How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

April 19, 2017
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in Blog
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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly, works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Select the Best Corporate Wellness Program for Your Company

August 8, 2016
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in Blog
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When a company has healthy and happy employees, the company will reap the rewards. A correctly designed and implemented wellness program can improve employee health, productivity, morale and manage stress. Wellness programs guide employees to make thoughtful and healthful choices that ultimately reduce employer health care costs, employee presenteeism and absenteeism. The costs of implementing a wellness program are minimal compared to the benefits.

 

What is Corporate/Worksite Wellness?

 Wellness is no longer a consideration solely for the self-funded company, but instead the solution sought out by all businesses, self-funded and fully insured.  As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, “workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of health promotion and protection strategies implemented at the worksite that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community, designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees (1).”  A diverse range of benefits are offered under the label “workplace wellness,” from multi-component programs to single interventions, and benefits can be offered by employers directly, through a vendor, group health plans, or a combination of both.

It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for more than the last decade. There is good reason for this concern – health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs (2). 

Lifestyle Choices Cost Employers Money:

  • 8% of U.S. adult’s smoke (3). The total economic cost of smoking is more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke (4).  The CDC estimates that companies spend an average of $3,856 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity (5). 
  • Presenteeism, the act of attending work while sick, costs employers more money than absenteeism.  The total cost of presenteeism for US employers continues to increase, and estimates for current losses range from $150 to $250 billion annually (6). 
  • Nearly 50% of all employees suffer from moderate to severe stress while on the job, according to a recent survey. And 66% of employees report that they have difficulty focusing on tasks at work due to stress. Stress is estimated to cost US businesses up to $300 billion a year (7).   
  • A study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that, on average, a morbidly obese employee costs an employer over $4,000 more per year in health care/related costs than an employee who is of healthy weight. The study also revealed that obese individuals who had co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol incurred more costs than obese workers without these conditions (8).

Types of Corporate/Worksite Wellness programs

According to a RAND employer survey, “approximately half of U.S. employers offer wellness promotion initiatives, and larger employers are more likely to have more complex wellness programs. Programs often include wellness screening activities to identify health risks and interventions to reduce risks and promote healthy lifestyles. Most employers (72% of those offering a wellness program) characterize their wellness programs as a combination of screening activities and interventions. Wellness benefits can be offered by employers or a vendor to all employees or through their group health plans to plan members (9).”

  • Awareness-oriented wellness programs provide information and resources to help employees learn about healthful lifestyle choices. These programs provide education and awareness, not actual activity or behavior change guidance.  They tend to be most effective with already health-conscious individuals, and generally do not significantly reduce health care costs.
  • Activity-oriented wellness programs combine awareness with participation in healthy activities. Examples include walking programs, weight-loss challenges, and discounted/free gym memberships.  Generally offering some type of participation incentive.  These programs usually lead to health care savings, and could take three or more years to realize a positive return on investment. 
  • Results-oriented wellness programs focus on measurable outcomes and behavior changes achieved through program. These programs also include components of awareness and activity-based programs.  If paired with strong incentives, these programs have the ability to produce significant return on investment through a decrease in absenteeism and workers’ compensation incidents (10).

How to select the best program for your company

Step 1:  Conduct an Anonymous Employee Interest Survey.  This is an opportunity to learn which health and wellness topics your employees are interested in.  This is a great way to get employee feedback on pre-existing wellness initiatives and ideas for future programs.  Consider that employee health needs information may be already available through other sources, such as HRAs or medical claims data, and the employee survey may not need to address those type of questions (11).

Step 2: Outline Your Wellness Vision and Expectations.  What type of philosophy are you looking for in a wellness partner? What type of experiences in wellness are you looking for?  Often, employers succeed when their wellness vendor shares a similar mission and vision with them (12).  Prior to researching potential vendors, outline your own company’s objectives on health and wellness.  Ideally, you’ll want to enlist the help of a vendor that has experience helping similar businesses in your industry.  Reach out to your Health Insurance Carrier, Broker and/or relevant Business Associations to learn about the vendors they work with and why.

Step 3: Select a Vendor/s.  What do you need most from a wellness vendor? Are you looking for a partner with the most innovative programs or up-to-date technology? Or is it more important to team up with an experienced vendor who has an excellent reputation with current clients? Are there specific degrees and backgrounds that your company expects from the vendor’s staff (12)?

 Questions to consider:

  • Does the vendor offer in-person or virtual services or both?  This is highly important if your employees aren’t all in the same location. 
  • Does the vendor provide a full service wellness program or a la carte offerings or both?  Keep in mind that the customer service aspect will vary greatly from vendor to vendor.  Decide if the vendor should do everything necessary to get the program up and running and then let you take it from there — or whether you will need a significant amount of hands-on follow up from the vendor before, during and after the program roll-out. Vendors with superior customer service should be able to not only solve problems, but also anticipate and prevent future issues (12).
  • HIPPA Guidelines.  As outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Where a workplace wellness program is offered as part of a group health plan, the individually identifiable health information collected from or created about participants in the wellness program is personal health information and protected by the HIPAA Rules.”  It is important to note that, “where a workplace wellness program is offered by an employer directly and not as part of a group health plan, the health information that is collected from employees by the employer is not protected by the HIPAA Rules.  However, other Federal or state laws may apply and regulate the collection and/or use of the information (13).”  Regardless of which way your wellness program is set-up, it is essential to maintain the utmost confidentiality of any personal health information for anyone involved – your vendor should support this regulation. 
  • Does the vendor provide innovative solutions?  Not all employee groups are going to be impressed by a power-point presentation during a lunch & learn.  Does the vendor offer different services and solutions for groups? Certain groups may benefit more from seminars, while other groups may prefer workshops and/or demonstrations.  Does the vendor offer solutions for remote employees?  Innovation in worksite-wellness is diversifying, with programs focusing on mental-health, healthy office spaces, providing work-place access to healthcare, and more (14). 
  • Will the vendor customize programs to meet the specific needs of your employees?  Companies vary greatly in their background, culture, environment, and employee population.  Your wellness vendor/s should seek to understand your company, and from that information develop a customized approach that will best meet the needs of your company.  Best-in-class programs are designed to benefit the company as a whole, and within it, each employee. 
  • How does the vendor measure participant satisfaction?  To ensure that your employees are enjoying your worksite wellness program the vendor should be tracking and measuring participant satisfaction.  This can be accomplished with simple surveys following events.  Your vendor should report the survey results to you in a timely fashion, and be able to adapt and modify future programs based on the employee feedback. 

Step 4: Determine your need for Program Support. 

 Questions to consider:

Does the program provide marketing and PR support?  When you launch or reintroduce your wellness program its crucial for your employees to know about it. You may ask yourself, “How should I inform them about our program?” This is where the creativity and thoughtful promotion from the vendor come into play. Do they provide online marketing? Do they provide promotional materials such as flyers and brochures? Do they offer email marketing services?  Your vendor should be able to offer you savvy marketing options that will inform and spark interest in your employees. Vendors who provide excellent marketing and PR support can take this work off of your plate.

  • Does the program provide scheduling advice?  One way of getting positive feedback and outcomes is by having frequently scheduled events and activities within your wellness program. Does your vendor work with you to determine the best timing and frequency for events?  Do they outline your up-and-coming event in a simple format?  Consistency is key. Consistency allows for progress to be monitored and accurate results on changes in employee participation and, most importantly, changes in their health.
  • Does the program have a wellness portal and/or social media presence?  Wellness Portals can provide access for employees to register for events (bio-metric screening), join challenges (walking and/or weight loss) and keep track of their wellness points (incentive management).  Does your vendor offer a wellness portal, and if so, is it simple to use?  Social Media is becoming the go-to for wellness awareness. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have created an open opportunity for wellness vendors to showcase who they are, and what they can offer. Your employees will appreciate having this information to reference, which they can access easily at any time. Your employees will appreciate having the option of multiple online resources from your wellness vendor.
  • Does the program provide mobile options?  According to new research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 68% of Americans own a smartphone (17) Consumers rely on mobile options to communicate, go online, and access and share information.  It’s a natural fit for your employees to be able to access information from your wellness vendor, when they are using their mobile device. 

Step 5: Determine the Programs’ Practicality and Accessibility for Your Employees

Questions to consider:

  • Does your program provide diverse offerings?  Diversity is key in capturing maximum employee participation. Your wellness program needs to be accessible, relatable, and appealing to your employees. Does the vendor offer services that cover many aspects of health and wellness such as nutrition education and disease management, stress reduction, physical fitness, and smoking cessation? Can your vendor customize your events based on your corporate culture and your employees’ needs? The ability to pick from a wide array of services will ensure your employees truly benefit from and fully enjoy your wellness program.
  • Does your program address all aspects of wellness?  Wellness is more than physical health; wellness encompasses social, occupational, and intellectual aspects as well.  Consumers are becoming more curious about additional ways to live a healthy life (18). Is your vendor current and providing a holistic wellness approach with a variety of related topics? Does your vendor offer solutions for your employees with programs encompassing positivity, mindfulness, relaxation and self-care? To be successful, wellness programs must be comprehensive, tailored to the population, creatively marketed, and embraced by top management (19).

 Conclusion

The Harvard Business Review has found that great corporate wellness programs make an impact by, “managing to shift people’s relationship with health from one where health is something thought about and ‘practiced’ annually at the doctor’s office, to one where health is practiced daily through small lifestyle habits (20).” Employee wellness has shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for companies whose focus is on attracting and retaining top talent. As you want your employees to invest in your company by providing their best work, the company in turn must be willing to invest in their people with programs that will help them to lead healthy and happy lives.

If you are interested in learning more about a best-in-class corporate wellness vendor that is rated 99% in customer satisfaction, please contact B.Komplete for your free corporate wellness consultation at b.komplete@gmail.com and for more information please visit information about our programs.

 B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

References:

  1.  http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/pdfs/Workplace_Health_Program_Definition_and_Description.pdf
  2. https://www.manning-napier.com/Portals/0/documents/insights/white-papers/why-wellness-matters.pdf
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/
  5. http://www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/documents/WBGHIssueBriefonSmokingCessation.pdf
  6. http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/presenteeism.htm
  7. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2267-workplace-stress-health-epidemic-perventable-employee-assistance-programs.html#sthash.9y0Ncoww.dpuf
  8. http://ajhpcontents.org/doi/abs/10.4278/ajhp.120905-QUAN-428
  9. https://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/workplacewellnessstudyfinal.pdf
  10. http://www.rsellers.com/images/Results-Oriented%20Wellness%20Programs.pdf
  11. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/hwi/programdesign/employee_surveys.htm
  12. http://www.hrbenefitsalert.com/7-questions-answer-before-picking-wellness-vendor/
  13. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/wellness/index.html
  14. http://www.guidespark.com/blog/trends-next-generation-employee-wellness-programs/
  15. http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/corporate-wellness/
  1. http://wellnessproposals.com/guide-to-worksite-wellness-programs/market-the-wellness-program/
  2. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2999631/phones/pew-survey-shows-68-percent-of-americans-now-own-a-smartphone.html
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alisha-bhagat/a-little-is-a-lot-health-and-wellness-trends-2016_b_9393638.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0092.htm
  5. https://hbr.org/2014/03/what-great-corporate-wellness-programs-do
  6. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/crazy-corporate-wellness-programs-that-work/
  7. http://www.uswwa.org/files/2010/11/WellnessReport.pdf

 

 

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Stress Management… and Potatoes

April 18, 2016
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How Do Potatoes Relate to Stress Management?

Stress impacts us all.  And the one thing that is always true about stress – it never goes away.   At B.Komplete we are passionate about teaching consumers how to manage the stress we all face, in simple ways.  Food impacts our mood, and we can choose what we eat to impact how we feel.  In times of acute stress our levels of cortisol are UP, which increases are cravings for fat and sugar.  However, in that stressful time, the worst things we can eat are fat and sugar.  The best things to eat are foods that help to promote the release of serotonin, the hormone that relates to our good mood; feelings of wellness and calm.  Complex carbohydrates help to promote the release of serotonin.  Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  

Come with us, as we explore the store in the potato aisle!

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Supermarket Series

February 7, 2016
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How to Use Herbs & Spices for Heart Health

We are back for our second edition of our ‘explore the store’ series in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in February is on Herbs & Spices for Heart Health.  Did you know…

  • Garlic helps keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  Fresh is the best, however if you don’t have fresh use dried garlic to season your meals.  Garlic pairs well with numerous cuisines.  
  • Oregano is an antioxidant super-power providing more than apples, potato, oranges, and even blueberries!  Season your fish, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, and salad dressings with this herb.  
  • Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation.  Use this savory spice with poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables and event tea.  
  • Chipotle spice is your go-to when you want a smoky and spicy flavor.  Providing health benefit and awesome flavor, use chipotle with fish, poultry, meat, eggs, potato, whole grains and in dips and rubs.  
  • To flavor simple white fish combine lemon with thyme, parley, ground pepper and a dash of sea salt OR combine garlic, onion and chipotle powders.  

We will be back next month exploring the Snack Aisle.

B. Educated, B. Inspired, B. Komplete

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

July 9, 2015
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PART TWO

Lets continue the conversation on some of the main factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the food store. If you didn’t read Part 1 of the series addressing the safety and cost of organic and conventional foods, you can view it here.

 Nutrition

Working to improve your health through the food that you eat? Then you want to eat the MOST nutritious versions available, right? It’s more bang for your buck!  The food & nutrition industry has been testing both organic and conventional foods for many years. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a definitive answer of which type is nutritiously superior.  In the early 2000’s, you could find articles that were claiming a significant nutritional disparity between select organic and conventional foods. Only a few years later, there had been new research saying the exact opposite. In 2009, the American Society of Nutrition posted an article  concluding there is no significant difference between organic and conventional foods. Again in 2012, a hotly debated report from Stanford University stated that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods.

 Today’s research deviates from those studies, showing that there IS a nutritional difference in some organic foods. Reports are showing up to 40% higher in antioxidant activity  in organic fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are comprised of nutrients like Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and minerals like selenium and the health benefits of antioxidants are evident.

 What does this mean? It’s apparent that there is more research needed.

 If good health is important to you, then we suggest continuing to choose your favorites until further solid evidence is discovered. Want better nutrition now? Remember VARIETY! Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat meats and dairy will give you a wide spectrum of your daily needed nutrients.

anti-oxidants

Environmental Impact

Soil erosion, decline in crop production, fertilizer runoff, and pesticide resistance are concerns that some take into account when deciding between organic or conventional foods. The USDA has many resources on how farmers can protect and enhance the environment but there are still problems that worry shoppers.

 Scary reports of lake and river “dead zones” occasionally surface after finding considerable deterioration of wildlife and vegetation. This fuels new environmental studies to identify the true offender and will often include testing of new farming techniques and products that can help protect instead of harm.

Consider this: all types of farming impacts the surrounding environment. Organic farms can use natural fertilizers and pesticides that can cause runoff problems. However, the USDA says that organic farming differs from conventional farming because they strive to preserve natural resources and biodiversity with their farming techniques. There also are organizations like the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania that dedicate themselves to researching and testing better ways for American farmers to grow organic foods without harming the environment.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then you may want to consider choosing organic foods. Environment-friendly tip: buy local! As we mentioned in Part 1, think about supporting smaller farms that are local to your home or workplace. This reduces the need to truck food products all over the country, which can produce a considerable amount of fossil fuel emissions.

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 

FreshProduce at a local farm stand

So, what should YOU choose?

The bottom line is that, as a consumer, you have to decide what’s important to you. Whether you’re concerned with safety, cost, nutrition, environmental impact or something else that wasn’t mentioned, you should always choose what’s best for you and your family. Watch for new research on the areas that are important to you. And in the meantime, purchase and eat healthy food that you love!

Your Resources

For the Organic 101 series provided by the USDA – http://blogs.usda.gov/tag/organic-101/

Antioxidant Health Benefits – http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/

Market Search: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

Farmstand App: https://www.farmstandapp.com

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

 Photo Credit:

http://abcn.ca/category/diet-exercise/

http://farmersmarketannex.com/fmablog/?p=271

 

 

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Pass the Pineapple

June 23, 2015
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pineapple drink

Pass the pineapple! Not only is pineapple a delicious way to get vitamin C and manganese, pineapple provides bromelain which reduces harmful inflammation.  Whether you are looking for a well-balanced smoothie, or a guilt-free cocktail, pineapple is the perfect ingredient to use.  

The B.Komplete Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe:
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1 ripe banana
1 handful fresh spinach
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 plain yogurt (I like Greek)
1/2 – 3/4 cup water (per your consistency preference)
Blend and enjoy!

Easy Pina Colada (via Joy Bauer )
1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
3/4 cup canned light coconut milk
3 – 5 ice cubes
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 shot of run (optional)
Blend and enjoy!

 

 

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Is Belly Fat Stressing You?

April 6, 2015
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belly stress picture

It may be – It has been shown that increased stress can lead to higher body fat especially in your abdominal area and surprisingly higher body fat percentages can make you feel more stressed. This means by reducing either one of these areas you can improve the other!

Stress TipTake daily challenges with a positive attitude. The less pressure that you put on yourself, the better you will be able to deal with unplanned daily stressors. When possible, take 5-minute breaks from your day especially when it feels overwhelming. To find out more about stress and how it affects you: Stress and You

Exercise Tip – Try to fit in a daily moderate-intensity exercise lasting at least 30 minutes. Some examples of stress relieving exercises: Yoga, Pilates, Jogging, Walks, and any intensity weight training. Remember that exercise can be intermittent and 30 minutes does not need to be done all at once. Click here for excellent examples: For Women or For Men

Food Tip –Over eating is a common behavior used to cope with stress and it can lead to significant snacking. Well-balanced snacks (healthy protein, fat and carbohydrate) are a great way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Remember that portion size is just as important as meal composition. For some examples of healthy snack options visit: Snacking

For more information on recipes please visit the B.Komplete Facebook Page

Works Cited;

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16353426

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11020091

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The Best Stress Management Ideas

April 1, 2015
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Stress. All of us experience some kind of stress throughout our daily lives and stress is unavoidable. Some stress can be good; provide motivation, encourage collaboration, or even push you to try new things. However, excessive stress that isn’t managed can be quite damaging to your health. Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with weight gain, inflammation, decreased immunity, and even heart conditions over time. These health issues make stress reduction crucial for achieving ideal health.

 You can’t eliminate stress, but you can manage it! The following stress reduction practices are proven to work:

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective and beneficial stress reduction methods. How does exercise reduce stress? One of the ways exercise reduces stress is by reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that cause stress, while increasing levels of endorphins, which are mood elevators. This causes the aptly named “runner’s high” that you may have heard of before.  Another way that exercise can reduce stress is through the benefits that you gain. Exercise allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit your fitness goals and can also reduce stress by reducing your waist-line and improving self image. Tasks, such as heavy lifting, become easier as you become fit making those stressful tasks look a little more manageable. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking and running, as well as others are great stress relievers. Click here to learn about 8 great stress relieving exercises

Yoga in park

Breathing exercises. Rapid, shallow breathing is commonly associated with stress while relaxed, deep breathing is associated with relaxation. Breath yourself into a state of relaxation with these easy steps:

  1. Breath in slowly and deeply using your diaphragm fully.
  2. Hold your breath briefly
  3. Release your breath slowly, thinking “relax”
  4. Repeat these steps, 5 to 10 times

This is a great relaxation technique because it can be used at any time and any place, as needed. To learn more, Dr. Weil offers some wonderful breathing exercises

Meditation. With elevated stress also comes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. You can relieve your stress and its physiological effects using meditation techniques. Studies of Indian yoga masters have shown that meditation can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood adrenaline levels.   Meditation is a useful and effective way to relieve your stress in the comfort of your own home.

Harvard physician, Dr. Herbert Benson gives this quick guide to mediation

  1. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption. A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
  2. Get comfortable. Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations.
  3. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude. Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries.
  4. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion. You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It’s the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word “one” will do nicely. Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations.

o-MINDFULNESS-MEDITATION-facebook

Acupuncture. Acupuncture may sound a little scary when you think of needles being placed in your face and back, however individuals and research have found it is truly a safe and an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works through placement of a needle about half a millimeter from a nerve. Depending on where the needle is placed, it can cause the release of pain killing chemicals from the nervous system, stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, or excite the part of the brain controlling emotion (leading to decreased anxiety and stress). Those who have received acupuncture, often see results after just one session with improved results upon continuous treatment. I can personally vouch for the benefits of Acupuncture, and look forward to my ongoing sessions with Aaron Cashman, L.OM

What to expect at your first appointment

B. educated, B. inspired, B.Komplete!

 

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Does the Paleo Diet Work?

March 24, 2015
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What is the diet?

The Paleo diet theory is based on citing the errors in current Western eating patterns, and how different these consumption patterns are from the eating design of the Paleolithic period. The Paleo diet advises us to eat similarly to how our Paleolithic ancestors once did; consume foods as close to a natural state as possible, which includes meat and produce. Avoid foods that would not have been available during that time period; grains, dairy products and sugar. The Paleo diet claims that “this is how humans were designed to eat.”

What is good about the diet?

  • Focus on whole foods and eating foods in a natural state. Our Paleolithic ancestors consumed foods as close to fresh as possible. This is sound advice, as the nutrients in foods are typically highest when the food is the most fresh. To find out what produce is in season, check here  
  • Eating grass-fed meat.  100% grass-fed beef comes from cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet. Grass feeding improves the nutrition of meat making the beef richer in omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and healthy fats.  For more information on grass-fed meat visit world’s healthiest foods 
  • Recommends eggs, nuts, and healthy oils. Some of the recommended fat sources in the Paleo diet are rich in nutrients, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants.
  • Limits alcohol and diet soda.  Limiting alcohol consumption (< 1 drink/day for women and < 2 drinks/day for men) is recommended for heart health . While the health verdict is still out on diet soda, consuming less of it may be a good idea.
  • Recommends cooking for yourself. Learning how to prepare meals for yourself and your family is tremendously beneficial; it enables you to control the additives in your food, to season food without adding salt, and generally eat less total calories.

Paleo meat

What isn’t good about the diet?

  • Elimination of major food groups. A Paleo dieter can be categorized by what they have removed from their diet; Paleo dieters generally do not eat dairy or grains of any kind, peanuts, lentils, beans, peas and other legumes are eliminated, and added sugars are prohibited.
  • Whole grains.  Whole grains are associated with healthy digestion and metabolism, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Removal of whole grains makes it harder to get your daily recommendation of fiber. 
  • Dairy.  Consumption of dairy products (low fat and fat free) is associated with satiety, bone health, reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension in adults. Removal of this entire food group makes it hard (if not impossible) to get some of the health benefits that dairy provides.
  • Legumes. Beans are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat found in some animal proteins. Eating beans may reduce blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Adding beans to your diet may help keep you feeling full longer. Removal of legumes will make it harder to get the recommended daily fiber intake, as well as providing a vegetarian protein option.
  • Starchy vegetables.  No more crunchy carrots for a snack. No more corn on the cob at a cook-out. No more baked potato, soup with potato, or even baked potato chips! Reducing the amount of starchy vegetables may be OK for weight loss, BUT to eliminate completely is hard (if not impossible) over the long-term.
  • Diet can be hard to follow, hard to maintain over time, and very expensive. Imagine a life without a sandwich, ever. No more cereal, rice, bagels, or whole grains. Say goodbye to peanut butter. No more milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice-cream. If you enjoy chili, you are out of luck. And like any eating plan, it can indeed be expensive – especially since Paleo relies so heavily on the produce section and meat counter.
  • Not highly researched/without long term studies /making unsubstantiated health claims. “Loren Cordain, PhD, who literally wrote the book on The Paleo Diet, claims that by eating like our prehistoric ancestors, we’ll be leaner and less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems” . Many of the health claims made in the Paleo diet books are either not supported by research or have not been studied (1, 2).
  • Hard if not impossible to meet RDA of micronutrients.  Research has shown that micronutrient deficiency is high in individuals who are overweight or obese (2/3 of the U.S. population), and it is unlikely (if not impossible) to correct any micronutrient deficit following any food based diet (3).
  • Can have very high consumption of saturated fat with high meat consumption. Meat is consumed in large quantities, often cooked in animal fat of some kind which is very high in saturated fat. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke (4).

Bean salad

Overall advice

U.S. News ranks Paleo low for overall diet credibility; not guaranteed weight loss or weight loss maintenance, health claims are unsubstantiated, higher than recommended levels of fat and protein, not adequate in fiber, micronutrients (5).

Any diet plan that is very restrictive, hard to follow, expensive, unbalanced in nutrients and even unpalatable doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle choice… My advice is: take the good ideas from Paleo, and modify to fit into a well-balanced, healthy, happy, and enjoyable eating plan!

B. inspired, B. educated, B. Komplete!

Works Cited:

  1. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v68/n3/full/ejcn2013290a.html
  2. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol7/iss2/4/
  3. www.jissn.com/content/7/1/24
  4. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp
  5. http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/paleo-diet
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