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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

Friday, June 24, 2016

8 things you need to know about your metabolism

The whole idea of keeping our metabolism going “full speed ahead” as we age is one of those secrets that everyone would like to discover!

As Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist states: “’Metabolism’ is really a catch-all word for the different processes going on in the body, but, when it comes to weight loss, most people are talking about energy metabolism, or how your body burns calories”.

Where ever you are in the weight loss spectrum though – whether you want to lose weight or just stay at the weight you currently have – it is important to understand the triggers of optimizing our metabolism for better health.  Here are 8 things to know…
  1. First, take your basal metabolic rate. This rate accounts for the amount of calories you burn in a 24-hr period. Once you have that number, then you can better determine how to “change up” your exercise and food intake. There are formulas for taking your basal metabolic rate here. An important note to be aware of when calculating your calories to lose weight is that you should not eat below the appropriate calculated number as it only slows your metabolism way down!
  2. Strength training is a really good thing as muscle really makes your metabolism work at full strength! After all, because muscle is more metabolically active -- meaning that more calories are expended with such activities as strength training – it really keeps metabolism revved up!
  3. Eating the right kinds of food is super critical to staying healthy and strong. It is good to be familiar with glycemic index foods, which focus on the effect of food on blood glucose levels. Instead of avoiding carbs all together, (which the body needs) focus on eating complex carbs rather than simple carbs. Complex carbs take longer for the body to process and digest and they keep blood sugar levels at a steady level.
  4. Sleep is so important! Your body just won’t function well if a lack of sleep is the reason. The body produces hormones like cortisol (stress hormone), which interferes with proper blood sugar control if sleep is deficient. Other hormones that play vital roles in sleep include the hunger promoter ghrelin and leptin, which does the opposite of ghrelin, by reducing hunger. So, bottom-line is that shut-eye is a good thing!
  5. Drinking water is vital! Aside from the fact that we need water to survive in general, drinking water throughout the day helps keep your body at optimum vitality. A couple of other important facts about water is that it keeps your organs functioning as they should and drinking enough water also promotes weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer.
  6. The cold hard truth is that metabolism does slow as we get older. Hence, it is important to be aware of calories needed for your particular age and activity level. This is another good reason to refer back to number 1 on this list and become familiar with your basal metabolic number.
  7. If you are already tracking your steps to better metabolism control and you are still gaining weight, a metabolism check might be helpful. You can ask your doctor about that for more information.
  8. Lastly, there really is no “miracle food” to keep your metabolism chugging along full speed ahead. But, it is important to be mindful of the ways you do typically eat, exercise, sleep and carry on throughout the day. Sure, it does help to have some green tea, chilies or even some dark chocolate added to your diet, but don’t rely on that all together. It is amazing how well our body can function if we simply try to live as wholesomely as possible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Nutritional Needs Change as You AGE

Okay. So, it is inevitable. You will age --whether you are currently 25, 35, 50 or happens.

Do you remember being able to eat throughout the day as a teenager when activity was constant? Then, suddenly, your 20s roll around and you get your first job...sitting...a lot. At first that might be fine since metabolism still is chugging along nicely at a really good rate. Then, 30s roll around, then 40s...and beyond. 

There is no doubt that as you age, your metabolism just slows wayyyyy.... down. Eating what you normally ate even 10 years prior to your current age just doesn't quite metabolize as quickly. You start noticing that your "mid-section" happens to grow or yes, as we age, "get thicker in the middle". The bottom-line is we need to remember that and change, change, change what we can! Just because you age doesn't mean you give up! On the contrary, get revved up and energized and decide to eat differently. It's fine to enjoy a great meal from time to time, but the everyday stuff, take care of the way you eat. 

"The challenge while eating less overall is to eat more nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, low-fat diary products, and lean cuts of meat."

To learn more, check on the article link here.....

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Healthy Eating For People Who Hate Cooking

Okay, the truth is, not everyone likes to cook. There is no mystery to this as it is pretty obvious that food companies, fast-food restaurants as well as regular restaurants glamorize their own food options to keep you out of the kitchen. It's that easy. But, the truth is -- you don't have to be a master chef or overachiever to keep to healthy eating plans.

While I'm not exactly crazy about everything this article on Healthy Eating has to say, it does make a few important points to keep in mind with better food preparation. Why not build a healthy smoothie when you are in a rush to get to work? It certainly is better to make a healthy smoothie with real fruit and veggies as opposed to rushing through a fast-food window at McDonald's to grab an egg McMuffin.

What about crock pot meals? Super easy and most definitely a great way to include lots of great veggies. If worse comes to worse -- make a sandwich -- but use good bread with whole grains and good meat/veggie options. Some food for thought as we get ready to start another week...

Monday, June 13, 2016

43% of Products Marketed to Kids are Artificially Dyed

While we have heard many times over in the media and what we've read in newspapers, many processed foods such as candies or other junk foods do contain artificial dyes. What is revealed in this study though is that a rather large percentage of products are marketed to kids! In fact, "candies marketed to kids had the highest proportion of products with artificial dyes (96 percent) followed by fruit-flavored snacks (95 percent), drink mixes and powders (90 percent), and frozen breakfast foods (86 percent)".

The side effects of such "dyed" foods has and is taking its toll on our kids behavior by making them more hyperactive with other possible behavior problems. Take a look at the link below to learn more about these products and the damage they are doing to our kids....

43% of Products Marketed to Kids are Artificially Dyed, Study Finds

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Confusion of the Ever-Elusive Carbohydrate

There is so much confusion in the media about carbohydrates. Yes, while eating large quantities is not a good thing, it is in the carbs we choose to eat that makes a really big difference.

Bread in particular has been "vilified" as a "bad" food to eat. But, not all bread is the same and certainly the way it is prepared makes a big difference as well.

But, before you say "NO" to all bread carbs, try to be impartial. Unless you have Celiac Disease or a true wheat intolerance, there's no reason to not have a delicious slice or two of bread with your meal.

Check out the latest article about the carbs in bread found in a recent Wall Street Journal article....

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Which is Better -- Eating Raw or Cooked Fruits & Veggies?

The idea of eating all cooked or all raw fruits and veggies simply does not sound very appetizing...and even nutritious for that matter. But, having a combination of both raw and cooked fruits and veggies may just be the trick toward promoting a healthier diet. It has been proven that some vegetables are better for you nutritionally when they are simply prepared without any form of cooking method (bell peppers, radishes) or others that can benefit from some cooking (tomatoes or carrots). 

In either case, it is a safe bet to know that eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial certainly over processed foods with mystery ingredients. The slideshow presented here gives a decent overview of a variety of fruits and vegetables to eat raw or cooked.

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.