It’s what’s on the inside……..

Every one I know has heard it at some time, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”.  If you were like me, you rolled your eyes and swore no one understood you.  Most of us heard this in response to our self-criticism of physical attributes.  Our Mother, or some other well-intending individual would try to convince us that our appearance was not as important as being a good person.  While this is VERY true, I want to look at it from another perspective.

Society spends billions of dollars on skin cream, serums, age defying procedures, makeup, diet pills, spanx, lipo, lifts and tucks.  All of this in an effort to look good on the outside.  But what about the inside?

If we were to peel the skin back, how would they look on the inside?  Imagine if the money spent on the things mentioned above, was spent on healthy living instead.  You see, if we focus on making our insides look good, the outside follows.  When we feed our body healthy, nutritious food, it shows!  When we’re active, it shows!

In addition to the obsession with physical beauty, society is also obsessed with food.  Unfortunately, it’s not the nutritious food we crave.  In the age of instant gratification, we want food and we want it now!  Fast food restaurants and companies who crank out processed foods are happy to oblige.  The same person who smears $100/oz serum on their face before bed, will complain that a salad costs $4.00 and a burger only costs $1.00.  Not once considering, if they were to splurge on a $4.00 salad, rather than the greasy $1.00 burger, they probably wouldn’t need the expensive serum.

Currently, in the United States, more than 68% of the population is considered overweight or obese.  Many life-threatening conditions are linked to being over-weight and/or obese, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnea, gall bladder disease and stroke.  The number one factor in battling obesity is a healthy diet.

When we give our body what it needs to function optimally, it rewards us and shines through.  We’ve all seen that healthy man/woman who just seems to glow, hair seems thicker and shinier, the skin is clear and dewy and their body looks healthy and fit.  This is a side effect of a healthy diet.  While every disease and ailment cannot be cured or avoided by eating healthfully, many can.  In addition, when we eat for proper nutrition we have more energy to exercise, move and live an active lifestyle – which is the second component to looking and feeling good.

While it’s very cliche, it’s true – garbage in, garbage out.  If you’re feeding your body food with little or no nutritional value, it shows.  If you’re feeding your body a diet full of necessary vitamins and minerals, it shows.  So, rather than spending your hard-earned money on expensive products that may or may not give you the results you seek, invest that money in a sure-thing, yourself!  It’s a guaranteed return!

It’s true, “it’s what’s on the inside that matters”!  Focus on being healthy and looking good on the inside – you’ll be rewarded with feeling and looking good on the outside, win, win!

 

 

 

Got Inflammation?

For years we’ve seen the “Got Milk?” ads.  The dairy industry has been leading us to believe it is the only way to build strong bones and avoid osteoporosis.  Unfortunately dairy can be one of the most inflammatory foods in our diet. Dairy can cause many gut issues, including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.  What causes these issues?  Sugar and protein.

Lactose is the sugar found in dairy products.  People who don’t tolerate this well or who are “lactose intolerant” do not produce the lactase enzyme that is required to break down lactose.  Then there are those who do not tolerate the proteins found in dairy, casein and whey.  Casein protein is very similar to gluten, more than half of people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to casein.

Antibiotics and hormones

Many dairy farmers give cows a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production.  Many times this can lead to udder infections that have to be treated with antibiotics, that then, make their way into your dairy products.

Out of whack

Dairy can also throw our PH balance off.  Our bodies need a balance of acid and alkaline.  Most animal products, dairy included, are acid forming, this requires our body to compensate with alkaline reserves, which are found in stored calcium, magnesium and potassium – these are stored in your bones.  This can actually weaken the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and osteoporosis.  Research shows that countries with the highest diary consumption also have the highest rate of osteoporosis.

The best way to tell if you are sensitive to diary products is to eliminate them from your diet for at least 30 days.  After eliminating these products, note how you feel, any changes?  If you think you want to try going back to diary products, add them in slowly and see how your body reacts.  In the end it’s a personal decision.  I can tell you from my experience that eliminating diary makes a significant difference in how my gut feels as well as how I feel overall.

Alternate sources of calcium include:

  1. Almonds
  2. Kale
  3. Oranges
  4. Collard Greens
  5. Broccoli
  6. Figs
  7. Spinach
  8. Enriched rice, almond, hemp and coconut milks
  9. Sesame seeds
  10. Tofu

If you decide to try eliminating dairy from your diet, I would love to hear your feedback!

 

 

 

 

Organic – what is it and is it worth it?

Gone are the days when we had to go to a fancy market or boutique grocery store to find organic foods.  Organic food can now be found in any mainstream grocery chain, it’s even popping up at Walmart.  But, do you even KNOW what organic means, what is makes it “organic” and is it worth the extra money?

Any food with a USDA organic seal is required to be grown, harvested, and processed according to national standards that include restrictions on amounts and residues of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.  In addition, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “organic” foods cannot be treated with any synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. They may only use pesticides derived from a natural source.

Foods labeled as “free-range,” hormone free” or “natural” are not considered “organic and these terms are not regulated by law.

Organic labeling guidelines:

  • 100% organic – no synthetic ingredients and can be labeled with the USDA organic seal.
  • Organic – 95% of ingredients are organic and can be labeled with the USDA organic seal.
  • Made with organic ingredients – 70% of ingredients must be organic, cannot legally bear the USDA organic seal.
  • Any meat, eggs, poultry or dairy must come from animals who have never been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic foods can be pricey, 50-100% more than non-organic foods.  The main reasons for the price difference is, organic foods are more labor-intensive and do not last as long as their non-organic counterparts.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., recommends going organic on the “dirty dozen” — types of produce that are most susceptible to pesticide residue:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

These items are listed as probably not worth the extra money.

  • Papayas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocadoes
  • Onions

Your choice – if it’s important to you and in your budget, buy organic.  If not, there are still some things you can do to reduce the pesticide residue on your foods.

  • Wash and scrub produce under running water to remove dirt, bacteria and surface pesticide residues, even produce with inedible skins such as cantaloupe. Do not use soap.
  • Remove the peel from fruits and vegetables.
  • Remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables.
  • Trim fat and skin from meat and poultry, pesticide residues can collect in fat.
  • Eat a variety of foods from different sources.

Organic or not, fruits and vegetables are probably the most important foods we consume,  do your best to rid them from residue and then chow down!

 

 

 

A Yummy Win!

In the 1980’s, Professor Ancel Keys published the results of his investigation into cardiovascular death rates in different countries. He found death rates were low in Greece, southern Italy and Japan, and relatively high in the USA and Finland.

The Mediterranean Diet has certain types and amounts of food. If eaten consistently, it has been shown to reduce the risks of developing heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Following the diet has also been linked with a reduced risk of early death and has proven success for healthy weight reduction.

The Mediterranean Diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, peas and beans (legumes) and grains. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish.  There is little red meat and most fat is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts. Along with moderate exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean Diet is a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, and healthy lifestyle choice.

See the Mediterranean Food Pyramid below.

Mediterranean diet pyramid

The power of food is amazing, what a yummy way to help stay healthy!

Celebrate in style, a healthy style!

Yea!   Who doesn’t love a long holiday weekend?  Parties, BBQs and fireworks, they’re all part of our Independence Day celebrations.  Using the holiday as an excuse for a “pass” on you healthy habits will only lead to guilt, bloat, sluggishness and poor sleep.  Good news, you can have your cake and eat it too – well kind of………..

The first thing you need to do is to make a plan.  If you have a celebration to host or attend this weekend, make sure you have healthy choices available for the rest of the day.  Fill up on water and clean, whole foods, with lots of bulk.

When you arrive, greet your hosts and other guests and then check out the buffet.  Take it all in, making mental notes of the things you’d really like to try and the things you can do without.  Try to stay away from the snacky stuff, save your calories for the meal.  When it’s time to eat, choose 3-4 things that really interest you or that are your favs, take about half of what you think you’ll eat, grab a bottle of water, sit down and eat slowly – really enjoy the wonderful foods you may not get to eat often.  If you feel like you want a second serving, wait 20 minutes, get up and move around, if you’re still thinking about going back, go back and serve yourself small portions of 2 items and then resolve yourself to being finished.

OK, let’s move on to cocktails!  If you like to have alcoholic beverages on special occasions, go for it – but be smart about it!   I’ve mentioned it before – there  is a reason they call it a beer belly!  However, if beer is your drink of choice, try to choose a “low carb” brand.  The average number of calories in 1 bottle of beer is 154 – these add up quickly!  If wine is your  thing, think about making a refreshing wine spritzer.  A glass of white wine has 120 calories, if you top off 4 oz of wine with some club soda you’re looking at 80 calories – you just saved yourself 40 calories!  Red wine offers up 125 calories.  If you’re into mixed drinks – stick with light liquors rather than dark and watch your mixers!  Regular sodas and juices can jack up the calorie count – try to stick with water or club soda, or a little bit of both.  Frozen drinks are down right dangerous – 1, 12 oz Margarita hits you with 540 calories!  My point is, liquid calories can sneak up on us.  Know how many calories you’re pouring down your throat and remember moderation is key.  Not only can liquid calories add up fast, we tend to make poor choices when we’ve had too much, maybe not knowing when to stop or eating more food to help balance the blood sugar that is on a roller coaster.  I recommend alternating alcoholic beverages with water – this will help with hangovers as well:)

I’ve posted some recipes below that would be great to serve or bring to share, I hope you find something that looks good to you!

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/healthy-grilling-recipes/

I made these kabobs on Memorial Day – they were a huge hit!  Even with my 8 year old 🙂

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/jerked-chicken-kabobs-recipe.html

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/low-calorie-pasta-salads

I love berries with a little cool whip for dessert, but here are some good looking sweet treats!

http://www.delish.com/cooking/nutrition/g2615/low-calorie-dessert-recipes/

Have a great holiday!

 

 

Fiber – it does more than help you p**p!

Dietary fiber is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight, lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Dietary fiber includes the parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike the other components of foods, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.

Fiber is usually classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve.

  • Soluble fiber – This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fiber – This type of fiber helps food move through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, basically it helps you poop. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Benefits of a high fiber diet:

  • Normalizes and helps maintain bowel health – A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels- Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels –  Soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels in diabetics. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight – High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

It’s always best to get nutrients and dietary needs from whole foods.  Some people may benefits from supplements if they are constipated, however these supplements do not have any dietary nutrients.  Fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains and nuts/seeds are all good sources of fiber.

While high fiber foods are healthy, it is best to increase fiber intake gradually to avoid bloating, cramping and gas.  Don’t forget to drink up, fiber works best when it absorbs water.

Talk is cheap!

Most of us have done it, talked about the day we will start our “diet” and made excuses as to why we couldn’t stick to it.  Well, diets have a beginning and an end, this is why they typically do not work.  Eating healthfully needs to be a lifestyle, not something you do until you lose 10 lbs and then go back to how you ate before.

I’ve developed a lifestyle program to help individuals stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.  My 8 week “Walk the Walk” program is a program in which individuals make small, reasonable changes that have a big impact on their health and well-being.

Individuals receive personalized dietary goals each week as well as have access to a private group Facebook page where they can find relevant articles, information, recipes and motivation, all of which are designed to help them reach their personal goals.

Whether you’re looking to live a healthier lifestlye, sleep better, have more energy or lose weight, my program can help!

Check out the pics below of two participants who both lost 20+ lbs with my program.  Follow my link to read more information on the program and how it works, then email me to reserve your spot for the next session which begins May 1st – let’s do it!

http://www.staybalancedyoga.com/walk-the-walk.html