Blog

Low Fat, No Fat, or Eat Fat?

When it comes to adding fat into our diets, many people are skeptical or confused. That’s not surprising, given the low fat craze of the 90’s where we were told that fat is bad for you and that we should limit our intake of it. Many food manufacturers latched on to this notion and developed hundreds of different food products that had less fat than their original counterparts, or similar products. I am sure that many of you are aware of them, as they became popular fast (think Snack Well Cookies). The problem with low fat food however, is two-fold. First of all, fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. When the fat content of a food is reduced, or eliminated, something has to take the place of it to make it taste better. Often times, sugar or other chemicals and preservatives are added to these food products to make them tastier, which many consumers overlook, or may not aware of. This is how some people have got in trouble with weight gain over time, especially when focusing solely on low fat foods. The other problem with a low fat, or no fat diet, is that the thinking, that we all need to reduce our fat intake to avoid problems with heart disease and cholesterol, etc., was all wrong.

In an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, in the article, Fat’s Not The Enemy, Hyman writes,”‘This whole idea is scientifically untrue. In fact, science shows just the opposite. The reality is that the more fat you eat, the more fat you lose and the better your body functions.’ Hyman who is an American physician, author and scholar, promotes this theory further with his most recent book, Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why The Fat We Eat Is The Key To Sustained Weight Loss And Vibrant Health. The book focuses on incorporating high-fat, plant-based foods into the diet for a healthy life.”¹

Our bodies need fat to function properly and perform peak functions. Instead of focusing on low fat, or no fat, where we often look at the total fat of food, we need to look at both good fats and bad fats, which affect our bodies differently. While there are a variety of fats including saturated fat, monosaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and transfats, it is probably easiest for consumers to focus on the monosaturated fats (MUFAS), as these are good fats which are good for our bodies and are plant based. These healthy fats can be found in a variety of whole foods including avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and dark chocolate.

good-fats

Other healthy fats can be found in some fish, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Trans-fats, on the other hand, are not so good and can be found in some animals and animal products such as milk. Other trans-fats are man-made and are actually created by an industrialization process which makes vegetable oil into a more solid form than some other oils available. This type of oil is called partially hydrogenated oil and is found in many processed foods, (think Dorito’s, potato chips, crackers, and many other food products).

potato-chips

We all should do our best to avoid hydrogenated oils, as they are bad for our body. While eating them on occasion is probably OK, it is best to replace them with more healthy fat options for a healthier diet and life style.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:
¹Singh, Pooja. “Fat’s Not the Enemy: Mark Hyman.” Http://www.livemint.com/. N.p., 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

 

 

Recipe: Spicy Quinoa With Vegetables

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe I put together for some spicy quinoa with vegetables. If you want to incorporate some healthy grains in your diet and like a little spice, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is easy to make, healthy and tastes great!

Spicy Quinoa With Vegetables

spicy-quinoa-with-vegetables

  • 2 cups quinoa (I used 365 Super Grains, a blend of red & white quinoa, millet & buckwheat, which I purchased at Whole Foods)
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen peas, or use fresh sugar snap peas
  • Large handful of fresh kale (chopped)
  • 1 large prepared chicken breast (chopped)
  • 2 strips cooked uncured bacon (chopped)
  • 1 package Old El Paso spicy taco seasoning, or use your favorite spices (See note below.)
  • salt & pepper
  • Follow directions on package to prepare the quinoa mix.

    super-grains

Set a side when fully cooked. Pour some olive oil in a large skillet, covering the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped onion, kale and peas to saute. Add the prepared chicken & bacon. Stir in the quinoa mix. Add the taco seasoning & salt & pepper.

old-el-paso-taco-seasoning

Note: You may need to add a little more olive oil to the mix, while stirring. Serve warm as a side dish, or main dish. Garnish with fresh avocado slices, tomato, etc.

Substitutions:

If you don’t like the idea of using Taco Seasoning, use other spices such as cayenne, turmeric, chili powder, Cajun seasoning, etc.  to taste. (This is what I prefer.) You may also add other vegetables such as peppers & mushrooms, which I would have, but was out of them at the time. You may also add another meat, or tofu, or just skip that protein part. Make the dish your own, by adding in your favorite vegetables & spices.

Enjoy!

Barb

Open Your Mind To New Possibilities With A Little Decluttering…

With fall just around the corner, it is hard not to think about the beautiful fall colors, apple orchards, pumpkins and of course…raking.  I know it is hard to believe, but those leaves will be falling before we know it. While I never look forward to winter, there is something to be said for cleaning up the yard and preparing for the upcoming winter months. Cleaning just seems to help reassure us that we will be ready when that first snow flies.

Fall is also a good time to get the inside of our homes in order too, and some people are more than ready to do a little more house work, whether it is doing some extra dusting, putting those summer items and clothes away, or just cleaning up some clutter around the house.

Speaking of clutter…

Did you know that excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information? In fact, according to the article, How Clutter Affects Your Brain and What You Can Do About It,” Neuroscientists at Princeton University found just that, when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.”¹ Dorothy “The Organizer” Breininger, seen on A&E’s Hoarders show, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, etc., in an interview with Reid Tracy of Hayhouse Publishing, said that “If you’ve got pockets of physical clutter in your space and you have been ignoring it for a while—clutter is keeping you on the ‘other’ side of the line of success. Clutter acts as a ‘fence’ and the clutter literally keeps you corralled and can immobilize you permanently.”²

I don’t know about you, but I have always been more of neat freak than a messy person, or hoarder, but I have to admit that over the last couple years, I have accumulated a little more clutter. Last week, however, I decided it was time to do a little fall cleaning and started boxing up some books in my office that I know I will never read, or look at again.

books-colorful-harry-potter-medium

I was surprised how “freeing” it felt to box up those books and drop them off at the Goodwill and am looking forward to more of those good vibes. My husband has been working on remodeling a home, which we will be moving into either later this year, or next spring, so I have quite a bit more decluttering to do in our current home and boxes to fill.

desk_organized

How about you? There are many ways to declutter your life, but it is best to start to small. Maybe work on one room at a time, or start by cleaning up your computer desktop or e-mail.

Following are a few tips from “How Clutter Affects Your Brain and What You Can Do About It” you might find useful:

4 Ways To Master Clutter

  1. Apply Constraints: Limit how may people you follow on Twitter, etc., how many books you buy, etc.
  2. Use Small Storage Spaces: Try cutting your closet down by only a certain number of hangers for clothes you wear. Use a smaller bag when you travel, etc.
  3. Conduct a Monthly Review of Your Closet: Review your closet monthly for items you haven’t wore. Make a pact to rid your closet of those never or rarely used.
  4. Remove All Files From Your Desktop Daily: At the end of each day, remove every file from your desktop. Do the same for e-mails, creating a folder for the ones you actually need to keep.

You will be amazed how much better you feel when get organized, so why not free yourself? Maybe you will be ready to move on to bigger and better things—like a project you’ve been putting off, writing that book, etc.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Cho, Michael. How Clutter Affects Your Brain  and What You Can Do About It. Hacker website. http://lifehacker.com/how-clutter-affects-your-brain-and-what-you-can-do-abo-662647035/all
²Tracy, Reid. Empowering Your Life—One Moment At A Time. Hay House April 2, 2014 eNews article.

Jump For Joy!

When it comes to optimal health, most of us know that it is important to eat healthy foods, as they supply our bodies with plenty of nutrients. Exercise however, also plays an important role in the quest for good health, as our bodies were made to move and not be sedentary. Unfortunately, many people today, have a hard time making exercise a priority, as much of their day is spent working and for many people that includes sitting at a desk, which makes it even more important to get out and move about.

We can add exercise to our life by incorporating some sort of activity into our daily routines whether it is walking, biking, running, yoga, weight training, or something else. The point is that we need to be active. While I know that not everyone likes running, going to the gym, etc., there are are plenty of other options.  If you are one of those people that haven’t found an exercise you like to do regularly, you might want to think back to your childhood. What activities did you enjoy? Maybe it is swimming, karate, running around a play ground, or hula hooping.

While I personally love to exercise and have always incorporated a variety of activities into my day, like going to the gym, walking, biking and yoga, I also like to add in some non-traditional activities into my exercise regimen from time to time like… jumping on a trampoline. We never had one growing up, but I bought one when my kids were younger and always enjoyed jumping on it with them.

The other year, when our daughter was staying with us after college and looking for a job, she suggested I buy one again, so we could both get a little fun exercise in outside. I have to admit, it was one of my favorite purchases I’ve made.

I don’t know why it is, but it just makes me smile and laugh.

trampoline

Jumping up and down makes you feel so alive, and energized. I just love it!

trampolin2

Speaking of being energized, I recently watched Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru, a documentary about Tony Robbins “Date With Destiny Seminar,” and was happy to see that Tony is also a fan of the trampoline! He apparently gets up in the mornings and jumps on an mini-exercise trampoline to help get some good vibes going for the day. He also jumps on a mini-exercise trampoline behind the stage at his seminars before heading out on the stage to greet everyone. What an awesome way to get pumped up and get that positivity flowing!

I know not everyone has a full size trampoline, but the mini-exercise trampolines are affordable and work well too. In fact, my husband just bought us one for our exercise room. He beat me to it, as I planned to get one for the winter months, so I can jump even when the snow is flying.

mini-trampoline

If you are looking for an alternative form of exercise, you might want to give the trampoline a try. I guarantee it will not only give you a boost of energy, but also make you smile, so why not? Go ahead, get some joy on!

Thanks for reading and happy jumping!

Barb

Recipe: Chicken & Vegetable Medley Penne

Here’s a recipe I made the other day that I wanted to share with you, since it is easy to make, contains healthful ingredients and is pretty tasty. I know many people lead busy lives, and taking the time to prepare a home cooked meal isn’t always easy. It always helps however, to have quick, easy recipes on hand, especially when they contain plenty of nutritious ingredients. Make sure you plan ahead and have your chicken purchased and thawed, as well as the vegetables on hand.

Recipe: Chicken & Vegetable Medley Penne

chicken and vegetable medley pasta_3

2 chicken breasts (cut and cubed).
Note: I generally try and purchase an organic brand, but use whatever works for you and your budget.
1 head of broccoli separated into pieces, or  1 prepared bag
1/2 package carrots
1/2 package mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded paremsan cheese
Salt
Pepper
Parsley
Basil
Parsely
Rosemary
1 package penne pasta
Note: I tried this Banza Penne, which I purchased at Target and is made from chick peas in place of regular pasta. This may work for anyone out there that has issue with gluten. I actually chose it for the high protein and iron content and I have to admit it was pretty tasty.

banza

Banza Penne (Made with chick peas)

banza-ingredients

If you are interested in trying this penne, here is another good reason to check it out. Look at the ingredient list. It contains only 4 items, which is great! When selecting processed foods, it is always better to select products that have fewer ingredients. In fact, those that contain 5 ingredients or less, are usually the best options to help us avoid unnecessary preservatives, or additives.

Anyway—here are the directions:

Prepare the penne pasta, following the the directions on the package. When the penne is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and using a strainer, strain off the water and set aside. Coat a large frying pan with olive oil. Add the chicken and saute on medium heat. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, parsely, basil, and rosemary, or add whatever spice or seasoning you like. Add the prepared vegetables and saute until they are just slightly crisp.
Note: Keep in mind, you can add in other vegetables you like, or have on hand. You may as well add in vegetables that you like.

chicken and vegetable medley pasta

Add the penne pasta.

chicken and vegetable medley pasta_2

Top with the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Barb

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway…

The other year, I had the opportunity to go on a cruise with my husband, Chris. It was our first one, so we decided to go on a five day adventure to test the waters. While I was excited, I have to admit, I was also a little apprehensive. I heard stories from people who got sea sick, and others that talked about people who got sick from the food from a norovirus outbreak that happened a number of years ago. While these thoughts kept going around in my head, I decided I needed to focus instead on the warm January weather, as the trip was already booked and we were all set to sail. Turns out, we had a really good time and met a lot of fun people from around the country and world. The food was also excellent and guess what? No sea sickness! Good thing I didn’t allow myself to dwell on all of those negative thoughts and ruin a good time.

It is funny how we all can let our thoughts make us feel uneasy, or anxious at times. We even allow them sometimes to inhibit us, or hold ourselves back, but why is it that? The answer in many cases is fear. While we all experience fearful thoughts from time to time, for some people, fear can be over-powering and can sometimes cause debilitating outcomes. So what can we do to prevent this from happening? In their book, A Guide To Rational Living, authors Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper tell us, “we need to force ourselves to move through our fears if want to create a new way of being. In fact, they say we should force ourselves to keep trying “fearful” acts and don’t think: act!”1 The great philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

Another reason we sometimes allow our thoughts to hold us back is fear of failure. While we may want to try for a promotion, find another job, or lose that extra twenty pounds, etc., many people give up before even trying because they feel overwhelmed and are afraid of not being able to accomplish their goals, or achieve their dreams. For example, some people may stick with a dead-end job, because they are afraid they won’t be able to find another one with as good of pay, or benefits, etc. and instead are unhappy with their work. Others may be afraid to change how they eat even though they know deep down they need to lose weight. While a life-style change of eating healthier foods, and exercising more, could have a positive affect, many people get stuck on the idea of going on a diet and depriving themselves. Instead of just gradually adding in more fruits, vegetables, and grains and incorporating a walk, or some other exercise into their day, they allow their fear of to take over and may just avoid acting altogether.

fruit and vegetables

Kristen Neff, in her book, Self Compassion, tells us however, “the learning opportunities provided by failure can actually help us to achieve our dreams. Restaurateur, Wolfgang Puck, says, ‘I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.’”2 Most people learn from their mistakes and in the process of making them become wiser and more confident.

So how are you conquering your fears? Are you taking actions to move forward, or are you allowing your thoughts to paralyze you? Remember—the choice is yours, but taking action always leads to a happier, healthier outcome.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Reference:

1 Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—A Guide to Rational Living. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/A Guide to Rational Living. pg. 4

2 Brian Johnson. The Optimizer. Failure =Life’s Apprenticeship. January 26, 2015 Daily eNews. pg. 1