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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, August 13, 2015

So, What About Body Image? Does It Even Matter?

I felt so inclined to write a blog post about this article because it affects so many people -- particularly women -- about the perfect body image that we believe (or want) to have. The thing is there is enough pressure to work on eating a diet with all of the right food/nutritional components in the right amounts -- but, let's not add "fuel to the fire" by expecting to have a perfect physique! After all, it is in those little imperfections that we find ourselves being who we are -- human!

First and foremost, my main objective as you might see from my blog is to provide tips and sound advice as to eating healthier, serving portion-sized amounts of food, exercising and following overall wellness guidelines that include more than just food. 

This article describes a woman who is an avid, strong and fit yoga teacher, yet she still feels a bit of a body complex from time to time. Don't most or all of us? As the writer of this article so succinctly put it: 

"Still holding on to that insecure body part? Please do this: Squeeze it lovingly. Thank it for being part of the entire team of parts that make up your amazing, perfectly imperfect vessel. Tell this area that you'll no longer trash talk it or wish for it to change, but rather embrace it as it is so that you can step forward, empowered as a team. Your acceptance and strength will encourage others to drop their insecurities and pain. Make a dedication right here and now. Any time you have a wave of insecurity, stop-take a deep breath, hold that body part, and remember your dedication. Forget the story, strip away the layers of insecurity, and honor your body as the amazing temple that it is."

Now those words are priceless, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Effects of Drinking a Coke

How much are you influenced by the wise words of a stranger as opposed to the wise words of a physician, nurse or pharmacist? There more than likely is a difference in who we listen to, after all, we seek the advice from those who have experience, knowledge and expertise in an area, right?

In reading this article about what drinking a coke does to your body in a span of an hour piqued my interest -- especially since it came from a pharmacist. As you can guess, a pharmacist is a pretty wise resource to pay attention to, so hence, this article got my attention.

Here's What Happens One Hour After Drinking a Coke. A recording of what occurred within the hour of drinking a coke was recorded, to find out the results, read the article.....

Read about: The Dorito Effect

Doritos is one of those recognizable brands that most everyone knows about -- high, middle and low income and everyone in between. When it comes to a summer party or B-B-Q or the Superbowl, most party planners have several of the Doritos varieties to offer up to their guests, right? What is it about Doritos that everyone loves so much! 

In his book, The Dorito Effect by Journalist Mark Schatzker, he talks about the missing link to what adds to our obesity epidemic -- flavor. While it is true that too much salt, sugar and fat is what we crave, all of those ingredients enhance the flavors of such junk foods as Doritos making them irresistible to just about anyone. 

How is it that BIG FOOD has mastered the production of such products? How has that affected our taste for the fruits and vegetables that mother nature provides us? Could it be that to many, these particular fruits and vegetables and even meat have become bland over time due to the overconsumption of junk food that has assisted in "wrecking" our palates? 

I'm always amazed by how food also affects our behaviors. There is no doubt that food is what provides our bodies with energy to function and function well (that is the hope). But, certainly changing the behaviors that have been so embedded into our society as of late has become increasingly difficult. For the "regular joe" good and delicious food is just too expensive and delicious, good for you foods like organic fruits and vegetables, cage-free eggs and meat without antibiotics is just too much for many to hope for unfortunately. 

Another observation that this journalist brings to light is the following: 

"One thing I think brings home the importance of flavor is the genes that write our flavor sensing equipment, the nose and mouth, take up more DNA than any other bodily system -- more than your brain, more than your sex organs, more than your eyes.

From an evolutionary point of view, flavor is clearly very important. And when we experience the flavor of the food we eat, it engages more parts of the brain than any other behavior!"

Then there is the topic of how the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the labeling of foods with the "natural flavorings" mysterious identification on the package. Does anyone really even know what those natural flavorings really are? Artificial!

Lastly and importantly, Mr. Schatzker's book also describes that it is essential to get flavor back into our produce to make it palatable and delicious and worth further "eating" consideration by just about anybody. Flavor is really the Key Ingredient! "The University of Florida has bred a tomato - it's non-GMO - that has the yield of a modern tomato and the flavor of an heirloom. This, to me, is such wonderful news. It means we can produce high-quality food that's affordable and accessible." And isn't that really key?

Good food shouldn't be limited to any particular group, but should be part of everyone's lives.....

Monday, July 27, 2015

Genome Magazine: Food As Medicine

As I've been diligently reading various articles, magazines, pamphlets, books surrounding our food acting as medicine -- or not -- this article from Genome Magazine gives another fresh perspective. Yes, we already know that food can act as medicine and we already know "you are what you eat", but what if we could "eat for who we are"? 

Genome magazine uncovers more than what we already know about people and their great obsession with food and diets of all kinds, but how do our genetics come into play? Why is it that we know generally that broccoli is really good for us, but why is it that some people react negatively toward it? Now, I'm not talking about those that don't even like the taste of broccoli or those that would prefer eating anything else aside from the vegetable, but it has been found that peoples' bodies can react negatively toward a food.

Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how our genes interact with nutrition. This can be very helpful information, especially now that we have such an overabundance of chronic diseases as well as many other unexplained diseases -- what could be better than to know how to prevent and treat disease? Additionally, nutrigenomics can help with making sense of why some people react differently to various foods that most would consider and know to be 'good for you' foods. It seems idealistic to believe that everyone will have a positive response to a certain nutrient found in a food after all. 

To learn more about how food truly can act as medicine, refer to the magazine's cover story here....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quiz: Best & Worst Foods for Belly Fat

In case you haven't heard: Belly fat is definitely not good. Generally speaking, being overweight is not good for our bodies, but the particular area of the belly is one to avoid at all cost if possible. Why? Belly fat adds more health risk to our bodies, such as diabetes and heart disease among other dangerous risks. 

It is also believed that belly fat is dangerous because it is scientifically believed that abdominal fat breaks down into fatty acids. Fatty acids are essentially the "building blocks" of the fat in our bodies. To learn more about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, take the quiz challenge.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nutrition Action Cover Story: 7 Reasons To Walk

Making a lifestyle change that incorporates physical activity on a daily basis may not be as daunting as one would think. The June Issue of Nutrition Action discusses the importance of walking and covers 7 different reasons why walking is so very good for you. 

1) Build a bigger, sharper brain. As Arthur Kramer, a University of Illinois psychologist points out,"Walking definitely affects the brains of adults in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Exercising by walking tends to buy you a few extra years of avoiding Alzheimer's and other dementias. If we had a drug that would do that, we'd pay anything for it". 

2) Live Longer. As Charles Matthews of the National Cancer Institute stated, Americans typically spend two-thirds of their day sitting and that's equivalent to almost two full-time jobs every week! That's a lot of sitting. And it has a really negative effect on our health."

3) Ease your aching knees. Being mobile and "out and about" is very crucial, especially as we get older. In fact, walking for 40 to 60 minutes 3-5 times a week, can alleviate the pain of arthritis in the knees by as much as 30 percent. 

4) Improve Your Mood. "Exercise appears to work in a way similar to antidepressant medications", says exercise psychologist Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University. Pretty impressive. Also, since 2010, American Psychiatric Association guidelines recognizes that exercise is very helpful in treating mild depression.

5) Lower the risk of cancer. "People who are more physically active, including those who walk for exercise, are less likely to develop one of the major cancers," says researcher Christine Friedenreich of the University of Calgary in Canada.

6) Strengthen your heart. Howard Sesso, an epidemiologist from Harvard School of Public Health states: "If you have time for only a half-hour brisk walk during lunch and then another half-hour at the end of the day, you'll essentially get the same benefit as taking an hour-long walk. Exercise like walking helps the heart pump more efficiently". 

7) Dodge Diabetes. There is no doubt that walking and walking consistently leads to a better chance of keeping diabetes away. Loretta DiPietro, from the exercise and nutrition sciences department at George Washington University says that "If you consistently walk briskly for 45 minutes to an hour, it would train your muscles to clear glucose (blood sugar) more efficiently, so that you might be able to skip a day or two every week." But no matter how you choose to walk, doing it consistently may delay the onset of type 2 diabetes."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WSJ: 8 Important and Current Food Issues

Food is one of those topics that is talked about, discussed, debated and even loved by just about everyone. Whether it be an elementary student talking about how bad the food tastes in the cafeteria or the college student who is upset that there are no "vegan options" in their cafeteria or the hard-working employee who simply refuses to eat anything from their cafeteria in lieu of bringing lunch from home -- everyone one has something good or bad to say about food. 

We are in a time of complete unrest when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner on a Tuesday night because there is no time to make anything "healthy" -- and well -- let's be honest, there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way home from work. How easy is that? But, perhaps much to the disappointment of many food manufacturers and fast-food restaurant chains, people are putting some thought into what they are eating. Don't get me wrong, there is still a very large percentage of people out there that need help deciding what to eat, but alas times are changing. And...people deserve to know what is in the food they eat, right?

The Wall Street Journal has shared a very thought-provoking segment called "Food: Squaring Off", which involves various advocates/experts participating in a debate on various topics that are very much talked about in the current media, the school classroom and even at the "water cooler" at work.

The topics are as follows:

1) Should Companies Be Required to Label Genetically Modified Foods? Yes or No.

2) Should There Be a Tax on Soda and Other Sugary Drinks? Yes or No.

3) Is Feedlot Beef Bad for the Environment? Yes or No.

4) How Can Big Food Compete With Fresher and More Natural Alternatives?

5) Can Organic Food Feed the World? Yes or No.

6) Do "Food Deserts" Cause Unhealthy Eating in Poor Neighborhoods? Yes or No.

7) Is it Unethical to Eat Foie Gras? Yes or No.

8) Should Washington End Agriculture Subsidies? Yes or No.

The 8 Issues mentioned above are very current topics of conversation that can definitely use the effort of citizens everywhere in becoming more aware and informed of the heated debates that can truly change the way we eat.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Check Your Fruit and Veggie Consumption...Really....

While it appears that Fruit and Vegetable Consumption really is down everywhere, what will it take to change that latest finding from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)? It seems that apparently there is not enough reason to make the change. Upon looking at the latest preventable chronic diseases that we currently have worldwide, you'd think that eating your fruits and veggies is good enough reason to make a positive change that will add quality years to a healthy, good life. 

Understandably, it can be hard to make the change to eating a meal with half fruits/veggies on one's plate; especially, if you haven't grown up eating that way, right? But, how is it that there are those people that don't necessarily grow up eating fruits and vegetables regularly, yet they make the change necessary knowing it will only benefit their health in the end? Do they have more will power than another or do they just train themselves to be that way? Isn't the reward of knowing you are successfully transforming yourself as we speak by following a sensible, non-crazy diet that just needs a "little tweaking" to really make it work worth it in the end? 

Don't get me wrong, even if you were fortunate to have grown up in a family where there was an emphasis on unprocessed foods with plenty of fruits and veggies as a regular staple -- it still can be hard to be a consistent healthy eater. But, its helpful to buddy up with a friend or loved one to help each other and support each other in making wiser food decisions. Guaranteed -- satisfaction can and will be found if becoming accountable for what we eat and drink is measured. In just visualizing that your clothes fit looser or that you look better in your cool summer clothes isn't incentive enough to make change, than what will?