Category Archives: General Health

Easy Steps To Get Closer To Your Health Goal…aside from diet and exercise

Healthy eating and increased physical activity play a major role in optimal wellness. And getting there can take some major effort and dedication. But when you’re not used to hitting the gym most days of the week or cutting a chunk out of your daily calories, getting to that goal can seem rather intimidating and nearly impossible. Here are some simple lifestyle changes you can easily take on to get you closer to a healthier you, no treadmill or food scale needed.

  1. Eat slowly

Chew, like really really chew your food. We’re so go-go-go throughout the day, that we tend to get to mealtime and…welp, that took 5 minutes…on with our day! Give our body some time to enjoy getting the nourishment. This will help us to not over-indulge and to better digest what we’re eating. Do something between bites, like talk or listen for a minute if with company, walk around the room, or count 20 breaths before taking the next bite.

  1. Drink more water

 

I’ve written about it before and I’ll say it again, water can really do the body a lot of good and is crucial in getting the body to its optimal stage of wellness. Check out my article on the benefits of water:

The Benefits of Water 

 

  1. Sleep

 

Sleep plays an important role in body performance throughout the day. If sleep is a difficult thing to come by for you, try some methods to help relax your body at night like meditation, chamomile tea, or lavender inscense.

 

  1. Deep breathing

 

The chaos of our day can easily and often lead us to stress, mindless eating, fatigue, bad posture, and decreased focus. By simply doing two minutes of slow, deep breathing, it helps us become more in tune with our body, bringing us awareness to how it feels inside and out. This will help us to become more inclined to continue bettering it as we go forth with our day. How often do we ignore our bodies and not realize it? Mentally counting down the tasks on our to do list throughout the day, all while having poor posture, overstuffed tummies, tight facial muscles, or what-have-you. But hey, we got all of our tasks done for the day, right!? But at what cost to our body? Take two minutes a few times a day to breathe deep and pull your focus inward. You owe yourself at least that.

 

  1. Stretch

 

Ever notice how a morning stretch before getting out of bed or stretching your neck side to side gives you that ‘okay, now I’m ready’ feeling? Get some light body stretches in throughout the day. Reach as high as you can while sitting in a chair and slowly tilt your upper body side to side. It’ll help loosen your muscles all while helping your posture and circulation.

 

  1. Fidget

 

Keep Moving! Not only does this keep the muscles active and burn some calories, but it actually helps keep our focus and energy up. While sitting, bounce your heel up and down, or back and forth between heels as if climbing stairs toes planted in the ground. Touch each fingertip to your thumb pointer finger to pinky and back. Whatever small movement it may be, keep your body moving.

 

  1. Surround yourself with motivation

 

Take a few steps to change your surroundings to health conscious ones. I noticed that when I did, I became more motivated to eat healthy and be more active. For example:

  • Change the background on your computer and your phone to a fitness motivation (it can be a picture or a quote, whatever helps motivate you)
  • ‘Friend’ others that have a healthy lifestyle on social media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on the couch ready to indulge in a not-so-healthy snack or got home after a long day and decided not to go to the gym, just to grab my phone to check Facebook or Snapchat, and a famous fitness/yoga/nutrition icon pops up sharing a post-workout pic or healthy meal picture, and my next actions changed because of it.
  • Wear gym shoes to run your errands instead of dress flats or sandals. It may help you expend more energy in your running around, and heck, you’re already ready for a workout!

When you see ‘healthy’ surrounding you throughout the day, you’re more inclined to make your actions comparable.

 

Just these small changes can get you closer to your health goals. Try to incorporate these into your day and see how it makes a difference.

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Healthy Eating Travel Tips

Life happens, and not always in the most convenient of ways. Here are some tips to stay on track no matter where or how you’re traveling!

Airport:

  • If eating at the airport, opt for choices like salad with lean un-breaded protein or a vegetable stir fry
  • Monitor spreads, sauces, creams, etc.(ask for them on the side)
  • Cut cravings for flavor while walking past all the food court options by bringing a water bottle with cucumber, lemon, or mint sprigs
  • Low carb, low calorie protein bars work great for non-perishable snacks

Road Trip:

  • Try low sodium turkey jerky for an easy non-perishable protein option on the go
  • Prepare some pre-portioned baggies such as trail mix with nuts and dried fruit or low-fat string cheese and celery/carrot sticks
  • Protein bars work great for non-perishable snacks, or bring a cooler for deli meat, yogurt, string cheese and water bottles
  • Preplan at restaurants you’ll be dining at- most restaurants will have their nutritionals online
  • Split portions at restaurants with someone else (they’re typically double the appropriate portion size)
  • “Would you like ‘fries’ with that?”- many fast food places offer the unhealthy option instead of asking ‘Would you like a side”. This is a marketing tactic to sell what is cheapest for them and usually the most unhealthy. Instead, opt for a side salad or fruit, not fried or fatty sides

Hotel Stay:

  • Preplan at restaurants you’ll be dining at- most restaurants will have their nutritionals online
  • Split portions at restaurant with someone else (they’re typically double the appropriate portion size)
  • Ask for a to-go container before even starting your meal and put half in the container to later refrigerate in the room
  • Make a stop at the local grocery store for healthy staples for your hotel mini fridge
  • Try to at least have breakfast in the hotel room; that way you have one healthy meal down to start your day
  • Make use of your coffee maker to heat water for Instant Oatmeal
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Picky Eaters

Many children go through a time in their lives where they are seen as picky eaters. Many young children get into food jags, such as them wanting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for a year straight. This is perfectly normal, because children are still learning, as is their palate, and they seek security in what is already known and comfortable to them. When I discuss picky eating through this article, I’m not talking about food jags or a child who may have constant changes in favorite foods but overall eats a sufficient diet. I’m talking about a child who is deprived of a, or several, food groups due to preference and selective eating.

Over the years, I’ve found one issue with picky eaters. The core problem it comes down to, why the child has gotten to this point and why the child is still at this point. The real dilemma at hand and the source of it- the parents. More specifically, the feeding relationship. Before I insult so many mom’s and dad’s out there, let me explain what I mean.

Little Zoe, 4 years old, is sitting at the table with a healthy plate of food her mom made her. She pushes her plate to the side, won’t eat a bite. Now, mom knows that Zoe always eats that food when grandma makes it for her, but somehow she will never eat it when she makes it. Finally, after fighting and failing to get a single bite out of little Zoe, mom asks her what she wants instead. “Mac and cheese!” Zoe says with a giant smile. Mom takes the plate from Zoe and starts preparing her mac and cheese. It’s better she eats something than nothing at all right?

The problem here is not a food jag or even mom’s not-as-good-as-grandma’s cooking. The problem is the feeding relationship. The feeding relationship is simple, and it’s just this: The parent decides what to eat, where to eat, and when to eat. The child simply decides if to eat and how much. When we damage that feeding relationship, problems may pursue. With little Zoe, grandma likely doesn’t give another option, it’s eat it or don’t, and Zoe eats what grandma offers because she KNOWS she won’t get another option. Children are smart and they know what they can get away with and with whom. When we give children the option of what to eat, they learn that they are in charge of that feeding relationship, and typically that ends with something not-so-healthy.

I always encourage parents to strongly enforce that feeding relationship. If their child won’t eat their plate of food, don’t offer a less healthy alternative. Wrap the plate up, put it in the fridge, and offer it again some time later. Your child will not starve, I promise. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat. You may hear a lot of whining and if that feeding relationship is damaged enough, maybe even screaming, but once a strong feeding relationship is established, it is very much worth it and so much easier on you in the long run.

I understand getting there doesn’t happen overnight and it can be a serious struggle. There are many things you can do to help along the way.

  • Think ‘Happy Meals’. Yes, I am talking about McDonald’s. They market their children’s meals for the child. It’s kid-friendly and attractive to a child’s eye. McDonald’s knows that the kid likes what they see, the kid wants it, the kid begs for it, the kid gets it. They don’t market a happy meal towards adults. Make your child’s homemade meal kid-friendly. Bring out the cookie cutters for their sandwiches, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins as ants on a log, make a picture on their plate of a smiley face or a rainbow with the colors, ditch the soda and add colorful fruit to their water. Your child will eventually see the dark brown bubbly soda as boring next to a glass of water with bright blue blueberry ice cubes, bright pink raspberry ice cubes, and bright green kiwi ice cubes floating around their water glass. My mother used to make us tuna ice cream cones growing up as a treat. A wafer sugar-free ice cream cone with tuna inside, mixed with celery and carrot slivers, with a cherry tomato on top. And guess what? It was healthy and we didn’t even know it! Now, if it were a scoop of tuna on a plain plate with grilled tomatoes on the side and celery and carrots, would we have been as excited for that meal? Probably not. Kids love fun presentation.
  • Let your child help to prep the meal. Give them the lettuce for the salad to rinse off and tear apart for you. And let them set the table however they’d like. It’s shown that kids are more likely to eat a meal they had fun in preparing.
  • Offer a healthy food they like on their plate along with something new. They may not even touch the new item, but at least it was presented to them. Don’t force them to try anything, because then that food is associated with negativity. Just offer it again at a later meal. Sometimes it takes several times of a food being placed in front of them before they even try it.
  • Make mealtime fun. Name foods something that they’ll enjoy. Instead of broccoli, fluffy trees. Or even just changing the name of the food around a little. Ravioliosaurus Surprise! Use your imagination. It may sound silly, but it works, and it’s pretty fun!
  • Make mealtime family time. With all the chaos and running around we do today, can’t we have a simple hour to catch up with family? Let mealtime be at the table spent with family, television and radio turned off. Less distracted little tikes are better eaters.
  • If they’re picky with their veggies, make them a fruit (and vegetable) smoothie for breakfast. A strawberry banana smoothie with a little spinach or kale blended in is healthy and you can’t see, pick out, or even taste the veggie!
  • Lastly, as mom and dad, you likely already know that your child’s food touching is the absolute worst thing in the world to happen to them. Keeping the groups separated, and keeping the veggies crisp and fresh instead of warm and mushy is likely a bigger hit.

It’s when we interfere with the feeding relationship, problems result, whether it be a child getting an alternative unhealthy meal or them eating too much because it was forced. And who is your child’s biggest role model? You are! So make sure you keep your eating healthy in front of them as well since they look to you as their guidance.

Weaning From The Bottle

The goal is to have our children off the bottle by their first birthday. That doesn’t always happen. Here are a few insights on why we need to get them off as well as tips on getting them there.

Typically what is given in the bottle contains sugar, like milk or formula (or heaven forbid juice), which is left sitting in the child’s mouth, already risking decay. At this point, they should already be getting their teeth and gums washed with a wet washcloth or soft toothbrush. But even so, they are at increased risk of childhood tooth  decay, tooth pain, and cavities by having anything other than water in the bottle. The act of sucking on the bottle over time can also cause crooked permanent teeth. Yes, they get two sets of teeth, but unfortunately, the damage to the first set still greatly affects the second. Decayed first teeth likely go deeper already affecting the second set before they’re even seen. Crooked first teeth cause the second set to potentially come in crooked. Being on the bottle after the first birthday can cause ear and speech problems, poor eating habits, and even developmental delays. Being off the bottle encourages independence, developed coordination, and promotes dental health.

If possible, get rid of the bottle completely after the first birthday, toss it. Out of sight, out of mind. They won’t see it and be more tempted to ask for it, and you won’t be tempted to give it. If that doesn’t seem like a possibility, try these other tips. Every child is different, and you as their parent will know what might work best for them.

  • Some stores carry a ‘transition to cup’ kit that contains a few tops that have nipples that start soft like a bottle and progress to a harder top like a sippy cup. This can help those that need a very gradual transition.
  • The risks of being on the bottle stated above include doing the bottle AND doing a sugar liquid in the bottle like milk or formula. If we begin to only offer water in the bottle and no longer put milk in it, we are nixing the risk of sugar in the bottle and we’ve gotten rid of some risks at least. It’s better to nix some of the many risks than none at all. When some of my clients begin doing only water in the bottle, usually the child ends up losing interest in it all together anyway.
  • If they’re used to the hold of the bottle, take the nipple out of the top and still offer the bottle. You just turned that bottle into a cup with a wide open mouth. I’d recommend this over cutting a large hole in the nipple, because with a widened hole, they’ll still be holding the bottle in their mouths and having the sugars just run over their teeth and gums. With taking the nipple out completely, they’ll only be able to use it like a cup.
  • Let them get excited about the cup. Praise them whenever they use it, telling them how proud you are of them. For the older toddlers still on the bottle, take them to the store and pick out their favorite cup, pick up stickers with their favorite movie character on them or sparkly stars, puffy paint, or whatever you think they’d like. Come home, sit them at the table, and let them decorate their very own sippy cup. That bottle becomes boring old news.
  • It may sound harsh, but some parents swear by this. Put something nasty and bitter on the nipple of the bottle every time they ask for it, such as lemon juice or pepper or something you know they don’t like.
  • If all else fails, don’t offer milk anymore until they’re ready to drink it from a bottle. Children need 16oz of milk a day. Keep in mind milk isn’t only in “milk” form. If they are getting a serving of cheese and a yogurt in the day, they’re set. If we’re taking milk out of the diet, we can cook with milk, offer dairy in other sources, or sneak it in to homemade fresh fruit smoothies. They don’t actually need to be drinking straight milk persay.

Whatever way you choose to try and work on gradually, there are three things to do immediately. If you are offering anything other than milk or water in the bottle, stop. If you are giving juice or other sugar beverages in it, it’ll only increase their risk of dental problems and will only attach them to it more. If you are resorting to putting chocolate or strawberry syrup in the milk 2-3 times a day to get them to drink it from the cup, stop. As stated, it’s better to not do straight milk at all then to start a new bad habit. If you’re letting them fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, stop.  After just a few short hours of snooze time, acid from the sugar in milk will already start to effect teeth and could start decay. You’d be surprised how many two year olds I have in my office who already have decayed hour-glass shaped teeth, sometimes already cavity filled and broken down from falling asleep with the bottle of milk. Make sure when they drink and are ready for bed, you’re wiping the sugars off their gums, tongue and teeth before they actually fall asleep. The sooner they’re off the bottle, the better. The longer they’re on it, the more attached they’ll get to it.

Good luck and let the weaning begin!

Life’s Lessons

We were all children once. We got hurt many times, just to take the same fall and feel the same pain all over again. And we did it again and again and again. We jumped. Sometimes without looking where we’d fall. We never thought about breaking at the bottom, just about the possibility of flying. We had hope that the next time we’d succeed. We’d grab the handlebars, scraped knuckles and all, and give it another shot. Until finally…we flew.

And as we live and grow, we “learn” to be cautious. We “learn” to not get hurt again. We learn to protect our hearts. That everyone will hurt us eventually, most every fanatical wish will fail. We learn to keep our dreams limited, more realistic and safe. We learn to trust only ourselves. To not completely let anyone in. To keep our walls up.

And why?

We learn to live in fear? To live a life of restraint, bound down by CAUTION tape? To clip our wings and ground ourselves because the winds may be too strong to take on? To only kind of, sort of live the life we truly want? Since when did life become so scary? We’ve all been hurt in one way or another. We took a leap of hope and we fell and broke from it. A broken heart by someone who found it before the designated owner did. A broken dream before we realized there was something better we never thought to wish for. We put our everything into something we lost until we feel we lost everything. And what do we do as a result? We guard ourselves and step down. We become smarter we think. We limit ourselves, take caution. We hold ourselves back?

But why?

Instead, we get hurt and we “learn” to keep smiling through it. To keep trusting, to keep loving fully, to not give up on ourselves. We may think we found what or who we were looking for, only to be let down. But giving up doesn’t get you any closer. The world is not a mean place; it holds some mean people and unfortunate circumstances. But it also holds wonderful people you have yet to meet and wonderful opportunities. It’s not the world that would be our enemy, sometimes our worst enemy can be ourselves. Sure, consider consequences and take the smart steps in life, but never dull your senses due to past pain. It’s never a mistake to love too strongly, dream too deeply, trust too openly, or speak too honestly. It’s a mistake to “learn” to repress it.

Breastfeeding 101

This one is for the ladies!
As a Breastfeeding Support Counselor and in the process of getting my CLS (Certified Lactation Specialist) license, I’ve worked with hundreds of nursing mothers and curious pregnant women on breastfeeding. I’ve gotten every question under the sun from what to expect with the first breastfeeding session in the hospital to how to keep your milk supply up months into breastfeeding.
So, let’s start at square one. You’re pregnant and considering breastfeeding. Does it hurt? How do you prepare yourself before the baby comes? What are the differences between breast milk and formula? Well mommy-to-be, good news! You don’t need to do a single thing to prepare your body. However, I would recommend informing you doctor and nursing staff of your plans to breastfeed so that we can get everyone on the same page. Every hospital should have a certified lactation consultant on hand. Try to get in touch with them prior to your delivery date to help establish a relationship and ask any questions. A CLC will be able to be in the room with you post-delivery to work hands-on with the first breastfeeding and help you two to get the best latch-on and positioning.
There are countless differences between breastfeeding and formula. Unless medically limited, I encourage all of my clients to breastfeeding at least the first feeding, even if they choose to supplement feed. Breast milk is considered the baby’s “first immunization” because every single time that you have gotten sick in your entire life, you have formed what’s called an antibody, which protects you against that form of the virus. So every cold, flu, allergy that you have built up immunity to, you pass along to your baby in the very first breastfeeding session to protect baby for the rest of his life. Formula does not contain any antibodies. This is why breastfed babies get sick less often and form less allergies. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, which means baby will likely be less gassy and fussy and those diapers won’t smell as bad (AS bad I said). Also, baby will be feeding more often if exclusively breastfeeding since they are digesting it so quickly. Breast milk has been shown to enhance brain development more than formula. For mom, breastfeeding is FREE, always available, always the right temperature, and instant. So, you don’t have to worry about preparing a bottle every hour and a half in the middle of the night. Badda bing badda boom…instant meal! Exclusively breastfeeding mom’s burn an extra 500 calories a day, so it’ll help you get to your pre-pregnancy weight much quicker. The act of breastfeeding contracts the uterus to also help to get to pre-pregnancy size much quicker and breastfeeding helps stabilize mom’s hormones. This also will help decrease postpartum bleeding and postpartum depression. For example, oxytocin (the happiness hormone) is released when physical contact is made.
Okay, fast forward to delivery. The stork has literally just arrived. Now what? Bring baby STRAIGHT to your chest umbilical cord still attached. It may take a few minutes for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating and we want to make sure baby is getting all of those nutrients. Once the cord stops pulsating, we can go ahead and cut it. Baby will be covered in amniotic fluid. She is not dirty, so regardless of what the nurse may want, she does not need a bath. Keep in mind that the hospital staff is on a schedule. I mean no disrespect to nurses or doctors, but baby just spent roughly 10 months in your womb where it’s quiet, warm, soft, and stress free. All of a sudden, she is pulled out of her home and has all kinds of stimulation, bright lights, loud noises, cold air. Don’t feel rushed by anyone. This is your time to get to know eachother more closely. Hold off on visitors for a little bit, this will only disturb the breastfeeding process. That first hour is so important. You don’t need to pop baby right to breast immediately, but try to breastfeed within the first hour. Now, back to baby being wet and sticky…the only thing, unless medically noted, that the nurse cannot do for baby while on your chest is weighing her. I assure you, she will not gain three pounds in an hour. By taking her away to wash her and do tests, baby’s body temperature drops, she needs to be put in a heating bed, and before you know it- that breastfeeding process is disrupted and formula may need to be introduced. Amniotic fluid still being on baby’s hands will actually help baby know exactly where to go to breastfeed since the same scent is being excreted through your breasts. This is called baby led breastfeeding and is so very awesome to see. Whether you put baby on your stomach or up to your neck, he’ll wiggle himself up to where he needs to be and latch himself on. Sometimes he can use a little help from mom, but overall, he will instinctively know what to do. I encourage you to not bundle baby up like a little mummy after delivery. Take your hospital gown down enough so that your chest can completely cover baby’s chest. This skin to skin action helps both mom’s and baby’s vitals get back to normal. Where dad holding baby skin to skin can actually overheat baby if done too long, mom’s body is so in tune with baby’s that it is impossible for mom to overheat baby with her body temperature. But this skin to skin is SO very important for baby, that I encourage everyone to do this for baby. Just be sure to keep aware of baby’s body temperature when it’s not mom he’s with.
There is no perfect position to breastfeed. Whatever is most comfortable for you and baby is the perfect position. Most of my client’s find that being slightly reclined with a pillow behind you and baby breastfeeding parallel to you, belly to belly seems to work. The side football hold works well after a cesarean section. But whatever is comfortable for you and baby, no matter how goofy it may look, is perfectly fine.
Breastfeeding should not hurt. The first few times, it may be just a little odd or uncomfortable with feeling a little tug, but if there is any pain, this is a good indication baby is not latching on correctly. Make sure baby is calm first before breastfeeding. If she is crying and fussy, it’ll be nearly impossible to breastfeed correctly, if at all. Baby’s mouth should be open as wide as she can possibly get it. The best technique to get baby to latch on as best he can is to kind of tickle baby’s mouth with your nipple. He’ll open his mouth wider and wider. Continue to tease him until his mouth is as wide as it can be, cup his head, and gently bring him to breast so that he is not latching on to the nipple, but rather most, if not all, of the areola. This will help to stimulate more milk ducts.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from my newbie mom’s is that they fear the baby isn’t getting enough milk considering you can’t visually see how much baby is getting from your breasts. This is especially a concern with mom’s who are pumping since the first few days, you are only producing colostrum instead of mature milk. This is so concentrated with nutrients and baby’s tummy is only the size of a marble that, yes, one little ounce is plenty for your little one until the next feeding.
The only way to increase or keep up your milk supply is to increase breastfeeding. Your body works in a supply/demand way. The more you breastfeed, the more you’ll produce. The more you supplement, the less you’ll produce. This is why I encourage moms who do both to start each feeding at the breast, go back and forth a couple times since you’ll start producing again as soon as you stop, then go to formula if you choose. There are several other things you can do as well to increase supply, from breast compressions to eating certain foods.
This is the basics of what I tell my clients. If you have any questions, please send them my way!

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Sugar Coated Excuses

Sugar Coated Excuses

What’s the excuse that goes through your head when you oh so very much want that sugary sweet? Typically, it’s something along the lines of “It’s only ___ calories” “I’ll just do another __ minutes of cardio”. Let me tell you something- sweets aren’t just about the calories. I’m sure most of you can’t say that when you’re reaching for that cookie, you’re thinking “this could make my skin look worse over the next few days”. Or “this cookie is actually going to deplete my body of some of the nutrients I gave it earlier today” or “if I make this a habit, this sugar is actually going to AGE me and give me premature wrinkles” or “my immunity is going to take a slight hit simply because of this here cookie!”. Nah, it’s all about the calories in this calorie focused world. According to WedMD, a highly credible source, “Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing [sugar].” AskDrSears.com states “An overdose of sugar. Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of two- and-a-half 12-ounce cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.” “If the concentration of glucose in the blood goes beyond a certain concentration, the white blood cell’s 50-times vitamin C concentration can start to drop because of the large amount of glucose it’s pulling in as a substitute for vitamin C.” Sugar attacks the collagen and elastin in your skin as well as the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. This, in turn, leads to premature wrinkles and sagging.
I’m not saying not to eat a cookie EVER, but maybe think twice before overindulging. Your waistline won’t be the only thing to benefit from it.

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seasonal-food-chart.jpg

Hello healthy hotties! Happy Healthy Saturday!!!! It’s spring cleaning, which means now, more than any other time in the year, it’s easier to freshen up our diets. Ever try out a farmer’s market? Fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t just at your neighborhood grocery store. By grabbing a handful at your local farmer’s market, you know that these produce are as fresh as they come; locally grown, free of hormones and pesticides, and jam-packed with vitamins and minerals for you. Even better, Saturdays and Sundays are typically the days that farmer’s markets are open to the public! So take advantage of getting some fresh fruits and vegetables this weekend. If you want some help with finding one that’s in your area, make a shout out. Below are some in the Chicago, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin areas:
http://www.thechicagotraveler.com/2014/04/top-10-chicago-farmers-markets/
http://www.aroundindy.com/farmersmarkets.php
http://mifma.org/find-a-farmers-market/
http://www.wifarmersmarkets.org/find-a-farmers-market.aspx

Wishing you all a happy and healthy weekend

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Why Breakfast Is So Beneficial

This one’s for my non-breakfast-eating sister (she’s trying though!!) as well as all you other non-breakfast-eaters out there:

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day? Well, let’s just say they’re all very important, but there is enough research out there that may make you take a second look on skipping breakfast. It’s easy to forget breakfast when we hit the snooze button three times and bombard ourselves with an hour worth of morning tasks squeezed into thirty minutes. Who has time to prepare a meal? And how can you even be hungry when you’re running around trying to prepare yourself for the next 12 hours? Believe it or not, that one choice of breakfast or no breakfast has more of an effect on those next 12 hours than you may think. And to clarify, no, a giant cup o’ joe does not constitute as breakfast, sorry.

It’s time to put an end to this breakfast boycotting once and for all. Eating breakfast can have a drastic effect on your whole day. Here are some reasons:

-When we sleep, our bodies fast and our metabolism begins to slow down when we are not fueling it with food. The first meal of the day, breakfast (break + fast) is a means to help kick start our metabolism again for the day. Eating breakfast gives us the energy we need to get us through the morning until our next meal or snack. Without breakfast, we’re going sometimes 10+ hours before we fuel our bodies from the night before.

– Breakfast skipping has been shown to have the largest effect on children, causing uncontrolled appetite throughout the day, a harder time staying focused on tasks and schoolwork, and a harder time retaining the information given. This can be due to the fact that our bellies growling at is can be very distracting as well as the fact that even our brain requires calories in order to function properly. It is thought that children’s small stature may be the biggest culprit to their higher susceptibility.

– When our bodies are in a state of hunger, we tend to crave carbs, and not necessarily the healthy ones, like fruit. Ever notice that once you eat a healthy, filling meal, you no longer really want that plate full of pasta or cookies or whatever else looks fat and delicious? When our bodies go too long without fuel, it knows it needs calories, so it seeks calories and a lot of them, as quickly as possible. This leads to eating unhealthier options and overeating.

– Many people cut out breakfast as a means to burn up any fat when their body is showing them signs to hunger. What I always tell my clients is the best thing to do is listen to your body. When it’s hungry, give it nutrients (NUTRIENTS though, not doughnuts). When it’s full, give it a break. The best way to learn what’s best for our body is to be completely in tune with it. When we feel sluggish after a meal or our stomach is crying out for help, chances are, what we ate wasn’t all that healthy. When we cut out breakfast in order for our body to “eat what fat it has”, we’re actually just the opposite of what we intend. Our bodies sometimes aren’t on the same page as our minds. What our bodies try to do best? Protect us. When we starve it and don’t listen to its hunger cues, it starts to go into survival mode, spiking blood sugars and storing any sugars we take in(almost everything has some amount of sugar in it) as fat instead of using it as energy. Calories are actually called “energy” in other countries, because, guess what, that’s what it is. When we don’t take in any calories for a period of time, we break down that muscle before we get to the fat store. survival mechanism at its finest…or worst in this case. We also make it more difficult to fuel our lean muscle when depleting it of nutrients. And lean muscles, sirs and madams, helps to burn fat. So, in fact, skipping a healthy breakfast is rather counterproductive in this attempt.  Which brings me to my next point…

– Skipping breakfast will not cause you to get diabetes, but keep in mind that it will spike your blood sugar, making you more insulin resistant. For the average healthy person, this is a risk because we’re not metabolizing the sugar we’re eating properly. For the already diabetic person, this is a greater risk when they already have issues with blood sugar. This is why it’s best for diabetics to eat every couple hours, to keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Mood swings and irritability are a common symptom of low blood sugar. An unhappy belly can easily lead to an unhappy person. The sun is up and it’s a new day for new adventures. Start it off on a happy note. 

Robin LeAnne, a highly recognized blogger who writes about everything from a healthy lifestyle to fashion advice, recently did a “90 days to a new me” article where she made breakfast (something infrequent in her daily routine) a priority. Check out how much it has made a significant effect on her day and her health in just 90 days at http://francescasflops.wordpress.com

Breakfast should always include a fruit/vegetables and protein. Protein should of course be with every meal, because it wards off hunger the strongest and the longest. And as mentioned before, protein is needed for those strong muscles that help us bust fat easier. Protein can be anything from egg whites to tofu to yogurt or meats. Fruit and yogurt smoothie or veggie omelet anyone?

Please keep in mind that we’re not doing our body significant damage by skipping a meal every once in a while, but making a habit of it can start having detrimental effects. Hopefully these points can convince you to bust that breakfast boycotting now.

 

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Inner Peace

There’s more to being a healthy person than eating right and exercising. Of course these are very important, crucial in fact, but are only two-thirds of the equation. If we are hitting the gym six times a week, eating only healthy meals, and are stressed, negative, and hateful inside, what good are we really doing our bodies? More importantly, what good are we doing our minds and our hearts? We could do all the cardio in the world to build the strongest heart we can, but without emotional balance and a positive outlook in life, our hearts are still as weak and strained as that of the sedentary. Anger and stress only weakens the mind and heart. If we’re ridding our body of toxins to become healthier, we must rid our minds of that which is toxic as well. As Marcus Tullius Cicero says, “In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible.”

Here are some ways to help find peace of mind:

  1. Breathe- Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds through your nose, hold for 5 seconds, and slowly breathe out through pursed lips for 5 seconds. Do this several times and remind yourself that you’re breathing in the good and breathing out the bad. Deep, slow breathing counteracts the effects of stress by slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
  2. VocalizeTell someone how their actions affected you instead of holding it in and building resentment. Be sure to do it in a positive and productive way and stay honest. And in return, LISTEN! Sometimes this is the hardest part.
  3. Forgive- No matter the intensity of pain the person may have once brought you, it’s in the past and it’s only continuing to pain you by holding on to it. The anger will only destroy you, it often does not even affect the other person. “Unforgiveness is choosing to stay trapped in a jail cell of bitterness, serving time for someone else’s crime.” It takes real strength to give someone a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind. Let Karma teach the lesson, not you.
  4. ApologizeWe’re human, we make mistakes, and we fix them and move on. Apologize and then choose to forgive yourself. And if we don’t see that we did something wrong, but perhaps someone was hurt by it- think about this quote: “Apologizing does not always mean that you’re wrong; it means that you value your relationship with that person and your own wellbeing more than your ego.”
  5. ListenPlay your favorite song and maybe even dance along. It’s funny how an upbeat tune or lyrics can instantly change our moods.
  6. CleanHave a messy house? Don’t focus on the house; focus on the space, the room, the one assignment. Declutter an individual space in your home, creating even one peaceful area.
  7. Be PresentEnjoy the good things about today instead of scheming to create a better future. The past always has good memories. And the present is the future’s past.
  8. Be KindDo something for someone without expecting anything back. It’s easy to forget how rewarding it is to help others instead of only helping ourselves. There is always someone within reach who could use a helping hand or even just an ear. If they ask what they can do in return, tell them to pay it forward.
  9. Smile!-It is the quickest stress reliever and happiness booster. And it’s free, pretty, and addictive. Even better, smile at someone else (maybe a stranger) and make it contagious, you may just make their day.
  10. Rest– Your body needs time to recoup from stressful events. If we’re burdened by a decision, “sleeping on it” is often the best solution.
  11. Practice GratitudeBe grateful for what you have learned from the situation or be grateful to not HAVE to deal with the stress anymore unless you choose to. If you feel there is no positive in the situation, reflect on a positive in your life as well. Be grateful for the people and the things in life you may take for granted. One day, you may not have them. Today, you have them to hold and cherish.
  12. Talk with a friendFriends know how to make you smile, if not laugh. Sometimes we need to vent to someone for 5 minutes whom we know will care to listen and help. If venting, let it out and let it go. Let someone help, don’t bring someone down with you. And sometimes, we don’t even need to talk about the pain. By being with a loved one (family, friends, significant other) is all we need to close our eyes and laugh without even seeing the pain pass by.
  13. Dream-Let yourself daydream. This is like a mini vacation in the middle of the day. Daydreaming helps you to learn and recuperate. Children daydream all the time, and look how happy it makes them. We should learn from our little ones. We’ve forgotten with all the chaos of adulthood how important, powerful, and productive it is to escape into our imagination.
  14. SurrenderBe prepared to let go of your attachments to any particular outcome. The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come. Learn that to succumb does not mean that you lose. Let life lead you down unexpected roads and you will find that the outcome is better than you could have imagined. And I truly believe that you do not attract what you want, you attract what you are. If you are bad or negative, you attract bad and negative. If you are good, you attract good.
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