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Biking @ the Grand Canyon

Biking @ the Grand Canyon

This weekend, we decided to brave the cold temperatures (low 14/ high 42) and head up to the Grand Canyon for some camping and adventuring. We found some dispersed camping in Tusayan off of Forest Service Rd 302. The camping here is PERFECT! Each site has a fire ring ready for an awesome camp fire, snow covered space and pine trees galore. This area is impeccably serene, inspiring and invigorating. We sat around the fire for a couple hours, eating snacks, laughing and watching the stars, hoping to see something of the Unicorn Meteor Shower. We were lucky enough to see a few shoot through the sky before the temperatures started getting a bit too frosty for us, lol. Side note: there are no facilities here so make sure to bring TP, water and other essentials. After we were done with the fire, we spread out a bunch of blankets, sleeping bags and pillows in the back our trailblazer, so as to make sure our little one stayed warm, and we all slept well.

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The next morning, everything was far too wet for our morning campfire, so we headed out and entered the Grand Canyon for some fun. We entered in from the South Entrance and drove over to the Visitor Center. We walked through their museum because the Grand Canyon is celebrating 100 years! We checked out the book store and had some nice chats about the park with some of the rangers. After that, we decided to get on one of the shuttles just for kicks. We went to the marketplace, bought Max a Grand Canyon hoodie because her last growth spurt was a big one and her coat was a little smaller than I would have liked for a bike ride in those temperatures. After she donned her new hoodie, we decided it was time to return back to our bikes and head out for a bike ride. Our initial intent, was to ride Desert View but decided against it due to the icy roads. Once we grabbed our bikes, we headed East on the Kaibab Trail (B-E-A-UTIFUL!!) before turning around, heading back west to the marketplace and village, then back to the Visitor Center. It was a super fun ride with AMAZING views! The whole time we were on our bikes, we were telling jokes, laughing and smiling! How could life get any better?!

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Max fell out 10 minutes into the ride so she napped during our ride but she had a blast before and after. I would totally tell any family, who is into having fun and adventuring, to check out this ride. It’s super short (less than 8 miles) with some of the most SPECTACULAR views! It’s amazing how inspiring and refreshing it is, standing on the rim with a bike and the canyon in front of you… I am in awe at this marvelous wonder and am super thankful to have been able to enjoy and appreciate it from this perspective! What a fun way to spend the weekend with my family! <3

zhoughtelin

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 7

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 7

RETURN HOME ON AMTRAK

Day 7!! WOOHOO!!! We took yesterday off to explore Dana Point and spend time with friends. Today, we head home. Thank you California for a wonderful trip!!

Would we do this again? ABSOLUTELY!! We are already planning our next trip! I think we might do some small day trips in the next few weeks. We’ll keep y’all posted!!

Keep on Adventuring! <3

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 5

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 5

Long Beach to Dana Point
Distance – 38.25 Miles
Elevation Gain – 1193 ft
Average Speed – 9.3 mph
Duration – 4:07:31

Day 5 was another successful endeavor! We began our day at another bike shop, for equipment solutions, and a park! Max had a blast enjoying yet another playground while we were at the bike shop. We had some serious ground to cover today, as well as our highest elevation climb of the trip. We made a couple of other stops for restrooms, snacks and such, and the playground on Huntington Beach.

Most stops were pretty short so that we can make our destination before dark. Once we neared Dana Point, the traffic began to feel congested and rushed. Someone rolled down their window and suggested we go one street up for a bike lane and way less traffic (THANK YOU!). So we did! We ended up climbing an additional 300 feet in elevation with the new route but we were very pleased with the few cars we came across. It was the perfect trade-off.

In the end, we made it safe and sound! We arrived in Dana Point and decided that we would take the next day as a rest day before returning to Santa Barbara.

Day 5 = SUCCESS
zhoughtelin

zhoughtelin

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 4

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 4

Venice Beach to Long Beach
Distance – 35.23 Miles
Elevation Gain – 750ft
Average Speed – 9.1 mph
Duration – 3:52:01

Day 4 we had a super late start due to equipment failure. We had to swing through a couple different bike shops to remedy the situation before the day’s ride. We stopped at a playground to start the day off correctly and began our trek. We were able to experience Venice Beach, Redondo Beach and Shoreline Village in Long Beach before settling down in a hotel again.

The air quality today was a little rough, due to the fire, and our ride to Long Beach required us to ride through Los Angeles until we got to the L.A. River. As overwhelming as it seems, to have to ride through Los Angeles traffic on a bicycle, we had absolutely no issues and had a very pleasant ride! No major winds today, beautiful sunny weather and agreeable traffic made the ride today awesome! The Redondo Beach Pier was super fun for a stop and stroll. We stopped, walked, ate and had a blast before heading out. When we arrived in Long Beach, we walked through Shoreline Village and had fun in their arcade, before riding to our hotel for the night. After taking showers, we ran out to the laundromat and did our laundry. All in all, another successful day!

Day 4 = SUCCESS
houghtelin

houghtelin

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 3

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 3

Thornhill Broome State Beach Campground to Venice Beach
Distance – 36.59 Miles
Elevation Gain – 884ft
Average Speed – 8.7 mph
Duration – 4:48:50

Day 3 winds were rough again, but we were able to enjoy the scenery of Malibu, Santa Monica and Oxnard before arriving at Venice Beach. Climbing those hills against the wind has to be one of the most challenging things we have done together. It was an amazing experience to add to our family timeline. <3

When we woke up, the winds were bad but the sunrise was STELLAR! We packed up and got out of the state beach as quickly as we could, in order to get started for the day. No showers at Thornhill so packing up was quick. We had to go 12 miles before reaching civilization (a.k.a. Starbucks). We took a nice long break, had some nibbles and coffee, charged our electronics and then set out again. The caffeine boost was just what we needed to get through the ride today. So much beauty in those climbs and so much wind! There weren’t many playgrounds on today’s route so we had to get creative and play games when we did stop.

Arriving in Venice Beach, we decided to grab a hotel for some comfortable beds and showers. We chose to stay at the Cadillac Hotel on the boardwalk. It’s a super cute and edgy little boutique hotel. The rooms are minimalistic and sleek with open windows and a view of the ocean.

As day 3 came to a close, I was relaxing and reflecting on the trip thus far… it was turning out to be an EPIC adventure and fueled my desire to begin planning our next trip as soon as we returned home.

Day 3 = SUCCESS

houghtelin

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 2

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 2

Carpenteria State Beach to Thornhill Broome State Beach Campground
Distance – 43.95 Miles
Elevation Gain – 920ft
Average Speed – 8.7 mph
Duration – 5:04:16

Day 2 was challenging as well as rewarding. Upon waking up, we packed up quickly, utilized the showers at Carpenteria State Park (coin operated and SUPER convenient), and set out to conquer the next section of our ride. Our goal for the day, was to make it to Point Mugu State Park for the night. We battled some rather strong headwinds, having us work to go downhill, and it was a rough day for our potty training toddler.

Our little one has been potty training… so we thought we had it figured out when we chose to bring her little potty with us on the trip. The idea behind this was: there were stretches of road that didn’t have any facilities… we thought, in case she needs to go, we could hop over to the side of the road, provide a little privacy, and voila! This worked out PERFECTLY when we could hear her tell us she needed to stop. The winds were so severe, there were times we didn’t hear her in time. This caused some emotional outbursts (understandable), and it required some creative solutions. As soon as it became available, we pulled into a beachside playground for her to run off some energy. This turned the whole day around and we were back to smiles. Two playgrounds, a rocket museum, 3 popped tires, and many many laughs and tears later, we were nearing our destination.

The views we experienced during our ride today were absolutely spectacular! My goodness.. the scenery made every obstacle totally worth it! In the end, we pulled into the state park, set up camp and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset! Those pesky winds, on the other hand, made for a memorable night, lol. Our tent almost flew away, with us in it, and then continued to collapse on us every time we were sandblasted. Long story short, the winds were so rough, we woke up to the Sahara Desert in our tent (j/k.. just an inch or two of sand).

Day 2 = SUCCESS

Houghtelin

Houghtelin

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Houghtelin

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 1

Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trip – Day 1

Santa Barbara to Carpenteria State Beach
Distance – 12.31 Miles
Elevation Gain – 314ft
Average Speed – 9.0 mph
Duration – 1:20:33

For our first day, we decided to keep it simple and only ride to the first camp ground we could find hiker/biker camping. We left Santa Barbara, embarked on our first family bike tour with our two year old, and rode south to Carpenteria State Park. There, we were able to secure a hiker/biker camp site for only $10/person. Since Max is only 2, she was able to get through for free and we only had to pay for ourselves.

Day 1 was super simple and enjoyable!! We left Santa Barbara with fantastic weather and excitement. We set up camp and meandered along the beach until we were ready to make dinner and crash out. We all had a blast playing with the sand, running to and from the water, and just enjoying the beautiful setting.

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The plan was to get up bright and early, eat some breakfast and head out for our first day of serious riding.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Fresh Air is a Fundamental Right

Fresh Air is a Fundamental Right

WARNING: RANT AHEAD~

When I step outside, the LAST thing I want to smell is the smoke coming out of somebody’s cigarette. Everywhere you look, buildings have signs asking patrons to kindly PLEASE refrain from smoking within a 15 ft radius of the front door… there is very sound and logical reasoning behind this! By refusing to adhere to these standards and smoking right next to the front door, you are essentially saying, “FUCK YOU” to anybody who doesn’t want to inhale second hand smoke. All of the healthy individuals who do not smoke, growing children who should NOT be around cigarette smoke, pregnant women in ALL stages of pregnancy, individuals with asthma, and so many more do NOT want OR need to inhale secondhand smoke! For those of you who smoke, I am not saying you shouldn’t have the right to smoke, not at all. If that is what you want to do, then please, go right ahead! However, forcing those of us who do not smoke to inhale those cancerous fumes because you are too lazy to walk just 15 feet further, is extremely disrespectful and RUDE!!

We live in a 10 floor apartment building with apartments on the first floor. By not complying with these simple rules, you are forcing all of the tenants on the first floor to be exposed to that smell as well. People walking in and out of the building have to breathe in those toxic fumes because you are too lazy to walk 15 feet! HOW IS THAT FAIR?!

You absolutely, 100%, have the right to smoke.

Everybody else absolutely, 100%, has the right to breathe fresh air.

Don’t be a dick about the rules… PLEASE refrain from smoking within 15 feet of any entrance to any building. Have some respect for yourself, for others and for the RULES.

According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard causing more than 41,000 deaths per year. It can cause or make worse a wide range of damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma.

Key Facts about Secondhand Smoke

  • Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease each year.1
  • Between 1964 and 2014, 2.5 million people died from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a report from the U.S. Surgeon General. The report also concluded that secondhand smoke is a definitive cause of stroke.1
  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and even short-term exposure potentially can increase the risk of heart attacks.
  • Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.2
  • Secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks; even relatively brief exposure can trigger a heart attack, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine.

Secondhand Smoke in the Workplace

  • Secondhand smoke costs our economy $5.6 billion per year due to lost productivity.1
  • The health of nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work is at increased risk. Levels of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars were found to be two- to five-times higher than in residences with smokers, and two- to six-times higher than in office workplaces.
  • Being employed in a workplace where smoking is prohibited is associated with a reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day and an increase in the success rate of smokers who are attempting to quit.
  • Casino workers in particular are exposed to hazardous levels of toxic secondhand smoke at work, including tobacco-specific carcinogens that increased in their bodies as their work shifts progressed, according to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Secondhand Smoke and Children

  • Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children. Secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. It also causes 430 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths in the U.S. annually.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure may cause buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 790,000 doctor’s office visits per year, as well as more than 202,000 asthma flare-ups among children each year.7
  • More than 24 million, or about 37 percent of children in the U.S. have been exposed to secondhand smoke.

Learn about the American Lung Association’s programs to help you or a loved one quit smoking, and join our advocacy efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Visit Lung.org or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

 

  • Sources
    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2014.
    2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2006.
    3. Institute of Medicine. Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2009.
    4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Report on Carcinogens, Tenth Edition 2002. National Toxicology Program.
    5. National Cancer Institute. Population Based Smoking Cessation: Proceedings of a Conference on What Works to Influence Cessation in the General Population, Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 12. NIH Pub. 00-4892, Nov. 2000.
    6. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. Environmental and Biological Assessment of Environmental Tobacco Smoke among Casino Dealers, May 2009.
    7. California Environmental Protection Agency. Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant. Executive Summary. June 2005.
    8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Disparities in Nonsmokers’ Exposure to Secondhand Smoke — United States, 1999-2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. February 6, 2015; 64(4):103-8.
PROTEIN: YOUR BEST FRIEND DURING THAT DIET

PROTEIN: YOUR BEST FRIEND DURING THAT DIET

We’ve all done it… limit what we can eat, how much we can eat, when we can eat… it’s a perpetual cycle that generally leaves us all cranky, hungry, and unsatisfied. What is the main purpose of a diet? Is it to be healthier? Skinnier? More muscular? Whatever your reason for dieting, calorie restriction always rears its ugly head and reminds us that in order to reach our goal, we must create a deficit. Within that deficit however, you don’t have to be hungry. High quality protein foods like dairy, soy, or eggs, for example, are extremely crucial during calorie restriction.

High quality proteins are the building blocks our bodies utilize to maintain lean body tissue in muscles and organs. During a diet, since we all know that along with the fat we unfortunately lose muscle in the process, an adequate supply of high quality protein provides a healthy supply of essential amino acids therefore, loss of muscle mass is minimized and vital organs are protected.

High quality protein foods assist in providing the proper balance of amino acids and nitrogen essential for the body to effectively improve and maintain. Protein is associated throughout the nutrition world with increased satiety, better maintenance of our metabolic rate, effective supply of necessary amino acids and so on. All of these elements help our bodies maintain lean muscle mass. The amount of protein we consume during the day affects our food choices later on in the evening. By consuming more protein during the day, you will feel less hungry at dinner time and eat much less since your body feels satisfied.

Another gripe with calorie restriction is the drop in energy. High quality protein foods can definitely conquer that simply because protein assists in preserving a higher metabolic rate. Maintaining a higher metabolic rate translates into a greater calorie deficit and that means… drumroll please… GREATER WEIGHT LOSS!

Protein is vital because any diet that contains limiting amino acids will surely have restricted protein synthesis since specific amino acid sequences of a protein could not be formed. The deficiency of any one amino acid, despite an excess of other amino acids, develops a gap and the body does not process the way it should.

High quality protein foods generally come from milk, eggs, meat, fish, etc. Foods containing proteins from unrefined sources such as grains or vegetables, other than soy, are considered not suitable as primary sources of protein when restricting calories. Again, I must stress, on a calorie restricted diet, it is crucial that there be no limiting amino acids because once that source is depleted, we automatically restrict protein synthesis. Insufficient amounts of essential amino acids, despite an excess of other amino acids, will cause a glitch and our bodies cannot synthesize specific amino acid sequences.

Your main goal should be your health and well-being. Be good to yourself… Think Healthy & Think Smart!!