Ads 468x60px


Featured Posts

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Science of Stress

It is Monday and the start of a new week -- yes, that means stress -- at least for most people. Stress can be either good or bad, but in truth, much of how we handle it is where it gets a bit tricky. While stress isn't something that we can avoid entirely, it is more about keeping ourselves in a steady, healthy rhythm of life.

So what is the difference between good stress and bad stress? Good stress (also called "eustress") is normally the kind of stress that is -- well, good! You know that feeling you get when you get a great workout in at the gym or you have a great morning run? How about a nice promotion at work? or...How about preparing for your wedding day? All of those things are good types of stress. The not so good or rather bad stress comes from such things as an unfulfilling job, a disagreement with a loved one, or even some personal issues at home that need resolution.

While external stress that can come from our jobs or bad traffic are hard to avoid, we can do something about our internal stress. The internal stress that we deal with on a day-to-day basis comes from bad nutrition or bad sleep or even anticipating an upcoming event like a company presentation or something else we may not be looking forward to doing.

The bottom line is if we allow the bad stress in our lives to become the focal point of our existence, we begin to see our health falter in ways that we wish we would have known about in the first place so we wouldn't experience unpleasant health episodes. Keeping our cortisol (hormone) levels from getting to high prevents the things we want to avoid like high blood pressure, lowering our immunity, and increasing the fat storage around the abdominal area. Hence, this is where we can turn to meditation, exercise and positivity to keep us at our best!

The stress in our life and how we respond to it can be positively life changing, isn't that worth it?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Retrain Your Brain To Make Healthier Choices

Certainly as we enter into a new year, things haven't changed much with regard to worries over what the healthiest foods are to eat and those to avoid. As in any creation of a new habit, we really need to focus our minds to see where the triggers are -- do we get tempted when walking by the refrigerator?do we get hungry at 3 pm when the vending machine is calling out to us? or do we simply skip breakfast at home because there will be fresh donuts at work?

Read about the new app here. The app helps with retraining the brain to crave healthier foods rather than the unhealthier options out there. The game allows those that participate to choose between pictures of healthy and unhealthy foods by simply clicking on the picture.

"A study of 83 adults showed that people who played the game online just four times in one week lost weight and ate an average of 220 kcal less per day -- roughly equivalent to a chocolate-iced doughnut".

This could be a good opportunity to start working on those SMART (specific-measurable-attainable-relevant-time-sensitive) goals that most of us start and would like to keep throughout the year.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Forget about Resolutions, Why Not Focus on Making One Small Change Instead?

We are barely entering into 2017 and we still worry about the same things as we did last year -- weight loss, fat loss, better health, drinking more water and the list goes on. We all know those resolutions are made as quickly as they are broken, but what will make a lasting difference?

How about focusing on changing one small thing instead of losing our minds over not being able to have another cookie or french fry again? It happens -- we all have bad days, but the trick is making more of those bad days tolerable enough to eventually change them into more really good days.

Upgrade your Eating Habits by:
  • Snacking Smarter
  • Hiding the Junk Food
  • Waiting to break your Fast
  • Filling Up on Water
  • Eat "Free" Foods
Read the article to find out more about the eating habits mentioned above and welcome to a brand new 2017 that shows the promise of a healthy new year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Bad Habits to give up for a Lifetime of Success!

What real incentive is there in wanting to change a habit? It doesn't necessarily need to be about food, although many times it is, right? What about making a small change to what we do on a daily basis. How about having one cup of coffee in the morning instead of three or sleeping a minimum of 7-8 hours a night for 3 or more consecutive nights a week? In order to have and make long-term goals, you've got to start with a short-term goal. That's just how it works. 

Now that we are approaching a new year, why not start thinking of ways we could just improve our lives by making constructive and "doable" goals that will benefit us overall. Think about your health! Yes, will it benefit you to have a second helping of roasted sweet potatoes or a second helping of french fries? Or if dessert is on the menu, why not share it with a loved one or simply have a small portion-sized dessert?

Some more concrete ideas to think about:

(1) Give up on the unhealthy lifestyle. The bottom-line is we need our health. We need to take care of our health to achieve goals that we want to achieve and even more importantly, we need to put food on the table for ourselves and our families, right? Under Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the Physiological needs (food, water, shelter) are at the foundation of needs that we need -- and that includes diet (preferably healthy).

(2) Give up on the short-term mindset. In order to reach long-term goals (like a career goal or losing 50 pounds), we need to focus on creating and keeping short-term daily habits that are sustainable and healthy. 

(3) Give up playing small. What do I mean by this? Yes, go big or go home! If you don't have the confidence to know you can achieve something you really have wanted to achieve, how do you know you can't do it? We have this thing called -- self-talk -- yes, where we talk to ourselves and tell ourselves we are not good enough or we can do it! So much of what we can accomplish is really up to us, really.

(4) Give up your excuses. We are so good at saying we aren't good at something or someone is better at it than we are. This may be true, but particularly if we haven't attempted to do that particular thing, how do we know how good or how bad we are at it? Don't give yourself an easy out by giving excuses.

(5) Give up the fixed mindset. As we naturally graduate from grammar school to high school and beyond, we grow and change. So why not attempt to be more open-minded and continue developing our learning skills. In continuously developing and learning, we can reach our goals more easily.

(6) Give up believing in the "magic bullet": We certainly don't become successful overnight. True success is a journey and many times the journey doesn't have a straight-forward path, it takes time to find a good path to follow to reach the ultimate goal.

(7) Give up your perfectionism. Many times we may not know the outcome of the desired result. So, instead of fearing we won't get that desired result, why not work on putting fear out of our minds and put our "best foot forward" with the projected project or goal. 

(8) Give up on multi-tasking. We all know that there are lots of things we can do at work (or home) in order to reach our goals of a successful completed project, but why not focus on completing one essential task at a time instead of doing several at one time? 

(9) Give up your need to control everything. Many times there are things that happen in our day that prevent us from getting our tasks done. That's just life. But, we can control our attention to detail, being present and being positive.

(10) Give up saying yes to things that we may not need. I've certainly been guilty of this! We humans are great at rationalizing and telling ourselves we need to go to this meeting or that party in order to mix and mingle with the "right" people. But, stop and think about what would happen if we didn't say yes to all of that! We would more than likely reach our intended goals much faster if we focused on the present needs.

(11) Give up the toxic people. This can be tricky, but it is well-worth taking the time to do it! If we surround ourselves with people we admire and respect, we become more positive and that enables us to put more effort into our work and overall life -- period! Stay away from "Debbie Downers", Negative people or people that "boo-hoo" your ideas -- not good!

(12) Give up your need to be liked. While this may seem worthwhile, it can work against you! Simply doing what we can to be our best and strive to do good, we are honoring and respecting ourselves. We will want to be around the people we attract when we focus on the good stuff and in turn they will want to be around you!

(13) Give up your dependency on social media/television. Yes, while this can also be tricky, it is good to meditate and focus on what's going on within ourselves first. The more balanced we become, the less dependent we are on what other people (media) think of us. Social media is good to a point, but it can be dangerous too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

22 Ways to Be Healthier with Little Effort

Let's stop and take a breath. Really. Especially now with holiday preparations, it seems we find ourselves inundated in a sea of tasks to complete, errands to run and goals to continue working on from now until the end of the year...and beyond. So what can we do to change that? Honestly, there's not much. But, there are ways to make a better effort to staying healthy and they really aren't that difficult to follow! Here are 22 ways to be healthier with minimal effort.

(1) Eat fruit instead of candy. The difference? Fruit has natural sugar as well as fiber -- which means it takes long to digest. Candy is artificial and well, full of processed ingredients.

(2) Shop on a full stomach. No doubt, this is a trick one as I've fallen for shopping on an empty stomach and a full stomach -- big difference! The tendency is to shop more and spend more when you are hungry.

(3) Learn how to cook! Yes, I've heard people say time and time again that they hate to cook, but they are only doing themselves a disservice. By cooking at home, you save money, plus you choose your own ingredients without all those unpronounceable ingredients that contain...who knows what!

(4) Drink coffee black. While this might take some time to get used to, it is well worth it! Coffee has several benefits...but, not coffee with sugar, artificial sweeteners or the Starbucks Cafe Mocha's and Moccachino's. If serious about wanting to lose weight, drinking black coffee (in moderation) can even aide in weight loss.

(5) Avocado toast instead of toast with butter. If you've not experienced avocado toast yet, I highly recommend it. Not only does it taste good, but it is good for you! And delicious too....

(6) Substitute white bread with wheat bread. Simply put, whole wheat bread has more fiber, hence is more filling and slows the digestive process.

(7) Drink more water. We all know that hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle. Even drinking a tall glass of water before every meal can add the benefit of fullness, thereby you tend to eat less at every meal. 

(8) Walking. The benefits of walking are tremendous. By making this a habit, you gain energy, burn calories and even gain the benefit of a better mood.

(9) Park far from your destination. No doubt the malls are very busy now with all of the last-minute holiday shopping which also means it is hard to find a parking spot close to your destination. Instead of stressing about it, purposefully park far and walk to your destination and see it as your exercise/meditation time!

(10) Take the stairs. You would really be surprised at how many calories you can burn by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Your body will thank you back by giving you good energy throughout the day and even a good night's sleep!

(11) Stand on one leg while completing a task -- like brushing your teeth. This improves balance, especially as the aging process inevitably happens. 

(12) Wash and dry your hands regularly. As we approach the winter months, we all hear of friends, family or co-workers getting sick. By continually doing our best to wash and dry our hands frequently, we get rid of germs and that enables us to stay healthy.

(13) Wear sunscreen. It is just so easy to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. By doing so, you add extra prevention for your skin from skin cancer, plus your skin reaps the benefits of a healthy-looking radiance.

(14) Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are simply a good idea to protect your eyes from sun glare and keeping your eyes as healthy as possible. 

(15) Buy a plant. Being exposed to nature puts us in a healthy state of mind. 

(16) Moisturize. Moisturizing the skin keeps it supple and radiant. Who doesn't want that? Just be watchful for ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or contain heavy perfumes. Dermatologist-tested moisturizers are recommended.

(17) Meditate for 30 minutes a day. We've all heard the benefits of meditation, haven't we? Yes, meditation is good for keeping us calm, centered and is even known to lower our blood pressure. All good things.

(18) Read a book. Reading is just a good idea -- it makes us smarter, keeps us at our best creatively and improves our vocabulary. These can all be advantages in the work world and beyond.

(19) Unplugging from the phone. While it is so tempting to be looking at our phones frequently, it is just as good to disconnect when possible. Certainly keeping an eye on the phone during working hours is understandable, but keeping the phone on 24/7 all day everyday is just too much.

(20) Go to bed at the same time everyday. It is just a good idea to keep our sleep cycles as consistent as possible by listening to when our bodies are legitimately tired and need rest -- meaning a good night's sleep.

(21) Move your desk near a window. Once again, it is just good for our bodies to be exposed to nature as much as possible. By sitting near a window, we can better appreciate our surroundings and won't be as "locked in" to a concrete jungle all day that has artificial lighting. Good for lowering our blood pressure to -- once again, our bodies do well to being exposed to nature once in a while!

(22) Take good care of your relationships! Amazingly, not having enough social connections has been compared to smoking! Definitely not good! Having good relationships builds our confidence, makes us happier and healthier all at the same time.

With all of the 22 ways to be healthier listed above, there really is little effort at doing each and every one of them whenever possible. You will be "gifting yourself" the best gift of all -- good health and well being!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

10 Common Habits that Increase Wealth

While the title -- 10 Common Habits that Increase Wealth -- may appear to be a bit misleading, it simply is a good habit to get into, wouldn't you agree? If we hope to be the best we can be, then the following habits can most certainly enrich our lives.

The list goes as follows:

(1) Find Good Thoughtful Books to Read. There just is so much to learn from reading a good book. It helps to create new ideas, helps with "solidifying" a good business/life plan and also makes us wiser for it.

(2) Create an exercise plan that works for you. One of the many reasons used for those that don't make exercise a priority in their lives is that they believe there is just is not enough time in the day. While yes, it can be a sacrifice to put in the extra effort, it pays off in the long run by minimizing doctor visits and with that medical bills. Find an exercise that you enjoy above all else as an incentive.

(3) Stop eating out for lunch every day. It really is amazing at how quickly money seems to evaporate, especially if you eat out everyday. Imagine saving the $40/$50 a week and putting it into savings for a nice trip or a nice car!

(4) Stop getting drinks after work. While yes, the job can be stressful and yes, you always have a pal to go out with after work the the local bar -- at least minimize it to once a week instead of several times.

(5) Learn how to cook. It really is not rocket science and the best part is that it is quite likely that you'll be pretty good at it if you give yourself a chance! Not only can you save money, but it is a wise investment in yourself too.

(6) Meal plan the week out. Its just smart to plan ahead, see what you are missing or what would be a good addition to have in the kitchen.

(7) Have an at-home date night. Really there is nothing better! Imagine making a nice meal like a nice piece of fish or steak with a couple of sides? and your own wine? you can even eat the meal in your p.j.'s and slippers and still partake in a fabulous dinner and a movie at home!

(8) Cut the cord. There are still ways to save money instead of keeping up on the latest TV shows. It is still possible to enjoy them, it just may not be as immediate at those that do own cable.

(9) Get to know your grocery stores. While yes, it can be easy and convenient to go to a one-stop shop, you may not see the great savings if you went to a variety of stores like Target or Trader Joe's to get some of your specialty items.

(10) Lastly, save the money you didn't spend by following the 9 steps above, it all adds up! It definitely takes time to make and keep good habits, but once it's been done, you will reap the rewards for days to come.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 Proven Ways to Help Improve Your Mental Health

One thing I find to be interesting in my general observations as I delve further into the health and wellness world is that there is never one way to reach a specific goal -- like weight loss, a good attitude or even our mental health.

How many times have we found ourselves on a good path of eating healthy well-balanced meals, being productive at work, sleeping enough and just feeling pretty good about ourselves -- then, the inevitable happens! An obstacle gets in the way! All it takes is neglecting one of the activities I just mentioned to throw us off of our game and at times, believing that the way to leading a healthy lifestyle is just unreachable. Isn't it always a work in progress?

The following list of 10 Proven Ways to Help Improve Your Mental Health gives a realistic approach to how to tackle difficult situations when they come up -- and inevitably, they will.

(1) Devote Time to Self-Reflection. How well do we know ourselves or even bother to want to know ourselves? In the process of self-reflection, we can learn so much about ourselves and how we've been affected by people in our life as well as the experiences we've had. This is where a little self reflective time or meditation can come into play.

(2) Spend time with people who really care about you! In particular for those that may suffer from anxiety or depression, it may be easier to simply isolate, but keeping a healthy social support friend or two is actually good for you and your mental health!

(3) The old cliche, "You are what you eat" really is true. In paying attention to the foods we eat, we become more aware of our own energy and how it can influence our decisions. Hence, there are foods that specifically boost our brainpower such as blueberries, oily fish (salmon and sardines) and tomatoes -- those foods all contribute wonderfully to our mental health.

(4) Regular exercise is good for you. I know, I know -- we've heard all about the benefits of exercise, so stop already! But, it is true! At this point -- unless you live under a rock -- you know how exercise is incredibly important. In looking at exercise as a type of meditation, it becomes more meaningful to us. We can see the results in not only losing or maintaining weight, but in lowering our stress levels, sleeping better and being more mentally aware.

(5) Read uplifting books. This really is helpful in improving our mental health since reading is to the mind as what a good work out can do for the body. Reading something especially interesting or uplifting builds our concentration and our focus. Reading can protect our brain from mental illness, can encourage our positive self-talk, get our stress levels under control and just make us smarter!

(6) Get a good night's sleep. Sleeping is really so complex and fascinating. Many times we put sleep on the back burner simply because we run out of time. But, everyone gets 24 hours in a day -- so, how do really productive people get so much done you may ask? It is probably because they plan and get enough sleep so as to function well. After all, "the mind -- although operating under reduced activity -- sorts everything out while you are sleeping, so that you can go into the next day with more clarity".

(7) Set achievable short-term goals. If you haven't heard of setting SMART goals, now is a good time to become familiar with them. These goals are an excellent way to improve and maintain our mental health. The acronym SMART stands for goals that are (S) specific to our needs, are (M) measurable or meaningful, (A) achievable or attainable and also (R) realistic or results-based and time-sensitive. By goal setting, we can focus more productively on achieving something rather than remaining in a negative state where nothing is accomplished.

(8) Set long-term goals. Another aspect of SMART goals is setting long-term goals that primarily focus more on what the future holds and remaining optimistic throughout the process. By setting long-term goals, the focus on future achievement and success is a continuous process even when obstacles arise.

(9) Find a hobby. While it is most certainly great to focus on our careers, our families, our obligations, it is also healthy and good to find something we really love to do outside of those things -- like something fun or interesting and for our own personal growth. Maybe it's something you've wanted to do, but just haven't -- like taking a photography or calligraphy class or learning how to ski.

(10) Positive self talk.  How many times have we actually spoken to ourselves in a negative way, especially when preparing for something important like an exam, a job interview or even making Christmas dinner preparations. By focusing on the positive and thinking good thoughts, we prepare our minds for success, and that builds our self-confidence.

We can gain a new perspective on our life in general if we plan ahead, eat well-balanced meals, exercise and give ourselves the positive self-talk we need in order to make our lives a true success story.

Friday, December 2, 2016

6 Easy Weight Loss Tips That Also Increase Better Health

Okay, so I have written about weight loss in previous posts in order to reach those much anticipated goals that we have in mind. But, as you've already probably guessed, it's not just about weight loss -- it's about creating and living a realistically healthy life!

So, below I've outlined the 6 wise tips that are not only about weight loss, but also about the real good stuff -- how to live a good and healthy life!

(1) Change Your Perspective! We all know that our attitude is so very important in how we approach things in life -- from our jobs, to our kids, to our co-workers and loved ones as well. Imagine if we had a bad attitude with wanting to accomplish a goal at work or asking your kids to help you around the house? Do you think they would want to help us? No Way! The same goes for how we approach eating wisely with every bite and exercising. Our much anticipated goals will soon disappear (much as many of us would like to see the weight disappear, right?) if we don't stick with some tried and true healthy habits like eating more fruits and veggies and exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and keeping positive at the same time!

Forget about how the previous 15 or 20 diets from your past didn't work! Remember, it's first about changing your attitude. It's okay to have a bad day -- we all do -- but just remember that tomorrow is another day and another chance to make good on your weight loss and health goals.

(2) Get Active; Stay Active! Yes, you absolutely can lose weight without exercise, but you won't get all the added benefits that exercise provides. Not only does exercise help burn more calories, but it also provides great health benefits like putting you in a better mood, better heart health and better blood pressure.

The amount of calories burned really depends on how active you are. The best thing is to be consistent and just make exercise a part of your daily activities. Even thinking of ways to move while watching TV is super helpful!

(3) Enjoy Healthier Foods. The words "healthy foods" may send chills down the spines of many, but it doesn't have to be that way! It's like riding a bike, you can learn to like foods that you've typically not eaten before, just as you've learned to ride a bike! I had a good friend who absolutely hated sweet potatoes because she grew up "traumatized" with the way she'd eaten them as a kid! Actually, so many of us may have similar horror stories about a fruit or vegetable that was prepared in an unsavory way. Now-a-days there are tons of great ways to prepare many of these vegetables by observing what tastes good and in knowing that they can be super flavorful!

(4) Set realistic goals. As I've worked with clients, it is quite common to initially hear of unrealistic weight loss goals. It really is about setting their minds at ease while enabling positive and realistic encouragement with a workable and doable "schedule" for weight loss. By also emphasizing the benefits of weight loss in order to lower the risk of chronic health problems, the load can be lightened and can even set the stage for continued motivation and perseverance.

(5) Find Your Inner Motivation. Haven't we all been motivated in our lives at one time or another? We may have the motivation to look our best for an upcoming beach vacation somewhere exotic with the "girls" or even better, a spouse. Doesn't everyone want to look their best? Of course they do!

So, start out making a list of why you want that particular goal and find a way to stick to it -- engage with friends and family that will support you, not sabotage you! Find a support group that will hold you accountable with frequent discussions, weigh-ins and triggers that may set you off on an uncontrollable path of eating!

(6) Lastly, Stay Committed! Find that inner motivation and remain constant. If you are headed to Hawaii in 3 months, find some beautiful pictures on line of where you will be staying. Imagine fitting into clothes that you wouldn't have thought possible to wear again. Once again, be realistic, but stay committed to your goal. Frequent check-ins with yourself to minimize stress from work or life in general may require some "soul-searching". How about a 5 or 10 minute meditation in the morning? How about starting small with committing to staying properly hydrated throughout the day or why not "gift yourself" a fitness tracker that can help you stick to your goals today, tomorrow and....indefinitely!