Monday, October 19, 2009

Fit FactorY: Aren't Plants just Wonderful?

I just read this incrdibly wonderful and mouthwatering article called: "The Salad in Your Front Yard: Edible Plants You Didn’t Even Know About" and I am again amzed at just how wide a variety of delectable eats we can see in our garden that we have never tried cooking/eating yet!When I read the article, I immediately thought told myself that I would post it here asap at my blog.

The article features a very unique, delicious looking weed called Purlsane which is great in salads:

Purlsane - Weeds in your Salad!
Image Source:

And a whole bunch of others. View the whole menu list here:

Of course, suffice to say that all of these goodies are healthy for you too! :)

~ Fit FactorY.Compltely hungry at the moment after seeing this article

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fit FactorY. 419 Scams - Beware!

This has nothing to do with health and fitness but I felt compelled to post about this because an acquaintance of mine recently got fooled by the 419 scam, and I just realized that there are still people who get tricked, even in this day and age when so many announcements have been made warning of this devious deception.

It starts with an email that makes you think that you are, perhaps, the luckiest person on the planet to have been chosen to receive such easy money. This is a misconception. These people send out emails to every address they can get a hand on. The ratio of people fooled vs those who ignore the email is very slim, much slimmer esp. now that Yahoo! Mail, GMail, etc. are wide-alert about these frauds, but the point is someone still gets fooled. Out of, say, a million of people who get an email, a small ratio of even 1% is still 10,000 people - that's a lot!

I'd like to post this so that hopefully I can do my part in decreasing that ratio.

To find out more about the scam, visit this site:

Just remember: If it seems to good to be true, then it might not be true! So, research about the email you received. Type in a few words from the email on Google and see if results show up giving complaints related to that email.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fit FactorY - Scrambled Eggs Anyone?

Eggs have gotten a very notorious reputation for being bad for your heart, but this article dispels that idea:;_ylt=AmR4mw1UCAvxzrRpAg3cU7Cz5xcB

Which states that (and I quote):

"A new study in the online journal entitled Risk Analysis reports that eating one egg a day accounts for less than 1 percent of the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of American men and women."

Some say that the egg yolks are a big source of fat and cholesterol, so if you're being very cautious you can ditch the yolk, and you can have some of those yummy scrambled egg whites every now and then. This article, however, seems to suggest that even egg yolks aren't all that bad and that the egg yolks is a valuable protein (because it's also affordable, it's a good food choice for us Gen Y people - and everyone for that matter - esp. when we're on a budget). Again, moderation is key plus a regular visit to your dietician / nutritionist.

~ FitFactorY

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fit FactorY.Com-placent with Exercise? Get Sneaky!

I've always been utterly conflicted between my laziness/busy-ness AND my desire to look/become physically fit. If you think about it, a 30-minute jog shouldn't be so difficult! But then, I imagine myself sitting down on a couch and just staring at the TV as it delivers pretty high-speed images and motions, and I just can't help choosing the latter, especially after a long hard day at work typing away in front of a dull computer screen.

I haven't given up on the grandeur of feeling like a million bucks though (I surmise that being healthy will make you feel that way). So for the past few weeks, I've been trying to sneak in some exercise routines into my lifestyle - things that aren't too drastic, that my mind will figure out what I'm tricking it to accept, yet not too easy either that they serve no purpose to my overall well-being.

I am proud to say that I've thought of three extremely practical and unobtrusive routines you can sneak into your daily routine!

1. You don't need a lift.
My office is located at the eighth floor, and I have begun boycotting the very convenient elevator lift to slowly shift my alliance to the old-reliable stairs. This means that I have to wake up 5 to 10 minutes earlier than usual to accommodate the now longer "travel" to the office, but I think this is a small enough sacrifice to take. My goal is to go up the stairs to my office at least once a day. If I'm in a hurry in the morning (like there's a meeting I need to attend to), I do my stair-climbing over the lunch break instead.

I'm 1 week into this "program", I confess that I am still panting and wheezing like an asthmatic after just taking the first half of the flights, but I'm getting there.

2. Reach for the stars (or get down)
This sounds a bit counter-intuitive but I've rearranged my kitchen cupboards, shoe racks, bedroom/bathroom cabinets, so that the items I need every day to get ready for work are now at the least accessible place they should be. For instance, my cereal bowl and cereal box are now at the top-most shelf, and I've moved the shoes I use most frequently to the bottom-most row. This means I'd need to get some stretching and squatting done each day before I can leave the office, and another round when I need to return them to their new proper places.

3. Best of Both Worlds
I'm a TV addict. I fully admit to that. But it doesn't mean that I can't have my daily dose of tube and a good "run" at the same time! I've moved my exercise bike across the television set so I can now watch and bike at the same time. When the show is good and I'm hanging on the words of every actor, I just unconsciously pedal as well, and I've managed to trick myself into biking longer.

These three examples are just some of the little things we can do. There's a whole LOT of other tricks we can pull on our head. Try to analyze your current lifestyle and see what you can tweak. Then come back here to TheFitFactorY.Blogspot.Com and tell us what worked for you! :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fit FactorY: Losing Weight for the Summertime - the Ups and the Downs of Diets

It's summertime, which means you can't hide yourself under a stack of clothes anymore. Plus, there's always the trip to the beach that we all look forward to, which means swimsuits for us women, and trunks for the boys.

This is probably the season when people are all scouring for weight-loss tips and I attempted to read through a couple of the more popular weight loss diets out there.

1. The Atkins Diet focuses on controlling the levels of insulin in our bodies. "If we consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates our insulin levels will rise rapidly, and then fall rapidly. Rising insulin levels will trigger our bodies to store as much of the energy we eat as possible - it will also make it less likely that our bodies use stored fat as a source of energy". Those who follow the Atkins Diet will stock up on more proteins and avoid the bad carbs (like white bread). The disadvantages of this diet are vitamin deficiencies and constipation. Worst disadvantage: People on this diet regain all the weight they lose once they get back on the carbs.

2. The Zone Diet "aims for a nutritional balance of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 30% protein each time we eat". It has the following basic rules:
a. Eat a small portion of protein every meal.
b. Have 2 snacks a day, both of which have some protein.
c. Carbs portion of the meal/snack should be twice the protein portion. Stick to good carbs like lentils and beans.
d. Every meal/snack should have good fat (nuts, olive oil, fish oil)

Cons? It's an expensive diet to follow, and is very time-consuming and difficult for people to fit into their hectic lifestyle.

Bottom line is we can't have it all. For the risk of sounding resigned: here's one saying that I am itching to publish here at the FitFactorY.Com si com sa (sorry did I spell it right?). Most diets have their advantages and disadvantages, and it seems that there aren't really any terrific diet plans out there. Just so so plans you can try to follow in hopes that they will help you lose your needed weight.

Hopefully though, if you pair this with the right amount of exercise, you might really be successfully in your weight loss program.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Fit FactorY: Herbal Cures you should Have at Home

Dr. Mao posted an article in Yahoo answers about the 8 common herbal treatments found at home. Read below and start planting in your garden, or stocking up on your spice rack now!

1. Rosemary
A good alternative to coffee. It Stimulates brain activities and increase brain alertness. Also aids in digestion and perks up your immune system.

2. Mint
Peppermint settles the stomach and alleviates gas. It also supports good vision and cleanses your liver.

3. Oregano
A great natural remedy to colds or flu!

4. Sage
Helps prevent the loss of mental function that comes with age.

5. Chives
A member of the garlic and onion family, chives have been used throughout history for natural healing because they contain a substantial amount of vitamin C as well as essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid. They can strengthen the lower back and improve circulation.

6. Basil
Perks up your energy level (without the caffeine!)... and super delicious on a Margherita pizza might I add ;)

7. Cilantro
Boosts your immune system and aids in digestion.

8. Parsley
Cools the liver and clears the eyes.

Additionally, having some Turmeric on your house is good too, as it is one of the components in making an effective gout herbal remedy.

The good thing about this list is that most of them can be sneaked in to your dishes easily. And they add flavor too!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fit FactorY: Eat Right 80% of the time, Let loose during the remaining 20%

I read this interesting Yahoo Health Article, that says: "If we do the right thing 80% of the time in
our lifestyle habits, then we can have some fun the other 20%".

And it makes a lot of sense.

In fact, a lot of us tend to associate eating healthy and keeping fit with pain, abstaining, and sheer torture, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are several simple ways to eat right that aren't actually that difficult to follow:

1. Eat Breakfast.
Interestingly enough, eating healthy means eating that first meal of the day. They say that people are 75% more likely to overeat the rest of the day if they skip breakfast. Plus, you need that morning boost to get you through the whole day! Like they say, eat like a king during breakfast, like a prince during lunch, and a pauper during dinner time.

2. Eat until you are full. Stop there.
Never eat past that "full" stage. If you have leftovers, eat it on another day. Not only does eating past the "full" stage lead to those unwanted flabs, you also run the risk of getting indigestion.

These two simple things can really make a world of difference and give you chance to have fun while eating right.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fit FactorY : Healthy Junk Food

Fit FactorY - Popchips
Okay, so I'm almost 100% sure that this post is the first (hopefully not the only!) post in my blog that really caught your eye. I must say that when I saw that headline while surfing around Yahoo! a few days ago, I also had to click on the link.

One of the products the Yahoo! article pimped was something called "Popchips!" which has this extremely creative and catchy tag line that is a perfect fit for what the product stands for: "Love. Without the handles." How is it such a guilt-free snack?

1. As the name implies, these taters aren't fried, nor baked. They're popped through a correct application of heat and pressure!

2. The product can come in single serving portions so that even if you can't stop once you pop, the small bag will stop you too.

They look rather tasty and I'm going to scour my grocery store to see if the Pop factory have already shipped their goodies to my neighborhood grocery shop.

I was kinda iffy on the flavored varieties though. Somehow, they didn't t look and sound as healthy once you pepper them with those orange flavorings. HOWEVER, surprisingly enough, I looked at the nutrition facts and realized that the nutrition facts of Barbecue were even better than the original's! (Less 10mg of sodium for barbecue).

Go get your Popchips now! :P

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fit FactorY: Of Sore Throats, Strepsils, Natural Remedies

I got the sore throat bug yesterday and I've been sucking on Strepsils like they were candy, when it dawned on me that Strepsils lozenges are considered medicines! So I did a bit of researching and realized that you can only take 1 of them every 2 to 3 hours, and that you should only take a total of 6 of these lozenges per day.

I also went on a hunt for good home remedies for sore throat, and found the following natural remedies (half of which I'm already doing hahaha):

1. Gurgle warm salt water and/or Listerine
2. Drink Hot Tea or Hot Lemonade. Green tea is good!
3. Suck on garlic. Crush your teeth against the garlic
4. Drink lots of agua. Make sure you don't overdo it though because overbloating is bad.
5. Create an old-fashioned steam tent by draping your head with a towel and placing your head over a steamer or bowl of hot water.
6. If the sore throat persists too long, you should definitely go to the doctor because it might get worse and lead to further complications.

Hopefully, these will help me expedite the healing process because I still have a ton of work to do :P

~ Fit FactorY

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fit FactorY: Always in front of the PC? Drink tea! + Other health benefits of tea

Tea is a good source of antioxidants, and I just learned last week that it can help ward off UV rays (thus preventing skin cancer) or radiation from being in front of the computer too long (Which is why I immediately rushed to the grocery to buy me some tea boxes)

If you're going down with flu or cough, tea will also help tame the sickness by cooling down your system.

Aside from that, tea will help you with your blood pressure, and clears out your lungs, etc.

Tea can also aid in your digestion - this is why the Chinese love to drink tea after/during their meals, esp. when you're eating oily food.

Some teas have special abilities, too. For example:
Chamomile Tea helps you relax, relieves women of menstrual cramps, and cures insomnia.
Lavender Tea also helps you relax, and takes care of your headaches.
Rosehip Tea is a good tea to drink for headaches and vertigo.
Echinacea combats colds and flu.
Peppermint Tea is the tea to drink when you get heartburn.
Green Tea is a very good tea to drink - it helps combat arthritis, lowers cholesterol levels, heals infections, and improves immune functions

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fit FactorY: Foods to Combat Aging

Aging is something us Generation Y people must think about as early as now, especially when you're as vain as I am ;) The general idea is to pack your diet with as many fruits and vegetables, and whole foods as possible. You should also think about regularly taking natural antioxidants.

The easiest rule to live by when purchasing your fruits and vegetables is to think of your diet as a color palette! When going to the grocery, get reds (tomatoes, apples, etc), purples (beets, eggplants, etc), greens (spinach, broccoli, etc), yellows (yellow peppers, etc), the list goes on.

For your whole foods, you may choose from a list of cereals, whole-grain products, and whole-wheat products. Basically, you need to buy products that have been least refined/processed.

Here is a list of munchies and drinks that are high in antioxidants:
Green / Black Tea
Spices like Cinnamon, Oregano, Cloves
Dry Fruits like Apricots, Prunes, and Dates

You should also get your daily dosage of protein, of course, from fish products like salmon and tuna. Salmon has an additional benefit of providing calcium.

The good thing about this diet is that you keep fit, without letting go of the comforts of variety!

To view the actual menu plan, head on over to the Yahoo Health article:
Yahoo Health Article Anti-Aging Menu Plan

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fit Sandwiches FactorY

The sandwich is the quintessential lunch for the Generation Y person. It's easy to purchase from any nearby cafe/deli/etc., you can eat it on the go, and it's healthy too.

Whoops, take 1 step back there. Sandwiches may not always be as healthy as we think. Take for example Romano’s Macaroni Grill Grilled Chicken and Artichoke Sandwich. Sounds healthy, right? Chicken's grilled, so there's less oil in the picture, it has artichokes. It must be good for you! Not really. I was shocked to find out that studies show this sandwich is loaded with 1,260 yucky calories (That's like eating more than 20 Chicken McNuggets!), and 2,990 mg sodium.

Another stereotype to bust is the idea that vegetarian is always equal to healthy and keeping fit. It may be true most of the time, but condiments and portion size are very important to consider as well. The 12-inch Blimpie Special Vegetarian sandwich is packed with almost as much calories as the Grilled Chicken number (1,186 calories), mainly because it is 12 inches long, and because of all the oils and yummy condiments they add on to the sandwich.

I guess this means that we can't always tell something is healthy and fit at face value. In general though, I think if we have the sandwich maker hold the condiments (or cut down on them), and if we mind the serving size of the sandwich we eat, we can avoid being fooled by these unhealthy "health sandwiches".

~ Fit FactorY

Sunday, April 5, 2009

L-Carnatine for a More Fit You - Does it Work? Is it Safe?

You've probably seen these bottles in your average grocery or convenience store - Colored flavorful drinks that claim to keep you fit, factory packaged in average labels.

Too good to be true? The advertisements try to say otherwise, claiming that these tasty drinks (sometimes they come in pills) really are effective. But let's see what the doctors and researchers say about them.

The drink's main component is called L-Carnatine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid that metabolizes fat, by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, the powerhouse of our body's cells. This amino acid is also responsible for increasing our energy as we go through our aerobic activities.

Basically, L-Carnatine gives you that slim, fit body by burning tryglycerides instead of glycogen for our fuel as we exercise. By saving more glycogen, you are able to sustain more energy, and spend more time burning more fat.

What do the studies show?

A study made by M. H. Williams in 1992, showed that L-carnitine didn't help among endurance athletes. In 1995, McCarty said it did help people lose weight.

I've scoured forums, and the comments of people were as varied. Some said they didn't lose a single pound. Some said they lost a bit, but are unsure if it had anything to do with L-Carnitine. Then there are the miracle stories that said L-Carnatine really did help them trim their body, combined with an exercise regimen

How much do you need to take?
Some say that we get enough L-carnitine from meat and dairy products. The good thing is that if we take in more L-carnitine than we need, we just excrete them out. There have not been any serious side effects to taking it.

If you are taking L-Carnitine, please leave a comment and tell us its effect on you.

~ Fit FactorY

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fit FactorY: Brain Food

Whenever I hear of "brain food", I vividly remember my mother telling me to eat a bowl of hot peanut soup on the day before my exams, so I could get a higher score. I've always laughed when she suggested this, and dismissed the peanut thing as an urban myth probably conjured up by the marketing-fit peanut factory manufacturers so they could get more sales, but after researching on it further, the idea behind "brain food" seems to have some scientific backing after all.

Apparently, peanut is high in Vitamin B6, protein, and sugars that the brain needs. The good thing about peanuts is that they are virtually cholesterol free so you can munch on them with less guilt as compared to eating a bag of greasy potato chips.

Speaking of Vitamin B, eggs are also a good source of Vitamin B, particularly Choline, which is said to enhance memory.

Studies have also been made, confirming that fish is a good brain food for boys. The omega-3 found in fish is what helps the brain develop better. Even more interesting to note is that pregnant women who eat fish tend to have more intelligent children. The study does not state why fish doesn't help women as much and I've been trying to scour Google for the answer but to no substantial avail.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fit FactorY: The Truth about Chicken

Healthy eating is often associated with chicken. However, there are a lot of sneaky marketing tactics out there that can trick you into buying chicken products that aren't really as healthy as they claim to be.

"100% All Natural" is actually composed of 30% salt water pumped into the chicken
"100% Chicken Breast" or "100% All-White Meat" is actually just part Chicken and part water, flour, thickeners, etc.

How deceiving is that?! If you're like me, and you're always in a hurry, you just gravitate towards these seemingly healthy products, dump them in your grocery cart, and go check them out. You go home, cook them real quick, and eat with the satisfaction that you're actually eating healthy...

Well apparently, we've all been deceived.

How then do we avoid this?
Best thing to do is to actually buy your chicken from an organic store, or to buy them at your butcher's shop. You can ask your friendly butcher (always befriend your butcher as they say!) for boneless breast so you don't have a hard time at home with the cleaver.

~Fit FactorY

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fit FactorY: Healthy Fit Cooking Tips from the American Heart Association

Here are a few cooking tips to stay fit, that I read from the American Heart Association:

1. Don't overcook your veggies. Not only are mushy vegetables unappealling, you also lose the nutrients.

2. Try to sneak in some essential healthy ingredients into your dishes as often as possible, catered to your needs. For instance, if you have mildly higher blood pressure than normal, a dash of cayenne pepper in your dishes may help you.

3. Go low-fat and fat-free as often as possible. A wide array of items now are being offered in this variant in common grocery stores, such as milk, salad dressings, etc.

4. Gulp down some smoothies! Smoothies are EASY to make. Just plunk in some fruits in your blender, whiz it around for a few seconds, add some fat-free yogurt, and you're good to go.

5. Prepared seasonings can have high salt content and increase your risk for high blood pressure. Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-free seasoning mixes. Use natural alternatives such as lemon juice and citrus for added flavor.

6. Factory canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for "low-sodium" veggies or try the frozen varieties. Always check and compare the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label of products and get the one with the least amount of sodium.

7. Substitute! A cup of applesauce or 6 mashed bananas can substitute for a cup of butter/lard/shortening.

8. Choose whole grain for part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products. Use whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal. Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of all-purpose flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, try 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour.

9. In baking, use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whats the "Extra virgin" in Extra virgin olive oil?

We all probably know by now that olive oil is good for you. But have you ever wondered what extra virgin olive oil is and how it differs from just pure olive oil?

Other than the price tag, these two types of olive oil also differ in taste, quality, and how much it has been processed.

In general, the less processed the olive oil is the better, and the more expensive. Extra virgin olive oil is the least acidic, and has the most excellent taste and aroma. It is the least processed and is extracted using the first cold press.

Virgin olive oil is the oil you obtain after the second pressing.

Pure olive oil is filtered and refined in a factory and does not taste or smell as good as the above.

In the health aspect, all three of them are good for you (good fat so to speak), with the small difference being that Extra Virgin olive oil contains more antioxidants and vitamin E. As I stated in another article, olive oil is one of the better oils to use when deep frying. As a general rule, I'd say buy the olive oil that will fit your budget.

What you should watch out for is the "Light olive oil", a neat marketing gimmick. Light here is referred to the color, as opposed to the amount of calories. Sometimes, it is mixed with other forms of vegetable oil.

~ Fit Factory

Monday, March 9, 2009

Easy Ways to Eat Less

Here's an interesting article on how to train your digestive system to eat less:

1. Eat 5 meals a day: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner.

2. Routine is good. Lessen your food choices. Eat the same thing every breakfast.

3. Eat food rich in "good fat" a half hour before your meal. Food rich in "good fat": nuts and seeds.

4. Try walking to the office or at least try getting off at a farther spot from your destination. This will help you keep fit.

5. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Having a hard time sleeping? Here are some tips to beat your insomnia.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Wii Fit and other Wii Games: Who says getting fit can't be fun?

Gone are the days where you have to spend what seems like eternity running on a conveyor belt that takes you absolutely nowhere. If you're like me, and you don't like redundant exercises or hitting the gym where you are under the watchful eye of other people who are 10x more fit than you are and seem to have factory-built muscles, you can always just spring for a Wii and get yourself several exercise-intensive games.

There's the Wii Fit, of course, which, apart from giving you those routine step movements, also allows you to balance yourself on a beam, or hit soccer balls. A Wii Fit Factory Sealed Component will cost around $125.

The Wii Sports provides a lot of fun and exercise as well. Boxing is a total get fit program because it really works out both arms and if you're really into it you'll find yourself moving your legs and head as well, like you were Rocky or something.

If you want to get more creative, however, there are other Wii games guaranteed to make you sweat and flex minus the boredom:

Raving Rabbids
This is undeniably the sneakiest way a game has ever made me exert such physical effort. The games are nothing near "fitness-intensive". You've got burping games, snail races, chess, and rhythm games, but all of these require much shaking and moving that you are sure to sweat a lot... and have tons of fun in the process.

Cooking Mama
This isn't as strenuous as the above but when you're competing with your friend to chop or whisk the fastest, then it can help your arm muscles and give you a sweat as well.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fit FactorY: Deep Frying = Deep Trouble

Is there anything more delicious than a golden crispy deep-fried breaded chicken with a side of mashed potatoes?

Probably nothing, but you might wanna consider just how unhealthy that dish can be.

We've all heard this song sung at least once: Deep frying is no good. But do we exactly know why? Is it the oil per se? Because I could use a good bottle of olive oil if that were the case.

Sadly, it's not just the oil. The thing that's unhealthy about deep frying is deep frying itself. When you deep fry, the temperature of your oil skyrockets to over 600 to 700 degress fahrenheit. At this temperature, a lot of chemical changes occur, one to note being that the fatty acids become trans fatty acids - which contributes to the hardening of arteries. Think of your stomach becoming a factory of lead paint. Furthermore, if you re-fry the dish, you produce cancer-causing agents called acrolein.

A bit every now and then won't hurt, though. To lessen the harmful effects of frying, try placing vegetables or water in your pan first before adding the oil to keep the temperature to a lower degree. Furthermore, there is some truth about using the right oil for the job. Consider butter, peanut oil, sesame oil, canola oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil high in oleic, because they are not so damaged by the high temperature.

I say why fry when you can bake? Not only is it easier to bake things (Place inside an oven and leave it there as opposed to minding a hot sizzling pan that can just spray you with oil at any minute), but the flavors are also better retained. You also keep fit when you stick to less oily substitutes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fit FactorY: The Science of Sleep

I recently watched a 60 Minutes stint featuring "The Science of Sleep". It basically highlights the importance of getting a good night's sleep. Ideally, you should be getting at least 7 hours a sleep every night. Otherwise, you will find your attention span and memory skills deteriorating with every night that you don't get enough Zzz's.

What the show failed to emphasize enough is the quality of sleep. There is a big difference between sleeping 7 hours at night but waking up for a few minutes in 2 hour intervals as opposed to sleeping 7 hours straight. Of course, the latter is preferred if you want to keep fit.

However, not all of us have the fortune of sleeping straight. Most of us suffer from what they scientifically call sleep apnea. This is an extremely frustrating condition to have. I should know, because I am one of the victims of this. I wake up at least twice in the middle of the night, such that when I wake up in the morning, I don't feel as refreshed as I ought to be despite the total hours I put into my snooze.

There are a lot of tips out there that can aid you in your sleep. I find these tips the most helpful (they have not completely eradicated my waking up in the middle of the night, but I am at least having an easier time falling asleep now):

1. Make a complete distinction between your wake up time and sleepy time through light.
When you wake up, make sure you turn on the lights, let the sunlight in, etc. to let your body clock know that it's morning. Conversely, if you're going to bed, make sure
you keep your room as dim as possible.

2. Slather some lavender oil on your body.
The soothing smell of this oil relaxes you and helps you in your sleep.

3. Don't drink too much water an hour before you plan to sleep.
If you drink too much water, you'll end up waking up to go to the toilet frequently.

4. Establish a night routine.
Do the same routine every night before bed time, one that involves relaxing yourself (ex. taking a warm bath, light reading, meditation) so that psychologically, you will start to feel sleepy just by doing your night routine.

5. Bedtime snacks, anyone?
Try taking a glass of warm milk or a cup of hot chamomile tea, or eating a banana. Banana, milk, and tea is a Tryptophan amino acid factory.

Hopefully, these tips can help you too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fit FactorY: Healthy "Fast Food"

In this fast-paced world we live in, it's hard not to go inside a fast food restaurant for a quick chow. Here are three simple ways to make sure that it does not go against your desire to stay fit and healthy:

1. Ditch the fancy drink
One of the easiest and most effective ways to cut down on calories and sugar is to drink water with your meal. If you find water too bland, you can improvise by placing a lemon slice inside your water. Or ordering hot tea sans the sugar.

2. Pay careful attention to those "add-ons"
You order your burger, and it usually comes with mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or mustard. Try asking them to lessen the condiments they put into the food, as these add-ons not only add flavor but also add a lot of calories, fat, and sodium.

3. Check the nutrition facts
Did you know that even fast food joint websites show their nutrition facts on the web? You can check out the nutrition facts of Wendy's and McDonald's, for instance, here:

Wendy's Nutrition Facts
McDonald's Nutrition Facts

So you can get a better idea of what to order and what not to order.

~ Fit FactorY

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fit FactorY: Multivitamins - Are they just a load of crap?

I saw this very catchy, compelling article on yahoo entitled, "Are you Wasting Money on Multivitamins?" And this should compel you too if you're spending X dollars on multivitamins every single day of your life.

You can view it here:

In a nutshell, the article states that:

1. Folic acid supplements are important for pregnancy
2. Vitamin D / Calcium supplements for older people or people with fractures
3. Vitamin C, E, Zinc for people with macular degeneration.
4. Multivitamins for those on a diet, vegans, heavy alcohol drinkers, and the malnourished / (un fit people)

The article goes on to conclude that if you eat healthy, then you don't need to take multivitamins. The question though, is this: How do you know if you're eating healthy? If you're eating enough?

Personally, since this article does not say anything bad about taking multivitamins, I'd continue taking them, just for good measure. It's too difficult to figure out if you're actually taking a proper diet.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Can you really never have enough Vitamin C?

My sister, who has no medical degree whatsoever, espouses the idea that you can never have too much Vitamin C. Any amount you take over the normal recommended dose, she says, will just make its way out of your body.

This isn't actually true.

An overdose of vitamin C, at the very least, may cause stomach problems - diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps. Sometimes, the effects can be a bit more serious - severe cramps, nausea, and risks for kidney stones. Again, a good way to stay fit is to make this line your mantra: "Anything in excess is bad".

What should be the recommended dose (RDA) for Vitamin C?

Here's the tricky part. Some say that the recommended Vitamin C dose on normal days is 200 - 500 mg for healthy people. For pregnant or lactating women, dose should be lowered to 75-95 mg per day. If you're feeling under the weather, upping the dosage to 1000 mg is fine.

Some, on the other hand, say that people can actually drink up to 25,000 mg of Vitamin C a day without any problems.

The Vitamin C foundation recommends taking at least 3 g of Vit. C a day, and then goes on to say that you should take even more Vit C when you're pregnant (up to 6 grams), and take up to 300,000 mg when you're sick.

This other article tried pushing the limit and said overdosing Vitamin C was fine for him.

It's rather perplexing to note that the RDA for Vitamin C is different, depending on the source and the category of people taking it:

60-95 mg = U.S. Recommended Intake
200 mg = Levin/NIH Recommendation
400 mg = Current Linus Pauling Institute Recommendation
2500 mg = Hickey/Roberts minimum
3000 mg = Vitamin C Foundation's daily recommendation
6000-12000 mg = Levy's daily recommendation
6000-18000 mg = Pauling's daily recommendation
6000-9000 mg = Pregnancy
6000-18000 mg = Heart Disease
14000-30000 mg = Cancer
20000-300000 mg = Cathcart/Levy Cure for Infectious Diseases

So while overdosing seems to be something that is generally not accepted, it seems that the real definition of an overdose in Vitamin C seems to be missing.

Unfortunately, I don't have the final answer to this question either. But, my personal preference would be the 200-500mg (healthy days) to 1000mg (under the weather days) dosage. For one thing, if everyone followed the 6000mg a day dosage, I think we'd be needing more than 1 new Vitamin C factory built everywhere.

How about you guys? How much Vitamin C do you take?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bad Stomach Problems and Nightmares

Think there's a correlation?

Whether you think it's fact or myth, some people claim that sleeping on a full stomach can cause nightmares.

Personally, I've experienced this every now and then. Not because of a full stomach but because of high acid levels on my stomach. I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing that the acid is what triggers the nightmares indirectly. Acid = pain which then translates somehow into your subconscious and manifests itself as a dream.

This would make sense since sleeping with a full stomach also causes acid reflux. This article explains how a full stomach causes acid reflux and indigestion.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Probiotics - Getting the good bacteria in

Here's a counter-intuitive thought: Keep the bad bacteria out by getting the good bacteria in. All of us have most likely taken more than our fair share of those nasty, expensive antibiotics. They cure the illness you're complaining about, but introduce their fair share of side effects that mostly affect your stomach (eg. indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea). What's worse is that antibiotics kill all the bacteria in our body - including the good ones.

Probiotics is a way of refreshing your supply of good stomach microorganisms. They help boost your immune system, prevent infections, cure diarrhea, etc. Studies say that they can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Fit Factory Image - YakultThe best thing about Probiotics is that they are safe. We actually have this in our body already. They can also be obtained through more natural means - such as eating yogurt or drinking yogurt milk (Yakult!!!). This makes integrating probiotics into your lifestyle an easy task.

You can read more about Probiotics here:

~ Fit Factory

Monday, January 5, 2009

Some Sunlight a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

In my never ending quest for health and fitness, I tend to overlook the more obvious, simple ways to achieve wellness. So it came to me as a shock when one of the doctors I visited one weekend suddenly posed this very practical suggestion - "Have you ever considered soaking up sunlight?" Hopefully, this fit factorY blog article can "shed some light"on the topic (pun intended).

Now why didn't I think of that? I can think of 2 reasons. One - I am used to living in a complicated world where nothing is ever quite simple and two - because of the bad rep the sun has gained from all those dermatologists warning about skin cancer.

Why get sunlight anyway? Sunlight is one of the best places to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. You need Vitamin D for Calcium. You need calcium for your bones and teeth. A lack in Vitamin D also leads to other illnesses. Studies also say that sunlight also helps in the fight against breast cancer. And because the sun gives you some happy hormones, it can also treat seasonal depression, and can be a good pick-me-up :)

Take note, however, that sunlight alone cannot give you enough Vitamin D. You need to take some supplements as well.

How much sunlight do you need? My doctor says 15 minutes will suffice, and I've confirmed this duration from two other articles talking about sunlight therapy and the best time and duration to stay under the sun.

Speaking of which, when is the best time to soak up some sun? According to several articles, before noon and after 3 pm. My doctor also recommends the 6 to 7 am sun. The most practical tip to follow: Soak up the sun when your shadow is much taller than you are - this is when the sun is not at its harshest.

This is where the controversy lies, however. Doctors who espouse the sunlight therapy state that you should not have any sunscreen lotion on so you can get the most out of the sun. Dermatologists would probably shriek at the mere thought of going under the sun without the lotion.

In the end, it's up to you to choose what to believe. Personally, I think 10 minutes of sun a day during the less harsh times of the day isn't such a bad idea.