Diet in terms of the food combinations we eat is a focus at Mountain Trek. Dieting as a short term solution to health and wellness is not something Mountain Trek promotes.

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Review Magazine Features Mountain Trek

Review Magazine Article_cover-smWriter Leigh Doyle interviewed regular Mountain Trek alumni Jean Aldridge for an article called “Exercise Escape” that appeared in this summer’s issue of Review magazine. The story was all about how Jean visits Mountain Trek to and discussed why she returns every six months: “It’s like adult day camp with planned activities and meals ready for you,” she’s quoted as saying.

The article goes on to say, “A week-long fitness vacation can kick-start motivated individuals into making serious changes by showing them how regular exercise, proper eating and dedicated de-stress time can do the body good.”

Click the thumbnails below to read the entire article:

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Join us for the Mountain Trek “Super Reboot” Week

Working togetherAugust is the month for recreation, relaxation and retreat. You’ve worked hard all year and now you deserve to take some time for yourself: it’s time to leave behind the stresses and worries of your job, or whatever it is that occupies too much of your time, if even for a little while. Whether you need to do this on your own, or you’re happy to have your spouse, family or friends join you, it’s time to treat yourself to a Mountain Trek experience! And that experience just got stepped up a notch…

As many of you already know, a week or two at Mountain Trek is a life-changing adventure. Nowhere else offers the unique combination of spa, vacation and boot camp that is the Mountain Trek experience. With our luxurious alpine lodge as your comfortable home base, you’ll experience world-class hiking, and nutrition and lifestyle guidance that will boost your metabolism and shift you into a lasting, healthy state of body and mind for the rest of the year, and beyond!

And now, for the first time ever, Mountain Trek is offering an above-and-beyond experience called the “Super Reboot” week. From August 24-31, 2013, we’ll be offering a unique event, workshop and lecture each day in addition to the regular workouts and massages we provide. And, at no extra cost!

Why are we doing this? Because you deserve it! Here are the additional events you can expect to experience between this coming August 24-31:

Healthy Cosmetics

Did you know there might be lead in your lipstick? In fact there are toxins in many of our everyday body care products and in this evening workshop a beautician expert from Mountain Waters Spa will be discussing the hidden chemicals in shampoos, make-up and other skin and body care products. She will share ways to avoid these products and offer alternate brands that do not pose a risk to our health.

Laurie ChefCooking Re-Mastered with Chef Laurie Hartland

Laurie Hartland is Mountain Trek’s kitchen manager and chef who specializes in creating the healthiest meals possible using seasonal, locally-sourced, organic ingredients. In this workshop she’ll teach you how to make the same quick and healthy meals that she’s mastered for our resort and give you recipes to take home with you to wow your family and friends.

Office Posture Demystified

For the evening Postural Alignment Workshop we take an in-depth look at what postural dysfunction can look like, and what simple and effective things we can do to help correct this. Our instructor, Anna Topf, is a kinesiologist and she’ll spend time with each client looking at their specific spinal curvature and then provide take-home strategies that will help improve your posture so you’ll look and feel better.

Art Therapy with Milli

Art Therapy combines visual art and psychotherapy in a process using a created image as a foundation for self-exploration and understanding. Thoughts and feelings are often easier to express through images rather than in words and this class will allow you to explore your emotions and current state-of-mind through a creative medium. Registered Art Therapist Milli Neufeld-Cummings will have you working with paper and paints to release unconscious feelings and improve your overall well-being.

The Science of Face Reading

Experts say that in China, good doctors can identify 70% of a person’s health problems by examining the patient’s face. The Traditional Chinese Medicine art of face reading can be used as a way of determining the personality and characteristics of a person, and can even be used as a diagnostic tool to help prevent illness. Experts say the health conditions indicated by face readings aren’t set in stone, they’re simply warning signs, but you can heed these signs and make adjustments to protect your long-term health. Join our expert Kendra Starr, Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as she performs face readings and offers tips and tricks about how to do it yourself.

So, whether you’re a returning Mountain Trek client or new to our world-class hiking retreat, tucked away in the southern British Columbia wilderness, we’d love for you to come join us for our one-of-a-kind “Super Reboot” program between August 24-31, 2013. Click here to find out more info.

 

Mountain Trek on BC Living’s Must Do List

bc living logoBC Living has just listed Mountain Trek as one of their “To Do” activities in the province.

The story, written by Anna Dupas, lists ten things residents and visitors to British Columbia should do. Of Mountain Trek, Dupas writes, “this alpine resort offers invigorating exercise, organic cuisine, detoxing saunas and massages — as well as classes in nutrition, stress management and sleep hygiene.”

Dupas goes on to quote Kirkland Shave who says, “We want people to walk out having fallen back in love with their body.”

To read the entire article, log on to BC Living.ca.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Sodium

Salt

If you’ve ever used the phrase, “Pass the salt please?” chances are there’s too much salt in your diet. While a certain amount of sodium is necessary for our bodies to function properly, the majority of us sprinkle salt far too liberally.

In this post, we take a look at one of humanity’s oldest seasonings, how it impacts our bodies, and how to monitor our intake.

Are salt and sodium the same?

No. Salt is a compound called Sodium Chloride while Sodium is a chemical element (Na) found in the Earth’s crust.

What does sodium do for your body?

Sodium is an essential nutrient for human beings because it regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium, and pH levels in our bodies. Sodium is also needed for your muscles and nerves to work properly. In fact, each of us needs a minimum of 500 milligrams of sodium a day. This is where salt, or Sodium Chloride, enters the picture. It’s the principal source of sodium in the human diet and one of our most ancient and ubiquitous food seasonings – in fact, for thousands of years, salting has been an important method of food preservation.

What are some sources of sodium?

Sodium occurs naturally in most foods such as celery, beets, milk, and even our drinking water (although the amount varies depending on the source). These days, unfortunately, most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods: Monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and sodium benzoate can be found in items such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, potato chips, and bouillon cubes. Processed meats like ham, sausage, bacon, and canned soups and vegetables are all examples of foods that contain a lot of sodium. And of course, a drive-thru at McDonald’s, or any other fast-food restaurant, will leave you filled with food that’s extremely high in sodium.

Can too much salt/sodium in your diet be harmful?

Absolutely. At Mountain Trek, we recognize every person is unique, and recommended sodium intakes will vary based on age, metabolism, amount of exercise/sweat, medications, etc. However, Health Canada sets the adequate intake of sodium for women at 1500 mg daily, and a tolerable upper intake level of 2300 mg/day. How much exactly is that? Well, 2300 mg is the amount of sodium that’s found in one teaspoon of salt. And recent research shows we’re consuming a lot more than that. The average North American man consumes about 3500 mg of sodium every day and women consume 2500 mg. Their large amounts promote hypertension, an ailment that causes 7.6 million premature deaths worldwide. If you’re chronically eating a diet that’s high in salt you are at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. There are also some studies that suggest too much salt consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.

Sodium and exercise

Ask any Mountain Trek guest who’s hiked 10km with us and they’ll tell you that they sweat. A lot. And when you perspire, your body loses sodium, potassium, and other essential minerals and nutrients. If you’re hiking, jogging, kayaking, or doing any athletic activity over long distances, and you don’t rehydrate properly, you could be contributing to a decreased blood/sodium concentration. And the result might be ringing in your ears or mild heart palpitations. (In extreme instances you could succumb to hyponatremia, a condition similar to dehydration in which nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion may occur.) Does that mean you should drink Gatorade every time you exercise? Absolutely not! Gatorade is full of sugar and it’s not an effective electrolyte replenishment tool. (For more about, electrolytes, check out our blog called “Electrolytes – Myth Busted!”)

Everybody responds differently to exercise and therefore our sodium needs vary. Fortunately at Mountain Trek, our team of nutritionists and chefs are all looking out for you 24-7. Before we head out on the hiking trails we make sure you’re getting the proper amount of sodium in your diet through our delicious meals, and once on the trail our experienced guides monitor how you’re feeling all along the way and have electrolyte supplements like Vega Sport on hand.

How to lower your salt intake

  1. Avoid processed foods as one small meal could have twice the recommended daily intake of sodium. Stick to whole foods, vegetables, and fruit
  2. Cook with less salt
  3. Drink lots of water to flush excess salt
  4. Sauna or steam to sweat out excess salts
  5. If you’re experiencing a craving for salty foods, try these seasoning alternatives:
    Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
    Roasted garlic
    Granulated sea kelp or sesame seeds
    Onion powder (not onion salt)
    Lime or lemon juice
    Veggie Salt
    Nutritional Yeast

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:

Metro Recommends Hiking to Health with Mountain Trek

metro storyToronto-based freelance writer Vawn Himmelsbach visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort this June and her story about rebooting her metabolism appeared last week in Metro, a publication that’s distributed in city centres around North America.

Mountain Trek is “a hiking-focused fitness retreat and health spa in the Selkirk and Purcell ranges of B.C.’s Rocky Mountains, set in a luxury alpine lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake. Once you get through the caffeine withdrawal, you might find it’s one of the best vacations you’ve ever taken,” writes the self-described coffee aficionado.

Vawn goes on to describe her experience at Mountain Trek as a “week in a serene, scenic setting, with a high guide-to-participant ratio to provide a personal and supportive environment.”

Click here to read Vawn’s entire story in Metro.

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.

Mountain Trek’s Weight Loss Tips Shared With Best Health Magazine

best health magFreelance writer Trish Snyder visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort this summer and her story appeared this week on Best Health Magazine, a health-specific publication launched by Reader’s Digest.

Mountain Trek “has all the trappings of a luxury wellness retreat,” Trish writes. “At the rustic lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake, guests dine on organic cuisine, detox in saunas and enjoy three weekly massages at the only hiking spa in North America…thanks to classes in sleep, diet, exercise and stress, guests learn simple formulas to take their newfound vitality home.”

Trish goes on to describe some of Mountain Trek’s best weight-loss tips including: “Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of rising kick-starts your metabolism and keeps the liver out of starvation mode. When you skip meals, the body responds by slowing down the metabolism and storing fat.”

Click here to read Trish’s entire story on Best Health Magazine.

Q&A with client Markeeta Brown

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

Welcome to the fourth installment of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each person came to our fitness retreat and health spa for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this piece we speak with Markeeta Brown, a resident of Dallas, Texas, who works in real estate. She’s visited Mountain Trek’s BC lodge every year since 2010 as well as joined us for our programs at Rancho La Puerta in California. Markeeta says she’s been making the journey to Mountain Trek the past three years because it’s helped her work around a number of life changes she’s been going through recently. Here is Markeeta’s story.

Hi Markeeta. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I’ve been going to Rancho La Puerta (RLP) off and on for about 30 years. It was kind of my summer camp but after I made the decision to separate from my husband I knew I had to go to the ranch and do some extended hiking. I went for two weeks in November 2010 and did the Mountain Trek program. I loved its structure and since then I’ve returned three times to the BC lodge and three times to Rancho.

Tell us about your expectations?

BC is a different type of hiking than the milder terrain at RLP but Mountain Trek’s overall program at both places is the same. I know I’ll always go home with much more energy and focus. The thing that keeps drawing me back is it’s a challenge but it’s not overwhelming or stressful. The after-effects are much more lasting that anything I can do on my own. I also like that (head guide) Kirkland emphasizes to try and take on only two new habits when we return home to keep things manageable, rather than try and alter everything about our lives. It’s a challenge but it’s doable.

What are some of the highlights of your time at Mountain Trek?

Anybody who attends Mountain Trek will take home about 18 things you can do to supercharge your energy. But the program emphasizes that you only concentrate on two things and overlay those good habits over your bad ones. For me it was about only eating three meals and two snacks max a day and doing cardio a minimum of four times a week.

RLP Group, Nov. 10-17

The Mountain Trek program at Rancho La Puerta last November. Markeeta is on the far right.

What’s a lowlight from your experiences at Mountain Trek?

They seem to be putting a lot more emphasis on using foam rollers in the stretch class and that’s challenging for me. (laughs) But between the yoga and stretching in the morning and the massages in the evening I don’t experience a lot of physical discomfort.

What’s it like every time you return home after visiting Mountain Trek?

People notice. They say, “Wow you look great and you must feel great.” And I do. I think it’s important though to clear the deck a week or two after you return. You need to come home with a plan and have a bit of time when your life isn’t totally crazy so you can incorporate some of the things you’ve learned.

So what draws you back to Mountain Trek every year?

Lately I’ve had one major life challenge after another and Mountain Trek allows me to focus – it gives me a better chance to continue with my momentum. Plus I like being active and I like the feeling I get when my metabolism is running at the rate of someone who is much younger.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek plays a really key role in getting through your life challenges: whether it’s dying parents, caring for elderly relatives, divorce…all that together can be so stressful and Mountain Trek gives you a way to fight some of the physical and emotional damage and helps you keep your head straight. Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how well you do when your life is going swimmingly; it’s how you do when challenges are thrown at you. You have to have a plan to go through those periods of your life and Kirkland and Cathy and the Mountain Trek program definitely helps with that.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about the Mountain Trek experience?

To me there’s no better self-intervention than taking yourself to Mountain Trek. It’s absolutely worth the money, especially when you take to heart what Kirkland says and when you land on the tarmac at home you can incorporate a simple plan to make it all work out.

Toronto Cycling Club Recommends Mountain Trek

breakfastRecently Toronto journalist and road cycling aficionado Trish Synder attended Mountain Trek to write an article for Reader Digest‘s “Best Health” publication.

She was so taken with the program she decided to also do a blog post for her local biking club from the beaches area in Toronto that explained why even fit road cyclists should visit Mountain Trek. This is an excerpt from her piece, “I exercised for 34 hours over six days, which included 66 km and 6,000 vertical feet of hiking through the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. One of the guides told us we were active for as many hours a day as Olympic athletes train. OK, not nearly at the same level, but this was intense, exhausting and totally invigorating—one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had.”

Trish goes on to explain how the highlights of her trip included the mountain scenery, spotting various wildlife such as moose, morning yoga classes, the massages and the “delicious” food, which included the breakfast creation shown here – so inspiring that Trish was compelled to photograph it. (“The creamy stuff was made by soaking cashews overnight and then creaming them in a Vitamix blender with a bit of orange juice. Beyond delicious,” she writes.)

To learn more about Trish’s stay at Mountain Trek, you can read her entire blog post here.