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Cocoon Nutrition, Health and Fitness

Hey guys! Tom here, welcome to my health blog! I’m a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I created this blog to keep my friends & family motivated, but anyone can join in on the fun! I use this blog to post new and exciting exercises, fitness tips, recipes, diet tips, and general information on health and fitness. I hope to eventually create an interactive food and exercise journal, but that may take me a while!

My dream is to one day open my own heath and fitness center that would include a traditional gym, crossfit box, a lap pool, a nutrition consultation office, and health focused café. I’m still young, so for now I am working as a personal trainer as I complete my kinesiology degree. I am constantly working towards my dream while inspiring others to get into the best shape of their lives. Basically, I’ve got the best job in the world.

I love helping other people reach their goals which is why I created this health blog. I hope to keep you guys updated on popular supplements, new diets that I find effective / interesting, and I’ll even try to teach how to love exercise. Believe me, it is possible. I have seen plenty of clients go from absolutely despising exercising to being completely addicted to the gym.

My goal is to inspire everyone to lead a healthier lifestyle. You don’t have to become a total fitness freak, like myself, in order to be healthy. You simply have to make small changes that lead to greater health and happiness. This could be riding your bike to work, picking up swimming again, walking to lunch, taking a yoga class, walking your dog on the beach, going to farmer’s markets instead of the supermarket… I could go on forever, but I don’t have to because you’ve already found my blog.

This is my first post, but I hope to update the blog a couple of times per week. I encourage you to browse my site. I hope you enjoy my health and fitness tips, and I hope you subscribe to my feed! Stay up to date with my posts for the latest news in health, fitness, and general well being. Have a great day!

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Paleo Friendly Supplements

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The Paleo diet is a lifestyle combination of fitness and diet that includes only whole, local, organic, and wild caught foods. It is called the Paleo diet because the principles are based off of human evolution. Paleo diets differ from group to group and person to person, but most people who practice Paleo agree on these three rules:

1. Only eat foods that can be picked or hunted in nature.
2. Avoid foods that cannot be eaten raw.
3. Only eat meat products from animals fed their natural food.

There are many Paleo friendly supplements available today. Most experts agree that the most important for the Paleo lifestyle are:

ProbioticsPrescript Assist is a highly recommended pro/prebiotic supplement.  Prescript-Assist combines 29 nutrient rich, soil-based, pH-resistant organisms with Leonardite prebiotic to help re-establish the normal balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestine.  Benefits inlcude supporting a healthy immunity, healthy digetion, and overall health.  Prescript Assost is Paleo friendly, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Vegan friendly.

Omega 3s and Vitamin D-  Healthy Fish Oil is high in omega 3s and vitamin D.  Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids can provide a number of health benefits, including stronger bones, lower blood pressure level, healthier cholesterol levels and aid in cognitive functioning.  A Paleo Friendly source of fish oil is Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil.  It comes in various flavors and forms.

Coconut Oil-  Coconut Oil  is a medium-chain fatty acids which makes it easier to digest and converted into energy. The medium-chain fatty acids found specifically in coconut oil also have the amazing ability to kill germs and viruses while simultaneously providing many important health benefits such as healthy skin, hair and nails.

Collagen/Gelatin-  Collagen is found in every part of our body  and is essential for the health of our bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, muscles, cartilage and more.  Collagen is found in the hides and bones of animals, which most do not consume regularly.  Supplementing with collagen restores your youth from the inside out, and helps prevent osteoporosis and other age related health issues.

It is recommended to always verify the sources of your supplements before taking them and purchase only 100% natural, non-toxic, filler and flo-agent free supplements from a reputable source for maximum health benefits.

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Simple Tips for Better Heart Health

Mercola_ubiquinol_heart_health-1024x864Few, if any, things are as integral to life itself as the heart. As such, maintaining good heart health is one of the most important things anyone can do for overall health, wellbeing, and longevity. Like with most things, preventative care is easier and preferable to treating a problem. Follow these simple, yet important, steps to improve and maintain good heart health.

  1. Get regular exercise that raises your heart rate. In the simplest terms, the heart is a muscle. While its function and structure may be more complex than many other muscles in the body, it still needs to be exercised for optimal fitness. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise that puts your heart at an elevated rate at least five days per week. As you exercise your heart will becomes stronger and more efficient. Something as basic as a brisk walk around the block can offer your heart the exercise it needs.
  2. Supplement with Ubiquinol. Ubiquionol is the active form of ubiquinone, which is found in the popular supplement called CoQ10. A recent study showed that patients suffering from congestive heart failure experienced significant improvements to the health of their hearts when taking ubiquinol supplements. The implications for heart health of those not in congestive heart failure are promising, though more research is needed. For those interested in trying the powerful ubiquinol supplement for heart health, Mercola’s Ubiquinol provides a high quality, natural supplement without any artificial fillers or synthetic additives.
  3. Get Plenty of Omega 3s. The essential fatty acid omega 3 is vital to optimal heart health. While diet gurus once mistakenly told people all fat was bad for the heart, research has shown it is the type of fat that matters. While unhealthy fats like trans fats can have negative effects on the heart and arteries, omega 3s actually help the heart. Omega 3s have been shown to reduce internal inflammation and fight against heart disease. Good sources of omega 3s include tuna, salmon, and walnuts. Many doctors also recommend an omega 3 supplement as it can be challenging to get sufficient amounts through diet alone. Like with ubiquionol, look for a version free of synthetic fillers. Try Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil for a high quality fish oil that isn’t heat processed and therefore retains all the nutrients many brands process out.

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The Best Energy Boosting Herbs

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It seems like everyone I know is totally addicted to coffee. They have coffee first thing when they wake up, coffee with breakfast, coffee with lunch, coffee on their way home from work- it’s madness! I don’t have time or patience to deal with the roller coaster of jitters and crashes caused by coffee. Luckily, there are natural alternatives that are healthier and much more effective.

Cordyceps sinensis and rhodiola rosea are the perfect solution for anyone who needs to boost their energy. Cordyceps and rhodiola are known as adaptogen herbs. In order to be classified as an adaptogen herb, the herb must have the ability to normalize and improve any aspect of the body that isn’t functioning properly. Adaptogen herbs must also boost overall health while causing zero side effects or negative interactions.

It is pretty impressive for an herb to be considered an adaptogen. Each adaptogen herb has its own specific qualities aside from normalizing and improving body functions and boosting overall health. Cordyceps specifically boosts energy, endurance, stamina which is perfect for boosting energy and vitality. Cordyceps also boosts oxygen capacity, lung function, and lung capacity. Cordyceps even helps to battle weakness and fatigue and improve sexual function! Talk about killing many birds with one stone.

Rhodiola rosea is another adaptogen herb that is perfect for boosting energy. First and foremost, rhodiola rosea boosts energy by fatigue and other stresses on the body. Rhodiola rosea also boosts the immune system, increases sexual desire, alleviates anxiety, improves mental function, reduces stress, regulates blood pressure levels and increases longevity.

It is no wonder that adaptogen herbs such as cordyceps and rhodiola are perfect for boosting energy and fighting fatigue. For all of the above reasons, I always choose adaptogen herbs over coffee to keep my energy and vitality soaring!

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Cod Liver Oil VS Desiccated Liver

fishoilcapsulesMany important traditional superfoods such as bone broth, fermented vegetables, raw dairy, and organ meats have disappeared from our modern diets. These foods are packed with nutrients that can boost the immune system and prevent all sorts of health issues, yet we live in a world that seems to have forgotten that true health is determined by your diet. People turn to fast food instead of home cooked meals. People take synthetic supplements instead of nutrient dense superfoods such as those previously mentioned. In order to return to optimal health, we must return to a more traditional diet. Let’s take a look at two traditional superfoods that MUST make a comeback: fermented cod liver oil VS desiccated liver.

The Nutrients

Fermented cod liver oil is an excellent source of fat soluble vitamins A and D. This traditional superfood also packs a healthy punch of omega fatty acids. Desiccated liver, on the other hand, is an important source of vitamin A and vitamin B12. Desiccated liver is also packed with protein- about 70% by weight, amino acids, fatty acids, and more. Both of these supplements contain fat soluble nutrients so both supplements should contain naturally occurring healthy fat.

The Health Benefits

Though both traditional superfoods offer countless health benefits, the types of benefits vary in cod liver oil and desiccated liver. Fermented cod liver oil boosts the immune system, combats inflammation, corrects nutrients deficiencies, boosts mood and focus, strengthens teeth and bones, improves skin, hair, and nails, and boosts overall health. Desiccated liver boosts energy, improves the immune systems, boosts metabolism, improves digestion, improves respiratory strength, and help the body maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

The Processing

Whether buying desiccated liver, fermented cod liver oil, or both, it is extremely important to read the supplements labels and research how the supplements were manufactured. Pure supplements with no artificial ingredients that are traditionally processed without extreme heat or chemicals are the best supplements for your body.

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Smoothie Making Tips and Techniques

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The mention of smoothies evokes instant images of health and wellness. Drinking a smoothie seems like a perfect way to guzzle a wealth of nutrients in a quick and convenient way, and this can certainly be the case. However, many smoothie recipes are packed with sugary flavored yogurts, canned fruits, and processed peanut better. By following a simple formula, you can avoid drinking a glorified milkshake and instead have nourishing and delicious smoothie that is the perfect treat to add to any diet.

 Pick a Base

To start making your smoothie you will first need a foundation for the smoothie. This will be the ingredient that gives your smoothie its namesake “smooth” consistency. Opt for a minimally processed ingredient with a smooth texture and mild flavor to blend with your other ingredients. Bananas or plain organic Greek Yogurt are top choices.

Load Up on the Produce

Adding produce is where your culinary creativity gets to shine through, and also where you will load up on flavor and antioxidants. Ideally, select a balance of both fruit and vegetables. Berries are antioxidant and flavor rich. Raw spinach and kale are hard to beat for your vegetable choice.  If you can’t find fresh Organic Kale, you can go with one of the Organic Kale Powders that Amazon has to offer.

Give It a Boost

Adding a supplement to your smoothie can either dramatically increase the nutritional benefits you get from the smoothie, or pollute your smoothie with undesirable chemical additives. Avoid protein supplements are made from artificial ingredients and chemicals and choose a high quality supplement instead.

 

One of the best options you can add is the microalgae spirulina. Spirulina provides a complete source of protein coupled with a host of other benefits such as calcium, chlorophyll, 18 different vitamins, and iron. The other ingredients you add to your smoothie may vary day to day, but spirulina powder is one ingredient worth adding to every supplement.  If you need some help finding a spirulina supplement, watch this video on how to find the best spirulina supplements.

 

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My Favorite Spirulina Recipes

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Spirulina is one of my favorite superfoods. It is a n excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, omega fats, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and more. Because spirulina is so incredibly nutrient dense, it offers numerous health benefits that truly make me feel super! I love spirulina but it can be difficult to get used to the taste, which is why I have learned to incorporate it into my favorite recipes.

Spirulina Smoothies – Spirulina can be easily added to your favorite fruit smoothies. I simply add a tablespoon to your favorite recipe. I like to combine spirulina with fresh or frozen fruit, a handful of leafy greens, and a bit of water or almond milk. This is delicious, healthy, and super satisfying.

Spirulina Sauces – I add spirulina to cooked sauces all of the time. It is great with a sprinkle mixed into tomato sauces, alfredo sauces, pesto sauces, salad dressings, and more. It is important to add the spirulina to the sauces after you have removed them from heat and let them cool to serving temperature. High temperatures will destroy some of the important nutrients found within spirulina.

Spirulina Seasoning Mixes – The earthy flavor of spirulina can be masked by other flavorful herbs and spices. Trying adding a tablespoon or so to garlic salt mixes, Cajun spice mixes, pasta spice mixes, or anything that pairs well will an earthy flavor.

Spirulina Baked Goods – Last but not least, I add spirulina to baked good recipes. Mix 1-2 tbsp. of spirulina into your favorite breads, muffins, bagels, and more. You can even add spirulina to sweeter baked goods using strong flavors like maple syrup or vanilla extract to mask the flavor. Spirulina, due to its bright green coloring, makes an excellent natural food dye as well!

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Three Supplements You Should Add to Your Daily Routine

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Walking down the supplement aisle of your local health food store is enough to make any head spin at all the choices available. While some TV personalities may make it seem like you need an arsenal of supplements, in reality just a few supplements a day can give you everything you need.

 

  1. Multivitamin- Taking a host of different vitamin supplements is unneeded and will ultimately give your body far more vitamins than can be absorbed. However, even the healthiest diets likely have a few nutritional gaps. A multivitamin is a good way to fill in these gaps. Avoid multivitamins with mega doses and artificial fillers and opt for one with high quality ingredients in moderate amounts.

 

  1. Rhodiola Rosea- What makes this supplement a good choice is its adaptogenic characteristics. The adaptogenic nature of the supplement makes it able to meet multiple needs in the body, without altering biological function. Rhodiola Rosea adapts to help the body fight off physical and chemical stressors, protects cells, and provides energy. People with a particular health conditions may benefit from taking an additional supplement to meet their specific needs, but for most people Rhodiola Rosea will make a great choice for a supplement to benefit overall health and well-being.

 

 

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acid- Fatty acids help with both brain function and heart health. Omega 3 is considered an essential fatty acid, meaning that the body cannot make it on its own so it must be obtained from external sources.  While our diets typically provide more than enough of essential omega 6 fatty acids, it is difficult to get proper amounts of omega 3s. An omega 3 supplement can help assure you are getting enough of this supplement.

 

 

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Using Protein Shakes to Fill in Gaps in the Vegetarian Diet

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Following a vegetarian diet offers people multiple health benefits, if followed correctly. According to an article published by Brown University, vegetarians are at a decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and several other health conditions compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

As great as the benefits of a vegetarian diet can be, there can also be risks associated a vegetarian diet. One such risk is relying too heavily on processed foods. Potato chips, sugary cereals, and many other junk foods are all easy to eat and technically vegetarian options. However, a diet filled with these foods is depleted of nutrients and full of additives with the potential to do great harm to one’s health. But, choosing healthy whole vegetarian foods with zero to minimal processing can eliminate this risk.

In addition to knowing what foods to leave out of a balanced vegetarian diet, it is also important to know what foods to include in a vegetarian diet. Because removing meat from the diet removes a common protein source, vegetarians must take care to consume adequate protein levels for muscle building, energy levels, healthy cells, and overall well being.

An easy and nutritious way to combat low protein levels in a vegetarian diet is with the use of protein shakes. Vegetarians should look for a protein powder that contains quality sources of protein such as brown rice, hemp, or mushrooms. A blend of two or more of these protein sources offers even greater benefits by combining the nutritional advantages of each different source.

Besides being a good source of quality protein, protein shakes make it easy to increase protein content. Vegetarians struggling to get sufficient protein in their diets can simply make a shake for breakfast or for an afternoon energy booster.

People interested in a vegetarian diet should in no way be deterred by these potential risks of a vegetarian diet. Rather, people should take an informed approach to their health and be active about making wise choices on what they include in their diets.

 

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Some Thoughts On the Confusing World of Nutritional Supplements

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With so many different nutritional supplements available on the market it can be difficult for the average person to decipher what he or she needs and what can be skipped. Nutritional needs vary from person to person, but a few basic guidelines can help most people navigate through the supplement aisle with ease and expertise.

Multivitamin

For many people, a basic multivitamin helps fill in gaps in even the best of diets. Users should look for a choice with moderate amounts of vitamins and minerals, as opposed to mega vitamins with amounts far greater than the recommended daily allowance (RDA). For optimal absorption, cut the vitamin in half and take it at two different times during the day with meals to aid in fat-soluble vitamins being absorbed.

Fish Oil

The omega 3s found in fish oil supplements provides support for both brain and heart health. Because it is difficult to get sufficient amounts of this key fatty acid, supplements can play an important role in assuring adequate intake. Many experts adviser people to use omega 3 supplements that do not contain omega 6 fatty acids since most people get more than enough omega 6 fatty acids without any supplementation.

Vitamin D

More and more research over the last few years indicated Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients and that most people simply do not get enough. This is especially true in the winter months when naturally people spend less time outdoors. So, increasingly experts are recommending Vitamin D supplements

Something Extra

Evidence that coffee consumption is healthy is piling up from research all over the world. The possible health benefits from coffee drinking are staggering. Some of these possible benefits are theorized to be linked to an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which is contained in coffee beans. The best source of concentrated chlorogenic acid is from the extract of the raw green coffee bean. Nutritional supplements from raw coffee beans are now widely available and the subject of ongoing research.

 

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How Supermodels Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss

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Did you know that supermodel Miranda Kerr eats nearly 500 calories worth of coconut oil per day? The Victoria’s Secret model best known for her perfect figure and luscious locks swears by coconut oil as her weight loss and beauty secret. Miranda Kerr eats 4 tbsp. of coconut oil per day, usually poured over salad or melted into green tea. The supermodel claims that she has followed this diet ritual since she was 14 years old and it is the key to maintaining her perfect figure as well as her gorgeous hair and skin.

Coconut oil is a great way to monitor your waist line. Contrary to what many people believe, coconut oil is a healthy source of fat that boosts your metabolism, keeps you feeling full, and works to flatten your stomach. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, rather than long chain, and thus they are used for energy instead of being stored as fat. Many people who eat coconut oil 20-30 minutes before meals find that they eat less and stay feeling full for longer periods of time.

How much coconut oil you need to lose weight will depend on your starting weight. If you weigh 90-130 lbs, it is best to take 1 tbsp. of coconut oil before each meal. If you are 130-180 lbs, you should take 1.5 tbsp. of coconut oil before each meal. If you are over 180 lbs, it is best to take 2 tbsp. of coconut oil before each meal. Consuming coconut oil before meals will help boost your metabolism, burn the calories you are eating, and prevent overeating. The easiest way to take coconut oil is to follow Miranda Kerr’s advice and add the healthy oil to a hot beverage- YUM! Learn more about coconut oil for weight loss.

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