Taking Stock Before I Hit the Cattle Car

I’m sitting here on the waterfront in Miami, enjoying a libation
and some lunch before I have to head over to the airport.

Conference is over….meetings and presentations went fabulous.
Time to relax a bit before I have to submit myself to the “friendly

I cringe thinking about the travel ahead of me, the security
process where I disrobe, the lining up like cattle, the potential
(indeed probable delays). However, at the end of the day I will be
home with my family. The thought of that gives me a boost.

As I’ve been sitting here in a relaxed and expansive mood,
picking up the energy from the negative ions stirred up by the
water, I’ve just completed a little drill I do at least once a

I reviewed all of my goals for this year and compared where I am
– right now – in relation to each goal.

I occurs to me that we are less than one month away from the
vernal equinox — the point at which our days and nights are equal
in length.

(At least, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Apologies
to all of you “down under”.)

I love this time of year because the days are starting to get
longer. The sun is coming up a little earlier, staying out a little
later, and hitting its zenith in the sky a little higher, each

This is the time of year that people who suffer from SAD —
Seasonal Affective Disorder — can really hit rock bottom. As the
saying goes, “It’s darkest right before the dawn”. If you can hold
on for another month or so, you should be fine. Get outside and get
some sunshine on your face as often as you can.

The lengthening days serve as a reminder that we are moving into
the final month of the first quarter. The year is moving along as

Am I moving along toward my goals as planned?

Take a moment to reflect on your goals for this year. Some may be
bigger and require more effort than others. Some you may have
already achieved.

Pat yourself on the back for those you have achieved, or are on
target for. And renew your focus on those you are running behind
on, or haven’t done anything about.

The most common goal at the beginning of each year is that of
losing weight and getting in shape.

Just about everyone I speak with wants to do better, look better
and feel better.

From my experience working with people, right now is the time of
year when many people’s weight loss or fitness programs have hit
a wall — usually a large brick wall.

Talk to any gym owner, and he or she will tell you that the
massive crowds present in January have started to dwindle.

Only two months into it, and most people have folded.

If this describes you, take heart. It’s common. And it doesn’t
mean defeat — not for you.

Many people just sort of give up at this point. Be one of the ones
who doesn’t give up. If what you were doing didn’t work for you,
take some time to figure out why.

Maybe you tried to do too much, too soon. Maybe you were following
the wrong program. Or perhaps it just didn’t excite you enough to
want to stick with it. If what you’re doing ain’t working….or if
you never really got started to begin with….then start fresh right
now. Today is a new day. Focus on your goal, focus on your plan
for what you will do to achieve it, and get going.

You Can Do It!


P.S. Even if weight loss isn’t one of your priorities for this year,
I bet that improving your fitness and health ranks right up there.
If so, be sure to leverage the programs offered at the Best Breathing
Exercises web site (http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com). Its not
too late to feel better, be better, and do better in 2011.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Better Balance, Better Focus, More Energy — Here’s How

In your previous tip, I discussed the two ends of the energy type
continuum: the Type A and the Type B.

Of course, only some people are completely one type or the other.
Most fall somewhere in between. But you probably tend toward one
type over the other.

It’s funny that I started off on this topic late last week, because
this one is really hitting home with me this week. Maybe I
intuitively tuned into the subject of energy because I knew I
needed to marshal more than the usual amount of energy this week.

You see, I’m traveling and have been in some pretty tense – and
long – business meetings for two days.

Now, as I write you, I’m sitting at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport,
getting ready to head to Miami to participate in and speak at a

I will finally arrive home about 12:30am Saturday morning.

Traveling can sap your energy. Being away from home and routine,
keeping an unusual schedule, meeting or exceeding expectations in
terms of participation and performance….

Don’t get me wrong. I love to travel. But I hate being away from
my family on trips like these, and I can’t wait to get back into
the arms of my love, and give my son a big hug and kiss.

In the meantime, I’m at the midway point of my trip and therefore,
will write some more about managing your energy. Not only to
remind myself of its importance…but because I know it will help
you too.

Recognizing your energy type can help you better manage your
performance, whether athletic, at work, or staying busy with

As an example, my kickboxing instructor/coach taught me quite a
bit about ring management and energy management. He said that the
two were intertwined.

In terms of energy management, he used to hate watching boxers
or kickboxers come out and “showboat” in the first round. These
guys would come out and throw every punch and kick in their
arsenals, trying to score early and perhaps impress the judges.

Trouble was, by the end of the second round, they were exhausted.

Not only had they wasted a lot of energy, but they had not succeeded
in analyzing their opponent, using feints, fakes and different
defenses or counters to see how they responded.

A better way to start is to fight within yourself and follow your
plan, your strategy. Of course, you have to be prepared for the
other fighter to be aggressive, and you have to be able to alter
your tactics if necessary.

But, if you have conditioned well for the fight, and you manage
your own energy during the fight, you will have the gas to do what
you need to do, all the way to the end.

I learned that you can apply this concept to your work and personal

Getting back to the energy types:

Type A’s are outgoing, energetic, and usually have a lot of drama
going on in their lives. They are energizing and often inspiring
to be around. However, they can use more energy than required and
burn out.

Type B people are more introspective. They appear more calm and
organized. They are very steady. However, they may waste energy
through over-thinking and worrying.

If you are a Type A, here are a few things you can do to better
manage your energy and avoid burnout:

-Slow your breathing. Take a minute or two at regular intervals to
breathe slowly and deeply. Connecting to a slow, steady breath will
slow your heartbeat and signal your nervous system to relax.

-Practice calming techniques. For example, visualize a successful
outcome of the situation that may be causing you stress. Or practice
the combination of breathing, movements and stretching you can find
in any of the Best Breathing Exercises programs.

-Eat more dietary fiber. Type A’s tend to produce more stomach acid.
The additional fiber can help soak up that extra acid.

-Build steady state activities into your life. You tend to work and
talk in short bursts of high energy. Balance that behavior by adding
in more slow, steady activities. Walking is a great choice. Not only
can you create a soothing rhythm with your pace, but you can also
take the time to relax and let any problems or issues be worked
around by your subconscious. (I often come up with solutions to the
most vexing problems after I have finished a run.)

These practices can help you balance your energy and increase your
efficiency and performance levels, while avoiding burnout.

If you are a Type B, here are a few things you can do to better
focus your energy:

-Schedule yourself. Get yourself into a routine in which you do
things at a specific time, every day. Wake up at the same time, eat
meals at the same time, exercise at the same time…you get the

-View worry with some perspective. Everybody worries. After the fact,
you realize that the worrying was far worse than the outcome. It’s
estimated that over 75% of what we worry about never comes to pass.

The best way to get past worry is to (1) contemplate and embrace the
worst case outcome. Often, while bad, it’s something you can deal
with. And (2) get busy and take action to start dealing with the

-Stop procrastinating. Worrying about the outcome and being a
perfectionist are the two primary reasons for procrastination.
(Laziness sometimes contributes too, but far less frequently than
you might think.) Not moving forward on something you know you need
to get done causes more stress and a decrease in performance. So
begin that project, even if you just do a small part of it.

-Change up your workouts by including intervals of activity, instead
of always doing steady state activities.

By restructuring your work and personal life so you move forward in
short, energetic bursts, you can better balance and focus your

You Can Do It!


P.S. No matter what your energy type, you can make the best use
of your energy and personal resources when you are healthy and feel
good. And the fastest way to feel better and get healthy is to invest
in, and put to use, the strategies, principles and information from
any of the programs at the Best Breathing Exercises website.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

What’s Your Energy Style?

Each of us is constantly battling the twin demons of not enough
time and not enough energy.

The two go hand in hand. When you feel pushed for time, you may
rush around, feel stressed and not be as effective in your actions,
or as accurate in your thinking.

If you don’t have the energy you need, you will not be able to
achieve as much during your day, because you are physically drained
and unable to mentally focus as clearly as you should.

There’s not much we can do about time. We each have 1,440 minutes
in our day, 168 hours in our week, to do with as we will.

Some people are better managers of their time than others. But it
is what it is.

However, there is a lot we can do on the energy side.

I’ve always been fascinated with one of those wonderful ironies of
nature: the more energy you expend in worthwhile or healthy
pursuits, the more energy you generate.

This is one of the reasons that performing dynamic deep breathing
exercises, like the exercises in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy
Exercise Course
, is so beneficial.

Whether you perform deep breathing, dynamic breathing exercises,
walk or run, do yoga, lift weights – whatever – this will actually
help you be more energetic the rest of the day.

The time you spend exercising is more than made up in “extra” time
(or so it seems) because you are physically and mentally
rejuvenated and refreshed. You crank through the items on your
“to-do” list.

Beyond exercising regularly, you should also become aware of your
own energy profile or style. It’s the first step to more
effectively managing your performance each day.

We all have different energy utilization styles. And your style
encompasses two major areas: one is the rhythm of your energy, its
natural peaks and valleys. The other is your energy type.

In terms of rhythm, you probably already know you are a “morning
person” or a “night owl”, to give the two extremes of the

If you are a morning person, you like to get up and get going early.
You do your best creative and thinking work in the morning. If you
are a night owl, you may do your best work in the evenings — and
you can keep cranking right past the midnight hour without letting

I used to be more of the night owl variety. If I could adapt the
world to me, I would probably stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning,
and wake up about 10am. That always seemed to be the time when I
mentally woke up and felt more physically energized.

After becoming a mom, I had to adjust. The little ones tend to wake
up early, dont’ they? And when they’re up, they are up and raring
to go!

In recent years, I’ve gradually morphed into being more of a
morning person. We get going early in our house, especially during
the week. I like to dig in to creative work, or projects that
require a lot of thought, early in the day. 

You may face a similar problem, where you have to try to adjust
your own natural rhythms. For example, most people feel really
sleepy and slow in the mid-afternoons. If your office has important
meetings in the afternoons, you may have difficulty contributing
and being at your best.

Adjusting your energy rhythm won’t just happen overnight. You have
to consistently make adaptations to the situation you are in.

It’s sort of like traveling overseas. No matter how well you
prepare yourself for the time change, you will still experience at
least a little jet lag for the first day or so. As you become
acclimated to the new time zone, your body and brain adapt and
you are fine.

Energy style is the other element in how you manage performance.
Energy style follows closely your personality type: Type A or
Type B.

Type A people are outgoing, energetic, and usually have a lot of
drama going on in their lives. They are energizing and often
inspiring to be around.

However, they can use more energy than required and burn out.

Type B people are more introspective. They appear more calm and
organized. They are very steady. However, they may waste energy
through over-thinking and worrying.

Most people are not entirely one type or the other. They have
apects of both depending on the situation or time of day (getting
back to the rhythm part of this).

But you probably tend more toward one energy style than the other.
How to recognize and manage your style for better performance is
something we’ll discuss in your next tip.

Until then, think about how you act and react all day, and what
that tells you about how well you manage your energy. You may be

You Can Do It!


Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

This Helps You Enjoy Exercise, and Makes Exercise Easier

Any kind of activity you do, from working at your desk, to lifting
weights, to walking or running, to having sekks (trying to avoid
the sp** filter)…can be enhanced through breathing.

This came up again today when I was speaking with a friend of mine.

He is an exercise enthusiast, lifts weights and runs regularly. He
likes to make fun of the fact that I teach people, through my
programs and private coaching, how to breathe.

He’s fond of saying, “Isn’t breathing natural? Don’t we
automatically breathe the way we need to when we do something?”

Well, to an extent he’s correct. We usually breathe the way we need
to when performing some type of movement.

For example, next time you have to pick up something reasonably
heavy, observe how your body reacts.

You’ll find that you naturally tense your abdominal muscles, your
core muscles, and hold your breath for a second as you lift up the
object. These actions provide you with greater strength and

But I’m constantly amazed at how many people do not carry this
natural breathing and tensing pattern into their exercise program.

Many women will do a set of weights, oftentimes holding their
breath through most of it. Or they seem like they’re hardly
breathing at all – perhaps because the resistance is too low. I
see that a lot. Many women use way less weight than they are
capable of and should be using.

Many men will use too much weight, especially in what I like to
call the “show off” lifts — like the bench press, biceps curl,
and squat. They load the barbell up, then are dependent on their
spotter to do most of the lifting after the first rep or so.

And their breathing — well, the only way to describe it is like
they are a baboon in heat or something. The depth and frequency of
their breathing is completely out of synch with the lift.

At any rate, I’ve learned over the years the importance of getting
my breathing in synch with my movement. I did it at first to help
compensate for the severe asthma I then suffered from.

Over time, I learned that breathing properly helped enhance my
power and stamina.

Whether lifting weights, performing bodyweight exercises
(calisthenics), stretching, walking, running — the activity
doesn’t matter. When you learn how to breathe, and then apply
that to your chosen activity, you will see what a difference it

Not just in terms of performance and results. But also in terms
of your enjoyment of the activity, and the buzz you feel after
completing the activity.

That’s why I walk out of the gym feeling great, ready to take on
the world.

On the other hand, my friend walks out feeling tired and beat,
needing a massage or hot shower.

He’s stubborn, but I’ll keep working on him.

You Can Do It!


P.S. In the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course,
Volume I, I teach you how to breathe in coordination with your
movements. You can then apply this same skill to other types of
activity. To experience the sensation of being relaxed, in rhythm,
and in control, order your course CDs today at the Best Breathing
s website.
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

I Learned This Diet “Trick” in College (and Had to Re-Learn It As An Adult)

Whether you’re interested in improving your health, enjoying more
consistent energy levels, or losing weight, you need to get more
healthy fats into your body.

This means fish oil, olive oil, canola oil, macadamia nut oil —
even coconut oil, as long as it’s organic. This also means using
real butter instead of the fake stuff or margarine.

Even animal fats are healthy in moderation.

The key is to try to eat organic and/or grass-fed meat and chicken,
and wild salmon and fish (farm raised fish have a higher buildup of
mercury in their tissues and fat).

I first learned about the importance of fat in your diet back in
college. Unfortunately, I later forgot what I learned.

Yes, I gave in to the low-fat, sugar-free everything mantra that
was (and in some circle, still is) conventional wisdom. And I
recommended a low-fat, sugar-free dietary approach to personal
training clients and friends.

Over time, though, I found that something was missing. Low fat
diets always left me wanting more. I never felt full. So dieting
was harder and became difficult to maintain. I’ve seen the same
phenomenon with clients I’ve worked with.

Then, one day, I was reading an old bodybuilding book that I had
originally stumbled upon back when I was in college…and decided
to never diet again.

The book’s author, Vince Gironda, was a famous bodybuilder and
bodybuilding guru. In his book, he mentioned that he recommended
increasing fats and decreasing carbohydrates when his students
were going through phases of heavy training.

In his experience, fats provided a more constant and longer
lasting source of fuel.

Also, he discussed the high protein and high fat, very low
carbohydrate diet the bodybuilders followed for several weeks prior
to a competition, to burn off fat and get very defined.

Wow! Vince was doing Atkins before Dr. Atkins was doing Atkins!

Well, I changed my ways. I added more fat (mostly of the healthy
variety) into my diet. I kept my protein consumption fairly high
(30 to 35% of total calories).

I ate the “real” version of most foods. I kept a solid level of
fruits and vegetables (so this wasn’t an Atkins diet). I ate
whole grains and rice instead of white flour products. I limited
my intake of sugary foods.

I found that I ate better, felt more satisfied, and actually
lost weight, without really trying.

By the way, this is part of the nutrition recommendations I give
you in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program.

When you combine the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting exercises
in the program with a few simple, easy-to-follow modifications
to your diet — you will be well on your way to attaining your
ideal weight.

I asked three of my training clients to try the same diet. (They
were the three who, in my estimation, had the most open minds.)
They were a little sceptical at first. Then they starting seeing

As one guy told me, “I’m enjoying what I eat now, and I’m not
obsessing so much over food.”

He looked great too – his weight stayed the same, but his lean
mass and definition improved.

At any rate, I learned my lesson.

Since then, when I have had occasion to put on extra weight, I’ve
eventually given up the diet approach. Instead, I’ve focused
on eating more healthy fats and protein.

Within a few days, I feel like I have more energy and I’m getting
back on track.

You Can Do It!


P.S. Vince Gironda always said that proper diet and nutrition is
80% of bodybuilding success. In my experience, it’s important to
achieving optimum body composition and weight. That’s why I include
an entire section on nutrition in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism”

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Fats Don’t Make You Fat

Will the “low fat diet” go the way of the big bull?

Has the “low fat diet” heresy finally been put away — for good?

Probably not. It’s been a staple of medical wisdom for a few
decades now.

Doctors have been telling their overweight patients and patients
with heart problems to follow a low fat diet.

Problem is, during this time the number of people who develop heart
disease or who are overweight has continued to accelerate, even
while following this low fat “wisdom”.

Over the past 5 years or so, a body of research has developed based
on results from long-term studies on low fat diets. These studies
have found that men or women on low fat diets have the same risk
for heart disease and certain cancers as men or women who eat a
diet with normal levels of fat.

They also average the same in terms of weight, weight loss or
weight gain.

This means that the low fat diet does not deliver on its highly
touted health benefits. And it’s not that effective in helping
with weight loss, either.

The problem with the low fat diet is that it goes against humans’
natural nutritional requirements. We NEED fats in our diet. It’s
the way we are built.

I discuss this in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program in the
section on nutritional recommendations. My rational
approach to nutrition is an important part of the program.

So many of us have tried to live by the “fat is bad” mantra, yet
have not achieved the results we expected in terms our ideal weight
or body composition.

This is because of how we are wired. If you follow a low fat diet
for any length of time, your body will naturally crave something to
make up for the part of the diet it’s missing. Most people
fill this craving by adding extra carbohydrates into their diet.

This wouldn’t be so bad if they were adding extra quantities of
fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately, the added carbs tend to be of the highly refined
variety, as in additional portions of white flour products and
“low fat” packaged foods.

Yes, the packaged foods industry jumped on the low fat bandwagon
years ago. They have reduced the fat in many of their most popular
foods, such as cookies and chips. But….

Here’s what they don’t tell you: they add other ingredients, such
as extra sugar (and its derivatives), salt, and so forth, to help
make the flavor and consistency of their packaged products as close
to the “real thing” as possible. Without the fat, these types of
foods just don’t satisfy as well.

Plus, the added sugars and carbs tend to make you want to eat even
more of them. You end up eating twice as much of the low fat version
as you would of the real thing. Bad for us consumers…but great
for the packaged food industry!

Now, does this mean carte blanche on dietary fat, and it’s OK to
eat a bacon cheeseburger and french fries every day?

Of course not.

The fats you should be eating more of are the healthy fats: animal
fats from (preferably) organic or grass fed products, including
dairy and eggs. And omega 3 fatty acids such as those contained in
fish and fish oil supplements, as well as flax seed and certain
vegetable oils.

You should probably reduce the amount of saturated fats, such as
fat from red meat, in your diet. But don’t eliminate them! You need
saturated fats too! However, you SHOULD try to completely eliminate
trans fats.

Become good at reading labels so you understand the fat, sugar,
and carbohydrate content in your favorite packaged foods. When in
doubt, opt for those choices that offer more “real” ingredients and 
less sugar and carbs.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how consuming more health fats can
benefit your lungs, breathing ability, and stamina.

You Can Do It!


P.S. Learn more about how diet can help you reach your ideal weight,
as well as achieve more consistent energy levels and better health,
with the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. Eliminate all the “diet”
guesswork and confusion that may be holding you back. Due to
popular demand, I am carrying over the January special on this
program into February. You still have time! Get your copy today!
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

The Key Is To Start Smart

January and the first part of February are the most crowded time
of the year in most gyms and fitness centers.

It’s also boom time from a business standpoint. New customers come
in by the carload and sign contracts for a year. Gym owners lick
their chops. They know that most of these new signups will only last
a month or two. But the gym gets to keep their money.

Why don’t these people last? Why can’t they keep their resolution
or commitment to exercise on a regular basis?

How ’bout you. Have you given up on yourself already?

Why didn’t you last longer this year? What’s the deal?

In my experience, one of the biggest problems is that most people
have a misconception about what they need to do to get fit, and
don’t know the best way to embark on a rational, effective program.

If you’re starting to work out for the first time in a long time —
or for the first time ever — you may think you will have to devote
hours and hours to get into decent shape. You may remember past
“failures” — that is, other times when you began a program and
gave it up after just a few weeks.

Well, you’re not alone. Many, if not most, people jump
enthusiastically into a new fitness regimen. They’re all fired up
to take “drastic action” to get their bodies into shape.

Unfortunately, an estimated 70 to 85 per cent lose that enthusiasm
within a matter of days or weeks.


Because they don’t start smart.

They typically begin with a high volume and intensity of activity,
such as long sessions of walking, running, lifting weights, exercise
classes, or whatever their chosen activity is.

This approach is guaranteed to lead to undue post-workout muscle
soreness, excessive tightness in the muscles, joint pain, and
possibly even injury.

Also, long exercise or training sessions involving high volumes
and/or intensities usually mean sacrificing quality for quantity.

This leads to a focus on fatigue as the determinant of a “good”
workout, versus assessing how you feel as a result of your

These long, fatigue-producing sessions lead to a rapid decrease
in motivation. Pretty soon, that initial enthusiasm wanes and
excuses for not being able to work out start cropping up.

If you have been inactive or relatively inactive for awhile, it’s
not smart to jump immediately into a traditional fitness routine.

You need to give your body a chance to adapt to any new level or
type of activity. So begin rationally and don’t try to do too much,
too soon.

Plan on doing LESS than you think you can handle, in terms of
both volume and intensity. Then begin to build up consistently
from that point.

Here’s one more thought:

Plan on training for an amount of time you KNOW you can fit into
your schedule.

Working out for an hour or two per day may seem impossible. What
about 15 minutes?

Is that doable? Yes, I know, “15 Minutes Per Day” is almost a
cliche now. But it’s a good place to start. And it’s certainly
better than doing nothing.

When you start smart, you initiate your fitness program in a healthy
and sustaining manner. You experience benefits almost immediately,
which gives you the momentum and motivation to keep up with your

Remember, when you begin a fitness or health regimen, you have
become the initiator, the catalyst for creating a profound change
in your life. Acknowledge and take pride in small achievements. 

A small step forward each day equals 365 steps forward by the
end of the year. Over time, bits of progress accumulate and result
in substantial, even incredible, improvement. 

So take that first step today. Start Smart!

You Can Do It!


P.S. The “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program gives you an excellent
way to start smart AND get results right out of the gate. You’ll
feel a difference after just a few days. To build and sustain
momentum that propels you directly to your fitness and health goals,
order your copy today at the Best Breathing Exercises web site.
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Use This “Old-Fashioned” Treatment to Keep Winter Bugs At Bay

It’s been a rough winter, hasn’t it?

And I’m not talking about the weather.

I’m talking about all the bugs, flus, viruses, strep throat, and
other assorted illnesses that seem to be proliferating right now.

My son was sick last week with a stomach bug…which he promptly
gifted on to us. Yesterday there were 60 kids out sick at his
elementary school. When I speak with colleagues in other cities,
they cite similar issues with kids and parents out ill, in some
cases for an entire week.


These types of illnesses may require a visit to your doctor, and
even aggressive remedies, such as antibiotics and Tamiflu, if
things are progressing into bronchitis or pneumonia.

However, if you or your child are in the early stages of a flu
or stomach bug or cold – or if you would like to take something
to help prevent your getting ill – you may wish to try out a
very effective, proven, “old fashioned” approach.

And the good news is, you may already have this inexpensive
remedy in your pantry!

I’m talking about honey, and the combination of honey and

Honey has tremendous healing properties and has been used for
centuries to treat upper respiratory infection symptoms, such
as cough. In addition, honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial
effects, and can help prevent infections. It also soothes the
back of the throat.

It’s long been folklore medicine to use honey when you have a
cough or a cold. But in recent years, studies have proved its
effectiveness in fighting off winter flus and colds.

For example, back in 2007, a Penn State College of Medicine
study compared the effectiveness of a little bit of buckwheat
honey before bedtime versus either no treatment or
dextromethorphan (DM), the cough suppressant found in many
over-the-counter cold medicines. Their subjects were
children ages 2 to 8 who had colds and coughs.

The result: honey provided the greatest relief of symptoms
compared with the other treatments.

Specifically, honey was more effective in reducing the
severity and frequency of nighttime cough compared with DM or
no treatment. Honey also allowed the children to sleep (which,
as any parent knows, is half the battle when they are sick!).

More recently, there has been more attention on honey in
combination with cinnamon as a natural preventative for a
number of ailments and conditions, from high cholesterol to
upset stomach to bad breath.

Here’s how you can use honey and cinnamon as your natural
protectors against this winter’s ailments:

-Colds: take one tablespoon honey with one quarter spoon
cinnamon powder daily for three days. This helps with cough
and cold symptoms, and can help clear the sinuses.

-Immune system support: Honey has high amounts of key
vitamins and iron. Daily use of honey and cinnamon
powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body
from bacteria and viral attacks. It can also help alleviate,
or even get rid of, allergies.

For example, after I moved to Texas, I used locally grown
honey to combat the initial allergy symptoms I was
experiencing, as my body was exposed to new allergens. Now
I use it as a preventative.

-Fatigue: this can be a sign that you are catching
something, or perhaps simply run down from tending to
your sick family. To increase vitality, try drinking a 
honey and cinnamon mixture, taken in a glass of water, twice
a day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon).

And for an instant pick-me-up, try this drink I take after
really tough workouts, to help me recover:

Mix one tablespoon honey (preferably raw and locally grown),
one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and one tablespoon
lemon juice into a glass of cold water. Stir well and
drink it down.

you’ll feel an immediate energy surge!

Good luck this winter, my friend. Stay healthy!
You Can Do It!


P.S. Important point! A regular regimen of deep breathing
and breathing exercises is a surefire way to help prevent
colds, flus, bronchitis and pneumonia. If you would like
an enjoyable, health-promoting, and vitality-inspiring
routine to follow – one that’s easy to learn and takes
only minutes a day – pick up a copy of the Secret Power
of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume 1: Invigorate
and Rejuvenate.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Leverage This Ancient Practice for Better Health

Fasting is great way to detoxify your body.

Fasting has been practiced for centuries for religious, spiritual
and health reasons. It is also done for atonement, and as a tool
to develop self-discipline and self-control.

When you are sick, your body naturally shuts down the typical
hunger signals, so you don’t want to eat. This allows your body
to leverage the energy normally applied to digestion and
assimilation towards repair and recuperation. 

I experienced this mechanism for myself last week, when I finally
succumbed to a stomach bug that had rampaged through our entire
household. (Except the pets).

Not only did I not want to eat, I couldn’t eat — or drink for
that matter.

As the bug wound down and I began to feel better, I deliberately
waited to eat, and focused instead on re-hydrating.

Many people think that fasting means no food and no drink, other
than water. However, there are various methods of fasting. I’ll
discuss a couple that may fit in better with your requirements
and lifestyle.

(Quick note: I’m no expert on fasting. If you decide to make
fasting a regular part of your lifestyle, get a good book on it.
A great one is by Paul and Patricia Bragg, called Super Fasting
for Health.)

There are two types of fasts that seem to be the most popular:
the water fast and the fruit fast.

When you do a water fast, you drink only water. This is probably
the fastest way to get rid of wastes and toxins that have built
up in your body. Usually you do a water fast for at least two
to three days.

On the downside, this type of fast can be too much for many
people. It rids your body of toxins so fast, that it can
actually make you sick.

You aren’t really sick. But you sure can feel that way. Headaches,
muscle and joint aches, irritable bowel, irritability and
depressed mood…wow, I’m sure not making this seem like a good
option, am I?

If you are already eating pretty healthy and exercising
regularly, you can probably do a water fast without terrible
side effects.

If you have been eating poorly, drinking alcohol or a lot of
caffeinated beverages….well, you may want to try a fruit

With a fruit fast, you consume only fresh fruit, and freshly
squeezed fruit juices.

For best results you should stay on the fast for at least two
to three days. Proponents of the fruit fast recommend staying
on it for a week.

Fruit is very cleansing and detoxifying. However, it also
provides calories for energy, as well as anti-oxidants and
bioflavonoids. These micro-nutrients are energy and health
enhancing, so they mitigate the side effects of detoxification.

In other words, you feel better and have more energy, even as
you detox.

If you want, you can add fresh vegetables and vegetable juices
into the mix.

Generally, it’s best to alternate days: one day on fruit only,
next day on veggies only, and so forth.

With a fruit and/or vegetable fast, be sure to drink lots and
lots of filtered water. The water is essential to helping your
body excrete waste products and toxins. The more you drink,
the easier the process.

If you have not fasted before, you may be a bit intimidated
by the thought of going without food for three days, or one
week. It is a very different experience than your normal

The longest I’ve fasted is three days.

The first day or two, all you are thinking about is food. You
have headaches because you missed your morning coffee and/or
afternoon soda. You feel hungry and tired and begin to wonder, 
“What the heck am I doing this for?”

After the first day or two, you begin to feel energized, even
without eating. Since your body does not have to expend energy
on digestion, it puts its energy to use for other purposes.

An alternative to a “long” fast is to fast once a month for
24 or 36 hours. In other words, fast from dinner on day one to
dinner on day 2. Or fast from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on
day 3.

Coming off a fast is just as important as doing the fast

For your first meal after a fast, don’t hit the drive-through
at McDonalds. Have a fresh salad or some fruit. This helps
break your digestive system back into eating in a smooth

If you pig out after a fast, you will pay the price, and
possibly defeat the purpose of the fast. Listen to your body,
and progress to a normal diet over a day or so.

You Can Do It!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Don’t End Up Like Elvis Presley, Part 2

In my previous blog post, we discussed the importance of deep
breathing and percussion for cleaning out the gunk in your lungs.
And I touched on the not-so-delicate subject of cleaning out the
gunk in your body for better digestive health.

Why am I spending two blog posts on this subject?

Because it’s important!

Enhancing your body’s digestive and eliminative abilities can have
a dramatic effect on your energy levels, quality of sleep, and
overall health.

It may also protect you against various illnesses, ranging from
certain types of cancer to chronic fatigue.

Another benefit: the faster your body can process and eliminate
what you eat, the better it utilizes the macro- and micro-nutrients
from the food…AND the quicker it gets rid of the wastes and
toxins that collect in certain organs, such as the colon and

This is a key to losing weight, as well as maintaining your ideal
weight, once you get there.

How do you enhance the health of your digestive and eliminative

Well, one way is through – you guessed it – deep diaphragmatic

Breathing deeply, down into your belly, provides a massaging effect
to your organs. The stomach, intestines and colon rely in part on
peristaltic action to move food and, later, wastes. The massaging
effect from deep breathing enhances this effect.

Also, deep breathing introduces higher quantities of vital oxygen
into your bloodstream and cells. So your cells have higher levels
of energy and are able to remove their waste products more
efficiently as well.

Another very important practice is getting plenty of fiber in your
diet. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole
grain products, then you are probably getting enough fiber.

Unfortunately, most people only get about a quarter to one half
of the recommended daily intake of fiber.

So, you could probably stand to eat more fruits, veggies and whole
grains. You can also supplement with fiber products containing
psyllium seeds, such as Metamucil.

An easy step is to eat a salad or piece of fruit with every meal,
and as a snack.

When you first begin to increase your fiber intake, you may notice
a dramatic, and sometimes unsettling, change in your bowel
movements. This is because the fiber is literally scraping and
capturing a lot of the gunk trapped along the walls of your colon.

Stick with it. Things will smooth out within a few days. It’s
just your body adapting to a new, healthier regimen.

There are also various types of “colon cleansing” products out
there. I’ve never tried this approach, so I can’t speak to its
efficacy. (Some people swear by them.)

I CAN say that I will probably never try a “colon cleanse”, unless
someone is holding a gun to my head and making me do it.

It just seems like such as invasive way to approach the problem.
And, some health  practitioners, including physicians, are
warning that the more aggressive methods for cleansing not only
are unnecessary, but can also cause infections.

Your body can best do the job, as long as you are treating it
right through diet, plenty of fiber and water, and plenty of
good ol’ fashioned deep breathing.

You Can Do It!


P.S. If you’re looking to lose weight, burn fat, AND increase
digestion and elimination, then the “Fire Up Your Metabolism”
is for you. Learn simple but powerful movements that
force more oxygen into your system, massage your organs and help
tighten and reduce your waistline. Click here for more info.

P.P.S. For a good all-around breathing and relaxation program,
check out the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course,
Volume 1: Invigorate and Rejuvenate.
Just a few minutes a day
with this program will open up your lungs, allow for fuller,
clearer breathing, and relieve tight muscles caused by stress.
Check it out here.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011