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January 2018 // Archive

Date based archive
25 Jan

Down here in South Texas, people tend to break out the parkas and long johns when the outside temperature dips below 50°F. Why? Because nobody likes being cold. And the same holds true regardless of where you live. So whether you live in balmy San Antonio or the Arctic tundra, here are some tips on when to wear long johns and thermal underwear, so you can stay you warm and, hopefully, avoid muscle strains and catching colds.

What happens to your body as the temperature drops?

• As temperatures drop to 50°F, your blood vessels narrow and reduce blood flow near the body’s surface. These blood vessels dilate and can burst, which causes numbness and redness. Your face and hands are especially vulnerable. (Maybe South Texans are on to something after all!)
• As temperatures drop below 45°F, you may experience difficult breathing while you’re out for a run or on the ski slope. Your nose tries to warm and moisturize the air as you breathe in the cold, dry air. The result? A runny nose.
• As the temperatures drop further with or without wind chill, you can easily go from discomfort to possibly life-threatening. When your core body temperature has drops about a degree below its normal temperature around 98.6°F, you may start shivering. This may be the first sign of hypothermia. If your body drops to 96°F, your motor coordination begins to fail. If your internal temperature goes to 90°F, you’re in an imminent life-threatening situation.
• And frostbite can occur when your skin is exposed and temperatures and wind chills are above zero. At -18°F, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in about 20 minutes.

Now that we know the potential dangers of the cold…

Wearing layers of clothing will keep you warm as you tackle the snow in the driveway or stack boxes in a warehouse. As your body temperature rises, you can take a layer off to stay comfortable.

Thermal underwear and long johns are perfect as the base layer to keep the body heat in and the cold out.

In addition to insulation, your thermals should be able to breathe. As you sweat, your underwear should wick the moisture away from you skin and cause you to cool down as this moisture evaporates, thus regulating your body temperature. Elite athletes and those work outside for a living would never go outside without a base layer of quality thermal underwear.

Even with long johns, sometimes, you can only venture into the great outdoors during the dead of winter for so long. Did you ever wonder long “so long” was? We did, too.

 

Fortunately, there’s someone in Canada who took a stab at this and created the Long John Index, a “not-scientific-whatsoever” method of measuring when, and if, one should be wearing a pair of thermal long underwear. So, if curious, check out the index.

 

Slip on some great looking long johns like this union suit from 2(X)IST. (No one ever said that you can’t look  good, too.) Stay warm, don’t forget your hat and gloves.

 

When you need to layer, what do you wear? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

18 Jan

Superfood to keep your body going

You probably don’t remember or maybe you’re trying not to remember what you had for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Eve meals.  You may have used the excuse that it’s the holidays, and you should eat, drink, and be merry.  It’s not the beginning on a new year and outside temperatures may be a bit on the frigid side.  Fight the urge to cozy up with comfort foods like mac ‘n cheese and high-fat creamy soups. Yes, you can work off these high calories. But think about how many extra minutes that you must add to your workout. How about looking at superfoods that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers that your body needs to power itself through cold weather…and are great to have on those chilly days.

Chili

Skip the cans at the grocery store. You can make a pot of chili in in minutes with simple ingredients like lean meat (chunked or ground), your favorite beans, lycopene rich tomatoes (stewed, paste, or fresh), onions, and chili pepper powder.

When you add any variety of beans, you have a high source of protein and fiber. So, you can either skip the meat, or add a little lean proteins like beef, chicken, and turkey for flavor.  Tomatoes in any form contain lycopene, a cancer-preventative phytonutrient, which is an antioxidant with a laundry list of amazing benefits. Onions are high in vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber, and folic acid. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid another antioxidant.

As if your simple bowl of chili can’t any more, did you know chili pepper is not only tasty but good for you, too?  The capsaicin in chili has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat.

Beef and barley soup

If you think barley tastes good in beer, how about trying a nice warm bowl of beef and barley soup?  A cup of this tasty soup contains 16 grams of protein, high in vitamin A and selenium. Barley is one of the best complex carbohydrates to eat for weight loss.  (Notice the word “eat” and no mention of “drink.”)

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is not just a breakfast food.  You can enjoy any time of day and is a perfect warm meal before you hit the outdoors.  Oats are a whole grain, so you know you’ll have fiber and protein to provide your body with slow-burning fuel. Every bowl also contains a powerful starch called beta-glucan. A National Center for Biotechnology Information research study found that just 3 grams a day of the beta-glucan in oats may reduce your bad cholesterol levels by 5 to 10%.

Bake a batch of oatmeal cookies or bars for a wholesome snack.  Just watch the amount of butter, or better yet, try a more healthy substitute.

 

Time for some veggies!

Brussels sprouts.  Even though, eating these mini cabbages may just help you fight a cold, ‘Yuck!’ is what many people still think. It doesn’t matter that these little guys are superfood packed with fiber and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, and high in vitamin C (at 74.8 milligrams a cup!).

Roasting in olive oil vs. steaming will bring out the sweetness.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste, and you’ll wonder why you were afraid of this superfood.

Sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A. One medium size baked potato contains 438% of your daily value. Plus, you’ll get vitamin C, calcium, potassium, a bit of iron, and nearly 4 grams of fiber when you eat the skin – make sure you clean the potato before roasting.

Many people go wrong by adding the butter, brown sugar, and even marshmallows.  When you simply bake or pan roast them with olive oil, you’ll bring out the natural sweetness of the potato.

Squash. Most varieties of squash are in the superfood category  because they high in potassium, some calcium and vitamin C. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a diet high in potassium (while also curbing sodium) could reduce risk of stroke by 21% and lower odds of developing heart disease. Squash is also rich in vitamin A and contains hunger-busting fiber. Try a cup of baked butternut squash, it has 457% of your daily vitamin A, 7 grams of fiber, and

just 82 calories. Even better, you can warm up all its parts. Bake the insides and season with garlic salt, pepper, even cumin or turmeric, You can also eat the seeds if you roast them.

Now for dessert!

Apples.  These portable fruits taste great as-is or cooked. Apples are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber when eaten with the skin.  This superfood can make you feel less hungry while

helping digestive system by slowing digestion and helping other food pass through your system more efficiently.  Plus, apples add to your hydration since 86% of the fruit is water.

Baked apples make the perfect sweet treat for fall. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon before you throw them in the oven, and you’ll get more antioxidants.

Hot chocolate.  Drinking a cup of hot cocoa, especially, when it’s consumed with a loved one, is doubly good way to get your sweet fix.  Make your own, so you know what goes into your hot cocoa.  Whichever type of milk (cow, soy, almond, etc.) you use will give you the protein to keep your body’s insulin levels steady while the antioxidants in the chocolate will fight free radicals, potential instigators of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Who thought a cup of sweetness could be a superfood, too?

Are you hungry yet?

Good.  These ideas are perfect to use as pre-workout snacks or your post-workout meals to keep you warm and fueled during this cool time of year.

What superfood do you eat to keep you warm and fueled during the cold months? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

 

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