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!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Coconut Oil, Friend or Foe?

coconutoilpostI use cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil less than I used to. I didn’t taste much difference between that and a light olive oil in stir-frying. My knowledge of coconut oil in the past was that it wasn’t very good for you so my curiosity in why that ‘claim’ is different today, is no surprise. I decided to dig in, learn more about the pros and cons about coconut oil and decide for myself based on my nutritional training. I’ll share what I have learned but first let me state that I research like crazy before I decide on just about everything and I use references with highly accredited credentials.

In and before the 1980’s the use of coconut oil was ‘bad’ due to it being a saturated fat which raise bad cholesterol levels and so the use of hydrogenated oils became the norm. Findings later decided that hydrogenated oils were worse for us that coconut oil so up rose coconut oil fame again because of its minimal processing. In fact, everywhere you read there are claims that coconut oil is a ‘miracle oil’ and will fix just about any ailment you have including your squeaky gate…or gait.

What I have found in my recent research project is that the goodness of coconut oil depends on what oils you are replacing with coconut oil and how the coconut oil has been processed. Depending on what it’s replacing it can either raise good cholesterol as in replacing hydrogenated vegetable oils, have a neutral affect as in replacing butter and lard and it can have a questionable effect regarding heart health. Most of studies were done in countries where diet and exercise lifestyles were far different from here in the U.S. and other countries.

I just bought a new jar of coconut oil basically because of all the claims that we are all bombarded with. I now wish I had done this research ‘before’ I bought more but now I have a full jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil to use up. I’ll use it sparingly as I did the first jar but I might use it more externally than internally though I’m not afraid of it, I just choose to lighten up on it a bit. There is no evidence that it is down-right unhealthy for you but there are also no fantastic studies proving that it IS a miracle oil.

Everyone has their right to an opinion and a choice so I will practice mine based on the findings of my research. I’ll use up the jar I have but, in the future, I think I will stick with using the small amounts of extra virgin olive oils and various nut oils (and sometimes I even use a pat of butter-eeek!) that I am a fan of. I don’t use a lot of oil in a day and I don’t eat packaged snacks much if at all and my blood work had always been great so I feel confident in what I typically use for cooking.

If you do choose to use coconut oil in your cooking, choose the best product. Make sure the coconut oil you buy is organic, virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed; it will be in the purest form possible while conveniently put into a jar.

What are your thoughts on coconut oil? Have you used it and has it performed miracles for you? If so, what else has changed in your habits when you switched to using coconut oil? I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me an email!

After thought: Coconut oil is pretty great on your skin, especially those overworked hairstylist hands, gardening hands, cooking hands, mechanic hands and all hands (and feet) in-between!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Sugar Belly

 

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Chances are, you have heard the words and/or read about sugar belly. It’s a real issue so I thought I’d make a quick note for you to get some of the basics of sugar belly so that you can begin making small changes today that will lead to big changes for your future.

Sugar belly could quite possibly be the toughest fat to get rid of – it certainly is the last thing to go when ‘dieting’. What is sugar belly? It’s the fat we get around our middle that is more often a direct result of eating too many simple carbohydrates; of course, eating too many fats and the wrong type of fat has a lot to do with that middle belly bulge too.

Here’s a quick bit of info. on belly fats:

  • Visceral fats are deep inside and around the organs and it takes more energy to burn it.
  • Subcutaneous fats are right under the skin and the hardest to lose – starches and fats store as this fat first then it works its way deeper into the body.

If you don’t improve your nutrition and lifestyle, you could end up becoming a statistic of type 2 diabetes. Don’t wait until it gets to that point, don’t wait to react…become pro-active!

While changing your dietary and lifestyle habits can be difficult, confusing and maybe less convenient, it’s not impossible and it’s not as hard as you think. When you know what to do and how to it, you can ease into a better lifestyle and better health.

  • You can begin making changes by replacing sugary and starchy foods with fiber foods such as vegetables, whole grains and fruit.
  • Eliminate or at least limit beans, corn and potatoes. You can add these in in limited moderation after you have reached your goal, but always keep moderation under control.
  • Increase lean proteins moderately – eat lean meats, eggs, tofu, tempeh, and whole grains such as quinoa.
  • Have 5-9 or more servings of vegetables every day and 1-3 servings of fruit every day. This might sound like a lot of vegetables but when you eliminate the simple carbs. and junk foods and sweet sugary snacks, you’ll realize that lots of vegetables fill you, fuel you, hydrate you and clean your body from the inside out.

What are the benefits of eating more vegetables, fruit and lean proteins?

  • Clean, purified and oxygenated blood
  • Less fat in and around the body and organs = lower weight
  • Clear, vibrant, healthy, younger looking skin
  • Complete nourishment = more energy, alertness, better hydration
  • And so much more!

Make a change today. Choose a healthier, lighter you. Get rid of your sugar belly and find yourself in a new light. As always, if you would like guidance I am always happy to be your personal health coach, just call or write and let’s get started!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

My Weakness: Portion Control

and coleslaw with plain Greek yogurt and spice dressing

Like many, I love food. I eat and crave healthy food [most of the time], I don’t eat processed food and I rarely ever eat junk food.

I usually have good self-control but sometimes I find myself going back for seconds simply because it tastes so good! That is a poor excuse for overeating especially when my stomach has been satisfied the first time around. This doesn’t happen every day, and when it does, I know I need to go inside myself and re-assess my emotions.

When I go inside myself emotionally, I ask: do I want seconds because it indeed does taste so good that one serving isn’t possibly enough or is there something missing in my life? If it’s the latter, what is missing? What is it that food is satisfying for me? Why does food make it somehow a little better?

Do you find yourself going in for more than you need? Do you feel uncomfortably full sometimes after you eat? Do you sometimes feel frustrated about where you are in your life, or about not being able to reach your goals as easily or quickly as you wish, do you feel like something is missing or off? The we you feel is often the reason we eat more than we should, or why we eat sugar, carbs, crunchy, chewy, gooey things, or soft, cold, or warming foods and drinks.

Assessing your feelings, writing them in a journal and getting in touch with your innermost feelings will help you to move forward. If you don’t quite know where to start, as a health coach, I work with individuals with exactly this type of behavior, help is always available and affordable. You are worth feeling good, looking good and being healthy.

Gaining control over what and how we eat is something we need to accomplish. When we accomplish that goal first, it makes our big goal easier to reach and new goals more exciting to set….and reach!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

It is a type of fat made in the liver to help bile production. Your body makes some cholesterol on its own and is needed to help digest food, make vitamin D and hormones; sex hormones to be precise. Your liver will produce more cholesterol when you eat trans-fats and saturated fats; if these are part of your regular diet, it will lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels.

What are the dangers of high cholesterol or high LDL?

LDL is low-density-lipoprotein and you want to keep this number low; HDL is high-density-lipoprotein and this level is best when kept high.

Three common risks of high cholesterol levels are heart attack, stroke and insulin resistance which can, and usually does, lead to diabetes if healthy changes are not made.

Without throwing out all the numbers, here are some ways to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level and/or get your cholesterol back to a healthy level.

  • Eat less/no bad fats: red meat, fatty meat, fried foods including everyone’s favorite, French fries. Sorry, your life is worth more than a few fries!
  • Quit smoking if you smoke.
  • Consume less alcohol if you drink more than 1-2 per day.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight but even if you’re thin, you can have high cholesterol; know your numbers.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, soluble fiber: oats, oat bran, beans, lentils, peas.
  • Exercise: it reduces the absorption of cholesterol. Get active 30 minutes/day at least 5 days a week. If you can’t find time, break it up in 10-15-minute intervals a few times a day. Walk, run, bike, swim, dance, jumping jacks, jump rope, roller blade. Just get active!

By eating a diet higher in vegetables, fruit, healthy fiber and healthy whole grains, eating smaller portion sizes, drinking plenty of water every day along with physical activity, you can have and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In adopting these habits, you will likely have healthy blood pressure and sugar levels as well.

Eat, drink & play the healthy way!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Support Your Thyroid Naturally

Your thyroid’s function is to control how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to its other hormones.

Your thyroid might be challenged if you’ve been feeling tired, anxious or jittery/fidgety, depressed, in a brain fog, low sex drive, increased or decreased appetite, dry skin, low or excessive sweating, bowel issues, irregular cycles, brittle nails with ridges, pain or numbness in arms, legs, feet and hands, heart flutters, taste/smell is gone, feeling cold or hot, too sleepy/can’t sleep, thinning hair, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain and/or trouble losing despite exercise and diet control; this is a long but general list and if you feel these symptoms are moderate to severe, your best option is to see your doctor.

Some causes of thyroid dysfunction are from chlorine, fluoride and bromine. Chlorine and fluoride is in much of our drinking water unless you drink well water. Bromine comes from flours used in breads, breakfast foods, cakes & pastries, batter for fried foods and the like – especially processed foods. Too much soy foods can also suppress the thyroid gland function.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your thyroid functioning on a healthy level by using foods and lifestyle improvements. Iodine is an important mineral for thyroid function and should be consumed through whole foods that are iodine rich as consuming too much iodine (through the use of supplements) can be dangerous.

Some simple ways to balance your thyroid function include:

  • Eating an alkaline based diet – Alkaline Foods Chart click and download/print for shopping list reference
  • Regular exercise
  • Increasing chlorophyll through leafy green vegetables and supplements
  • Eat pears and apples regularly
  • Zinc and selenium rich foods, Brazil nuts have both, and/or through supplements
  • Coconut oil – 1 teaspoon daily – use organic, cold-pressed
  • Fish, (except bottom feeders such as shellfish, crabs, lobster, shrimp & krill)

Foods to eliminate include:

  • Fluoride & chlorine
  • All processed foods – artificial coloring and flavorings, preservatives, white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), and canola oil

These are some basic steps you can take to help your thyroid function at its best. Again, if you feel symptoms are bad enough, see your doctor to get your thyroid tested.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Chewing: Do you truly taste what you eat?

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You’ve probably heard it before, chewing is important. Do you know why you should chew your food well? There are several reasons so let’s get right to it.

1 – Chewing is your first step in proper digestion.

2 – Proper digestion breaks down your food so that your body can absorb as many nutrients as possible.

3 – Tasting your food and giving your brain time to realize that you’re feeding your body which in turn controls overeating.

4 – Chewing your food well gives you much needed moments in your day to s l o w down.

5 – Eating slowly and chewing helps your mind reset itself, it creates awareness and a conscious effort to control how much you eat and eventually what you eat when you make chewing a habit.

Next time you sit down to a meal, pause before you begin, breathe in fully and exhale, set your pace to “slow and easy”, take your first bite and really taste your food. Allow your mind to appreciate that you are eating and what you’re eating. Allow yourself time to enjoy nourishment. Allow yourself to slow down, take your necessary breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack break. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you!