Tag Archives: Health

Let’s Talk Meal Planning

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.

Let’s Talk GMO’s

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 **

Going Nuts About Nuts

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 101

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. **  

Rise and Shine

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.

10 Benefits To The Green Smoothie

Are you feeling tired and rundown? Are you having a hard time keeping up with your day-to-day activities? I have been there. Which is why I had to make a change in my daily living habits. I could write for days on the benefits of the green smoothie, as I am a huge supporter of its nutritional value. I personally drink one every morning to start my day. But besides its amazing nutritional value, here are other ways the green smoothie is liquid gold (or should I say green).

1. A green smoothie a day keeps the sickness at bay. Green smoothies help to build a stronger immune system.

2. Drinking regular green smoothies leads to healthier skin, hair and nails.

3. Green smoothies can help accelerate your metabolism, thus helping to lose or control weight. This does not mean you need to live off a diet of green smoothies to lose weight. It simply means that a green smoothie can act as a wonderful addition to your diet.

4. The green smoothie has many anti-aging properties. It can help your body and skin stay hydrated, thus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

5. It can help improve joint and bone function.

6. Because the green smoothie requires limited digestion, all its nutritional properties are rapidly absorbed into your digestive system, while also giving your digestive system a rest.

7. Removes impurities such as carcinogens from our body.

8. When you are putting good fruits and vegetables into your body, your body will reward you. Thus why the green smoothie is a wonderful energy booster.

9. Fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancer and heart disease, so adding a green smoothie to your daily routine can lower your risk for future diseases.

10. A regular diet of healthy foods will help naturally curb your cravings for junk food.