Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Salt Cravings: Why You Get Them & How to Satisfy Them Safely

Whether you eat a lot of salt on a daily basis or you watch your salt intake your body craves salt from time to time largely due to activity level and hot weather. When this happens, you might reach for potato chips or another salty junk food snack, cheese, fast food or countless other convenience foods. When this happens stop yourself from grabbing the closest junk food and balance your sodium levels naturally and safely.

Why You Crave Salt

Your body is low in minerals such as, but not limited to, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and zinc.

You’re dehydrated-salt keeps water in the body to hydrate the cells, when you’re dehydrated the salt holds onto water, hence fluid retention, and your body craves more salt because it needs to hold on to more water.

Under-active adrenal glands – low blood pressure is a symptom, doctor can test easily through saliva

Poorly functioning taste buds due to age and illness such as cancer (treatments) & bulimia

The Dangers of Too Much Salt

Makes arteries less flexible (stiff arteries) which doesn’t allow them to dilate to let blood flow through easily, causes kidney disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis through calcium loss, thickens the heart muscle that pumps blood making it work harder, and causes dehydration.

How much Salt is Enough and How to Replace It Safely

The amount of salt that is healthiest, given that you’re not on a salt restricted diet, is 2300 mg. per day according to the FDA and if you’re over 51 just 1500 mg. per day. In today’s food society an average of 80% of sodium comes from prepared foods including snacks, sweets, and frozen or canned convenience foods. If you eat out a lot you can be sure you’re getting a whole day’s worth of salt in one meal based on restaurant meals sodium levels averaging 1300-3000 mg. and higher per dish! Read labels and details on menus when available.

Whole foods offer natural sodium as well as minerals so by eating them regularly and when you’re craving salt you can safely balance your sodium levels and hydration. Eat foods such as broccoli, spinach, kale and other green vegetables, potatoes, bananas, citrus and other fruit, cheese, eggs, fish, lean meat, beans (if using canned always rinse well to remove excess sodium), raw nuts and seeds. Whole foods have sodium naturally and eating them regularly is the best way to keep your sodium levels balanced as well as drinking plenty of water every day.

There is so much focus on fat and calorie intake everywhere you look and less of a focus on sodium intake. Take charge of your health and control your salt intake before it takes control of you.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Food for Health Not Habit or Pleasure

Our health is all we have and our diet is one of the few things we can have complete control over most of the time. Once we neglect our body through diet we become dependent on dietary restrictions and it’s no longer up to us.

One important thing we can learn from our parents and grandparents is their health history. We can take their illnesses or disease and apply it to our own lives and fight back. If there is heart disease we should never take it lightly; we should take care of our own heart that much more, if there’s diabetes we should be concerned with our own blood sugar balance and so on. I’m not suggesting that we are doomed and destined to fall prey to our relative’s poor health; but take care of your one and only body right now.

  • Eat fresh fruits and fresh vegetables daily and try to eat what is in season.
  • Eat whole grains on a daily basis as they are heart healthy, digestive track healthy, filling and fat burning. Whole grains consist of more than whole grain bread and cereal. True whole grains are far more nutritious and beneficial to you than those breads and a cereal so adding more is necessary. A few popular whole grains are oatmeal, bulgur wheat, barley, brown rice, and quinoa. A meal that includes a small portion of one whole grain, half a plate of steamed or raw mixed vegetables and a 4-ounce portion of lean meat or beans is a complete meal as the grains offer a significant amount of protein as well as fiber. A meal like this will keep you full and help burn away fat cells which will lead to weight loss, less joint pain, less inflammation and a healthy heart.
  • Drink plenty of water every day. Remember, half your body weight in ounces is a rule of thumb [i.e. 150 lbs. needs 75 ounces of water], or as close to that as possible.

It’s okay to eat for pleasure once in a while like during a celebration or on vacation, just don’t live to eat – eat to live!

 

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Protein, Carbohydrate & Healthy Fats Balance [in the simplest foods]

As I read through social media, newspaper and magazine articles and listen to news reports I hear an overwhelming amount of different diets out there. A big fad right now is low-carb to no-carb diets that boast a high amount of animal protein such as the Paleo diet. While each of us is different and are looking for different results my personal feelings, based on what I learned as a holistic nutritional coach, are that getting back to basics and everything in balance is foolproof and easy to adapt to and follow through as your new and improved lifestyle habits. Of course I would never push someone to doing something they don’t understand or believe in as everyone has a choice and I‘m not against what anyone thinks is best for them, but I will always be here to help those who are ready and want help in making positive changes in their life.

High animal proteins cause your liver to work harder and become congested or clogged due to animal proteins being harder to break down and digest.

Personally, I eat proteins of all types including small amounts of animal proteins, I’m not a vegetarian but my diet is highly vegetable based, which includes true whole grains; I don’t eat meat every day due to personal preference but I don’t demand that everyone eat exactly as I do either. The following is a quick, handy guide to foods and their protein amounts.

Protein

  • 4 oz. chicken-36g
  • 4 oz. turkey-31g
  • Shellfish, 6 oz. shrimp-23g (plus a healthy amount of B-12), scallops-20g.
  • Beans, 1-cup boiled soybeans-29g., white beans-19g., lentils-18g., black beans-15g., (plus fiber, folate, potassium and magnesium)

Get Healthy Fats from:

  • Fish, good quality fish oils (read my article on fish oils here),
  • nuts and nut oils,
  • olive oil,
  • avocados and avocado oil,
  • sunflower oil,
  • all-natural, no sugar added peanut butter.

Finding a good balance between proteins, carbs and healthy fats is the key to living a healthy life. Your balance is different from anyone else’s and that is perfect because that is what makes you fantastically unique.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure

Hypertension aka High Blood Pressure (HBP) puts strain on the heart – think of it as “hyper = excessive” “tension = Stretch/strain”. When there is excessive strain on the arteries and the heart it can lead to stroke, aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and is a cause of kidney disease.

Some signs and symptoms of hypertension are headaches, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing or hissing in the ears), changed vision issues, fainting, fatigue, chest pain, difficulty breathing, blood in urine and pounding or pressure in the ears, neck and/or chest.

Regular check-ups and getting a baseline of your blood screenings are important and necessary in improving your heart-health as well as overall health. Even if your numbers are in the safe zone it’s important to be sure your diet is clean and healthy; if your numbers are closer to or already in the danger zone, it’s necessary to make changes in your diet and lifestyle choices.

Dietary and lifestyle changes can greatly improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of complications. A few steps you can begin with include:
Eliminating fried foods, fast foods, sugary treats and sweets, lower salt intake and salty foods,
Reducing the consumption of full-fat dairy, fatty and processed meats
Increasing lean vegetable proteins such as beans, seeds, nuts and olive and flax seed oils,
Increasing fruit, berries and vegetable intake
Switching to leaner animal proteins such as chicken, fish and eggs

You don’t have to figure it out alone. Talk to your doctor about the best route for you, a healthy diet and you can seek guidance from a health coach. You can feel great at any age when you take steps to better health! Even if your blood pressure is at a normal range but you want to get a better understanding of how to stay healthy as you age, let’s talk!

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

7 Common Diet Mistakes & Misconceptions

1- Using low-fat or fat-free options – often lower fat products have added sugars and/or sodium to improve the taste due to removed fats; many people also use more than necessary assuming they can due to it having lower calories. In the case of dairy, low-fat is fine as the fat is simply skimmed off, usually.
Fix – use the real stuff, just use less, or what is recommended, and reap the benefits of the less processed foods.

2- Portion sizes; especially when you know something has reduced fat. Start becoming more aware of your portions and refrain from taking seconds.
Fix – if you’re still hungry or if you have a hard time controlling your portions, heap your plate with more vegetables (make sure they are not swimming in sauces- steamed or roasted and lightly seasoned are best.

3- No exercise – even if you’re active or have a physically demanding job it’s important to get some exercise into your routine. If you’re trying to lose weight, diet alone won’t help significantly – without added physical activity you merely maintain your weight, that’s great once you reach your goal.
Fix – introduce 10-20 minutes of exercise 2 times a week and work up from there; choose something you know you can do such as walking, dancing, yoga and bicycling, all can be done inside or outside.

4- Water intake – many of us do not drink nearly enough water in a day. Often hunger and food craving is mistaken for dehydration. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day or as close to that as you can get. (175 pound person needs 87.5 ounces)
Fix – keep water handy at all times – if it’s handy you’re more likely to sip; find ways to log your intake by using phone apps. Or wrist bands (put 6-8 bands on in the morning, and remove one for every 10 ounces you drink)

5- Using artificial sweeteners – they are made with chemicals, they hurt your system more than help it, they lead you to craving more of it and they aren’t proven to help you lose weight.
Fix – replace artificial sweeteners with natural options such as honey, pure maple, and cinnamon. Learn to cut back on sugar and you will soon enjoy the taste of the real food more.

6- Not enough veggies or using only salad as your vegetable. Salad is great especially if it is made with a variety of dark leafy greens but it shouldn’t be your only vegetable option. Eat more of the colorful in season veggies along with your lettuce salads.
Fix – stock up on veggies, think of a rainbow of colors in your refrigerator and on your plate. When eating out, ask for an extra vegetable instead of the fries, potato or rice option.

7- Not reading labels and just trusting what the packaging claims. It’s important to become a label reader in the grocery store. Sure it takes more time but when you learn what your better options are, you will be able to fly through your shopping chore quickly again.
Fix– look for sugar, carbohydrate, protein and sodium content. Choose the lower sugar/carb, lower sodium and higher protein options.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Cleansing Foods: Eat More of Them

There’s a large list of foods that clean out your system, from your internal organs to your cells and digestive track to your skin and they can even clear your head leaving you feeling renewed and thinking clearer.

Eating whole, natural foods, specifically fruit, vegetables and whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, barley, oats, and more on a daily basis will keep your body running like a well oiled machine.

Too often we eat foods that are processed and either come from a can, a box or the freezer. Eating these types of foods more often than eating whole foods will leave you feeling weighed down, sluggish, tired, hungry, and craving other foods; sometimes we can’t get those cravings under control. We gain weight and lose sleep. Our internal organs work extra hard trying to process and digest the dozens of chemicals we ingest when we eat processed foods that contain preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients. We end up in a vicious cycle of hunger, craving, weight issues, fogginess, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, feeling tired and sometimes depression and/or stress.

Real food can make a huge difference in your life. You don’t have to feel like your body is falling apart; you shouldn’t have to feel that way. Maybe you eat convenience foods because you don’t have time or energy to cook but cooking whole foods takes the same amount of time as it would take you to heat something in the oven or stove top or to order take-out. By eating whole foods you can save money and fuel your body with proper nutrients; fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals.

Next time you go shopping, spend the most time in the produce section and stock up on a large portion of vegetables for each day/night of the week. Stock up on carrot sticks, celery sticks and other easy to grab and go vegetables for snacking on. At dinner time make your vegetable your main course and your whole grains and/or meat just a small side portion. Preparing veggies is simple and quick when you steam them, stir-fry them or roast them in the oven.
Stock up on fruit so that you will have at least 1-2 pieces every day. All fruit has sugar, each type varies in amount so limit your fruit to 1-3 per day; Bananas have a lot of sugar so keep them to a minimum of 1-4 times per week but of course not all in one day.

When you begin to transition away from take-out and pre-packaged foods and more into whole foods you will feel your cells being fueled, you’ll notice your skin begin to glow, you’ll eventually reduce your cravings for sweets, and snack foods and as a bonus you might even crave more veggies.

Your intestines will clean out the sludge, your liver will function better, your lungs will feel lighter and clearer, your stomach will be less bloated, and your blood pressure and sugar levels will improve. Your body will thank you and you will feel energized and renewed.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Feed Your Cells

Spring Cleanse SaladMy most common sayings when it comes to food and one’s diet is “feed your cells and fuel your body”.

Have you ever thought that when you eat you’re not only feeding your belly, you’re fueling your body and feeding every cell that works continuously to make you healthy?

What you feed your cells affects your body’s ability to fight disease, allergies, viruses, and to bounce back from an illness. When your body isn’t at ease it’s at dis-ease, and we all have experienced that feeling from one time or another in various degrees depending on whether we suffered an allergy attack or something of a more serious illness.

What’s the best way to feed your cells? Clean up your diet and your environment. There are countless chemicals in food and countless chemicals in products we use and in the air we breathe. While it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate our exposure to chemical toxins, we can greatly reduce our exposure through better food choices, more environmentally friendly cleaning products and keeping your home clean.

What’s a clean diet? Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are cell cleansing and feeding. They will fuel your brain and body along with strengthening your cells. Beans, nuts, fresh wild-caught fish, seeds fresh fruit and berries are great choices too. Limit dairy and meat. Limit or omit refined flours and greasy junk foods and sweet snacks.

The following are some benefits of feeding your cells.

  • Stronger immune system leading to possible quicker bounce-back from illness.
  • Healthy weight
  • More energy
    Less Fatigue
  • Less body aches & pain
  • Healthy blood sugar levels, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure
    Healthy heart
  • Better ability to handle emotional stress

…and a host of many other benefits.

Give it a try! Feed your cells and compare how you feel before and after. Try it for a t least a full week if not longer so your body will have a chance to clean out the gunk and to feel the benefits of cell cleansing, energizing, fueling foods.

Happy, healthy eating!

 

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Wicked Wheat

Wheat is a type of grass grown for its grain known as wheat berries. Wheat berries are removed from the wheat and ground into flour. The remaining stalk is used for animal feed & bedding, construction and mulch. Today’s wheat is far different from wheat grown by our ancestors not so long ago. Most of today’s wheat has been genetically altered in order to meet consumer demands.

Wheat is found in a multitude of foods today. You can find it in the snacks you eat, prepared foods, in a variety of sauces, dressings, spices, and it’s even found in some meal replacement drinks. We’ve been taught to believe that wheat is good for us when in fact, today’s wheat and amount of wheat each of us eat can cause more harm than good.

Some documented effects that today’s wheat has had on humans include increased appetite, massive blood sugar surges that in turn triggers a bigger appetite and causes glycation ( a natural process in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins) which increases aging, inflammation, cartilage and bone damage, and interferes or weakens the immune system. Other serious diseases caused by eating wheat are celiac disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, headaches, rashes and mental/emotional disorders, ADHD, depression, and weight gain

Some common symptoms of wheat allergy are:

  • General- tiredness & fatigue, often not feeling well and cravings
  • Immune Conditions- mouth sores, common cold and flu often
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions- constipation, gas, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Neurological Conditions- poor memory, depression, behavioral & poor attitude, negativity
  • Inflammatory Conditions- allergies, arthritis, stiffness in muscles and joints.

What are some advantages of being wheat free?

  • – Consumption of less processed foods and more whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, other whole   grains, lean meat and more vitamins & minerals.
  • – Faster healing, more balanced digestion, less bloating
  • – Diminished and/or elimination of cravings for bread, chips, pasta, sweets
  • – Sinus & allergy health, less asthma attacks
  • – Lower risk or reversal of celiac disease, Type 2 and pre-diabetes
  • – Weight loss

What you can do to decrease and even eliminate wheat from your diet begins with reading labels. Read all labels of anything bottled, packaged or frozen; you’ll be surprised at how many items you eat contain a form of wheat. You’ll find it in dressings, seasonings such as soy sauce and steak sauces; you’ll even find it in flavored chips. More recently labeling from many companies states if their product is *Wheat Free.

Another step you can take is to rid your kitchen of wheat foods-find healthy, wheat free alternatives. If you search you grocery store, you’ll most likely find them. A health coach can help you make your transition to a wheat free diet in an easy-to-follow, inexpensive way. In just a few sessions you can learn what foods are good alternatives, how to make healthier choices and soon you’ll be feeling lighter, happier and more clear-minded.

You can contact me for any areas of your health you would like to improve; just write me at Dawn@InitiateWellness.com

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Stave off Your Cravings

 

 

7NEClam Dip

Nearly every one of us has the desire for good health, more energy, physical attractiveness and fulfilled happiness. With the level of stress that current times bring and the ability to find food around every corner, the bakeries and frozen meals in the grocery store, it’s easy to fall into the convenience of fast foods, a quick muffin, ice cream year-round, a fat-laden coffee drink for a quick pick-me-up. Soon this becomes an endless cycle of sorts – self-abuse to your body.

We crave the things we eat most. We crave the things we do most. Think about it for a minute; if we’re used to shopping, we want to shop, if we hike a lot, we crave the outdoors, if we spend time with our friends; we miss them when there’s a longer span of time between visits. In the same way, when we eat sweets, we want more sweets, when we eat vegetables, we want more vegetables, if we eat pasta, we sometimes cannot get enough.

Exercise has a lot to do with what you crave. If you’re sedentary pretty much every day, you’ll probably crave carbohydrates and fats; where can you get both? In chips, pastries, cookies, cheese & crackers, creamy sauced pasta…etc. When you exercise you’re more likely to crave healthy complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables and lean proteins such as lean meat, fish and beans. Why? There can be two reasons; when you exercise you are more aware of your health and have a desire to be healthy, and because exercise releases happy endorphins leaving you feeling satisfied and by choosing complex carbs you get a satisfying boost of energy the body needs.

How much exercise do you need? If you’re pretty sedentary right now, you should at least start walking four times a week for 20-30 minutes each time. If you’re active but don’t necessarily exercise, walking will be enough to begin with. As you become a more active and regular exerciser, you can increase your routine and change it up if you desire. If you choose to only walk, that’s ok; every step matters and increasing distance over time will be useful. On fair weather days, don’t quit, walk indoors or put on some upbeat music and dance for 20 minutes-dance like no one is watching!

 

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Diabetes-What you eat matters!

Diabetes is the body’s inability to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes means the pancreas doesn’t make any or enough insulin, a hormone produced to metabolize fat and carbohydrates in the body. Type 2 means that the pancreas doesn’t make enough and the body is unable to use it efficiently; the body can’t keep up.

Who is at risk? It used to be that Type 2 diabetes was aka “Adult Onset Diabetes” but now children as young as 5 & 6 years old are being diagnosed. Why? Mostly because of the Standard American Diet (SAD) truly sad how the acronym fits. What is the SAD? Highly processed, high fat content and over-indulgence of foods including meat, bread, cereals, potatoes, pastas, desserts and very few daily intake of vegetables and fruit.

Those who are over weight are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This can be reversed or changed by simply changing the diet and adding an exercise routine into their lifestyle.

What can you do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes? Make those dietary changes. It’s not going to happen over night but it can happen; all it takes is that first step then the next and so on.

A few tips to get you headed in the right direction are:

Eat more dark green vegetables, not only the leafy kinds, include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, snow peas, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, artichoke, leeks and so on.

Reduce dairy – we don’t need as much as we actually consume. Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium, colorful vegetables, fruit, beans, fish (salmon & sardines esp.), nuts and seeds.

Eat more beans like garbanzo, lentils, kidney, black beans, great northern but eat soybeans and tofu in moderation.

Eat lighter fruits-apples, pears, pomegranate, cranberries, and apricots

Reduce heavy fruits – bananas, pineapple, fig

Eat more whole grains – barley, millet, bulgur, quinoa, oats, non GMO corn, brown rice, are some

Less refined foods – white rice, pasta, white breads, choose whole grain breads instead, it should say “whole grain” on the package.

Less salt and more pungent spices like black pepper, cayenne, chili powder, ginger, mustard seed and cinnamon.

Get moving! Physical activity even 3-4 times a week is beneficial.

Resources: Mark Hyman-MD, Sheila Patel-MD
If you have diabetes or someone close to you does, the following are a few resources for you to get further information for healing and taking charge of your life.
Dr. Mark Hyman
University of Maryland/diabetes