Tag Archives: clean eating

Fruit & Sugar: How to Maintain a Healthy Balance

11 Jul

“I can’t eat fruit, I don’t want to get fat.” Does that statement have any truth to it? …..Let’s find out.

Fruit, compared to many other options, is a great choice.  It often contains a decent amount of fiber helping to fill the body and has a variety of nutrients.  The downfall to fruit can be its sugar content.  Sugar is something we should try to limit in our diet, as having too much causes all sorts of issues for us.  So, it’s not to say you can’t have some, it is to say that you keep the amount in check.

There are two types of sugars, those occurring naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and those in dairy (lactose).  Other sugars are those sugars and caloric sweeteners  added during processing.  The American Heart Association (www.Heart. Org)   recommends we limit out sugar intake to 26 grams a day for women and 36 for men.  Those should come from naturally occurring sugars.

So, think about your diet.  I’m guessing the vast majority of us are consuming way too much sugar.  It’s partially habit, lack-of-knowledge, convenience, and let’s face it, it just tastes good.  One thing that helps is to be educated on where you find sugar though, which will aid in beginning to limit our consumption.

Fruit is not all created equally.  When looking at the sugar content, here’s how it stacks up:

Blackberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Strawberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Apples: 13 Grams

Pineapples 16 Grams

Bananas: 18 Grams

Grapes: 23 Grams

Here are some simple tips to help you maintain reasonable amounts of sugar intake:

1)      When reaching for fruit, pick berries first.  Overall they seem to be one of the lowest on the spectrum of sugar content.  That and the fact that they are packed full of vitamins make them a good choice.

2)      Don’t drink your food.  It’s easy to throw a bunch of fruit in a blender and feel like you are eating healthy but it’s important to remember that the body craves the sensation that comes along with chewing.  Allowing yourself to actually eat foods rather than drink all of them aids in this desire. In addition, we often consume more than necessary when we drink our calories because it goes down so easily.  This is particularly true of fruit smoothies. Same goes for juicing oranges.  Fresh squeezed orange juice tastes delicious but should be reserved for a treat, as it can easily result in quickly downing 5 oranges, putting us over our daily limit.

3)      Shop the produce section, not the grocery store isles for fruit.  Canned peaches in heavy syrup do not constitute fruit.  There is very little in the way of nutrition in canned fruits and whenever possible the best choices are fresh fruit.  Frozen fruit without any additives is also a good option.

4)      Avoid the attitude of “It has fruit in it, it must be healthy”.  There is nothing farther from the truth.  Fruit is contained in many products and dishes but that does not mean it’s healthy.  Even dried fruit is often coated in sugar and should be avoided unless it’s something you consider your “treat”.

5)      Combine fruit with other things.  Get your fruit intake by adding a bit of fruit to a variety of dishes you eat during the day.  Considering adding blueberries to Greek yogurt, apples to Steel-cut oats and bananas with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter.  Doing this can help you combine proteins, carbs and healthy fats to your snacks.

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Simple Health and Fitness: A Life Approach

24 May

What sells?  Magazine covers that read “5 minutes to a better body.”  Cookbooks that are titled “Eat what you want and lose weight.”  Diet plans that advertise “Take this pill and get fit and firm”.  That sells because it’s an easy fix, but the reality of getting the body you’ve dreamed of and the level of health and fitness you desire is simply not a quick fix.

So, with that said, the first thing you need to decide is do you really want to achieve this?  I’m going to give you some very good reasons why your answer should be yes.

While it’s very challenging to begin, in the long-term you will feel better about yourself, be more productive and able to navigate life more effectively.

Being healthy is not only a positive change for you but also for your family and friends. 

Being fit and healthy helps boost self-esteem which paves the way for success in other areas of your life.  It’s not just a matter of how you look; it’s your ability to realize you are stronger than you think.

Eating better makes you feel better.  We were not designed to eat fast food and chemicals.  Eating healthy and clean allows your body to function more properly.  When your body does that so does your mind.

There are plenty of reasons to work on achieving health, so why aren’t you doing it?  It comes down to this: We live in a faced paced society that has encouraged you to do everything quickly.  We attempt to accomplish ten tasks at once, we go till exhaustion thinking we will get ahead in doing so.  We eat on the run and fitness easily drops off our priority list.  We fall into these patterns and at some point usually step back and say “I’m not sure I’m really happy.”  True happiness is achieved through balance, mindfulness and purposefulness.

If you have read this far you probably agree with what I am saying and want to change this pattern.  You want to live healthier, be happier and more productive.  If you are going to make a life-long change for the better you are going to have to do it in small steps, period!  Here are ways in which you can move forward in achieving this:

  • Stop eating fast food.  Give yourself license in the beginning to keep all your old habits but just stop eating fast food.
  • Change one eating habit per week.  Swap out a product for something healthier; eliminate something from your diet that isn’t good for you.
  • Begin an exercise program that requires you to do ten minutes of cardio at a time.  Ten minutes, that’s it.  You can make ten minutes a day.
  • Simplify your life.  Life gets cluttered and clutter takes up a lot of space.

Example 1: Clutter in your home.  That actually pulls your attention from other things.  It’s hard to manage life when you are surrounded by things, and piles of paper and undone tasks.  Change that pattern and de-clutter your home, car and office space.  This will help you focus.

Example 2: Clutter in your life.  This comes in the form of people, activities, and commitments.  Sometimes less is more.  We tend to give of our time to so many things that then we really are not offering anyone anything much of value.  Or, we are offering a lot to others but in the process neglecting ourselves.  Simplify commitments.  Pick your top 5 priorities and do those!  Make fitness one of them.  Pick the people who you want in your life and make time for them.  You can’t make time for everyone.  The reality is that some individuals are actually a drain on your productiveness.  Begin to recognize that and make the necessary changes.

People often think health and fitness is basic.  You exercise, eat right and achieve it.  That is the foundation, but taking a closer look at what prevents us from doing that is the way we can actually achieve these goals.  Fitness and wellness is a life approach.  It’s a philosophy.  It is less about an act and more about a mindset.  If you can get to that mindset, the rest will come easy.

Eat Clean, Get Fit: 5 Easy Recipes To Help You Get Started

21 Mar

“I exercise because I like to eat”!  Are you someone who says that to people?  Many individuals enjoy satisfying their taste buds, but there are ways to do that while still maintaining healthy eating patterns.  Cooking using fresh ingredients that provide the body vital nutrients it needs to function properly is vital to maintaining a healthy physique and sound mind.

I’m fortunate to have many friends who enjoy cooking.  They frequently cook for the families and have their favorite recipes.  I’ve included five favorites from those I collected.  Give them a try!

Spinach Dip: Submitted by Pam White

Ingredients

1 (16 oz.) container low-fat cottage cheese

10 oz. container frozen spinach, thawed

8 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped fine

2 tbsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried parsley

2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Step 1 – Using a blender, blend the cottage cheese until it is smooth and creamy.

Step 2 – Put the cottage cheese in a large mixing bowl, and add all other ingredients. Stir well.

Turkey Chili Recipe, Slow Cooker Style. Submitted by Shannon Jay Dougherty

Shannon’s website: www.shannonjaydougherty.com

Ingredients:

2 lbs Lean Ground Turkey

2 Jars (16 ounces each) Your Favorite Chunky Salsa

2 Cans (14.5  ounces each) Diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cans (15 ounces each) Red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 bag (16 ounces) Frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 tablespoons Chili Powder

2 teaspoons Cumin

2 teaspoons Garlic Salt

2 teaspoons Dried Oregano

Greek Yogurt

Step 1 –  Spray slow cooker.  Brown ground turkey breaking up large pieces, drain fat and place in slow cooker.

Step 2 – Add all ingredients and stir. Cover on Low for 8 hours. Garnish with your favorite toppings. My choice is a dollop of Greek Yogurt on top!

Leek, White Sweet Potato & Mushroom Soup.  Submitted by Jennifer Zlaket

Jennifer’s website: http://www.holisticzwellness.com

Ingredients:

1 medium onion

1 bunch of leeks

1 large, white sweet potato

2 carrots

2 stems of celery

1 large bunch of mushrooms of your choice

thyme

fresh parsley

celtic sea salt

black pepper

Step 1 – Dice the onion, leeks, sweet potato, carrots, and celery.

Stock:  Sauté the chopped onion, carrot, and celery with a sprig of thyme and the stems of the mushrooms in 1 tbsp of coconut oil, until tender.

Step 2 – Add 6 cups of water, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for half an hour.

Step 3 – Sauté the diced leeks and sweet potato with another tbsp of coconut oil for 15 minutes.  Add diced mushroom caps and sauté another 10 min.

Step 4 – Strain the stock and add only the liquid to the leeks, sweet potato and mushrooms.  I run this through the blender to make a soft, silky consistency.  You will have about  4 ½ cups.

Step 5 – Put it back in the pot, add about 1 tbsp of minced/crushed thyme leaves, another pinch of sea salt, another blast of pepper, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Garnish with chopped, fresh parsley.

Protein Quinoa Pancakes: Submitted by Thomas Miller

Ingredients

1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

Topping Suggestions: Fruit, Honey, Agave syrup, Avocados

Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, eggs and egg whites. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Step 2 – Mist a non-stick pan with oil and cook as you would any pancake. Do NOT cook these on high heat. The outsides will burn and the insides will still be raw. Use medium heat and cook for a little longer until golden brown.

Step 3 – Top with any clean topping.

Curried Cauliflower: Submitted by Jennifer Zlaket

Jennifer’s website: http://www.holisticzwellness.com

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

1 large brown or yellow onion (you can also use leek instead, or in addition to the onion)

Curry powder

Turmeric

Cumin

Black pepper

Step 1 – Finely dice the onion and sauté in coconut oil with few teaspoons each of the curry powder, turmeric, and cumin (about 10 minutes.)

Step 2 – Add diced cauliflower and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes.

Step 3 – Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.