Archive for Diet – Page 2

Are You Always Eating on the Run?

This week’s article was “inspired” by something I saw on the freeway a few weeks back. I was following a car that was going a little too slow so I passed it and what did I see?  Lo and behold a woman eating her lunch, or maybe even  breakfast although it was 1 p.m. out of a bowl with a spoon driving 70 miles an hour. You know I’m big on eating regular meals, but this is ridiculous – don’t you think?  Not only is this practice obviously dangerous, but also it’s not the best way to eat a meal.

I’m not perfect and recently I found myself munching on a small piece of sliced chicken breast while I headed out to a meeting. As I drove down my street I witnessed a neighbor – a woman – doing the same thing (well maybe not chicken breast) but she was munching on something and looking very hurried. This is another great example that we women, in particular, put way too much on our plates.

5 Tips to help prevent eating things you really don’t want to:

Tip # 1  Carry quick foods with you.  Munching on an apple or some almonds while driving is completely acceptable and easy to manage.  That is if you’re not on a curvy road requiring both hands on the wheel.

Plan for periods of possible low blood sugar by automatically taking an apple or pear with you or having a bag of almonds in your car or purse. This type of easy planning should help you out tremendously.  And this is such a great time of year for apples and pears and a bonus – they aren’t messy and are very easy to munch on.

Tip # 2   Make sure to schedule time.  Of course, there will always be some days when you can’t avoid running late for whatever reason. However, 80 % of the time you need to plan and schedule regular meals so you don’t find yourself eating on the run or worse yet – not eating anything. The latter is harder on your body than eating a little too much.  But if both become a habit, it’s time to re-organize your life and your lifestyle.

Tip #3   Fast Food – an error in decision making.  Fast food is seldom a good choice when you need to find a meal quickly. You can stop by your local grocery or Whole Foods Market and pick up something quickly and even sit down and eat it. I did just that the other day. I had only a window of 20-30 minutes for lunch. I normally bring a fresh, scrumptious salad to my office, but this particular day I didn’t plan as well as I normally do. So off I went to Whole Foods to select my “healthy fast food”. I chose a couple of pieces of Tandoori (I love spicy) chicken and a kale, brussels sprout and celery salad – yum!  Now that’s a well balanced and nutritious lunch.  Get the idea?

Tip # 4    Don’t rely on the crackers.  You may find that grabbing a piece of cheese with a handful of crackers is somewhat better than a greasy cheeseburger when on the run, but hold on.  Over the years I’ve heard many a story from clients explaining their lack of control with these common starchy morsels. Why not try a small piece of cheese (ie. string cheese) with a fresh carrot or two instead of the starchy temptation. Forego the processed crackers for real food instead.

Tip # 5   Give up something.  I had a client laugh when I asked her what she could let go of in her busy schedule. I’ve had many various responses to this question over the years. But a response so honest and refreshing as her laugh got me thinking just how far removed we are from having a normal and nourishing pace in our lives. Sure my client, perhaps like you, loves her work, her family, her community and participating in life, but if you’re overbooked and constantly living your life on the run, something is amiss. Always being on the run stresses your body, impacts your hormonal function and drains you mentally. So laugh if you like (always good medicine) but consider for a moment – what can you take out of your life to simplify it?

Enjoy walking, sauntering and meandering …and not running this week.

Are You Sure You Want to Eat That?

When your dinner host asks you would you like more?  What do you say? Yes or no? Sounds like a simple thing doesn’t it – but of course we know it’s not. Do you feel that you’d offend your host if you say No? Ask yourself – would you rather leave your dinner feeling overstuffed and guilty instead? Even though the holidays aren’t quite here yet, learning to say no graciously now will help you during the more challenging times ahead.

But what about discipline? What about contentment? In order to have contentment you must have discipline. I just heard a really great distinction made between the two. Discipline is doing the right thing even when you desire the wrong thing. Contentment is when you no longer want the wrong thing. So when you’re making healthy changes in your life think of what you really want long-term rather than in this very minute. Choosing correctly now will give you want you want most – a healthy life.

Our culture dictates that you’re supposed to be on a diet. As I’ve said many times in past articles, diets don’t work but a well rounded system and expert support does. You may be saying half-heartedly to yourself, your friend or to me “yeah I need to lose weight” and then choose not to do that for some reason or another. My client Lisa wanted health first and did what she needed to – with discipline and commitment to her true goal. She just happened to lose weight, too – a bonus.

Here are few ways to help you decide if you really do want to eat that – ask yourself the following questions.

5 Tips to help prevent eating things you really don’t want to:

Tip # 1  Have you eaten regular meals throughout the day?  If not there’s a high likelihood you’ll say yes to that extra helping at dinner or to the mouth-watering dessert when offered it. If you have eaten well all day long you will not be as tempted or have a need to overdo it. You’ll find that you have more self-control and feel proud and comfortable in your clothes when it’s time to go home.

Tip # 2   Are you hanging around the snack table?  Step away from any area in your environment that’s loaded with chips, pretzels, brownies etc. Appetizers are really unnecessary. If you’re having dinner soon why bother adding more empty calories? And yes, they are usually empty. This pre-meal habit is pervasive in our culture. Again, unnecessary so stay away.

Tip #3  Are you holding out for dessert?  When we have visitors over to our  house they know not to expect any dessert (maybe that’s why we don’t have as many visitors as we’d like – just kidding). Well, there may be crunchy grapes or sliced watermelon served but that’s about it.  Even while celebrating a birthday – is cake necessary? I went looking for a birthday card the other day and noticed 95% of the cards had a picture of cake on them. Tradition is hard to change. But why not try something different like berries topped with frozen coconut yogurt and don’t forget the candles.

Tip # 4   Have you turned into an Evening Muncher?  If you feel tired and feel like you need something to keep you going, pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s probably telling you it’s time to go to bed and get some rest rather than propping yourself up with evening snacks. If you’re bored find something more nurturing to do than raid the cupboards. Look at your evening meal – was it balanced with proteins and good non-starchy carbohydrates? If yes, this munching your about to embark on may be more emotional than actually hunger. Ask yourself – what am I really hungry for right now?

Tip # 5  Is your Resistance Down?  When invited to have more food while your resistance is down due to fatigue, hunger or cravings you’re setting yourself up for making poor choices.  Becoming aware of how vulnerable you are at certain times of the day or in certain situations is really essential to gaining control of your eating habits. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it on all on your own. If you haven’t been successful yet you may need some help getting a handle on your deeply ingrained, unhealthy patterns.

And remember just say NO when you need to.

A Calorie Is Not a Calorie?

I know you’ve heard “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” or even “calories in calories out” when referring to one’s ability to gain or lose weight.  Culturally we either view calories as the enemy or an expected (maybe even welcome) guest.  Needless to say this topic can be quite confusing.  With some not caring at all while others care way too much.

You’ve heard the common sense advice of: “lower your calories if you want to lose weight” or “burn more calories so you can eat more later and not gain an inch”.  Or how about “I can’t have that there are too many calories in it”.  And then there are those who blindly indulge in the latest super-sized whole lot a latte filled with a whopping amount of with hidden empty calories.

The contrast of obsession with laxness makes it all so confusing. So where do you go for sound advice? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 5 Tips on how to get the most from the calories you consume:

Tip # 1   What’s a calorie anyway? It’s a measure of heat. To be more precise, it’s the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.  So it’s neither an enemy or a friend it’s just a calculation used to determine the energy produced by the food you consume. You need a minimum amount of food energy in order to maintain your metabolism and drive your muscles. There are foods or substances that are considered thermogenic or have fat burning effects; things like grapefruit, tomatoes, chile, and green tea for example.

Tip # 2  Why should I care?  It’s important to have an idea of the general caloric content of what you’re consuming.  I even get shocked when I randomly get to read the “Eat this, Don’t eat that” newsletter online. Usually restaurant foods are the worst culprits.  From cronuts (combination croissant and doughnut) to “the healthy salad” loaded with excess sugary and fatty dressing, bacon, cheese (lots of it) and everything but the kitchen sink. Bringing in a whopping count of nearly 1000 calories, oftentimes more than half of your daily caloric need. Yes, this is why you need to care.  Just because it says, “natural”, “healthy” or “leaner” doesn’t it mean it is.

Tip #3  It matters where your calories come from: So two foods may have the exact number of calories – however one nourishes you with the right kind of nutrients and the other robs you of nourishment – even though it may taste soooo good!  A piece of salmon may have the same amount of calories as a piece of chocolate cake but with the high sugar and unhealthy fats of the cake it robs you of your health instead of giving you health.  Yes, of course you may occasionally like to have a bite here and there. But just know for most people this saying is true: “one bite is too many and a thousand bites are not enough”.  Best to eat the good stuff and then you probably won’t want any nutrient-robbing calories in your diet. The quality of the calorie matters a great deal.

Tip # 4  Forget the Calorie Counting.  I believe that most of your food should come from items that are not labeled whatsoever.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and quality protein come without labels. However there are certain food items that do come packaged and you are sure to include in your daily diet.  Food items like: almond butter (should only be almonds), quinoa, cheese for example. Make sure these foods are pure and don’t have a lot of additional ingredients in them – which can not only add calories, but is also unnecessary. Nutrition labeling is very important when you have a health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, to make sure that the sugars aren’t too high or the sodium is in a healthy range.

Tip # 5    Dispelling the Calorie Myth:   Again a calorie is simply a form of measurement.  Don’t be obsessed with them, rather appreciate a healthy, wholesome diet devoid of junk and high calorie/low nutrient types of foods.  If you’re spending a lot of your time looking at labels there’s something wrong.  Remember garden fresh is the rule of the day. Enjoy the best calories mother earth can provide.

Eat well and forget about counting!

Stay Skinny This Summer… Even While Traveling

It’s not impossible to eat well while vacationing. Your vacation state of mind can include light eating and better choices or it can run amok.  Here are a few ways to help you stay on track.

Here are 5 Healthy Tips while Traveling:

Tip # 1  Choose Light.  It’s not just about eating a lot of fresh fruit during the summer.  Even though juicy and refreshing, don’t overdo the fruit.  Chances are you are most likely choosing sweeter fruits. One or two fruits should be it for the day. Stick with most of your plant foods being vegetables.  There is an overabundance of fresh vegetable produce to pick from this time of year. 

 

Tip # 2  Go outside:  Take advantage of the wonderful weather.  If it’s too hot, aim for starting your outdoor adventure early in the morning before it gets too hot.  Take that early morning walk, run or hike.  Forego outdoor activities midday when the sun is at its peak.  And remember to always bring water with you.  I remember several years back going on a hike in the local Santa Monica mountains.  I was a rather inexperienced hiker and so I was not well equipped with the necessities.  I found myself feeling faint as we neared the peak and I almost passed out.  Something I’ll never forget – I now know to always have water and a snack with me even if it’s only a brief 30 minute walk around the neighborhood.

Tip #3  Pick Salads Instead of Burgers: I’m not opposed to burgers. Should you decide to have one, make sure you limit all or most of the bun. Also, french fries are usually part of the equation, so ask for a side of salad instead.  Main course salads are always a good pick. They are crisp and nutritious, however watch all the extras like highly caloric dressings, croutons, excessive amounts of ingredients like avocado, bacon, cheese. Although all of these are healthy, there just might be too much of it for one serving size.  While traveling, it’s not very easy to use a doggy bag, unless of course you have a fridge back in your hotel room or bed and breakfast.  If you don’t have any refrigeration order a small size or split a large size with your travel partner.

Tip # 4  Good Stuff Available Everywhere:  Believe it or not there is healthy food available everywhere you travel. Many foreign countries eat better than we do here.  Most cultures pride themselves on fresh fare and healthy portion sizes, as in enough to satisfy your hunger and not feeling overstuffed. Even if your host country offers greasy, large entrees you can still opt for something else.  Even though Mexico has now officially surpassed the U.S. as being the most obese country in the world (I would suspect it has a lot to do with processed foods having become more prevalent there) there is still plenty of excellent, healthy foods to choose from while visiting there.

Tip # 5   Alcohol Not Necessary:  Choose a Skinny drink – not necessarily a Skinny Girl Margarita. I like the “Skinny Girl” brand concept, but not so happy about the aspartame found in these drinks.  Aspartame, an unhealthy artificial sweetener, is known to be toxic to the brain. If you are choosing a cocktail you can make your own skinny version by replacing soda with mineral water instead.  Remember alcohol can cause you to overeat and crave certain foods like more sugar in the form of dessert.  So taste a little not a lot and save your waistline this summer.

Happy Trails!

Hoping For a Miracle to Your Weight Loss Challenge?

It can be daunting. You’ve tried everything.  You lose, you gain, you lose, you gain. It’s a nightmare –right?  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Keeping yourself in the zone of let’s call it “Weight Awareness” doesn’t need to be a full time job. However, only thinking about making changes and never actually taking the first step will keep you more in “Weight Denial” Zone for awhile than anything else. So how can you become more aware and realistic and less frightened or paralyzed?

Here are 5 “Miracles” for You to Consider:

Miracle # 1  There are no Miracles.  It’s as simple as that.   Real change requires effort, commitment and trust in the process and in yourself. You may not see results right away, but when you put one foot in front of the other and do what it takes on a daily basis, the results of all your effort is bound to show.  However, I must add, that if you’ve been at it for awhile trying to lose weight and are not making headway, it’s time to consult a professional.

Miracle # 2  Realistic Dreaming is Good for You:  Yes go ahead and imagine being healthy, lean and fit.  Studies show the powerful effects of visualization in   achieving any goal.  In your mind’s eye you can see yourself energetic, fit and wearing clothes you love and dream of putting on someday.  Just like Olympic athletes – you can train your brain to think positive thoughts and allow yourself to emotionally experience a New You.

 

Miracle # 3  Think Opportunity Not Challenge: Your weight loss and healthy eating program can be a wonderful adventure into self realization.  Most people enter a “diet” with trepidation and not excitement.  Try and change your thinking, suspend all judgment and just go for it.  Whatever you are doing is better than doing zero, unless of course it’s downright unhealthy, unsound and unproven.

Miracle # 4  One Small Step:  No leaps required.  The slower and more aware you are in your Weight Loss Journey the better.  Don’t think of this as “oh in a few weeks or months I’ll weigh such and such”.  Think more long term – how will I feel and look in a year or two. Think one meal at a time if you need to.

Miracle # 5   Being Healthy is Never Done:  It is a practice of being healthy, not a one time event.  So keep at it – there are no failures. You are never done – this is a lifelong process – so enjoy it – there’s no hurry!

Are You Afraid to Eat That?

You may have gotten to the point where you just don’t know what the best thing for you to eat really is.  There are so many food philosophies; yes I call them philosophies, out there that you’re just not sure where to turn for the best advice.

Well, if you aren’t working with a professional right at the moment, figuring it out on your own could be a challenge.  You wonder “how much protein is actually healthy for me?”  You ask: “Doesn’t high protein and especially saturated fat cause heart disease?”  “Wouldn’t a vegetarian or even a vegan diet a la “Forks over Knives” method work the best for me?” you inquire. “How about all the genetically modified stuff out there – how do I know if my family’s safe?” you ask. And if you’re gluten free you want to know “What can I have instead of gluten?” So many questions and so paths to entertain.

Everyone is unique.  My husband has Kidney Disease and can’t eat greens, nuts, cheese, most fruits, potatoes and several other seemingly healthy foods, but for him those foods aren’t healthy ones.  They elevate his potassium and phosphorous which can have extreme consequences for him.  But if you’re relatively healthy, these kinds of foods are excellent to help maintain good health.

But let’s face it – it’s all very confusing.  Being too rigid is not a solution. There is a condition called Orthorexia, like anorexia it is a serious eating disorder. Orthorexics are so rigid with their healthy eating regimen that they become overly obsessed to an extreme. Unlike anorexia, those with orthorexia do eat but are so fanatically focused on only eating healthy that no food considered unhealthy passes their lips. Even though this is a serious illness, recovery is possible.

So how can you be OK with what’s available and what you put on your plate?

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Be Unafraid of Your Food Choices: 

Tip #1  Relax:  No need to get upset if you happen to eat something that is less than healthy every once in awhile.  Everyone faces this dilemma and we’re often tempted more that we’d like to admit. If you can make healthy food choices 70-80% of the time you’ll be in good shape.  Remember this is never about being perfect but about being healthy.

Tip #2  There is no BAD Food:  Labeling food good or bad can pose a problem.  As I mentioned my husband can’t have greens yet greens are something I recommend all the time to my clients and readers. It’s not good for him but for nearly everyone else greens are good.  Using the word BAD to describe a food can make it emotionally charged and a huge negative punch to your psyche. This association leaves you feeling guilty, miserable and more susceptible to reaching for those types of commonly considered “bad” foods over and over again, especially when things go wrong in your life. A better categorization for food might be: those that nourish and give energy and those that make you not feel good, create symptoms and deplete you of vitality.

Tip #3  Check the Labels:  Even though I encourage you to primarily choose real, whole, fresh foods without labels, sometimes you can’t avoid it.  Make sure the packaged foods you are choosing are GMO free and don’t contain highly modified corn or soy ingredients.  Stay away from unhealthy syrups and sweeteners as well, they are first off  artificial or secondly toxic and you wouldn’t want either in your tummy.

Tip #4  Ask your waiter/waitress or grocer:  If you have any doubt about what’s in the dish you’re ordering tonight for dinner – ask. No need to feel embarrassed or feel like you’re  causing a scene. You don’t need to have a food allergy in order to gain permission for a query. Most restaurants nowadays have become quite used to the more educated consumer wanting to know more about what they are putting into their mouths.

Restaurants have become quite adept at answering most questions the diner has.  Even your grocer is there to help. If you’re uncertain about something, do ask. Also, if your local grocery store doesn’t carry some of your favorite healthy foods, ask them to either stock it or special order it for you.  They’ll be happy to do so and keep you as their loyal customer.

Tip #5 Drop the Jitters: No need to go overboard about the food you eat.  Every food you consume does not have to be gluten, dairy or whatever “free”. Remain calm and do your best to enjoy your meals, savor every morsel and if you don’t like it don’t eat it. Unless you, of course, are more accustomed to eating only junk food, greasy burgers and fries – your palate then needs to be trained for healthier fare. Food should taste good all on its own without the need for sauces, dressings or extra salt.  Whole, fresh food has so much inherent flavor and goodness in it.  Give yourself time to experience the true JOY OF EATING!

Eating Light

The Sun Season is upon us. Here in Southern California where early March or mid December can also bring balmy 90 degree weather; it is sometimes hard to distinguish summer from any other season.  We therefore need to be even more diligent on how to take care of ourselves with heat and sun beating down upon us throughout the year.    Summer is definitely a time to shed clothes, and for some also shedding some pounds as well. This bathing suit season prompts us to get our bodies in tip top shape which means eating right and exercising appropriately.  Many come to see me for my successful weight loss programs throughout the year but I especially have a surge this time of year.  Getting into those shorts, skirts and bathing suits can certainly be a big motivator to lose those extra 5 or 10 or more.

Eating Light 

There are so many fresh great foods that you can enjoy at this time of year.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are chockfull of nutrients.  Here in Southern California, we are very lucky to be able to pick so many fresh fruits and vegetables from the vine, tree or ground – some all year round.  Daily fresh salads are  a big favorite summer fare for many.  Fill your salad with a wide array of fresh garden vegetables not just lettuce – add some fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, cucumber or radishes.  One of my all time favorites in Greek Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, red onions and kalamata olives.  I even like to top it off with walnuts for an extra crunch and add an olive oil and apple cider vinegar or balsamic dressing.  This salad is so refreshing - just the thing for a hot summer day or evening.

Summer is also a very social time of year – more family get-togethers and vacations.  You may run the risk of putting on some weight if you over indulge – so stick with lighter meals. Visit your local farmers markets where you will find all the vegetables you can imagine.  Or even better still plant a garden filled with vegetables and herbs and you are set for many months to come. Even though the U.S. government’s 2005 dietary guidelines indicate four-and-a-half cups of fruits and vegetables each day, I recommend you increase it to 6-8 ½ cups each day.   Add some vegetables to every meal they will give you even more anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient “Omph” throughout your day.   All fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.

Here are some examples

Oh those Yummy Tomatoes and Peppers Who can resist a juicy summer tomato - loaded with Vitamin A, C and Lycopene.  Lypcopene from cooked tomatoes has shown to help with prostate health.  Recent research indicates that lycopene also reduces the LDL “bad” cholesterol therefore making it a heart healthy nutrient.  All peppers contain the antioxidant beta carotene which is powerful immune booster.  Both tomatoes and pepper are high in vitamin C.

Those Little Bundles of Goodness – Berries!

We hear so much about the importance of berries these days – blueberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, boysenberries and the list goes on.  They satisfy your sweet tooth and are rich in nutritional bonuses, such as vitamin C.  In fact, strawberries have the highest amount of vitamin C of the berry family.  Berries by their very nature have skins that protect the vulnerable fruit inside from damage, sun radiation and infection.  This gives them incredible antioxidant protection for those who consume them.  With their high fiber content, berries also very helpful in lowering cholesterol.

Smoothies for Everyone!

To eliminate the need to overindulge in ice cream when it’s too hot – how about something less caloric and very nutritious.  Try a smoothie – add some yogurt, ¼ banana, some berries and a couple of scoops of high quality protein powder and – Voila - a wonderfully rich, creamy, fruity and cold beverage to satisfy your summertime cravings.  You can even add a few nuts or nut butter i.e. almond or peanut butter to give additional flavor, a little crunch and some added nutrient value.  Make sure you use a plain yogurt without additional fruit on the bottom which usually contains more sugar than you need.  Of course a good yogurt will also give you those extra good bugs that help your immune system stay healthy.

No Fooling Yourself… The 5 Myths Behind Think and Grow Thin

Nice idea  – wouldn’t it be great to just think yourself thin?  I don’t think we are that evolved yet to actually manifest this – we need to take action – so many of us don’t know what to do or maybe we actually do know what to do but simply can’t do it for one reason or another.

Myth #1 – you really can be thin and healthy without exercise or how about the opposite – you can be thin and healthy only with exercise and get away with eating whatever you want. Wrong – both matter when it comes to sustaining health – long term.

Myth #2 – Eat small portions. That’s half right – but if you are only eating carbohydrates in those small portions – well that can be a problem. If that is what you are doing then you will never be able to maintain your weight loss as you have lost muscle and not actual fat.  You want to lose weight in the form of fat loss.

Myth #3 – My husband or wife likes me just the way I am and if I change they will feel uncomfortable.  This is often a true hard fact that those close don’t really want us to change because they will have to change as well – or so they think.  However, this is no reason to refrain from going after what you want – ever.

Myth #4 – At social functions in order not to insult the host I must eat what they serve – everything and all of it!  They may not invite me back or what will they think of me?  Fear of loss of a friendship or family relationship can be an interesting motivator to do the wrong thing for yourself.  If your loved ones are thinking this –maybe your relationship might need a little improvement in honest communication.

Myth #5 – I need to eat packaged foods because I’m not a cook.  You don’t need to be Julia Child – you can eat clean, wholesome and fresh very easily – and I do mean easily.   Here’s an idea – some chicken or fish with steamed broccoli and carrots and a small green salad with pine nuts and red peppers – easy – right?

Many myths to be busted …stay tuned for more…

Can Your Kitchen Be Your Pharmacy?

I have written in the past about Hippocrates the Father of Medicine’s famous words “Let Your Food Be Your Medicine”, but I want to take it even further and make such a bold declaration practical for you.

As well as making your food be your medicine you can also make your Kitchen Your Pharmacy as well as your food be your medicine.  By giving the foods you choose to nourish your mind, body and spirit the utmost respect they deserve there’s a good chance you’ll maintain your health for a very long time.

I was inspired to write this article because of an unusual dish my husband created over the weekend – we called it “Watermelon Salad”.  I posted the concoction on Facebook and got some interesting responses.  Yes – a Watermelon Salad is a strange but delicious combination of delicate flavors (see recipe below).

So what’s in your Kitchen?  Is it filled with healing ingredients?  A good clue in answering that question would be asking yourself how comfortable you’d be if I were to come over for a Kitchen Inventory er… I mean a Visit…

If you’re shaking in your stilettos or adidas right now, there’s probably a good chance your kitchen isn’t quite up to snuff even by your standards.

So here are a few tips to help you in advance -
before I come over for that Kitchen “Visit”:

Tip #1  Is Your Crisper Empty?:  If its empty that’s a good sign that it’s time to go shopping.  Your crisper should be brimming full of fresh produce and not be a “science project” as a friend of mine used to call her aging vegetables supply.  Make sure you rotate your vegetables and try and use as many of them on a daily basis.  If you are lucky enough to have an extra fridge in your garage like we do – you can store some of you fruits there.  I store my extra grapefruits, apples and oranges there.  They last longer than vegetables usually, so I stock up on them and keep them separate. One of my favorite mottos is: Veggies are your Best Friends! I hope it becomes one of yours, too.

Tip # 2  Salt is not a Spice:  If you are needing to refill your salt shaker every week there’s definitely something wrong.  Salt should only be used when cooking to bring out the natural flavor of food not to cover it up.  NaCl (Sodium Chloride) or table salt is not a natural food item.  Even if you are using sea salt, remember to use it sparingly – a dash is all you need.

If you want added flavor start incorporating real spices and herbs into your cooking instead.  Fresh basil is wonderful and has a calming effect on the mind.  Cinnamon isn’t only added into desserts – it can be added to savory dishes as well.  It adds interest to a dish and it’s also beneficial for balancing blood sugar.  And for those brave souls – I am one of them – curry or turmeric is an excellent spice adding pungency and heat to a meal.  These 2 are known to help reduce inflammation in the body, clear up sinuses and aid digestion.  Experiment and start slowly when adding new spices and herbs to your food.

Tip #3  Ever Heard of Therapeutic Vinegar?  Well there are culinary vinegars like balsamic, red wine vinegar and a myriad of gourmet combinations.  But one hails as a therapeutic vinegar and that’s  Apple Cider Vinegar. When my clients work with me Apple Cider Vinegar is usually something I recommend they start using immediately and often on a daily basis.  They report that it has a sort of cleansing effect on them.  It is well researched that for most people it helps with their digestion.  Unless you are suffering from digestive inflammation due to an ulcer or gastritis Apple Cider Vinegar is safe, tasty and an effective digestive balancer.

Tip # 4  It’s Not Only the Food:  Not only is what you eat important, but how you eat is equally if not more important.  If you are eating your meals standing up, in a rush, washing your food down with liquids, in a heated conversation – all of these activities will have a serious effect on how well you break down the foods you are consuming.  The more stressful your environment, the less beneficial your meal.

Stress will increase cortisol, decrease proper digestive function and impair how important nutrients get absorbed. Without these nutrients you will not be feeling good for long.  Make your meal environment as stress free as possible.  Believe me, it matters. I have seen many of my clients suffering from all sorts of digestive discomfort, and by doing this simple fix they actually become more relaxed, healthier and happier.

Tip # 5   Overhaul the Bags and Boxes:  If you have a predominance of bags and boxes in your pantry or cupboards it’s time to haul them out and give them away.  Let’s face it, most of the foods found in these types of packages are usually not fresh or wholesome.  Unless they are nuts and seeds – which should probably be stored in your fridge not in your cupboards – they are most likely snack foods loaded with either sugar, gluten grains or some other synthetic ingredient which is not healthy for you or your family.

Not only should your Kitchen Be Your Pharmacy filled with healing foods and beverages, but your food should come from the garden, trees or vines –  from nature in general.  That’s the secret to making  Your Kitchen and Your Body Healthy for a long time.

Here’s my husband’s “Watermelon Salad”… Ever thought that watermelon couldn’t be heated well think again…

Watermelon Salad

Grill ½ c onions

Add  2 cups fresh watermelon

Add ¼ cup dried cranberries

Add ¼ c. pine nuts

Cook for about 15 minutes

Add 1/2 c. cubed Feta Cheese

Cook for another 10 minutes

Let sit for a few minutes

Enjoy warm or cold

4 Simple Healthy Steps to Saving Time

In these times everyone wants, and perhaps needs to, save time and money – right?  Well, eating the way we recommend at Coaching For Health not only ensures better health, leaner bodies and loads of compliments but guarantees that you’ll save money and time as well.  As Olivia, a client of mine, once said “I have been able to save so much money these past 2 months by simply bringing my lunch to work and by not picking up unhealthy afternoon snacks from the vending machine – that I’ve actually saved enough money to go on a weekend trip to Catalina with friends.”  Or how about Vicky’s comments: “My husband and I stopped going out to restaurants – instead of 3x- /week it’s maybe once or twice and sometimes not at all!  I saved enough money to go on a shopping spree so I can buy some new clothes. Since I have gone down 2 dress sizes, I am rewarding myself in very different ways now.”

You see – eating within a caloric “budget” can prevent overeating or choosing the wrong things to eat.  Eating fresh, clean, whole and green just makes good sense and makes you feel so good about yourself.  I encourage you to try as much as possible to stay away from foods that come in bags, boxes and any other types of packaging as they will cost your waistline and your pocketbook much more in the long run.  There’s not a lot of nutritional value in packaged foods, unfortunately, certainly nothing like the value you would find in real whole foods.  Eating out less and eating at home more let’s you have more control over what and how much you eat.  I often here clients mention they eat less when they go out to dinner and more when they are at home.  And I also hear the exact opposite from others.  The bottom line is to identify your trigger foods and environments and then manage them appropriately and you may need expert help with this piece of puzzle.

Here are 4 Simple and Healthy ways to Save…

#1   Be good to yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up if you are not behaving perfectly – you were not put on this earth to be a robot and to do everything by the book.  You are here to experience, learn and to get comfortable with yourself and your own skin.  Being hard on yourself can waste valuable time and energy.  Eating balanced and healthy meals can actually help improve your self confidence and self esteem.

#2  Eat your greens. By this I mean – eating fresh fruits and vegetables – any and all are good for you!  Natural enzymes are still intact when you eat fresh and from local growers.  Visiting your local Farmers Markets or growing your own is also more cost effective and you will be benefiting from the rich inherent nutrients in the foods themselves.  It helps to maintain good health when you are getting the most out of what you are eating.

#3  Create a calm, peaceful and nurturing environment when eating. This may be a difficult feat in our fast paced world but it’s essential to at least attempt to eliminate as many distractions as possible when eating.  Turn off the TV, play beautiful music in the background, respect your food and give thanks.  I know, I know – not a simple feat – but allow me to plant some seeds for your next meal.  A relaxed environment will create better digestion and save on possible problems like acid reflux, overeating (and thus weight gain) and bloating.

#4  What about Vitamin L?  Yes, Vitamin Love absolutely but let’s not forget about the other Vitamin L – Laughter! An often overlooked health habit laughter is just plain good medicine for the body and soul and needs to be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.  Debilitating diseases have often been eliminated due to this one simple ingredient.  Yes, laughing or lack of it can be a habit.  Finding things to make you laugh, be light and happy – it can be as economical as watching a funny movie on TV versus an intense crime filled drama!