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18 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health When Working From Home

While working from home certainly has its perks; no commute, no dress code, a more flexible schedule—it also blurs the line between work and personal life, disrupting the sensitive balance that exists between the two. Incidences of depression due to working from home are on the rise. So is anxiety. We haven’t yet been taught how to maintain our mental health as our work and personal lives inexorably intertwine. As more companies continue to move their workforce remote, it’s time we learn this newly important skill.

Below are 18 ways you can improve your mental health while working from home, listed in chronological order so you can follow along as your day progresses.

Gift Yourself Your Old Commute Time

Stick to your old routine where you had to commute to work. Only now, instead of spending that 30-45 minutes in your car or in transit, use your “commute time” just for you. The next few tips will give you ideas about what to do with this new-found self-care time.

Break Your Fast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for our physical and mental health. Skipping breakfast mimics famine which increases our stress levels. Inversely, eating breakfast will reduce cortisol (stress hormone) production. Additionally, eating breakfast sets up our energy levels for the day and has been proven to boost anabolic hormone levels by 15%. Make a smoothie or simple sprouted grain avocado tahini toast and eat within 30 minutes of getting up to break your intermittent fast from the night before. Not hungry when you wake up? Make sure to eat your last calorie at least 12 hours before you plan to wake up. This allows our body’s autophagy process for cellular recycling and reducing inflammation to occur, and ensures we will be hungry when we wake up.

Take a Morning (Sun) Bath

In the correct situation, the cortisol hormone we mentioned above can be your friend as it’s what perks you up like a natural cup of coffee. Eat your breakfast near a window to allow the early morning light to set your circadian clock for a productive morning. Encourage other family members to join you.

Own Your Morning

It’s too easy to immediately turn to watching the news or checking emails upon waking. However, this starts our minds spinning. Instead, consider reading something inspiring or pleasurable immediately upon waking, or go for a 20-minute walk outdoors, noticing as much of the natural world from as many of your senses as possible (the sky, the snow or rain, the breeze, space between branches, the sound of a bird). This practice of presence will bathe your brain in neurotransmitter feel-good hormones. Paying attention to the details and richness of the world we live in adds more beauty and gratefulness to our day.

Get A Pre-Work Fat Flush

If you can wake up 90 minutes before work, consider walking briskly (between 6.5 and 8.5 perceived rate of exertion out of 10) for 40 minutes to get a cardio fat flush, or alternate walk days with online HIIT workouts, or an online yoga class. Getting a full workout in before has been proven to significantly reduce anxiety and the effects of depression, starting your day on the right foot, literally.

Channel Your Inner Wim Hof

Take a hot shower and end with a cold rinse to increase your circulation and support your elimination system in its ongoing detoxification process.

Dress For Success

Dress for work not sleep to boost your commitment and confidence.

Setup Your Workspace for Success

Situate your computer in front of a window for natural light (if possible, use an adjustable standing desk and alternate between sitting and standing to promote circulation). Consider some greenery, house plants, fresh flowers, and photos of nature all of which help balance constant screen time. Quiet background music (classical, meditative instrumentals, or binaural beats) can help promote calm and concentration and override sounds coming from family members in the house.

Optimize Your Concentration

Too often our productivity is sabotaged at home by distractions. This can lead to a sense of failure for the day. Instead, check your daily calendar for the priority list you set at the end of yesterday’s workday—ask yourself if the items are still relevant. Then organize your day into 90-minute concentrated segments where you work on just one thing. Give yourself 10 minutes between these concentrated work sessions to resource yourself while giving your eyes a break from the screen. After experimenting in 90/10 time segments you may wish to try the Pomodoro Method of 25/5 and notice which time period works best with your concentration levels. You will accomplish more while still giving yourself necessary breaks, resulting in a satisfying day of work.

Reboot 10 Minutes At A Time

Our happiness is intrinsically tied to our productivity. Creating feels good. It gives us confidence and purpose. In order to be as productive as possible, we must take breaks to recharge and refocus, but a longer lunch is not the solution. We’re better off working hard for 90 minutes then taking 10-minute breaks. Consider these 10 min reboot sessions:

Posture stretches to avoid rounded computer shoulders, text neck, and lower back pain.

8-minute guided mindfulness meditation

Keep Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar spikes and plummets contribute immensely to our mood. Leveling out your blood sugar by eating the right food in the right portions at the right time will avoid any “hanger” or the need for an afternoon jolt of caffeine, which for more than a third of the population causes cortisol levels (that pesky stress hormone) to increase. Spread your calories across your day, eating 6 times; break-the-fast morning smoothie or toast, breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. For your mid-morning snack, have a piece of fruit and 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds, and for a mid-afternoon snack, a few veggie slices with 2 tablespoons of golden almond butter protein dip. Remember to stay hydrated throughout your day, as well!

Batch Cook Lunch Ahead Of Time

Take the stress out of eating lunch at home by premaking a couple of soups on the weekend. This ensures you don’t stress over lunch prep or cleanup. Here are some of our favorite easy “warm-up” soup recipes:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Greek Chicken & Feta Soup

Black Bean Soup

Wrap It Up

Don’t just up and leave when the whistle blows. Save the last 30 minutes of your workday to review the day with a dedicated work journal, and then plan and calendar your priorities for tomorrow. Finally, clean and clear your workspace so you can start tomorrow fresh. We can never finish all of our work, but by segmenting your day into periods of resourced and fueled concentration we can be confident in our efficacy. Bonus: end your workday at the same time every day to introduce consistency.

Reward Yourself For A Hard Day’s Work

At the end of a hard, stressful workday, we are craving release. Too often, however, we seek release in the form of wine or salty, fatty, carby snacks. Instead, lower your stress hormones at the end of the day and bathe your hard-working brain with serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine with a more productive option. Try a 5-minute meditation, petting your pet, or 20 minutes of yoga, Tai Chi, creativity, or forest bathing. These are all healthy ‘happy hour’ alternatives that will still satiate our need to feel good.

Go For A Post-Dinner Walk

After eating a healthy dinner, get up from the table and go for a 20-minute walk with yourself, family or pet around the neighborhood to use those calories, rather than store them. This will help set you up for a good night’s sleep and prevent you from waking up groggy.

Power Down 1 Hour before Bed

Power down all electronics at least 1 hour before bed to physically reduce exposure to stimulating blue-light and emotionally reduce exposure to stimulating content like social media, news, and work email. Consider soft lighting, a warm bath (add Epsom salts for an added detox), 10 minutes of gentle and slow yoga stretches, a 5-minute breathing meditation, trading a shoulder massage with your mate, or reading a novel all to invoke the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system to prepare for deep sleep.

Reflect and review

Review your day in a journal. Bring your awareness into noticing how any of these tips are affecting your mental clarity, positive emotions and moods, energy levels, productivity, sense of owning your day and life, and feelings of gratitude. Finally, write down and thoughts bouncing around in your head. Simply putting them down on paper allows us to rest assured that we won’t forget them.

Sleep

Easier said than done, but this last tip is just as important as the rest. Sleep is when we heal, physically and mentally, and recharge our batteries for the next day. Ensure you’re fully charged by following our comprehensive Guide To Great Sleep.

Your mental health and resiliency are vital to a long and happy life. Do your best not to try and implement all of the above at one time. Instead, start by choosing two that interest you and try to implement them just twice this coming week. Once you’ve had success with that seemingly easy task, increase the frequency to three times a week, and then eventually add a third and fourth action. Trying to do it all right off the bat is one of our most common pitfalls when trying to accomplish goals. Read our article How To Build A Healthy Habit in 6 Steps.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How Stress Contributes To Diabetes

older woman with diabetes checking blood sugar levels

While it’s widely known that a poor diet and low levels of exercise increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, we are now learning that chronic stress also contributes to the disease that affects 1 in 10 Americans. Today’s fast-paced lifestyles, which feature modern medical syndromes like burnout, are even more prone to stress, and it’s causing a domino effect not only on our emotional and mental health but our physical health as well.

Understanding Diabetes

Terms like “diabetes”, “type 2 diabetes”, and “adult-onset diabetes” are now common in our vocabulary, but the fundamentals of the disease are confusing, and therefore often overlooked.

If we know nothing else, we need to understand that our bodies run off a sugar molecule called glucose—the gasoline to our combustion engine. The food we eat is broken down into glucose, which is then carried off by our blood to the places that need energy, such as our brain, muscles, and organs. We refer to the amount of glucose in our bloodstream at any given time as our blood-sugar level (remember, glucose is sugar).

Once at its destination, glucose isn’t able to enter our cells without the help of a hormone called insulin. Insulin binds to glucose and allows it to actually cross the cell wall. Insulin is like the nozzle of the fuel pump. Without the nozzle, gas can’t actually enter your fuel tank. Instead, it just sits in the hose. Without insulin, sugar cannot enter our cells. Instead, it just sits in our bloodstream.

The problem with our bodies, unlike a fuel pump, is that if extra gas sits in our hose for too long, aka extra sugar in our bloodstream, all sorts of issues occur, such as slowed healing, hearing loss, nerve damage, sleep apnea, heart and blood vessel disease, kidney damage, eye damage, and Alzheimer’s.

This permanent state of elevated blood sugar is diabetes. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes is caused by a genetic condition developed primarily during childhood or adolescence where your pancreas naturally produces little or no insulin, and it cannot be avoided; Type 2 diabetes, however, occurs when our blood sugar levels are so frequently elevated due to our lifestyle that either our pancreas begins to slow down the production of insulin, or our cells begin to resist insulin. In either case, the result is permanently elevated blood sugar levels.

It’s easy to believe this resistance is due to overuse, but think about Olympic athletes for a second. They typically consume between 3,000 and 5,000 calories per day, constantly adding sugar to their blood. The difference is, they use up this sugar through their rigorous, all-day training, preventing their blood sugar levels from ever getting too high. It’s extremely rare that an Olympic athlete, someone who cycles through an enormous amount of sugar, gets type 2 diabetes. So something else is going on.

While the very science of why our cells begin to refuse insulin in type 2 diabetes is still being fully developed, the leading assumption is that an increased level of fat in our blood and chronic inflammation are the two primary culprits.

Fortunately, we have the ability to prevent insulin resistance. The key lies in stopping ourselves from too frequently entering a state of elevated blood sugar—a state known as hyperglycemia. What’s widely obvious, today, is that reducing the amount of sugar we take in and increasing the amount of sugar we burn is a great way to accomplish this. In other words, eating healthier (the correct portions at the correct times) and moving more. What’s less known, however, but quickly coming into the spotlight as a contributing factor to our elevated blood sugar levels, is that stress contributes to insulin resistance.

Can Stress Cause Diabetes?

The short answer is that chronic stress does contribute to type 2 diabetes. Whether or not stress outright causes diabetes is still to be discovered, but we started understanding how stress plays a role in the development of the disease back in 2010, with a review from the European Depression in Diabetes Research Consortium. They discovered, “Depression, general emotional stress and anxiety, sleeping problems, anger, and hostility are associated with an increased risk for the development of Type 2 Diabetes.”

Now, more than a decade later, we continue to understand how chronic stress disrupts our pancreas and liver from managing blood sugar levels properly, leading to periods of hyperglycemia, which ultimately leads to diabetes.

Stress and Blood Sugar Levels

When under physical, mental, or emotional stress, blood sugar levels naturally rise to supply energy to our muscles. Physiologically, this occurs to support our primitive fight-or-flight response, which once allowed us to survive stressful situations, such as an attack from a saber-tooth tiger. In an instant, our liver dumps stored glucose, aka sugar, into our bloodstream. Simultaneously, our pancreas produces insulin which allows that sugar to be used by our muscles. Running away from the tiger or fighting uses up the sugar in our bloodstream, and, after a short while, levels return to normal.

Today, however, our situation has evolved, and we rarely utilize the increased sugar in our bloodstream immediately following a stressful event. Think back to the last time you got cut off in traffic or got into an argument with a colleague. Or even the last time you felt a spell of anxiety. Did you go “walk it off”? Most likely not. More realistically, following a stressful event, we stay stagnant in our seats or on our couch. Even worse, we may decide to eat something salty, fatty, or sugary to settle our emotions.

Stress Eating Leads to Increased Blood Sugar Levels

Coping with chronic stressors—whether mental, emotional, or physical—often leads to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Our natural instinct is to then make choices that evoke our “feel-good hormones” to avoid the weight of these feelings. Unfortunately, we are genetically wired to crave certain foods to elicit the brain’s soothing hormones serotonin, and dopamine, so we often head for the pantry or the freezer when feeling bad.

Consuming any of the three main cravings—salt, fat, and carbs—will make us feel better momentarily, but it won’t support the lowering of blood sugar. Stress eating and alcohol drinking are common coping mechanisms, and, unfortunately, they both spike our blood sugar levels.

Additionally, research has shown that under chronic stress we sleep less. Less sleep stimulates our hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, causing us to subconsciously eat even more.

Stress Affects Insulin Resistance

Stress contributes to elevated blood sugar levels by both dumping stored glucose into our bloodstream due to our natural flight or fight response, and by us turning to food as a stress-coping mechanism. While these chronically elevated blood sugar levels have been proven to contribute to insulin resistance, this is not the only way stress plays a role in affecting insulin resistance.

Thanks to a research team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Sheldon Cohen, we now know that chronic psychological stress also prevents our body from being able to regulate inflammation levels. Their findings state, “When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and, consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease.

Stress-induced inflammation is also a major contributing factor to our cells becoming insulin resistant.

A healthy lifestyle will prevent diabetes

It’s more important than ever to achieve balance in our health. A healthy diet and plenty of movement are a good foundation, but now, more than ever, stress management is vital to hormone balance, healthy blood sugar levels, sleep depth, maintaining an active anabolic metabolism, and lowering inflammation. Focus on balancing all aspects of physical, mental, and emotional health to lessen the proclivity of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as minimize the effects if diagnosed with the disease.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

What Happens To Your Body One Hour After Drinking A Coke?

Did you know over 1.8 billion (billion!) bottles of Coke are consumed around the world every day? No doubt you’ve had one recently and enjoyed the pleasurable effects of the short-term sugar rush. But did you know that one can of Coke (or Pepsi or any other cola product) has so much sugar in it, the only thing preventing your body from immediately rejecting it by vomiting is the phosphoric acid that’s also evident in it. (Incidentally, phosphoric acid is so acidic, it will dissolve a nail in about four days.)

With concerns of heart disease and diabetes on the rise, people are starting to rethink the types of liquids they consume. And then there are people like Niraj Naik, a pharmacist and UK blogger with the handle The Renegade Pharmacist, who’s recent studies have caused us all to be highly concerned about the negative effects of drinking cola. Naik recently created this infographic detailing the physical effects a Coke has on the body within the first hour of consumption. To say the findings are disturbing is an understatement. Thankfully, there’s always water! In our blog about Soda Versus Water, we talk about all the benefits H20 has on your body and your overall wellness. Cheers!

coca-cola-facts-mountain-trek

First 10 Minutes

10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (Which is 100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavour allowing you to keep it down.

20 Minutes

Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)

40 Minutes

Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and, as a response your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, thus preventing drowsiness.

45 Minutes

Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

60 Minutes

The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar, which increases the urinary excretion of calcium.

After 60 Minutes

The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyes and water.

As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may becaome irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, peed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

But What About Diet Coke?

And in case you’re thinking Diet Coke is healthier for you, have a look at this other infographic below, also done by UK blogger Niraj Naik. Not only do you suffer the same affects as drinking a Coke, you also have the added negative impact of Aspartame — an artificial sweetener that’s essentially a poison for your entire digestive system.

diet-coke-consumption-mountain-trek

 

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Hypertension: How to prevent and manage high blood pressure

hypertension

A condition that plagues approximately 70 million Americans, hypertension is dangerous but can be prevented and managed. With the sedentary lifestyles that are so prevalent in everyday society, it is little wonder that high blood pressure is increasingly common. When the heart is unfit, it has to work overtime, resulting in high blood pressure. The good news is we can manage the condition and can even lower blood pressure back to a healthy state.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a widespread condition in today’s society. Blood pressure is represented by two measurements. The first is systolic and is measured when the heart contracts. The second is diastolic, which is measured when the heart releases/relaxes.

A healthy range for systolic blood pressure is between 100-140 mmHg and 60-90 mmHg for diastolic. A blood pressure reading higher than 140/90 mmHg is considered to be hypertension.

The long term effects of high blood pressure are numerous. Issues like heart attack, stroke, heart failure, damaged organs, and aneurysm are some examples. The World Health Organization has identified high blood pressure as the leading cause of cardiovascular mortality. Symptoms of hypertension include headaches, fainting, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and irregular heartbeat. However, many people with hypertension feel no symptoms whatsoever. All the more reason to get your blood pressure checked out by your healthcare professional.

What causes hypertension?

Firstly, hypertension can be broken into two groups. When there is no obvious underlying cause, this is considered primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension is when high blood pressure is caused by another condition.

The causes of hypertension are inconclusive but are thought to include certain conditions and lifestyle choices, including:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • hormonal imbalance
  • sedentary lifestyle/lack of physical activity
  • insufficient vitamin D, lack of magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • high levels of salt/sodium intake, high levels of alcohol consumption
  • genetic predisposition
  • certain medication, for example, birth control pills
  • stress

While seriously harmful to our health, the good news is high blood pressure is manageable, preventable, and even reversible.

Hypertension Prevention and Management

Although medication can help with managing high blood pressure, adopting healthy habits is imperative to the prevention and management of hypertension. Practicing healthy life choices can prove so effective in combating high blood pressure that often medication can be avoided. According to the American Heart Association, there are a few main ways to prevent high blood pressure:

Engage in regular physical activity

It’s easy for inactivity to become a way of life when desk jobs and busy life schedules take over. Engaging in exercise not only helps with blood pressure but also helps reduce stress and promotes weight loss. Aim to include aerobic activities that get the heart pumping! But any physical activity is a good thing. 

Enjoy a healthy diet, low in salt and alcohol 

Stick to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fiber and lean protein. In the place of salt/sodium, opt for low or no salt alternatives such as Spike no-salt seasoning, or nutritional yeast. Consume little alcohol and find alternatives, like all-natural sparkling fruit juices, or herbal teas.

Maintain a healthy weight

Those who are overweight are considerably more at risk to develop or have high blood pressure. A benefit to so many aspects of our well-being, even just a little weight loss can help our blood pressure health.

Don’t smoke 

Need we say more? These days, it is undisputed that the harsh chemicals and additives present in cigarettes are unhealthy for all aspects of health, including blood pressure.

Manage stress  

We’ve all felt our blood pressure go up during stressful moments. Managing stressors is imperative to so many aspects of health, and only you know what truly relaxes you. Meditate, go to a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage, spend some time in the backyard gardening, even engaging in regular deep breathing – whatever works for you.

For most people, implementing these regular lifestyle changes can be challenging. But starting small with just one or two changes can improve your overall health, including your blood pressure. Moreover, think of these tactics as ‘lifestyle prescriptions’ to help avoid the doctor’s prescriptions. 

Unlike so many health conditions, hypertension is very manageable and preventable by making these choices. So get moving, enjoy your fruits and veggies, and destress.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Why Potassium is so Important for your Body

fitness classes in gymA few weeks ago we published a blog called “Electrolytes: Myth-Busted” in response to a question posted on our Facebook page by a Mountain Trek alumni. The article garnered huge interest and prompted another alumni, James, to ask, “Please speak more on potassium.”

So herewith are the facts everyone should know about potassium and how this important mineral applies to your overall health.

What is potassium?

This mineral is one of the main electrolytes in your body (others include sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium). Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

What does it do?

Potassium aids nerve conduction, muscle contraction and heart beat regulation. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting sodium’s effects and ensures proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids.

Why is it important?

In addition to helping maintain a proper fluid balance in your body, potassium also performs the following functions:

  • Keeps the blood from clotting
  • Maintains the body’s pH balance
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Preserves bone health

Raw almondsWhat are some sources of potassium?

Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods but bananas are the ones most famously associated with the mineral. Other sources include:

  • Citrus fruits and tomato juice
  • Melons
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Almonds and peanuts
  • Raisins and prunes
  • Milk
  • Sweet potatoes and legumes like lima and kidney beans are also high in potassium.
  • Interestingly, sports drinks are typically a poor source of potassium.

Why should you be aware of your potassium levels?

When you sweat (whether from working out, sitting in a sauna or living in a climate with hot, humid temperatures) your perspiration releases potassium out of the body. These decreased levels can lead to adverse effects such as muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations and constipation. The good news is that potassium is easy to replenish and most people do so by maintaining a diet that includes the above foods. For example, eating almonds after you work out or detoxify in a steam room will help replenish your stores.

When is potassium harmful?

Too little potassium is just as dangerous as too much. A short-term deficiency can cause elevated blood pressure and muscle cramps but on a chronic level (hypokalemia) it is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. If your kidneys are working normally, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs but people with diabetes who have kidney disease, for example, need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body (hyperkalemia), which can, in turn, damage the heart.

What is the suggested intake of potassium?

The recommended intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams daily. People who eat a healthy diet will get enough potassium naturally. However, those who eat mostly processed foods can be short up to a total of 1,000 milligrams. (Some medications for blood pressure could also cause a potassium deficiency, so check with your doctor.)

Should you take potassium supplements?

Unless you have a chronic illness your body will regulate your potassium levels provided your diet consists of certain whole foods like fruit, vegetables and nuts. (See list above.) The only time supplements are recommended is if you require electrolytes due to exertion or excess sweating (Mountain Trek clients might take one daily electrolyte supplement, like Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, due to their high amounts of perspiration) or if you suffer from certain chronic ailments like diabetic ketoacidosis, a metabolic condition more commonly seen in people with Type 1 diabetes.

Blood Glucose testerWhat is the relationship between potassium and diabetes?

Interestingly, some Type 1 diabetics may have too much potassium in their systems while many Type 2 diabetics have too little. Yet, because of certain medications, some Type 2 diabetics may not be able to excrete potassium in the way they should. If you have (or at risk of getting) diabetes, definitely have your doctor perform a potassium test to determine your levels and ensure that your medications or supplements are not negatively impacting your body’s potassium levels.

Why It’s Important to Choose Water Instead of Soda

Clean water pouring into the glass next to the stones on the old wooden table

Concerns of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are on the rise. People are rethinking their nutrition and the types of liquids they consume. It’s no secret that drinking too much soda is not good for your body, but why should you choose water over Coca-Cola and Pepsi? 

The two companies have engaged in many different marketing campaigns, and today they own some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In fact, 1.8 billion bottles of Coke are consumed around the world every day! Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have made efforts by introducing no-sugar, no-calorie beverage options, but these diet versions still have harmful effects.

The fact is, no matter how these products are advertised they will never come close to the health benefits of water. 

Why You Should Choose Water

  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and breast cancer by 79%.
  • One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of those who participated in a University of Washington study.
  • Preliminary research indicates that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • Lack of water is the most common cause of daytime fatigue. Drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies it.
  • Consuming water is the best method to detox and flush impurities from the body.

What’s in Coca-Cola and Pepsi

  • The active ingredient in Coke and Pepsi is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.
  • Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
  • Coke and Pepsi contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. One can of cola has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake. 
  • Citric Acid, while not harmful in small quantities, excessive amounts can be harmful to your stomach and liver.
  • A can of cola has approximately two-thirds of the amount of caffeine that your morning cup of coffee contains. While safe in small amounts, we have a few reasons to keep the caffeine to a minimum

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • fatigue from lack of sleep makes it harder to for you to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly.

Ideas for Reassessing Your Approach to Weightloss

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern that can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts, and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly, and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Perhaps that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High-stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia and featuring daily sunrise yoga and night-time restorative yoga, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Our Program Isn’t Just For Losing Weight

hiking in forestFitness vacations aren’t just for people needing to lose weight any more.  Mountain Trek hosts people from around the world, of all ages and fitness levels.

As the “Wellness Tourism” industry evolves to meet the needs of our stressed society, people are drawn to Health Retreats for a variety of reasons, with the most obvious being for those wanting to lose pounds, detox, break old habits and learn healthy new ones.

But the appeal of fitness vacations like Mountain Trek is a growing trend among athletes and health conscious people as well, that aren’t necessarily “fat”.  In fact, there are a rising percentage of guests that choose us because our Program matches where they’re already at in their health, lifestyle and attitude.

You may wonder how athletic people would benefit from attending a fitness retreat when they’re already fit and don’t need to shed pounds.  Some of the reasons these types of guests choose healthy getaways such as Mountain Trek include:

  • getting out of the office and back in touch with nature to breathe clean air
  • hiking in pristine nature through new terrain with other outdoor enthusiasts
  • training for an upcoming marathon, which their life back home didn’t allow time for
  • breaking out of their workout routine and getting re-inspired
  • detoxing from coffee, alcohol, and other habits that can creep up on us all
  • taking a much needed break from technology overload and career demands
  • enjoying regular bodywork, treatments and consultations from skilled practitioners all in one location
  • rewarding themselves after an achievement such as getting their degree
  • renewing and deepening their commitment to their health
  • enjoying an adventurous getaway with friends or a loved ones
  • indulging in down time by going solo, and feeling safe going alone in the supportive environment
  • meeting new like-minded people from around the world
  • tuning up before a wedding or other important life event    

We see it all here at Mountain Trek, and see people of all fitness levels have a blast pushing themselves beyond the limits of their comfort zones.  No matter what condition they arrived in, we consistently see guests go home feeling energized and 10 years younger, proud of their accomplishments and with a renewed commitment to their health.  

How your Diet can Kick Pre-Diabetes to the Curb

Plate with cooked salmon and veggies on blank table

Along with stress reduction to decrease chances of developing insulin resistance, what could be more impactful in preventing pre-diabetes than what you eat? Working powerfully together as the one-two punch in regulating blood sugar, lowered stress and a healthy diet are both vital to avoid insulin resistance and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes.

Tips for Preventing Insulin Resistance with your diet:

  • Focus on a diet full of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include whole grains complete with all of their fiber and nutrients intact.  Some of my favorites include millet, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and steel-cut oats.
  • Eliminate processed foods from your diet, such as packaged snacks, refined sugar, baked goods, cookies, candy, fruit juices, soda, and aspartame.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids such as margarine and canola oil. Replace these fats with the healthy ones found in avocados, eggs, nuts and seeds, flax meal, plain yogurt, olive, and coconut oil.
  • Enjoy organic, nutrient-rich meat and wild fish, such as grass-fed beef, lamb, organic chicken, and fatty fish such as wild salmon and cod.
  • Limit refined grains. These are characterized as being “white” and void in fiber and nutrients and include anything with white flour (bread and rolls), white rice, processed cereals, and white pasta.

Ideally, the majority of your diet should consist of leafy green vegetables, squashes, eggs, nuts, and healthy meats for protein, and good fats, while avoiding sugar and refined or simple carbohydrates.

Did you know?

An increase in trace minerals can help regulate blood sugar levels.  Supplements such as chromium, magnesium, and zinc can be found at your local health and vitamin store.  Food sources high in trace minerals include dark leafy green vegetables such as chard, spinach, kale, collards, and sea vegetables.  Instead of regular table salt, choose Celtic sea salt as an excellent source of trace minerals.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below: