Time and time again I hear my clients, friends and family say: "It’s more expensive to eat healthy. I can’t afford it. I don’t have the time. We will all die of something.” This kills me!
We spend more time making excuses, taking care of our cars, our houses then we do our own bodies. This is a trend that is VERY likely to snowball in these credit-crunched times - BUT only if we allow it to happen to us.The TRUTH is - Your health is your most important asset!
Not your house. Not your car. Not your job. Not your retirement account. These are secondary. If you don't have your health, you (and your family) have nothing. Take the focus off of yourself. You have people in your life who care about you, need you, and love you. You don't do them any good dead and buried. It may not be the one McDonalds Big Mac, chicken wings and beer, or day without exercise that kills you. But rather it's the consistent unhealthy choices you make day-to-day that will kill you over time. When it comes to your number one asset the words that SHOULD come out of your mouth is, "I CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO EAT WELL AND EXERCISE!
I could keep going on how Americans waste a lot of food, money and time on a daily basis, BUT I’m not going to...Here is a simple basic start to get you thinking about changing your habits:First:
Make the commitment to follow through this time…if you have tried to lose weight, get healthy and get control of your finances before, write down how this time is going to be different and how you WILL commit to it this time. Write down your goals...they will be your GPS to health and happiness! Don't short-change yourself - you can have and do anything you set your mind to.Second:
You are going to journal; journal every penny that you spend for at least 2 weeks and see where your money is going. Then sit down and on a piece of paper write out what it costs you to live each month. I’m talking your bare minimum to live; house, car (transportation), gas, electric bill, insurance, and food. These are things that you have to maintain to continue to live safely and make an income. Now write down what is the income that you bring in each month. What do you have left over? Now you need to start writing down all the “fat” you are spending each month. This is foolish spending such as Starbucks, wasted food, fast food, happy hour, soda and other empty calorie foods, beer/wine, cable TV (with 900 channels), getting your nails done, trip to Wal-Mart because they have a sale, $2 here and $5 there on gadgets and widgets that you use once and forget about or they break. You know what you are doing….Now, tell me you don’t have the money. Is it that you can’t afford it, or you don’t want to?Third:
How do you cut down the wasted food? First step - start by eating at home; step two - packing your lunch for work; and step three - plan ahead. Planning ahead means packing your lunch the night before so you're prepared for your day ahead. You can try making a menu for the week. You may even need to cook some of the meals for the week on your free day or make the time - your health is your priority! Create the food/ingredient list that is needed for that menu. When you go to the grocery store only buy what is on the list and DO NOT go grocery shopping hungry. This is where many of us mess up, even me. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you’re starving. Don't set yourself up for failure. One thing that can help you with your menu planning is to look at the local papers and see what is on sale in the produce and fresh meats, fish and poultry sections.It really comes down to this:
Is it that you can’t or you don’t want to? By identifying your (fat- foolish) spending each month you are able to make mindful decisions about what you want for your life and not make excuses. No doubt, getting your money straight, getting fit and taking control of your life takes work. But don’t you agree - YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE WORTH IT?!
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
Francisco Conterras MD, a surgical oncologist who is the Chairman and Director of the Oasis of Hope Health Group with Cancer Treatment Centers in Southern California and Mexico said recently, “While the contributing factors to the development of a malignancy are numerous, consuming bad foods ranks among the top 3." This is a powerful statement as he is an educated and informed oncologist who specialized in integrative cancer therapies. He also went on to explain how he personally chooses to reduce his own risk of cancer by carefully choosing which foods he consumes and "while one should never say never, there are some foods you should never eat."
Here is a list of foods you should never eat in order to prevent cancer:
1. Refined and Processed Sugar - This is the number one food that feeds cancer-causing cells. Cancer literally feed and thrive on sugar. The more you can minimize or avoid foods that contain processed sugar - including refined carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread, white pasta, etc. - the easier it will be to avoid your body from developing cancer-causing cells.
2. GMO's or Genetically Modified Organisms - These are foods that have been mutated by the inclusion of "donar genes" that "turn on a desired trait." The issue with GMO's is the fact that there is no way of knowing which genes may be turned on by this process. This included cancer-causing genes!
3. Tuna, Shark and Swordfish - These types of fish are a major source of methyl mercury, a carginogen that accumulates in our bodies causing the proliferation of cancer-causing cells. Methyl mercury can also cause neurological damage to unborn babies and pregnant women.
4. Burnt and Charred Foods - Consuming burned and charred foods, such as on the BBQ, produces carcinogenic chemical compounds that cause a significantly increased risk of developing cancer over time.
5. Non-organic or local meets - Conventional meats are injected with hormones - particularly estrogen - which can contribute to ovarian, breast, cervical and prostate cancer.
6. Alcohol – Alcohol literally digests like pure sugar. According to the American Cancer Society, "Drinking alcohol can cause cancer…and the more alcohol a person consumes, the higher his or her risk of developing some kinds of cancer.”
7. Canned Foods – There are an alarming number of chemicals used in the commercial canning process that are dangerous to our health on many levels. BPA is usually used in many can linings, and the process of preserving the foods in cans depletes their nutritional value, which puts them in the category of a refined food.
8. Conventionally grown Produce - Non-organic produce is filled with harmful pesticides, which consumed over time can increase your risk of developing cancer. Organic is most definitely the way to go!
9. Processed Meats - Processed meats include hotdogs, sausages, bacon, and deli meats. All of these foods contain nitrates and nitrites, which are preservatives to make these foods more shelf stable. These preservatives combine with your stomach acid and other chemicals in foods to form nitrosamines, which are damaging and powerful carcinogens. Look for nitrite-free deli meats and sausages. Avoid hotdogs - it's hard to tell what's actually in them anyway!!
10. Olestra – This fat substitute can cause a 40-50% drop in blood carotenoids (anti-oxidants with an anti-cancer effect), not to mention the digestive side effects from eating foods containing this additive.
There are certainly many theories about dangerous foods and toxins. To what extent these foods and substances can really make us ill is still being researched. There are many uncontrollable factors that contribute to illness and weakened immune systems, but it is important to pay attention to those factors and behaviors that ARE within our control. Foods can most definitely heal and strengthen us, contributing to a healthy mind and body. This leads to an increase in confidence, energy, and productivity, and the ability to manage stress in a healthy way.
The best thing we can all do for ourselves is to make the effort to stay away from the foods that can overtime kill us. It may not be easy but it is possible to do, without feeling deprived and angry. I highly recommend starting slowly, congratulate yourself for every new food and behavior you adapt into your life. Don’t feel guilty if and when you slip up. Aim for a ratio of 80% right and 20% almost right in the beginning.
On the flip side of things, here are some foods you want to include in your diet to help boost your immune system to protect your body from diseases - especialy cancer. Organic foods are best to include most of the time. It's easiest to go with local and seasonal for the freshest, most nutrient dense foods. The foods below contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that will protect you from cancer. You want to aim for a minimum of 8-9 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, as well as the inclusion of legumes and seeds for maximum protection.
1. Onion - A study in Europe published in The Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate onions regularly showed a 60-70% reduction in all major cancers. When we cut an onion, the gas that is given off creates disulfide and anti-cancer nutrients to be formed.
2. Seeds – Raw seeds and nuts contain phytochemicals and fats that help reduce inflammation, help reduce cholesterol, and helps the absorption of other important micronutrients. Try to avoid salted nuts and seeds as salt contributes to inflammation and water retention. I suggest adding them to salads for an added healthy crunch!
3. Mushrooms – A study published in the international Journal of Cancer showed women who regularly consumed mushrooms are 64% less likely to develop breast cancer. That was about 10 g of mushrooms daily. The study also showed that the women who consumed 10 g of mushrooms and simultaneously consumed green tea had 89% less likely to develop breast cancer.
4. Vitamin D - This fat-soluble vitamin has been shown to prevent numerous chronic diseases including, but limited to: heart disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer. The first signs of deficiency in the vitamin are changes in mood, fatigue and feeling tired all the time.
5. Berries & Beans - These foods are high in antioxidants, which help to scavenge free radicals (cancer causing agents caused by stress, lack of sleep, environmental pollution, excessive exercise, etc.). The antioxidants in these foods are anti-aging, protect your cells and promote healthy brain function.
6. Dark Leafy Greens – Green vegetables contain nutrients that act to put a silicone like slippery coating on the inside of your blood vessels. They activate the Nrf2 mechanism inside your blood vessels, which prevents plaque from binding to blood vessels and accelerates the rate at which fat melts away from the inside of the blood vessel. Wow!
*Read Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman for more detailed information on how to protect yourself.
* Watch this great "Just Eat Organic" video from Stonyfield
We all have the choice to eat foods containing cancer causing chemicals or to eat foods that will prevent disease. Do your best to choose organic most often, which will help to nourish and protect every cell in your body and prevent the onset of unwanted diseases.
“It's not what you know - it's what you do with what you know that makes the difference."
- Alissa Robertson
Wellness is something we all crave. Don't you want to live a healthy, energetic, disease-free life? The truth is, living a healthy lifestyle is simple - but not easy. Most of the health challenges people have could be prevented or reversed by a few, very simple changes. You simply need to know what to change and how to make new behaviors stick for the long-term.
There are easy to understand action steps in order to live a healthier lifestyle that I can provide you with during one-on-one sessions that will answers your health and wellness questions including:
- How to end those ravenous cravings without relying on will power
- The secret power of water - when to drink it and how much to drink
- How eating more often can actually help you to burn more calories
- The most important meal of the day - No, it's not dinner!
- What toxins you're consuming and the devastating effects they can have on your body
- What to eat and how to structure healthy menu plans and snacks
-Which supplements are essential for men's and women's health and how to choose supplements that really work
- Specific steps for reduing the stress in your lifeIt's not what you know - it's what you do with what you know that makes the difference
. I will help you to follow an individualized plan of action to help you achive your own personal goals. By following this plan of action, the fat will burn off, the mind will clear and your mood will stabilize. Learning how to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle is the key to a life of quality and happiness.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
One of the most common misconceptions out there when it comes to weight management is that a calorie is a calorie. People thinking that counting calories is the answer are greatly mistaken, and will likely be counting calories the rest of their lives without every achieving weight management success. Let me explain why it's not always about calories in, calories out so you can stop counting and start living...
FALLACY: All calories are created equal
TRUTH: Most people can understand that not all fats and carbohydrates are created equal, but so many of us have the hardest time understanding that a calorie is simply NOT a calorie. Take this for example: 100 calories of asparagus (which is about 2 cups and has 10g of protein, 10g of Fiber and 0 Fat) and 100 calories of chocolate cake (which is less than 1 ounce and has 1g of protein and 1g of fiber, 5g of fat) is NOT the same. This is common sense, right?
What does this tell you? This means that if you eat quality food like lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, low and non-fat dairy, healthy fats, etc… you consume fewer calories, and more quality, filling food than when you eat chocolate cake and/or the cheeseburger with fries. The thought that it’s just about counting calories when it comes to losing or maintaining a healthy weight is not valid and will not product the results you are looking for.
You should, however, continue to watch your portions when you do eat the cheeseburger and fries. The empty, calorically dense foods such as cake, fries, fatty burgers and processed foods may seem appealing, but the fact is - they do NOTHING for your body. What happens when we eat these foods over time? The answer is damage to your body such as weakened muscles, unbalanced hormone levels, and trouble maintaining and losing weight. Any weight you do lose is actually water and muscle - making you skinny-fat (flabby), and increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Ask yourself, how do you want to feel? How do you want to look? How do you picture yourself 15-20 years from now? Do you want to be healthy, energetic and have self-esteem or do you want to be taking medications, tired all the time, and feeling poorly about your self-image? The choice is yours and you can take control now!
FALLACY: Foods have “Negative Calories”
TRUTH: The term “negative calories” means that a food actually takes more calories to process than it delivers. Take celery, for example. It is thought that we burn more calories chewing and digesting the food than the food actually contains. Dietitians, nutritionists, diabetic educators and commercial weight loss programs have used the concept of “Free Food” forever to describe foods with a negligible calorie count that, presumably, one can eat with thoughtlessness. The “Negative Calorie Effect” - usually embellished to claim certain foods actually take more energy to digest then they actual contain.
This simply isn’t true. In reality, there really are no “negative calorie” foods. Calories wasted in extracting nutrients are already considered in calculating the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF is the indicator of how much energy the body needs to expend to simply digest and absorb a certain type of food) Proteins have the highest TEF at 25%, followed by carbs at 5% and fats at 2%.
What does all of this mean? Lets say, for example, you eat a can of tuna, which has 100 calories, your body will expend about 25 calories just digesting it. Now an apple also has 100 calories, your body will only expend 5 calories digesting it. Celery, which we often hear has "negative" calories, contains about 10 calories per stalk and expends 2 calories, which means we actually still consume 8 calories. No big deal, but to say it has no calories is simply NOT true.
Foods like celery, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, chicory, greens, sprouts, mushrooms, onions, and other vegetables that are basically water, nutrients and wrapped in a bundle of fiber. They are just tasty, nutritious, filling, very low calorie foods. You can think of them as healthy, nutritious foods, but don't be thinking you're consuming air.
FALLACY: You can eat whatever just exercise more
TRUTH: There is nothing more irritating to me than when I hear people say, "I exercise, so I can eat whatever I want" or "I'm going to exercise so I can burn off the crap I ate earlier today." Does this make any sense to you? The fact is, just because you exercise and your energy needs are now increased, this doesn't mean you can now eat whatever you want and expect to maintain your weight and/or improve body composition. Exercise on its own does tone, strengthen, and build muscle. It is possible to get larger muscles through continuous exercise, but without improving the quality of your diet, your body fat will still be covering all that muscle you're working hard to achieve. To put it simply: YOU CANNOT EXERCISE AWAY POOR FOOD CHOICES. The amount of muscle versus the amount of fat determines BMR and RMR (minimum amount of energy required to keep your body functioning, including your heart beating, lungs breathing, and body temperature normal), then it’s the amount of energy expended to the amount of energy “calories” consumed.
THE PROOF: According to their menu, one order of Outback Steak House Cheese Fries contains 2,140 calories. If you share this appetizer with three other people, you'll consume 535 calories. Add 4 tbsp. of ranch dressing and you've consumed over 800 calories before your main meal has begun.
A woman weighing 127lbs running at 5mph for 30 minutes burns 231 calories. That means that she needs to run for 1 hour and 45 minutes to make up for the cheese fries. She also needs to take into account what she ate the rest of the day. Too many times I hear people say that because they exercised that day that they can "treat" themselves to fast food or other poor choices. Or perhaps they feel they deserve to treat themselves for doing so. Yes, exercise burns calories, but WHAT and HOW MUCH we eat still is what makes the difference.
So, what's the key to weight management? Stop counting calories - doing so isn't telling you whether or not a food is healthy. Focus on the quality of the food you eat rather than quantity. It's not about restricting and denying yourself of foods you enjoy, but rather it's about consuming quality food most of the time. It simply comes down to making better food choices - more consistently day in and day out. Limit the "junk" food and lean towards quality foods such as lean protein sources, fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy fats, and low and non-fat dairy. Make an effort to move more during your day and most importantly, have fun!