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Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato And Feta Salad…

In this blog, I wanted to share my recipe for some warm quinoa, spinach, tomato and feta salad. It is easy to make and a favorite of mine. This recipe includes some healthy vegetables and spices, which promote vitality and contain some anti-inflammatory properties. It also includes avocados, which have feel good-fats your body needs to move and function properly. In addition, it includes the ancient grain, quinoa, which is considered a super-food. Quinoa not only has a number of healthful vitamins, but includes a healthy dose of fiber and is rich in protein, which helps sustain energy. If you are looking to plan a meal, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is easy to prepare, wholesome and delicious.

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato & Feta Salad

Warm quinoa spinach tomato and feta salad

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 or 2  large handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 handful feta cheese crumbles (1/8 cup feta cheese, approximately)
  • 1/2 avocado cut in to pieces
  • cajun seasoning
  • tumeric
  • soy sauce or coconut aminos

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil.

olive oil

Add the spinach, onion, and garlic. Stir on medium heat, until the onion begins to brown and the spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle the top with the turmeric and Cajun seasoning. Stir in the quinoa with the warm with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and stir, until they are just warm. Spoon the salad on a plate. Add the feta cheese and avocado pieces on the top of the salad. Sprinkle with a little coconut aminos or soy sauce, if desired and serve warm.

Note: You may also add black beans, chick peas, or another vegetable to the mix to make it your own.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. You can find this recipe, as well as other healthy recipes in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon.

Iron Deficiency—Know Its Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

This article written for and published in Consumer Health Digest (10/07/17)

Iron Deficiency

Editor’s Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
Did you know that iron deficiency anemia affects more people than any other condition?[1] For some of you that may be surprising, given the fact that many people aren’t aware of the health concern and what it involves.

I was one of these people, until I was diagnosed with it myself a few years ago. The symptoms can be mild to severe and they usually develop over a period of time.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have an iron deficiency and may attribute their troubles to something else (such as stress, a hormonal imbalance, another malady or just daily living).

With an estimated 1.6 billion people globally suffering from iron deficiency anemia, it is important to be aware of the problem, the cause, the symptoms and treatment.[2]

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where your blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. It typically is caused by an insufficient amount of iron in the body. This can result from numerous causes including lack of iron in your diet, iron absorption issues, or blood loss in the body from an ulcer, polyp, cancer or some other illness.

It can also be caused by heavy periods in women, especially during perimenopause. Without enough iron, the body can’t produce* hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen throughout the body and a multitude of symptoms can occur.[3]

Iron stores in the body, measured by your ferritin level (a protein in your blood) can also become depleted; leaving you feeling tired all of the time and operating at a low energy level. In addition, it may cause problems that affect your thinking and could affect your personality.

Common Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia Include:

Fatigue, Disorientation, Memory issues, Moodiness, Irritability, Depression, Hair loss, Anxiety, Sleepiness And More

Iron Deficiency Anemia Info

How Is Iron Deficiency Anemia Diagnosed?

If you are concerned about iron deficiency anemia, schedule a visit with your doctor. Your physician should ask you various questions about your health and symptoms. Most likely they will run a blood test to see if your hemoglobin level is low.

Keep in mind that hemoglobin levels vary for men, women and children and there is a set normal range for each. If your hemoglobin levels are normal however, but your symptoms still match those of iron deficiency, make sure your doctor also tests your ferritin levels, which shows the iron stores in your body.

It is possible to have a normal hemoglobin level and still be iron deficient. This was the case for me. Having an iron-binding test is also a good idea to observe the iron saturation level in your blood.

How Is Iron Deficiency Anemia Treated?

If your doctor determines you have an iron deficiency, don’t worry, it is treatable. Your doctor will feasibly prescribe taking iron supplements, which will help build your iron levels back up. They may recommend a certain dosage and particular brand, depending on your situation.

Most iron supplements contain around 25 mg of iron and should be taken with food and some sort of a vitamin C supplement (to help avoid stomach upset and aid* in absorption).

I found a vegetable-based iron supplement worked best for me, after trying several brands. Some iron supplements cause bloating, nausea or dark stools. Play around to find one that works best for you.

Additionally, your doctor will very likely suggest eating an iron-rich diet. This is important, as it takes time to bring your iron levels back to a normal range. Remember your iron level typically doesn’t get depleted overnight, so eating a healthy diet, including plenty of whole foods, will help boost* your body’s ability to build iron and function properly.

Your body needs a variety of nutrients to produce* skin, muscle, hair, fingernails, bone and more. Moreover, it needs nutrients for your blood to carry oxygen to all parts of the body and to carry out hosts of other bodily functions.
Most nutrients you need come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and meat. Processed foods may contain some nutrients your body needs, but definitely not the same amount or the quality you get when you eat whole foods.

If you do choose to eat some processed foods, make sure you look for products fortified with iron, such as breads and cereal. Make sure you also read the packaging labels to determine the amount of iron contained in the product, as well as the other ingredients.

It is always best to avoid packaged items with a long list of ingredients, those with hard to pronounce names, additives and ones with sugar at the top of the list.

What Foods Will Help Build Iron?

There many foods available that contain iron to boost* your energy. Although not everyone eats meat, it is a good choice if you are iron deficient. Meat contains heme iron, which is found in animals and typically attached to proteins, called heme proteins.

Heme is the best source of iron for people who are iron deficient. Non-heme iron food choices are beneficial too. They can be found in vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, some processed foods and iron supplements.[4]

Good Sources Of Heme Iron:

Beef, Chicken, Oysters, Turkey, Ham, Veal, Tuna, Liver, Salmon, Egg, Shrimp, Chicken Liver, Lamb and Pork Loin

Good Sources Of Non-Heme Iron:

  • Cereal
  • Beans – Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Noodles – Rice
  • Apricots
  • Raisins
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • Molasses
  • Broccoli[5]

Alternative Treatments To Try For Iron Deficiency Anemia

Acupuncture and Herbs

Besides taking iron supplements and eating an iron-rich diet, there are a number of other things you can try to build your iron including: acupuncture, herbs and essential oils.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat* anemia and symptoms of tiredness, weakness and more.[6] Often times, it is used in conjunction with herbs to build and nourish the blood.

There are also a number of essential oils that can be beneficial to those suffering with iron deficiency. Lemon oil in particular helps stimulate the production of red and white blood cells.

I used to add a drop of lemon oil to my morning glass of water to help get my energy going for the day.

Other citrus oils such as grapefruit and orange can help promote iron absorption and alleviate* fatigue, as well. Make sure you choose a therapeutic grade and read up on application methods.

References

1 Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
2 Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
3 Mayo Clinic Staff Print. “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Overview – Iron Deficiency Anemia – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.
4 “Iron We Consume.” Idi. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. http://www.irondisorders.org/iron-weconsume/
5 “Top Iron-Rich Foods List.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/iron-rich-foods#1
https://www.theacupunctureclinic.co.nz/acuncture-for-anemia/

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: www.medindia.net & Shutterstock.com

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight On The Health Benefits Of The Pear

In this blog, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of the pear.

Pear

Pears are a popular choice for many consumers, especially in the fall when they are abundant. Like the banana and apple, pears are convenient to eat and are quite tasty. They are sweet and have a soft, appealing texture. Pears are loaded with many nutrients that help your body function optimally too.

Some nutrients in pears include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • And more

Pears grow on trees that produce a high energy, nutrient dense fruit. While pears do contain some natural sugar, they are one of the lowest calorie fruits available. Pears contain right around 100 calories, making them a popular choice for many people, especially those looking to lose weight. Pears contain a healthy amount of fiber, which is beneficial for the digestion process. The high fiber content, which helps make you feel full, coupled with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, makes the pear a perfect food choice and delicious snack.

pear tree

There are other health benefits of the pear too. Pears are an anti-inflammatory food and can help boost your immune system, which is great, especially for those suffering from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Pears also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and are beneficial in the prevention of a number of different forms of cancers. In addition, pears help improve blood circulation and may help build your red blood cell count, making them a good choice for many, especially those dealing with iron deficiency anemia.

Pears come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. In fact, there are approximately 3000 different species of pears available world-wide.  Wow—that’s quite an assortment. Some varieties look similar to the apple, where others have more of an elongated look and still others have several color tones, making them unique.

pear varieties

Pears can eaten for breakfast, enjoyed as a snack, or mixed in your favorite smoothie or bowl with other healthy ingredients. There are many possibilities.  Some people enjoy baking with pears too. Pears make a tasty pie, cobbler, crisp, muffins and more.

Make sure you reach for this nutrient dense fruit, while it is in season to enjoy its many health benefits.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pears.html

Jolly, Rajan Singh. “The Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Pears.” HubPages, HubPages, 3 Jan. 2016, hubpages.com/health/The-Nutritional-And-Health-Benefits-Of-Pears.

Balance Your Life With Routines And Rituals…

With the obesity epidemic on the rise, many people are concerned about their health and are eager to eat right and exercise more. Unfortunately, for many of us this is easier said than done. People today lead busy lives. Many people are running from work to a child’s sporting event, or this meeting or that meeting and don’t feel they have time to breathe, let alone follow a normal routine or hit the gym. Yet, a routine can be just what you need. Many people break their regular routines when they are busy, thinking they will get more done and feel better about themselves. This thinking however, often backfires and may leave you feeling and out of sorts. In reality, you can feel more alive when you balance your life with routines and rituals.

exercise

Routines and rituals keep us grounded and help us perform better. Routines are habits that give structure to our daily lives—brushing your teeth, a morning cup of coffee, organizing your calendar, a daily walk, visiting the gym, or eating dinner at the same time. Routines help keep us organized and on track, although they do require discipline and will power. Rituals, on the other hand, are a little different. They are more celebratory in nature and include, going to church, praying, meditating, attending a wedding, or celebrating a birthday. “Rituals connects us to community and to society in general. Routine reinforces our sense of control over our every-day lives.”¹ The bottom line is we need them both to feel balanced. When one or another is missing, we can feel off and feel like something is wrong.

meditating

For years, I’ve had a morning routine that included a walk outside. Well for some reason the other winter, I became little lax with my walking. Walking is  part of who I am, so when I miss going a few days in a row, I really feel off. Walking is uplifting to me and gives me energy for the day. I find the sounds of nature soothing too, so it is no wonder I wasn’t like myself. Funny how simple routines can keep us in balance.

walking in nature

In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about self-care and how important it is in our lives. Routines and rituals are a from of self-care, and are something we all need. They can help re-energize your body, provide activities for enjoyment and feed your spirit.

Hal Elrod, in his great book, The Miracle Morning, gives us a set of daily practices that he calls S.A.V.E.R.S. When done daily, he claims they will change your life. Give these routines and rituals a try to help balance your life and feel more alive.

Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S:

S= Silence: Take at least 10 minutes to be silent. You can just sit still, pray, or meditate. This time is important and gives you some time to just be.

A= Affirmations: Use positive phrases to affirm your goals and aspirations. (e.g. I am positive, I am a hard worker, I am a caring person, I am loving, etc.)

V= Visualization: See yourself as having already achieved a goal. Picture yourself already having accomplished a task. You can use a vision board with drawings, or pictures of certain items, or can just envision them in your mind.

E= Exercise: Set aside a minimum of 10 minutes each morning to do some sort of exercise, whether it is walking, yoga, biking, stretching, etc.

R= Reading: Set aside at least 10 minutes each morning to do some sort of reading, preferably read some thing that is inspirational. This helps set the tone for the day and establishes a positive mind-set.

S= Scribing: (Journaling) Set aside at least 10 minutes to record some positive thoughts that came to you from reading, meditating, praying, etc. This allows you to record your thoughts and generate ideas, etc.4

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Reference:

¹ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhoda-p-curtis/routine-and-ritual-two-pi_b_1113845.html

² Elrod, Hal. The Miracle Morning. ©Hal Elrod International.2014. pg. 53-81

Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread that I made over the weekend. I had a few zucchini’s in my refrigerator that a friend gave me from her garden I needed to use. I decided to make a recipe from another friend who made me some Chocolate Zucchini Bread last year for my birthday. I like traditional zucchini bread, but I am a chocolate lover and I have to admit, this chocolate version is delicious. I did substitute honey for some of the sugar the original recipe called for, as well as put in some other substitutions you can use.

This recipe is easy to make and contains some healthful ingredients including fiber, vitamin C and magnesium from the zucchini, plus some good fat from the chocolate, (especially if you use a high cacao version of the chocolate chips). Give it a try if you are craving some chocolate or having a seasonal craving for zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread
chocolate zucchini bread

2-1 oz. squares chocolate
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
(You can also use coconut palm sugar for a lower glycemic load.)
1/2 cup honey
(You can substitute 1 cup of honey and omit the sugar.)
1 cup oil
(I used olive oil)
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
(You can substitute rice flour, if you are looking for a gluten free option.)
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
(I used one with a higher cacao content)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans. Using a double-boiler, or similar, melt the chocolate squares. Stir until smooth and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, honey, oil, zucchini, vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the flour. Add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter in the two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes, or until a toothpick in center come out clean.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie!

Smoothies have become a popular choice for breakfast these days and why not?Many people are concerned about their well-being and are looking for ways to eat healthier. Smoothies provide a quick, easy way to include a variety of healthy, whole food ingredients in your diet. They also can be fun to make, as there are many options and combinations you can try. While many people use protein powder and fruit, there other selections you can add to your smoothie mix to add more vitamins and boost your nutrient intake to make it better for you. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 ways to boost your smoothie. Let’s take a look…

Learn 5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie:

Boost Your Smoothie

  1. Greens—Many people naturally add a banana or another type of fruit to their smoothie, but adding vegetables, especially greens, is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Try adding a handful of spinach, or kale to your smoothie for some added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, iron and more. When I was dealing with iron deficiency anemia, smoothies became a staple in my diet. Many protein powders contain a healthy dose of iron and when you add greens and other vegetables, it boosts the iron content even more. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about the importance of eating vegetables at every meal and how adding more greens to my breakfast smoothie helped improve my energy level. As an added bonus, I became less prone to getting sick. Make sure you experiment with adding more greens to you diet to experience a boost in your nutrient intake and health too.
    spinach greens
  2. Super Foods—Why not start your day with an added boost of energy? Super foods are foods that are considered nutrient dense and extremely beneficial to the body. Try adding super foods such as coconut oil, maca powder, cacao nibs, or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to help improve your well-being.  Super foods can help make you feel super good and super energized and who doesn’t like an extra kick-start to get the day going? Try adding one or 2 to super foods to your smoothie to see how they make you feel. As you go along, you can try more or mix them up and see how your energy improves.
    coconuts
  3. Protein—Over the last several years protein powders have become extremely popular and many people like to add them to their smoothies. There are many options when it comes to protein powder including, whey, vegan and bone broth varieties.  Make sure you choose one that works best for you and look for a good, quality brand, (one without a lot of additives and sweeteners).  If you are not a protein powder fan, try adding peanut butter, another nut butter, nuts or seeds to your smoothie to get your morning dose of protein. Play around and see what you like best.
    peanut butter
  4. Healthy Fats—Avocados are another nutritious item you can add to your smoothie. Avocados contain healthy fat and fiber your body needs and craves. Try adding a half of avocado to your mix to not only get some good fat, but some extra vitamin C, E, potassium and more. You can also add cashew butter, peanut butter, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
    avocados
  5. Spices—You can also add a variety of spices to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient content and flavor. Try adding cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg or ginger to your smoothie. Many spices contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote good health. Some of them also contain warming properties, which are especially beneficial during the winter months.Try adding some fresh ginger to help fight a cold, the flu, or aid in digestion.
    ginger

Thanks for reading and happy smoothie making!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more ways to improve your health and live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Recipe: Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some easy sausage spinach vegetable lasagna that I made over the weekend. This recipe is a favorite of my family and I make it quite a bit, especially in the fall and winter months, when your body craves more comfort foods. It combines a healthy dose of vegetables including spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and olives that not only are good for you, but provide a host of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. I also put in some options if you have a gluten sensitivity, or prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a try if you are looking for a new recipe to try for dinner.

Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

spinach lasagna

  • 1 small box lasagna noodles (1/2 lb or approximately 9 noodles).
    You can use a gluten-free variety if you have issues with gluten.
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
    I used a local brand called Anna Lisa Spicy Pasta Sauce I got at Whole Foods that had no sugar or preservatives added. I really like this brand, but you can use any variety you like.
  • 1 container cottage cheese
    You can also use ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
    I usually shred my own to avoid the added cellulose in cheese and other pre-packaged foods used to prevent caking. It is derived from wood pulp. Yes-wood pulp.
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
    You can also leave this out if you prefer to make a meatless version of lasagna
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
    You can also you kale
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1 small package fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1/2 jar green olives
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium size tomatoes diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning

Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Turn down heat a bit and boil the noodles for 10 minutes and then strain off the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Stir the mixture until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add in the olives and the salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste and stir. Add the spaghetti sauce to the meat and vegetable mix and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the top and stir, just so they become warn and then remove from the heat.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with olive oil. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spoon about 1/3 of the meat and vegetable sauce over the noodles. Grab a handful or so of the spinach and place it on top of the sauce. Next scoop about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of the spinach and then add a layer of the mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

lasagna layers

Repeat these steps 2 more times to create 3 layers total.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared pan of lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40, or until slightly crisp on the top. Remove from the oven and let set and cool for another 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

A Change Will Do You Good!

With the fall season upon us, it is hard not to think about change—A change in the weather, a change in the colors, a change in your schedule and more. In fact, I noticed a bunch more leaves changing on the trees this morning, as I was out walking. They sure are pretty. I don’t know about you, but I really do love the fall. Sure it’s always hard to say good bye to summer, but fall has a unique appeal—the crisp, cool morning air, a beautiful array of vibrant colors, warm afternoons and the plentiful fall harvest. I know not everyone may agree. Many people do not like change and often try and fight it. Change however is something that is a constant and expected, so why not adopt the attitude of a change will do you good instead?

change is good
change is good

Seasons will come and go and each one brings their own beauty, expectations and gifts of opportunity. Why not take advantage of the new season and commit to some changes of your own? If you are interested in making some changes to your health that involve better eating and more exercise, fall is great time to get going and change up your routine and develop some rituals.

fall tree leaves
fall tree leaves

With the days getting shorter, why not commit to joining a gym to get a little exercise in instead of sitting front of the TV and dwelling on the early, dark evenings. You can also buy some sessions at a yoga studio, get a group of friends together for basketball at your local community center or join a fall bowling league. There are many choices. The point is to find some activity you enjoy and commit to it. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about the importance of finding appetizing activities you enjoy. Taking care of your body includes not only eating the right foods, but also activity and exercise. Your body was meant to move and not be sedentary, so make sure you get in plenty of activity in your day.

yoga
yoga

Fall is also a great time to experiment with some new foods. Many people are inside more and may have some extra time on their hands. Why not pull out one of your cookbooks and dust it off? You can also look for some healthy recipes on the internet or look on Pinterest. They have thousands of recipes to choose from. Maybe you can find a recipe that includes some seasonal vegetable, such as zucchini, from the fall harvest or some other vegetable you like. You can also look for a new recipe to try for a fall get together with friends or look for something new to try for dinner one evening with the family. There are many options and you might just discover a whole new way of eating that you enjoy. Yes indeed change can be good!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. If you want to preview my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, you can grab a FREE Chapter here.

5 Reasons You Have Food Cravings

We all experience cravings from time to time, but what is it that causes them and why do some people experience more cravings than others? Maybe you’re not a sweets person, but all of a sudden a big piece of chocolate cake sounds good. Perhaps you crave something salty and crunchy at a certain time of day or can’t wait to get home and eat a big slice of greasy pizza? Whatever it is, we all can relate. Many people try and resist their cravings and others beat themselves up when they give in, but did you know that your body is actually trying to tell you something? That’s right! Your body is trying to let you know you are missing something, whether it is a vitamin, some nutrient, or maybe just some tender loving care. There are a variety of reasons we all have cravings. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 reasons you have food cravings. Let’s take a look…

5 Reasons you have food cravings:

  1. Seasonal Cravings—
    Seasonal cravings are natural and common for many people. That’s because your body is trying to adapt to the changing temperatures. In the winter months, you naturally crave warming foods like stews, soups and hearty casseroles, whereas in the summer months you tend to crave cooling foods, such as watermelon, cucumbers and salads. Many seasonal cravings also stem from the growing seasons. Instinctively we know when it’s time for certain varieties of food. For example, in the fall, we tend to crave foods that were just harvested such as zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, apples and pumpkins. I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin! Last week I had a serious craving for something pumpkin—like muffins or pumpkin bread. I actually broke down the other day and made myself some paleo pumpkin coffee cake after searching for pumpkin recipes on Pinterest. I don’t eat a whole lot of sweets anymore, but having a piece was just enough to satisfy my craving and made me feel content. Seasonal cravings are not a bad thing and can be quite comforting. In fact, it is important to eat the foods that are prevalent during certain times of the year, as they help your body perform and function better.

    pumpkins
    pumpkins
  2. Vitamin Deficiencies—
    Many people crave certain types of food because they are lacking some vitamin. In our fast-paced society, many people eat on the run and opt for quick, easy to prepare food. Often times this includes fast food or processed food, which may taste good, but many times it lacks the nutrients our bodies need and crave. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk about how food is fuel, and how many people don’t feed their body the information and nutrients it needs to function properly. Your body needs a variety of nutrients to produce skin, muscle, hair, finger nails, bone and more. When you don’t feed your body the right foods with the right nutrients, vitamin deficiencies can develop, such as an iron deficiency and more. Many people crave chocolate, especially women, at certain times of the month. While this is a common craving, it is not always the fact that you love chocolate, but rather that your body is most likely craving the mineral magnesium. When you feed your body more foods rich in magnesium such as kale, bananas, almonds, avocados, pumpkin seeds, or black beans, you most likely won’t notice the craving for chocolate as much.

    chocolate
    chocolate
  3. Hormonal Imbalances—
    Many people crave certain foods because they have a hormonal imbalance. Again—women can have hormonal imbalances that may cause cravings for chocolate or sweets. When your hormones are in-flux they can also wreak havoc on your body and sleep patterns. When this happens, you are often left tired and run down and many people turn to sweets for a quick pick-me-up. Unfortunately, the pick-me-up is usually short-lived and may leave you reaching for more sweets or more caffeine. People who have hormonal imbalances may also crave cheese or other comfort type foods. Cheese contains  l-tryptophan, which improves mood and promotes relaxation. This is one reason you might be craving a big slice of cheesy pizza, macaroni and cheese or some cheesy lasagna.

    lasagna
    lasagna
  4. Emotional Triggers—
    Many people turn to food when they want to turn away from the daily stresses of life. Food can be comforting and may temporarily give you a good feeling. Unfortunately, eating a box of cookies, or a bag of Doritos is not the best way to deal with a problem you are having with your spouse or significant other, a problem with another family member, or a situation at work. We need to face these problems and work through them instead of turning to food. The next time you find yourself going to your pantry for some junk food, take a minute to ask yourself, “What do I really need?” You need to be curious about what you are eating and why you want a certain item. Maybe you really want to talk to somebody who understands your situation, so call up a good friend instead of reaching for those chips. If you just want to feel better about yourself and change your mood, why not go for a walk, or treat yourself to a little self-care? Go have a pedicure, do some shopping, take a warm bath, or go to a movie. This way you will be taking care of yourself in a way that makes you feel good, instead of beating yourself up after eating some bad food.

    pedicure
    pedicure
  5. Yin & Yang Imbalances— Sometimes people tend to eat the same types of foods and get stuck in a pattern. When you do this, you can actually cause an imbalance. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that idea of Yin and Yang in the body; that heat and cold exist in the body. There are both warming and cooling foods, which can be both expansive (Yin) and contractive (Yang). When there is an imbalance in the two, it can cause problems or discomfort. For example, if you are eating too many raw foods, over time, you may crave extremely cooked foods. If you are eating a diet filled with sugar-laden foods, you may start craving meat. Your body is naturally trying to balance itself out.
    pork
    pork

    Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. Grab a FREE Chapter of Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living here.

Source:
¹https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9531/5-reasons-why-we-have-cravings.html

²https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/cravings-meaning/

Box of Dreams…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Have you ever wished for something or had a dream about doing something and wondered if it would ever happen or come true? Everyone has dreams and aspirations, but unfortunately not everyone puts forth the effort to make them happen. What most people don’t realize is that in order for any dream to come true, you must take action. You can hope all you want, but unless you take the necessary steps to move forward, you most likely won’t get anywhere and will probably be left feeling drained and unfulfilled.

Maybe one of your dreams is to get a new job, but have you taken the time to update your resume and send it out? If not, what are you waiting for? If one of your dreams is to change careers, you can take action by going back to school to learn something else that interests you. It may take some time, but the end result will move you in a new direction. How about your health? Are you interested in losing weight and becoming healthier? Instead of talking about it, you need to make a plan and commit to it. One place to start is to ditch the junk food and sugar-filled drinks and start buying more wholesome foods. You can also look for healthy recipes to make and find some sort of exercise you like, whether it is walking, swimming, basketball or tennis. Whatever it is, just do it and do it frequently.

walking
walking

Many people are in the same boat and get stuck in those rapids of life, instead of taking action to move themselves forward. In the book, Spiritual Economics, author Eric Butterworth, mentions the Quaker says, “When you pray, move your feet.”¹ In other words, you can hope and pray, but you also need to take steps to get you moving on the path to your goals and dreams. If you don’t, most likely you will feel frustrated and disappointed. David J. Schwartz, in his book, The Magic of Thinking Big,” tells us, “A good idea if not acted upon, produces terrible psychological pain. But a good idea acted upon brings enormous mental satisfaction. Actions feed and strengthen confidence; inaction in all forms feed fear.”² Now those are some words of wisdom we can all use.

A few years ago, I was invited to a friends home for a dinner party along with a few other ladies. After we ate, my friend who is a life coach, gave each of us a box that looked like a book that opened, along with a few pieces of paper and a pen.

box of dreams

She asked us to take a few minutes to write down a few dreams we would like to see happen in our lives along with the date of the get together and place them in the box. While she didn’t really say why, I believe the idea was for us to examine where we were in our life with where we wanted to go. Anyway— It took me a little time to ponder what I wanted to record, but finally I came up with a few ideas.

When I got home, I took my box and put it on a book shelf in my office, where it blended in with the other books and I forgot about it.

box of dreams on shelf
box of dreams on shelf

Fast forward 3-1/2 years later…

I recently was decluttering my office space and low and behold, there was the box on the shelf just where I had placed it. As I opened the box and read one of the notes, I smiled and felt a warm feeling come over me.

box of dreams with note
box of dreams with note

I had been thinking of taking some nutrition classes and after the dinner party, I decided to take action and enrolled the next week at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, (IIN) to become a certified health coach. At that time, I had no idea that IIN also offered a Launch Your Dream Book program, which I enrolled in after I graduated as a certified health coach.  While this may all sound easy and straight-forward, let me assure you the process was not easy. Writing a book can be scary and over-whelming, which is one of the reasons it took me some time to complete it. I had to keep pushing myself forward to push through the fear of it all.

I am happy to say that with some strong determination and many action steps, I completed the task and made my dream true.

Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living

The final result is a simple guide that anyone can follow for healthy eating and living. You can find my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, on Amazon. If you would like to take a quick preview, you can grab a FREE Chapter here.

How are you doing with your goals and dreams? Make sure you take that first step and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Butterworth, Eric. Spiritual Economics. Unity Books, 2001. Page 21. Print

²Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Magic of Thinking Big. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Magic Of Thinking Big. pg. 6