Posts Tagged ‘health’

A Magic Pill For Getting Your Greens

June 8, 2016

 

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We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. In fact, 75% of all Americans only eat one or two servings of vegetables per day, versus the recommended 5-13 servings. Of those one or two servings of vegetables  that are being eaten, almost half are in the form of chips or french fries.

Many health advocates hopped on the smoothie and juice wagon, drinking much of thier recommended amount for breakfast each day. However, many of those green juices contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organization recommends consuming in any given day. While drinking your vegetables is certainly an easier fix than chowing through bunches of kale, and stalks of broccoli, there is now an even more streamlined way to get your greens.

A new product called 8G is a fizzy tablet that you drop into water, which provides you with 8 different types of greens, all in one simple dose.

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The brain child of Dawn Russell, a former model, and current British royal, was developed after her battle with stage three cancer several years ago. Russell traveled the world seeking alternative cures when a bone infection prevented her from under going traditional chemotherapy. While many turned out to be more harm than good, she discovered that the more greens she consumed, the stronger she became.

Russell is not touting greens as a cure for cancer; she had several surgeries and other treatments as well. She does believe that eating healthy greens contributed to saving her life.

8G is comprised of 8 different greens, including spinach, wheat grass, blue green algae, kale, spirulina, aloe vera, chlorella and barley grass, which are purported to detoxify, oxygenate, and alkalize the body. It contains vitamins C, and B3, B5, B6 and B12, zinc and niacin. 8G is free of wheat, gluten, sugars, dairy, allergens, salt and preservatives. Each tablet contains only 9 calories, and is portable enough to keep in your handbag to drink anywhere that water is available.

After years of development, testing and tasting, not only has Russell hit on a formula that is palatable, she has also gotten the cost down from $100 to just $12.50 per vial of 10 tablets.

The Penninsula Hotel Group and Nordstrom are among those who have embraced the product, and expansion plans already underway.

You can try it yourself, by ordering through the 8G website.

Photos: Courtesy of 8G

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Food Fatigue

March 25, 2016

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I’ll cut to the chase on this one… I am on day 40 of another Whole 30. Yes, that’s right. I am 10 days past the program deadline, and still compliant. Why, you may ask? Because I am food numb.

I don’t have a specific craving for anything, my energy level is fairly high, and my stomach isn’t filled with hot lava anymore. All good. Except that I am so bored, I don’t even want to bother eating anymore. During the last 10 days, I have loosened up a bit. I sprinkled a tiny amount of soy sauce on something. I ate a French Fry. I even used a dollop of non-compliant mayo on my tuna fish. Part of the reason to do a Whole 30 is to change your relationship with food. Mine has certainly changed. Food has become completely dull to me.

There are plenty of foods that I can enjoy on this diet; vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, eggs and most nuts. Olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. Surely, I can put together something that stirs my senses, yet I keep going back to the same few dishes.

I need to find some balance in my eating life, to sustain the positive effects of an extreme Paleo diet, sans meat, and a regular American diet filled with processed carbs, sugar and even more meat. I get irked at all the recipes and food photos that pop up on my various feeds, because everything seems to have butter, cheese, sugar, or is fried. My own site is filled with non-compliant recipes and decadent baked goods available to order. Yet, I can’t eat any of that. And while clean eating and a healthy diet is great, a little flexibility and, frankly a little enjoyment isn’t a bad thing.

After my last Whole 30, I had a little fear that once I started to go rogue, I would fall back into bad habits. And I eventually did. I want this time to be different. I want to be able to indulge a little, and go right back to what I hope to be the new normal. I know it works for me, but is there a really good reason to leave out all grains, legumes and dairy? I need to explore what does and doesn’t suit MY body, and tailor my eating accordingly. While Whole 30 and ultimately Paleo focuses on a meat heavy diet, I can’t tolerate meat. But maybe I can tolerate the yogurt, rice or beans that I left behind. It is time to gently and slowly start exploring other healthy food groups and see how they make me feel. And a glass of wine after my event tonight might now be a bad idea either.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unbelievable

January 22, 2016

We try to keep up with the innovations and discoveries in the health and wellness genre, as recent studies reveal better ways of eating and exercising all the time. While many findings are premature and only point to certain conclusions, they come from reputable sources and are worthy of a look-see.

Some, however sound too good to be true, perhaps because they are.
My Facebook feed is full of people posting that certain things are good for their health, because they so desperately want them to be. Diet soda better than water? A glass of wine the equivilent of an hour in the gym?  A chocolate bar a day for weight loss? Pretty doubtful. Yet these are actual headlines that have popped up recently, that people have taken seriously.

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The University of Alberta, in Canada found that rats who consumed one glass of red wine per day had similiar benefits to an hour of exercise. Hmm. Although many studies have lauded the resveratol found in red wine, we find this one a little hard to swallow. Compared to an hour in the gym doing what? Drinking wine?  I love a glass of red as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I am going to give up on the gym quite yet.

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That study that found that drinking diet soda is better for weight loss than drinking water?Funded by an organization that has Coke and Pepsi execs on the board. The researchers were also paid a stipend by the group, and the lead author was paid by the British Sugar Bureau. Of the 55,000 studies carried out, only the information from three of them were used. Only one of the three was able to show a weight loss benefit for the diet soda drinkers, as compared to those that drank water. Credible? We say highly questionable.

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John Bohannon, a journalist embarked on a prank study which bestowed the virtues of eating a chocolate bar a day to promote weight loss. While the news from the faux German study swept the world, the conclusions were, in fact unfounded. You can read Bohannon’s account of the hoax here.

Like with anything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you settle in for a night of Netflix, accompanied by a glass of wine, a bar of chocolate and some diet soda thinking it is a magic bullet for weight loss, I’d like to chat with you about purchasing a certain bridge in New York.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Its The Pits

January 18, 2016

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We’ve written about food waste here before, even documenting a weeks worth of efforts in trying to reduce ours.  So often, the parts of our food that we discard are among the healthiest.
We, and every other food writer and healthy eating guru has waxed poetic about the glory that is an avocado. The versatile fruit is delicious, sliced, diced, and smashed. Avocado toast acheived cult-like status in last year, and it can even be used as a substitute for butter in vegan baked goods. But did you know that the seed contains over 70% of the avocado’s antioxidants? Neither did we!

To reap the benefits, place the avocado pit into the food processor and grind it into a fine powder. Add it to your morning smoothie, or sprinkle on oatmeal or add to salad dressing for a jolt of antioxident rich fiber.

To read more on this subject, head over to One Green Planet.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Culinary Medicine

September 11, 2015

 

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The medical community is finally putting their money where their mouths are, by adding culinary medicine classes to the curriculum for doctors in training.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the most important factor in staving off premature death and disease is a proper diet, yet many healthcare professionals don’t understand nutrition well enough to properly dispense dietary advice. For some medical students at the University of  Chicago, that is about to change.

It is recommended that medical students receive 25 hours of nutritional training, yet only about one quarter of the medical schools in the United States offer this program. In Chicago, some students are moonlighting at a top culinary institute to get schooled on healthy eating, through a grant funded pilot program.

The classes begin with a lecture on diet related disease and how to treat it with food, followed by hands on cooking sessions where the budding doctors learn to prepare dishes that they can recommend to their patients. It is hopeful that when doctors fully understand the effect that healthy food has on disease and know how to make a variety of dishes that can prevent or treat various health problems, they will be more likely to share the information with their patients.

It is still in the early stages, but the organizers are looking forward to the day when it becomes part of the required curriculum.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Body Love

August 26, 2015

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Body acceptance is a hot topic these days. The media is reaching out to encourage women everywhere to love their bodies, regardless of how they look. Body shaming, and setting an unrealistically high (and often photoshopped) bar for beauty is the subject of many news stories and ad campaigns.

I completley agree. Women should be able to go to the beach without panicing about their “beach body”(something I am completely guilty of). A jiggle here and a bump there shouldn’t keep women from enjoying their lives. A few extra pounds or a little “junk in the trunk” is nobody’s business but our own. Every story about women being fat shamed, or called out by total strangers for exposing thier stretch marks from childbirth on the beach makes me cringe. It is time that society comes to terms with our imperfections being part of who we are and move on.

Ok, so here comes the kicker. I mean, you knew there was going to be one, right? If we should love our bodies regardless of thier flaws, than shouldn’t we love them enough to take care of them? And by taking care of them, I don’t mean going on an all kale diet, exercising three hours a day, or being a size 2. I don’t mean never leaving the house without full pagent makeup and a fresh blowout. I do mean eating healthfully most of the time, getting a moderate amount of exercise and maintaining a weight that prevents chronic and serious illnesses to manifest. I would never, ever make a rude comment to someone of any gender about their weight, or how they look. It is rude, and frankly, none of my business. But, I have a hard time condoning a lifestyle that allows people become so over weight that they develop heart problems, hypertension, diabetes or even joint issues as a result of over-indulgence in food, and a lack of significant movement. Just walking at a moderate pace is considered exercise, yet I watch people circle the parking lot, looking for the closest possible parking spot so they don’t have to walk a few extra feet. Should we tell those women (and men for that matter)that it is ok and they should love their sick, unhealthy bodies as they are?

It is all a self fulfilling prophecy. Once the health issues begin to set in, physically being able to exercise becomes more problematic. Once the bad eating habits form, it is very hard to break them. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you aren’t going to eat all the foods you are used to and stop cold turkey. Super clean eating requires discipline, both in choosing to avoid the unheatly items,and in buying and preparing the right ones. There is not a fast food, convenience store version to fall back on. I get it. Its not easy. Busy women with families and jobs don’t always have time to exercise, and commuting by foot or by bike is often not an option. So is the solution to say its ok, you are beautiful anyways? Isn’t that a twisted way of objectifying women? As health care costs rise, isn’t it cheaper to eat well, and less time consuming to exercise than take time out for frequent doctor visits and sick days?

BTW, skinny shaming people, such as celebs like Amal Clooney and Guilianna Rancic is just as offensive. Sometimes being overly thin is a natural state, but it can also signal health issues. We are very quick to say “eat a sandwich” to someone who is very thin, but not so quick to accept someone saying ” put down the cookie” to someone who is over weight. Until we can come to terms with the equality of the situation, we aren’t ready to embrace body love fully.

Are we, the media and society in general doing women a great disservice by focusing on accepting how our bodies look, vs.how our bodies function?

Sound off in the comments below!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Propensity for Obesity Declines

July 30, 2015

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The obesity epidemic in the United States seems to be showing signs of slowing down.

The New York Times reports that the decade long slide into obesity is on the decline. Using statistics collected from barcode data and food production estimates, this is the first sustained decline in the 40 years that diet and calorie consumption has been tracked.

Children are showing the biggest difference, cutting back an average of 9% of thier intake since 2004. The average adult has cut back to 2195 calories per day, from the 2003-2004 amount of 2269.

Non-diet soda consumption fell 25% since the beginning of 2000.

Before we get all excited about the positive change, we still have a long way to go. Almost 35% of all adult Americans are still obese, with high risks for stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers.

While there is a drop in non-diet soda consumption, Americans are still drinking an average of 30 gallons of it annually. Worse yet, diet soda is a petrie dish of chemicals, linked to it’s own laundry list of health woes.

Americans are not coming close to meeting their ideal targets for eating fruits and vegetables. According to LiveScience, we are only consuming about 13% of the recommended daily requirements for fruit, and 9% of the required vegetables.

The best news is the change in children’s intake, marking a shift in awareness. Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move and healthy eating programs seem to be having a postive effect on this age group and their parents. Let’s hope that schools and families continue embrace a healthier lifestyle for their children.

 

Healthy Reset: How Its Going End of Week One

July 6, 2015

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Fourth of July presented its challenges. I invited a few friends over for dinner, and like a bad take on the old joke about three people walking into a room, we had the vegetarians, the carnivores and me. Miss Paleo Extremo. A menu where vegetarians and carnivores eat blissfully together is one of the easiest to plan. I usually prepare a variety of salads and vegetable side dishes that everyone will love, and make sure there are plant based protiens and some kind of grain or pasta to round out the meal, while making something meaty for the others. This time, everything I tried to make had something in it I couldn’t have. I finally gave up, and prepared the dinner I wanted to serve my guests, and dealt with my own meal separately.

I made a kale and mint salad, and put the non compliant ingredients (chickpeas, edamame and dried cranberries) on the side. A tomato and basil salad had the mozzarella in a separate bowl, and I pulled out a piece of precooked salmon for my protien. Everything else I just simply avoided. It was a casual dinner, and everyone was fine with my dietary restrictions. It was made easier by my being the hostess, and not the guest. I don’t want to be “that person” with all the food issues at someone else’s home or a in restaurant with a group. Its only a few weeks, so I will make it work without inconveniencing others if possible.

I made quinoa patties, which I have never done before. Since I couldn’t taste them, I couldn’t correct the seasonings or the texture. I am eager to make them again, and experiment with the flavors a bit. Recipe to come when I get it right! Note to guests: If I try out an untested recipe on you, consider yourself “family.”

Honestly, I didn’t feel deprived or tempted a bit. I committed to this for a short period of time, and since I was able to plan for it, I was fine. Five adults consumed five bottles of wine and champagne, at a five hour meal so there was a long period of sitting at the table, idle. There was a plate of bar cookies, s’mores and brownies that everyone nibbled at, but there was also a bowl of strawberries to keep me occupied. In the end, no biggie. BUT. I have been convinced that my burning stomach is food related. It always seems to come when I am eating decadently. Like chocolate and red wine type decadently. Last night, around 2 a.m. the burning started. Definately not food related. Hopefully, it was an isolated incident.

Here is what I didn't eat... Info on www.indigojoneseats.com

Here is what I didn’t eat…
Info on http://www.indigojoneseats.com

This weekend had brunch out twice,as usual. I had an egg white omelette with vegetables one day, with a salad on the side.  I did not ask what fat they cooked the omelette in, or for every ingredient in their viniagrette.  It was a decent restaurant, and not a greasy spoon diner, so I am assuming it was house made. Honestly, if they used a tiny bit of butter, or non compliant oil to cook my omelette, I am going to need to live with it. This is supposed to be about a reset, eliminating cravings for less healthy foods, finding out what might be causing inflammation, and developing a healthy relationship with food. Asking a restaurant to cook eggs in a specific type of oil, feels way too obsessive. No going to do it.

Although I am not supposed to get on the scale, I did, and I am down a few pounds. I am pleased with the number, but I still feel like my stomach is a little puffy and bloated. I am hoping that the next week or two resolves that, as I get used to the increased quantities of fruits and vegetables. I am also assuming that the weight loss will stabilize. A couple more pounds would be welcome; five more would be too much for a small person like me.

One week down, one more to go! So far, so good.

Whole 30ers report that they have more energy, and clarity in week two, combined with an overall lighter feeling in general. I look forward to that, as I am coming up on some big project deadlines the following week. Stay tuned…

Related links: Kale Salad recipe.

Photo: Flag: Glasshouse Images

Cookies: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Healthy Jumpstart

June 29, 2015

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I am vehemently opposed to fad diets. Over the years, we have been told that lots of fat is good for us, (hello original Atkins) until someone else decided that it was fat that made us fat. Low carb, gluten free, juice fasts and the ultimate extremes of Master Cleanse have all had their moment in the sun. Packaged and portioned meals, ala Jenny Craig, or group diets, like Weight Watchers have become large national chains that could rival McDonalds. At the end of the day, we just need to learn how to eat healthfully, and embrace it as a way of life, not a temporary diet. Easier said than done.

I am usually a healthy eater, but lately, I seem to keep going off track. I become so restricted in my eating that I end up binging afterwards. I keep gaining and losing the same few pounds, which come off slowly and come back quickly. When I am restrictive, my stomach settles down, starts to flatten out and I sleep better. Once I start eating more “normally,” I experience bloat, wake up in the night with a burning belly and have trouble staying asleep. This week, after one stressful day of poor eating and not enough sleep,powering through my workout was more difficult than usual. I am ready to embark upon a change for the better.
Whether it is referred to as an eating detox, Paleo, FODMAP, or Whole 30 plan, many nutritionists recommend a period of eliminating foods that could potentially cause inflammation, leading to gastrointestinal issues, sleep disturbances, skin problems or sluggishness.

This week I am going to give it a try. I am going to eliminate dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes,        (including beans and soy products,) wheat, and grains, while concentrating on pure, whole foods, such as seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. Lean cuts of meat are also allowed, but I choose not to eat them.

The premise is resetting our minds to eliminate cravings for foods that aren’t good for us, while allowing all of the things that may be making us unwell to exit our bodies. At the end of the elimination period, which is recommended from anywhere from 2 weeks to 30 days,(or a lifetime if you go Paleo.) depending on the plan, one should add back the things they eliminated and missed, slowly and in moderation, to evaluate how they feel. Many find that dairy, or wheat does not bother them at all, where others react immediately to reintroduced foods. The ultimate goal is to find a way of eating that works best for you on a long term, sustainable basis.

I am going to start out with a seven day goal, and hope that at the end of the week I will want to keep going. Many people have attested that the first week is the hardest, and they don’t start to reap the benefits until they are well into week two, and then its downhill from there.  I don’t think I eat enough sugar, or drink enough alcohol or coffee to experience any withdrawl symptoms that some have recounted, but it won’t be easy to live with others who are not doing this with me. I am ready, and I am going for it. In writing this, I just shared my plan with a whole lot of people, so the pressure is on me not to fail.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Who wants to join me for on a journey for more energy, better skin, better sleep, and a healthier all around relationship with food? Let do this!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Image Issues

February 16, 2015

Cindy Crawford is arguably one of the most beautiful women on the planet. At 49 years old, she is still posing in a bikini with the confidence of a 20 year old, and from most accounts, looking pretty damn good doing so.

Recently, this unretouched photo from a 2013 Marie Claire photoshoot leaked and has been taking the internet by a storm. It features Ms. Crawford in a bikini, looking a lot more average than we expected.

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Ah, the wonders of Photoshop! Celebs have even taken to using it to touch up their Instagram selfies. The blatant overuse of this tool has given us a false sense of what people really look like, and has caused some damage to our self esteem in the process.

As regular readers, you know I work out hard and often, and try to eat as healthfully as possible. I hate the idea of looking good for my age, and want to just plain look good. I am forever comparing myself to other women, often those half my age, and trying to fine tune my body to fit the image of attractiveness I see out there. Although I am in pretty good shape, I am self conscious in a swim suit, and I constantly obsess over every little imperfection.

Seeing Cindy Crawford raw and unretouched made me instantly feel better about myself. It made me realize that a good part of the things I try so hard to perfect, aren’t perfect on the celebrities I see either. Many stars have admitted to wearing double Spanx that are so tight they can’t eat or use the bathroom at red carpet events. We have all seen photoshop fails where the pictures are so over edited, that the model appears deformed, but we forget that all magazine photos have been retouched to some extent. Those jiggly parts are simply removed, and skin is smoothed over to look almost poreless. While it is nearly impossible to spot reduce in real life, it’s super easy to do with Photoshop. And all of this retouching has created an unrealistic view of what is beautiful. It holds us to a higher standard that apparently, even supermodels can’t achieve.

Seeing Cindy Crawford looking a little “soft” shows us another side of beauty that is more about feeling comfortable in your own skin, albiet skin that is a little puckered and blotchy.

photo: Marie Claire

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