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Nutrition and wellness is tasteful

  • Exercise

    Exercise is a benefit to every part of the body--mind included.

    Exercise makes you look better, lose weight, and lowers your risk of many chronic diseases, and slows down aging.

  • Healthy children, healthy life

    "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces--just good food from fresh ingredients."
    --Julia Child

    "If we're not willing to settle for 'junk living,' we shouldn't settle for junk food."
    --Sally Edwards

  • Food is medicine

    "Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine."

    "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
    --Michael Pollen

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Health Benefits of Nuts

I've been asked by to write a blog post regarding the nutritional benefits that nuts provide our bodies. I couldn't agree more -- these little edible nuggets of deliciousness are excellent to add to your daily diet whether they be in a salad, side dish or a quick healthy snack. Enjoy....

Nuts of every kind have a variety of health benefits that give our bodies strength – especially after a good workout, promote weight loss (with portion-control), curb our chances of getting diabetes, and simply taste good! The delicious little nut can not only give us a wonderfully surprising amount of the appropriate vitamins and minerals we need for our bodies to benefit, but should simply be part of a heart-healthy diet as well. 

We’ve all heard of LDL, right? This is the bad cholesterol found in blood that we can and should limit as much as possible. Similar to how plaque (sticky, soft substance) builds up on our teeth to eventually cause tooth decay if not taken care of – sticky plaque can occur in other areas of our body, i.e., arteries where build up in our arteries can lead to heart disease. So what can help with minimizing LDL cholesterol? Yes! You guessed it – nuts!

While you may know about the nutritional power of nuts, the website gives more reasons why nuts are so good for the body. In addition to making a healthy lifestyle an easier choice to make, nuts taste so good that it wouldn’t be difficult to make them part of your daily diet. The health benefits are numerous! In giving our bodies strength with the nutrition nuts provide, even workouts become more effective and looking forward to the next workout becomes effortless! Here is a link to the healthy snacks page and learn about how these high protein snacks enhance the body’s overall cell production for optimal wellbeing.

Nuts of every kind have a variety of health benefits that includes a generous amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids that actually work to reduce the LDL levels in blood and they are not hard to add to any diet! Another thing to keep in mind with these little nutritional powerhouses is that the less salt and sugar and other unpronounceable ingredients added to them to makes them taste better. After all,  those added ingredients – salt, sugar, natural flavors -- actually are counterproductive to a healthy diet! So be sure to read the ingredients on the back of the label of Planter’s Peanuts for example – some of the “tricky” ingredients found could be added sugars, corn syrup or Maltodextrin (which is a food additive commonly used in sodas and candy).

So what are some of the other reasons to make nuts part of your heart-healthy diet?
These little nuggets of deliciousness contain unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber (for satiety and diabetes prevention), Vitamin E (for diminished plaque development in the arteries), and Vitamin B12, which assists with brain health, metabolism, the creation of healthy red blood cells, DNA cell production and can be a great addition to enjoy after working out at the gym!

Lastly, it really is difficult to say which nut is better than another with regard to nutrition as some may have more vitamins, less minerals, more calories, less calories – you get the picture. If I can leave you with one thought with regard to nuts is that eating a small handful of a variety of nuts is best and eating them in their most natural state (without added sugars and salts) is even better. This link provides a breakdown of calorie counts, vitamins, minerals and overall nutritional value for you to make your own informed decision. Be sure to add nuts to your permanent healthy diet for nutritional balance and focused mental strength! Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Target YOUR Best Self By Doing What Matters

We all know that diet and exercise are known to be the key ingredients to leading a healthy lifestyle, right? There are a few other ingredients to add to that recipe in order to make our lives healthier though and even than -- we can always strive for better.

Do you get enough sleep? Do you have good friendships? Are you more of a "worrier" or a "doer"; instead of worrying about something, why not do something about it! What is the point of worrying about something if it is out of your control? 

As the article that I am referencing here points out, the key things to remember for what really matters to making a healthy life includes eating right, exercising, sleeping enough and maintaining healthy relationships.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Guest post: 10 Items to Stock In Your Frig for a Healthy Week

Here we are yet another Monday and hopefully a great start to the week! Recently, I had a wonderful addition to my blog by a like-minded wellbeing organization -- They have contributed the following blog post about 10 items to stock in your refrigerator for a healthy and nutritious week! focuses on home improvement and overall home empowerment. What does that mean really? The focus of empowerment in general is to enable us to be able-bodied, healthy and at our best and that certainly includes keeping our own homes as safe and efficient as they can be! If you want to learn more about keeping an overall healthy home environment, refer to the modernize website to get expert advice on various aspects of home health like heating, air-conditioning, windows, roofing and more! 

The kitchen is usually the focal point of a healthy home and food in the refrigerator should definitely reflect that, wouldn't you say? Hence, read the following blog post provided by Modernize below....

10 Items to Stock Your Fridge With For a Healthy Week
By Katherine Oakes

There are some weeks (OK, most of them) when eating healthy seems more like a pipe dream than reality, preparing healthful lunches sounds totally unattainable, and grocery lists full of nourishing foods slowly deteriorate into a cart full of all your guilty pleasures. However, stocking your fridge full of healthy foods can last you more than a few days but even weeks. And luckily, these healthy foods are budget-friendly and work in more than a few tasty (and simple) dishes. It’s also important to remember that although these foods are certainly good for you, eating anything in abundance is never a good idea. Practice portion control and learn to listen to your body for that natural feeling of fullness.

At Modernize, we love the idea of packing a well-loved kitchen full of good-for-you foods that turn into even-better-for-you meals! So, to help you get started on your journey to wellness, here are 10 foods to stock your fridge with for a healthy week.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This bitter-flavored liquid contains potassium and a detoxifying fiber called pectin. Since it is alkaline, it balances the acidic foods in your body to maintain a healthy pH level. At first you might wonder how this food could be implemented into your weekly cooking, but you’d be surprised to know that apple cider vinegar works in everything from pancakes to salad dressings and beyond.

Cruciferous Vegetables
OK, so this is technically more than just one item but since nutrient-rich food is a large and overarching category that includes a variety of edibles it’s important to remember you have many options. Aside from the ever popular kale, other greens such as brussel sprouts, watercress, broccoli, arugula and bok choy are incredible versatile and healthy ingredients that add flavor and vitamins A, C and K to your diet. There has even been scientific evidence to support the idea that the vitamin K content found in these greens can help with cancer prevention by minimizing internal inflammation. So, whether you eat them cooked, steamed or raw, cruciferous veggies pack a serious punch on your plate.

A powerful and nutrient-packed breakfast staple that is rich in minerals and positively loaded with fiber. The beta-glucan found in this essential dietary fiber is known to help lower bad cholesterol, so just one cup a day can meet your daily requirements. Make it a regular part of your morning routine by mixing it with seasonal organic fruits, flaxseeds and cinnamon for an added metabolic boost and yummy flavor!

Another food that works wonders on cellular repair are chickpeas, or otherwise known as garbanzo beans. These antioxidant-rich legumes boost immunity and are loaded with a vegetarian-friendly protein that provides almost all of the amino acids you need for muscle and tissue health. Vegetarians take note, since chickpeas are an incomplete protein you’ll need to boost your dishes with supplementary proteins like whole grains, nuts or — for non-vegans and meat eaters, eggs, milk and cheese.

Coconut Oil
The main component of coconut oil is lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fat that kills bacteria, viruses, and yeast. It’s made of anti-inflammatory medium-chain fatty acids that supports metabolism and burns fat. Coconut oil has a myriad of uses that includes but is not limited to a healthy alternative to butter.

Ground flaxseed is an excellent plant source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, especially alpha-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid. Toss it on top of oatmeal or in smoothies for a nutrient-rich addition to any meal.

Unsweetened Almond Milk
Drinking unsweetened almond milk gives you vitamin E, the nutrient that keeps your skin moisturized and protected from sun damage. Adding organic, unsweetened almond milk into your diet means more antioxidants and less free radicals that destabilize cell structures and lower your immunity. It’s also tasty and great to pair with your quinoa and oats.
A pantry and weekly staple because of their protein prowess and blood-sugar stabilizing effects. Lentils are rich in nutrients and aids in cellular repair, which helps your immune system restore and replenish itself. Add lentils — cold or warm — to salads, grain bowls, or even as a side for nourishing meals throughout the week.

Whole Grains
Eating whole grains like brown and wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and barley (just to name a few) help you get the right amount of daily dietary fibers. The important thing about fiber is that it helps to combat heart disease by lowering your cholesterol and keeping you comfortably full — not stuffed. You might even notice that it’s a lot easier to consume healthy portion sizes when eating whole grains, which is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. After all, eating too much of one thing is never good and can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Nuts are little nuggets of healthy fats, proteins, and  beauty minerals that fill you up, sustain you, and travel easy”, says holistic nutritionist Jolene Hart. Eat them for a midday snack or add them to your favorite dish for a hearty flavor. Just be sure to buy them organic and raw—those healthy fats can reduce harmful inflammation.

Popcorn. A snack that is rich in antioxidants, popcorn provides loads of fiber, which promotes healthy elimination. Just make sure it is organic, plain popcorn kernels and avoid the artificial flavors and chemicals found in the microwaveable brands.

Friday, April 8, 2016

How To Own Weight Loss

As I go through my email messages in preparation of writing a long-awaited post to this blog -- it occurred to me that we are now in our fourth month of the new year and I bet all those long-awaited weight loss goals have gone by the way side. Does that sound accurate? How many of us set out to attempt to end the madness of reaching goals -- whether they be weight loss or something else -- only to fall off the wagon again.

I absolutely like what this article says about weight loss and why it is so difficult for people to lose weight. "Just own it". If you are chugging along in your week and things are going better than expected by what you read on the scale, how can things go wrong? Inevitably something will go wrong though whether it is friends coming into town, a date on the weekend, a well-deserved gift for the promotion at work -- how better to celebrate than eat delicious food! But, where do you draw the line? By just acknowledging that we are human and "life" comes up to throw us off our well-intentioned eating plan, we don't have to continually relapse into old bad eating habits. In admitting that we truly own what we do, we can create a system for ourselves that inhibits bad habits to stay around for long. 

The following salient points from this article written by Jae Berman, MS, RD, CSSD (Registered dietician, behavior change specialist and fitness trainer) are so crucial to making steps in the right direction for creating healthy eating habits to keep for a lifetime.

"What does owning it mean to you?

Saying no to that second glass of wine... that third glass of wine
- Carving out time on the weekend to batch cook/meal prep for the week
- Saying no to that dessert because you don’t even want it. Eat it when you want it, not just because it is there or everyone else is eating. 
- Going for your annual physical so you know your data
Thinking about your day in advance and planning ahead for busy/hectic/stressful moments - always having a Plan B is owning it
- Stopping mid afternoon and eating a balanced meal rather than a cookie and coffee
Get out of the diet mentality and start creating sustainable habits
Believe you can do it!
- Waking up early to exercise... or going for that workout in the evening... or at your lunch break
Sharing with friends that you need support, and that you want this time to change your life for the long run".

Here is to a healthy and delicious weekend....

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Remember THESE 5 Simple Daily Habits

As we progress in our new year of 2016 (no longer that new!) -- how many of us have given up on our projected health goals? Is the goal of going to the gym 3-4 times a week left in our memory somewhere? Has the "eating healthy" aspect of how we'd like to continue forth to be healthier, stronger and smarter gone by the wayside?

It's never too late to make wise decisions when it comes to our health and sometimes all it takes is a small change here and there. It's not about losing 10 pounds by next month or being ready for swimsuit season in 5 weeks -- that's ridiculous! Set yourself up to making the smart, small changes on a daily basis -- like these 5 simple habits that we can make part of our lifestyle!

Here is a list of some tried and true daily habits that won't break the bank and will make you better every day!!

(1) Move! Take a walk at lunch, go for an early morning walk around your neighborhood or if you live in an urban area -- walk to the grocery store, bank or post office. All it takes is 20-30 minutes a day and if it becomes a goal of yours to do everyday (which is what would be optimal) write it down on your calendar as a "must-do" along with all of your other to-do's....

(2) Limit Sugar! Yes, that is a big one for so many people and it is just not only found in the obvious choices like desserts or sweet breakfast cereals. Take a look at the label on the back of your food choice and see how much sugar is in the contents. You'd be surprised to find sugar in many ingredients that go unaccounted for like ketchup, many pre-packed foods and even some hot sauces! In simply learning how to properly read the food label, you could save yourself a lot of grief.

(3) Sleep. Don't underestimate the power of sleep. We are just built that way -- gotta sleep! Having a good 7-8 hours of proper shut-eye will do wonders for your health. Obi-Wan Kenobi would probably say something to the effect of: Sleep you must! (Always the wise one!)

(4) Water. There is no doubt about it that we need water. After all, our bodies are made up of mostly water -- so, we simply should get in the habit of drinking it. Starting your day with a tall glass of water is a great way to get inspired for a day of good eating habits and productivity.

(5) Time to chill-out! This also can't be overstated. Even if busy schedules get in the way -- taking 10 minutes to yourself shouldn't be too much to get stressed out over. In setting a good frame of thought for the day ahead, goals happen or at least get closer to happening and keeping up with the good momentum just automatically sets you up for more of it to come in the days ahead!

Simply put -- you don't have to start out "hard-core", but in starting out with small, doable goals you really can make a monumentally large and positive change in your life.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wall Street Journal: Better Food Labeling

When it comes to grocery shopping many people just dread it and only do so because it's necessary to pick up groceries at the store to feed their families. Additionally, for many, perhaps nutrition is not all that important or it's misunderstood. After all, who wants to know that a food that they love contains 15 grams of saturated fat or that there are 230 calories in a serving or what the heck does 4 grams of protein mean to them? You get the picture, reading a food label can simply be confusing and a pain to read correctly.

Now it seems that the FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) is attempting to change labels in grocery stores for better comprehension and just a better more useful tool for consumers to follow before purchasing a food item. In letting consumers know which foods are more nutritious for them, a learning curve becomes established for smarter food shopping. 

Some of the proposed revisions to the current food label would include a new redesign of calorie information that is more visible as well as a change in serving size to reflect portion size and how it has changed over the years. The goal here is to show consumers the changes in portion size and nutritional values over the years -- particularly now that we are suffering from an obesity crisis. Did you know that twenty years ago a simple cheeseburger used to be about 333 calories for one portion? Now-a-days, a cheese burger weighs in at a whopping 530 calories for the same portion size -- one! This same distorted portion size goes for other favorite foods that people like to eat such as bagels, french fries and soda!

Lastly, these proposed food label changes would include a NuVal Nutritional Scoring System (designed by medical and nutrition experts) that grades food based on a scale of 1 to 100. In addition, read the article to learn about the traffic light rating system and the Guiding Stars Nutrition labels developed in 2006. This could be the start of a great and healthy relationship with food for consumers everywhere!

Friday, February 12, 2016

WSJ: A Cholesterol Conundrum

Most recently, I read an article in the WSJ about Cholesterol. It is a well-known fact that high-fat foods contribute largely to having our cholesterol levels ascend to levels beyond what they should. Ultimately, in the increase of cholesterol to our arteries, the end-result is having clogged arteries that make our blood flow more sluggish to deliver essential nutrients to our essential organs.

But, exercise and eating a healthy diet aren't the only factors to consider upon lowering our cholesterol levels -- it's stress too. To learn more, read the article here.

Doctor's TIPS for STRESS

  • Think positive thoughts!
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Practice relaxation
  • Make room for yourself!
  • Attempt to create a stress-free (or close to stress-free) home and work environment

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weight-Loss Worries? Eat Breakfast!!

At the start of the week -- or pretty much any morning -- many people seem to skip out on breakfast. Whether you are in a hurry or just don't have time to cook anything - pre-planning could save you a lot of time.

Even if it's a quick toasted whole wheat bagel with a smear of peanut butter and a banana -- just do it!

After a night without food, your body needs refueling to get through the next day. "Think about the word 'breakfast,'" says Tallahassee, Fla.-based dietitian Evette O'Connor, MS, RD. "It literally means to 'break your fast,' the 8 or 10 hours your body has gone without food. When you don't eat breakfast, your body has to call upon other nutritional stores in order to function. It's just like your car. You can't drive without gas, and your body won't function properly without replenishing its fuel."

To learn more about other breakfast options, read the article here.