Nutrition

Get on Track to Wellness

Staying healthy and active is an important part of life. Our emotional and mental health are equally as important as our physical health. What we nourish our body with, physically and mentally, has a huge impact on our overall wellness. There are plenty of ways to bring fun and enjoyment to nurturing our physical and mental bodies.

Meditation – Breath work is a great way to relax the body and mind. Not only will it bring peace and tranquility to you, calming the internal storm, but it promotes positive thinking which in turn creates positive output.

Yoga – a great tool for centering and grounding your energy. With a series of stretches and poses, you’ll gain both physical and mental strength and flexibility.

Physical Activity – Find an activity that’s fun for you, whether it be a sport, a bike ride, or dancing, and make it a part of your daily routine. This will help to instill healthy habits into your everyday life.

Cooking for Wellness – Just as physical activity is important, so is a healthy diet. Buy whole fresh foods at your local market and cook in a clean way. Focus on lean proteins, such as fish and poultry, low starch veggies, mainly green leafy veggies, and low sugar fruits such as berries which are rich in antioxidants. Sprinkle in healthy fats like oils and nuts as well as healthy whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

Feed your body and feed your soul. Try some of these fun and engaging activities and create your own wellness routine today!


9 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Get Walking

You want to walk, but how do you get yourself out the door or onto the treadmill? That’s the toughest challenge many people face. You can learn ways to motivate yourself to get walking. Walking will transform your body and mind!

Start slow
If have not been walking for a while, start at a pace that if comfortable for you. Up to 10 minutes a day 3-4 times a week is good start! Then gradually pick up speed until you are walking briskly – generally 3 to 4 miles an hour. Each week add about two minutes to your walking time.

Register for a walking event
Give yourself a goal and a deadline. Register for a walking event that will be a real challenge for you. You will have no choice but to train consistently to be ready for the event.

Follow a shape-up walking and workout schedule
To start seeing results from your fitness efforts. Having a structure and varying your workouts will keep you on track. When you begin to feel the difference in your stamina, muscle, and vigor, you will want to keep going.

Wear a pedometer or fitness band
This can help motivate you to increase your activity. Set your step goal at 6,000 to 10,000 per day and find ways to add steps to your day.

Make a walking buddy
Walking friend can make a difference and get you out on a walk despite the weather or other excuses to skip your workout.

Track your progress
Track your walking minutes, steps, or mileage in a journal, whether on paper, an app or your computer. Total your progress each week. Set a goal and you will find yourself out walking just to make those numbers add up.

Invest in a good pair of walking shoes
Select the right pair for your specific food type. Check out a list of the best walking shoes online.

Be prepared for the weather
Invest in a few key pieces that can make you much more comfortable. Look for tops and bottoms. Hate to walk in the cold? Buy the right layered clothing and you will have to take it for a walk. Hate the rain? A waterproof jacket or umbrella.

Choose the right time
Many people find that if they commit to early morning walks, fewer distractions pop up in the afternoon or evening. But if you hate mornings and feel most energetic later in the day, then that should be your walking time. Choose what works best for you.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who adhered to a walking program showed significant improvements in blood pressure, slowing of resting heart rate, reduction of body fat and body weight, reduced cholesterol, relieves anxiety and depression with better quality of life and increased measures of endurance. Walking has also shown to improve memory and prevent the deterioration of brain tissue as we age. Ready to give it a try?


What is the difference between hunger and cravings?

Hunger is caused by a physical need for food. Cravings are usually caused by emotional needs and emotional cravings can often lead to binging. Listening to our body will allow us to better understand what our body truly needs.

The good news is there are ways to know the difference between cravings and hunger. Here are the most important ones:

Cravings

Are often for comfort foods, i.e., fatty foods and sweets
Are usually caused by negative feelings such as sadness or anxiety
Usually leads to unhealthy eating that make us feel guilty later
Increase during pregnancy and a woman’s menstrual cycle
Can occur even if you just ate
Pass with time unlike hunger

Hunger

Occurs when you have not eaten for some time
Causes a rumbling stomach, headache, or weakness
Gets worse with time and does not pass
Can be satisfied with healthy food
Is not specific to a singular food

Once we know the difference, we will be able to answer, “Am I really hungry?”


7 easy natural ways to boost your immune system

While there is currently no cure for coronavirus, there are lots of natural ways everyone can take to help support their natural defenses against viruses, colds and flu.

Here are the most important ones:

Eat plenty of fruit and veg
The nutrients you get from food — in particular, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices — are essential to keeping your immune system functioning properly. Many plant-based foods also have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which help us fight off infection.

Keep Stress Under Control
Long-term stress leads to chronically elevated levels of as the steroid hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels are constantly high, it essentially blocks the immune system from kicking into gear and doing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria.

Set aside five minutes at some point each day for fun and increase it when you can.

Get Some Quality Sleep
Your body heals and regenerates while you sleep, making adequate sleep critical for a healthy immune response. That’s why is it so important to make sure you get plenty of sleep. Try to sleep 7-9 hour per night.

Keep Moving!
Regular exercise lowers your risk of developing chronic diseases (like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease), as well as viral and bacterial infections.

At a minimum, try to walk 15 min each day.

When It Comes to Alcohol, Practice Moderation
Drinking high amounts of alcohol is associated with a range of negative health effects, including lowered immune function. When you drink high amounts of alcohol, your body is too busy trying to detoxify your system to bother with normal immune system function. If you don’t already drink, don’t start. If you drink occasionally, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink (equivalent to a 4-ounce glass of wine) per day if you’re a woman, and two drinks per day if you’re a man, as recommended by the NIH.

Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
Scientists have warned that smokers may face an increased risk of coronavirus and suffer worse symptoms. Experts say that the habit weakens the function of the lungs and could leave people more susceptible to the deadly bug.

Basically, any previous lung damage increases that risk.

Keep Symptoms of Chronic Conditions Under Control
Chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes can affect the immune system and increase risk of infections. Living with a chronic condition can be like trying to drive a car that has only three tires. If you get sick with a virus, it’s going to take more effort for your body to recover. If you manage your chronic conditions better, you’ll free up more reserves to help your body fight off infection. So be sure to stay on top of any medications, doctor visits, healthy weight and habits that keep your symptoms at bay. Your immune system will thank you!
Chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes can affect the immune system and increase risk of infections. Living with a chronic condition can be like trying to drive a car that has only three tires. If you get sick with a virus, it’s going to take more effort for your body to recover. If you manage your chronic conditions better, you’ll free up more reserves to help your body fight off infection. So be sure to stay on top of any medications, doctor visits, healthy weight and habits that keep your symptoms at bay. Your immune system will thank you!


Vacation Tips to Stay Healthy

Summer vibes are running high! There are still some vacations left to be had! Are you worried about going off track of your normal exercise and nutrition routine? Planning around irregular meal times and eating fun foods that you wouldn’t usually have? Missing workouts? Utilize these easy tips to keep you healthy:

  1. Bring Your Own Snacks – Pack travel friendly snack like apples and cheese sticks, pita bread and peanut butter, hummus and veggie sticks to avoid excessive snacking on the unhealthy stuff.
  2. Eat Breakfast – The first meal of the day will give you the nutrients you need for extra energy to see the sights. Choose protein like eggs and yogurt with fruit and whole grain toast or oatmeal.
  3. Walk Everywhere – Checking out local museums, a new city or the beach is the best way to explore while burning extra calories. Bring comfortable supportive shoes. Chances are you’ll burn off enough calories to offset any overindulgences.
  4. Pack a Workout Band – Get an easy 15-minute workout to start your day each morning with an exercise band. A quick hit to all the major muscle groups will keep those calories burning all day long.
  5. Stay hydrated – Dehydration is common when traveling, especially when flying. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it once you are past security. Stock up on water bottles once you are at your destination and bring one with you everywhere you go.

Most importantly have fun! Vacations are a time to enjoy yourself with family and friends. They don’t come around often so when they do, enjoy them to the fullest. Give yourself permission to take a break and soak it all in!


What is the difference between hunger and cravings?

Hunger is caused by a physical need for food. Cravings are usually caused by emotional needs and emotional cravings can often lead to binging. Listening to our body will allow us to better understand what our body truly needs.

The good news is there are ways to know the difference between cravings and hunger.  Here are the most important ones:

Cravings

Are often for comfort foods, i.e., fatty foods and sweets
Are usually caused by negative feelings such as sadness or anxiety
Usually leads to unhealthy eating that make us feel guilty later
Increase during pregnancy and a woman’s menstrual cycle
Can occur even if you just ate
Pass with time unlike hunger

Hunger

Occurs when you have not eaten for some time
Causes a rumbling stomach, headache, or weakness
Gets worse with time and does not pass
Can be satisfied with healthy food
Is not specific to a singular food

Once we know the difference, we will be able to answer, “Am I really hungry?”


Exercise Vs Diet – Which Is More Important?

Are you ready to drop some pounds and get your body ready for summer?  What is the best way to lose weight? Through diet or exercise? Scientific studies show that both are needed for weight management and optimal health.

As a rule of thumb, weight loss is typically 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Weight loss through nutrition seems to be more effective than physical activity. You have to do huge amounts of physical activity for weight loss, but you may see quicker results just by cutting calories.

However, once you’ve lost the unwanted pounds, exercise is the key to keeping the weight off. Additionally, exercise can have other positive impactful health perks, like improving the quality of your sleep, lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing your stress level, increased energy, and reducing the risk of health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.

Although you can lose weight with diet alone, exercise is without a doubt an important component. Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat; not to mention, you’re stripping away muscle and bone density. Since working out stimulates muscle growth, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat. The number on the scale may not seem impactful, but because muscle takes up less space than fat does, you look smaller and your clothes fit better.

Seems like a trick question!  Both diet and exercise play important roles in weight loss and weight management and are equally important.  Make a plan today!


Speed Up Your Metabolism

Many people blame metabolic problems for weight struggles. But your metabolism naturally regulates itself to meet your body’s needs. It’s rarely the cause of weight gain or loss. In general, anyone who burns more calories than they take in will lose weight. Anyone who takes in more calories than they burn will gain weight. This can lead to obesity and related problems like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
A few people have endocrine disorders that cause their metabolism to work slower. You may burn fewer calories and put on weight if you have:

  • Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).

Many factors can affect how your metabolism functions. These include losing muscle mass, aging, genes, and being less active.
If you want to speed up your metabolism, do not skip meals. Fuel your metabolism with fresh and vegetables, lean protein and healthy carbohydrates and fats. Exercise and build muscles. Quit smoking. Your metabolism may slow down a bit, but you will lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other problems.


Hypothyroidism and a Sluggish Metabolism


Research shows that your metabolism tends to slow down with age. Being less active, losing muscle mass and the aging of your internal components all contribute to a sluggish metabolism.

Other factors that play a part in slowing down the metabolism are: Lack of sleep, too strict of a diet, not enough water, lack of calcium and stress to name a few. One common factor that contributes to a slow metabolism is a change in your hormones. Hormones change as we age and can put the brakes on the body’s energy use. This can cause a disease called Hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a common condition where the thyroid doesn’t create and release enough thyroid hormone into your bloodstream. This makes your metabolism slow down. Also called under-active thyroid, hypothyroidism can make you feel tired, gain weight and be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

Foods with iodine will help your thyroid produce more hormones. These include: eggs, dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, and iodized salt.

Although traditional medicine recommends hormone replacement therapy, a safer way to go is through the use of natural and homeopathic alternatives to balance out the hormones, therefore alleviating these symptoms.


Healthy Grilling Ideas to Try This Summer

Summer is almost here: time to grill! The best part is that grilling can be one of the healthiest ways to cook! Here we have some good grilling ideas:

Grill Vegetables and fruits!
Swap the traditional store-bought barbecue fare like baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad – which can have a lot of saturated fat, sodium and added sugars – for vegetables and fruits. Grilling vegetables and fruits are a great idea, whether or not you’re grilling meat or fish to go with them. We all need to eat more vegetables and fruits. Here are some fruits and vegetables that are great to grill:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Endive
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Peach

You’ve got to love the idea of infusing flavor into meats, fruits, and vegetables by soaking them in a tasty marinade. Some favorite marinade ingredients include wines, vinegars, lemon or lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. Example soak Asparagus with small amount olive oil, salt, black pepper and Italian seasonings for at least 10 minutes and then throw them on the grill for 3-5 minutes. You will love it! Kebabs that alternate small pieces of meat or fish or scallops or shrimp with pieces of onion, red bell peppers, zucchini slices, cherry tomatoes or other produce are a great way to increase vegetable and fruit intake.

Meats
When you’re grilling meat, limit the amount of fat that drips on the coals by starting with lean cuts trimmed of visible fat and skin. If you put a very lean cut of beef or pork, or skinless chicken, or 93% fat free hamburger onto the grill, you’re off to a healthy start. The good fats in fish like salmon and trout actually have health benefits. And when you grill with skill, your family won’t even miss the red meat, which usually has more saturated fat.
Wrap marinated fish fillets in foil, construct colorful chicken kebabs, or make more savory turkey burgers by mixing chopped red bell pepper, onions into the patties. You can season them with oregano, organic garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
Make a simple rub of your favorite spice (such as allspice, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, paprika or rosemary) and black pepper. Safety tip: never reuse marinade or rub after raw meat has touched it.

Be careful of the portion size!
A healthy portion of any type of meat is about 3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards, and definitely no more than 6 ounces. If that sounds small, just remember all the delicious grilled veggies and side dishes that will be keeping it company on your plate!

Grill fruits for dessert, salads or fresh salsas
The natural sugars caramelize in the high heat, giving them extra sweetness and flavor. Try sliced apple, pears, pineapple, halved bananas, figs, nectarines, peaches or plums.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries! These tiny, tasty, and colorful fruits can be grilled in a metal pan, or even better, sealed in an aluminum packet so they steam up nicely. So delectable in salads, in fresh salsas or as a dessert.

Flip It — Flip It Good
Flipping food frequently may help prevent the formation of HCAs, according to recent research using hamburger patties. To turn meat without piercing it (which releases juices that drip onto the coals), use tongs or spatulas instead of a fork.