The Rise of Fermented Foods

By SBSM Trainer Jake Spencer

Fermentation is a metabolic process that converts sugar to acids, gases or alcohol. This process occurs naturally in the human body as lactic acid fermentation and has been used for thousands of years in the fermentation of beverages creating alcoholic beverages.

The process of fermentation has also been used on different foods for a very long time. Sauerkraut was a staple of the diet in the Roman era. Lassi is a yogurt drink that has been enjoyed in India since ancient times. Kefir and fermented milk have been consumed by Bulgarians for generations. Finally, many Asian cultures have eaten pickled and fermented vegetables for years and still do to this day.

fermented foods

Despite their presence in traditional diets for centuries, it has only been in the last few years that fermented foods have risen in popularity among health-conscious foodies. Today, things like kombucha, probiotics, tempeh, miso, yogurt, and kefir are all fermented foods gaining in popularity due to their many health benefits. Fermented foods are known to provide more than adequate amounts of vitamin K2, which is known to help prevent heart disease, as well as an abundance of B vitamins. Furthermore, the probiotics help strengthen our immune system by creating more antibodies and pathogens as well as aiding in digestion. Studies also show that having a healthy amount of this good bacteria in your body plays a significant role in preventing major diseases including diabetes, autism, and obesity. It’s no wonder these fermented foods are gaining in popularity as science discovers more and more benefits to them.

A lot of these fermented foods may seem very foreign and scary to try. We are all used to the Americanized fermented dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese, but these processed versions lack many of the benefits found in traditional fermented foods. If you are new to this growing food craze and want to give it a try, I would start out by testing out a kombucha drink, a pickled vegetable, or sauerkraut. Some things like kefir are great additions to smoothies, particularly for people who want to reap the health benefits but don’t like it on its own. Fermented foods are definitely on the rise in our culture and I highly encourage anyone unfamiliar with these foods to get out and try something new, or very old, depending on how you look at it.

Yoga Poses for Abdominal Strength

Yoga is great for both your mind and body, but for the non-yogis among us, the idea of incorporating a regular yoga practice into your health and fitness routine can seem daunting and uncomfortable. So to make it a little simpler, today’s weekend workout is a series of five yoga poses that are great for helping develop and maintain core strength. Try to hold each pose for 30 seconds, and work through the sequence 3x.

  1. Boat– Sit with your knees bent, feet fat on the floor, and spine long. Grasp your legs under your thighs, slightly above your knees. Draw in your belly button toward your spine, and begin to lean back, until you feel your core muscles engage. Try to lift your feet off the ground and find a balance point without letting your spine round. Pull your shoulders back and lift your chest as you hold.
  2. Knee-to-Nose Plank– Start in a high plank position, with spine long, hips in line, core engaged, and hands placed directly under your shoulders. Lift one leg and slowly bring your knee toward your nose, squeezing your core to get it as close to touching as possible. Return to plank position, and repeat, alternating sides each time.
  3. Reverse Table-Top – Begin in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you and your hands placed behind your hips, with your fingertips pointing forward. Lean back slightly, press your hands into the floor, and lift your legs and hips off the floor. The soles of your feet move toward the floor, and the ankles, hips, and shoulders make a straight, diagonal line. Draw your shoulder blades together and lift your head, so your chest is open and your chin is pointed upward.
  4. Cobra– Lie onto your belly, toes pressing gently into the floor, and belly button drawing toward your spine and lifted. Place your palms in line with your chest, slightly wider than shoulder width. Elbows are bent and fingers are pointing forward Drawing the shoulders back and chest open, press down into your palms, peeling your shoulders and chest off the floor.
  5. Bridge pose– Lie down on your back, with knees bent and heels hip width apart. The knees are over the ankles and arms alongside your body on the floor. Pressing your feet into the floor, lift the hips, one vertebrae at a time, reaching your tailbone towards your heels and your inner thighs. Press arms into the floor and engage your core. When you are finished, return your hips to the floor the same way you lifted, lowering one vertebrae at a time.

Hopefully these five yoga poses will give you some great ideas for new core strengthening exercises and build confidence in your yoga practice. Maybe you will even be inspired to try out a class!

Salmon with Peach Salsa

Looking for a new delicious dinner recipe? Today’s healthy recipe is packed with flavor and powerful nutrients to keep your body happy and healthy. Try serving it with brown rice and a steamed veggie, or get creative and mix and match your favorite side dishes. It is simple to prepare, and gluten-free/low-carb friendly. Give it a try this week!

peach salsa

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillet
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 limes
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 peaches diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat. Season salmon with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime.  Place salmon on grill or grill pan.
  2. While salmon is cooking, combine diced tomatoes, onion and peaches in a medium-sized bowl.  Stir in minced garlic and chopped cilantro.  Drizzle with 0.5 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of 1 lime.
  3. Serve salsa over salmon and enjoy!

 

Simple Sunday Circuit

Today’s weekend workout can be done anytime, anywhere, and engages all the major muscle groups. Perform the following exercises as a circuit, doing one set of each with minimal rest between exercises.

If you’re unable to reach the prescribed number of reps in a given set, rest until you would reach the number of reps you were aiming for (or longer as needed).

After each circuit, rest 2 minutes. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times, or however many times you can in 20 minutes.

MUSCLE GROUP EXERCISE REPS
Quads Bodyweight Squat 20
Chest/Delts Standard Push-Up 20
Hamstrings Reverse Lunge 20 (10 per leg)
Glutes Glute Bridge 20
Abs Crunch 20

Friday Photo from the Manitou Incline

May is almost over and the centers are winding down, but that doesn’t mean you should stop working out. There are many wonderful places along the front range that you can use in the summer for exercise! The Manitou Incline is one such place it will give you a ROCKING workout and is beautiful to boot!ManitouIncline

Mental Health Awareness

Provided by Abraham Lincoln SBSM Trainer Michelle Beachem

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year Mental Health America is focusing on changing that way we think about mental health and how we can all work together to catch mental health issues before they reach stage four. The campaign is aptly named b4stage4. Opening a dialogue with respect to mental health is huge in helping people change the way they see mental health disorders. Bear in mind that one in five American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year, fifty percent of American’s will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will have developed conditions by the age of 14. With so many people having a diagnosable mental condition, how do you know if you or someone you know is at risk?

There are four areas of mental health risk factors: genetic, biological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Broken down they look like this:

  • Genes – Traits that we inherit from our families
  • Biology – The balance of chemicals in the body; patterns of cell communication
  • Environment – Exposure to traumatic events like sudden loss, violence, abuse, or neglect; unsafe communities; low socioeconomic status
  • Lifestyle – Poor diet; substance use or abuse; lack of exercise; irregular sleep patterns

However, even if someone is at risk that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will develop a mental health disorder. There are warning signs to keep an eye out for when trying to determine if you or someone else should see a mental health professional.

When a person first begins to experience symptoms of a mental health disorder those symptoms are often brushed off as a fluke, something temporary, or thought of as just being due to stress. Symptoms to be on the lookout for include:

  • Too much sleep or trouble sleeping
  • Trouble focusing or having racing thoughts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Isolating one’s self from others or losing interest in things they once enjoyed
  • Irritability or having a short temper

Like other health conditions it is imperative to identify the symptoms early, determine the underlying disease, and plan an appropriate course of action for treatment.

Now that we know what the four mental health risk categories are and some symptoms to be on the lookout for, how do we know where someone is in regards to Mental Health America’s “b4stage4” campaign? There are four stages of mental health conditions starting with stage one where the symptoms and warning signs are at their lowest to stage four where a person’s life may very well be at risk. The stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Mild symptoms and warning signs
  • Stage 2 – Symptoms increase in frequency and severity and interfere with life activities and roles
  • Stage 3 – Symptoms are persistent and severe with relapsing and recurring episodes accompanied by serious disruption in life activities and roles
  • Stage 4 – Symptoms are persistent and severe and have or may have jeopardized one’s life

The severity of stage 4 and its symptoms are why it is imperative to diagnose persons suffering from mental health disorders “b4stage4” because, as with any other chronic condition, there are ways to treat it. The good news is that due to how common mental health issues are there are now a variety of treatment options ranging from group therapy sessions, to one-on-one private sessions, to medications if needed. The important thing to remember is that we can’t treat a person unless we know they need help; knowing the risks, being able to identify the symptoms, and being able to open the dialogue with that person (or yourself) is the first step in making sure that one less person gets to stage four.

 

Sunday Funday Weekend Workout

 By West SBSM Trainer Remi Hy. Short and sweet and to the point!

  1. 20 Tuck jumps
  2. 15 Tricep Dips
  3. 10 Lunges (per leg) weighted
  4. 10 Plank pushups
  5. 20 Minutes of Cardio
  6. 20 Tuck jumps
  7. 15 Tricep Dips
  8. 10 Lunges (per leg) weighted
  9. 10 Plank pushups

Add in a dynamic warm up (brisk walking, plank “inch worms”, walking lunges with rotations) and finish with 10 minutes of static stretching for an effective, full-body workout.