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Showing posts from 2017


We've seen that the number of American children that are considered obese is growing and only getting worse. It's been proven and seen in studies such as the online New England Journal of Medicine that can be seen by reading this article.  Childhood obesity is and has become a completely out of control public health issue that continues to flourish and grow. Statistics don't lie. How can we get families and their kids to not "feel embarrassment or shame"  -- but, instead -- how can we influence them to focus on getting their mindset to a place of positivity and healthy determination to change for the good of their own health? What will it take? The heartache of not giving enough credence to the enormous public health issue -- which is obesity -- is not doing the future generations any favors! In knowing that kids today have a life expectancy that is being cut short by obesity is astounding. Striving to teach and live with a positive mindset opens the door to so many…

Health Coaching for Patients With Chronic Illness

As a health coach, I occasionally get a question from a random person who wants to know what a health coach really does and what value they bring to the table. This article really does a nice job of summing up what a health coach can do, particularly in a healthcare setting.

Health coaching is one of those somewhat new and emerging careers that still needs some explanation. Think of it this way, at some point in anyone's life -- particularly during times of exasperation when goals have not been reached or coming to terms with an illness which has not quite registered with the individual -- that person could use a little helping hand.

Wouldn't you be better at reaching a goal if you had good support from a someone who was cheering you on and simply supporting you emotionally? Wouldn't you be more prone to accept that a chronic disease like diabetes isn't the end of life, but could simply be the start of truly taking care of oneself with proper social support and proper …

Don't Nudge Me: The Limits of Behavioral Economics in Medicine

How do we get better at resisting the everyday temptations that exist in our environment? What are the everyday temptations you may ask? How about the overabundance of quick and easy fast-food "drive-through windows" or the easy access to a quick and easy snack that you can pick up at just about anywhere. To add to the lack of healthy options that our environment offers the everyday citizen, how "walkable" is your neighborhood and how safe is it to walk there at any given time of the day or night? 
To add more fuel to the fire, local food markets that meet daily needs (by offering healthy food choices), safe housing, access to adequate health care services and social support are frankly...lacking in supply -- especially in lower-income households. If we take just one aspect from those above-mentioned determinants of health like access to health care, then how do we ensure that those patients then comply with properly taking care of themselves? This is where the li…

Junk Food Is Made To Be Twice As Distracting As Healthy Food

Just yesterday I was at a work-related event where lunch would be provided. Some of the participants brought in their left-over Halloween Candy simply because they no longer wanted it in their house! While I can't blame them, there is no reason to 'unload' it on the innocent who are trying to stay away from the stuff! Interestingly enough though, a little can go a long way. In other words, try limiting yourself to one or two 'fun size' candies and believe it or not, that should be enough to satisfy the sweetest of the sweet tooth individual! 
Another great reason to limit yourself to one or two 'fun size' candies, can be seen in the results of the two-phase study conducted by Corbin A. Cunningham of Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. (You can read more about the study at the link provided below). In many ways, the study shows that indeed a little can go a long way when it comes to what a 'complete deprivation of cer…

How To Cut Back On Highly Processed Foods

Let's get some clarification first on what a processed food is and go from there, okay? As mentioned in Processed Foods 101 from this article, processed foods encompass foods that have purposefully been changed before we eat them. So, just because we may walk down the 'canned veggie' aisle at the local grocery store doesn't necessarily mean that is a bad thing. In fact, canned vegetables usually are quite good for you as they contain fresh vegetables that are canned, hence the nutrition remains intact. Additionally, if simply trying to add vegetables to your diet, canned may be the way to go as well because many times the fresh vegetables are more expensive.

According to the International Food Information Council, the act of processing can be as easy or simple as freezing or even drying food for preservation purposes. Canned beans, tuna and even frozen fruits and vegetables are great examples of good processed food options.

The trickier aspect of processed foods and th…

8 Low Glycemic Foods For Better Health

There are various reasons for doing what you can to stick to low glycemic foods. No, you don't and shouldn't look at carbs as being 'evil' or to be avoided at all cost, you simply need to do what you can to choose the right kinds of carbs. Yes, carbs that are low on the glycemic index are the ones to shoot for as much as possible.

The glycemic index measures carbohydrate-containing foods that impact blood sugar either positively or negatively. There is a scale that ranges from low (0-55) to medium (56-69) to high (70 and above). Becoming familiar with these ranges helps quite a bit when choosing the carbs that one eats frequently. Check out the list of foods, GI rating system and more here.

In knowing that a low-glycemic diet is the most beneficial to the body, it also helps to know why this is the case. Low-glycemic foods are good to incorporate in one's diet for the prevention of heart disease, diabetes and more. In addition, these foods also stabilize energy le…

Video: Lack of Sleep Increases Junk Food Cravings

It is amazing how complex our bodies are...truly. We all know there is an obesity crisis, and it is important to know that it goes beyond the food we eat and the activities we do on a daily basis. While food and activity are crucial for weight loss, there are also other contributing factors that should be sleep.

The following video provides us with real scientific evidence that not sleeping enough contributes to an increase in junk food cravings. It is important for people to see the correlation between sleep and obesity. Our bodies absolutely need sleep and there is no way around it. So why not pass on the extra T.V. watching at night to catch your favorite show and get to bed an hour earlier? Your body and mind will thank you for it! Worried you'll miss your favorite show? Record it and save it for later!

Good health is not just the food we eat and exercising enough, it is more.....

Are you successfully aging well?

How well we live our lives successfully has so much to do with how well we take care of our bodies, wouldn't you agree? In this time of fast food, busy schedules, unhealthy environments and more, at least we do have some ability to slow the aging process by following some smart and effective steps.

Some of the main differences between how successfully or unsuccessfully we age has to do with how we live our lives day in and day out. Are we positive? Do we have good energy throughout our day and that includes good strength and general fitness? How well do we sleep? Are we stressed out all the time? These are important questions to ask ourselves and if there is hesitancy on any of the above-mentioned questions, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate how we live our lives on a daily basis.

Successful aging isn't just how well you look on the outside -- Do you have wrinkles? Do you look tired all of the time? Are you angry or depressed? Even those fortunate souls out there that do appea…

Breathe Deep, Be Present and Get Healthy in a "Doable" Way

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with every diet out there, right? Just like your friend who lost a ton of weight on Jenny Craig or your neighbor who swears by her newly acquired deep-breathing exercises, right? Instead of claiming those activities as your own, engage in simple, doable actions that will get results!

Start out with a few unmistakably great habits to get into that will set you on a good path to wellness. At least see how well you feel after a week of doing the following things mentioned below. Who knows -- one week of eating well can turn into two, three and more weeks of eating well.

(1) DO Drink Water. Yes, water is overlooked by many simply because we may forget to drink water or we may not believe that it will make a big difference in our health. But, no mistaking it, water is essential for good cell health, it helps to balance our body fluids, it energizes us and keeps us full longer.

(2) DON'T Go on a Juice Cleanse. I've never gotten this one. Is a juice c…

Want a healthy heart and good vision? How about the following 15-lutein rich foods?

Lutein, a yellow to orange pigment related to vitamin A, is extremely important for not only maintaining vision, but keeping a healthy heart as well. Perhaps you may easily take your eyesight and beating heart for granted, especially if you currently have good vision and a strong, beating heart. But, what if you don't? What if you wish you could improve your eyesight and even your improve your blood pressure? The following 15 foods can help give your eyes and heart a healthy boost for sure....
1) Kale: This veggie has a ton of nutrients besides lutein. It has a good amount of vitamin C, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K and even fiber. Super low in calories too.
2) Winter Squash: When was the last time you roasted a squash in the oven? It is so good and full of great vitamins and minerals...yes, including Lutein and vitamin A too.
3) Collards: These leafy greens are not surprisingly chock full of vitamins and minerals, fiber and so much more! For those of us attempting …

8 Small, Smart Summer Swaps With Large Health Benefits!

I absolutely love the idea of making small, but significant food swaps and hope you do too. Similar to SMART goals that are S (specific), M (measurable), A (attainable), R (realistic) and T (Time-bound), be smarter about making lasting and simple healthful changes instead of changes that will make you 'slip up' on your new way of 'cleaner eating'.  For instance, unless you have Celiac Disease or are allergic to wheat, there is no reason to give up gluten. Gluten in and of itself is not 'evil'. Just limit the quantity of bread you eat and watch that it is a quality choice too. Be deliberate in choosing your food battles! 
After all, who doesn't love a toasty brioche or slice of warm, crusty sourdough bread on a limited basis? Have a sugar craving? How about making attempts at minimizing your sugar intake by not adding any to your morning coffee or having plain nonfat yogurt with fresh or frozen berries and a sprinkling of cinnamon instead? It so restrictive to …

Quiz: What are the best & worst foods for belly fat?

Isn't it frustrating to know that you can be so diligent with your workouts -- then, you realize that you can 'undo' all your hard work by eating some not so good food choices. Remember though that it is not only the food choices that are chosen, but the quantities by which they are eaten. Portion-control is so important too! Just visualize your good hard work benefitting you when you step on the scale, sleep better at night and just have more energy throughout your day! It's worth it!
Those 'not so good food choices' along with not paying attention to better portion control contribute to belly fat which is the worst kind of fat in our body. This kind of fat is linked to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Even if you have genes that contribute to it, you still can do quite a bit of prevention by eating right and exercising.
Now that you know how dangerous belly fat is for the body, see a list of fat burning workouts geared for women that target this ar…

What part does food play in our wellbeing?

As we explore the world of health and wellbeing, we must not overlook the whole picture of what health provides for us. What is the whole picture? Good question to ask, but there truly is no one good answer. 
Wellbeing encompasses so many moving parts starting with our surrounding environment, how we nourish (or don't nourish) ourselves, how we challenge ourselves through a healthy mental eagerness to learn, how satisfied we are in our social circles and let's not forget personal accomplishment and fulfillment. 
We tend to focus on food, right? Why not, food is something that we need not only to survive, but to nourish us as well. But think of all of the delicious and nutritious foods that we have available to us. For those of us fortunate enough to live in well-populated areas with good working infra-structures, we even have more choices in the foods we eat. How about variety? Variety in fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains is essential, so then why focus merely on what …

What are 'stripped' carbs anyway?

Carbohydrates -- we love them -- we hate them -- can't decide whether or not to forget about them all together or simply not care and eat every carb imaginable, right? Why do we hear that carbs are bad and therefore we need to go on a 'low-carb diet' or we need to 'carbo-load' before a race? There is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs and I believe most people know this, but regardless a decision for 'all or nothing' seems to be heard by many. 
Roxanne B. Sukol, a preventive medicine specialist and medical director of the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Enterprise believes that people should refer to the refined carbs as 'stripped carbs'. That is, stripped carbs have no nutritional value. 
Interestingly enough, refined carbs start out like whole-grain carbs, but once 'processed' by food makers, they lose their fiber-rich properties. Once this process happens, good healthy choices go out the window. So, as the article points out, …

Exercise: The Secret To Aging S-L-O-W-L-Y

I may not be able to convince you that exercising everyday is beneficial for you, but will you pay attention when scientific study after study says it really does make a difference? In fact, there are 19 good reasons to exercise! Unfortunately, there will always be someone who will be so averse to exercise that there is nothing one can do to convince them of the benefits otherwise, right? But, how much does one truly value the quality of their life?
This is where the "why" comes in. Why should we want to be better people, more productive at work, more loving with our families, have more of a positive outlook on life? The 'whys' in the previous statement are merely what draws us out to be better human beings, but think of the health benefits that exercise provides us.
Let's break it down even further and evaluate what draws our attention to the importance of exercise, starting with the some of the following points:
(1) Slows biological aging: I always think of li…

What is the Mediterranean Diet and should we follow it?

Can we even count how many diets exist today? How well do they work? When it comes to the word 'diet', it just sends such a negative message to people! It sounds so restrictive and frankly, a restrictive diet may be necessary for some that are in medical need of it, but what about those people that are relatively healthy, and just merely want to lose a few pounds? Generally speaking, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most sensible-sounding diets out there right now, and its recommended for people in order to minimize their chances of getting heart disease, cancer, depression and even dementia.

On another note, have you heard of the Blue Zones? The Blue Zones are based on 5 geographical regions in the world where people generally live to 100+ years...healthfully. The Blue Zones follow a sensible diet -- such as the Mediterranean diet -- along with other common denominators that consist of moving naturally, having a purpose in life, minimizing stress, following an 80% rule b…

8 Superfoods For Better Sleep

While I can't emphasize enough -- as I'm sure many other health and wellness experts would agree -- good nutrition and exercise are essential building blocks for leading a healthy lifestyle. But, what about sleep? Well, yes, sleep should definitely not be overlooked!

In the fast-paced society that we live in there are so many demands, aren't there? 'I've got so much on my plate, there is no time to sleep!' However, in saying such a statement, we tend to forget the importance of sleep and how much of it we really need in order to function at our best. Sleep helps the body heal by repairing the heart and blood vessels. Additionally, by not getting enough sleep, the chances of getting kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or stroke are that much more probable.

The following are 8 recommended superfoods for better sleep:

(1) Almonds: These delicious nuts are both high in potassium and B vitamins which are important for our nervous system to de-stress and re…

The Midlife Health Checklist: How do you fare with YOUR health?

There is no doubt that the inevitable happens. We age. Some of us may age more gracefully than others, but nonetheless, we age. So what can we do about it? Accept it, but you set the terms and conditions. Do everything in your power to 'stay young at heart'. It is possible and frankly, that's the way I plan on going down with it. How about you?
According to Dr. David Agus, turning 40 is the 'turning point' where we may see life through another set of glasses so to speak. This is the time of questioning not only our mortality, but where are we now, what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future to make positive, good things happen for others as well as ourselves. This is also the time when we may focus more on how we feel after indulging in 'bad food' or too much alcohol and how different that all was in our earlier years.
Going back to aging gracefully though, we can set the terms and conditions as much as we can by eating right, enjoying …

15 Smart Food Swaps That Will Make You Healthier

Most people have a "love affair" with eating delicious food, right? Who doesn't like a robust portion of homemade spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or even a simple but delicious burger? By eating some of these foods though, we tend to forget how much we are eating because -- well, the food is delicious and we are hungry!
If we merely made an effort to not only watch our portion-sizes but also make smart food swaps, we can save on some calories too.
The following are 15 food swaps that -- if followed regularly -- should lead you down the road to better health.
(1) Swap white pasta for whole wheat: Whole wheat pasta contains more fiber as well as vitamin E, B vitamins and antioxidants -- definitely more than white pasta.
(2) Swap plain potatoes for sweet potatoes. "Eating sweep potatoes means you're still getting those essential carbs, but this way they count as one of your five-a-day, unlike regular potatoes which are a starchy food."
(3) Swap white rice f…

What Do We Really Care About?

As I approach a new topic to discuss in the health & wellness arena, it seems that it has been covered, right? But, is a topic as extensive and popular as health and wellness really covered in one article or one study or one great healthy outcome statistic? No, definitely not!

Now that there is more of a focus on individualized nutrition for kids, teenagers and adults, shouldn't there also be a focus on finding out specifically what the individual really wants and needs? Sure, most people would more than likely like to drop a few "lbs", but what if that doesn't apply to everyone? Is there a "common sense" approach to leading a healthier lifestyle kinda plan that includes a fitness and mindfulness component? Would eating a bit of "everything" in a portion-controlled way be enough for someone or would eliminating sugar be the right way to go?
Let's just quiet the noise in our heads and think about it. Sure, it is important to have science-ba…