Cravings Killer

I was starting to eat potato chips, barbeque ones with that just right sweet salty balance. It started with one or two to dip into my home made canned salsa. Now it was turning into a food fest of grabbing one handful after the next. Forget the salsa with it’s healthy, low-sodium, fresh ingredients. That will be for another time. I was on a roll, eating my most dangerous high cravings food. But I’d learned something over the years. I don’t have to let craving s destroy me – I have the power to do something about it. I had to go for my cravings killer before it was too late – I had to get up and eat some real food.

Cravings come for me under circumstances that are not unusual. Stress, tiredness, nervousness, frustration and hunger. It’s when I want to hit the salty crunchy comfort with potato chips landing in the #1 spot to fill that need. It was a while back I decided to do some self research to find out why I could eat a whole bag of chips at one sitting.  I tried different type of chips to see if that helped. IT might slow me down a bit, but after a few chomps, I was at it again, grabbing handful after handful until I’d eaten far too many.

I tried moving to a new location in my house. Maybe taking a few jumps on the mini-trampoline in the living room for distraction. That didn’t work as I jumped right off the trampoline over to the counter and grabbed another handful. After being a complete nerd and charting this behavior when it came to chips, it hit me; what if I didn’t have any in the house? Well, that worked for a while of course, and I thought I had found the solution.  Until I went to the store the next time that is and grabbed a big bag, tore it open in the car and ate half of it before getting home.

Now you would think a bone fide vegan chef and certified health coach would be very careful sharing this type of information. The correct way would be to claim I had made a stash of dehydrated flax crackers to eat when I got hungry with some freshly made, whole foods hummus. I shouldn’t be admitting that craves took over and I went for the bad stuff I found hard to resist. But why pretend? Cravings are REAL and insidious and ugly.  They make you run and hide out in the bathroom to eat a few things you tell others in you house not to touch for fear you’ll lose your credibility as the “pure eater” in the house. Or they make you leave the house under the pretense of doing something else to just drive around wasting expensive gas or going to a parking lot to eat the stuff you put into your purse to get out. Yes, cravings make you do ugly things.

I have never been good with having a substance outside of myself have control over me. That’s why I’d never make a good drug addict. As soon as I felt the drug was controlling me instead of me controlling it, I would drop it. It’s like when I went on a caffeine detox after developing an eight cup a day habit. I cold turkeyed the stuff over a week’s time going through some kind of awful withdrawals. It was certainly worth it in the long run and the process was so bad I fear caffeine to this day. I’ll drink some decaf coffee periodically or have some naturally caffeinated herbal tea. but I’m still leery of its potential pull on me.

So the salty crunchy pull of chips had me baffled. Then one more day into my research, I got it. It wasn’t that the chips were so great. In fact, I realized I could eat the whole bag becuase theyre is no nutritional value to potato chips. My body continued to crave more and more as it searched for nutrition from what I was feeding it. Since I normally eat pretty healthy, eating junk is a shock ot my system that is accustomed to getting vitamins and minerals from whole foods. It wasn’t that they tasted so good. After a while, they barely had a taste at all, another reason to grab more and more, trying to find a taste. It wasn’t that i needed more, I could feel the salt going through my bloodstream, increasing the pressure in my head that would show up as high blood pressure if I took the test right then. No, it wasn’t that they were so good.

It was much simpler than that. It was that – I was hungry. Pure and simple. Yes, I might have been stressed or nervous but I usually wait until real hunger shows up to eat. I was hungry. I learned taht when I start eating this way, I need to immediately do a switch out to cruncy, healthy foods and fill up on that. That’s why I keep a bowl of the Humungous Veggie Salad around. The crunch comes from carrots, celery green and red cabbage. I add some walnuts for more crunch, maybe some sunflower seeds and eat away. With only a light dressing ov balsamic vinegar, I can eat all I want without worry.

I know it sounds simplistic and maybe even silly, like a fantasy dream that isn’t going to work. But if you’re having cravings and can’t tell why, try it. Plan for what you know you’re going to need. If it’s salty, crunchy, sweet, bitter or another flavor profile, have something around to grab, right at that time where you’re just about to go off the deep end.  Sure it takes discipline, no doubt about that. It take pre-planning. But it can work.  For the sweet crave, have a stash of dates around. even better make a raw chocolate cake or walnut fudge bar. For bitter, add fresh lime or lemon juice as your salad dressing.  Crunchy can be helped with raw nuts and seeds.

You have to find your healthy substitute well ahead of time or it won’t work. But it can work when you work the plan and find your cravings killer foods. Take it from my personal research and try your own. See what happens when you feed yourself good foods when the terrible cravings try to eat you alive.  Then let me know how it worked for you to kill the cravings in the comment section below.

Apple – The Wonder Food

Everyone knows about apples.  But the positive effect on women’s health is not always known.  Here are some quick facts on this healthy food that you might not know:

No matter your diet you can include apples.  If you’re vegan, vegetarian, raw, or love meats, apples can fit into the meal.

The skin of apples is rich in nutrients.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says the skin of apples is loaded with the antioxidant quercetin, a phytochemical with ani-inflammatory and heart protecting qualities. 

The phytochemicals in apples may reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells. 

Apples are 84% water which helps to keep you hydrated.  Getting dehydrated is a problem for many people. That means apples can help with daily water intake.

These super fruits are only 80 calories each, are fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and full of fiber, so they can help fill you up without plumping you up!

One apple is equivalent to about 1 cup of fruit.  The minimum amount of fruit you should have a day is two cups.  So each two apples and you’re on the way. 

To pick the freshest apples and keep them longer, buy apples with the stems intact.   Be able to smell their freshness and keep them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator away from strong odors.  They should keep for about 3 weeks this way. 

 

Summer Comfort Smoothie

This smoothie has a very fresh, tropical taste. Perfect for breakfast or a hot summer day!

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach
1 cup fresh Cantaloupe, cut in chunks
1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup orange juice
Water

How to Make It:

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Get Rid of Belly Fat

It is a proven fact that belly fat is the most dangerous kind of fat on the human body. We have all seen people who are overweight in just their stomach region and appear fit in every other place. It is a strange thing, isn’t it? It seems like we are all overweight somewhere or another, and while we all need to keep track of our weight and be proactive about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, those who carry extra belly fat need to be aware even more.

If you think about it, your belly is the area that holds most of your most important organs. Having extra weight in your legs or your hips doesn’t affect the functioning of any major organ, while carrying belly fat can really hinder the work of some of your body’s most important parts. Because it important that our organs work well, we want to do everything we can to protect them and not hinder their work.

I’ll often have clients come into my fitness club and tell me that their most annoying problem is the extra belly fat that they just cannot get rid of. I agree that their belly fat not only is annoying, but it is also dangerous. I am surprised by how few people know the dangers of belly fat, so I am always quick to share with them the facts. It only further increases their motivation to get rid of their extra belly fat.

Another large group of clients will come in with the firm belief that there is nothing they can do with their belly fat. They think that it is impossible to trim down, especially the older they get. As a personal fitness trainer, I am convinced that getting rid of belly fat not only is possible, but that it is important enough to be tackled regardless of how hard it is to accomplish.

Losing belly fat happens by a combination of consistent and directed exercise and a specific diet. It is amazing how certain exercises are aimed specifically at reducing fat in certain areas of the body. Certain types of nutrition plans will also help to trigger excess fat in particular areas of the body.

If you have extra belly fat, you should be intentional about dealing with it. Make an appointment with a fitness trainer, a dietician or a physician. Let someone help you get on the right track in dealing with your belly fat and making it history.

 

 

 

Let Your Mind Go to Sleep

Do you ever wish your mind would just let you go to sleep?  Sleep deprivation is at epidemic rates as nearly 30 percent of American adults sleep less than 7 hours per night..  The body rests during sleep, however, the brain remains active, gets “recharged,” and still controls many body functions including breathing.   But to even get to sleep your mind needs to stop racing a mile a minute. If it seems that your mind just won’t take a break sometimes, use these few tips to silence the noise and learn how to give your mind a rest.

1. Stop Moving

the first way to help your mind to rest is to stop moving your body. Find a quiet place in your home or another location where you can be alone with no one else around.   In this space, refuse to lift a finger unless it is lowering yourself on the bed or a bench.  If your body wants to move, don’t let it. Keep it still and soon your mind will begin to become still also.

2. Think about your thoughts.

What is your mind thinking about as it’s racing around.  If you’re a multitasking person, you try to make a lot of activities fit into one 24-hour day.  When you think about five different things, the mind is quickly shifting between one thing, then the next and the next, making it very agitated.  You may get a lot done but there is a price. When you try to find the calm after the storm, it’s hard to get there. One of the main reasons is that you don’t let hour body stop at the same time. The mind and body are connected and it’s is hard to keep the mind at quiet when the body is still moving after a day of multi-tasking.  Take time to stop, relax, slow your mind down.  Think about what you are thinking to bring things to calm down.

3. Breath.

Try a few breathing exercises.  Most people don’t breathe deeply.   You probably didn’t notice that you were breathing shallow and fast. Now, you can slow it down and go deeper to bring more oxygen in your lungs. Increased oxygen levels also increases mental clarity and focus.  Doing yoga is great for teaching you how to listen to the sing-song rhythm of your breathing.

4. Cut the distractions

Try to get rid of distractions to get a rested mind.  No one likes to think of their family as a distraction, but when you need to center yourself, anyone or anything that vies for your attention is just that. Turn off your cellular phone, your PDA and your computer. Let the only noises you hear be the natural sounds around you. Besides, with these devices close at hand, your body remains tense waiting for them to buzz if you realize it or not.

5. Change your attention

When it’s time to settle the mind down, find something to occupy your time that is not related to work or problem solving. Often we are thinking of ways to fix or change something. Instead, read a book, take a walk, pray or meditate. Even stare at the ceiling and focus on comforting thoughts.  By changing your focus, your mind gets a chance to rest from its labors and concentrate on something that is not stressful.  One device that you can have is a music player of some kind. Music usually conjures up memories of less stressful times. It also calms the savage mind. Let the sweet melodieslull your mind into a deeper consciousness.

Women Benefit from the Affordable Care Act

For women, finding out about the new Affordable Care Act (ADA) is vitally important.  In fact, it takes personal confidence and a good self esteem to take control of your own health.  With women, it is easy to get bullied by the medical industry  into feeling they have little to nothing to say about their health care program. In fact, in the past, much medical care has been based on research done on men and generalized to women.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that women have different health and wellness needs than men, probably except certain medical professionals.

Some diagnostic tests and treatments have been limited to women in many cases too.  Therefore, rising episodes of diseases in women such as heart disease, some cancers, mental and addictive disorders have been on the increase.  Fortunately with the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act much of this will change.  According to Susan Blumenthal, M.D., ” with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), there will be several significant improvements to ensure an efficient, effective, and equitable health care system for women — and men — over the life cycle.”

Women will also benefit through coverage for mammograms and free counseling for breast or ovarian cancer for those with a family history of these diseases. These are just a few benefits provided by the new Health Care program fir women’s health.

References for Further Reading

Blumenthal, S., (2010)Health care reform: How it benefits women.   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-blumenthal/affordable-care-act_b_1954414.html

Lamb, Y. R. (2013) What the affordable care act provides for breast cancer. http://thegrio.com/2013/10/03/what-the-affordable-care-act-provides-for-breast-cancer/

 

Move Your Butt – Bust that Gut

01runningshoesGee, can I say that?  I hope so because I want you to live life as well and healthy as possible.  Exercise is vital for health.  We don’t live in the days when work meant physical movement all day long so you needed to get rest when you got home.

Today, work primarily means sitting down all day.  The only movement you might get is moving from the front door to the car or other mode of transportation where you sit down. For some it’s moving from the bedroom to the home office which is even less steps.  Then you move to get to the chair in an office where you sit all day, mostly in front of a computer screen or in meetings, or somewhere else. You get tired but you don’t move a lot.

Even if work is being on your feet all day (which burns more energy) it’s not aerobic movement that burns calories, gets the metabolism up, and melts fat.

According to a 2012 article by Alice Park in Time, Health & Family,  “About 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008 could be attributed to inactivity, the new report estimates, largely due to four major diseases: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. The study finds that if physical inactivity could be reduced by just 10%, it could avert some 533,000 deaths a year; if reduced by 25%, 1.3 million deaths could be prevented.”

That’s pretty serious stuff.  I don’t know about you, but that give me pure motivation to get my butt up and start moving it to bust gut fat and get rid of extra weight.

If you haven’t been exercising like you should today is a great day to get started.  How about getting up every 60 minutes to do some stretching, or take a 10 minute walk around the block.  You don’t have to sign up for a marathon yet, just stop making excuses and get yourself moving.

Read the whole article about this study and exercise:  Lack of Exercise as Deadly as Smoking

Vegan Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure

veggie-dinner-2Vegan diets are emerging as some of the healthiest possible.  Next to that are vegetarian diets which come in different levels.  Many vegetarians avoid meat, fish, and poultry.  Some include dairy products and eggs and are called lacto-ovo vegetarians.  Vegans eat no animal products including dairy.  The advantage of vegan diets include reducing the risk of  many health issues. 

Vegans have a cholesterol-free diet.  Only animal products have cholesterol so eating just a plant-based diet will not include cholesterol.  Plant-based proteins also help lower blood cholesterol levels.  In fact, some studies show that people who add animal products to their vegetarian diet signifiantly and quickly raise blood pressure levels and effect cholesterol levels.  Other information shows that a vegan diet is good for helping diabetes something we’ll talk about a lot more in the near future.

Self-Care is the Best Care

Woman Receiving FlowersI spoke to a dear friend today who told me about her self-care routine.  I was impressed and decided to share it with you as I intend to adopt some of her ideas myself.  But first let me tell you about the conversation that brought about this information.

I have a client who recently came to me about her stressful lifestyle and situation.  Her sleeping is off and she’s experiencing bouts of depression and crying.  After working with her for a while, I was shocked at how many burdens this woman is carrying each day in her life.  And what was worse she didn’t even recognize that all she was doing was stressful and unusual.  Unfortunately, her situation is not new.  Women often stretch themselves too far without a thought about their health and wellness.

Many are in situations where the thought of self-care is seen as selfish.  Women are still the natural care-providers in the home and sometimes out of the home.    Working a job and working at home can be considered natural.  Add to that a lack of sleep, carrying too many mental and emotional burdens, not having outlets for health and happiness, and being too stressed out and you have a dangerous mixture.

That’s what my client was under – a dangerous mixture.  Then she wondered why she couldn’t jump out of bed in the morning, why tears came to her eyes during the day at unexpected time.  I asked her when she had last taken time for herself and she couldn’t answer. That was an idea that had long left her mind.  She was so busy caring for others that self care didn’t even come onto her “to-do” list.

So today, the conversation with my dear friend turned to women and self-care.  My friend let me know that at her age in life, she was semi-retired yet still working to pay her monthly bills.  Yet, she worked hard for two or three days then took a day off to relax.  She might stay at home and read a book, sit outside for a while to feel the sun on her face, or go for a drive to a new location and treat herself to lunch.  Other ways to do self-care were shared but the main thing was taking time to care for herself.

I even picked up a few tips because self-care is not something I put on my schedule often enough.  A woman’s health can only be done by the person in the body.  No one can make you take care of yourself except you.  If you haven’t been taking time for yourself lately, think about all the time you’ll have to do nothing when you are either lying flat on your back in bed or the worse, dead.  That’s pretty harsh I know but it’s something women need to consider.  Self care is the best care.  For most, it’s the only type of care we haven’t mastered.

Take time for you.  Life is short and you only go around once.  Make self care a part of your normal schedule and learn to make it the best care you practice.

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

200BreastCancerRibbonDo you wonder why so much pink is being worn by so many people this month?  I particular enjoy watching football games during this time and seeing big, husky men with pink socks and pink gloves.  It not just a new fashion statement, but a way to join in promoting that fact that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Started 25 years ago, “The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.”

Read more about this month of getting others to pay attention to an important women’s health issue at the website of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) website.  And be sure to wear pink!