Tag Archives: nutrition

Three Years of Health and Blogging

Today this blog is 3 years old!  Cool, I’ve never managed to keep a journal for more than a few weeks, and I’ve been pretty faithfully posting here for 3 years.  I started this as a means of motivating myself to get back into shape (which you might have guessed from the name of this blog!)  For most of my adult life I was physically active and health conscious, but then I had a 2-3 year lapse while I was dealing with some personal issues.  I ended up gaining about 20 pounds, but even more troublesome was that my cholesterol and triglycerides went up to unhealthy levels.

Bench pressSo in February 2010, I took the first step…I went to the gym.  I also started this blog with this post   The goal of the blog was to 1) keep me motivated to get back into shape and 2) to share my journey and hopefully motivate others.

One year later, in February of 2011  I reported that I had lost 12 pounds, and had gone from barely fitting into the size 8 clothes I had to buy when I gained weight, back into my size 6 clothes.  I had also started making smarter food decisions and eating better.

In my birthday post in 2012 I proudly stated that I had lost most of the excess juicerweight I had gained, and more importantly that my cholesterol numbers were moving back down.  My objectives were to eat healthy are to buy (and use) a juicer and start buying organic vegetables.

Now, three years later, I am doing great!  I am exercising regularly, either running, weight training or practicing yoga. And over the past year, (as you may have noticed in my posts), I have completely changed my dietary habits.

fruits-vegetables-298x232 I am now eating a plant-based diet and have eliminated all dairy products.  If you want to know why I have eliminated dairy, you can check out my earlier post on dairy!  I did indeed buy a juicer and I use it regularly, and I eat mostly local organic fruits and vegetables.

I feel great; my running has improved, and since changing my diet my cholesterol has dropped 34 points and my triglycerides dropped to less than half of what they were!  I attribute this completely to my vegan diet.

My physical fitness goals for the upcoming year are to improve my running times to run a 5K in 24 minutes and a 10K in 50 minutes, to improve my flexibility so that I can stretch out over my legs and get my chest to the floor, and be able to 20 military push ups.

Phew, I have a lot of work to do, stay tuned…

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Freaky Food Facts

This is worth a read.  It has been reposted from Socially Fit

Learn and Grow

Ever found a hair in your sandwich?

Oddly the more I learn the fewer items I eat, and the more I move closer to a raw diet. I’m not complaining but after watching the movie “Food Inc.” and hearing all that Michael Pollan had to say no one can blame me. I’m going to suggest that you do the research yourself, because when it comes to a lifestyle of fitness and well-being that’s part of the journey. Some pages in life you simply must turn for yourself.

Talking about freaky food facts though, did you know that fruit flavored snacks are made with the same wax found in car wax? Or, have you ever found a hair in your bagel? It might belong to a rodent, and according to Health Canada, that may not be a food safety infraction!!  What about jellybeans?? Did you know that their shiny coating was made from bug feces? Don’t believe us?

Well you don’t have to take our word for it, just check out the link attached and see for yourself!http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/healthy-eating/10-freaky-facts-about-food?slide=1 You’ll thank us later!!

Please be sure to check back with us on Friday we have a motivational true story for you from Brian Schwartz. He’s lost 165lbs to date, and he’s still going! You don’t want to miss this!

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

The Incredible, Edible … Avocado

I saw this post on one of the blog’s I subscribe to, Socially Fit  and wanted to share it with you.  Great information on a delicious and healthy food!

Undressing the avocado

Our rich and creamy little green friend, the avocado, is often given a “bad rap”. However, we’re here to tell you that this fruit has been underestimated and we’d like to clear things up and show you that underneath that thick alligator green skin, lays a soft textured filling, enriched with nutrients that will benefit you and your health. It’s time to dive in and see what this green goddess looks like naked.

Why the Avocado is beneficial for our health

1. It’s Fat, but a Good fat!
2. Optimizes absorption of carotenoids, making it important in eye care
3. Supports the immune system
4. Promotes heart health
5. It’s an anti-inflammatory
6. Anti-cancer fighting action
7. Promotes blood sugar regulation
8. Helps lower cholesterol
9. Helps in eliminating toxins from the body
10. Great source of fiber

How the Avocado Provides these Benefits

We’re not going to lie to you; yes the avocado consists mostly of fat. In fact, the fat content is roughly 85% of its total calories, which is pretty high for a fruit source.

Now the good news! This fat source is at least 50% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olives and other food sources such as peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat. This in turn helps increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as carotenoids, which is also a nutrient found in the avocado.

Carotenoids are mostly found in root vegetables such as carrots and nightshades like red peppers and tomatoes. However, surprise surprise, avocados also contain this important nutrient, which helps with eyesight. The list of carotenoids found in avocados includes beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and more importantly lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important in eye care for those who suffer from degenerative diseases like Glaucoma.

Avocado is also high in selenium and zinc, which are important for the immune system. Furthermore, they contain important antioxidant nutrients, vitamin C and E, which are important in heart health.

Another amazing thing about avocados is that they contain phytosterols. The phytosterols are found in the green creamy part inside the avocado. These include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol. These guys are all key nutrients that help keep inflammation under control and may help with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate enlargement.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of avocados may also help fight against cancer forming cells. The anti-inflammatory power of the avocado seems to push out cancer cells caused by oxidative stress and replenish our cells to protect them from further damage. Amazing!

Lastly, did you also know that one avocado contains 7.3 grams of fiber? Isn’t that amazing! Fiber is a big deal in a healthy diet as it does many jobs like regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, as well as getting rid of those pesky little toxins that accumulate in the wrong places.

Avocado’s Nutrient Contributions

Half of a medium avocado contains roughly 138 calories. Keep in mind, calories are not bad if they come from healthy nutrient-rich whole foods. They are bad when we eat too many of them and get them from low quality, nutrient-depleted, processed foods. As for every day eating, you should generally stick to a maximum of ½ an avocado daily to avoid excess fat intake. To avoid browning of the other half of the avocado, squeeze fresh lemon juice on it and store it in the refrigerator in saran wrap or in a glass jar along with its pit.

The recommended daily fat intake depending on your metabolic profile is 40-65 grams daily. Half an avocado contains about 14 grams of fat, which is roughly one-third or one-quarter of your daily fat intake. It also contains 2 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber.

As for vegans and vegetarian, avocados are a helpful way of getting adequate amounts of healthy fat in the diet. Since you are minimizing or eliminating animal products, you will not be getting fat from these sources and therefore need to ensure you get fat from the plant kingdom. Fat is an essential macronutrient and it is unhealthy if we do not consume appropriate amounts. Avocados are a great way to do this.

Pregnant women who do not consume meat can consume at least 1 avocado daily because it is a higher source of healthy fat and it is excellent for new mommies as some swear it helps with morning sickness because of the vitamin B6, which helps curb nausea. It also contains a great amount of folate, which is essential for brain development and vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Its texture makes for a great nutritious sandwich spread during lunch, that’s easy to digest.

As part of your diet, avocados can ensure the benefits of a healthy diet and help protect you from diseases. It looks like Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she planted that avocado tree!

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

www.thenakedlabel.com

I Love my new Juicer

A friend of mine has been raving about her juicer for  months.  She comes into work every day telling us about the juice she had that morning and how great she feels.  I had to have one!

It is wonderful.  We all know that we should eat at least 3-5          servings of fruits and vegetables  a day (that’s 3-5 of each, not a total of 3-5), but  it is rather difficult to get these all in.  Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits and vegetables leaving the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals found in the whole fruit.

An easy and delicious juice combines:

  • apple
  • pear
  • carrot
  • celery
  • 1/2 a beet
  • red pepper
  • 1/2 a package of spinach

There is no concrete evidence that juicing is actually better than eating raw whole fruits and vegetables, but some believe say that we can better absorb the nutrients from juice. Because juicing allows us to get in all our servings of fruits and vegetables, it can boost our immune system, help remove toxins from our body, reduce our risk of cancer, aid digestion, and help us lose weight!

The only thing lacking from juice is the fiber as the pulp is separated from the juice. But the pulp can be used .  Today I juiced the fruits first,  and discarded the fruit pulp, then I juiced the vegetables.  I mixed the vegetable pulp with a can of mashed black beans and about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I mixed it all together, made 4 patties, rolled them in bread crumbs and sautéed them in olive oil for delicious high protein, high fiber veggie burgers!

Just say NO to Diet Soda

I want to share a post from a fellow blogger, Brett Day, writer of NoTimeToW8 a very motivational blog that follows Brett’s weight loss journey.  He very clearly and succinctly stresses the dangers of diet soda.  Read on…

Drink Diet Soda? You Might Want to Reconsider.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who drink diet soda because you think it is a healthier alternative to regular soda, you may want to reconsider opening that next can of diet pop. A new study which has been published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine has shown that drinking diet soda on a daily basis increases your chances of having a stroke or heart attack significantly.This new study which is titled ‘Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study‘ was conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

During this study the University studied the drinking habits of more than 2,500 people over a 10 year period. The results were staggering. The study showed that those who drank diet soda on a daily basis were 43 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke, heart attack, or other vascular condition when compared to those who did not drink it,  even if there were pre-existing vascular conditions in those who did not drink the diet soda. Those who drank less than one per day were also less likely to be at risk of having a heart attack or stroke when compared to those who drank a diet soda every day.

The specific connection between drinking diet soda and having a stroke or heart attack was not clear, despite the overwhelming evidence linking the two together. Researcher Hannah Gardener said; “results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear”.

For a long time, researchers have believed that artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, and Saccharin play a large role in the increased risk of stroke and heart attack events among those who drink diet soda on a daily basis. Artificial sweeteners have also been linked with other health issues such as tinnitus, headaches, nervous system disorders and even cancer.

Next time you are thirsty do not automatically reach for a can of diet soda, (or any soda) especially if you have had one for the day already. Soft drink makers want you to believe that diet varieties of their soft drinks are better for you, but with a 43 percent increase in your chances of having a life altering event, you have to stop and think; ‘is drinking a soda worth cutting my life short?’.

Make healthy choices and live a long, fruitful life,

Brett

Happy 2nd Birthday!

My blog is 2 years old today!  I started this blog as   motivation to help me get back into exercise and healthy eating after a lapse in both.  I am very happy to report that I have been successful in terms of exercise, healthy eating, and blogging.

On the exercise front I manage to go to the gym a few days a week and workout with weights.  I am on a good program and have gotten stronger.  I also practice yoga 2-3 days a week and it feels great!  Last spring I got back into running and ran some 5k and 10k races and even ran a half marathon.  My times certainly weren’t what they once were, but I DID IT!

My eating has improved greatly. I even lost some of the excess weight I had gained.  I would be very happy to lose 5 pounds more, but as I have heard more than once, “it’s only a number”.  More importantly I managed to bring my cholesterol numbers back in line.  My next steps in my quest to eat healthy are to buy (and use) a juicer and start buying organic vegetables (more on that later).

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil for Omega 3

I went to the health food store to buy some krill oil. like fish oil, krill oil provides Omega 3, but supposedly it doesn’t have a “fishy” taste.  Omega 3’s are good for lowering triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, depression, and even premenstrual syndrome.

Well, I couldn’t find any krill oil on the shelves, so I asked and was told that they didn’t carry it.  Rather than just say OK and leave, I asked why.   It turns out that Krill is the only food that whales eat and the owner of the store made a decision not to carry it and starve the whales … How could I argue with that?  I bought the fish oil instead!