Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

3 More Healthy Gut Tips

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 27, 2019

Why is there so much emphasis on the gut in complimentary medicine these days?  Because it really is the center of health!  Your gut is where the body absorbs nutrients, which gets distributed via blood to all your cells and major organs.  Imagine if your gut has an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria along with little holes that allow these toxins to escape into the bloodstream. 


If you want better skin, a flatter stomach, and prevention of both physical and mental illnesses, work on your gut health!  Here are 3 tips:


1. Go grain-free -- Grains are hard to digest for a compromised gut.  I had been dealing with chronic parasites, and I didn't come out ahead until I took out grains. 

    

2. Take L-Glutamine--This important supplement helps repair the lining of your gut wall and recover muscle.


3. Stress Less -- Stress affects digestions. If you want better digestion, eat slowly and consume whole foods that you enjoy.  You may even want to ensure your environment is stress-free, so maybe take your lunch out to the park.  

Emotional Health: Only Spend Emotional Energy on People who are Aligned with Your Values

Healthy with Hanifa

Nov. 25​, 2019

I have a tendency to mull over bad behavior, especially if it's behavior I don't understand. Case in point: I dealt with a very rude young man in traffic about a month ago. Yes, I was irate with him, but I never crossed the legal line. He, on the other hand, began rolling down his window and gesturing at his door locks, and threatened to beat me up. I decided that he simply wanted to argue, and thus, ignored him. He still wanted to fight, so he honked, cut in front, and held his finger at me for the entire duration he drove in front of my car.


Even though I usually forget by the next day, I hung onto this incident for days afterwards. The questions I asked myself: "How could any man treat a woman with such disrespect?" "Why did the woman beside him not stop him?" and "Does he not feel any remorse?"


I realized then that I was trying to comprehend that which I could not. My values are different: I feel guilty after I treat someone badly, I don't like to keep arguing, and I examine my actions after a confrontation. I also realized that it was costing me energy and health points to even give someone who's not aligned with my values so much space in my head. 


Are you wasting emotional time and energy on people who are not your sort? Well, if you are, stop choosing them!

   


The Art of Acceptance

Healthy with Hanifa

Oct. 31, 2019

I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again:  we are all bio-chemically individual.  Nobody has the same goals, ancestry, genetics, stomach acid levels, and microbiome.   This is why a one-size-fits all approach does not work.  This is also why a conventional "fitness", high-protein, moderate to low-carb diet never worked for me.  I have low stomach acid, and for those with low stomach acid, it's much harder to digest meat.  As a result of not being able to digest meat, I have a harder time recovering from heavy weight-training workouts, and I am more susceptible to bloating.


In other words, it's taken me literally two decades to accept my individuality, and to adjust my training and dietary protocols.  I no longer lift heavy weights.  I have to find alternative sources of protein.  I can't do wild cheat days where I eat anything I want without it throwing off digestion and progress.  This is just my body.  It's taken a long time to accept it, but I've finally come to peace.   


Please don't make the same mistake!  Acknowledge that what you're doing isn't working and then make adjustments accordingly.  Rather than fighting your reality, you'll be more successful once you accept yourself and your uniqueness.       


It's Okay to Take a Break

Healthy with Hanifa

January 20, 2020

This is a technique that I learnt from Esther Kane MSW, a licensed counselor:   


You could be experiencing a stressful, overwhelming period in your life.  Many people want to get rid of negative emotions, so they'll suppress them or feed an addiction, but problems are inevitable and so are the accompanying feelings.  


Have you considered sitting with your emotions and just letting them ride out?  I know it's not an easy task because you have to actually feel them, and sometimes it may take days or weeks, not a matter of hours to just "sit".  However, it's important to take a break and give yourself space.  You may even need to make yourself a big mug of hot cocoa and throw a blanket over your head, as you cry, obsess, and ruminate.   This has a much-needed cathartic effect.  After going through your stages, it will be a sunnier day and you will have actually moved on.         


      

Nine Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease

Healthy with Hanifa

Mar. 5, 2020

Here are 9 factors that you put you at higher risk for heart problems. See if you can reduce any of these:


1. Hypertension/high blood pressure

2. High cholesterol

3. Diabetes

4. Smoking

5. Alcohol

6. Poor diet

7. Sedentary lifestyle

8. Excessive weight

9. Stress

- University of Ottawa, Heartwise Training Program

       

      

Stir-Crazy from CoVid 19 Isolation and Shut-down?

Healthy with Hanifa

Mar. 17, 2020


I find that in times like this the tough get going. Grocery stores are still open in my area, you can still take the dog out walking, the internet is running, which means there's a lot we can still do. 


May I give you some ideas?


1. Most essential stores like grocery stores are open - Time to make a healthy, gourmet meal and experiment with recipes.


2. Declutter - There are probably areas in your house you're afraid to touch. Maybe a good idea to tackle them a bit by bit.


3. Get online - movies, Ken Burns documentaries, Opera at The Met, Virtual museum tours.


4. Get spiritual - pray, meditate, read scriptures, listen to music.


       

      

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

Cheating on Healthy Habits: What is Right About This?

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 20, 2019

I am going to take a page from the SCD diet guys, Jordan and Steve.  When it comes to deciding whether we should incorporate wine into our regular diet, take on another responsibility, or stay up later than we should, we're asking the wrong question.  Most people ask, "What is wrong about this?"  This question never works because it's human nature to deny or minimize challenges.  If we can't find something too wrong, we do it still.  What you should be asking instead is "What is right about this?"


So, let's say your gluten-free, and you really want a regular slice of cheesy wheat pizza.  The question to ask yourself is "What is right about this?"  Aside from satisfying your food lust, that cheesy pizza may give you the cramps and leave you foggy for an entire day.  Aha, not much too right about it, so don't eat it!


You want to stay up later to watch one more Netflix episode even though you have an early work obligation the next morning.  Ask yourself again: "What is right about this?"  You're going to feel groggy the next morning, and you can watch Netflix at any point.  Plus, you'll need additional time to brush your teeth before going to bed.  Netflix will be at your disposal at any point in the day, so go to bed instead and watch the extra episode tomorrow!


How about having a glass of wine with dinner every night?  What's right about that?  Yes, it's high in antioxidants, but you might find that wine makes you crave more sugar.  Any time you start drinking wine on a regular basis, you easily put on 3 to 5 lbs.  It also makes it hard for you to fall asleep after you've consumed it.  So you adjust and maybe have wine with dinner only twice a week!   


Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

Dealing with Demons

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 3, 2019

Part of holistic health is looking at all realms, not just physical, but mental, spiritual, and psychological.

If you've had or have demons of any sort--an addiction, abusive parents, or trauma from a past relationship, you need to slay those demons. I recommend quality counselling, a good self-help book, journaling, and prayer. If you don't slay these demons, they will come for you while driving, when showering, at night . . .

They will affect you eating patterns, sleep patterns, adherence to exercise, and other self-care habits.

  

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

Sleep Tight

Healthy with Hanifa

Jun. 18, 2019

-we'll start with the usual: you sleep easier when body temperature is cooler; ensure your bed is not cluttered; sleep in the dark; avoid sugar and alcohol.

-aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

-plan your night around the next day's activities. If you know you've got a big day coming up, go to bed earlier the day before.

-no more caffeine by early afternoon. Caffeine even 6 hours before sleep has an effect.

-workout earlier in the day if possible.

-ensure that you are on the right diet for you. Enough fats and protein if you're a protein type, enough carbs if you need carbs.

-turkey, oats, and cherries are wonderful for boosting serotonin.

-keep a worry journal. Leave your worries in it; don't take them with you to bed.  

  

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Listen to Your Body, Not a Piece of Paper

Healthy with Hanifa

Jul. 3, 2018

I have tried all sorts of diets in order to find my optimal combination -- a toned body, a nice face, but also a great mood. This has meant portioning, and at one point, I even purchased diet individualization software. But in the end, who or what was my best guru?


My body.


I knew what foods helped me sleep better, what would make me look buff, and what gave me a good mood. A piece of paper is just that--a piece of paper. Your body is a lot smarter than any prescribed diet online or from a book! 

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Fitness Comes in Different Shapes and Sizes

Healthy with Hanifa

Mar. 12, 2018

I think your average person is programmed to believe that a fit person has a certain look, but having been in fitness now for 20 years, I will tell you that fitness comes in different shapes and sizes.   Not everyone is perfectly svelte or ripped, has 6-pack abs and perfect booties, and can grace the cover of a fitness magazine.  Simply because you don't look a certain way doesn't mean you can't


-run a marathon

-teach a fitness class

-lift heavy weights

-be flexible and balanced

 

The way you look has nothing to do with your ability and how fit you actually are!   

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Choose Cruelty- and Toxic-Free Products

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 18, 2017

I watched a clip from a W5 investigative report on an animal testing lab called ITR in Montreal. They test cosmetic and household products on some very intelligent animals including beagles, and yes, you guessed it, on pigs and monkeys.


It was gory, heartbreaking, and completely unnecessary. If you want to see the video clip, proceed with your own caution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP6GpsDbURU.


These animals are very stressed out (vomiting, salivating, severe mental trauma). They are restrained and bound with ties, plastic cones and molds, they are forced to inhale or swallow, and they are not treated with any sort of love--just branded with a number, locked in a cage, and then eventually euthanized once their torture is over.


As a fitness and holistic health person, I encourage you to choose toxic-free and cruelty-free products. Your fat cells stores toxins and chemicals. Your liver, kidneys, and other internal organs must deal with synthetic chemicals too. If something needs to be tested on an animal, chances are the ingredient isn't healthy for humans and should stay out of products.


Currently in Canada, there are only laws protecting animals outside of lab facilities and none within. To sign the petition, go to Care2 and search ITR labs.  Thank you.  

Body Balancing

Stress, Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives

Sleep Well To Recover Well

Healthy with Hanifa

May 31, 2017

I can not tell you how important it is to look at the whole picture when it comes to getting fitness results.  If you are not sleeping well, you’re not recovering well.  Furthermore, human growth hormone and repair of muscles occur during those dark hours.

Stressing less, getting into routine, drinking a warm glass of milk is standard advice, but did you know there are other root causes of sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia?

Sleep Onset Insomnia (Having trouble falling asleep)

Too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and other stimulants – This will hype up the body.  Sometimes you’re too awake too fall asleep.  Avoid these foods throughout the day.

Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) from your computer or television – Did you know there was a study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry regarding EMF and how they disrupt the production of melatonin (one of your body’s natural sleep hormone)?


Sleep Maintenance Insomnia (Having trouble staying asleep)

Environmental allergies – this would be go under ‘sleep onset’ insomnia as well.  If you’re experiencing allergies to your pets, dust, mold, and other chemicals, your body is under too much inflammation to relax.  The same applies for food allergies and sensitivities.  You’re best to get tested and avoid as many allergens as possible.

Hypoglycemia – see Dr. Tamar’s explanation down below.

Metabolism – people with fast metabolisms tend to burn through carbohydrates quickly rendering them hungry in the middle of the night.  To remedy this, eat more protein and have healthy fat whenever you consume something starchy.

Low carb diet – people on low carb diets may not manufacture enough serotonin, which converts into melatonin.  Ensure that you are eating adequate carbohydrates for your needs.

If insomnia is a chronic issue for you, something is definitely off-balance.  Take a look at the above suggestions, get tested if required, and proceed with an open-mind.


Sources:

Reiter, Russel J. "Static and extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure: reported effects on the circadian production of melatonin." Journal of cellular biochemistry 51.4 (1993): 394-403.

The Metabolic Typing Diet by Bill Wolcott

Personal experience :)

Body Balancing

Stress,Recovery, and Natural Health Alternatives


Reduce Cellulite

Healthy with Hanifa

January 15, 2017

The dimpled, unsightly appearance of your skin is caused by the storage of fat and toxins beneath the skin. Here are several things you can do to reduce cellulite:


1. Drink plenty of water. Not only does water flush out toxins, it keeps your liver healthy. Your liver will determine what gets stored as muscle and what gets stored as fat and cellulite.

2. Massage and body brush your skin. Using essential oils such as rosemary, black pepper, geranium, sage, and grapefruit (add them to a carrier oil such as kernel and rosehip), massage your affected area going upwards to your heart. If using a body brush, also brush affected area towards your heart. Both massage and body brushing stimulate your circulatory and lympathic system.

3. Exercise. Cellulite forms in areas with least circulation, which is why you want to get circulation going! Focus on exercise like walking and rowing, which stimulates your heart and uses large muscles. Also, oxygenated exercise uses fat as fuel.

4. Watch your consumption of dairy, meat, and alcohol. Dairy and meat are higher in saturated fats, whereas sugar and alcohol spike blood sugar levels, which increase fatty triglycerides in your blood stream.

5. Eat organic. For $1-$3 more per package, you can avoid herbicides and pesticides. Any toxins, including chemical agents to food, not filtered properly through the liver and other channels of elimination get stored as fat!   

Love Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

April 24, 2017


"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 14:3-7).  An often quoted Christian verse, we usually apply it to weddings and how we should treat one another. However, something profound was said to me, regarding this verse: "We often apply it to others, but we rarely apply it to ourselves." Now, I'm not talking about the selfish sort of love, which is really not love, but insecurity and negativity. I'm talking about gentleness and self-respect. 


One key component of loving yourself is to taking care of your body. That means keeping up with your intentions to eat well and having consistency with your workouts.

I hope you love yourself well today! 

Digestion and Better Abs

Health with Hanifa

April 15, 2017

If you want flatter abs, then work on your digestion! Properly digesting food means that you'll feel satiated faster and consume less, control bloating, have a healthier liver, store less fat, and ultimately, possess a flatter stomach.

Here are some tips for better digestion:

1. Chew your food slowly. Ideally, food should be broken down in your mouth until it's liquid.

2. Avoid intolerant foods. If you find that your stomach pushes out after certain foods, you could have an intolerance. Common culprits are red meats, yeast, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and wheat.

3. Avoid sugar. Aside from empty calories and its highly addictive nature, sugar feeds the bacteria in your gut. In other words, you are feeding your bloat!

4. Avoid drinking with your meals. Did you know that liquids dilute your natural digestive enzymes? You're best off drinking between meals instead of with your meals.

5. Learn to relax. If you calm down, your body places more attention on digestion.