I hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Can you believe it is already September 3rd? Which means cooler weather, oversized sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes are ahead. However, that also means it is almost time for cold season…dun, dun dun! So what can you do to remedy yourself from this nasty little rhinovirus…?
1. Sleep, sleep and more sleep! Probably the most important thing you can do for your body during and before an illness. Sleep is the bodies natural restorative process. In fact, sleep deprivation can cause your bodies immune system to break down, thus preventing your body from fighting off illness.
2. Take Vitamin D3. In the Winter we spend less time outside, which can cause deficiencies in Vitamin D3. Studies have shown that children and adults who take Vitamin D3 are less likely to get sick with the common cold or flu. Also, spending 20 minutes outside daily can raise your Vitamin D levels immensely.
3. Enjoy regular exercise. Research is not sure what it is about exercise that helps us during cold and flu season. Some believe exercise reduces stress, improves sleep habits and usually revolves around being outside. Remind you of anything already on this list…?
4. Limit your sugar intake. Sugar suppresses your immune system, which is your body’s natural way to fight off illness. Sugar can also prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the body.
5. Reduce stress in your everyday life. Stress can break down your immunities, making you vulnerable to the common cold. Feeling stressed…? Take a walk, exercise, take a long hot bath. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Everyone thinks there is this amazing secret to losing/sustaining weight. The truth is…there is no perfect secret. Staying healthy and losing weight is hard work and dedication. Last week we talked about portion control as a way of life. Meal planning is an extension of portion control. If you are planning out your meals weekly/bi-weekly, you are limiting your calorie intake daily by eating healthy portions loaded with nutrients that are low in calories. For the average woman, reducing portion sizes and focusing on healthy foods that are lean in protein, a serving of whole grains, and loaded with vegetables/fruit can help you to sustain/reach your weight loss goals. However, it is not best to eat the same exact meal daily. Your body needs you to change the types of nutrient rich foods you are putting into your mouth. And for those of us who simply skip meals daily, like breakfast (the WORST thing to do)…meal planning will help you stick to an eating schedule.
Here is a good rule of thumb to eat (live) by in your daily meal planning: 45 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, 25 percent healthy fats (less than 7 percent from saturated fats). Overtime if you stick to this rule, you will find your body is now craving food likes beans, blueberries, spinach and nuts during snack time. Wouldn’t you love not to crave chips and candy every day….? I know I would.
For decades women have been told to eat our fruits, veggies and monitor the amount of food we put into our bodies. But what exactly is portion control and how does one go about implementing it into your lifestyle. Let’s be clear…today’s blog is not about losing weight. Portion control is a way of life. Our body only needs so many fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grains a day (think old school food pyramid). Also, the average women is going to need smaller daily portions than a man. That is where portion control comes in to play…portion control helps you to monitor the amount of food you intake daily, while also ensuring you are meeting your daily serving of fruits and veggies AND allowing you to still enjoy the foods you love.
Honestly though, it’s not practical to practice portion control when out to eat. It’s not as if you can throw measuring cups in your purse and often food sizes at restaurants are massive. In these instances, your hand can be a wonderful approximate guide to how much you should be eating.
Fist = 1 cup
Cereal, Soups, Fruit, Vegetables, Salad
Cupped Hand = ½ cup
Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, Cooked Veggies, Ice Cream (yes…ice cream)
2 Cupped Hands = 1 ounce
Chips and Crackers
Palm Of Your Hand = 3 – 4 ounces
Red Meat, Fish, Chicken, Pork
Thumb = 1 ½ tablespoons
Dressings, Sour Cream, Spreadable Cheese, Peanut Butter
The Tip Of Your Thumb = 1 teaspoon
Butter, Oils, Mayonnaise
It’s 3 o’clock pm and it’s almost time to head home from work, but the day keeps lagging on, your eyes are beginning to get heavy, and your head and shoulders start to sag. Full-time, part-time, stay-at-home moms…We have all been there and it’s called the “3PM Slump.” So often when you find yourself feeling tired around mid-afternoon it’s because you are hungry. It is so easy to reach for a sugary snack, cup of coffee, or salty snack. These will satisfy your immediate cravings, however your body will quickly burn thru the sugar causing you to crash again. Your body needs carbs that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep you energized longer. In order to beat the 3PM Slump you need to be prepared. Keep foods on hand like nuts, seeds, fruit, greek yogurt, cheese sticks, popcorn and hummus. Most of these are portable and can be thrown in your purse/backpack. Also, KIND bars are great for portable energy (and my personal favorite). They are low in sugar and high in fiber. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help to sustain your energy levels throughout the day. You can also drink a cold glass of ice water around this time to help wake you up, as dehydration can cause sleepiness.
Protein is essential is building/developing strong bones and muscles. After water, your body is primarily made up of protein. Protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about 1/3 of our bone mass. Sufficient amounts of protein help fight infections and provide our bodies with energy to get thru the day. High protein foods take more time to digest and metabolize, which means you will feel fuller longer and are also burning more calories. Also, if you are attempting to lose weight, a steady diet of lean protein will help you burn fat and not muscle. Proteins are constantly breaking down in your body. The protein we consume daily is being processed into amino acids within our bodies. These amino acids are then used to replace the broken down proteins in our body. Your daily consumed protein also aids in healthier/strong hair, strong nails and radiant skin. The current recommended daily allowance of protein is .08 grams per kilogram, however pregnant woman and elderly people require more protein in their daily diets. Just keep in mind it is important that you eat a well-rounded diet that includes complex carbohydrates, produce, protein and healthy fats.
Foods that contain protein include:
- Red Meat
Fun fact: The word protein was conceived by a Dutch chemist in 1838 and comes form the Greek word “protos” which means “of prime importance.”
Those hot Summer months can be torcher on your beautiful tresses. Especially after spending long lengths of time in the sun, pool, lake or ocean. But there is hope for those of us who need a little hair revamp.
1. Don’t over wash you hair. I know what you are thinking…your hair is far too oily to go without washing multiple times a week. However, it is possible to train your hair so you are only washing it two-three times a week. This is much better than using product on your hair multiple times a week.
2. Limit the heat. Heat products such as blow dryers, curling irons and straighteners make your hair gorgeous, but they can really do a number on those beautiful locks. I try to limit heat products to 2-3 times a week on my hair. If you do plan on using a heat product make sure that you are using a protectant before hand. My personal favorite…argan oil. Extracted from Morocco’s argan tree, argan oil is wonderful at conditioning, as well as keeping your hair soft and manageable.
3. Deep condition your hair once a week. Coconut oil, honey, olive oil and avocados can all provide the basis for a wonderful, nourishing hair mask.
4. Before you get out of the shower stick your hair under cool water. The cold water will seal in the conditioning treatment. You can also think of it as your morning wake up call. 🙂
You have probably stumbled upon an article or two lately referring to GMO’s, but what exactly is a GMO and what do you need to know about them. The term GMO refers to a Genetically Modified Organism. An organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of of genetic engineering. Thus, the DNA contains one or more genes that are not normally found. Technically this could be a plant or animal. It seems we did not start hearing about GMO’s until recently but humans have been modifying food thousands of years. Today’s farmers use GMO’s to reduce loss of crop damage from weeds, diseases, and insects, as well as from extreme weather, such as drought. It is not the direct threat from a GMO that has raised concerns as of late. Over the years technology in agriculture has created herbicide resistant plants, which has allowed farmers to use increased chemicals without killing their crops. The first genetically modified products to appear on supermarket shelved were corn and soybeans. Because corn and soybean are two of the most common ingredients in processed foods, you are now finding these herbicide resistant plants appearing in virtually all supermarkets. The only true way to know what you are eating is to look for products that contain a USDA Certified Organic seal, or to eat a truly organic product.
** Definition of GMO provided by www.dictionary.com **
A nut is technically a hard-shelled dry fruit/seed, but I just think of them as perfect for snacking time. Although nuts are high in fat, eating them in moderation can be wonderful to add to your daily snacking routine. Eating a portion of nuts/seed for a snack can help control your cravings and keep you from over-eating.
- Almonds – Can help improve skin complexion, lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. They can also strengthen bones because they are rich in calcium.
- Cashews – Cashews contain a lower fat content than all other nuts. The magnesium in the cashews can help regulate muscle tone and also help to build strong bones.
- Chestnuts – The chestnut is the only nut that contains Vitamin C. They also contain higher amounts of fiber than most nuts.
- Hazelnuts – Hazelnuts are a wonderful source of oleic acid, which can help lower bad cholesterol. They can also aid in strong hair and nail growth, from their high amounts of Vitamin E and B.
- Peanuts – Incredibly rich in antioxidants, nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Also a rich source of protein to keep you full of energy and rid you of those stubborn afternoon junk cravings.
- Pecans – Containing more than 19 vitamins and minerals. Just one once of pecans offer 10-12% of your daily perfect of fiber. Pecans are also considered one of the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. They can can also aid in lowering high blood pressure.
- Pistachios – Pistachios are very rich in fiber. In fact, 45 pistachios contains the same amount of fiber as almost ½ a cup of oats.
- Walnuts – Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can hydrate your skin.
- Macadamia – Macadamia nuts contain Vitamin A, iron, antioxidants and protein (Not to mention a million other amazing beneficial nutrients).
- Pine Nuts – Pine Nuts are an excellent source or Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. Also popular in the preparation of gluten free meals.
Essential Oils Definition: any of a class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odors and are used especially in perfumes and flavorings, and for aromatherapy.
Essential oils have been around for centuries upon centuries, but in the last couple months the essential oil craze has been picking up steam again. More than a perfume/fragrance, essential oils are concentrated aromatherapy liquids than have been taken from plants, flowers, trees and nuts. Essential oils are not necessarily cheap, but a lot of preparation that goes into the process of making. However, learning how to properly use essential oils can be beneficial to your mind and body.
Here are a few of my favorite essential oils:
- Lavender– Can be used for calming, soothing, for boosting the immune system, or as an antiviral.
- Lemon – Can be used for detoxifying, dry skin prevention and uplifting ones spirit. A little secret, put a couple of drops in your daily water intake for a hint of health and flavor.
- Peppermint– Can be used as an anti-fungal or an anti-inflammatory. Can also aid in digestion and increased energy levels.
- Orange– Can be used to decrease stress and increase focus.
- Grapefruit – Can be used to decrease stress and suppress one appetite.
- Lime – Can help reduce acne and aid in those who have respiratory issues.
** Keep in mind that some essential oils are not safe in certain amounts or can be unsafe used certain ways (i.e. ingested or topical). Carefully read labels and do your research. Also, essential oils that are to be used for health related problems should ONLY be handled by a trained aromatherapist. **
So many of us would love to stay in bed and catch a couple more hours of zzzzz, especially when that alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning. But at least us early risers have something going for us; studies show that waking up early is actually good for us!
- People who sleep in tend to skip breakfast, and we have all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast supplies our body with beneficial nutrients to keep us focused and energized throughout the day. Skipping breakfast will cause your body to go into starvation mode. This will make you more likely to overeat, as well as eat junk food when you actually do consume a meal.
- You are more productive when you wake up early. Early risers typically get more done throughout the day than those who sleep in. After a good night’s sleep the body/brain is charged and ready to face the day ahead.
- Early risers tend to have a more set sleeping schedule. Proper sleep routines are important for set your body’s eternal clock, which will boost your quality of sleep. Deep sigh; sleeping in until noon on the weekend is not actually helping you.
- Waking up 15-minutes earlier each day can help alleviate morning stress. The first hour of each day often sets the tone/your mood for the rest of the day. By waking up a few minutes earlier there is no need to rush throughout your morning routine, thus a happier and stress free you.
*** Helpful Hint *** Place your alarm away from your bed. This will force you to get out of bed to turn it off.