Best & Worst Foods for Our Bodies
Researchers at Harvard University followed approximately121,000 men and women for 20 years. In 2011 they published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that documented the foods and drinks most and least associated with gaining weight.
NUTS This powerhouse foods contains a great combination of healthy unsaturated fats (mono and polyunsatured). They also provide a great source fiber and a moderate amount of protein.
YOGURT A good source of calcium, plus probiotics for gut health.
FRUITS High water content and key antioxidants and vitamins.
WHOLE GRAINS Packed with B vitamins and fiber.
VEGGIES Low calorie, lots of vitamins and nutrients, and high fiber.
FRENCH FRIES Deep-frying makes them high in calories and saturated fat.
POTATOES Often fried or covered with butter, sour cream, or sugary ketchup. The carbohydrate they contain is also digested very quickly, which tends to spike our blood sugar.
SWEETENED BEVERAGES Skip soda to save calories. Thirsty? Choose water, selter or unsweetened iced tea as an alternative.
RED MEATS Avoid fatty cuts, such as T-bone, New York strip, and rib-eye steaks. Choose sirloin flank or filet as they contain less saturated fat.
PROCESSED MEATS Most contain nitrates and are very high in saturated fat. C
With the New Year approaching, many of begin thinking about our New Year's resolutions. The New Year, is without a doubt, a time for self-improvement. Are you planning to lose weight this year? Do you have specific fitness goals at the top of your list yet again? The key - just like with any promise you make - is to stick to it. This, as we know, is usually where most of us fall short. According to the New York Times
, one third of people will have broken their resolutions by the end of January. Wow!
So what's going to be different for you this year? It's time to set yourself up for success - not failure. Instead of focusing on the “Don'ts”, focus on the “Do’s”. Here's a great list of "Do's" to follow to help you stick to your New Year's resolution this year:
- Do: Set Realistic Goals - It is important to keep in mind that you did not gain weight instantly and it is not realistic to expect to lose it overnight either. You are working on creating healthy habits that, over time, WILL (and need to for lifetime success) become a new lifestyle!
- Do: Celebrate Progress - Dwelling on things you didn't do is a sure way to lose momentum. Break your big goal up in to smaller, more attainable goals. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds, celebrate every time you lose 5. Treat yourself to something small, like new pants (perhaps in a size smaller!) or go to that exercise class you've been wanting to attend, but haven't wanted to spend the $10. Congratulating yourself on small victories will help keep you on track and motivated.
- Do: Journal - Journaling is, by far, the best and cheapest tool out there to keep you on track. Journaling allows you to visualize your strengths and areas for improvement. Writing down everything you eat also helps to hold you accountable for everything you eat. Sharing your journal with a coach, friend or family member is a great way to hold yourself even more accountable.
- Do: Make exercise part of your daily routine - Treat exercise like an appointment. Write it in your planner or plug it into your i-phone, just like your Dr's appointment. Find a time that works for you to exercise every day. Having your workout as part of your routine makes it a healthy habit that is easy to stick with!
- Do: Drink plenty of water - Drink water with each of your meals and snacks. Most people need approximately 8 eight ounce glasses each day and more if you exercise. Staying hydrated helps to keep your digestive system on track and to keep you full and satisfied.
- Do: Eat lean protein and fiber - Be sure to include foods with protein and fiber at each meal and snack. These two nutrients go a long way towards boosting metabolism, promoting fullness and keeping your cravings at bay.
- Do: Realize it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle - When you say you're on a "diet" this suggests there's a beginning and an end to what you're doing. In order for you to lose weight or be healthier for the long-term, this needs to be a lifestyle - not a temporary fix. Once you commit to this idea, adopting your new lifestyle will be a piece of cake! When trying to lose weight, it is important to make changes that you will be able incorporate long term.
- Do: Utilize friends and family for support - Sharing your weight loss goals with friends and family enables your loved ones to support you during this important lifestyle change. It also allows them to congratulate you on your success and help keep you motivated!
- Do: Know & Realize YOU ARE WORTH IT! - Getting healthy is an important commitment you must make for yourself. Realize that it is OKAY to focus on your health and fitness goals.
Not only can weight loss transform you physically, but it also can do wonders for you emotionally. Getting fit and healthy will give the new you tons of energy and confidence to live the life you deserve!
Set yourself up for success by beginning your day with healthy habits. Try the following morning tips to achieve a healthier you!Take a High-Quality Multi-Vitamin
Taking a multi-vitamin each day helps you to fill in the gaps when you fall short of any given nutrient during the day. Although you may strive to eat well each day, schedules, life commitments and unexpected daily events may make eating healthy a challenge from time to time. Think of taking your multi-vitamin as your nutritional insuranace policy.
It is important, however, to take a high-quality multi-vitamin. You've probably noticed the abundant selection of supplements on the market these days, but be aware, they are NOT created equal. Most pill-form supplements contain binders and fillers, which can cause stomach upset, nausea, and prevent maximum absorption from taking place. For this reason, I recommend a drinkable multi-vitamin called NutraMetrix Isotonix
. This particular brand of supplement is superior for its delivery and absorption. The nutrients are absorbed within 5 minutes of ingestion, which prevents any stomach upset from occuring. You also absorb 95% of the supplement compared to a mere 25-30% typically absorbed in pill-form supplements. This means you are actually benefiting from what you're taking and not wasting your hard-earned money. Feel free to click on the provided link above for more information or feel free to contact me with questions.Give Yourself Time in the Morning
Yes, this means waking up a bit earlier than you have been. Studies show that when you have a stressful morning, it sets you up for having an overall stressful day. Try waking up just 20-30 minutes earlier in your morning to enable you to enjoy a stress-free morning without the rush to get out of the house. Do you typically hit the snooze button - maybe even more than once? It is tempting, but each time you hit the snooze button actually interrupts your sleep, which leaves you feeling even more tired throughout your day. Break the habit today and you'll be feeling a whole lot more refreshed going forward. Be Sure to Eat Breakfast
After seven to eight hours of sleep, it is critical to refuel your body. Why? Eating in the morning actually "wakes up" your metabolsim allowing you to feel energized throughout your day. Skipping breakfast leads to the mid-afternoon crash you have most likely experienced. Eating breakfast will also prevent overeating - especially if you continue to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight than those who skip it.
So what should you eat? Strive to include a combination of foods in the morning including protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Examples include a piece of whole-grain toast with all-natural peanut or almond butter and a piece of fruit; Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup whole-grain cereal (I prefer Kashi Go Lean) and fruit; or scrambled eggs, fruit and a whole-grain english muffin. Feel free to contact me for other healthy breakfast options...Don't Forget the Veggies
So now you're in the habit of eating breakfast. The next step is to sneak in those antioxidant and nutrient-rich veggies! Try adding some peppers, onions and tomatoes to your omelet (or any other veggies of your liking). Not into eggs? Try adding a little fresh spinach to your smoothie made with skim milk, frozen or fresh berries and ice. I promise you won't be able to taste it! Most people struggle with getting in the recommended 5 servings of veggies per day, so do yourself a favor and strive to sneak them in where you can. Trust me, it makes a difference in how you feel!Drink Your Water
Water is one of the most vital nutrients for your day, and many of us don't get nearly enough of it! When you wake up, not only are your fuel stores depleted, but you're also likely to be dehydrated. Just as eating in the morning revs up your metablism, water will also get it going. Water also helps to flush out damaging toxins that have accumulated in your system. Strive to drink water with each of your meals and snacks during the day, which helps with digestion and your metabolism. Doing so will likely result in a boost in your morning energy levels over time!Journaling
Take a few minutes each morning to jot down your morning thoughts. Doing so can help to boost self-esteem, and can be a powerful way to work through any issues you may be experiencing. Some people find it helpful to write about anything that comes to mind. Examples could be a "to-do" list to help organize yourself for the day, positive intentions for your day, or things you've been thinking about that may be bothering you. Leaving these feelings on paper can often help you to move on and to focus on other important matters that come up during your day.Move Your Body
Exercising in the morning is a great habit to get into. Most individuals report making healthier decisions all day long as a result to starting their day with this healthy habit. Those cookies your co-worker brought into work may not look as good after you've walked or ran for an hour! You'll also find that you'll have more time for other things when you arrive home from work, rather than worrying about when you can fit in your exercise. It's an amazing feeling during your day knowing you have your exercise complete and the entire day ahead of you...Work in a Stretch or Two
Just not into sweating so early in the morning? Not willing to wake-up early enough to fit in a walk or run? Try a simple stretching routine instead. You can do this in bed before you start your day, or try a few stretches in the shower. The hot water feels amazing and can help to loosen you up as you gently stretch your body. Stretching gets your blood and endorphins flowing, and can be a relaxing way to start your day.
With the Holiday season approaching, you may be questioning whether or not you'll be able to maintain your healthy habits or be able to avoid gaining the dreaded 5-10 lbs that the average American puts on this time of year. Have no fear. With a little bit of focus and the following helpful tips, you'll breeze through the Holidays without putting an ounce of weight on and perhaps even lose a few lbs in the meantime!
Here's a great article from Explore Supplements
, written by Dr. Robert Blair, that outlines what you can do to stay on track and feel great come January 2013!Surviving the Holiday Feasts
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. In addition to the wonderful visits with friends and family that often occur during the holidays, many of us spend a lot of time eating lots of food. Not only do we have our traditional holiday feasts with friends and family, but we also find ourselves taking part in holiday office parties and other events where food is present in abundance. Surviving these holiday feasts can be a challenge for many of us. However, there are things we can do to survive the holidays without feeling like we ate a bowling ball:
- Don’t go to a party hungry. Going to a holiday party hungry will almost always lead to leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. According to WebMD, this can further lead to a slower digestion process, upset stomach, and heartburn. Instead of going to a holiday party hungry, try eating a healthy snack shortly before leaving home. This will help regulate your hunger and help you avoid over-eating.
- Watch your portion sizes. At holiday parties, people often want to try all the foods offered. While there is nothing wrong with this, many tend to forget that true portion sizes are much smaller than they think. By eating smaller portions of each food item, it’s easy to sample each type of food with less chance of over-eating and causing digestive discomfort.
- Limit high fat foods. Many holiday foods are high in dietary fat. Not only is fat high in calories, but it can slow down digestion and possibly trigger heartburn. If you choose to consume high fat foods, make sure to consume small portions.
- Get some exercise. Rather than sitting down on that comfortable recliner after a large holiday meal, get some exercise. Taking even a leisurely walk around the neighborhood can help ward off that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Pick up the pace to a brisk walk if you want to burn off some of those extra calories.
- Eat slowly. Eating slowly gives the brain time to send “I’m full” messages to your stomach. Waiting for this cue helps to prevent the consequences of over-eating.
In addition to these tips, a number of dietary supplements can help support a healthy digestive system during the holidays, specifically fiber, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and aloe.
- Dietary Fiber. Most people do not consume the amount of fiber needed each day (20 – 35 grams per day for most adults). Dietary fiber has numerous benefits including helping to maintain normal digestive tract health and movement. Dietary fiber also helps maintain the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tracts. Try nutraMetrix Advanced Fiber Powder to help maintain a healthy digestive track and ensure you're getting enough dietary fiber each day.
- Probiotics. Speaking of beneficial bacteria, probiotic supplements are a great way to support a healthy digestive system. Maintaining optimal bacterial balance is important to maintaining optimal digestive health; therefore, choosing a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of bacterial strains, such as NutriClean Probiotics, makes it easier to obtain the most comprehensive benefit. Some of the most beneficial strains include Lactobacillus acidophilus,Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium breve.
- Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes are an essential element of healthy and complete digestion, beginning with enzymes released by our salivary glands as we chew. Eating too rapidly can lead to inefficient digestion, as some of our digestive enzymes are not given time to complete their job properly. Additionally, the body’s ability to make certain enzymes declines as we age. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can promote healthy digestion and break down foods that are typically hard to digest. A good digestive enzyme supplement will contain at least three types of enzymes: proteases to digest proteins, amylases to digest carbohydrates, and lipases to digest fats. Other beneficial digestive enzymes to consider include lactase (digests lactose) and cellulase (breaks down cellulose, normally indigestible to people). Isotonix Digestive Enzymes with Probiotics contains a blend of the enzymes listed above to provide maximum digestive support.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera promotes healthy digestion by providing natural plant enzymes that break down food. These enzymes include amylase (starch), cellulase (cellulose), lipase (lipids), and alkaline phosphatase (proteins). Aloe supplementation also helps to support a healthy gastrointestinal pH, normal composition of intestinal flora, and helps to promote an overall healthy digestive process. Consumption of aloe vera can promote bowel regularity and intestinal comfort after eating. Try Ultimate Aloe Juice, which contains all of these important enzymes and comes in four flavors: Kiwi-Strawberry, Pomegranate, Cranberry-Apple, and Natural Flavor.
Combining these dietary supplements with healthy eating habits will definitely help you—and your stomach—ease through the holiday feasts.
Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found clues to why our bad habits are so difficult to kick. Not only that, they're working on developing strategies to help us change.
Habits in general play an important role in our health. By understanding the biolodgy of harmful routines and how to break our bad habits and adopt new ones, this may help us embrace healthier lifestyle behaviors.
Habits, whether it's brushing your teeth or eating sweets, develop over time through repetition. Habits are a normal developmental process in our lives that can either be helpful or detrimental. If you really think about it, we all shower, comb our hair or brush our teeth without being aware of it, which frees our brains to focus on different things.
Habits can also develop by triggering the brain's "reward" centers, setting up potentially harmful routines such as overeating, smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, gambling and even compulsive use of computers and social media. Enjoyable behaviors actually release a brain chemical called dompamine, which strengthens our habits - whether good or bad - even more. This explains why some people crave sweets, even if they no longer feel particularly good after they eat them.
It's not a hopeless cause, however. The good news is that humans are not simply creatures of habit. Humans demonstartate much better control at changing and orienting behavior toward long-term goals or benefits compared to any other animal. It has actually been found that you can improve your self-control by doing exercises over time.
While there's no single effective way to break bad habits, one approach is to become more aware of unhealthy habits, then develop strategies to counteract them. For example, avoid walking halls where there's a candy machine; avoid places where you've usually smoked; stay away from friends and situations linked to problem drinking or drug use.
Another helpful technique is to mentally practice the good behavior over the bad. Mindful eating, for example, is a great place to start when it comes to working on improving your eating habits. It's not guaranteed to work, but it certainly can help.
Some people find they can replace a bad habit, even drug addiction, with another behavior, like exercising. It won't always work for everyone, but most individuals can, over time, engage in ritualistic behaviors - such as running - and it can help them stya away from boredom eating, smoking or drug use.
Understand, however, that replacing a first-learned habit doesn't erase the original behavior. What you can do is strengthen the new one and suppress the original.
Current research is done by the NIH is exploring whether certain medications can help to disrupt hard-wired behaviors and make it easier to form new ones. Researchers are also are seeking genes that might allow people to easily form or readily suppress habits.
Bad habits may be challenging to change, but it can be done - especially when you put your mind to it. Make sure you take time to set goals for yourself and review them daily. You'll be amazed at how this simple step can help you when your motivation is waning. Enlist the help of friends, co-workers and family to help keep you motivated and on the right track when it comes to achieving your goals. You can do it!Break Bad Habits
- Replace unhealthy with health behaviors. Exercise, practice a favorite hobby, spend time with family or practice relaxation exercises to better manage your stress.
- Avoid temptations. If you always stop for a donut on your way to work, try a different route. Keep fatty foods, cigarettes, alcohol and other tempting items out of your home, car and in at your workplace.
- Prepare mentally. If you can't avoid tempting situations, prepare in advance. Plan how to handle temptations and mentally practice what you plan. Bring healthy options with you to meetings and/or get togethers. Eat before you go so you're not starving when you get to an event. Plan where in your day you're going to exercise - don't leave it to chance because chances are, you won't do it without a plan.
- Enlist support. Ask friends, family and co-workers to support your efforts to change. Tell them what kinds of "support" will help you and what kind "support" will send you in the other direction. Parameters are key!
- Reward yourself for small steps. Give yourself a healthy "treat" when you've reached a small goal or milestone. Healthy examples include: going for a pedicure; a new haircut; downloading a favorite song onto your iTunes or a new book onto your Kindle; planning a "date" with your significant other; hiring a babysitter to watch the kids and taking the time for yourself to do whatever you'd like. Be creative and make it something you'll really enjoy. Avoid rewarding yourself with food - it's too much of a slippery slope!
Are you obsessed with food? Take the following quiz to find out....
Answer "True" or "False" to the following:
- You often eat when you're not hungry.
- You often rely on non-caloric foods, such as diet soft drinks, coffee, mustard or gum to satisfy your appetite.
- Your weight weems to go up and down, with dramatic fluctuations of 10 pounds or more.
- You divide foods or behaviors into clear-cut "good" or "bad" categories, and avoid certain foods like sugar or bread because they are "fattening."
- You make excuses for not eating while others are having a meal.
If you answered "True" to two or more of these questions, you may benefit from learning more about how to improve your relationship with food. There are many reasons we eat other than because food tastes good. Learning how to handle stress, emotions, and current eating habits can be the key to taking control again and to living a healthier lifestyle. Feel free to contact me to schedule a time to discuss how to get started!
Quiz adapted from Runaway Eating: The 8-Point Plan to Conquier Adult Food and Weight Obsessions by Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., and Nadine Taylor, M.S., R.D. (Rodale, 2005).
Make it a Challenge to Overeat.
The more obstacles you can put in place in order for you to consume a food the better. What do I mean by this? This means having foods in the house that need to be prepared or thawed in order to slow down the rate of consumption. These steps will ultimately be a deterrent and will lead to you asking yourself, "Am I really hungry?"
So how can you snack in a healthy manner without overconsuming on your favorite foods? Repackage these foods into single-portion baggies. Healthier options could be unsalted nuts or seeds, Terra sweet potato and beet chips, or the obvious, fresh fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, and fresh vegetables such as sugar snap or snow peas, baby carrots, sliced cucumbers or cut-up peppers.
Have leftovers? Do yourself a favor and wrap leftovers in tin foil and freeze in individual portions. Studies show that when leftovers are served in bigger containers, people tend to eat more. No choice but to serve yourself from a large leftover portion? Dish your portion onto a small plate and put the rest away prior to sitting down to eat.
I hope these tips to "winning the food fight" have been helpful over the past week or so. By following tips like these, you'll be on your way to living a healthier lifestyle.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
Nutrition Specialist & Owner
Lifestyle Management & Nutrition
Keep Any Tempting Foods Out of Sight.
According to research done at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, office workers who were given candies in clear dishes to place on their desktops helped themselves to candy 71% more often than a similar group that was given the same candy in opaque dishes so that the candy wasn't visible.
So what's my point? Hiding tempting foods can truly make a huge difference in the choices we make, as well as how frequently we consume (or overconsume) the foods we find tempting. We have all heard of the statement, "out of sight, out of mind," so keep any foods you know are tempting to you OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!
If you're going to keep snacks at home, make sure to keep them inside the cupboard and NOT on your countertops. Keep foods on the counter that ARE a healthier snack option such as bananas or apples. When you open your fridge, make sure to have cut-up veggies and fruit in baggies, as well as yogurt and cheesesticks as options that are easily visible. Do the same in your cupboards - put your unsalted nuts, seeds, and Kashi Chewy granola bars in front of other tempting snack options.
Tips like this just may be the key to you conquering a food challenge and to your overall success!?!?!
Find Healthy and Fun Outlets for Emotions.
Do you tend to turn to food in an effort to numb your emotions? This may work temporarily, but as soon as the food is gone the problem or stimulus to your emotion still remains. You most likely also feel a tremendous amount of guilt after your binging episode.
How can you prevent this from happening? Find ways to respond positively to your emotions rather than turning to food. Examples could be calling a friend to go for a walk or going on your own, using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, journaling, or reading a book. The more you continue to practice these "healthy" behaviors, the more they will become your outlet of choice.
Eventually you'll find that this will happen automatically without even having to think about it. No longer will you turn to the bag of chips or tub of icecream when a stressful event comes your way. You're in control, you're healthy, and you deserve to be happy!
Expect the Unexpected.
Foods that are most tempting to us are more likely to trigger overeating when we come across them unexpectedly. Since these surprise confrontations are no doubt a given this day in age, it's extremely helpful to arm yourself with a script and/or a plan when you're confronted by tasty, tempting food.
- If you're handed a slice of cake at a birthday party, the line might be, "No thank you. I brought my own 'treat' for dessert," or "No thank you. I'm stuffed from the rest of the food."
- If you're handed a sample of cookies at the supermarket, the line might be, "No thanks. I've just eaten."
- If you're stressed and wanting to turn to food, the action and thoughts might be, "I'll go for a walk to keep my mind off food...I CAN do this! ... food doesn't control me!"
Learning to handle unexpected food triggers takes practice, but the key is to start practicing now. The more you do it, the more these behaviors will simply become who you are and what you do!!