Wednesday, November 14, 2012

These Super Foods Will Energize You in a Healthy Way

Greetings, All!

Here an article that I wrote for Workout Healthy Blog that I thought you might find beneficial. Follow the link below to read the entire post and let me know what you think!

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These Super Foods Will Energize You in a Healthy Way

When feeling lethargic, it is fairly common that people reach for sugar, caffeine, and snacks to get up and going again. However, stimulant use has only short-term effects. Instead of reaching for coffee and energy drinks to boost energy levels, consuming super foods will provide that much-needed charge while ensuring optimal health.

According to Super FoodsRX.com, a “super food” is high in nutrients, generally lower in fats, and contains agents that enable the body to heal itself while reversing the effects of aging. Many of these foods have detoxifying properties and have been known to reduce the risk of and slow the progression of certain cancers and diseases (heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.). When the body is free of toxins and its systems are running smoothly, energy is more quickly derived from nutrient-packed foods. Super foods contain and deliver the highest amounts of energy and are available in every food group. Here are some examples of these power-packed foods:

Apples: contain powerful antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium; they are low in calories and heart healthy.

Beans: contain high amounts of protein and are low in fat; they regulate blood sugar and have high amounts of fiber, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron; they are heart healthy, help manage weight, and prevent certain types of cancer.

Blueberries: contain high levels of phytonutrients (“non-vitamin, non-mineral components of food that have significant healthful benefits”); they are excellent for central nervous system support and contain cancer-preventing agents.

Dark chocolate: contains flavonols which are plants that possess high antioxidant properties; also comprised of fats, protein, and carbohydrates; contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee; increases good cholesterol and is heart-healthy.

Here is the link to the full article: http://blog.workouthealthy.com/diet-nutrition/super-foods/

Be good to yourself! More next time...


Monday, September 10, 2012

Immunize Yourself

Something that I am really embracing is the knowledge of who I am and how important it is to reflect on my journey. Today, I want to encourage each of you to take an honest look at what you have managed to accomplish in this life. Consider the tough times you have made it through and be grateful. You are a fantastic creation and you should honor the best parts of yourself. Commit to improving your areas of opportunity and then accept yourself ENTIRELY. When you do that, no one will be able you tell you who you are, what you are, nor even what you are capable of doing. You will be not be easily shaken nor easily broken. Do it. Do it now. Start today.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pay Attention to Your Family History



Knowing your family medical history is critical to creating a wellness and fitness plan for your life.While it is not guaranteed that you will develop heart disease or diabetes, know that the likelihood is greater if there is history of these diseases in your family. Often, it is the repetition of a pattern of behaviors that leads to illness. Making healthy lifestyle changes can greatly improve your odds of breaking the cycle. So, if you want to be healthy and fit, then you must do what healthy and fit people do.

Here are some simple tips for ensuring good health:

*Get plenty of fiber from whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
*Eat lean protein including beans, seeds, and quinoa.
*Consume healthy fats from foods like salmon and olive oil.
*Avoid refined (packaged) foods like white bread, white rice, sugar, grits, and desserts.
*Get regular exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes per session.
*Maintain a healthy weight.
*Women waistlines should be at or below 35" and men should stay below 40".
*Practice stress management techniques like meditation and yoga.
*Drink 8-12 glasses of water daily.
*Sleep 7-8 hours per day.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some Basic Rules for Proper Nutrition During Ramadan




"The globally recogni(z)ed golden rule of dietary guidelines is that one should eat a variety of food using principles of moderation and balance. Usually, most health problems at this time are likely to arise from inappropriate diet or as a consequence of over-eating and insufficient sleep."

"Fasting also improves blood cholesterol profile, reduces gastric acidity, and prevents constipation and other digestive problems.”

"Benefits of fasting appear only in those who maintain their diet, avoiding the high calorie and highly processed foods prepared during this time," -- Saijitha Sunil, Nutritionist/Dietician, Emirates Diagnostic Clinic (Zain, 2006)


Here are some very basic rules to follow that will ensure proper diet and nutrition during Ramadan:

1) Never allow your total daily caloric intake to drop below 1,200 calories

2) Prepare your own meals

3) Eat most of your vegetables cooked

4) Eat your fruits fresh (an hour before or after your meal)

5) Drink whole/raw milk daily

6) Drink a minimum of 64-96 ounces of water daily

7) Eat bean soup everyday

8) Eat whole wheat bread

9) Avoid desserts

10) Avoid fried foods

11) Avoid processed foods

12) Limit caffeine intake

13) Do not smoke

14) Do not consume alcohol

15) Take no drugs other than what is prescribed and necessary

16) Eat at the same time everyday


(*Taken from chapter 5 in Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook)

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Are You Looking for a Wellness Educator or Author Visit?



I had such a wonderful experience teaching "The Science of Nutrition" to the students at Workshop Houston's Summer Leadership Institute 2012 that I have decided to offer nutrition seminars, wellness seminars, and writing workshops to schools, businesses, and groups. Visit this link for more information: http://journeysfit.blogspot.com/p/workshops-and-seminars.html

I look forward to helping you learn more about making healthy choices and achieving vibrant health!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eating Well for Longevity

Longevity: n. a long duration of individual life. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/longevity

The amounts and kinds of foods that we consume should be selected based on human nutritional needs at every stage of growth and development. Infants, children, teenagers, adults, and seniors all have different energy and dietary requirements that should be adjusted as they age. Understanding how to nourish the body will increase the chances of living longer and enjoying a better quality of life.

Stages Defined
1) Infants- ages 0-12 month
Infants from birth to 6 months require only breast milk or formula and no other foods.The National Institutes of Health states that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby because breast milk the perfect balance of nutrients. —It also has antibodies that protect a baby from getting sick, which formula does not have.Once a baby turns 6 months old she can begin eating soft, pureed foods in addition to breast milk or formula.
2) Children- ages 1- 12 years
Children from the ages of 1 to 5 years grow at a rapid rate. —The government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines for healthy eating encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and whole grains every day. According to the Weight Control Information Network, a child's school lunch is an important part of his nutritional intake, which should include foods like low-fat yogurt, nuts and fruits instead of chips, candies, soda and cookies.
3) Teenagers- ages 13-19
According to the Weight Control Information Network, about 17 percent of teenagers in the United States were overweight during the years of 2003 to 2004. —Though it depends on the teenager's height, weight and physical activity level, teenagers generally need around 2,000 calories per day, states the Weight Control Information Network. In order to prevent excess weight gain, it recommends teenagers eat fruits and vegetables every day and choose healthy fats like avocados instead of eating pastries and fried foods.
4) Adults- ages 20-50
While the government's five major recommended food groups of grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and meats, beans and nuts still apply as the recommendations for adults, some important health issues facing many adults include obesity, cholesterol and blood pressure. The Weight Control Information Network recommends that adults watch their portion sizes and limit their intake of fats, especially saturated fats.
5) Seniors- ages 51+
Nutrition is incredibly important for the elderly population. According to the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," less than 10 percent of the elderly population eats the recommended daily amounts of dairy and grains. In addition to getting fiber from whole grains and calcium from dairy, elderly individuals also need to make sure they drink enough water to stay hydrated, as dehydration is another cause for concern.



Source: "Nutrition Throughout the Human Life Cycle" http://www.livestrong.com/article/78724-nutrition-throughout-human-life-cycle/#ixzz1zQ3Zshlb


Things You Should Not Do (At Any Stage)
  • Smoke or use tobacco
  • Consume alcohol
  • Use illicit drugs  
  • —Abuse prescription drugs 
  • Consume excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, energy drinks, fast food, sodium, refined (packaged) foods
  • Eat pork in any form

Other Considerations
  • Level of physical activity (Sedentary vs. Active)
  • Health condition (Healthy? Sickly? Pregnant? Injured?)
  • Type of work performed (White-Collar vs. Blue Collar)

Ten Tips to A Great Plate:

1) Balance calories by eating enough to sustain daily activities

2) Enjoy your food, but eat less of it

3) Avoid oversized portions of food

4) Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy

5) Make half your plate fruits and vegetables in a variety of

colors

6) Switch to low-fat dairy

7) Make at least half your grains whole grains

8) Cut back on foods that have extra fat, added sugar, and

excess sodium

9) Compare sodium labels and opt for low-sodium choices

10) Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks

Additional Reading: "Does Sugar Affect Children's Behavior?" http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/09/why-do-dieticians-believe-sugar-fluoride-artificial-colors-are-safe-for-children.aspx


Be good to yourself! More next time...



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Are You the Priority or the Option?

As a former retailer, I have come to understand that customer relationships make or break your business. You may provide superior products and services. Your place of business may be modern, clean, well-stocked, and have great signage. You could have hired the most qualified staff. The business may have a strong presence in the community. You have invested in a great advertising campaign and the customers have responded. Things are going well--or so you think.

After the first year, you notice that sales have consistently dropped. The number of customers have diminished. The customers who remained are spending less than they did before. The staff isn't performing as well and most are late for work and out of uniform. What happened?

What you put into your business is exactly what you will get out of it. It is critical to take care of the people who shop with you as well as the people who work for you. They are human after all. They have needs, worries, and problems that need resolution. If you don't do a good job of responding to their problems, some will be very vocal and lodge complaints. They will make you do your job. Others will give you another chance, but will seek out the competition to compensate for your shortcomings. And then there are those who won't make a fuss. They won't make suggestions on how you could improve. They will just stop doing business with you and tell everyone they know why.

Personal relationships are no different. The worst thing that you can do is to take the people in your life for granted. If you ask for more favors than you return, ask for help but offer none, and include them in the work while excluding them from the fun, then they will remove themselves from your circle.

In this life, it is incumbent upon each of us to give as good as we get, if not better. The lesson here is that you cannot expect others to make you a priority when you treat them like afterthoughts.

Be good to yourself~and others! More next time...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ramadan Is Just Around the Corner~Are You Prepared?



Ramadan will begin on or around July 20, 2012. The key to a successful fast is preparation: mentally, physically, and spiritually. Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan is a guide that will help you meet your dietary, hydration, and physical needs during the Holy Month.

In Making the Fast, readers will learn the following:

1)  Why We Fast During Ramadan

2)  How to Eat to Live

3)  Why to Get a Physical First

4)  Preparation for the Fast

5)  Diet and Nutrition

6)  How and Why to Manage Hydration

7)  Exercise and Weight Management during Ramadan

8)  Getting Proper Rest

9)  Side Effects of Fasting

10) Making Your Ramadan Plan

Get your copy today! Making the Fast: How to Eat to Live During Ramadan is available in paperback and as an ebook on the publisher's websiteAmazon Kindle, and Barnes and Noble NOOK.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

12 Year-Old Publishes Novel!

Greetings, All!

My 12 year-old daughter Halima has just wrapped another school year and will be entering the 9th grade this fall. She was a Texas State Finalist in the Letters About Literature Writing Contest for her third consecutive year. One of the most exciting accomplishments is that Halima participated in National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) and will be publishing her novel, Riley and the Kitchen Katastrophe, on June 7th, 2012! She is doing a few interviews, putting together a book trailer, doing cooking videos, and planning a small release party. She has worked really hard and I am so proud of her!

I am asking you to support Halima in any, or all, of the following ways:

1) Visit/follow her blog and leave a comment at http://www.halimasworld.blogspot.com

2) Visit, "like", and leave a comment on her Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook/RileyAndTheKitchenKatastrophe

3) Buy the book! They are all available now, but you are welcome to join the fun on the 7th!

CreateSpace Store Amazon.com Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble NOOK

4) Review the book on Amazon.com, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, etc.

5) Visit her author website at http://www.wix.com/chellemgt/Halimas-World

6) Share this news with your friends (on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and recommend the book!

Thank you for all of your support!




Friday, May 18, 2012

A Big Announcement! At Least It Is for Me...


Those of you who regularly read Raychelle Writes know that I enjoy interviewing authors and artists. I love blogging about all things writing and hosting other writers. Oh, and I have a thing for children's books, so I write them, illustrate them, and review them, too. All and all, I see writing as a way to share what I am learning. It is cathartic and a true outlet for me.

There are many other subjects that I am passionate about and wellness is one of them. I am a certified personal trainer and I have a degree in the wellness and fitness field. For the last several years, I have been posting about health, fitness, and wellness on Journeys Fitness. It has been said that we teach what we need to learn and I will admit that I am always on the quest for better and more balanced ways to live.

So, I am excited to announce my first project in the self-help genre! The Living Well: Taking Your Journey to a Balanced and Successful Life is a collection of original essays and published blog posts where I offer my take on success, conquering fears, atonement, finding your balance, setting goals, motivation, and happiness. My intention in writing this book is inspire each of us to consider our place in life, decide how to improve it, and then take action. My hope is that The Living Well becomes a resource for living which will be revisited as often as needed for years to come.

The Living Well is scheduled for release this summer. Stay tuned for other exciting news!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lessons From My "Life Coach"


Yesterday, I had a rather cathartic conversation with one of my dearest friends of over 25 years. The topics of discussion ranged from our families and personal growth to our journeys through adulthood and our future aspirations. The most significant part of our discussion tackled how easy it is to "get stuck in a rut" and how difficult it can be to get free. The biggest lesson that I learned is that it is possible to have the life that you want if you choose to have it.

Examine your siblings and other family members. Isn't it interesting how brothers and sisters who grew up in the same household can have completely different world views and approaches to living? I remember hearing someone make the comment that "You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the girl" and understanding in that moment what the single greatest deterrent to our individual and collective success is: IGNORANCE. I don't mean the kind of ignorance that is played out on "Jerry Springer" or "Flava of Love". What we see on these shows is the effect of one's thinking on his/her behavior. What I am referring to is root cause of ignorance defined as, "the state of lacking knowledge or intelligence;illiteracy; being uneducated or uninformed." Contained in the word ignorance is the word "ignore" which means, "to refuse to take notice of; to overlook, slight, or neglect."

I am a firm believer that once you know better, you will do better. A very wise man once said that, "He who controls the diameter of your thinking, controls the circumference of your activity." The choices that you make in life are limited by the scope of your knowledge base. You have to understand that you have the power to choose and be courageous enough to do it. I would like to offer some quotes that I hope will serve both as sources of inspiration as well as resources to draw upon while you consider the possibilities for your life.

1) "Do for self or suffer the consequences." -Elijah Muhammad
No one is going to improve your lot in life for you. Whether it be your relationships, finances, health, education, or happiness, you have got to go and get it for yourself.

2) "Open confession is good for the soul." -Scottish Proverb
Punishing yourself for past wrongs is non-productive. The only way to set yourself free of your demons is to get them out in front of you. I like to think through and write out my feelings, convey them to the individuals involved, and then run my words through the shredder. Clear the air, forgive yourself and others, and be done with it.

3) "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein
There exists a causal relationship in everything. Trying something new is paramount to growth and maturity. How can you change your reality if you don't change your perception? You cannot have what successful people have if you don't do what successful people do. If I work a job for 20 hours a week at a minimum wage job, then I cannot expect to live the life and enjoy the freedoms of one who works 60 hours a week building his own business. If I eat poorly and spend my leisure time on the couch watching the tube, then I will not have the body of an elite athlete. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If what you are doing isn't yielding the desired results, then do something else.

4) "The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." -Albert Einstein
It is important to be present in the moment and make conscious, rational decisions in our lives. Refer back to quote number three. Many of the bad decisions that we make are under duress. In Texas, any legal contract entered into under duress is invalid. This simply means that you get "an out." If you were not in your right mind when you made a bad decision, then the ability to recognize and correct the mistake won't present itself until you settle back into reality. Sometimes that requires help from an outside source. If you were simply uniformed at the time of your decision, educate yourself and learn from the mistake. You will prevent history from repeating itself and break a vicious cycle.

5) "Go do something good for yourself today." -"Anonymous"
While we all have responsibilities to the people in our lives, no responsibility is more important than one's duty to himself. People are often drawn to you because of the benefits they can receive from your skills and talents. I believe that the world is made up of three kinds of people: givers, takers, and those who know how to balance both. A 100% giver usually has nothing to show for himself but resentment because no time is spent on filling his/her own tank. A 100% taker ends up alone and spending all of his time holding on to what he has extracted from others. The balancer is open to what the world has to offer, takes what he is blessed with and "pays it forward," and understands that his quality of life stems from taking care of himself and his happiness. The balancer understands that people will come and people will go. If the people in your circle take from you more than they give, get a new circle.

6) "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich." -Chinese Proverb
This quote is an excerpt from a book called, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. (A huge thanks to my sister, Rosiland, who recommended it to me and my siblings.) The point here is that successful people work harder than everybody else to achieve excellence. You have to be willing to push through uncertainty, adversity, fatigue, disappointment, and even poverty to achieve your goals and aims in life. The formula for work is force times distance. Your efforts (force) count for nothing if you remain stuck in the same place (travel no distance) day after day and year after year. Keep your shoulder to the plow and don't stop pushing.

Each of us is entitled to being wildly happy, having vibrant health, fostering good relationships, being wealthy and successful as defined on our own terms, having powerful spiritual connections, and living peaceful lives. We have to know that this possibility exists. We have to be willing to do the work. We have to be present in every moment. We have to be willing to change the way that we think. We have to choose to be happy.

Be good to yourself. More next time...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our Deepest Fear


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson,
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

Did you feel that? I get chills every time I read this quote. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you lived it fearlessly? What would it be like to always reach up and not down? To look forward and not backwards? To set a goal, reach it, and then set a bigger one? What kind of power would you realize as an individual if you just decided to go after everything instead of letting things "just happen"? What would it be like to live your life without regrets and "what-ifs"? Would you be honest with yourself about your hang-ups and jealousies? Would you do something to make yourself a better person? Would you accept that you are not perfect in living, but certainly in your creation? Would you realize your endless potential? Would you dream bigger than you ever have? Would you try something new? What would you do?

What is this idea of 'light', anyway? Who or what is that? Is it God? Is it energy manifested? Why do we seem to function better in the light rather than in darkness?Why do we need it? There is light from the sun that is powerful and affords all living things the ability to exist. (Light, life, and power--how about that?) When we have a realization about something, we say, "I have seen the light!" Or, you know the saying, "What's done in the dark will come to the light." There is power in truth. Many people actually experience the "winter blues" because of the absence of sunlight. Decide for yourself what 'light' is, but know that the potential to shine is common to everyone.

So, how do you get that little light of yours to shine on the inside? The simple answer is to just get out of your own way. You have to nurture your spirit and start to see yourself as part of the whole. Maybe you've seen the commercial recently where an individual witnesses someone helping an elderly lady and then offers some act of kindness to the next person he encounters. Our actions are powerful. It ain't what you say, it is what you do that matters. Being great creates a domino effect in your circle of influence. The gift of self-realization is as much a blessing to you as it is to the people around you. It stirs up feelings of hope. It makes people cheer for you when you don't cheer for yourself. It inspires others to be better.

Consider the dynamic of team sport. There have been many a talented athlete in professional sports, but few have gotten the brass ring. Look at Michael Jordan. He had millions of people around the world wanting to be "like Mike". That translates into different things to different people. On the surface, some people wanted to score 63 points, be the slam dunk champion, get the endorsements, or win multiple championships. His true talent, however, lied in his incredible work ethic as well as his ability to make everyone around him better. He challenged every deficiency of his game and silenced his critics by delivering on the court. His fans were drawn to his power to grow and change and be great. He was realizing his potential as a player. That kind of power is magnetic. That kind of power is inside each and everyone of us.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." And, yes, while change has come to America, it is incumbent upon all of us to be great and fearless and fantastic and brilliant and powerful. Those qualities are inherent in our very creation. Suppressing them is not an option.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Inspires Me


At GlobalGrind.com, Russell Simmons has placed a call to the blogging community "to think about the importance of inspiration." They are featuring a special editorial theme around the fundamental question, “What inspires you?” Please read Mr. Simmons' post at:

http://globalgrind.com/content/408806/Russells-Blog-What-Inspires-You/

To inspire means:

1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence;
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.);
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc;
4. to influence or impel;
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does;
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence;
7. to guide or control by divine influence;
8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.;
10. to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.
11. Archaic. a. to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually fol. by into).
b. to breathe into or upon.

Of all these definitions, I am most intrigued by the idea that inspiration can literally breathe life into something. When I am struggling with a seemingly hopeless situation, I strive to look beyond my circumstances and lend a hand to someone else. Helping others is empowering and it allows me to see my own situation more objectively. I am inspired by helping others to also help myself. I am inspired by those who give of their time and talent in an effort to improve the lives of those around them. If the people in your circle don't inspire you to action, get a new circle. You are dead without inspiration.

I am inspired by creativity and those who embrace it. The creative mind is patterned after the same mind that created man, earth, the universe, and all that is in it. Creative people focus on the inner workings of things. They are more concerned with the process that results in something new. Creative people work within their own structures and set their own boundaries. They see the value of hard work through exercising their passions. They are not just musicians, artists, and poets. Creative minds exist in entrepreneurs, teachers, parents, landscapers, novelists, and chefs. Every human being has creative potential, but few do much to nurture it. While imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, copycats sell themselves short every time. Creative people are confident in their God-given talents and little can distract them from their process. The more time an individual spends with creative people, the more inspired he/she will be to create. Rather than replicate the fruits of someone else's labor, the key is to take the inspiration and create something all your own. And what is the force behind creativity? Love. It is love of self while in service to others.

A client once said to me that in regards to her children's education, she would much rather be respected than liked by their teachers and school administrators. Parents quite often have to make unpopular decisions and huge sacrifices to ensure the overall health and welfare of their offspring. Parenting is often met with a mountain of unsolicited advice about what a parent should do with his/her own children. Great parents follow their own minds and perform this job courageously and willingly and without apology. They defend and protect their children at all costs. Parents love unconditionally while providing structure, discipline, and direction. They lead by example. Parents give children a safe place to figure out who they are and what kind of people they want to be in life. The hands that rock the cradle rule the world. I am inspired by parents who strive to be a good set of hands.

I hope that you will take a few moments to ponder what your sources of inspiration are. In doing so , I learned a little bit more about myself today. That's always a good thing. Thank you, Mr. Simmons.

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Dangers of Soy


Greetings, All!

I am taking a break from my studies to share an interesting article with you about the effects that unfermented soybeans have on our health. The soybean is widely used in packaged foods from breads and cereals to salad dressings and meat alternatives. It is listed in the ingredients as soybean oil, soybean flour, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, etc. Consumption of soy-laden products is toxic to humans of all ages. Read the reprint and comments on Dr. Joseph Mercola's website:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/04/soy-dangers-summarized.aspx

To add insult to injury, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the majority of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified (GMO). There are eight GM food crops: corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, most Hawaiian papaya, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash.

"On May 19th, 2009, the The American Academy Of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) sent out a press advisory calling for Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods and for physicians to 'educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible, and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.'

"They also advised that physicians should 'consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.'

"In their position paper, the AAEM states that several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM foods, including:

*Infertility
*Immune problems
*Accelerated aging
*Insulin regulation
*Changes in major organs
*Gastrointestinal changes and problems

"The AAEM concludes,'There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation, as defined by recognized scientific criteria. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.'"


Read the full article here:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/14/Everything-you-MUST-KNOW-About-Dangerous-Genetically-Modified-Foods.aspx

What should we do?

Buy products that are certified organic. Also, look for the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal (Visit http://www.NonGMOProject.org). To remove all doubt, secure heirloom seeds and grow them yourself. Isn't your health worth it?

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Detoxing the Body with Pomegranate Juice



Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Workout Healthy Blog entitled, "Detoxing the Body with Pomegranate Juice". In researching this subject, I learned that pomegranate juice is great for the heart, too. Check it out!

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To detox the body means to remove toxins and waste from the bodily systems. Because the small intestine absorbs needed nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from foods and releases them into the bloodstream, it is sometimes beneficial to drink juices when nourishing and/or detoxing the body. Pomegranate juice contains high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, and healing properties which make it ideal for cleansing the body.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) defines an “antioxidant” as:

“…dietary substances including some nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamins C and E and selenium, that can prevent damage to your body cells or repair damage that has been done.

“Antioxidants work by significantly slowing or preventing the oxidative – or damage from oxygen – process caused by substances called free radicals that can lead to cell dysfunction and the onset of problems like heart disease and diabetes. Antioxidants may also improve immune function and perhaps lower your risk for infection and cancer.” (Team, 2006)

Read the entire post.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

I'll Have a Little Pink Slime with That!


ABC news recently ran a story on the filler used in ground meat that consumers purchase everyday at the grocery store called, "70 Percent of Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains ‘Pink Slime’". I've posted an excerpt and link to the full article below. Do with this information what you will, but I don't eat and won't be eating any red or pink meat in the foreseeable future. I'm just sayin'...

Image Credit: Brian Yarvin/Getty Images

Here is an excerpt:

Gerald Zirnstein grinds his own hamburger these days. Why? Because this former United States Department of Agriculture scientist and, now, whistleblower, knows that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains something he calls “pink slime.”

“Pink slime” is beef trimmings. Once only used in dog food and cooking oil, the trimmings are now sprayed with ammonia so they are safe to eat and added to most ground beef as a cheaper filler.

It was Zirnstein who, in an USDA memo, first coined the term “pink slime” and is now coming forward to say he won’t buy it.

“It’s economic fraud,” he told ABC News. “It’s not fresh ground beef. … It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”

Zirnstein and his fellow USDA scientist, Carl Custer, both warned against using what the industry calls “lean finely textured beef,” widely known now as “pink slime,” but their government bosses overruled them.

Read the full story: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/70-percent-of-ground-beef-at-supermarkets-contains-pink-slime/

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Friday, February 24, 2012

*Re-Post* What Is "False" Fat?


According to Dr. Susan Lark on www.drlark.com, chemical imbalances are the root cause of weight gain in women over 40. These imbalances include a sluggish metabolism which accompanies aging, food allergies that trigger an inflammatory response, and mood swings that intensify food cravings. "False fat" is the accumulation of inflammatory fluids in body tissue caused by food allergies. Where excess fat is stored when we either eat too many calories or can't burn those calories efficiently, "false fat" is due to the accumulation of excess fluids, which we experience as bloating and swelling. It is, therefore, critical that allergens be identified and eliminated from the diet. Failure to do so will cause weight gain and undue stress on the vital organs.

So, what causes "false fat"?

The inflammatory response is caused by damage to the digestive tract, allergic reactions, processed dairy, red meat, and poultry skin. The two most common allergic responses come from consumption of wheat (gluten) and pasteurized dairy.

What kinds of foods remove inflammation from the body?

Increasing consumption of omega-3 essential fatty acids like those found in cold water fish and flaxseed is a great place to start. Natural anti-inflammatories like bromelain are found in fresh pineapple. Onions and apples contain another called quercetin.

What should my diet consist of going forward?

Consult with your doctor to identify your specific food allergies and eliminate them from your diet. Caloric intake and adequate proportions of vitamins and minerals should be determined by your overall health condition, activity levels, weight loss/gain goals, age, and gender. In general, you may utilize the food pyramid at www.mypyramid.gov to ensure a balanced diet. Opt for more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, raw milk, and whole grains (if you tolerate them). Avoid refined sugar and flour products. Be sure to drink plenty of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces).

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

*Re-Post* What Does Being Overweight Say About Your Health?


Your attitude about gaining weight and your understanding about how the human body works will determine your number on the scale. Many people believe that exercise alone will fix the problem of being overweight. Others believe that if they go on a diet for a period of time, they can resume "normal" eating habits once they reach their goal weight. Some believe that they are destined to be fat because "everyone in the family got fat at my age." Those whose health has declined and now rely on prescription medications to help correct the damage have been told by their doctors that the medicines will make it difficult to lose weight. Really?

The human body was designed to follow the universal law of cause and effect: "For every action, their is an equal and opposite reaction." If you put the right things in, you get the desired results. Each of our body's major systems has homeostatic controls. Homeostasis is "the tendency of a living body to maintain relatively stable internal conditions in spite of greater changes in its external environment." (Saladin, 2007) Consider the thermostat on a central air conditioning unit. The purpose of the thermostat is to trigger the unit to start cooling the room when it gets too warm and to shut off once the set temperature is reached. Our bodies are designed to function optimally in a state of balance.

If you are overweight, then your vital organs are unable to process the quantity and quality of the foods you have elected to consume. Any or all of the following conditions may exist: fatty liver, stones in the kidneys or gallbladder, high blood cholesterol, plaque in the arteries, impacted colon, or a clogged lymphatic system. These conditions also indicate that even when a nutritionally dense meal is consumed, your body is unable to properly metabolize it and extract the nutrients from it. It will rot in your body and poison it before it will provide much-needed benefits.

The key to managing your weight is simple. Avoid behaviors that upset the natural state of balance in your body. Examples of these bad behaviors are:

1) Overeating;
2) Poor nutrition;
3) Lack of physical activity;
4) Lack of proper rest;
5) Smoking, taking drugs, and drinking alcohol.



The things that you should do include:
1) Eating the right foods;
2) Eating the the right amounts of the right foods in the proper proportions from each food group;
3) Drinking adequate amounts of water;
4) Exercising moderately/intensely for at least 30 minutes per day 3 to 4 days per week;
5) Sleeping 7-8 hours per night most nights of the week;
6) Taking periodic fasts to allow your body to rest, heal, and eliminate waste and toxins;
7) Seeing your doctor regularly for a physical assessment and following-through on the plans to correct health issues and nutritional deficiencies.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 8 Weight Management: Putting It All Together

There are many different approaches to managing weight. Some people use exercise, some people diet, and others use some combination of the two. If you simply eat enough food to fuel your level of physical activity, maintaining your weight should be fairly easy, right? Well, your weight is often a direct reflection of your health condition. It is just as important to eat the right types of foods as well as the right amounts of food. You have to eat for your health as opposed to eating for taste or comfort.

The average adult may consume anywhere from 1200-2000 calories per day. The great majority of those calories should come from unprocessed foods like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, raw dairy, and healthy fats. Water consumption should be about 12 glasses of water per day.



Physical activity helps to tone the body from the inside out. While muscle size and bone density may increase as a result of exercise, the cardiovascular system is tuned up as well. Vitamins and minerals are more efficiently metabolized and delivered to needed parts of the body because of improved circulation.

In addition to dedicated exercise 3-4 days per week for at least 30 minutes per session, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle. Daily chores, playing with the children, hiking, raking leaves, or washing the car are all great ways to stay active.

In summary, weight management is successfully achieved by eating the right foods, eating the right amounts of them, and staying active.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 7 Dietary Supplements: Are They Good or Bad?

There has been much debate about the necessity and safety of taking dietary supplements. The FDA doesn't regulate them, so professionals in traditional medicine don't recommend taking them over the counter. But, there are strong arguments in favor of them because of declining food quality. For any number of reasons, one may experience periods in his/her life where the body is deficient of certain vitamins and minerals. Age is certainly a factor as every stage of development has different requirements. Pregnant women may need iron and folic acid. Vegetarians may lack protein. High-performance athletes may require potassium or calcium. Those with chronic illnesses may require a variety of vitamins and minerals. So should supplements be taken daily? If so, what kinds and how much?



Many people make the mistake of treating symptoms as singular occurances as opposed to part of the whole body. Before taking a dietary supplement, see your doctor for a complete physical and nutritional panel which will identify any health problems and nutritional deficiencies. Make changes in your diet to replenish what is lacking. If supplementation is recommended to you, be sure to select whole food supplements and follow the dosage guidelines. Toxicity will result if excess amounts of a supplement are consumed. Therefore, adjust your diet first and then be careful to monitor the kinds and amounts of any supplements you take.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 6 Water: The Life Sustainer

Proper hydration is critical for sustaining life. Since the human body loses water daily through urination, defecation, expired breath, sweating, and evaporation, it is very important to monitor fluid intake. The average adult requires 96 ounces (3 quarts) of water per day at a minimum. Level of physical activity, diet, climate, and health condition may require the body to increase or decrease fluid intake. Drinking adequate amounts of water has the following positive effects on the body:

  • Endocrine gland function increases
  • Fluid retention is alleviated
  • Liver function improves
  • A higher percentage of body fat is used for energy resulting in weight loss
  • Natural thirst returns
  • Appetite decreases
  • Metabolic functions improve
  • Nutrients are well distributed throughout the body
  • Body temperature regulation improves
  • Blood volume is maintained

Any of the following factors may lead to dehydration:
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Exercise in hot/humid climates
  • Consuming beverages high in caffeine content
  • Excessive protein intake
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Consuming excess sodium
  • Use of laxatives/diuretics
  • Prolonged physical activity without fluid replacement



Dehydration has the following adverse effects on the body:
  • Decreased blood volume
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased performance
  • Sodium retention
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Decreased sweat rate
  • Decreased blood flow to skin
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased perceived exertion (feeling the need to put forth more effort when performing the same activities)
  • Water retention
  • Increased use of energy stored in muscles

In addition to maintaining proper water intake, consuming foods with high water content will help to prevent dehydration from occurring. These foods include fruits, vegetables, milk, fresh juices, soups, smoothies, and shakes. Foods and beverages to be avoided include caffeine, green tea, excess protein, excess sodium, alcohol, diuretics, laxatives, and soda. Exercise in cooler temperatures and be sure to drink 16-24 ounces for every pound lost during exercise.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Week on "What's Eating You?"

Our nutrition series continues this week with a look at the importance of hydration, the pros and cons of dietary supplements, and weight management. Here is the lineup:



Monday, February 20, 2012 Water: The Life Sustainer

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Dietary Supplements: Are They Good or Bad?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Weight Management: Putting It All Together

Thursday, February 23, 2012 What Does Being Overweight Say About Your Health?

Friday, February 24, 2012 What Is "False Fat"?

Be good to yourself! More next time...

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 5: Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are organic substances found in foods that are essential for growth and development of the human body. They are classified as water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and can easily be transported through the bloodstream. The B vitamins, vitamin C, and choline fall into this category. Since the body stores very little of these vitamins in the body, they must be consumed regularly. Fat-soluble vitamins, however, do not dissolve easily in water and require fat for absorption in the intestines as well as for transport through the bloodstream. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in bodyfat, the liver, and in other organs of the body in smaller amounts. Consuming excess amounts of fat-soluble vitamins, especially through vitamin supplements, can lead to a toxic build-up in the body.

Minerals are inorganic elements which contain no calories, are required by the body in small amounts, and are essential to a variety of system functions. They are classified as major minerals and trace minerals. If the body requires more than 100 milligrams per day, it is considered a major mineral. Conversely, a trace mineral is required in amounts less than 100 milligrams per day. Examples of major minerals include: calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, and sulfur. Trace minerals include: iron, zinc, chromium, fluoride, copper, manganese, iodine, molybdenum, and selenium. Minerals are stored in the body. Excess mineral supplementation may lead to toxic levels in the body.



The human body cannot survive without vitamins and minerals. Depending on one's age, gender, health condition, and level of physical activity, the required amounts of each will vary. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies will lead to rapidly declining health. Therefore, a healthy, well-rounded diet is a must for optimal health.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 4: Fats~ The Protectors

Fats are molecules otherwise known as lipids. Lipids are defined as, "...organic, carbon-containing compounds that are hydrophobic (water-insoluble), lipophilic (fat-soluble), and have a physical characteristic of feeling greasy to the touch." (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky 2009) Fats fall into one of three major categories: triglycerides, phospholipids, and sterols. Triglycerides are the most commonly found fats in the body, foods, and drinks. Phospholipids are found in animals and plants with a molecular structure which makes them both fat and water-soluble. The third class of lipids, sterols, are the smallest percentage of fats. The best-known sterol is cholesterol which is produced by the human body in the liver. While consuming fats has been attributed to a myriad of health problems, they are still a necessary part of the daily diet. The key is to choose the right kinds from the best sources in the right portions.

Fats perform many critical functions in the body:

  • They provide 60-80% of the body's energy needs at rest.
  • Fats are an abundant energy reserve.
  • They protect and insulate vital organs.
  • Fats provide proper cell structure, especially in nerve and brain tissue.
  • Fats help produce vitamin D in the body.
  • Fats form steroid hormones.
  • They carry vitamins A, D, E, and K through the bloodstream. 
  • Fats enhance the flavor and add satiety to meals.


Foods that contain fats include oils, grains, meat, dairy, beans, certain vegetables (like avocados and olives), nuts, and seeds. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables contain minimal to no fat. Some of the foods with the highest cholesterol (fat) content are whole milk, cheddar cheese, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and butter and whole eggs (which contains the highest amount of cholesterol).

The guidelines for fat consumption vary, but recommendations range from 20-35% of the daily caloric intake. If you consume 2,000 calories per day, fats should be 400-700 of those calories. It is thought best to aim at the lower end of this spectrum and to choose non-animal based sources for optimal heart health.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 3: Protein: The Building Block

Protein is a macronutrient that is made of of amino acids. An amino acid is a molecule that serves as the building block of proteins. Each amino acid is comprised of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms. There are 20 amino acids that the human body uses. Nine of them are considered essential amino acids because the body cannot produce them, and must therefore be included in the diet. The remaining eleven amino acids are considered nonessential because they are produced by the human body.

There is critical role played by protein in virtually every major bodily system. It provides structure to muscle and tissues, it regulates cell functions, it helps to maintain fluid and acid-base balance, it assists with circulation, and it is a backup source of energy in the absence of carbohydrates. Protein enables proper functioning of the nervous system and the immune system.



Protein is found in a variety of foods. These foods are classified as complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins supply the body with all of the essential amino acids in very high amounts. Incomplete proteins must be combined with other protein-containing foods to meet daily dietary needs. Generally speaking, complete proteins are animal-based foods like meat and dairy while incomplete proteins are plant-based like fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans/legumes.

Of the total calories consumed daily, 12-20% should be protein. For example, if 2,000 calories are consumed, 240-400 calories should contain protein. Because complete proteins contain animal fat which could elevate cholesterol levels in the body, it is wise to look to plant-based proteins. Here are some examples of foods which are high in protein: navy beans, lentils, black beans, brown rice, quinoa, spinach, sunflower seeds, and broccoli.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Eating You? Day 2: Carbohydrates-The Master Fuel

Carbohydrates are a class of organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are most commonly grouped as simple and complex carbohydrates. Depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity, carbohydrates should range from 45-65% of the total calories that you consume daily. For example, a 2,000 calorie diet should be comprised of 900-1300 calories. They are the body's master fuel for all metabolic processes. Carbohydrates are the single most important source of energy in the body. They also provide dietary fiber for regularity and heart health.

Carbohydrates are often viewed as the enemy to maintaining a healthy weight. The trick is to consume more whole grains and dairy, beans, fruits, and vegetables and to avoid highly refined foods like white bread, white rice, sugary cereals, white pasta, crackers, and donuts.

In later posts, we will explore how to successfully integrate carbohydrates into your diet to maximize energy, maintain weight, and to promote overall health.



Terms to Know:

1)  simple carbohydrates- simple sugars that exist as either single sugar molecules or two single sugar molecules linked together; examples include sucrose, molasses, honey, maple syrup, and turbinado sugar.

2)  complex carbohydrates-  carbohydrates that are composed of two or more simple sugar molecules linked together; examples include whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, whole milk, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.

Be good to yourself! More next time...