Straight Goods on Supplements

Straight Goods on Supplements

Why Can’t I Get Everything I need from Food? I would like to start by saying that we do believe in using supplements, but they are NOT to be confused with magic pills (sorry!). They cannot undo the damage that a crappy diet and lifestyle can cause. However, they CAN be used to help fill in the blanks in your diet and to support your workouts and busy lifestyle. Sandbox personal trainers first believe that good health comes from good food and lifestyle habits; but we’ve conceded that there are many cases where supplementation can accomplish things that food simply cannot. Everybody has their own unique circumstances which may lead to an increased need to use a supplement. There are a few reasons as to why supplements may be an important addition to YOUR health regime: Food Quality: Unfortunately, the quality of our food has taken a nose dive in the last 50 years. This is a result of over farming land, the popularization of antibiotics to preserve the shelf life of food, and the use hormones to increase the speed of food production. The major companies that provide us with food are focused less on nutrient value and more on profits. One example of this is the increasingly common defienciency in magnesium. Magnesium is now the second most common defienciency in developed countries; and magnesium content in crops is dependent on soil quality.   Stress: If you are dealing with large amounts of stress your body may be largely unequipped to even absorb healthy foods because of how cortisol (and other stress hormones) interrupt the digestive process. This... read more
The Scientific Reasons why YOU Need a vacation

The Scientific Reasons why YOU Need a vacation

The North American workaholic mindset is raging. So many of us are obsessed with work and staying productive. So much so, that we can’t even break away and take the time for a vacation! Studies show that most U.S. employees only take HALF of their paid vacation time. 61% admit to doing some work while on vacation and 24% are contacted by co-workers regarding a work-related matter while they are away. Mix a lack of vacation with the chronic work stress that the majority of North Americans report on a daily basis and the result is serious damage to your health and well-being. Vacations are not a luxury; they are a necessity! More recently, health researchers have taken a look at the mental, physical, and physiological benefits of taking vacations. Here are four of the consistent Health Benefits they’ve found: 1) Stress Reduction. Chronic job stress has many adverse effects including physiological effects, decreased work performance, absenteeism, anxiety and burnout. Learn more about chronic stress in our Stressed-Out Blog series. Research by the University of California shows that vacations improve the body’s physiological response to stress for 4 weeks following vacation. This was consistent with another study published in Psychology and Health that demonstrated a decrease in perceived work stress and a decrease in burnout for 4 weeks following a vacation. 2) Heart Disease Prevention. The connection between behavioural/psychological factors and heart health has been well researched. Researchers have even zeroed in on the effect that vacation has on heart disease risk. The Framingham Heart Study demonstrated how both men and women are more likely to have a heart... read more
The Sandbox Spring Clean

The Sandbox Spring Clean

The Sandbox Spring Clean is a challenge to clean up your eating and cut out sugar for at least 5 days. In the anticipation of summer, we are all feeling a little more motivated to clean up our eating and get a little healthier! This challenge is about cleaning out the sneaky sugars that are found in so many of the processed foods we eat. That is why we’ve created the Sandbox Spring Clean! Starting May 15th join us for 5 days without added sugars. Not convinced that giving up sugar is a good idea? Read our latest blogs and learn the effect that sugar has on our body-weight and our energy levels. The Guidelines: From Monday May 15th to Friday May 19th: 1. Sugar: Avoid all added sugars! You must stick to whole, non-processed foods and read the ingredients of absolutely anything that comes in a package! Know that bread, bagels, sauces, salad dressings, and pasta usually all come with some added sugar! Refer to our list of added sugar names to know what to look for. 2. Fruit: You are allowed 3 pieces of fruit at most, or 1 serving if we are talking berries (about 6-8 raspberries). Fruit is a natural sweetener, most of the calories in fruit does come from fructose. In natural normal size portion fruit isn’t a bad thing. For this challenge we will allow no fruit juices or “all-fruit” smoothies. Anything with added “fruit concentrates” is also off limits. 3. Alcohol: Technically clear spirits are sugar-free (vodka, gin, rye, rum, and tequila). Wine, beer, most cocktails, spiced rum, and any flavoured liquors... read more
Top Tips to Successfully Ditching the Sugar

Top Tips to Successfully Ditching the Sugar

If you’ve been keeping up with our latest blog posts, you’ve learned about the detrimental effect that excessive sugar can have on your energy, your weight, and your risk of serious chronic disease.  You will also know that sugar can have an addictive effect on the body and brain and is snuck into so many of the foods that we consume today. Sugar is bad news. For most of us, cutting down on sugar isn’t an easy task! Here are our Top Tips to successfully Ditching the Sugar: 1 – Clean out the Cupboards. Don’t keep the sweet stuff around. Instead, fill your kitchen with healthier substitutes. Use natural sugars and fats to combat the sweet cravings (without going overboard). 2– Don’t Fear Fats! Low sugar doesn’t mean you need to be super low calorie. Make sure you are getting lots of healthy proteins and fats to keep yourself feeling satisfied and avoid the temptation to binge eat. 3 – Get Enough Sleep. Sleeping and eating are two vital processes that are deeply intertwined. Not enough sleep can wreak havoc among your hunger hormones. Research demonstrates how lack of sleep increases the tendency to choose junky (high-fat, high-calories) foods over healthier ones. 4 – Lose the Stress. There are countless books and articles written surrounding the “food-mood” connection. When you feel stressed, you are more likely to crave crappy foods and make poor food choices. This may be because stress causes an increase in a hormone called cortisol which leads to a spike in insulin and a drop in blood sugar. The drop in blood sugar increases craving for... read more
Be a Better Grocery Shopper

Be a Better Grocery Shopper

4 Ways to Be a Better Grocery Shopper: 1 – Have a Plan.   Added sugars are hidden in everything. Even foods that don’t seem sweet. Harmless condiments and sauces that you wouldn’t even think of. Creating low-sugar meals may be more difficult than you think. It is important to have a general idea of the low-sugar meals that you want to have each day and create a grocery list based off that. There are a variety of health bloggers online who share their sugar-free meal plans and recipes that can help get you inspired. Check out the resources at the bottom of the page for some of our favourites. 2 – Save the Middle Aisles for last. Non-processed, clean, sugar-free foods are generally located around the outside of the store. Fill you cart with these items (veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, meat) before making your way through the middle lanes. The middle lanes are generally the lanes comprised of processed and packaged foods. This brings me to my next point.. 3 -Keep processed and packaged foods to a minimum. Added sugars hide in so many foods that don’t seem sweet: breads, pasta, salsa, pasta sauces, salad dressings. Making as much of your own sauces and salad dressings as possible will be very helpful. Check out these 10 food swaps for some helpful tips to avoid packaged foods and all the added sugar that comes with them. However, I can’t overlook the convenience of pre-packaged foods. We are a busy society and sometimes convenience wins! When you DO need to rely on a processed and packaged food our next point... read more