Archive for Diet

Have You Gut This?

Funny I was looking for images of the stomach symbolizing digestion and all I could find were of people holding their stomachs in discomfort and misery – like this one to the left. It got me wondering – what are we thinking when we think of our gut?

So in today’s article, I wanted to focus on having a healthy gut and not being in misery.

I saw a great ad for a digestive supplement today and it said:
You Gut This” Cute – right?

Even though it is taken from my least favorite, overused expression “you’ve got this” I couldn’t help notice how clever it was. So when it comes to your digestion Have You Really Gut This” or is your digestion gutted and in bad shape?

So what is your gut anyway? Your gut represents everything you consume, digest, process, and eliminate. And it isn’t exclusively just about the food you eat. Everything you consume whether its food, fluids, ideas, thoughts, needs to be digested and needs to be digested well in order to maintain good health.

Certainly, many herbs and foods help your digestion.

Rule of thumb: if the food is hard to digest it’s going to take longer to break down and it’s going to sit in your digestive tract longer, too causing disruption. Best to choose foods that are fresh, whole and come from the garden. Avoid processed foods that come in bags, boxes or containers with ingredient lists a mile long. These “foods” are most likely synthetic and something your body will not breakdown very well, if at all.

So how can you heal your gut and make it happy and make it say
“I’ve GUT this!”

Always look to nature for healing.


Five Herbs That Help:

1) Ginger: is a remarkable food/herb and has been used in cooking and healing for centuries. It is said that ginger has over 100 healing attributes; one of them being digestion. If you ever enjoy sushi you will always see pickled ginger offered as a condiment helping you digest the fish. It is used in many cooking traditions throughout the world. It is a pungent and healing herb, so you will want to avoid it if you have any burning caused by gastritis or acid reflux until those conditions are healed. Ginger also is excellent for nausea.

2) Cumin: This herb is often used in many dishes especially in Indian and Mediterranean cooking. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy, and warm. Cumin has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Cumin aids in good digestion and reduces food-borne infections. Also, new research indicates benefits in promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar and cholesterol. This herb improves indigestion and any inflammation in your gut. It is helpful to eat or even make a tea with it for excess acidity as it has a marvelous cooling effect.

3) Coriander: Coriander or cilantro has multiple health benefits and is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It can also be an appetite enhancer as well. It is a digestive aid, diuretic and promotes healthy elimination. Although the leaves are cooling the seeds are slightly warming. Coriander not only aids in digestion but it also boosts metabolism – both are important when you want to lose weight.

4) Fennel: is very soothing to your digestive tract. It can help with bloating, gas, heartburn, and acid indigestion. By adding fennel seed to your cooking you will be assured better digestion. It’s cooling and sweet properties strengthen your ability to digest. Chew a handful of fennel seeds when you are experiencing digestive issues and in no time you will have relief.  Fennel also combines well with cumin and coriander – all three are cooling digestive herbs. Use it as a spice or as a vegetable – steam, cook or bake or add it to soups. It has a bit of licorice type flavor and it’s yummy.

5) Turmeric: A very popular herb/spice found everywhere these days. This herb is well known to help reduce any kind of inflammation in the body. It has many medicinal benefits such as increasing your overall energy, reducing gas, improving digestion, dissolving gallstones, and even reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis. Again, this herb is used in many South Asian dishes – namely curries. Avoid using Turmeric if you have acid reflux or other burning in your digestive tract.

And remember Your Kitchen is Your Pharmacy!

Wishing You and Your Gut happy days ahead.

Are You Digesting That?

 

Digestion is not the same as metabolism. You may think good metabolism means you don’t gain weight. Well maybe, if your body is breaking down the food you consume effectively. If that’s the case and you are making good food choices then you should be able to maintain a stable and good weight.

Digestion is how your body breaks down food in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and then eliminates the food waste through the intestines.

Metabolism is how your body digests or breaks down what it ingests and effectively uses the nutrients for energy and functioning of your body.

You must digest your food before you can metabolize it. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat or what you digest”? 

And maybe you’ve even heard: It’s often not what you’re eating but rather what’s eating you, as I mentioned in my book Skinny Jeans Lifestyle.  

I’ll take it a little further here, you are not only digesting your food but also your thoughts and emotions every day. In the ancient Indian form of medicine called Ayurveda it is believed that your digestion is everything

You will not be well if your digestion is impaired.  

There are several way to ensure this first off make sure you eat in a restful state. Avoid standing, reading, watching TV, having a heated conversation but rather be present, pay attention and simply enjoy your meal. 

In ancient cultures eating food was considered a sacred activity. There was an inherent respect for the food you were eating. 

Here are a 7 Quick Tips you can improve your digestion today:

  1. Eat when you’re calm
  2. Eat at regular times
  3. Eat diverse foods – colors, textures, etc.
  4. Eat slowly
  5. Make sure its hunger you have and not thirst
  6. Eat early in the day – dinner eaten between 4-6 
  7. Sit and eat in a relaxed environment not on the run

Slow down and enjoy nature’s bounty!

Discover How to Change Your Bad Habits Part I

Discover How to Change your Bad Habits

Do you suffer from any of these 10 most popular bad habits?

1)     Missing meals

2)     Snacking

3)     Getting hooked on sugar

4)     Eating too late at night

5)     Drinking enough water

6)     Not taking or forgetting to take your supplements

7)     Not getting enough sleep and going to bed too late

8)     No time to fit on exercise

9)     Can’t find the time to distress with meditation or yoga or something else that helps

10)    Saying yes to too many things or the “Putting Too Much on Your Plate Syndrome”


How to Change Bad Habits – 5 Steps


1)     Acknowledge the bad habit in the first place. Admit it’s a bad habit instead of believing it’s just the way it is. Don’t let it remain an unconscious behavior.

2)     Deciding to take action once you’ve admitted your habit of omission or inclusion i.e.: Plunking yourself in front of your computer for hours and realizing that you haven’t eaten dinner. Time can be a black hole – set a timer.

3)     Get an accountability partner. It’s tough to change habits on your own. Having a partner will help. A buddy system is extremely effective – keeps you on track and you get the support you need. Even just texting each other with the word DONE helps.

4)     Stick to it. Don’t give up too soon. Before a habit gets integrated you make get too comfortable and start taking your new found habit for granted. Soon it may slip away before you’re aware of that happening. Then you might be ridden with guilt. It’s difficult psychologically to muster up the resolve to start again. The solution is – just don’t quit. Get back in the saddle as soon as you can.

5)     Be open to suggestions. Don’t be stuck with only one way of doing things – try a new way. Try making it a game to see how doing things differently might be better. For example – (a) tough getting to bed at a good time? Try making your bedroom more luxurious and relaxing by buying a few new throw pillows – it’s simple and effective or (b) Want to drink more water? Buy a colorful water bottle. This is an easy and inexpensive habit-altering step you can take.

Immune Health 101


I have been receiving so many requests for information regarding immune health and stress management. To help you, I thought I would send you a few quick tips you could add to your day right away.
 
 
Here are 4 Quick Tips for Immune Health:
 
Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity and will certainly have an effect an your immune system’s ability to function well.
 

  • Excellent supplements for sleep are magnesium and melatonin
  • Zero computer, phone or TV usage one to two hours before bedtime. However, if you wish you could try using blue blocking amber tinted glasses to help shut out the  blue light emitted from your computer, phone and TV screens. You can also choose blue blocking lenses which you can easily put over your prescription glasses. A good brand is Elements Active. It’s the blue light that will disturb your sleep cycle.
  • Choose a comfortable and cool sleeping area.
  • Try not to have any work in your bedroom i.e. books papers files etc. Make it your personal sanctuary
  • Try using blackout blinds in your bedroom as well – they are ideal for preventing any light from coming through the window. The darker your room the better for sleep.
  • Try not to drink water or other liquids like tea too close to bedtime – it may cause you to wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom thereby disturbing your sleep cycle.
  • Try to have a regular sleep time and wake time.

 
Supplements
 
            Vitamin D

  • Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D, of course. Try to get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight in the morning.
  • Supplement with the recommended dosage of 5000 I U’s per day. Some recommend only 500 I.U, per day – I think that’s insufficient as most people tend to be deficient in vitamin D.
  • Choose Vitamin D3. 
  • Foods high in vitamin D are: fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut, and tuna, Beef liver and egg yolks are also good sources. Foods fortified with vitamin D such as dairy, some orange juice and soy may also be good sources.

 
            Zinc

  • Supplement with zinc picolinate,
  • Rich food sources of zinc are: meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy, eggs.

 
Hydrotherapy and Sauna

  • Alternating hot and cold showers was proven effective during the Spanish flu. Run hot water for 3 to 5 minutes, cold for 30 to 60 seconds, try alternating three times. Do not use this method if you are diabetic. Many who have diabetes also suffer from a condition called neuropathy causing an inability to feel the sensation of hot or cold. This condition caused by nerve damage usually affects extremities primarily feet. Diabetics must be careful as this technique may burn their skin.
  • Saunas are an excellent source of detoxification, relaxation and will help with circulation

 
Stress management:
All of the following have a calming and immune enhancing effect

  • Prayer
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Connecting with loved ones by phone or Zoom
  • Also, sleep ***

 
Wishing you safety, health and strength.
Many Blessings,
Monika 

Are You an Expert at Gaining Weight?

I know, I know it’s absolutely something you do not want to be an expert in – right? But unfortunately, you may feel like you are. Whatever you do – you try this you try that – lose some weight gain it back and on and on… Sound familiar?

Here are my 3 tips to help make you more of a health expert and not a weight gain one – sound good?  OK – here it goes.

Your 3 Tips to Help Make You Your Own Health & Vitality Expert:

1.  Go Inside & Ask.  Do I want to be light or full? Do I want my clothes to fit or do I want that bowl of ice cream after dinner? Do I want a relaxing evening at home or choose to prove to my spouse that I’m right about something and end up arguing? Do I really need to watch YouTube videos until midnight or would listening to a meditation audio while I drift off to sleep at 11:00 p.m. be better for me?

You see, you are making choices constantly and making one that helps you attain a state of overall wellbeing is, of course, the best. However, the best choice may not always be the favorite choice. So try to go inside and take the time to process your thoughts and feelings first before making a possible impulsive or unhealthy choice.

2.  How Much Is Enough: You may wonder why controlling your portion size is so important. Well, it’s not just about the amount you’re consuming but also it’s about creating some discipline.  You see, when you begin to take good care of yourself, you start making eating the right food and the right amount a priority. Having discipline is a good thing and it can be synonymous with doing a loving thing for yourself. Discipline DOES NOT always mean limitation.

When you overeat you are usually compensating for an unusual or uncomfortable emotional state you are experiencing. Whether happy or sad on some level it can be difficult to accept how you are actually feeling in the present moment. Giving yourself a plan of action in the beginning of your day is helpful in keeping you in line and in-tune with how much food your body really needs. In my Skinny Jeans Weight Loss Program ™ I recommend weighing your food initially to help you discover the ideal amount of food for best weight loss results. Over the years I have heard many of clients admitting how surprised they were to find just how much in excess they were actually consuming. Their portion sizes were larger than their bodies actually needed to function optimally. Everyone has a portion size that’s best for them. These can vary depending on your exercise/activity level but generally women require approximately 1500-2000 calories/day and men approximately 1800-2400 calories/day.

3.  Dieting Shouldn’t Be Your Job: I’ve mentioned this several times in past blogs where I have warned you not only to avoid becoming obsessed with dieting but also to learn to reframe the entire concept of dieting. A  Diet actually means what you consume on a daily basis. If you are constantly dieting you are not learning how to eat for long term wellness. Taking your excess weight off in a healthy yet efficient way requires a system that supports fat burning and muscle maintenance and results in that sought after reduction on your bathroom scale.

Once you get to that “magic number” you must focus on doing everything you can to maintain that number or at least within a 3 lb. range.

For example, if you’ve lost 30 lbs. and your weight is now 150 –  try keeping your weight between 150-153. Once it starts going higher than the 3 lbs. you will need to go back to your original weight system/plan to get the extra weight off. The longer you wait to take this important step the more likely it is that you’ll gain even more weight and perhaps – wait for it -gain ALL the weight back – and I know you don’t want that to happen. You’ve worked hard to lose the weight so find the best way to maintain it. Pay attention to your weight fluctuations over time. Stop the uphill climb  before it gets out of hand. The more you follow this advice the less you will need to constantly be on a diet and the more freedom you’ll feel in this area of your life.

You are now becoming your own health expert – Congratulations

Want to be Successful When Dining Out?

So many have asked me to address the whole issue of healthy dining so this week I am. Whether you’re in the midst of an effort to lose or maintain a healthy weight, eating well at your favorite restaurant can be a daunting experience. But don’t worry it can be done.

Over the last few months I’ve had a lot of opportunities to dine out – more so than normal. Having firsthand experience of the challenges you face I am going to provide you some valuable tips to help maneuver through your next dining adventure.

Here are your Dining Tips:

1.  Just Say No: Don’t even let the waiter consider bringing the bread basket to your table. Trust me you won’t even miss it. In fact, yesterday my husband and I went to Sunset in Malibu, the restaurant where we had our wedding. It was lovely, although 93 degrees at the end of April even at the beach was somewhat disconcerting. So we had completed our wonderful meal when I noticed every other table either had a bread basket on it or was graciously having it served. Had the waiter done the same for us I could have been tempted to have some bread since I was quite hungry and not enjoy my meal as much. So just say no as much as you can – Save your palate for the main meal instead.

2.  Hold the Dressing: Most dressings are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fat and salt. Oftentimes when I review the  “Eat This Don’t Eat That” blog I am shocked by the caloric content of most commercial salad dressings. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I’m not big on calorie counting, but if you know how many calories most dressings contain you’ll think twice. Choose Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and you’ll be good to go.

3.  Some Protein: Whether you’re a meat eater, pescatarian or vegetarian it’s important to have some source of protein in your meal. Your choices could consist of a ½ handful of shrimp, buckwheat noodles with goat cheese or nut meatloaf.  Your plate should consist of ¼ of protein no more. Ok so most restaurants might not offer the buckwheat noodles but a lot are now offering quinoa and certainly rice as well. Beans are also an adequate source and an option for you.

4.  Make Mine Veggie: I am advising more and more on the importance of focusing on having a primarily plant based diet. It is vital for good health, good for animals and for the planet in general. Put a small amount of protein on your plate and make the rest veggies. I have been tuned into the Food Revolution Summit all week and I suggest you also take part, too. You can go to  http://foodrevolution.org/summit/ and listen to powerful leading experts  interviewed daily until tomorrow. The Summit is hosted by John and Ocean Robbins. Remember John Robbins, son of one of the founders of Baskin and Robbins, in his landmark film and book entitled “A Diet for a New America” circa 1987 he exposed the tragedy of the American industrialized food industry including the mistreatment of animals. Think of reducing your consumption and demand for more humane treatment of animals. We all want that – right?

5.  Dessert Not Necessary: You should not need to have dessert if you had a balanced meal. Eliminating this cultural tradition does require some conscious effort and it can be done. If you need to tell yourself you’ll have something sweet later – by the time later comes you’ve most likely either forgotten about or lost the desire.

Enjoy your meal out!

What’s in Your Fridge?

I just noticed Dr. Oz had a special article in this month’s O Magazine about this very topic. I wanted to create my own version of what a healthy fridge should consist of using my own fridge as an example. In this article I’ll help you determine what to keep, clean up or clear out of your fridge. What are the best and then the not-so-good ingredients lurking in your Frigidaire?

So here’s how to keep your fridge COOL and not scary. Let’s review what you should keep. Consider the following as your healthy refrigerator basics:

1) Nuts & Seeds: They are a must in every healthy fridge and diet. Store them in the cool fridge to maintain optimum freshness and preserve the delicate natural fats inherent in these nutritious morsels. This list includes almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and pine nuts.

2) Vegetables: Load you fridge with the freshest veggies available. Keep the crisper brimming with crunchy delights from the garden. In my fridge I have a pull out drawer filled with Romaine lettuce (the 3 bunch bag), lemons, limes, onions (1/2 portion), green onions and cucumbers. In my larger pullout I have all the rest – kale, chard, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, red cabbage, turnips, etc.

3) Fruit: As I’ve shared before I have another fridge in my garage where the overflow goes – it’s filled with grapefruit, oranges and apples and extra cauliflower, or sometimes I purchase a huge bag of baby spinach and put it right in there as well.

4) Probiotics: Although not a food item most probiotics require refrigeration to preserve their potency. More companies are starting to manufacture non-refrigerated versions giving you more flexibility for traveling.

5) Dairy: Best to keep butter and cheese in special sections in your fridge especially your cheeses. Butter like eggs has a much longer shelf life than cheese. When you need a quick protein food choose low fat cheeses. Don’t be afraid to use butter – just use it sparingly.

6) Eggs: It’s a must to keep eggs cool in order to maintain quality. Eggs have an excellent shelf life and are always good to have handy for a quick protein meal or for a special recipe.

7) Coconut Milk and Coconut Butter: Here also you want to keep coconut products cool in order to maintain freshness. Coconut has gained a well-deserved reputation as being a healthy dairy alternative.

Here’s what to dump:

1) Leftovers: If they are more than 3 days old, best to discard. The longer you save prepared/cooked foods the more degradation and loss of nutrient value. So avoid cooking too much at one time. This does take practice but it’s best to eat your food as fresh as possible.

2) Salad Dressing: Most dressings in the marketplace are heavily sweetened or have less than pure ingredients in them. Best to stick to olive oil and either apple cider vinegar or balsamic as a suitable and healthier salad dressing option. There are also several vinegar and oil gourmet shops starting to crop up everywhere. They offer some great varieties like Blackberry or Persian Lime Vinegars. Or how about Hazelnut Oil anyone?

3) Mayo: Unless its non-hydrogenated best to avoid. Hydrogenation is a processing method that damages fragile oils deeming them toxic when consumed. Best to either make your own version of mayonnaise or try using plain yogurt instead. It may taste a little more sour but it’s better for you.

4) Sauces: Avoid most prepared sauces. They are usually loaded with artificial ingredients and add unnecessary calories to your meals. Think of using fresh herbs like dill, mint, basil or rosemary instead. Or use warming spices like curry, cumin or cayenne. Or cooling spices like oregano or Herbs du Provence, for example.

5) Ketchup: This condiment is nothing more than sugar and artificial ingredients. You can’t really even claim any redeeming vegetable/fruit contribution of the tomato because it’s just tomato flavoring nothing more. Try instead using chili powder or sriracha sauce instead but beware these two have more punch than ketchup.

Chill out and keep your Fridge Healthy.

 

What’s Holding You Back?

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but you’re still sitting on the fence?  Are you feeling it’s either not the right time or impossible to accomplish? There are so many excuses..I mean reasons for procrastination. A big one I’ve been hearing lately is “I need to talk it over with my husband”. Ladies – if you really wanted to do something you believe is in your best interest like changing your diet, getting healthy and losing weight – you shouldn’t need to run it by your spouse. You should know that it’s important enough for you to do. And what is more important than your health and peace of mind? Don’t fall prey to this avoidance type thinking and take a stand for yourself.

When clients work with me they are often surprised how much I care for their overall success. I take a stand for them – even if they are unable to do so for themselves. That’s my job to help you believe even when you find it hard to. I’ve worked in my practice for over 20 years helping individuals say yes to their dreams and yes to themselves. I work on this very thing in my own life and often hire coaches of many types, usually business or professional coaches in particular, to help me be the best I can be in my work and then offer you the best I can on a daily basis. Always consider your goals and dreams worthwhile by making them and yourself a priority.

Here are Five Ways to Say YES to yourself NOW:

1.  Give up your “Someday Thinking”.  If you think too far into the future and think your magic day will arrive someday know that you are most likely fooling yourself. Most people, including you, often think they have more time than we actually do. You and most of us are so conditioned to put things off for another day. Life is too short. Have you ever heard this saying: “Procrastination causes sorrow – so I’ll stop tomorrow”. I just heard it today and it’s what in fact inspired to write on this topic. You see when it comes to creating a healthy body and life know that someday may never come.

The clothes in the back of your closet – the ones you want to fit into someday, or the stability ball that also sits in your closet collecting dust or the recumbent bike which becomes a clothes hanger – these are all representations of the “Someday Syndrome“ (as I call it) winning out. You can change your future by taking one small step today – by not only thinking about it but actually doing something about it.  For example: I put on my new gym clothes today – a gift my husband gave me last week for my Birthday. Just having them on inspired me to pull out my yoga mat and do a few poses for 20 minutes. It just takes a little to get started.

2. What’s Making YOU Afraid? If you aren’t taking action you must ask yourself what’s making you afraid to take action. Do you think you’ll fail, or you’ll be laughed at, or that you’ll overspend time, energy and money and not get the results you want? When you think of losing weight do you think mostly of all the lbs you want to lose or do you also think about the possibility of learning how to manage your emotions so you don’t give in to your emotional eating habit? Do you even consider getting to the root of your automatic habits? This takes time and gives you an opportunity to become more grounded and compassionate towards yourself. Changing unhealthy habits isn’t an overnight fix but a process. For some it’s 6 months for others it takes 6 years for even others it’s a lifetime. I encourage you to embrace this concept and give yourself the love and time you need.

3. Be Practical. I’m a big fan of making dreams come true but I’m also a big proponent of taking realistic and practical steps to get you where you want to go. I’m all about getting results and I pretty sure that’s what you want, too. Staying in a dream state unable to achieve your weight and wellness goals is not the best place to be. Sometimes I need to reinforce “the one day at a time” principle and sometimes it even converts to “one meal at a time”.  Don’t over plan, under achieve and end up falling off the wagon. Appreciate each victory. If you didn’t have desert and everyone else at your table did – acknowledge yourself for that. If you brought your lunch to work 3x/week last week – give yourself a pat on the back.  You ARE making significant inroads towards achieving a healthier life.

4. Go with Your Gut. You know eating right, de-stressing and taking your supplements is the right thing to do and yet you just don’t do it. You might want to ask yourself – do you have a history of not committing? If so consider when was the last time you actually committed to something. Did you commit to saving money for a trip you wanted to take? Did you commit to looking for a place to live that was just right for you? Did you commit to a relationship? Whatever it was – you did commit. Sometimes it’s not commitment at all but rather a matter of timing – are you in place in your life where you can focus on healthy eating and really taking good care of yourself? Sure I want you to be doing this all the time but yet it may not be realistic for you right now. Maybe you have kids at home still needing a lot of your time and energy, maybe it’s elderly parents or a project you’ve just started. Whatever it is be honest with yourself – is it or is it not the best time for you?  I believe that even when other things in your life are taking precedence it may very well be the best time to consider a weight loss or nutrition program.

So evaluate –do a Pro and Con list  if it helps you get clear.  But remember – if not now then when?

5. Make a Decision. Make it and then stick with it. Making a decision is the best and often the only way to move forward in your life. Stop putting the brakes on in your life and start taking action. Know that you will always learn a lot more by doing something than by doing nothing. Watch escape route tactics that distract you rather than propel you. Are you watching too much TV, comparing yourself to others, picking arguments, going to the mall too often – these are all ways to avoid taking the time to decide what’s important to you. Instead of watching your favorite sitcom this evening decide to give yourself some quiet time to get centered and think of what health goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. Do you want to get the sugar and starchy carbs out of your diet? Do you want to let go of the last 10 or 30 lbs from your life? Do you want to change your sleep habits and go to bed earlier?  Ask yourself these questions? By saying Yes to these questions you are saying a resounding YES to YOU!

Would you like to feel lighter, freer and happier?
Then say YES to yourself.

Is it Time to Have a Skinny Jeans Lifestyle?

Ok – it’s time right? Well isn’t it? It’s March and I’m sure you are still thinking that you want to be healthy and lean this year. It’s not too late – in fact it’s never too late. So do you want that for yourself?

Let me give you a few tips on how to make that possible – how does that sound?

1.    Give up being perfect.  I know it’s a hard one to do. We’ve been so conditioned to always do it right. But you know doing it right isn’t always the best way to learn. Especially when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance. I really don’t know anyone who has not had a period in their lives when their eating was a source of trouble for them. Hard to believe really – but most people struggle either with their weight, eating the right things, eating enough of the right things, eating at the right time, eating enough and not too little, or not too much.  As you can see the very nature of our food terrain is uneven and again to attempt to be perfect at healthy eating could set you up for failure where you stop trying altogether. Do the best you can one meal at a time.  This leads me to my next tip…

2.    The 80/20 Rule. If you can follow a healthy eating plan 80% of the time you will have 80% results and that’s pretty good – wouldn’t you say? Let’s face it 80% or even 50% is better than 0%. Setting yourself up for “being good” 100% of the time can only be sustained for a short period. So give yourself a break and aim for 80%. This way you will feel virtuous and strong in your commitment most of the time and you’ll begin to lay the foundation for a healthier life – now and in the future.

3.   Forget about the grainsI know, I know – how can you live without grains?  Well give up most of the grains –keep quinoa, millet and maybe some rice once in a while but that’s about it. It takes practice to steer clear of the bread basket, the cookies and even the foods that are marketed as healthy like protein bars or granola. But you will do much better without most grains. What about fiber – you ask? How will my bowels function and isn’t fiber also important for lowering cholesterol? Yes, fiber is critical and know there’s plenty of fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables.  Even protein contains some amount of fiber as well.

4.  Say Goodbye to Fruit Juice. What a dietary standard – how can you give this up, too? Well remember I mentioned fiber? You don’t get much of or any of that in fruit juice. Besides that – it is very high in fructose (or fruit sugar) which is challenging for your liver to process and utilize. Think of it this way you wouldn’t sit down and eat 8 oranges in one sitting – would you?  Well that’s exactly what you’re having when you swig down a glass of orange juice in the morning. And don’t be fooled by having that “heart healthy” bowl of fruit entrée as your entire breakfast – that will just set you up for blood sugar issues later in the morning. My rule of thumb is always have protein in every meal – including your breakfast –Always!

5.  Eat by the Clock. Make your meals not only a healthy habit but also a regular one. Plan to eat your meals pretty much at the same time every day. This sets up your body to get used to a regular blood sugar, digestion and energy cycle. Your body as well as your mind likes consistency and the structure a regular meal time brings. If you’re in the habit of missing meals, having long periods between meals or snacking regularly because you ran out of fuel – you’re on a slippery slope to having blood sugars as well as stress hormones issues down the road. Once these hormonal swings begin they will start effecting everything else in your body in no time. Give yourself the comfort of knowing you will be fed and nurtured on a regular basis. Your body will thank you.

Wanting to overhaul the not-so-healthy habits for healthy ones is always a smart idea not only at the start of a new year but, of course, always.

Simple Tips to get you started…

 

Welcome to Your Skinny Jeans World!

Healthy Year of the Horse

I’m always amazed at the crazy things I hear about or witness seeing people eating. Like tonight my husband and I watched the TV show “Man vs. Food”. Have you ever watched that show? It’s quite something. Sure it might be entertaining, for some, but I find it disturbing to see food depicted as a sporting event.

Whether it’s the Super Bowl or Super-size-me – there should be nothing super about our meals except that they are healthy and taste exceptional. I hope you agree?

So if you’ve been “super” at avoiding a healthy diet and feel like you’re still on a roller-coaster from the holidays (ie. craving carbs) – don’t worry on this Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse – it’s a good time to get the new year started right.

Here are 5 tips to help you get back on track this Year of the Horse:

1.  Clean up Your Gut.  In order to have the qualities the Horse embodies such as strength, grace and power you need to have a digestive system that works well.  The best way I know how to accomplis this is by taking a good probiotic daily. It will help you get your digestive micro-flora (bacteria) back into balance. Sugar and excess starches usually cause an imbalance in our finely tuned digestive tract. Symptoms like gas, bloating, and indigestion are a good sign that something is awry. Getting onto a good probiotic will be the first place to start in clearing these annoying symptoms.

2.   Become an Authority. The Year of the Horse is about leadership. I encourage you to become an authority of yourself. Learn who you are – what makes you tick. It’s also a year of meditation so go inside and ask yourself what you need – what you truly need. This type of understanding takes time – so be patient with yourself. Also, it’s hard to get to know yourself in isolation – so no need to go to a mountain top. Make sure you engage in life – in your life. Balance your quiet time with your social time. Learn to create the life you truly feel comfortable with – inside and out.

3.   Put yourself out & take a risk. No I don’t mean gambling – I mean trying something new. Expanding your food list, expanding what you deem as exercise or even taking on a new project could constitute something new.

Don’t limit yourself this year – as Captain Kirk said: “go where no man or woman has gone before”. It can be as simple as trying new ethnic dishes, eliminating gluten, dairy or sugar for a month – and then see how you feel. I bet you will feel much, much better than you did before you started your “experiment”. Try it. Don’t tell yourself you’re going on a diet or that you’ll never eat bread again. Rather commit to 30 days – that’s it – just 30 days. Then report back to me – I really do want to know how you fared.

4.  Avoid Over-doing. The Year of the Horse is noted for impulsiveness so make sure you think ahead before you jump in. When it comes to over-eating – take a break, count to 30 or go for a walk before you devour more than your tummy can bear. Okay, so occasional over-eating can be forgiven but chronic over-eating is a very slippery slope. Pace yourself, plan your meals and choose foods that give you the most bang for your buck. Sure a big bowl of pasta or 4 slices from the bread basket may “feel” like it fills you up – but you and I know that’s all that it does because it’s a filler food, nothing more. Choose quality proteins like fish, chicken or eggs and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus or eggplant and you’re sure to be not just filled up but nutritionally satisfied as well.

5.  Don’t Deny something’s wrong. The horse year also brings with it denial – thinking there’s nothing wrong when deep down inside you feel something’s off. You don’t think your weight or eating is really that bad so you continue with the daily waffles for breakfast, the cheese and cracker snacks at 2 pm and finishing off the day with your evening popcorn nosh.

Day in and day out, you put on your “larger but still flattering” clothes until finally you must – you just must step on the scale. It requires courage to do so and will definitely help you get out of denial. Use your scale and your jeans as guides for a reality check – they usually don’t lie.

And always remember Healthy is the New Skinny.