Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life

I realized that since day one of my vacation, I do not comply with some of the healthy lifestyle rules I encourage others to follow.  While in some situations I have limited choices or no healthy alternatives at all, there are also situations that I do have a choice but I choose poorly.

For the last several days I don’t use all tools and routines that had led me to weight loss, and later to effective maintenance of healthy weight. I don’t do much of the planning of where (what) I will eat. I also skip some of the healthy routines that work so well for me when I am home or at work.
My justification is that a few days of less than full compliance with healthy eating is not going to be a big deal. Plus, I am on vacation and vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life. Pretty hypocritical, isn’t it?

It will all end and go back to norm after the second week is over, but it struck me how easy it is for me just to ignore my unhealthy imperfections.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Breakfast challenge while on vacation

I am posting this from vacations in Florida. Life is beautiful here. People are great. Weather is as expected, either very hot or rain with lightings.
The hotel I am in offers me a big challenge in the morning. Breakfast that is served downstairs has no healthy options. It is a bit starnge, because now even fast food restaurants have healthy options on their menu.

On the positive note, I met a person who lost 120 pounds. One hundred and twenty!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Better sleep means better health


Eating right and getting enough sleep are well-known behaviors for good health.

Sleep is essential to good health, and a lack of it can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain, and diabetes. There is no known substitute for sleep.

Quality sleep promotes physical, mental and emotional health. It also boosts alertness, performance and memory. Most adults need at least seven hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and productivity. Some people need more sleep to feel well-rested.

Sleep experts say there is ample evidence that shows that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives.

Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. People who do not get adequate sleep experience impairment of concentration, judgment, and learning ability. If you cut sleep back to five or six hours a night for several days in a row, the accumulated sleep deficit will magnify these negative effects.

Do you get enough sleep?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What is processed food

While some type of food treatment is important for food safety and food storage, important nutrients and vitamins are lost in each processing step.

When nutritionists refer to processed foods, they're typically referring to products that are heavily modified and contain a long list of ingredients, including many snack foods, sweets, frozen prepared foods, sugary drinks, and packaged meats.

These foods have minimal nutritional value. On average, processing usually removes 50 – 80% of nutrients from a food. Avoiding processed foods will improve how you look and feel and lead to lasting weight loss. Even better - you may reduce or completely eliminate symptoms associated with common health disorders.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Guest Post: The Dos and Don’ts of Clean Eating

Clean eating is a catchy, popular phrase that can basically mean eating healthy. Although the exact meaning of clean eating can vary, in general it refers to eating whole, unprocessed foods. It limits consumption of fast food or packaged, processed foods that many Americans have grown to rely on.

The idea of eating clean is not new, but the term clean eating is. Whether you call it clean eating or not, eating more unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and lean proteins is beneficial for overall health. Here are some practical dos and don’ts tips for clean eating that can be a guideline for you to follow.


Cut out processed food

Cutting out processed food is the main focus of the clean eating movement. Processed food is a catch all term for any food that comes in a bag, box, can or other packaging that can sit on a shelf for a good amount of time without spoiling. Processed food is notorious for being high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, preservatives and low in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

By cutting out processed food, your food should be “cleaner” because it doesn’t have added artificial ingredients and is true to its purest form from nature. A word of caution: cutting out processed food can be hard! This is especially hard if you are used to eating packaged food and not used to cooking. However, the health benefits are well worth it.

Bump up fruits and vegetables

Besides cutting out processed food, which is a great first step, make sure to eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables for clean eating. Some people suggest clean eating also entails eating organic fruits and vegetables when possible to lower pesticide residue.
Focus on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables when they are in season. This can be done easily by shopping at farmer’s markets or purchasing a community supported agriculture (CSA) share from a local farm.

Fruits and vegetables have many important nutrients, plus they are high in fiber which can increase satiety. Don’t cut out processed food without bumping up your fruit and vegetable intake; these two steps should go hand in hand.

Stay away from hard to pronounce ingredients

Staying away from hard to pronounce food ingredients can be much easier when you cut down on processed foods. Most hard to pronounce words in ingredient labels are preservatives meant to prolong the shelf life of food products. Clean eating focuses on eliminating these preservatives and other chemicals in the food system.

Know where your food comes from

Eating local is sometimes associated with clean eating because eating local also focuses on minimizing processed food. Knowing where your food comes from means trying to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables or locally raised proteins when possible. If you have the choice of buying locally grown blueberries or blueberries from South America, choose local if you can.

Eating foods from a local food system can increase nutrient density of food, as local foods are usually not harvested before they are ripe which can increase vitamin and mineral content.

Be balanced

Something to avoid with clean eating is to get over obsessed about eating perfect food. Food is meant to be enjoyed and nourishing for the body and mind, but it should not be exhausting or obsessive. Also, keep in mind whatever diet you follow, balance and moderation are important concepts. Keep meals balanced with healthy carbohydrate, protein and fat sources.

The term orthorexia is defined as having an unhealthy obsession with eating pure (or clean). Clean eating should be a healthy lifestyle, not a rigid eating pattern. If you need to eat something out of a package while trying to eat clean it is not the end of the world. As with anything, keep healthy choices the majority and easiest choice but learn to deal with situations where you may not be able to eat exactly how you want to or are used to.

Learn what you can adapt from clean eating principles and know where you may need to adjust these guidelines, depending on your circumstances. Eat balanced meals that include the major food categories unless you have food illnesses or intolerances.

Conclusion

Clean eating is a popular term for healthy eating with a focus on fresh, natural food. Clean eating limits intake of processed food and fast food, which can be difficult with the usual busy American lifestyle. Clean eating focuses on eating a high number of fresh fruits and vegetables, and some would say this also includes eating organic foods when possible. 
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is also recommended.

Other additions to clean eating can be trying to eat as local as possible and knowing where your food comes from. An important consideration for ay diet or health trend is to remember food should be enjoyed and is meant to nourish the body, not be an obsession with strict eating rules.

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Guest post provided by Holly Klamer. Holly is a registered dietitian with a MS degree in nutrition and exercise science. She teaches nutrition at 2 colleges in Denver and has her own nutrition consulting business, Step Ahead Nutrition. You can connect with Holly on her Google+ page. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Healthy food option at the mall food court

Eating away from home is challenging when you try to eat clean.

While food courts are loaded  with places serving fast food, there also places for healthier
options. Not all the food in the food court is as bad as we often think it is.

T
o survive the mall food court I check out all the food offerings and choose the healthiest options.


I am happy to share that I avoided high-calorie, unhealthy food court temptations and found two healthy options for eating at the mall I go to frequently. This food is consistent with the Eat Like Me approach and expands the variety of food I eat. On the left are delicious veggie fries. Spinach salad with grilled chicken on the right. Will take a picture of the second option soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

We don't eat enough fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers. 

They are also a key part of weight management, and hold many key nutrients that keep the human body running efficiently. 

Only 13 percent of Americans are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. What's your excuse?

I eat lots of fruits and veggies every day. Together with lean protein (chicken breast, fish or turkey white meat) they are part of all of my meals. I select fresh low-sugar fruits and fresh non-starchy vegetables. 

Eating large amount of the right food is my key to success. Vegetables and fruits provide me with fiber, which in combination with lean proteins practically assures that I don’t feel any hunger. 

Certain fruits like pineapple, watermelon and bananas are high in sugar, and they don't promote weight loss. I don’ t eat starchy vegetables - potatoes and corn, either.