Thursday, January 24, 2019

Drink up for your health!

It’s getting hot outside…are you getting enough water? The body is about 60% water, therefore, it’s important to drink plenty H2O to keep your body properly hydrated. Our body loses a bit over 8 cups of water a day (64 oz) through various bodily processes, so it stands to reason that you need to drink at least 8 cups of water a day to make sure that you replace the lost water. Why is hydration so important for our overall health? Let’s look at the roles that water plays in the body:

  • Water helps rid the body of toxins
  • Water boosts your metabolism
  • Water carries nutrients to your cells
  • Water keeps you energized
  • Water plays a key role in the function of every organ
  • Water aids in digestion

When you don’t drink enough water, you are at risk to become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause minor to major problems including:  
  • Slow Metabolism
  • Low energy
  • Kidney stones
  • Poorly functioning organs
  • Failing kidneys

If the thought of drinking so much plain ol’ water every day doesn’t appeal to you, try to stay away from water mix-ins. These popular fruity powders are full or sugar or worse, chemical sweeteners that have been linked to certain types of cancer and even obesity. Instead, try adding the following natural water enhancers:
  • Lemon, Lime or Orange slices
  • Crushed raspberries
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Frozen orange juice “ice cubes”

No excuses; drink 1/2 your body weight in oz of water a day. (Example: if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water a day)

A note for those who exercise regularly:

If you loose a pound or two during a major sweat session, what you’ve lost is not fat, it’s 2 ½ CUPS of water per pound lost from your body-yikes! Dehydration sets in once you loose about 2% of body weight due to water loss (so a 175 lb man could lose only 3.5 lbs of water during a hard workout and succumb to dehydration…scary!)

Sweating is a good thing; it keeps our bodies cool, but it also causes us to loose water and so we must replace what has been lost. It’s super important to drink water before, during and after a good sweat session in normal conditions, but it’s actually a crucial requirement to do such when it’s hot out. Tips to staying hydrated:
  • Remember to drink about two cups (16 oz) of water and hour or two before exercise
  • Drink ½ cup (4 oz or about 2-3 gulps) every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
  • Be sure to continue drinking water even after your workout is complete to ensure that you are properly hydrated.
Remember to listen to your body when exercising in the heat. If you start to get dizzy, light headed or if you stop sweating when you’re working hard, it’s time to quit for the time being and drink some water.
Cheers to your health!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Eat your veggies!

You know that eating healthy includes eating fresh veggies. But sometimes just because you know you should do something, doesn’t make it easy to do.  I personally think everyone should be eating a stupid amount of veggies, but you definitely want to get at least 5 half cup servings of veggies a day

Why eat your veggies? For many many many reasons, but here are a few compelling reasons for loading up your plate and snack drawer with things that grow in the ground.

  • Vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to operate. Plus they are a great source of fiber! Studies show that those who eat a diet rich in fresh produce have a lower incidence of disease such as cancer, cardiovascular issues and stroke.
  • Eating fresh veggies can help you control your weight. Vegetables are naturally low in calories and most are virtually fat free. So eat them first thing at a meal to eat less calories overall.
  • Eating veggies will make you feel good. When you eat whole foods (unprocessed food), your body responds well, your skin glows and your systems work like they should.

5 servings of vegetables might seem like a hard pill to swallow or get into your schedule. But it’s actually very easy if you make sure to have a serving at every meal and snack. Here are a few simple ways to get your daily quota without blinking an eye.

  • Breakfast: 
    • Throw some peppers, zucchini and broccoli in your morning omelet
    • Make a tasty smoothie with a bunch of baby spinach and kale, your favorite fruit and unsweetened almond milk (you won’t even be able to taste the greens…I promise)
  • Lunch: 
    • Top your sandwich with actual veggies (forget the sad piece of lettuce and tiny sliced tomatoes…they don’t count). Add cucumbers, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, etc.
    • Hit the salad bar and load up with all colors of pre-cut vegetables including dark leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, cabbage, you get the picture…lots of veggies. 
  • Dinner:
    • Load your spaghetti sauce (or any sauce for that matter) with tons of veggies. My favorites are broccoli, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms.
    • Make stir fry with lean meat and lots of veggies such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms and celery.
    • Steam your favorite veggie and have it on the side…have lots on the side…so much so that it looks like it’s the main course
    • Eat a side salad before dinner to eat less
    • Make an old school vegetable soup with lots of chunky veggies and for some “oomph” add some potatoes.
  • Snacks:
    • When you go to the salad bar for a salad, get lots of pre-cut veggies for to much on when you get hungry
    • Make sure to have cut up carrots, broccoli, peppers, celery, jicama, etc for crunching and dipping in low fat protein packed dips like hummus.
    • Steam a bag of veggies (frozen veggies are just like fresh…as long as they aren’t in sauce)
    • Get a pre-cut veggie tray and eat off of it (often)
 So what counts as half a cup? Besides the obvious measuring techniques, keep these easy to remember tips close at hand:

·         5 broccoli florets
·         6 baby carrots
·         1 large handful of raw greens (spinach, lettuce, cabbage)
·         1 large stalk of celery
·         ½ large ear of corn
·         6 bell pepper strips

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Food recovery for after the holidays

With all the diets and pills and powders out there promising all of our weight loss and health goals come true in the new year, what works and what doesn't? Well, in my opinion, one of the things that everyone can do that doesn't cost extra money or giving up our favorite foods is to eat a variety of whole, minimally processed foods. I don't mean that you need to shop at Whole Foods, the whole foods that I'm referring to are things that come from nature and are eaten in their whole form (i.e. an apple from a tree)

Basically whole foods are:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains (quinoa, corn, brown rice, oats)
  • unprocessed, natural meat, eggs
  • natural dairy
  • nuts, beans, potatoes
Why might a person want to eat mostly whole foods instead of processed foods? Oh, let me tell you...

  • When you eat whole foods like an apple instead of drinking apple juice, you get all the vitamins and minerals working together to power your body the way they were made to do so…instead of extracting one part of the food.
  • Whole foods are more nutritionally dense meaning that you get more nutrients that our bodies need per serving
  • You automatically avoid harmful additives like antibiotics, hormones, added sugars, preservatives, etc
  • More fiber…yay! Many processed foods, especially processed grains, have processed the fiber right out of the food. And we need fiber for proper digestion. 

A little trick that I use when I shop is to shop around the edges of the grocery store first where most of the produce, meat, dairy and frozen veggies and fruit live and then venture into the center isle for whole wheat pasta, brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, nuts and beans.

So what might some whole foods meals look like? Well here is an entire weeknight dinner menu of super tasty and SUPER easy meals made of whole foods!

Monday: Slow cooker, super clean chili. This is one of my favorite things to prep the night before and then just pull it out of the fridge and into the slow cooker before I leave the house Monday morning.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday. This super simple and yummy burrito bowl is a big hit in our house most Tuesdays. 
Wednesday: Salmon and Sides. This looks fancy, but takes less than 30 minutes!
Thursday: Chicken and angel hair "pasta" pesto. This is great with zucchini noodles, but even better with spaghetti squash. I double or even triple/quadruple the pesto recipe as it freezes really well for the next time!
Friday: Baked potatoes with leftover chili on top. Because, let's face it, sometimes at the end of the week it's hard to make yourself cook. 

So there you have it! Have fun adding more whole foods into your day...I bet you will feel and even look your best! :)