Healthy Holiday Tips

Tips to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

It’s easy for your healthy lifestyle to get derailed during the holidays. There are parties, celebrations and gatherings galore. To stay on track, make a point of implementing the following tips.

Rest and Recharge

  • Do your best to get 7+ hours of sleep a night. The proper amount of sleep will have a positive effect on you both physically and mentally.
  • Schedule quiet time into each day. Decide on a time of day that works for you and stick to it. You only need to set aside about 15 minutes. Use that time to relax and reflect.
  • Consider doing one of the following: meditate, write or recite what you are grateful for, listen to a motivational or inspirational podcast.
  •  Identify and participate in relaxing activities. Make a point of planning and doing things that are fun and bring you joy. Think of activities that you enjoyed during the holidays when you were a kid. Make a point to do them and share them with someone.
  • Schedule a massage,...
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Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

In the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure to talk to two people who are managing their diabetes, type 2, with diet and exercise. One individual has lost 60 pounds this year and they both no longer need medication. How is this possible?

Many of the choices we make every day affect our health. It’s a matter of whether you want to manage your wellness naturally, when it is possible, or take medication. Both people I spoke with are being very intentional about their health. They have altered their diet and have made significant changes in patterns of behavior.

Dr. Michael Greger on his website nutritionfacts.org shares, “We’ve known since the 1930s that type 2 diabetes can be prevented, arrested, and even reversed with a plant-based diet. Within five years of following the diet, about a quarter of the diabetic patients in that early study were able to get off insulin altogether.”

Dr. Greger further explains that meat may play a role in increasing...

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Healing Your Body With Food

I just finished the book Eat to Beat Disease, The new science of how your body can heal itself. It is written by William W. Li, MD. I was introduced to Dr. Li when I took the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate Program through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at eCornell. In the course, he talked about angiogenesis, which I had never heard of, and the ways it can affect one's health. 

Eat to Beat Disease approaches food differently than the other books I have read. Instead of recommending foods to avoid and eliminate from your diet, Dr. Li shares foods that should be consumed to help keep the body healthy or return it to health.

In the book, he introduces and explains in detail the body’s 5 natural defense systems. They are Angiogenesis, Regeneration, Microbiome, DNA Protection and Immunity. Dr. Li sites numerous studies that have been done, throughout the world, to support his ideas on how the human body is equipped to fight disease. Dr. Li...

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Eat Beets

I've been harvesting beets from the garden for the past several weeks. They are a great source of nitric oxide which helps open up your arteries to allow for more blood flow. Thus, beets help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Have better workouts. Beets provide energy and stamina. Consume them two to three hours before exercising. They increase oxygen uptake and promote better circulation due to the nitrates they contain.

Beets are rich in the antioxidant betacyanin, which gives them their beautiful red color, that protects against cancer cell growth. 

Two ways I like to cook beets are boiling and roasting. To boil beets: cut off the tops, place in a saucepan, cover with water and boil until tender when pricked with a fork. To roast: wrap them in aluminum foil, place in a 375º oven and roast until tender when pricked with a fork. In each case remove skins when they are cool enough to handle. 

They are great sliced on a...

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Avoid Processed Foods

Eating a whole foods plant-based diet is one of the healthiest choices you can make. If you aren’t ready to take that leap do your best to consume as many foods as possible in their natural form. More and more studies are linking processed foods to health issues including an increased risk of disease and mortality.

Americans are consuming more and more processed foods such as packaged snacks, soft drinks, ready-made meals, and sugary cereals, which contain added flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other non-food ingredients. 

Eating these foods can lead to an increase in the rate of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. On the flip side, higher consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods is associated with lower risks of all reported disease. 

Consumption of processed foods, more than four servings daily, was associated with an increase in mortality. People who consume the most processed foods tend to eat fewer...

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Facts About Iron and Plant-Based Sources

Iron is an essential nutrient in our diets. Although red meat and seafood are good sources of iron, many plant-based foods also contain plenty of this mineral.

Numerous vegetables, legumes, and other foods contain a form of iron called nonheme iron, which accounts for the majority of people's iron intake in the United States. The type of iron in animal products is called heme iron.

Although the body can absorb it more easily, heme iron is not essential to the human diet.

If you are not receiving enough iron in your diet the symptoms may include:

  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • poor appetite
  • headaches
  • pale skin
  • heart palpitations
  • cold hands and feet
  • brittle nails

Plant-Based Sources of Iron

  • Legumes - lentils, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas
  • Grains - quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Nuts and seeds - pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
  • Vegetables - spinach, baked potato with skin, tomato sauce, Swiss chard, collard...
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The Benefits of Batch Cooking

Preparing meals can take a lot of time. Most likely you don’t have time in your weekly schedule to make healthy meals nor do you want to use the time you do have in this manner. I don’t blame you!

If you don’t want to invest time every day preparing meals, batch cooking is a great solution. It’s just like it sounds, cooking in large batches. You cook or prep a bunch of food at once and use it throughout the week.

Batch Cooking Ideas

There are a variety of ways you can approach batch cooking. I will share a few but feel free to expand on my ideas and implement what works best for you. 

  • If you make a weekly meal plan, you can prepare items for multiple meals at the same time.
  • Pick a recipe and double it. Either cut up and prep everything for it and assemble and cook it during the week. Or make it ahead and reheat it. Place the rest in serving size containers and freeze them.
  • Cut vegetables and place in containers in the refrigerator. You can use these for...
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Facing Challenges While Traveling

 

Maintaining a plant-based diet and exercise regimen while traveling can be a challenge. Plan ahead, do your best, and get back into a routine when you get home. 

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Quick Healthy Plant-Based Meals

Getting healthy meals on the table can be a struggle if you’re in a hurry and didn’t plan ahead. Instead of grabbing or ordering takeout, stopping at a fast food restaurant or eating cereal for dinner, I challenge you to whip up a quick, nutritious dinner. You’ll want to have the freezer and pantry stocked. After that it’ll be easy.

To create a quick salad, start by purchasing pre washed packages of greens like lettuce blends, slaw, or spinach. Choose toppings like cherry or grape tomatoes, pre sliced mushrooms, shredded carrots, pre sliced beets, quartered artichoke hearts, sliced water chestnuts, canned garbanzo or black beans, olives, hummus, avocado or guacamole, nuts or seeds, and etc. You can put almost anything on a base of greens. What you choose will determine how filling your salad is so if it’s your dinner make sure you include some protein.

Have a supply of frozen vegetable noodles like zucchini, carrots or butternut squash on hand....

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Controlling Your Health Is A Choice

Do you believe you have the ability to be in charge of your health? It’s a personal choice to take better care of your body in order to prevent or reverse the effects of certain ailments or diseases. You have the ability to eat a healthy diet, exercise and develop a positive mindset.

If you aren’t sure what to do or how to go about implementing strategies to improve your health and wellness find someone to help you. Hire a coach, like me, a nutritionist, or a personal trainer. Enlist a family member, friend, or colleague.

Many of the common ailments people in the United States are afflicted with are preventable. Things like diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer are linked to nutrition. So, potentially you could avoid them by changing your diet. Wouldn’t it be worth it? 

Exercise goes hand in hand with nutrition. The human body is meant to move. Cardio workouts increase your heart rate and help burn calories. Burning...

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