Friday, November 13, 2015

Hibiscus Tea

Fall is upon us and Winter soon to follow so I have begun to crave teas. I have no idea why I have a predominately seasonal taste for teas?

I have been aware that my blood pressure of late has increased somewhat, probably a result of a rather inactive summer and increased weight gain and the onset of aging. As noted in this blog I am in the process of addressing my current state of wellness. How does this tie in with hibiscus tea you ask?

Good question. I was researching various teas to indulge my cravings while offering me some different brew options and read that hibiscus can help reduce blood pressure, specifically the top systolic number and was effective for adults with pre or mild hypertension. My interest peaked I dug further into hibiscus teas and discovered it is a traditional healing teas that offers other benefits. Probably tastes terrible as most healing tinctures or teas usually do right? Only one way to find out so I found myself heading to the Bulk Barn - a local retail outlet that has a decent variety of bulk loose leaf teas.

They had two varieties in stock; a Hibiscus Rose Hip and a Hibiscus Cranberry. I purchased a small bag of both for sampling and headed home for a brew-up.

Both teas are vibrant red in color and the flavor reminds me of fresh berries with a tart pleasing flavor....very nice. Both rose hip and cranberry compliments hibiscus and adds some additional vitamin C and other antioxidants.

"Hibiscus tea is ruby red in color and has a sour taste. Therefore, it is also known as sour tea and has a flavor similar to cranberry. It is widely available on the market throughout the tea-drinking world, and can be consumed hot or cold depending on your preference. This tea is low in calories and caffeine-free. "

This stuff is good! Score.

Dead easy to prepare. Loose tea in a tea ball/filter and let steep for 5 minutes. The longer you leave it the more brilliant it becomes and increases in flavor.

Bonus! Makes a great cold sports drink which definitely appeals to me now that I am getting back into winter spinning, the gym and ball hockey. I refuse to use the "ades" as the commercial sports drinks on the market are nothing more than chemicals and sugar. Gross!

In addition to lowering blood pressure hibiscus tea also offers the following benefits.....

"The health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to cure liver disease and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C, minerals and various antioxidants, while also helping in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety."

Did I say this tea is good? It will definitely become part of my tea regimen, and knowing it makes a great sports drink, part of my fitness plan.

Sidebar - there are some concerns with hibiscus for those with low blood pressure, pregnant and could be allergic to some.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Piriformis Syndrome?

Having felt something "go" a couple weeks ago playing only my third game of ball hockey this season I have since been dealing with an miserable ache, stiffness and numbness in my upper left leg. Initially I though I was dealing with a level two hamstring pull but now suspect I suffered a piriformis muscle strain.

Any extended period of time sitting brings on the symptoms and upon standing there is tightness in my hamstring and hip. Thanks to Ian who had suggested I look into piriformis stretches I now have a better understanding of my possible issue.

Piriformis syndrome is "a condition in which the piriformis muscle becomes tight and/or spasms and irritates the sciatic nerve....patients often complain of deep pain within the hip and buttocks...."

Bingo! I can now confirm I am a legitimate "pain in the butt" (wink)

Seeking the causes of PS to further my understanding I discovered several that have a direct correlation to my condition....

a - exercising on hard surfaces - Yes. Ball hockey is played on a hard gym floor.

b - Beginning a activity after a long layoff period - Yes. Ball hockey just started again after a couple months and I recently re-joined a gym.

c - Increasing exercise intensity or duration - Yes. See above after a "lazy" summer.

d - Sitting for long periods of time - Yes. I have a desk job.

e - Wearing worn out shoes - Yes. My runners need replacing.

f - Poor running mechanics - Yes. I have over pronation issues.

I definitely exhibit both biomechanical and over usage indicators of PS.

"Piriformis syndrome is commonly associated with sports that require a lot of running, change of direction and weight bearing activity."

That is ball hockey in a nutshell.

Piriformis Stretches

I will immediately begin a PS stretching routine in an attempt to treat my symptoms. There seems to be some variations so I will try an assortment to see what ones work best for me. I will not rule out physio or massage either as I have benefit coverage for both forms of therapy. My next scheduled chiropractic appointment is next week so I will consult Dr.J as well.

I have tried some of stretches which seem effective and just feel real good. As well I will check out the idea of rolling out my hip on a foam roller/ball.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Return To Form - The Fixing Of Geo. Part Two- The Plan


Sometimes you just have to wonder about things and whether there is a element of fate to otherwise common occurances? My son decided to join a local gym a month ago as he progressed past the equipment of my limited home gym. Needless to say it was soon thereafter that I got the call from Goodlife offering me a  free week's pass to try out their facility as a referral from Josh. The timing was impeccable.

Why not? I was, at that point, aware of my fitness shortcomings and knew I needed to make changes for the coming winter. I had been a member at that location for a few years when it was Nubody`s and there was a definite attraction to a possible return. It is walking distance from my residence and on my usual bike commute route. The cost of membership was manageable, especially since I decided to limit my wine consumption. I love the Noble Grape but I was consuming too many empty calories. Just by cutting out a minimum of one bottle of wine per week I could cover the cost of the membership.
A visit to the facility sealed the deal and I signed the dotted line. Heading into October I now had access to the gym, complete with a spin class schedule, a variety of cardio/strength training equipment and, most importantly, a motivational atmosphere so lacking from my home gym.


It did not take long before I jumped into my first RPM spin class. I expected it to be tough and it did not disappoint - I definitely felt the love. High intensity cycling, albeit on a stationary bike, was still high intensity cycling and I embraced it like a long lost friend. Felt a little awkward at first getting familiar to the instructor`s terminology and physical cue`s but you get comfortable with time. To date I have four classes behind me and am getting stronger despite dealing with the hamstring/hip injury occurred playing ball hockey.

Strength Training

A modern gym filled with every kind of machine/ free weight systems. Need I say more?


Unlike my exercise patterns my nutrition has remained consistant over the last few years. My diet is actually quite clean (following an intermittent fasting regimen) in comparison to the standard American diet(SAD). As mentioned I do have a fondness for red wine which has added lots of extra calories to my ancestral approach to diet.......I consume moderate carbs (including some grains) while avoiding added sugars and junk foods, some fermented dairy with veggies, greens and proteins - most of which I prefer roasted. Weaknesses include pizza and beer(mostly in the summer) along with the aforementioned red wine. Yeah - I know.

Going forward I`m going to continue practicing daily intermittent fasting (my eat window is usually between 3 pm - 10pm) while focusing upon a cleaner ancestral WOE with a decrease in alcohol consumption and avoidance of refined carbohydrates. It does not a need a lot of attention but rather some housekeeping. Limiting the wine being the main objective as I suspect that was my prime dietary antagonist.

Ball Hockey

I am really going to re-evaluate my participation as a runner in ball hockey. Once you factor in my neck, shoulder and back subluxation issues(I love my chiropractor) and my over pronated gait it may be time to retire from ball hockey as a runner. Pounding around on hard surfaces does wreak havoc on my body but this hamstring injury has changed the game. Whereas before I would be stiff, sore and twisted afterwards this was the first time I actually got injured during the game. Omen of things to come?

I will continue to play goal. It is far easier on my body although I fear this hip/hamstring injury will adversely affect my net minding. I will need to proceed with caution mindful of the hamstring and work on my overall stretching routines.

Time to return to form and get busy.