There’s a new way for kids to snack on the run, after school, between practices, or through out the day at school. Finally someone has decided to take on the vending machines war and say enough is enough. The change in this world’s mind-set and ideas about food consumption has got to start somewhere and now! Children spend most of their time in school and that’s where they seem to be consuming the most junk, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and everything else with NO nutritional value.
The idea that it’s cheap and can produced for the masses is what is continuing to fuel the fire for childhood diabetes and obesity. We’ve all been looking to Jaime Oliver to change not only the way this country eats, but also the world. Little by little and as much diversion, road blocks, and brick walls he’s slammed into, I’m in awe of his success and achievements. (Could also be my small obsession with him too)
But also finding a way into the school system and making a difference by inventing the Goodie Monster, is a group from Portland, Oregon. They’ve figured out how to make a huge difference in schools and in the food department just by making the tiniest change. Showing that it doesn’t have to be chocolate bars and candy as the afternoon snack, there are healthier options to help ids feel fuller, eat more nutritious, and guaranteed to give them more energy for their after school activity.
Stuffed inside these vending machines, you’ll find pop chips, Kind, Luna, Lara, and Clif bars. raisins, Justin’s Nut butters, and my kid’s personal favorite “Pirates Booty.” And the vending machine…so stinking cute, kids love it, it’s perfect! Every school should have one!! The soda machines and constant junk should be replaced with better choices. It all starts with a small change to cause a ripple effect.
One of the most popular excuses for not making better health a priority is that eating healthy is expensive. That simply is not true, a healthy lifestyle does not require a huge investment, just a shift in priorities. A fast food burger that costs a dollar really weighs much more heavily on the family budget when you consider the health implications of a poor diet. In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are my favorite tips to help you fit healthy eating into your budget.
Getting food to the family dinner table, eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That equals out to more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25 percent of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land. Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Wasting less is good for the planet and the budget. If it is not already a habit, make menu planning a part of your routine and only purchase what you need. Plan your menu around and shop the sales at local farmer’s markets and the grocery store. This habit allows you to purchase produce when it is abundant, usually at the peak of the season when it is most nutritious and most affordable.
The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides many resources on how to spend smart and eat smart, including a food budget calculator based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Low-Cost Food Plan that can be found online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/page/what-you-should-spend
Store it Right
Learning proper food storage techniques can deter food from spoilage and help stretch food dollars. Spraying fresh produce, upon purchase, with a solution of equal parts cool water & white distilled vinegar and then allowing it to sit for a few minutes, will clean it and help to kill any mold spores that have begun to grow on the surface. This produce cleaning technique will prolonging shelf life which is great when you are purchasing enough produce to last the entire week and makes purchasing the more expensive organic options more budget-friendly. Don’t worry after a good rinse there will be no trace of vinegar in the taste or smell of the cleaned produce. When storing fresh onions and potatoes, always remember a cool, dry, place will deter spoiling but also remember to store them separately since each will cause the other to spoil more quickly. Freeze fresh fruit before it spoils to add to homemade fruit smoothies. Most fresh vegetables can be frozen as well, with the proper technique, to add to soups and stews, sauces and homemade condiments.
Learn to Cook
If eating healthy is a priority to you, learning to cook is almost a prerequisite. It is hard to really know what is in your food unless you prepare it yourself. Prepackaged and processed foods are usually high in salt and sugar (or its’ equivalent), preservatives, and chemical additives, none of which should appear too often in a healthy diet. But don’t fret, cooking need not be complicated. Keep it simple. Learn to enjoy foods as nature intended, fresh and unspoiled by processing. A simple mixed green salad can round out just about any meal and takes minimal time to prepare. Learn to prepare homemade vinaigrette made from healthy oils like cold-pressed, organic olive oil, and you can get a healthy dose of good fat. If you spend a lot of your food budget on frozen prepared meals because you don’t have time to cook every night, get in the habit of cooking enough for two to three meals at a time and freeze the leftovers for a quick meal later that is a healthier option than the commercially available counterpart.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, your next favorite meal may be found where you least expect it. Experiment with unusual flavors and textures. Eat more vegetables and fruits and less meat and dairy. Opt for whole grains whenever possible and drink more water, but most of all, be an active participant in your quest for health and wellness, not a silent bystander.
- Dietitians Dish: Eating healthy on a budget (victoriaadvocate.com)
- Seven Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t (pbs.org)
- Nutrition Month – How To Create Tasty Yet Healthy Meals (daydaily.com)
- Sneaky Food Tips: Ways to Secretly Slip Your Family Better Nutrition (jenniferbrowne.org)
- Healthy Family Eating on a Budget (thelaboroflove.com)
- The Inconvenient Truth of Healthy Living (health.usnews.com)
- Seven Fun Foods to Play with in Nutrition Month! (kaplantoys.com)
- To Market, To Market (thedailyround.wordpress.com)
- What do they put in our food??? (gentlebynature.wordpress.com)
Finding Your Motivation
January and the excitement of a New Year has passed, but your strategy for success in the New Year is hopefully still going strong. Statistically, only 64% of people who made New Years’ resolutions are able to maintain them into the month of February. Research suggests that differences in motivation may be related to the dopamine function of the brain. Dopamine is thought to be the brain chemical that fuels will and it is critical for psychological motivation. While people commonly associate dopamine with the experience of pleasure in the brain that accompanies everything from drinking alcohol to physical pleasure, the neurotransmitter’s effect in certain regions has more to do with reward, or the anticipation of pleasure.
Trick Your Brain into Cooperation
Wray Herbert, offers insight into how to use the quirks of the mind to change behavior in his book, On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Brain’s Hard-Wired Habits. Herbert explains how he used heuristics to trick his brain to stay motivated, “I go to the gym every day, but I didn’t always. I used make resolutions and so forth and then I listened to Woody Allen who said that 99% of life is just showing up. [So that is using the default heuristic, which means that it's easier to keep doing what you're already doing than it is to change and make a decision.] Basically, I just started, I said to myself if I show up and don’t do anything, that’s fine. But I never went and did nothing. So just changing your default position puts you at the gym. Now the active decision is to go home.” So it’s playing a little trick on your brain. “I also use the scarcity heuristic in my in spinning class. Sometimes, I’m tired and I don’t want to do it. I tell myself, “You’re going to be at your desk all day. This is the only 45 minutes that you get to move, this is gold,” and that actually works. Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/04/mind-reading-how-to-use-the-quirks-of-the-mind-to-change-behavior/#ixzz2KK9oUq9L
Take Time to Review and Revise
When you find your focus waning and you begin to become unmotivated, it is helpful to ask yourself the following:
Why am I doing ___ (whatever your goal may be), what outcome do I really want? Are these reasons really important to me? Priorities change as new information arises and what once seemed important may no longer be so. Be honest with yourself about whether what you are pursuing is really going to get you to where you want to be. You may find it helpful to clarify your priorities and values in order of importance, so that you have a list to refer back to when feeling unmotivated, and when making life decisions.
What would I rather be doing? Often we find ourselves dividing up our time between competing activities like sleeping in or making it to the gym. Decisions about how you spend your precious time must continually be made, is the alternative activity really more important to you or have you just mismanaged your time? Can you schedule your time so that you can do both activities? Are you spending your time on priorities and goals that you enjoy, not just ones that you feel obligated to do? If you are not enjoying the activities that will get you to your goal, it is time to reevaluate if you are headed in the right direction, the ultimate goal is a life fulfilled, not a life endured.
If I don’t do ____ now, when will I do it? Mental health breaks are needed and encouraged, but if you are struggling with procrastination or being able to balance your time between responsibilities, whether personal or work related, and all the other pursuits that fill your time, perhaps more effective time management is what you need. We live in a fast paced society with ever-increasing demands on our time but with the increasing demands there has also been great advances in technology and time management. If you have a smartphone or access to the Internet, there are numerous programs that can help you manage your time and be more productive. One of my favorites is Astrid Tasks which allows you to make actionable lists (great for breaking down steps in your success strategy) with the ability to set specific due dates for each task and the ability to leave comments or notes on each specific task. It also has a collaboration feature allowing you to share your lists with anyone that has an email address even if they do not use Astrid, and you can have all this for FREE. For more information, please visit https://astrid.com/.
- The unsexy truth about dopamine (guardian.co.uk)
- This is Your Brain on Dope(amine) (psychologytoday.com)
- Dopamine Not About Pleasure (Anymore) (creativitypost.com)
- Why Our Brains Like Short-Term Goals (entrepreneur.com)
- The (Un)Happy Neuroscience of New Year Resolutions (6seconds.org)
- The Science of Surprise: How Doing the Unexpected Keeps You in Love (howaboutwe.com)
- Long Term Effects of Cocaine Use (alcoholism.answers.com)
February is American Heart Month, it’s the perfect excuse to start taking care of your heart and your health. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in both men and women every year. Here’s my guide to simple ways to start being heart healthy you only get one so why wouldn’t you give it the love it deserves?
- Watch what you put on your plate- Reduce high fatty foods, lower salt, cut back on sodas, sweets, and munchies. And load up your plate with filling foods high in fiber, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, cook and use better oils such as olive, grapeseed, and almond oils, try cocoa instead of chocolate, and up your garlic intake.
- Maintain a healthy weight- Focus on lowering your BMI. (Body Mass Index) All you need to know is your height and weight and then calculate to get your percentage at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lower cholsterol, glucose levels, and exercise more. I know we all hear that all the time. But even on the days you can’t possibly think of doing another thing, just 15 minutes of exercise will jump-start your system, get your blood flowing, and motivate you to do more.
- Reduce stress- Stress can wreak havoc on your entire system. Show yourself some love, take time to rest, sleep more, nurture yourself, treat yourself to a massage or a spa day. Learn to decompress whether that includes reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or having a movie night. Go easy on your heart, it works hard for you day in and day out.
- Give love to someone else- Volunteer your time to an animal shelter, be a mentor, or spend time with the elderly can do numbers for your heart. Leave a small gift on your neighbors doorstep without a card, you’re bound to make their day. Do something extra special for your kids, spouse, parents, or if your lucky enough to still have grandparents. (I still have 2 grandmothers and touch base with them often. I know they love hearing from me.)
Whether you’re eating better, spending more time at the gym, meditating, reading a new favorite book, helping a friend, or visiting the local nursing home. I hope you take sometime this month to truly take care of yourself and be a little more heart healthy.
Is opening your medicine or supplement cabinet a hazard to your health? Do you carefully open the door hoping all the bottles don’t come spilling out across the counter? Sick of taking all those supplements everyday,or maybe you’ve become a victim to Dr. Oz’s recommendations and found yourself rushing out to buy everything he suggests on his show? There’s a simpler way to cut back on your supplements, while cleaning out your cabinet, and save you tons of money all at the same time!
Supplements are just that…supplementing something you’re not getting. Meaning if you’re missing something in your diet like meat, dairy, you have a chronic illness or deficiency then yes you should be supplementing. But we’re all stocking up on every supplement out there to make sure we’re getting enough Vitamin A, C, D, and E, iron, zinc, and calcium. Which by the way, calcium doesn’t get absorbed without magnesium or vitamin D, and you have to absorb Vitamin D through unexposed skin (meaning no sunscreen) or through your unexposed eyes (no sunglasses) to absorb the calcium that has to be absorbed through your blood before your bones get any of the benefits Really think that calcium pill is still doing everything you think it should?
So what’s the answer? Eat your vitamins and supplement what you’re not getting in your diet. How do you do that? By changing your diet and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. There are some of us out there that choose different lifestyles and supplementing is a must. So how do you know what you should supplement? Assess the way you and your family eat. Research what’s best for you, and if there is a deficiency or illness take that into account. But the first thing is figure out what you’re missing in your diet and go from there. You really don’t need to be taking 20 supplements a day because you’re not eating enough fiber. Here’s 4 supplements you should be taking on a daily basis, especially if you’re lacking any of these on a daily basis.
The big day is only 2 days away!! Even though my team is in their off-season and my favorite guy (RGIII) is recovering from a knee injury sustained during their Ravens show down, but I’ll still be rooting for the guys in purple. As we all plan for the parties, get togethers, and the day of constant gorging, instead of the same ol football food why not change it up and try something different this year?
Here’s my menu for Super Bowl Sunday! Jicama and mango salsa, Turkey Sliders with homemade arugula and walnut pesto, and my spin on a New Orleans tradition. Want to come to my party?
So it’s January 2013, and everyone is ready to get back in shape, get healthy, achieve some goals, and do things you didn’t do last year. We all jump on the inspiration for a new year and a clean slate to change habits, start over, try something new, forgive, move-on, re-evaluate, refocus, find hope, and make them all stick so that we can feel good about trying and succeeding on whatever we set our minds to.
Here’s my guide on how to make your changes stick in 2013.
- Put It Down on Paper- We all have tons of ideas, recipes, things to do, places to be, errands to run, things to accomplish, dreams to chase, and passions to pursue. There is no way to focus on just one without getting them down on paper. So put them in a journal, chalkboard, cork board, break them out into categories on different sheets of paper and go for them!
- Decide to do Something for Yourself- As humans we tend to focus on everyone but ourselves. Don’t you think 2013 is the best time to actually focus on something you’ve always wanted? It’s not being self-fish or abandoning your loved ones (believe me I feel guilty all the time!) Think of how much better of a parent, spouse, child, grand-parent, or friend you’ll be if you focus on yourself for once!
- Set Goals- This can be anything from going to the gym 4 days a week to cleaning out your pantry and buying only good for your foods. From saving up for the vacation of a lifetime to learning a new instrument. To putting yourself out there more, making new friends, discovering new things, or even to just start living your life.
- Put Your Health First- That old saying that keeps coming round… “without your health you have nothing,” is so true. If you’re chronically sick, laid up in bed, eating from every fast food joint in a 10 mile radius, overloaded on sugar and coffee, and laying awake at night so you don’t miss the “Late Late Show.” You’re bound to be sick, in pain, exhausted, miserable, and unable to function. Jump on the health wagon and start taking care of yourself-then you’ll be able to do anything you set your heart or mind to do!
- Reward Yourself- You’re making changes and seeing the results. You’re finally seeing a difference in yourself, health, family, and lifestyle. Now go reward yourself! Not to say go eat the biggest banana split you can gobble down. Splurge on that aerial yoga class you’ve been wanting to take, go out for a nice dinner with friends, take a mini trip for the weekend, or buy that new outfit that you’ve been eyeing up that now fits you and is 2 sizes smaller!
Sometimes we all take life way to seriously. We never slow down long enough to see all it has to offer us because we’re too busy running around in a fury! 2013 is a new year to start everything all over. Cook more, sit down with family and eat, rekindle those old friendships you miss, start something you’ve always wanted to, set goals to get to Switzerland to go skiing in 2020. Put your mind to something and go for it! You’ve got a clean slate and nothing but yourself to hold you back! Just a small change in your lifestyle and who knows you may change the world! “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Elliot
It’s been said “what you put in, is what you get out.” I believe this whole-heartedly! If you take care of your body’s needs with good nurturing foods, exercise, adequate sleep, lots of water, rid your body of vices, (smoking, heavy drinking, stress) nurture your soul and truly take care of your mind, body, and soul, it will repair itself from disease, injury, illness, fatigue, malnutrition, and stress.
The body is an incredible machine. You just have to give it a chance. I’ve seen people reverse their diseases, repair injuries, lose excessive weight, fight chronic illness and cancer, and transform their health, lives, future just by what they put into their bodies. Not to say you have to become a radical 100% of the time and give up everything you love, brings your comfort, motivates you, or soothes and relaxes you.
Celebrate the holidays mind, body, and soul! It’s that time of year again!! It’s actually only days away! At this point we’re all frantic! Getting the rest of the cards out, baking, gift wrapping, still shopping because we keep forgetting someone, and of course eating… A LOT!
With all the hustle bustle make time for yourself to actually enjoy them and your loved ones. Time seems to fly by faster the older we get so here is a little mini guide of ideas on how to slow down, enjoy this time of year, soak up your family and friends, sop up the giggles and memories, and slurp up every bit of the delicious foods, spirits, and beautiful atmosphere. And don’t forget to treasure every second of it!
Mind- We tend to go a little coo-coo this time of year, because there is never enough time to ever get it all done. We drive ourselves into a dizzy trying to beat the clock and make the holidays perfect and we all know if never works out that way. So give your mind a rest this holiday by reading a book by the fire, meditate by candle light or even by the lit tree, turn on your favorite holiday music with a warm cup of cacao, watch classic holiday movies-like “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” even put your mind to rest with a 30 minute nap on the couch curled up under your favorite blanket.
Body- Boy do our bodies take a beating over the holiday season. We celebrate big! All the added sugar, alcohol, heavy dips, sauces, and desserts-pack on the pounds, make us low on energy, and left feeling weighed down. Not to mention there’s not much time for a workout and we’re completely sleep deprived! So give your body a break. Cook something healthy and nurturing. Make homemade soups or good for you comfort foods. Take a Pilates or Yoga class. Got a little more energy? Jump into a spinning class or take that kickboxing class you’ve always wanted to. It’ll help relieve tension and tired muscles and you’re guaranteed instant energy as soon as you begin moving. Turn off the tv and give your body the rest it needs. Shoot for 7 or more hours! You definitely deserve it!
Soul-This is a great time of year to start searching you soul. New Years is right around the corner! We all get a clean slate and a fresh start for the year so really dig deep this year and listen to your heart and soul for what you really want for 2013. What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals or aspirations? Give into your passions. Chase your dreams. Spend more time with your family. Relax. Take care of yourself and your health. But remember to make some resolutions you can actually achieve. And always nurture you soul!
Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope you receive gifts of love, laughter, hope, joy, and smiles this year! I’m spending some extra time with my little ones who are so excited for Santa-which makes it even more fun for me! Thank you for all your support and following my posts this year! Hoping 2013 brings lots of new opportunities for us all!