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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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

7 Essential Habits of Highly Mindful People

This article just called to me, not so much because mindfulness is the latest "trend" to talk about, but because being mindful is simply a smart way to live. Haven't we had someone in our life -- whether it is current or in the past -- that really made a strong impression in our lives? Someone we've looked up to or greatly respected because they were so wise despite going through difficult times? These people that we've looked up to were mindful and thoughtful in their approach to life, wouldn't you agree? There are 7 essential habits that those that we've grown to admire more than likely followed and that made them stronger individuals. Regardless, the habits mentioned below are good habits to keep.

(1) They hold their thoughts lightly. It is easy to get caught up in the "warp speed" that life takes us in whether it is in getting to your meeting on time in the morning or completing job tasks that have a deadline of "by the end of the day" no matter what! This is when it is good to assess your own thoughts to approaching the day -- are you believing you can complete those tasks on time? will they be good enough for the boss? do you doubt your own capability to do a great job? One does not have to believe everything that comes to mind! How many negative thoughts clutter up our mind in a day? Many! But, we have the capability to not believe in those negative thoughts. This is where a positive mindset comes into play -- use it over and over again, believe in yourself and it will become a habit.

(2) They feel what they are feeling. There is no doubt that many times one can "read" someone's face, especially if they are unhappy, sad or angry. I don't suggest that we become so transparent, but it is important to acknowledge that we may not always have a perfect day! There are days that are tougher than others, even if you are typically an upbeat and positive person. After all, how can we continuously have all peaks and no valleys? That just isn't life. By becoming more mindful, we know that the tough times will pass, and when they do, there can be another peak!

(3) They accept the temporary nature of things. Once again, a mindful person recognizes that a bad day or going through a difficult time won't last forever -- there will be better days ahead. Just as an amazing weekend with friends or a loved one won't be a constant we can rely on, we can simply look forward to the good times ahead. When the "peaks" or good times are over, mindful people recognize that life is constantly changing and much of how we work and approach life can influence our good and bad times.

(4) They meditate. Not everyone needs to call it meditation, especially if you aren't used to it. But, it is important to take a few minutes of quiet time for ourselves to simply be in the moment and be aware to enjoy the silence and see where it takes us. If negative thoughts come to mind, we have the power to change that and think of something beautiful or a special memory of good times you've had in the past. It is invigorating.

(5) They do one thing at a time. We've heard so many times about how people are so busy because they have a million things to do, right? But, it does make sense to do one task at a time well and move on to the next instead of trying to do a great job at 2 or 3 things at the same time! As Stephen Covey mentions in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", time management is most effective when we've lived -- or attempt to live in a state of perspective and balance instead of constant crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects. By living more purposefully, we can minimize arising problems that may not even arise if we've prepared for what may be ahead of us.

(6) They turn everyday tasks into mindful moments. If we make gratitude part of our daily way of thinking and living, we can turn the everyday tasks ahead into ones that we can be thankful for even being able to accomplish on our own. As easy as it is to take a shower in the morning to get ready for your day, think of those that can't even do that on their own! So many times we take our everyday tasks as merely tasks that need to get done. We don't question ourselves every morning by saying, "How do I take a shower again?" By being grateful for the everyday tasks of life, it begins to set the tone for the rest of the day.

(7) They protect and nurture their bodies and mind. We've all heard and learned over the years that your body is a temple and so we need to take care of it and keep it healthy! After all, this is the only body we get in our lifetime, right? There is nothing like knowing that once you've reached a certain age that you've done a fairly good job of taking care of yourself. In observing other people around us, one can see that some have taken care of themselves better than others, right? Doesn't everyone want to live a healthy life? Absolutely yes! So, it is just as crucial to eat well, sleep well and exercise too. It pays off in the end!

Life is short and goes by so fast, doesn't it? Isn't that reason enough to live life as purposefully as possible by following the 7 essential habits as mentioned above?

Monday, March 6, 2017

10 Nutrition Mistakes That Vegans Make

I recently attended a vegan cooking class at the invitation of a friend. I'd like to consider myself to be open-minded even if I don't follow a particular diet -- such as veganism. The class was interesting to me though because the focus was on how foods fight cancer. Hence, this cooking class was targeted to people who may suffer from cancer or have a family member who suffers from cancer. 
Regardless, eating a healthy diet -- whether or not cancer is the motivator -- should be at the forefront of the way we think about eating. Imagine if we minimized processed foods, minimized sugar in our diet and simply ate more fruits and vegetables? We would be so much better off with regard to our health!
The thing is though, as individual as people are, shouldn't our diets also be individualized? No doubt there are many people within the healthcare world -- like physicians and nurses and registered dietitians -- who follow such a diet. We know of them either from work or a book that they've written as an example. But, how long have they been on such a diet? Is this kind of diet sustainable in the long run? They may very well have the knowledge and discipline to be sure to eat the right amount of nutrients/minerals/supplements. But, what happens to those vegans that are following the rules of veganism, but fall short on eating enough nutrients/minerals/supplements? 
The bottom-line is -- even if I myself am not vegan -- I really do respect those that are vegan for various reasons whether they've been told that they need to improve their heart health or minimize their chances of getting cancer that runs in their family.
But, if people are going to go down that "vegan rabbit hole", know what you are getting yourself into by avoiding some of the nutrition mistakes that vegans can make as written in the article here. Animal foods like meat, fish, and dairy are not "evil", but in fact, are very nutritious. It really does matter where the source of your protein comes from though. One can learn more from food service companies that do support local agriculture and safe sustainability guidelines.
You can't put a price on your health -- or that of your loved ones -- but, you can become more informed by doing your own smart nutrition research. If you don't know, ask a reliable source! There are some great informative resources available now-a-days. Many times people who are on a specific diet such as this one can become "judgmental" towards those that don't follow it because of environmental reasons or animal cruelty. But what happens to us if we neglect our own health and wellbeing? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

10 Things We Should Do to Keep Our Brains Sharp!

So much goes into our health and wellbeing and in keeping our brains healthy, we encourage strength and stability in our everyday lives.

The following are 10 Things We Should Do to Keep our Brains Sharp:

(1) We have this awesome brain, so let's try to understand its functions better! When you think about it, it is so amazing to even try to fathom the billions of neurons and synapses that make it function as it should!

(2) Eat Healthy! Eating healthy is one of those things that we hear more and more about, right? But, it is because we are in such need of nutritious foods! The brain actually consumes 20% of the nutrients that we absorb! That means that if we are constantly eating "junk food" or overly processed foods, we are limiting our brain's amazing functionality. This is why it is recommended to have a healthy breakfast in the morning, especially if you've got a busy productive day ahead of you.

(3) Be active! Did you know that exercise actually enhances neurogenesis? Neurogenesis is the the growth and development of nervous tissue.

(4) Stay positive! This can't be overstated, really! Having a positive mindset creates a blend of creativity, encouragement and wanting to make a lasting positive difference in people's lives!

(5) Use the brain. Yes, while this might seem crazy because we use the brain everyday, why not challenge it? Just as we challenge ourselves by going to the gym we can challenge our brain by learning new things.

(6) Don't stop learning. Again, learning something new and challenging ourselves to do just that creates a healthier more positive outlook on life in general.

(7) Travel. This was interesting to learn, but it makes sense. We challenge our brain to function in a new environment, that's gotta be good, right?

(8) Keep good friendships. Especially in this day in age of crazy and hectic lifestyles, it is so important to enjoy quality relationships with people that actually care about you!

(9) Make your own decisions. While it is good to follow direction when necessary, it is also great to "go it alone" and make your own decisions. This enables our brains to function in a healthy way by further challenging it to try new things, so start up a new hobby or take a night class in an interesting subject you've been curious about, you'll just be smarter for doing it!

(10) Laugh! Laughing is such a great release to the brain, it can actually improve your outlook on life. Not bad, huh?

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!