Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Joint Pain and Dietary Guidelines – Eating Shouldn’t Hurt

Joint pain affects all of us at one time or another; it even strikes kids from time-to-time. As we get older, joint pain is more typical in our daily lives, but through diet and other changes you can reduce joint pain.

Joint pain has many different causes including poor diet, low/no exercise, injury, age, wear and tear.

If you regularly eat foods like white bread, wheat bread and other refined carbohydrates, or if you eat a lot of whole grain breads and pasta, you can count on having joint pain. If you eat fried foods, French fries, donuts, chicken fingers, potato chips, many items in the Chinese food menus, red meat, processed meats and other processed foods, sugary foods such as soda, sweetened juices, candy, pastries, corn syrups, margarine and shortening, you can expect to have inflammation caused joint pain.

If you suffer from daily joint pain and stiffness, give a diet change a try. Changing your diet to better food choices can help ease joint pain without having to depend on medications that make your body toxic and sluggish. The bonus to changing your diet not only improves your joint health, you’ll likely drop a few pounds, improve your blood pressure and clear out your intestinal track, leaving you feeling lighter and more energetic.

Changing your diet will take commitment but you can easily shift into better choices when you know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. A simple list follows so that you can start making changes today.

Avoid – Inflammatory Foods

Fried foods including chips and other items from the snack aisle, simple carbs (as listed above), processed corn, sugary drinks and snacks, artificial sweeteners, red meat (at least cut down on it), processed meats and other processed foods, artificial butters, salt, alcohol, omega 6 oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil) shortening and lard – use real butter, but practice portion control and try using lemon juice and spices in place of butter.

Eat – Anti-inflammatory Foods

  • Vegetables – All types of vegetables, all colors – raw, steamed, boiled or roasted – broccoli, parsley (phosphuraphane, K & C and calcium)
  • Nut oils- walnut (10x the omega 3’s than EVOO), avocado, almond, peanut, sesame oils and butters
  • Whole grains – barley, farro, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal (if you find that you feel bloated after eating any of these, avoid them, also avoid barley & seitan if you are gluten intolerant)
  • Fruit – citrus, pineapple, berries, melons, cherries (vitamin C)
  • Garlic, onions, leeks
  • Milk, yogurt & cheese (vitamin D & calcium)
  • Nuts/Seeds – peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, chia, flax seed (1 oz./day = magnesium, omega 3’s, zinc, iron, potassium & blood sugar control)
  • Beans – all kinds without sugar added, soy beans, edamame, tofu (magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber)
  • Mushrooms – (copper helps produce red blood cells and has potassium for heart, muscles and nerve)
  • Molasses – 1 tablespoon (magnesium which helps relieve inflammation)
  • Fish – 3-4 times/week (omega 3’s) Omega 3 supplements (less absorption into the body than fish)
  • Spices – ginger, turmeric, juniper berries, cinnamon, cayenne, chili, pepper (all anti-inflammatory)
  • Tea – dandelion root tea, green tea, black tea (anti-oxidants, polyphenols, EGCG)

Next time you’re at the grocery store or farm stand, choose some of the healthy foods listed and start making change for your body soon. You deserve to eat well and feel good!

Again, changing your diet isn’t always easy but when you practice making healthier choices and begin feeling the benefits change becomes easier. If you’re not fully convinced that diet plays a big role in joint pain, test it out for a month. Make the suggested subtractions and additions to your diet for the next month and make notes about how you feel each day or week. At the very least, it can help ease some pain, reduce a few pounds and help clear out your digestive track from gunk that builds up from the foods on the foods to avoid list.

Let me know your thoughts or get in touch if you would like guidance and accountability in making healthy changes.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Comfort Outside of Food

Comfort comes in many forms and for each of us comfort means something very different from the next.

We all seek comfort. We look for it in our family members, our friends, sometimes strangers, nowadays we can reach out and find it through social media, we seek it from our pets, some look for it in cleaning, shopping, going to the gym, finding distraction in a movie; we also look to food for comfort and some look for it in a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or other alcohol. I’m sure there are hundreds more ways people look for and sometimes find comfort.

Along with looking for comforting situations comes the reason we seek it. Those reasons are endless and among them is stress, sadness, boredom, depression and loneliness.

Too often many comforts lead to less than healthy choices. We crave certain foods when we seek comfort. Particular textures and tastes have much to do with how we are feeling. Common cravings are sweets, carbs, junk foods and alcohol. Giving in to these cravings leads us into a downward spiral often leaving us feeling worse.

If you find yourself seeking comfort on a regular basis and turning to foods or activities that you know deep down isn’t doing your body of lifestyle any good, take a step back and make a decision to finally take care of YOU. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is important for a healthy, happy and long life.

As a holistic health coach, I’ve helped people overcome their overwhelming desire to give in to self-sabotaging choices for seeking comfort. Is seeking unhealthy “comfort foods” getting you down? Let’s talk!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Swell! Food Causes of Inflammation

Oftentimes people relate inflammation to a sore tooth, a cut or other injury or joints but inflammation is present in a large majority of U.S. citizens. Why is this so? It’s true and due to the endless choices of fast foods and junk foods that are made up of too much sugar, refined flour, refined oils, and other ingredients that are used for flavor, freshness and longer shelf life. Think about this; have you ever bought food when you didn’t plan on it or grab a snack because it was available even when you weren’t hungry? I think we all have – and often we have made a choice we otherwise wouldn’t have, again, solely because it was there. The extreme availability of food around us truly hurts us.

How many symptoms of inflammation do you have? Do you have any:

  • Pain/stiffness in your joints and/or muscles?
  • Feeling bloated or gassy?
  • Feel tired or fatigued easily or often?
  • Have brain fog?
  • Mood swings?
  • Sleeplessness?
  • Cramping/constipation/diarrhea?
  • Allergies, seasonal and to certain foods such as dairy and/or wheat?
  • Asthma?
  • Skin problems, rosacea, eczema, flushing, rashes?
  • High Blood Pressure?
  • High Blood Sugar?

If you have even one of these symptoms on a regular basis, you could have body inflammation. After you eat do you feel light and energized or heavy, tired and too full? By eating the right foods, you can feel satisfied, energized and awake – which will help you digest to absorb nutrients and digest to eliminate toxins that can cause inflammation.

A quick list of foods to avoid includes:

  • Omega 6 foods – polyunsaturated oils such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil and soybean oil.
  • Trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
  • Refined foods including sugar, flour and refined oils
  • Simple carbohydrate foods – cookies, cake, chips, donuts, ice cream, soda, sweetened iced tea and Kool-Ade mixes and other snack foods and junk foods.
  • Fried foods
  • Red meat and processed meat such as hot dogs, deli meat, sausages

Limit or eliminate gluten foods such as refined bread, pretzels, pasta, wheat, crackers, some whole grains (bulgur, barley, rye, seitan, couscous, farina, graham, spelt, durum, kamut).

If you don’t choose to cut these foods out completely, if you’re not quite ready to give them up, at least try to limit them and note the personal changes doing so makes. Leaving not-so-good foods out of your daily diet isn’t as hard as it sounds. When you increase better food choices into your daily meals, you forget about the inflammatory foods, especially when you feel the positive changes that eating better makes.

What you should eat more of are the following foods:

  • Lots of vegetables – green, red, yellow, purple, white, orange
  • Fruit-up to 3/day – be careful not to eat too many each day as it will raise blood sugar which will feed inflammation
  • Berries
  • Spices & herbs like turmeric, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, ginger, green tea, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili powder
  • Wild caught fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, shellfish and a good quality fish oil supplement. Vegan sources of Omega 3’s include flax oil and algae sources, search “Algan Sources”.
  • Nuts, seeds, walnuts and ground flax seed are highest sources of omega 3’s for this category and are high in fiber and protein.
  • Olive oil dressings – opt to make your own dressings with oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs and spices.

Pain from inflammation isn’t always because of age, activity, work, injuries and the like; pain can be caused by chronic inflammation in your body. The foods you choose to eat on a regular basis can hurt you or help you. Take control of your eating habits and reap the benefits of healthier eating. Not only can you have less pain and bloating, you will likely lose some weight as well and most of us wouldn’t mind dropping a few pounds of useless waste.

“Failure is only achieved when you don’t try. Success is the result of every small step you take toward leaving those worn out behaviors behind.”

Dawn Silva – Initiate Wellness
Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Potassium Benefits & Daily Requirements

Potassium is a mineral that is important in the body to support cells, tissues and organs; it’s also an important electrolyte that helps conduct electricity in the body. Potassium is necessary for the heart to function. It also is key to smooth muscle contraction, skeletal and normal digestive and muscular function.

Potassium balance in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood. Too little potassium results in nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, feeling weak or tired, muscle cramping, acne and other skin issues, kidney stones, vibration in the ears, thirst, depression, confusion, tingling and numbness in arms, legs, feet and abnormal heart rhythm. Heart medications and diuretics can cause low potassium levels. Too much salts in the diet due to the average American diet can cause low potassium levels.

The benefits of having a healthy potassium balance include having a healthy metabolism, lowers high blood pressure, supports heart health, proper digestion, healthy kidneys, bone health and the nervous system. It also prevents muscle spasm and pain.

The recommended amount of potassium per day ranges from 400 mg-5100 mg per day based on age, gender and while pregnant. A general goal to strive for is 4500 mg per day. You can get all the potassium you need from the foods you eat based on a diet high in vegetables and fruit. Just 3 servings per day every day will help you keep your potassium level in balance. Foods that are high in potassium include avocados, carrots, bananas, bran, peanut butter, peas and beans, tomatoes, wheat germ, baked and sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli and other greens, mushrooms, summer squash, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, lentils, pistachios, yogurt, celery, cantaloupe, chicken, salmon, cod and flounder. Keep in mind that cooking foods, especially boiling, can reduce the amount of potassium remaining them.

By making sure you get enough potassium, calcium, magnesium, and natural sodium every single day, you can feel assured you’re helping your body function at its best. Getting your vitamins, minerals and electrolytes through food is far more absorbable than supplements but if you aren’t eating quite right yet, supplements can still help a little.

If you want more information on the best supplements, email me here.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Corn Syrup & High Fructose Corn Syrup; What’s the Difference?

cornsyruppostSomeone recently presented me with this question and as a food and lifestyle coach, it’s my job to find answers to everyday questions and share the information with you so you can make healthy choices in your journey.

Corn syrup is made by extracting from the corn starch from yellow corn plant and made into glucose by breaking it down with enzymes (amylase).

High Fructose Corn Syrup is also made by extracting the corn starch from the plant but it is put through more processes adding three additional enzymes separately to turn it from glucose to fructose then additional glucose is added to turn it into high fructose which changes the molecular arrangement. HFCS also contains mercury in toxic levels due to the chlor-alkali products used in the processing. This process makes more sugar for less money; at the expense of our health. HFCS and corn syrup alike has NO nutritional value, it requires more energy by your body to be absorbed and it depletes your ‘energy fuel’ source in your gut that keeps your intestinal lining healthy and intact. This depletion causes holes in the lining and leaks gut bacteria which causes full body inflammation and a wide array of diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s & obesity.

What about corn sugar? Farmers are trying to have the words “corn sugar” registered for use in place of high fructose corn syrup so beware of so-called healthier options for HFCS, corn syrup and sugar. All sugar is harmful when used in higher amounts than necessary. Natural sugars such as those in fruit and vegetables are healthy sugars for fuel when eaten in its natural form and in moderation.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Great Blood Work Results Can Be a Side Effect of Eating Properly

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Maybe you want to change your diet to lose weight, maybe that’s your only goal, or maybe you want to lower blood sugar, cholesterol or blood pressure. Whatever your goal is, it will happen when you are diligent in adopting new good habits.

One of the first things that I have experienced happening with my clients is their improved blood work results. That shows that your body IS changing even if you can’t see it. If you stay committed you will see further results. Keep in mind that your body heals from the inside out just as it gets “out of order” from the inside out; for example, you’re fit and trim, you begin eating processed foods, junk foods, fatty, deep fried and sugary foods – at first you feel fine, but soon you begin feeling sluggish, eventually you step on a scale and see you have gained weight etc. This happened from the inside, out; it doesn’t show up right away because it’s inside wreaking havoc first.

What does it mean to eat right? First, it doesn’t mean that you must deprive yourself or count calories. When you truly eat right, calories shouldn’t matter because eating properly is not that hard to do. Eating right means not over-indulging at any meal, eating slower, and eating whole foods instead of those that come from a box, jar or can, unless you or someone you know has canned them personally of course, and limiting or replacing sugary snacks and drinks with healthy low-sugar options. It’s that simple.

Whole foods are foods that are as they came from the ground, tree, animal or sea. These foods have not been broken down and mixed with chemicals and preservatives; nor are they pre-cooked as are many processed, boxed, canned or frozen foods. Most low-fat options such as dressings, crackers/cookies/pastry, and most other foods with the exception of dairy are strongly discouraged by the holistic standards because they are worse for you than their full-fat partner due to the added sugar in most low-fat options; plus when we choose low-fat we often tend to think it’s okay to use more since it has less fat – this leaves you with even more sugar! Read labels.

Do your body a favor, surprise your doctor and omit the need for medications to keep your body in healthy balance. Eat properly, get regular exercise whether intense if that’s your thing or a more relaxed form of exercise if you prefer.

The bottom line is calories in always must be lower than calories burned if you want to lose weight, proper foods are the key to great blood work results and portion control helps all the above. Make gradual changes until these changes become habits that you no longer must think about; let it come naturally. Not sure how to begin? Contact me and I will help you ease into a healthy, happy lifestyle.

To your good health!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Why to Eat in Season Foods & What Ones to Eat

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With so many choices for foods to eat just about anywhere you turn, particularly if you live in an urban or suburban area, it’s no wonder many of us are in a constant struggle to lose weight, to feel better, to eat less, to sleep better, to not feel bloated, to have less stress and the list can go on.

Eating foods that are in season and local as well, is nothing new. Before national and international shipping began, folks ate what was available at that particular time of year. Personal canning was more popular than it is today and root cellars were more popular as well.

Seasonal eating is the essential key of holistic and medical traditions; good health and emotional balance. Seasonal eating means building meals around foods that have been just harvested and adjusting your diet to particular health concerns each season brings. It connects us with the calendar in the way that:

  • Winter foods warm you, keep you full longer and use spices that are warming and immunity boosting.
  • Spring foods cleanse your blood & lungs, ridding your cells of unwanted fats and prepares your body for warmer days.
  • Summer foods hydrate your body and keep it cool and lighter.
  • Fall foods help build your immune system and help to ease your body into transition for colder months ahead.

In season foods taste better and are more nutritious due to being picked when they are fully mature with all their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in tact. For example, spinach picked at its peak has 3 times the vitamin C as spinach picked early to ship across the states or to other countries.

Seasonal foods are not limited to fruits and vegetables. Fish also has seasons and by eating fish that is in season, you’re more apt to eat wild caught fish which is healthier than farmed fish which has high levels of cancer causing chemicals as well as unhealthy fats and less protein – particularly salmon. And I will add that tilapia is not a healthy choice due to it having 56 mg. of bad cholesterol in just a 4-ounce portion.

For resources and lists of what is available where you live, check out these links:

http://www.eatwellguide.org/

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/

There’s a reason for the seasons and there’s a reason all foods don’t grow in all seasons. Eat what is local to your area at each time of the year and even from month-to-month for better health; your body will thank you.

Your body will only treat you as well as you treat it.

Happy local and seasonal eating!