Oct 28

Diversity

Diversity is key

Vary Your Program

No one likes monotony, especially when it comes to their exercise routine.  To keep your workouts fresh, try alternating swimming and walking, or weight training one day and an aerobic activity the next. Alter your route if you jog or cycle. Varying your exercises will not only add spice to your life but it will condition different muscle groups and help prevent injury.

Oct 22

Eating Out

Nearly 60 billion meals will be eaten in restaurants and school or work cafeterias this year.  Most of these meals aren’t even remotely healthy.  People who frequently dine out get more starch, sugar, salt, and fat than those who eat prepared meals at home.  What can you do to help curb this trend?

The Plan for Eating Out

1.  Make healthy choices when you eat out. Most restaurants, even those that serve fast food, now have salads and other low-fat, low-sugar choices.
2.  Look for a sign on the menus.  Many restaurants have a symbol next to their meals that are more healthy for you.
3.  Compile menus from local eateries and identify healthy items to choose from.
4.  Try not to eat at restaurants or cafeterias more than three times a week.  Take a sack lunch a couple of days a week, or have several healthy meals that are fast and easy to prepare at home.

Diet Sodas

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Diet Sodas

Question:
If one woman typically drinks calorie-free soft drinks and another typically drinks a regular soda (usually containing about 150 calories), who is more likely to become overweight over time?

According to an eight-year study done at the University of Texas Health and Science Center the more diet soda a person drank on a daily basis, the greater risk she had of becoming overweight. Surprising? The findings are opposite of what we would expect. What factors could be contributing to this?

The researchers came up with two conclusions:

  1. Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may actually increase food cravings for some people and they will be more likely to overeat.
  2. Diet-soda drinkers may think that they can afford to indulge elsewhere. A rationalization could be “I can have a hot-fudge sundae since I had a diet soda.”
Jan 03

Detox Diets

Detox Diets

What is a detox diet?
A detox diet is any change in our eating habits that is geared towards eliminating toxins that
are believed to build up in our bodies. A toxin is a chemical or poison that is known to have
harmful effects on the body. Toxins can come from food or water, from chemicals used to
grow or prepare food, and even from the air we breathe. Claims are made that toxins can
cause all kinds of problems, from tiredness to headaches, nausea to acne, and even as
precursors to cancer.
There are many versions of detox diets. The basic idea behind most is to temporarily give
up certain kinds of foods that are thought to contain toxins, and then gradually reintroduce
healthy foods over a period of time. The point is to purify and purge your body of all the
“bad” stuff. Some of the diets encourage including certain herbs, pills, drinks or teas, skin
cleansing, or detox baths.

Should I consider a detox diet?
Your body is designed to purify itself. Your liver and kidneys will do the job they’re supposed to do if you eat a healthy diet that includes fiber, fruits, veggies, and plenty of water. Eating a healthy diet on a daily basis will help the body function properly and it shouldn’t be necessary to pursue a detoxification regimen. One of the safest and most effective ways of ensuring the efficient and complete expulsion of waste from the body is to eat a high-fiber diet. Wheat bran is especially effective in helping clear your system.

If you do find the urge to detox, keep it simple. Don’t eliminate any of the food groups from your diet for an extended period of time, and don’t spend a lot of money on fancy detoxification products. You could do something as simple as making the commitment to cut sweets and soda out of your diet for a couple of days. Then let the willpower you used to do that help you kick-start a new healthy eating regime.

Jan 03

Crunch-ola

Crunch-ola!

The crunch is more safe and effective than its antiquated cousin the sit-up.

To do the perfect crunch…
Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms crossed in front of your chest (or place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are tucked behind your ears.)
Position your feet as wide as your hips.
Pull your belly button in towards your spine then slowly contract your abs, lifting your shoulders 1-3 inches off the floor.
Focus on shortening the distance between the bottom of your rib cage and your pelvis.
Slowly lower your shoulders back towards starting position, but don’t relax all the way. Repeat exercise.
Keep your knees bent, your feet in the same position and your back straight throughout the entire exercise.

Dec 22

Cravings

Food Cravings

A food craving is more than a preference for particular foods, or an impulse to buy certain snacks. A food craving is an insistent desire for a type of food (eg. candy, pizza) which we often go to some lengths to satisfy.  Cravings can be detrimental for our dietary goals! Fortunately, with a little forethought and planning, it is not too difficult to curb our craving desires.

What causes food cravings?

Cravings are usually more psychological than physical. The most common emotional or psychological triggers for food cravings are stress, depression, boredom or a general need for comfort.  Changes in hormone levels (such as during PMS), or low or imbalanced blood sugar levels can also cause cravings.

How can I avoid cravings?

  1. Eat small, frequent meals. When you get hungry between meals, enjoy a healthy snack.
  2. Reduce your intake of sugar and salt since overconsumption of these foods can aggravate cravings.
  3. Drink water instead of searching for a snack.   Oftentimes, we confuse thirst with hunger.
  4. Food cravings are satisfied best by the actual substance that is craved.  Forget eating carrot sticks to satify your craving for ice cream.  Instead have a reasonable portion of ice cream.  In moderation, favorite high-calorie foods can help you stay within a well-balanced diet and achieve a healthy weight.”
Dec 22

Clean Greens

Clean Greens

Millions of us eat spinach and lettuce safely every day, so our chances of getting E.coli poisoning are small.  But with the recent outbreak of tainted spinach, we naturally feel more cautious when it comes to eating our leafy greens.

Here are a few tips to lower your chances of getting sick.

  • Wash your hands before you open the bag. It really is important.
  • Be careful not to allow either the bag or the salad to come close to raw meat juices (they might contain E.coli or other bad bacteria).
  • Before you buy, take a look at that sell by date and don’t buy the salad if that date has passed.
  • If the salad stays out too long (gets too warm) at home or starts to look brown or gooey around the edges — don’t try to save it, throw it away.
  • And if you do get sick, think salad! It might be the culprit…and if there is any of the salad left in the bag, don’t throw it away. (The salad may need to be tested.)
  • If you get really sick, sick enough to go to the hospital, let the doctors know you had salad in a bag. And if you find out you are contaminated with E.coli, call your local health department so someone else doesn’t get sick.
Dec 22

Cholesterol

Know your cholesterol levels

19% of Americans ages 20 to 74 have high cholesterol levels.  Are you one of them?

How do I get checked?

Your doctor can conduct a simple, inexpensive test to determine your cholesterol level.  When the test results are back your total blood cholesterol will fall into one of these categories:

Desirable — Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high risk — 200–239 mg/dL
High risk — 240 mg/dL and over

How often should I be checked?

Young Adults should be checked once every five years. Men over 45 and women over 55 should measure their cholesterol levels at least once a year.

Keeping tabs on your numbers can go a long way in preventing a number of serious medical complications (heart attacks and strokes included).

Dec 22

Cereal

Smart eating by the bowl!

Nutritionists never recommend that you live on one dish alone, but if they had to pick one, whole-grain cereal and milk would be it. Whole-grain cereals are packed with fiber, nutrients and protein. Be sure to check the nutrition panel of your favorite cereal to find out if it is a ‘green light’ cereal. To help get you started here is a list of some of the best.

Barbara’s Shredded
spoonfuls
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Calories: 120
Fat: 1.5 g
Protein: 4 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 5 g

Post
Grape-Nuts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 200
Fat: 1g
Protein: 7 g
Fiber: 6g
Sugar: 5 g

Cheerios
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 110
Fat: 2 g
Protein: 3g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 1 g

Post Shredded
Wheat
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 170
Fat: 1 g
Protein: 6 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sugar: 0 g

Quaker
Oatmeal Squares
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 210
Fat: 2.5 g
Protein: 6 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 9 g

Kashi
Go Lean
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 140
Fat: 1 g
Protein: 13 g
Fiber: 10 g
Sugar: 6 g

Kellogg’s Complete
Oat Bran Flakes
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Calories: 110
Fat: 1g
Protein: 3 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 6 g

Wheat Chex
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Calories: 160
Fat: 1 g
Protein: 5 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sugar: 5 g

Cereal is a great way to start your day, but you can also use it as a nutritious snack or recipe ingredient. You can make your own trail mix with whole-grain cereal, nuts and dried fruit. Or use it as a coating for chicken, in your favorite cookie batter, or as a substitute in a muffin mix.

Dec 22

Canned, Frozen or Fresh

Which is Best? Canned, Frozen or Fresh?

Many people believe that unless produce is raw, it’s nutritional value is deleted. Yes, it’s true that fresh fruits and vegetables are most nutritious and best tasting when they are picked at their peak. Plus, fruit and vegetable lovers usually prefer the superior taste, texture and look of fresh produce. However, don’t under-estimate the nutritional value of produce prepared in other ways. Consider this….

  • Some vegetables become MORE nutritious when cooked.(It is better to steam most vegetables than to cook them for long periods of time at high temperatures.)
  • Canned produce is usually processed immediately after harvest, when nutrient content is at its peak. Some canned produce can be high in sodium and/or sugar, however, check the nutrition labels for low sodium and low sugar versions of products.
  • Few preservatives are used in frozen foods. Frozen foods are nutritious because most nutrients are retained during the process. Soon after being picked, the foods are quickly blanched in water and then frozen. This helps to preserve freshness.

A message nutritionists have long emphasized is this: canned and frozen produce is a nutritionally sound alternative to fresh fruits and veggies. Frozen and canned products are particularly good to have on hand for times when you can’t get to the store for fresh products or
when fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season or out of your price range.

The bottom line is still EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Canned, frozen, fresh or slightly cooked, they are a good thing!