Diabetes: The silent but DEADLY disease that is totally preventable

Apple, pear, tape and glucometerWe’ve seen an upswing in the number of cases of diabetes over the past decade.  Why?  Because  we’ve also seen a super-surge of refined and highly-processed foods, as well.  What’s it going to take to overcome this chronic health condition that plagues just as many children nowadays as adults?  WISDOM!

And that’s where this article comes in.  Here’s some facts to consider:

  • 25.8 MILLION Americans and 1.7 MILLION Canadians have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • About 79 MILLION Americans and 7.3 MILLION Canadians have prediabetes (yep, that exists!)
  • Those who are overweight are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than any other risk factor
  • Those who have a family history are at risk, but can out-wit that risk by making smart lifestyle choices

 

A few words to the wise…

The best way to prevent diabetes is to make some lifestyle changes:

•  Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your risk for diabetes. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you’re at a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, start making small changes to your eating habits by adding more whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. Start exercising more, even if taking a short walk is all you can do for now. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor. Even a relatively small amount of weight loss – 10 to 15 pounds – has been proven to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

•  Eat healthy

◦Eat lots of whole grains (such as whole wheat or rye bread, whole grain cereal, or brown rice), fruits, and vegetables.

◦Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol. Read food labels. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, you should eat no more than 56 grams of fat each day.

◦If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one or two drinks (one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor) a day.

•  Get moving. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:

◦2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity

or

◦1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity

or

◦A combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity

and

◦Muscle-strengthening activities on 3 days

Some suggestions for fitting physical activity in:

◦Take the stairs instead of the elevator

◦Take a brisk walk on your lunch break

◦Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk

◦Get off the bus or subway a few stops early and walk the rest of the way

◦Walk or bicycle whenever you can

 

Foods That Harm (not totally inclusive)

  • Red meat
  • butter
  • Saturated fats (animal derived)

Foods That Heal (not totally inclusive)

  • Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Peas
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Chicken breast
  • Mushroom

Foods To Limit (not totally inclusive)

  • High-glycemic foods, such as potatoes, soft drinks, white flour (run from the word enriched) and refined sugars

Foodie Friday: Powered-Up Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Photo Credit: Penni Shelton

  

Ingredients:

1cup canned pumpkin

1 large frozen banana

1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 heaping tablespoon raw nut butter of your choice (cashew or almond butter is nice!)

2 soaked dates

2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder

crushed ice, if desired

Top with unsweetened shredded coconut & nutmeg

Blend the first 7 ingredients (add water as needed) in a blender until smooth & creamy. Top coconut & nutmeg to serve.

Celiac Disease & The Gluten-Free Diet

gluten freeThere used to be a time when the gluten-free diet was only prescribed for those who were diagnosed with celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or nontropical sprue).  Celiac is a disorder that affects about one out of every 133 people in the U.S. and Canada. The problem in this disease is caused by gliadin, a wheat protein, that interferes with the absorption of many nutrients and damages the lining of the gut.

Children and adults can be affected by celiac.  Common symptoms are stomach upsets, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, mouth sores, and an increased susceptibility to infection.  In children, growth may be stunted.  Adults may find that they had mild symptoms of gluten sensitivity as a child that went undiagnosed. Diagnosis is confirmed through an intestinal biopsy or through blood tests.

 

 

The gluten-free diet has become very popular in recent years due to the bioengineering of the wheat grain.  It’s not the same wheat grain that our grandparents used to eat. But that topic is for another post. ;-)  

 

Foods That Harm

  • Foods made with wheat, rye, or barley, oats
  • Foods using wheat products as a thickening agent or coating, such as meatloaf and certain soups & sauces
  • Beverages containing gluten, such as beer
  • Many commercial salad dressings (except pure mayonaise)

 

Foods That Heal

  • Low-fat milk (although this can be another allergen/food sensitivity, as well)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat & Poultry
  • Fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Rice

 

Nutrition Connection

Be a gluten sleuth.  Many everyday foods contain gluten: breads, cakes, rolls, muffins, baking mixes, pasta, sausages bound with bread crumbs, foods coated with batter, sauces & gravies, soups thickened with wheat flour, most breakfast cereals, as well as some candies, ice creams, and puddings.  You definitely have to be a good slueth when following a gluten-free lifestyle.

Prepare most foods at home.  It’s best to cook at home to ensure a healthy diet without risking exposure to gluten.

Always read the labels on packaged foods.  Avoid ingredients such as flour-based binder and fillers and modified starch. And keep in mind that beer is made from barley and should be avoided, along with other malted drinks.

 

Beyond The Diet

Heads up! Gluten can appear in products other than food and may affect your health. For example, medications and vitamins may use gluten as a binding agent.  Be sure to check your labels!

 

 

Foodie Friday: Creamy Broccoli-White Bean Soup

broccoli soup

Steaming broccoli florets helps them maintain their nutrients; adding them to soup with olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic cloves makes a complete hearty meal on a cold winter day.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 head broccoli (1 pound), cut into florets, stems thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

1/2 ounce shaved Parmesan, for serving

 

Directions

1.  Steam broccoli florets and stems until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Reserve 1/2 cup florets for garnish.

2.  Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a simmer.

Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with broccoli florets, toasted pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.

 

Source: WholeLiving.com

 

Blood Pressure (High): What you can do to keep yours in check

Have you checked your blood pressure lately?

Have you checked your blood pressure lately?

 

 

Are you one of the 80 MILLLION Americans that have high blood pressure?  You may be, and you don’t even know it.  That’s because in it’s early stages, high blood pressure is symptomless (asymptomatic), so most people don’t even know they have this potentially life-threatening disease.

 

Keep in mind, if gone unchecked, high blood pressure can (and will) lead to a stroke, heart attack and other serious consquences like kidney failure.

 

 

 

Although no one fully understands what really leads to the actual cause of high blood pressure, a combination of factors seem to be involved: 

  1. Heredity
  2. Diabetes
  3. Obesity
  4. Smoking
  5. Excessive Alcohol
  6. Sedentary Lifestyle

 

Foods That Harm

  • Salty foods
  • Highly processed foods (canned, boxed, frozen)

 

Foods That Heal

  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Legumes (beans, lentils)
  • Fruits (especially bananas, but don’t overdo it!)
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes

 

Foods To Limit

  • Fatty foods, especially those high in saturated fats
  • Alcohol (although it’s not really considered a FOOD, right?)
  • Caffeinated drinks

 

Nutrition Connection

Limit your salt intake.  Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2500mg. This means not only putting down the salt shaker, but avoiding processed foods because they are LOADED with sodium.

Pump up your potassium!  Potassium helps maintain the body’s balance of salt and fluids, therefore regulating blood pressure levels.  Since this nutrient is found primarily in fruits and veggies….you know what to do! :-)

Get more calcium.  Did you know that people with low levels of calcium are at higher risk of high blood pressure?  If you don’t like (or can’t tolerate) dairy products, you can still get your calcium from green leafy vegetables and fortified non-dairy beverages (soy milk, almond milk).

 

Beyond The Diet

  • Exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Treat underlying conditions (diabetes, elevated cholesterol)
  • Take blood pressure medications as prescribed

Take care of YOU, ’cause you’re the only you you’ve got! :-)

 

 

Foodie Friday: Heart-Shaped Egg-in-Hole (Heart Toast)

heart toast

 

Ingredients:

2 slices brioche loaf, each about 3/4-inch thick

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 large eggs Chives for garnish

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Using a large (2.5- or 3-inch) heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart from the center of each slice of brioche. Or, use a paring knife to cut the heart shapes. Reserve slices and hearts.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the slices and the heart cutouts to the pan and cook until slightly toasted. Turn slices and cutouts; carefully break an egg into the center of each slice. Cover the skillet and cook until the egg white is just set and the yolk is cooked to your liking, 3 to 4 minutes.

Carefully transfer a slice and a cutout to each of 2 plates and snip some chives over the top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:

Per Serving:240 calories (150 from fat), 17g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 205mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 9g protein

 

Source:  WholeFoods.com

Anemia: Heal Your Blood & Increase Your Energy!

red blood cells

Healthy Red Blood Cells

Anemia is the umbrella term for a variety of conditions characterized by the inability of the red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. When you’re anemic, you’re essentially starved of oxygen, and this in turn will result in symptoms such as general weakness, fatigue, brittle nails, shortness of breath, and fainting (in extreme cases).

The most common type of anemia, especially in women, is iron deficiency anemia, which is usually caused by blood loss.  If you’ve been struggling with anemia, there’s an easy way to build your iron stores up by eating the right foods in the right combinations.

 

Foods That Heal

  • Beef 
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Egg Yolks
  • Soy
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Citrus Fruits (enhance iron absorption)
  • Broccoli
  • Red Bell Peppers

Foods To Limit

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Swiss Chard
  • Chocolate
  • Bran
  • Nuts
  • Tea

Foods That Harm

  • Iron supplements, unless prescribed by a doctor (excess iron can be dangerous!)

 

Nutrition Connection

Get your iron from FOODS as often as possible.  Your body absorbs the iron from animal sources best (meat, fish, poultry, eggs), but if you’re not a meat eater, no worries!  Plant sources of iron can be found in green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, and beans.

 

Give your iron absorption a BOOST by eating vitamin C-rich foods (especially if you’re a vegan/vegetarian).  Plant sources of iron are not easily absorbed by the body.  So be sure to have something rich in vitamin C at the same meal to lend that iron a helping hand!

 

Avoid drinking tea during meals.  Tea contains a natural compound called “tannins”, which binds with iron and makes it unavailable for absorption.  So enjoy your tea between meals instead!

 

Limit those foods that prevent absorption of iron.  Certain foods contain a compound called “oxylates” and “phytates”, which prevents iron absorption.  So limit the following oxylate-containing foods: spinach, rhubarb, swiss chard, and chocolate. And those phytate-containing foods are: nuts & bran.

 

Beyond The Diet

In addition to eating iron-rich foods, you can also add iron to your diet by cooking with cast-iron skillets and pots! ;-)

Foodie Friday: Southwestern Bean Dip

BeanDip

Southwestern Bean Dip

 

Plenty of black beans, salsa and chopped fresh vegetables mean a healthy amount of “fill’er-up” fiber in this Tex-Mex layered dip. This recipe uses reduced-fat sour cream along with full-fat (and full-flavored) cheese to make the dip lighter without compromising great taste. Be sure to have lots of baked tortilla chips on hand when you serve it! :-)

12 servings, about 1/2 cup each

INGREDIENTS

1 16-ounce can nonfat refried beans, preferably “spicy”

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

4 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices, chopped

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium avocado, chopped

1/4 cup canned sliced black olives, (optional)

 

PREPARATION

Combine refried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeños in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.

Microwave on High until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.

Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives (if using).

TIPS & NOTES

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. To serve, continue with Steps 2 & 3.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 146 calories; 7 g fat ( 3 g sat , 3 g mono ); 12 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 288 mg sodium; 164 mg potassium.

 

Source: EatingWell.com

What’s REALLY Behind Those Sugar Cravings

sugar(1)

Sugar comes in all shapes and disguises!

You may be a long-time sweet treat lover.  We all love our sweets, right?  But if you’re craving them excessively (and this includes carb-rich foods like bread, pasta and rice), it’s not all about just having a “sweet tooth”.

 

Whenever we crave a certain food, or food group, it’s usually an indication of a deficiency our body is trying to correct.  While none of us are likely deficient in sugar (or sucrose), most of us are deficient in minerals that are the gateway to carbohydrate metabolism.

 

Understanding this, and correcting the deficiency with proper nutrition, can help you bust through those sugar cravings, lose weight and feel great without the sugar highs and crashing lows.

 

Here are the top 3 minerals your body’s really craving when you get that “sweet tooth” attack:

  • Chromium:  You may have heard of this mineral and it’s importance in controlling blood sugars.  It’s presence in the body is necessary for insulin to work effectively in bring glucose into your cells for energy.  A chromium deficiency can cause intense sugar cravings, so beef-up your intake of natural sources of chromium by eating an adequate amount of lean meats, asparagus, cheese, molasses, brewer’s yeast and whole grains.

 

  • Magnesium:  This mineral plays a HUGE role in almost all body processes on a cellular level (over 300!), and the regulation of glucose, insulin and the neurotransmitter dopamine name a few.  If you don’t have enough magnesium in your diet, you’ll likely experience cravings for chocolate (rich in magnesium) and sugar.  Other food sources to replenish your magnesium stores are soy beans, spinach, lima beans almonds, hazelnuts, oat bran and brown rice.

 

  • Zinc:  Zinc has gained popularity in warding off colds and their pesky symptoms (seen those zinc lozenges lately?), but zinc is also a necessary mineral that plays a major role in wound healing, blood clotting, and proper insulin and glucose (blood sugar) utilization.  Deficiency can result in low insulin levels, which leads to sugar cravings.  Replenish your zinc storehouse with foods such as beef, pork, oysters, yogurt, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), almonds and oatmeal.

 

So YES!  Your sugar cravings can be better controlled and that doesn’t mean you should never have a sweet treat again.  Knowing what triggers your cravings is the first step to getting those cravings under control.  Mineral deficiency is a major cause of cravings because the body is seeking balance. 

 

Balance is key with everything we do! :-)

New Year, New You! (For REAL This Time!)

 

New Year, New You

A lot of people begin the New Year by making resolutions. We’ve all been there. We take a vow to lose weight, exercise more or spend more time with our family. We start the year with great intentions, but then we quickly relapse into old habits. Why is it so hard to stick to those New Year’s resolutions? 

Here are some ways you can make your intentions a reality this year:

  1. Write down your intentions and keep them in a visible place, like taped to your bedroom mirror or the dashboard of your car. 
  2. Get to the source of whatever is keeping you in a rut. Are you in a stressful relationship that causes you to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night? Are you stressed at your job and feel too tired to exercise after work?  If you don’t tackle the root of the behavior, it will be much harder to accomplish your goal. 
  3. Be clear about what your life would look like once you achieve your goal. If you resolve to go to the gym more, how will this benefit you? Get connected to the result of your action, and you will be more likely to stick with your plan.
  4. Share your resolutions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you. 
  5. Reward yourself with every little accomplishment. If your intention is to lose weight and you lose 1 pound a week, pamper yourself with a massage.

Big changes do not require big leaps. Permanent change is more likely to happen gradually than through one big restrictive plan. Allow yourself to climb the ladder one rung at a time.

If you know you’re the kinda gal who needs a little extra support, a little extra push, a little EXTRA UMPH!, then join me on a 21-day jouney of wellness. Don’t go it alone this year; make 2013 the start of anew by starting off on the right foot!  Learn more about the 21-Days of Wellness Program and sign up today. And if you’re one of the first 5 to join, you’ll receive a special private 1:1 consultation with me!  Yippee!!! :-)

Happy New Year!

3 Foods That Will Give You That “Kick-in-the-Pants” You Need to Make It Through The Day!

Chia Seeds are high in protein, omega 3′s and fiber!

#1:  CHIA SEEDS

If you’ve never tried them, now’s the time!  Chia seeds aren’t just for cute planters anymore.  They’re super-high in fiber, uber-hydrating (due to their ability to hold up to 9 times their weight in water), chocked full of protein, and a great source of omega 3′s.  What this means for YOU is that when you add these little seeds to your morning smoothie, they’ll give you that added “Umph!” that you need to stay full, hydrated, and fully-nourished until your next meal.  Chi-chi-chi-CHIA!

 

Raw pepitas are high in omega 3′s, protein, and magnesium!

#2:  PEPITAS

Pepitas, also commonly known as pumpkin seeds, are not so recognizable outside of their familiar white shell.  Left raw and unroasted, these yummy seeds are a great addition to salads and smoothies.  What’s in it for you if you eat these?  Loads of nutrition, of course!  Pepitas are high in protein (keeping you full, longer), magnesium (helps to kick those cravings to the curb), and high in most B-vitamins (high-energy providers).

Go pepitas, GO!! :-)

 

Chili peppers main compound, capsaicin, has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties.

#3:  Chili Peppers

Feeling HOT, HOT, HOT!  Whew, if you’re that gal who likes her food a little spicy, then this red hot chili pepper has something for YOU!  When you add red pepper flakes to your salad, or even fresh slices to salads and sandwiches, you’re giving yourself more than an internal hot flash.  Capsaicin, the compound that gives these spicy peppers their zing, curbs your appetite while you eat. Not only that, it raises your body temperature, which just may boost your metabolism.  Whoot!

 

 

How Long Should You Juice Fast For?

How long should you juice fast for?

 

It really depends on your health status and goals. If you’re looking to give your body a short but beneficial break, it can be helpful to do a juice fast for 48-72 hours over a weekend.

 

If you’re looking to experience significant detoxification and some big changes with your health, you might consider doing a longer juice fast, somewhere in the ball park of one to two weeks.

 

Although it’s optimal for prepare for a juice fast by eating raw fruits and vegetables for 24 hours prior to beginning with juices only, most people do just fine in starting with juices without a pre-fasting routine.

 

You can drink however many juices your appetite calls for throughout the day. I have found that most people do well with an average of five freshly squeezed juices per day.

 

While I generally recommend that people use fruit-based juices early on in the day and turn to vegetable-based juices as the day goes on, there’s really no requirement to stick to a specific order of juices.  The natural sugar in the fruit will help you sustain energy throughout the day, but don’t make them ALL fruit juices.  Remember to add your greens (and plenty of them!).

 

A typical day of juice fasting might look like this:

 

Morning Juice

8 stems of kale

1/2 bunch of small red seedless grapes

4 stalks of celery

1 lemon

 

Afternoon Juice 

4 carrots

1 beet

2 cucumber

1 knob of ginger

 

Evening Juice

4 stalks Swiss chard

1/2 bunch spinach

1 cucumber

1/2 apple

1 lemon

 

So, it’s time to get your greens on, okay my friend?  No time better than the present to get the juicer reved up and nourish your body to its fullest potential!  :-)

 

Foodie Friday: Smoky Baby Portobello Sliders

 

 

Serves 4

 

Big or small, portobello mushrooms make the perfect grilled “burger.” Portobellos’ meaty texture and rich, robust flavor take on the flavors of marinades and rubs and stay juicy and tender when grilled. The onion topping can be made up to two days ahead.

Ingredients

8 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

2 Tbs. Classic BBQ Rub

2 medium yellow or white onions, thinly sliced

1 tsp. herbes de Provence

½ cup prepared barbecue sauce

2 oz. shredded smoked Gouda (¾ cup)

8 mini challah rolls or dinner rolls

Directions

1. Toss mushrooms in bowl with 1 Tbs. olive oil and Classic BBQ Rub. Set aside.

 

2. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and herbes de Provence, and cook 30 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

 

3. Heat grill or grill topper over medium-high heat. Rub grate or grill topper with vegetable oil. Place mushrooms stem-side down on grill. Brush mushroom tops with barbecue sauce, and grill 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft and charred around the edges. Flip, and grill 3 minutes more. Divide cheese among mushrooms, placing in center of each stem side. Grill 1 minute more, or until cheese is melted.

 

4. Meanwhile, warm buns on grill. Spread barbecue sauce on bottom buns, then top each with 1 mushroom, sautéed onions, and top bun.

 

Source:  Vegetarian Times, July 2009

[Foodie Friday] Zendelion Juice

 

I LOVE THIS JUICE!  Dandelion greens are full of calcium, iron, antioxidants, and protein.  Celery is super-cleansing and alkalizing.  There’s just nothing bad about it, so if you have a juicer, give it a try!  One ingredient I forgot to add was the fresh ginger, so make sure you do add it.  It makes a difference!  :-)

 

Ingredients

  • 4 stalks of dandelion greens
  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 1 large (or medium) Gala apple
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1 knob of ginger

Push all ingredients through your juicer, stir ‘er up, pour into a BIG (24 ounce) glass with ice, and ENJOY!  Sip with a straw….Yummo!  :-P

Got Cravings? Here’s the SOLE-UTION!

 

If you have cravings for certain foods that you just can’t seem to control,  this video is for YOU!  This is the one method that has helped me (and numerous others) beat the sweet tooth into a pulp.  And it’s healthy, too!

 

It’s time to alkalize your body with MINERALS and I’m here today to show you how.  Amazing how something so simple can make a drastic difference in your life and you body.  :-)

Search