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Archive for February, 2012

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Last Sunday my man and I went to Starved Rock State Park near Ottawa, IL for a much-needed bit of fresh air, exercise and time in nature. We hiked the Illinois Canyon (Starved Rock has many canyons and this one is the deepest so it allows for much exploring!) on Sunday and saw a few hardy folks with their dogs and walking sticks. Some families treated their bundled up children to the wonders of this canyon along with us.

Since it’s been a mild winter, the ground was fairly muddy and the entire area looked ready for Spring. Yet, it’s only mid February so there are still frozen waterfalls and other cold sights to behold. I am posting a short video of water droplets falling from one of the more intricate waterfalls and some pics of the great outdoors. Check it out yourself before the actual spring comes and the frozen water turns the mud into a much stickier mess. For a map and Directions to Starved Rock click here.

Frozen waterfall at Illinois Canyon of Starved Rock State Park, IL. Image by Sue Shekut.

My hiking poles came in handy as we crossed this stream! Image by Sue Shekut

My favorite waterfall and pool in Illinois Canyon, Starved Rock, IL. Image by Sue Shekut.

Although its February in Illinois, this looks a lot like Spring in Maui. Image by Sue Shekut

My photographer boyfriend illustrates how high the walls of the canyon are. It doesn’t feel like we are This doesn’t look like Illinois at all. And to think, this area was once likely ocean! Image by Sue Shekut

A trio of collie dogs shared the waterfall with us. Image by Sue Shekut.

Crossing the streams of Illinois Canyon requires agility and great balance–or you get wet! Image by Sue Shekut.

Outside of the state park near Ottawa, we saw this car and wondered how what distracted the driver enough to miss the road–and dry land–so entirely! Image by Sue Shekut

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

US Navy 050203-N-4729H-005 Navy Delayed Entry ...

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For anyone that’s ever dieted or struggled to keep excess fat off, you know that conventional wisdom (increase activity, decrease calories) has tended to recommend very caloric intake for losing weight. But living on super low-calorie diets is not only not sustainable int he long-term, but it’s very difficult to maintain even for short-term results. Now scientist shave found the way to lose weight is not as strict and severe as we once thought! And the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has produced a wonderful new tool that allows you to more accurately estimate how many calories you need to consume and how you need to adjust your activity level to lose unwanted fat. This tool is called the Body Weight Simulator and is accessible here.

To use the Body Weight Simulator, you need to enter your Base Weight, your activity level and your age and height. The tool does the rest, providing you with an estimate of the number of calories you need to reduce each day to lose weight for the short-term as well as the number of calories you need to reduce to maintain the loss for the long-term. I tried the simulator myself and the number of calories I’d need to cut to lose 10 pounds in 6 months is just much smaller than most diet plans would have me reduce. (About 270 per day versus 500-1000 calories per day.)

The tool also provides graphs and charts that show the progression of weight loss, body fat % change, and activity level change.  Try it yourself and see how reasonable the new calorie goals and activity levels can be for your own fat loss plan!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

February is American Heart Month according to the CDC. And now, Elizabeth Banks, (the actress from Definitely, Maybe, Scrubs, 30 Rock, and Role Models, did a pretty attention-grabbing public service announcement. In “Just a Little Heart Attack,” Elizabeth is a multitasking, overworked mother of two getting ready for work, getting the kids ready, and ….having a “little” heart attack. But in a really cute and funny way that only Elizabeth Banks can pull off. I think it’s an effective and clear video that makes a heart attack in a seemingly healthy, thin, middle-aged woman seem very real. Elizabeth personalizes heart disease and packages her heart attack in a scenario many of us can either directly relate to or understand. For a PSA to be effective, it has to keep your interest and make its message simple. Elizabeth’s message seems to be, “take time for yourself, and know the warning signs of a heart attack.” Good advice!

Check out the video and tell me what you think. Is the video helpful, silly, interesting, funny. You be the judge.

Starring and directed by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks.

“A little film about a super mom who takes care of everyone except herself” — Elizabeth Banks

Go Red for Women presents: Just  a Little Heart Attack.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I recently learned about a really exciting project in Chicago called The Plant where sustainability meets urban farming and small businesses. According to the website, The Plant is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable food production, entrepreneurial businesses, and building reuse through education, research and development.  Plant Chicago took a 93,500 sq. ft. former meatpacking facility, The Plant and is turning it into a net- zero energy vertical farm. One-third of The Plant will hold aquaponic growing systems and the other two-thirds will incubate sustainable food businesses by offering low rent, low energy costs, and a licensed shared kitchen.

The Plant ChicagoThe Plant will create 125 jobs in Chicago’s economically distressed Back of the Yards neighborhood and these jobs will not require fossil fuel use. Instead, The Plant will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs–which is quite impressive!

A Cycle of Life-Growing Vegetables with Fish and Fish With Vegetables

Recycling will also occur in the aquaponic farm system. Aquaponics is a closed-loop growing system that creates a symbiotic relationship between tilapia (fish) and vegetables. Tilapia produces ammonia-based waste that is sent through a biofilter to settle out solids break down the rest of the waste into nitrates. Those nitrates are fed to plants growing in hydroponic beds.  The plants clean the water by absorbing the nitrates,, and the nitrates are then returned to the fish. The Plant will sell both the fish and the vegetables to local food markets and restaurants in Chicago!

Incubating Sustainable Food Businesses

The Plant will also provide artisanal food businesses, including a beer brewery, a bakery, a kombucha (fermented tea) brewery, a mushroom farm, and a shared kitchen. According the The Plant Website:” Here again, waste from one business will be used as food for another. A good example is the spent distillers grains from the brewery will be fed to the tilapia, while solids from the tilapia waste will be fed to the mushrooms. This self-sustaining, interconnected system helps the businesses housed in The Plant grow and prosper together, while creating new, green jobs in a struggling community.”

Meet John Edel, Executive Director of The Plant

John Edel, Executive Director of The Plant

From the Plant Website: John Edel is the owner and developer of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. As General Contractor, Edel took the facility from a burnt-out shell to 100% occupancy while using a mixture of waste-stream recycled materials and leading edge technology to make the building exceptionally energy-efficient and pleasantly non-toxic. The renovation was assisted by a core group of volunteers and by bartering with suppliers, tenants and scrappers.

In previous careers, Edel taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games and worked as a chef on private railroad cars. He has a lifelong dream of combining industrial preservation and plants in a productive, conservatory-like project.

Check it Out Yourself! Take a Tour of The Plant

Tours are held every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Volunteer at The Plant

Be part of  the great transformation! help transform The Plant into a farm of the future!
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I came across this blog post, “athletic body diversity reference for artists” via the Facebook page of my friend, Bodhi Haraldsson, Register Massage Therapist and author of the blog, MTABC – Evidence-based massage therapy resources.
The blog post. “athletic body diversity reference for artists” is written by an artist but it shows all the different types of healthy fit bodies the Olympic athletes have.  It’s a great example of how we all have different genetics and this manifests in different body types. being fit doe snot mean we all look the same or have the same types of muscle development. A long distance runner and a football player may both be fit and strong, but their muscles will develop differently.  Check out the blog post and view the pictures for yourself! Photos  are from “The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein.

A sample photo is shown below. Click this link to see the blog post and all the other photos!

Photo from “The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Related posts:

• The Athlete by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein
Athletic Body Diversity – Photo-shoot of various Olympic-level athletes by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein titled

“The Athlete” – Understanding body type diversity

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