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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in nutrition

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Here we are days before Christmas!  May you enjoy the season and be able to appreciate God's love for you!

Define your treat days. Plan your treats on the actual  holidays only—Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Day, New Year’s Eve, etc., or other noteworthy days like the office or church holiday party. This way, you have a game plan for a limited number of pre-determined days where you’ll allow yourself to enjoy some favored treats, and you’ll avoid the often random and endless parade of junk food that finds its way in front of you during the holidays

 Define your treats. Create a list of your favorite/cherished holiday treats (no more than three) and commit to only having those during the holidays. It can be a favorite pie that a family member makes during the holidays, a special dessert that you enjoy at this time of year, or the occasional seasonal treat such as a peppermint latte. Make a list of your favorites and stick to those. And remember, a treat is an occasional thing—not an everyday thing. Having a peppermint latte is dessert, not your morning coffee

 It's the holi-DAYS, not the holi-MONTHS. Starting with Halloween, it seems that we often treat all of November and December as if there are no health rules. We eat and drink whatever sugary or alcoholic beverages come out way and skip workouts because “Hey, it’s the holidays, and you’ve got to celebrate.” With this perspective, it’s actually two full months—one-sixth of our entire year—that we spend derailing health with poor choices because we have to “live a little.” It’s essentially an extended sabbatical from sensible choices, and that’s too long if we want to be healthy.

 Move with a smile. It can be harder to get full workouts in with travel schedules and visiting relatives. Shift the focus to doing what you can rather than what you are unable to do. Pick an activity (not exercise) that:

•Puts a smile on your face and in your heart and/or

•You are doing with loved ones, friends, etc.

This might sound corny, but it works. Get moving doing something you love with people you love. The positive effect on mood and mindset is almost magical. Moving while doing something fun with the important people in your life does more for you than just moving or just spending time with loved ones. The combination strengthens connections between people while enhancing the health of each individual.

5.Guarantee your workouts. Make your exercise commitment small enough so that there is no way you can’t fit it in. The busyness of the holidays often means you may not have time for your full workout, but fortunately even abbreviated workouts offer great benefits. Whatever you do has benefit so make sure you do something!


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Posted by on in Nutrition


Are you a snacker?  If so, join the club.  Today, almost everybody snacks. Is that good or bad? 

More people are snacking more often than a few years ago.

Women average 400 calories a day in snacks, men average 600.

People are skipping meals and not planning, so snacks become an easy substitute.


Recent studies show that the most common snacking times include:

      After work, before dinner

      As a replacement for lunch

      While cooking

      After dinner, before bed

      Watching TV

      As a reward for finishing a challenging task, or after a hard day

      In social settings

The studies also zeroed in on common snacks - mornings include yogurt, baked goods and snack bars; afternoon choice was usually chips and/or fruit; evenings, indulgence in ice cream and candy.

Any of this sound familiar?  Most of us are there with you!! 

The problem with snacks is that most people don’t include them in their daily calories - they’re eating good meals, but ignoring the 400-600 extra calories in their snacks.  No wonder our weight doesn’t drop!

Here are some suggestions to snack intentionally:

 *Count your snack choices as servings of food - especially when meals are  unpredictable.  Be intentional about your snacks and watch portion   sizes for calorie control.  For example, when nuts are mentioned, that means 5-7, not handfuls!

 *Think of snacks as “mini-meals”.  Make choices that you’d include if you were sitting   down to a meal. 

 *Water, protein and fiber make the most satisfying snack.  Fruits and veggies provide natural sweetness and fiber plus potassium, yogurt (unsweetened) counts for protein, and we get protein, good fats and fiber from nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  Drink lots of water throughout the day.  Sometimes thirst imitates hunger.


Staying healthy and weight conscious doesn’t mean eliminating snacks.  They are actually a good way to keep your blood sugar levels even throughout the day and your hunger at bay.  Just plan your choices!





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Posted by on in Nutrition

Grilling meat does produce a couple of chemicals that may increase risk of cancer.  

Both chemicals (HCA and PAH for those of you science-types that want to look them up) are influenced by 7 factors:  type of food, how it’s cooked, temperature, how long it’s cooked, type of fuel used, fat content of the food, and the distance from the heat.  

The good news is that it is easy to lower the HCA and PAH contents of the foods we grill!  

Use herbs - Rosemary, basil, thyme, sage and oregano (all in the mint family)

                    Turmeric, onion powder and fresh garlic used in marinades

Use acid-based marinades - vinegar, lemon or line juice, wine, yogurt.  Or - a dark beer marinade

Don’t overcook

Use high-quality whole, non-processed cuts of meat such as steaks, chicken, ribs, and fresh seafood.

Include lots of fruits and veggies - when paired with grilled meats, they help fight potential carcinogens by adding antioxidants.  

Strategize while cooking - cut meat into smaller pieces to shorten cooking time.

                                      - cook meat on medium to medium-high heat                               

                                      - flip meat frequently to reduce charring

Tagged in: food nutrition
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Posted by on in Nutrition

5 Hidden Red-Flag Ingredients!!

We all try to eat healthier, but sometimes we can be sidelined by the following ingredients that are common to packaged foods.  Be aware of what you are putting into your body and what the consequences may be . . .

Carrageenan - a seaweed-based sugar molecule found particularly in dairy products,  dairy alternatives (soy and almond milk), frozen meals, desserts and nutritional drink supplements.  Carrageenan can trigger an immune system response similar to food poisioning - leading to inflammation in the digestive system.

Maltodextrin - artificial sweeteners derived from cornstarch and enzymes.  It is used as a sugar substitute in snacks, cereals, and many frozen and canned food items.  Such symptoms of consuming Maltodextrin can include gastrointestinal distress, unexplained weight gain, and allergic reactions (rashes and breathing difficulties)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) - the flavor enhancer commonly used in Chinese food, canned foods, and in fast food restaurants.  Most of us have heard of this one and have heard of it causing headaches, nausea and heart palpitations.  More recently, researchers have begun to link it with neurological and endocrine disorders.  Glutamate may appear on labels as yeast extract, calcium casseinate, or beef flavoring.

Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) - a soybean-based meat alternative that is used as a source of protein in processed foods.  It is usually highly processed and chemically altered relying on artificial colors, thickening agents such as nitrosamine (carcinogenic substance), and flavor enhancers like MSG.  

Whey Protein Isolate or Soy Protein Isolate - a supplement made from protein stripped from whey (watery part of milk) or soybean.  This protein is very common in protein bars and powdered drinks as well as processed foods.  It can contain trace amounts of heavy metals.  The soy protein is usually made from genetically modified soybeans with a herbicide residue.  

Granted - we are probably not going to experience nausea, diarrhea, weight gain, headaches, cancer, or be poisoned by metals if we happen to consume any of these ingredients in moderation!!!  However, I am finding them in more products as I am aware and reading labels carefully.  Just BE AWARE of what goes into your body.  


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Posted by on in General Health



Here are 5 thoughts that go through our heads when we are looking at food and trying to figure out how it fits into weight loss.  Each of these beliefs just touch the surface.  I would love to continue in conversation with any of you who would like to have more information or further discussion!!  Please comment at the end!  We all learn from each other’s experiences and wisdom, and this is a forum to share.


Belief #1: I Lack Willpower

Dieting is not about willpower.  If it were about that or just wanting it badly enough, the world would be thinner.  Successful weight management is about change and beliefs.  

It’s about cultivating “skillpower.”  Good news - the skills required aren’t the classic triad of suffering, sacrifice and struggle!  Instead, the skills required are organization, planning and thoughtfulness.  (Of course, that doesn’t mean these are easy . . .)


Belief #2:  If My Weight Isn’t As Low As I Think It Should Be, I’m Not Healthy

People can be healthy, no matter what their weight or body mass index is. Health has many variables.  It is far too complex to limit it to a number on the scale.


Belief #3: Dieting Has To Be Hard  

For weight management to last, it cannot be such a difficult process that we feel like we are going to suffer - that most certainly guarantees that we won’t.

In order to effect long-term change, we need to improve the path to where we want to go.  Instead of “suffering through,” we need to focus on ways to make living with less food or fewer calories easier.  Be more thoughtful and make choices each day that will carve your path to success.  


Belief #4:  I Can Exercise Away Poor Food Choices

No doubt exercise has a powerful impact on our bodies - if it didn’t, I surely wouldn’t have a job!!!  However, when all is said and done, food choices are responsible for 70-80% of a person’s weight, and fitness covers the remaining 20-30%.  Pretty staggering, huh??


Belief #5:  Cheat Days Make Dieting Easier

Unfortunately, our modern food environment might pack a caloric potential to erase nearly an entire week of “perfect” choices in 1 cheat meal.  Not a whole cheat day - 1 meal! OK - here’s a perspective:  if you were aiming to lose 1 lb a week, 5 day’s worth of effort would go to just work off that 1 cheat meal.  Cheating also makes it easier to cheat more - enough said!  Feeling the need to cheat is probably coming from something else being wrong or overly restrictive food choices.

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Posted by on in General Health

2014 Here We Come!!   Please read on . . . I promise I am not going to guilt you into going back to the gym, eating better, or getting more sleep (even if your body needs that - Hehe!)

Does the term “new year’s resolution” send excitement your way or a sense of dread?

Let’s explore . . . 


Most new year’s resolutions tend to focus on our flaws.  We vow to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, get organized, clean out our garage, worry less, or balance our lives.  Self-improvement is good (I know I can use some), but starting the year by putting such burdens on ourselves seem to be self-defeating.  That is probably the reason that only 8% of people keep their resolutions.


What if we focused on our strengths and talents as we usher in the new year.  What do you love to do?  What do you do best?  We are all gifted in so many ways.  Use your goodness to give to others.  Invest your goodness in the lives of people around you that are in need.   Love to cook?  Find a family that would be encouraged by a meal.  Is organizing your thing?  Help someone get their office in order.  Do you love people?  Invite someone over and encourage them in their life journey.  Love kids?  Babysit for a young couple who can’t afford a babysitter.  Jot someone a note if that’s your thing.  Put your gift of creativity to use somewhere.  


As we give, we do improve and I can guarantee that the rewards are great.  There is no room for self-defeat here, only a huge sense of satisfaction!!   Try it, you’ll like it!!


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The following is an facebook post quoting my 6-year old grandaughter - “Daddy, if you don’t go for a mountain bike ride, your face will turn square.”  “What??  Why would my face turn square?”  “Cuz you will be out of shape!”

Besides making me laugh, it got me thinking . . . 


How many of our minds are in that square shape - the out of shape thinking that “the holidays are coming so I am too busy to eat right, exercise, and get my sleep?”

A square is a box - our thoughts are boxed in when we tell ourselves that taking care of ourselves will happen in January “when things calm down.”  How many of us just “make it” through the holiday season and are exhausted at the end?  How much of that is due to us not taking care of ourselves, and how fun is that?

Let’s journey together to get our minds (and bodies) in better shape by thinking outside the box now before the box closes in on us!

Choose nutritious food 80% of the time.  The 20% will take care of itself.  NO “all-or- nothing” approach to eating.

Keep some kind of healthy filling snack and water with you always (see recipe below).  Life is busy, and a fast food drive-thru isn’t the best choice when you are hungry.

Just move - whatever you are doing, move more quickly than usual.  Every step and movement counts!  Your body will love it.  

Treat yourself with the same love you are extending to others.  Balance the time between baking and cooking and cleaning for loved ones with some “you” time.  YES  - 

There is time.  The box says there isn’t!  Find what refreshes you and just do it!

Avoid the “just one more thing tonight” mentality when it is getting late.  Go to bed and sleep.  It will be easier tomorrow anyway because you will be refreshed. 

Let’s evaluate the thoughts in our holiday box - - toss out the old ones that are harmful to us - - and get our minds in better shape.  Our bodies will follow and thank us.


Chocolate Cranberry Bars

1 cup almonds

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

5 medjool dates (or prunes)

1/3 cup pepitas

1/2 cup cacoa powder

2 tablespoons boiling water

Place almonds and oats in food processor and blend until a course crumb.

Add cacao powder, cranberries, and dates and blend again.

While blending, add the boiling water slowly until the mixture becomes well-incorporated.

Press the dough into a oiled 8X8 pan.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before slicing into 12 bars.


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Posted by on in Nutrition

Why the Hype???  What’s up with Antioxidants?  What is a Free Radical?

 Antioxidants (Good guys) are chemicals that break down or neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. 

Free radicals (Bad guys) are chemicals produced as a byproduct of normal cellular metabolism.  They are destructive and cause oxidative damage to tissues  as rust damages pieces of iron left outside in weather.  They damage proteins, fats, and even our DNA.

“Normally”, there is a balance between the rate at which free radicals (bad guys) are produced and the rate at which they are eliminated by the action of antioxidants (good guys).  

So - what’s the problem?  

Keep reading!

“Normally”  would be the way our bodies functioned way back before any of us were even considered.  Fresh produce, fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh poultry, no fast-food, clean air, few cars producing exhaust, lots of wide open spaces and tons of movement in our day gave our bodies most of what we needed to function optimally.  We don’t live in these “normal circumstances” any longer.  We live in big cities, and most of our food isn’t what it once was. 

Free radicals (Bad guys) are not only produced by what we eat, but by the air we breathe, and stressors in our lives . . . wait . . . none of us have any stress, do we?

Thus the need for more antioxidants (Good guys).  

The good news is that there is supplementation available to us and we can choose to eat better and exercise to provide our bodies with more good guys.  Better news is that there are foods that will signal our DNA to turn on the production of protective antioxidants, and these will be far more powerful than any supplement.  

These foods are broccoli and other cruciferous veges (cauliflower, brussels sprout, cabbage), green tea, coffee, turmeric‎, and resveratrol‎.

Let's eat up and help our bodies do what they were designed to do - have good guys fight off the bad guys : )) 

Tagged in: food nutrition
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Posted by on in Nutrition

It's Summertime!!!  Drink Up!!  Water, that is.  Good hydration helps prevent constipation, exercise-related asthma, high blood glucose, and protects against heart damage. It fills us up and helps keep our metabolism revved up.  It's just plain good for us.  

About 20% of the water you consume comes from food.  The rest (aim for 50-60 oz daily) should come from liquids we drink.  Just remember that liquids with caffeine are dehydrating, so additional water is needed to replace what is lost.  

Unless you are exercising intensely for 90+ minutes on a given day, avoid sports drinks as they add sugar and or corn syrup - we surely don't need extra calories!!

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Posted by on in Nutrition


As the weather heats up, so may your summer activities.  It's easy to "grab and go" when it comes to food.

Pause, breathe, and ask yourself these questions before running out the door - - - you'll be on your way to better enjoy those summer activities as you fuel your body properly!

1.  Is it healthy?

2.  Am I in a state of physical hunger?

3.  How much is prudent for me to eat or drink at this time?

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Posted by on in Nutrition

ARE YOU RETAINING WATER???  Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein are our main sources of energy.  We need all three of these in our daily food intake.

I just read in one of my journals (I keep learning with you!):  As carbohydrate is stored in the form of glycogen, it binds to water in the liver and muscle.  Changes in carbohydrate storage often result in meaningful shifts in fluid storage. That, my friends, results in water retention and weight gain.

Feeling bloated or just kinda heavy?  Cut back on your intake of fruits, grains, potatoes, cereals, and sugars.  Add extra protein to satisfy your hunger, and let the water flush out. 

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Posted by on in General Health

Harmful Additives

 Citizens for Health has declared April 11, 2013, “Read Your Labels Day.”  Let’s join them!!  On this day, Americans are encouraged to read the labels on products in their kitchens and the grocery store and scout out the “Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid.” Here’s the list of top 10 additives to watch out for:

#1: High fructose corn syrup
#2: Aspartame
#3: Hydrolyzed protein
#4: Autolyzed yeast
#5: Monosodium glutamate
#6: Potassium bromate
#7: BHA and BHT
#9: Trans fat
#10: Artificial colors

“Harmful food additives can contribute to many serious medical conditions that include diabetes, obesity and heart disease,” notes Harvard M.D., Dr. Eva Selhub. “Eliminating these ‘top 10’ additives from your diet is an excellent start to healthier eating.”

For more detailed information about each of these 10 ingredients to avoid, including why to avoid them and what they’re used for, check out, a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing consumers about food-safety issues.


Tagged in: food nutrition
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Posted by on in Nutrition

Ever wonder about "serving sizes"?  It's difficult to keep track of exactly how to measure, especially when you are out at a restaurant.  Many restaurant's "serving sizes" are twice what we should be eating for one meal!

Your hand is your best friend here - it goes where you go whether it's to a party, dinner out with friends, or just you at a fast food restaurant (please tell me this is not your place of choice!!).  The following link has by far the easiest way that I have seen to keep your food portions in check:

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