Tag Archives: eating healthy

Are You Losing Your Mind?

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In the first large, population-based study of its kind, a team of researchers has found a link between vitamin D consumption and the risk of developing dementia. Older people who do not get enough vitamin D could double their risk of developing the condition. Similarly, younger people who do not consume enough vitamin D increase their risks of developing dementia later on.

Vitamin D is important for the body’s immune function, growth and repair of bones, and normal calcium and phosphorus absorption. It can be obtained from fish, milk, eggs and cheese. oily-fish

Dementia is a collective term used to describe the problems that people with various underlying brain disorders can have with their memory, language and thinking. Alzheimer’s disease is the best known and most common disorder under the umbrella of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and is believed to currently affect 5.3 million Americans. It is most common in people aged over 65, in which a tenth of the population has the condition, but has been known to afflict individuals as young as 40 years of age.

The authors of the study, published in Neurology, state that low concentrations of vitamin D are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Worryingly, there are high rates of vitamin D deficiency in older adults – the group most at risk from developing dementia.

The CDC report that one third of the US population do not get sufficient amounts of vitamin D, with 8% of the population at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure and foods such as milk, eggs, cheese and fatty fish.

The study could provide a good starting point for this area of research. “Our findings are very encouraging and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia.” New deitary guidelines are supporting eating vitamin D rich foods once a day and oily fish a minimum of once a week.

 

 

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Super Salad!

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Here’s a great summer salad that is sure to please at your Fourth of July Party. AND It’s super healthy too! Can’t beat that!

Grilled Asparagus and Mozzarella Salad
1 Serving
Ingredients:
4 oz Cheese, mozzarella, reduced fat
3/4 cup Raw Tomatoes, Grape
3/4 cup Cooked Asparagus, frozen
2 tbsp Basil or 1 drop basil essential oil
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Pepper or 1 drop black pepper essential oil
1 tsp Vinegar, balsamic
10 sprays Non-stick Cooking Spray
(Using essential oils gives you essential vitamins and minerals that you can’t get large quantities of in the dried plants)

Preparation:
1. Cut asparagus spears into thirds. Place asparagus pieces in a lightly greased grill pan and cook until tender. Remove and set aside.
2. Cut 4 oz of part-skim mozzarella cheese into cubes and place in a medium bowl.
3. Chop or slice the basil leaves. Add the basil along with the grape tomatoes and cooled asparagus pieces to the mozzarella.
4. Combine the pepper and garlic powder with the mozzarella mixture and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
asparagusmozarella

How about Chicken Wings? Here’s a great healthy recipe.

Get Your Patriotic On!

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Fourth of July means friends, fun, food and fireworks. It can also mean fat increase if you are not careful.

PatrioticFruitSalad
Here are some healthy tips to keep you enjoying the holiday without penalizing your waistline.

1. Continue to practice your healthy eating habits on the picnic day. Do not skip meals or save calories for the “big meal”. That sets you up to overeat!!!

2. If going to a party or picnic, offer to bring an appetizer and side dish. That way you can guarantee there will be healthy choices for you.

3. Be watchful of your portions and choose NOT to have the dessert!! Instead, maybe bring a box of sugar free popcicles to share with the crowd or have a cup of coffee instead!

4. Make sure that you do not slack off from your daily exercise routine the day of the picnic. Try adding 10 or 15-minute brisk walks twice that day with available family members or the partygoers. Plan active activities such as croquet, bike riding, or taking a hike instead of sitting around and talking or watching TV.

5. If you are throwing the party, have lots of vegetables available, instead of chips only. Prepare lower fat dips and offer salsa. Explain to your guests in advance your determination to make this a healthier holiday celebration, and ask them to keep this in mind when preparing any dish they may be bringing.

6. Stay away from high calorie beverages such as sodas, juices, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. There are nearly 150 calories in one 12-ounce can of soda or juice. Smoothies and coffee drinks are often 250-500 calories, excluding the whipped cream. Alcohol is packed full of calories and carbs. It can also cause you to let down your defenses and overeat or make poor food choices. All of these indulgences will kick you out of fat burning stage and you’ll have to start over (in a sense).

7 Make sure to have a healthy meal before going to the picnic. That way you won’t be tempted to overeat because you’ll have already fueled your body… ALWAYS plan ahead.

8. At the picnic, choose healthy foods and fill a 9 inch or salad plate. Stay away from the chips and bread and corn and don’t go back for seconds.

9. If the holiday party is at your house, send some of the left-overs home with your guests, especially the desserts!!

10. Remember to eat slowly, which will help you to eat less and feel full and satisfied.

11. During holiday weekends, make your goal to maintain your weight and not to gain any!

12. Be positive. Don’t let your weight and cravings take control of you.

13. Holiday traveling… don’t forget to pack your convenient healthy meals! Put small meals in zip lock bags and use them to cushion around items in your suitcase. Also bring a cooler full of fresh vegetables and water.

14. Remember the reason for the season and focus on ‘fellowship’ and not on ‘food’!

15. Habits are habit forming… People form habits but habits transform people! Let’s Take Shape for Life! Let’s transform our thinking to become choosy about what we eat. Let’s make it a habit to select healthy foods and plan to integrate healthy foods as part of our ‘prescription for life’!

Have a Happy and Healthy Summer Picnic Season!!!!

7 Healthy Alternatives to White Sugar

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sugarRefined sugars are not only inflammatory in nature, but are linked to metabolic diseases as well. Sugar has been shown to cause tooth decay, diabetes, weight gain, and even acne. The most inflammatory sugars are those of a refined nature (white sugar and brown sugar). There processing depletes any nutritional value while increasing inflammation.

The sugar substitutes are just as bad if not worse. They are not only inflammatory in nature but have been linked to disease in the body. Aspartame is linked to headache, nausea, dizziness, and is thought to precipitate and/or worsen conditions like multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions. Saccharin (otherwise known as Sweet’n Low®) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

With the health risks of traditionally made sugar it’s nice to know that there are some alternatives out there that are less inflammatory and lower on the glycemic index.

Here are 7 of my favorites:

Stevia is a natural sweetener that is derived from the stevia plant. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar yet is negligible on the glycemic index and is calorie free making it a great substitute for diabetics. Many stevia products are available on the market and now there are even naturally flavored version such as chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, and more. For some stevia may be an acquired taste. Stevia is in our Trim Shakes!

Sucanat is literally whole cane sugar completely unrefined. It retains it’s molasses which gives it the brown color and it’s distinct taste. Cane juice is extracted and mechanically heated and cooled to form grainy crystals. Sucanat has fewer calories, and a smaller proportion of sucrose, and because it’s unrefined, sucanat retains some nutritional value. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and others. If you are a fan of brown sugar, this is the best alternative.

Turbinado, Much like is the unrefined version of cane sugar. It’s processing is very different from sucanat in that the cane juice is extracted, heated, and then turned into crystals. This doesn’t leave much of the molasses intact and therefore the turbinado has a lighter appearance and a milder taste. However, this sugar can also be used in place of brown sugar in recipes and food preparation, and it contains the same nutrient benefits as does the sucanat.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol contained in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. It is commonly found in chewing gum. While it can give some indigestion to some upon initial consumption, it is considered a healthier sugar. It is lower on the glycemic index which make is preferable for diabetics over regular sugar, and it has been shown to fight cavities.

Agave is a combination of fructose and glucose sugars and is derived from the agave plant. It is made by extracting and purifying the sap of the blue agave plant. This sugar alternative is low on the glycemic index, which makes it better for diabetics, however it is also higher in fructose than the rest of the sugars and thus must be consumed in moderation. High fructose intake is thought to be linked with obesity because of the way the body processes the sugar. As well, high fructose consumption may increase risk for heart disease over time. So enjoy this sugar alternative only in moderation. Dr. Weil is not a fan of Agave. Use this as last resort.

Raw Honey to some is considered a super-food as it is packed with vitamins, minerals and healing nutrients. Some specific types of honey, such as clover and orange blossom are a little lower on the glycemic index. However, diabetics must still take care and consume this with moderation because to can spike the blood sugar if overindulged. Also, it is important to read the labels when purchasing honey to be sure the honey is RAW as processed honey is no better than table sugar. It’s processing strips all of its nutrient value and leaves it high up on the glycemic index.

Maple Syrup is a naturally occurring syrup that is an excellent substitute for table sugar. It’s high in mineral content especially manganese and zinc, and can help stabilize cholesterol. However it does have a high glycemic index, so diabetics must use caution to avoid this particular sugar alternative. There are different grades of pure maple syrup (A, B, C) that refer to the level of processing. The higher the grade the less processed the maple syrup is, leaving it with distinct tastes between the three. The most commonly used is grade A.

Conclusion: There are plenty of alternatives to traditional table sugar, however, even healthy sugars and sugar substitutes should be consumed in moderation. Over indulgence in even these “healthy sugars” can lead to any of the inflammatory diseases mentioned earlier in the article.Avoid refined sugars, and products containing high fructose corn syrup. These types of sugars have an addictive property and contribute to weight gain leading to obesity.

A healthy option to combat sugar cravings is an essential oil blend. I love this product! I have been using it for 8 months and have been off sugars for nearly that long.  It works to eliminate the cravings.

Day 29: 30 Days of Hope

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This adorable mom and daughter started our health program in June 2013 and lost 97 lbs! They are ready for this summer and look at them now. Don’t they both look amazing?

momdaughter

Day 28: 30 Days of Hope

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Meet Dawn:  “I’m not done yet but I have lost over a hundred pounds so far. I’m feeling so much better! I’m able to do so many more things now that I could not do before. I am also very blessed to be able to help others reach their goals as well. I LOVE the results I have seen on this program! I recently had blood work done and found that my cholesterol and triglycerides are in perfect order now too! Yay for non scale victories. I plan on busting it this next onto to have strong finish for my 12 month mark on my journey to optimal health!”

Dawn

What’s your Achilles’ Heel?

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We all have it. That one thing (or even two things) that we just love so much, it will derail every goal and good intention when it comes to eating healthy.  Mine is french fries…

 

 

and chocolate…

 

 

 

and mushrooms, the deep fried ones!

So how do you have your cake, or fries, or chocolate… and still stay healthy? It’s about all about MODERATION and PREPARATION.

You know about MODERATION.  Keep your serving size small and don’t go back for seconds.  Also, some things just aren’t healthy for you if you eat them EVERY DAY.

PREPARATION is a little harder.  Just because you are not adding sugar or frying something, doesn’t mean you are sacrificing taste.  I love to cook and here’s what I’ve come up with for my three Achilles’ heel items.

 

Suntanned French Fries

  • cooking spray
  • 1 pound butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into thick French fries
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • 1 drop black pepper essential oil or 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 drop oregano essential oil or 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Blot any moisture from the butternut squash fries with paper towels, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned and tender, 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.

 

Chocolate Bark

chocolate-bark

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 1 drop Peppermint essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine all three ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste the mixture, and adjust sweetness, to taste.
  2. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a dish lined with parchment paper, and smooth with a spatula.
  3. Place in the freezer to set for 20 minutes, then use a knife to cut into bite-sized chunks.
  4. Serve directly from the freezer and enjoy!

Notes
It’s important that the coconut oil is not melted, or the coconut oil and cocoa powder will separate while setting. For a smooth texture, solid or softened coconut oil is best.

 

Not Deep Fried Mushrooms

  • 1/2 c. quinoa flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 c. soft bread crumbs (I prefer whole wheat)
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan
  • 1 drop basil essential oil or  2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 c egg substitute, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. non-fat milk
  • 16 oz fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. Smart Balance Light buttery Spread. melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Lightly grease 15×10-inch jelly-roll pan.
  3. In plastic bag, combine flour and paprika.
  4. In another plastic bag, combine crumbs, cheese and basil.
  5. In small bowl combine eggs and milk.
  6. Shake mushrooms in flour mixture and dip in egg mixture.
  7. Shake in crumb mixture, pressing crumb mixture to mushrooms to coat.
  8. Arrange mushrooms cap-side down on prepared jelly-roll pan.
  9. Drizzle with butter.
  10. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Fried_Mushrooms

You don’t have to give up foods you enjoy when you’re working on living and eating healthy. Most recipes can be modified to give you the foods you love without the not-so-good oils, sugars, fats, and calories that are NOT good for your health.