small fruit salad.

~Whole grain pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and hardboiled eggs. Side of berries and a few dark chocolate chips

~Nut butter and jelly on a whole wheat wrap. Side of raw veggie sticks and an apple.

~Turkey and cheese roll ups with a side of cherry tomatoes, bell pepper sticks, and an orange.

~Almond butter and dried cranberries on whole wheat. Side of carrot and celery sticks.

~Tuna salad made with 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt, a pinch of black pepper and chopped celery, rolled onto a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomato. Side of grapes.

Use Tupperware that has separate compartments for convenience and fun! Do not start the habit that lunch needs chips and dessert. The crunch will come from vegetables and the sweetness from fruit.

4. Be Active After School

~Ride bikes

~Rollerblade

~Sports

Video and computer games should not take over the rest of the their day. Movement is so important. An after dinner walk or bike ride is a great habit to install.

5. A Helping Hand

Allow your kids to help you make dinner. This will teach them how to create a healthy and balanced meal, which they will later create on their own. Think lean proteins, veggies, healthy fats, and complex carbs

6. Early to bed, Early to rise

Make sure your students get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. We all know how hard it is to concentrate when exhaustion strikes! Set up a nighttime routine, such as reading a story or coloring, to relax the mind. Over time, their body will begin to learn this process, making it easier to fall asleep.

Most importantly, BE THE EXAMPLE. Show your children that eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising are all necessary to perform at your best.

They are always watching!

Pressures and Expectations: We Place on Ourselves

img_0074Post submitted by: 
Canadian Fit Mom, Strong Momma, Brianne

A lot of thoughts go through your head when you’re running a marathon or half marathon. This past week, I ran my 20 something ‘th half marathon. All conditions pointed to the possibility of a PB (Personal Best), a PB that I wanted and expected of myself. But at the 11th km mark my goal had to change to plan B, then gastro problems, a poorly digested gel, and my own head got in the way and forced me to switch gears and settle on plan C.

My hubby and I were on our first weekend away just the two of us in longer than I can remember, and I had finally slept almost all night. My athletic brain was ready to kill the course, but my mommy brain had a hard time letting go of the guilt that came with leaving my almost 16 month old, and hearing that she had given my mother a run for her money that night. On top of all of this, my breasts were swollen with milk from not feeding her in 24 hours (hand pumps just don’t do it justice).

Some of the thoughts you think while running: family, work, the pressure you’ve put on yourself to do well, and of course, have I trained enough? This second guessing of myself was compounded by something an older mom, who is an amazing runner and triathlete, had said to another friend about me, “I hope she doesn’t burn out.” These words, although expressed out of concern and kindness, burned through me like my quads at kilometre 18. Was I burning out? Had I already burnt out? My days (like most mommies) are crazy; I rush to get my girls ready, myself ready, drop them off, teach, run on my lunch hour and then rush back to work and try to be the best teacher I can be. Then the evening rolls around, and I make a balanced supper, play and prepare for the next day. Finally it’s bedtime, which can be anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour. At this point I plan and mark. I, along with countless other moms, set the bar so high for ourselves that it’s no wonder we feel burnt out from time to time.bree-blog-1

It occurred to me that being in constant pursuit of attaining perfection as a mom, wife, teacher and runner meant that I wasn’t actually being the best at any of these things, a lesson I learned shortly into my recent return from a year of maternity leave to working full time.

I realized that balance was needed in my life, and I would have to find it quickly. How can working mommies who also have athletic goals find a healthy balance that will also enable them to be the moms, wives and employees they desire to be without letting one of these areas suffer? These are some of the strategies I plan on implementing right now:

1. Realize what you have time for and be okay with it for the time being. At another time in your life a more ambitious goal might be more attainable.

2. Make every work out count.

3. Start working out before the kids even get out of bed.

4. Take some time for yourself.

5. Do what you really love, and do enough of it to make you feel satisfied.

And the final thing, is to just be okay with the results you’re achieving! As much as I’m constantly trying to better myself, I know that it’s still amazing that I’m able to run half marathons and triathlons in pretty good times! It’s okay that I’m not always pb’ing. When I’m better rested and have more leisure time, the other goals will come. For now I can rejoice in the fact that I can try to do it all, even if sometimes it never seems like enough. Moms put so much pressure on themselves every day, running should be one of those things that we just do because we love it. Running doesn’t care about your time, how you look or how often you do it. Running places no expectations on us. The worst kind of pressure is the pressure we place on ourselves, so forgive yourself for not pb-ing every time, understand that there’ll be a different race and another time to reach those goals and do what you can in this juncture of your life, but most importantly, be happy while you’re doing it!

The Journey to Clean Eating

image1-12Post submitted by:
Paleo & Whole30 Team Blogger, Strong Momma Sara

Disclaimer:  Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. Information, tips and meal plans will be provided to the best of my ability. YOU are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. Please consult your physician if you have any concerns.

After my daughter was born in 2014 I made a commitment to do my best to be healthy but let’s get real – weight loss and feeling GOOD in your own skin is just as big of a motivator. I started out with some at home workouts and shakes twice a day and while it worked for a while I found myself bored, hungry and not losing any more weight. I was stuck. I felt frustrated by myself and by the methods of which I was using to try and lose weight. As I struggled to figure out what I could change – I decided to pick a copy of the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. I had long considered trying paleo but was intimidated but the amount of work that meal-prepping seemed to be. The book was life changing. I did the 30-day paleo eating program and was completely hooked – not only by eating REAL food, but by the way I was feeling. It was unlike any other diet or program I had ever been on.

It changed my entire perspective – that eating healthy didn’t revolve around lettuce and tofu – I was eating bacon burgers without the bun. I was enjoying food and for the first time – putting actual effort into cooking and planning. 

Fast-forward a few months to my first round of the Whole30 program aka the game-changer. In 30 days. I lost 10 lbs, 11 1/2 inches in total and two jean sizes. It eliminated my headaches, chest acne and random breakouts I definitely didn’t enjoy as a 29 year old. I couldn’t believe I had wasted so much timing with other methods that could never be long term.

But where is best to start? How do you take your step 1? Switching to paleo or a “Whole30” lifestyle can be a big change to those of you, like me, who haven’t really done anything like this before. Over the next few months I will be walking you through how to begin your meal prep, sharing tips, switching to Paleo and hopefully encouraging you to brave a Whole30 and join the revolution of food freedom.

food-prep

Here are a few great starts to the next eating chapter in your life.

1) Read the book (or books.) I was very happy that I began with the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf because it set me up to eat healthy when I wasn’t being 100% strict to following Whole30. So read the book! And then pick up the Whole30 book because I swear you won’t regret it. I know in this day and age we can google and get a summary but these are two books I promise you will enjoy and feel empowered to make a healthy change.

2) Keep it Simple. You don’t have to do this alone or all at once! When people ask me “where do I start?” I always say take one step at a time. Maybe it would be too much for you to cut out dairy, grains and peanut butter all at once – I picked grains and went from there. Also, there are a ton of online blogs, Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts with ideas, planning tips and recipes for you to follow. There are also a number of Facebook Whole30 support groups that a great resources as well.

3. Do it with a friend. The first time I did a Whole30 my friend had started a few days prior and it was great to have someone who you could talk to and be supportive when everyone else thinks you’re on a “crazy diet.” Sure it might be tough to convince a friend to do it – but trust me, they’ll thank you!

4. Plan. This goes back to my first tip – read the books. They are excellent sources of meal plans, recipes and ways to go about changing how you want to eat. For the last year, my husband and I have spent about 2 hours every Sunday making breakfast, lunches and cutting up vegetables for the week. If we didn’t do this, we would never be the healthy eaters we are today. As the saying goes “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.”

It starts with food. Being healthy and in-control starts with food. Experts always say weight loss and health starts in the kitchen and it’s amazing how true it is.

Needless to say I am changed forever. I hope you join me on my journey and I hope you find your own journey.

A lot of people think becoming a parent derails your goals about fitness and health but the truth is, because of my daughter, I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been. And I will be sure she knows how she is my inspiration each and every day.

For a pinch of motivation and a dash of delicious food – check out Sara on Instagram along with her other accounts below.

Instagram: @sara_eatsclean
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bedazzledkindoflife
Twitter: @sara_eatsclean
Blog: www.bedazzledkindoflife.com

October = Non-GMO Month

LaurenGroganPost submitted by:
Mind, Body & Wellness Team Blogger, Strong Momma Lauren

WHAT are GMOs? gmo_tomato

GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

WHY are GMOs dangerous?

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

The genetic engineering process creates massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.
GMOs have been associated with health risks including allergies, infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, changes in major organs and gastrointestinal system. They increase antibiotic resistance and the genese from GM foods invade our digestive tract and breed there.

How common are GMOs?

According to the USDA, in 2009, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO, and there are also commercially produced GM varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.

What crops contain GMOs?

There are eight GM food crops. The five major varieties—soy, corn, canola, cotton, and sugar beets—have bacterial genes inserted, which allow the plants to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. Farmers use considerably more herbicides on these GM crops and so the food has higher herbicide residues. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.
The second GM trait is a built-in pesticide, found in GM corn and cotton. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into the plant’s DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell. About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide. Another 13% produce a pesticide and are herbicide tolerant.

There is also Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, which are engineered to resist a plant virus.

Code for GM produce:

Genetically modified produce have five digit PLU numbers that begin with an 8. Example: a GM Granny Smith Apple will have a PLU of 84017. Beware: That lovely green Granny Smith apple is a Frankenfood!
Information adapted from the Institute for Responsible Technology

What YOU can do:

1. Buy certified organic foods. They are our single best bet for avoiding GMO ingredients, synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones.

2. Be a label detective. Read ingredient labels and vote with your food dollars. Reject products likely to contain GMOs, such as dextrose, corn starch, corn syrup or corn sugar, soy lecithin, canola and cottonseed oils, and sugar from sugar beets. Dairy products may come from cows injected wtih GM bovine growth hormone. Look for labels stating No rBGH or rBST. Some foods carry a Non GMO seal. Buy Products Listed in the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.  They even have an app for your phone/iPod!

3. Avoid certain ingredients. Avoid at risk ingredients such as corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya and small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, etc.

4. Be active. Call or write the President, your state representatives and food manufacturers. Voice opposition to GMO crops and demand GMO-food labeling.

5. Stay conscious, yet calm. Do the best that you can to avoid GM foods, but try not to stress so hard. Worrying will NOT help the problem. Vote with your dollar and avoid GM foods whenever you can for the health of yourself and your family. Download free materials such as the Center for Food Safety’s True Food Shopper’s Guide. There are plenty of helpful resources, downloads and apps out there to help you stay informed and safe!

Great websites to stay informed:
Non-GMO Shopping Guide
Institute for Responsible Technology
Center for Food Safety
Check out the GMO documentary by Jeffrey M. Smith: Genetic Roulette

Worrier or Warrior?

jesseharrisPost submitted by: 

Mom-spiration Team Blogger, Strong Momma Jesse

worry

Are the kids OK?

How am I going to pay this bill?

What if something happens to me?

What do I have lined up for my retirement?

Does this shirt make me look fat?

Am I enough?

We ask ourselves similar questions day after day. Yesterday’s sermon in church really spoke volumes to me. I took a day to reflect over it. The sermons topic was centered around WORRYING, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I worry on a daily basis. I am a self-proclaimed worry-wort.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength” –Carrie ten Boom

We spend hours, days, month, even a lifetime worrying about things that we may, or may not, be able to control. For some of us, it completely consumes us and effects our abilities to be a mom.

“It’s not the work that kills people, it’s the worry. It’s not the revolution that destroys machinery. It’s the friction” –Henry Ward Beecher

Being a mom has caused me to worry about things every day. My life is one big worry-fest. I worry that something is going to happen to one of my kids at school. I worry that the baby isn’t breathing when he sleeps through the night. I worry that my husband is going to get in a car accident when he’s driving with them (because no one can do it like me).I worry that someone is going to steal them from the gym daycare while I’m working out. I worry that they’re going to get sick… really sick.

I worry that I’m not doing enough.

I worry that I’m not enough.

In a world where we worry about not having enough of ANYTHING, we have BJ’s.

In a world that we worry about not having enough room, we have a 4000 sq ft house.

In a world were we worry about being unsafe on the road, we drive a Hummer.

In a world where we worry about not having enough food for dinner, we have a 6 burner stove…. (What are we cooking that requires 6 burners at one time?!)

In a world were we worry about our children’s well-being, we worry even more.

What if.

WHAT IF my son gets bullied?

WHAT IF my house gets broken into while my husband is on travel for work?

WHAT IF I’m not enough?

Have you heard the phrase “Idol time is the Devil’s playground”?

Well, “what-if’s” are the Devil’s puppets and he is the marionette.

If you’re a chronic worrier, “what if’s” can break you. “What if’s” are messy and dirty and unrelentless. They are a parasite and your thoughts, fears, and anxieties are their host.

How do we fix this? How do we STOP letting the thoughts, the fears, the anxieties consume us?

Take a Breath. Take a moment and slow down. Recognize the things we cannot change–the things that are out of our hands. Will worrying about it change the outcome? Can we fix it? Are we worried about a what-if? If the problem is solve able, then brainstorm ways you can address it.

Reconnect and Refocus. Anxieties and thoughts sneak up on us. When we are driving. Laying awake in bed at night. When we are alone. When you find yourself worrying, STOP. Redirect those thoughts to something else. Something positive. Do you have too much idol time? Alone time and quiet thoughts can be a recipe for disaster. Redirect that idol time and turn it into something productive.

Exercise. Go for a walk. Maybe a run. Take a class. Join a group. Find a Refocus those thoughts.

Because let me tell you mommas, you are a warrior.

You are enough.

 

Meet October's Ambassador of the Month – Jesse

October’s Ambassador of the Month is…..Jesse! Jesse is a busy mom of 3 boys! She’s an advocate for exercising during pregnancy and has a mission to educate moms on safe methods to remain fit and healthy not just during pregnancy but throughout motherhood. Her positive energy and supportive nature is exactly what we look for in an Ambassador!

We wanted to find out more about what makes this inspiring fit mom tick!

20160918_133753Favorites

FMSM: What is your favorite exercise? Favorite body part to train?

Jesse: My favorite exercise landmine reverse lunges. I love being able to hit my legs (my favorite muscle group to train) all while engaging my core because of the offset loading. 

FMSM: Favorite workout gear/clothes/brands?

Jesse: My favorite workout gear are resistance bands and my Garmin Vevoactive! I keep is simple with my workout clothes and I’m not big on brand names. I’m a Maxxinista so whatever cute workout outfits TJMAXX sells, I’m all over it!! 

FMSM: Favorite go-to healthy meal? Favorite treat/snack/dessert?

Jesse: My favorite go-to healthy meal is simple: chicken with Quinoa, veggies, and peach mango salsa. As far as snacks, oh man, where do I begin?! Haha. I LOVE Good n’ Plenties— those white and purple licorice candies. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lol 

Goals/Challenges

FMSM: What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome as a fit mom?20161005_150540

Jesse: The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is having to stretch myself like a rubber band to juggle it all. I want to do it all, but I can’t do it all. Having three busy boys while working, exercising, after school activities, and trying to keep my home semi-presentable, it’s hard to manage time. I have HAD to make it a point to keep everything on track. Simple things like making school lunches the night before, using a crockpot, picking school clothes out the night before, meal planning, and putting a weekly calendar up in my kitchen with that week’s plans, have helped me a lot!

FMSM: What is your next big fitness goal in the next year?

Jesse: Within the next year, I plan to train hard and qualify for Nationals again for triathlons. I love constantly competing with myself and striving to do better than the run, or the race, before. Fitness is a one-person competition. It doesn’t matter what the person next to you did. It’s YOUR PR that you need to beat. 

Advice/Hot Topics
FMSM: Some people still don’t understand why it’s ok for some women to continue to exercise at a high level more than other women during pregnancy – what do you have to say to those people and what do you have to say to the moms-to-be who want to keep exercising, but are getting push back from loved ones?

img_20161008_114509Jesse: Fitness and pregnancy is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. As moms in the fitness industry, we all know the importance of exercise during pregnancy. Not only for us, but for our unborn baby. We know that we don’t need to “eat for two”. We know that we only need an additional (about) 300 calories a day as we enter our second and third trimesters. Explaining the importance of exercise to those who don’t understand, or agree with you, can be an uphill battle. When I was pregnant with my boys, you wouldn’t believe the negative remarks I received for teaching cycle classes, running, and lifting. I just smiled, laughed it off to myself, and carried on. I was happy to listen to them when they asked me questions or made ridiculous remarks, but ultimately, I knew I was doing right by myself and my baby. I have three beautiful and HEALTHY boys to prove it.

The best suggestion I can give is first, find a doctor who is on the same page as you. Make sure he or she is aware with your intended exercise program and intensity. From there, talk to your spouse or family member, about exercising and pregnancy. Listen to their concerns, and address them. Once they understand, each day that push back will be less and less.

Your loved ones are the people you need to acknowledge and help educate–not those making snotty remarks in the gym. Trust me. For all those people who may think you are being “selfish” or “hurting the baby”, there are plenty others who are “high-fiving” and commending you.

FMSM: What advice do you have for newly postpartum moms who feel alone and without an identity, besides being “just mom”? What do you suggest they do to still have “me” time and pursue any goal.

Jesse: This is a topic near and dear to me. First of all, postpartum moms, you are not alone. You have just had a baby, you are overwhelmed, you’re trying to lose your baby weight, you feel like you are drowning. I have felt like that too. I guarantee we have ALL felt like that! Breathe. You aren’t drowning. You are beautiful and you are doing an amazing job. Motherhood is hard. It is hard because along with our new baby, we cannot lose sight of our lives before our baby. Our lives in which we actually liked our husbands, wore makeup, and showered. I recently wrote a blog post about this. I used the example of the air mask on an airplane. We all know when the flight attendant says, “Put your air mask on first before you help put it on the person next to you”. If you don’t have any oxygen, you’re not going to be able to help your child get his or her mask on. We cannot help others if we are not helping ourselves.

Yes, you are a mom, and a damn good mom, but you’re more than a mom. You’re a beautiful woman. A gym rat. A loving wife. Maybe a dancer? You like to read? Play an instrument? Don’t lose sight of who you once were. Of WHO YOU STILL ARE. 🙂

FMSM Olympics – Bronze Winner – Tera

This past August Fit Mom Strong Mom ran an Olympic contest during the Games and ended up with our own Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners! As part of their prize pack these awesome moms were awarded a feature on each of them to be posted here on fitmomstrongmom.com! Next up, Strong Momma Tera!

image1-11FMSM: What’s your favorite exercise? Favorite body part to train?

Tera: My favorite exercise is any type of cardio. I love getting my heart pumping. My favorite body part to train is my legs. I always feel so strong after leg day in the gym.

FMSM:Favorite workout gear/clothes/brands?

Tera: Most of my workout gear is for running and my favorite thing ever is my Glitter Skirts. They are so cute and sparkly and super fun to run in.

FMSM: Favorite go-to healthy meal? Favorite treat/snack/dessert?

Tera: My favorite go-to healthy meal is brothy soups. I love a soup with a lot of vegetables and great tasting broth. My favorite dessert is Creme Brûlée. There is just something about the burned sugar that I just can’t get enough of.