New Year! New You!

For many people, the beginning of a New Year typically signifies change and a chance to make a fresh start. That is why some people make resolutions for themselves and figure, “New Year, New You” and new goals. Having goals gives us the opportunity to strive forward and accomplish things we deem important. For many of us, better health and diet often top the list.
goals

The New Year is a great time to take charge of your health and make changes to your diet. It is also a good opportunity to change up your routine and allow yourself the time to exercise more. Many people today are frustrated with their weight or have health problems related to their diets and are looking for help. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” I talk about how society today consumes more processed food containing artificial ingredients than real, wholesome foods. Many people don’t know the difference and think “food is just food” and that is a big problem. Many of us are eating the wrong foods, which can cause weight gain and make you sick.
weight gain

Why not start out the year with a life-style change incorporating healthy eating habits? Remember—eating healthy is a choice, which requires a commitment. Following are some things you can do daily to commit to your health.

Ways To Commit To Your Health

  1. Eat Breakfast
    According to many nutrition experts, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, many people, including children and adults, skip breakfast and jump right in to their day, which is not good for you. After a long night’s sleep, your body requires nutrients to get you going. Eating breakfast helps gives you energy for the day ahead and will help you perform and feel better. While you may feel rushed, there are plenty of foods you can grab quickly to take with you out the door, or make in a minimal amount of time. Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard, or complicated. If you are in a hurry, grab a banana or some other piece of fruit. You can also grab a yogurt, nuts or perhaps a protein bar. If you have some time to spare, why not mix some healthful ingredients together to make a smoothie? You can add protein powder, a handful of spinach or kale, fruit, coconut oil and more. You can also make yourself some eggs, a breakfast sandwich or a breakfast burrito. There are many options to make a healthy breakfast.
    Eat Breakfast
  2. Eat More Fruit And Vegetables
    Eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. Some of the best sources of these nutrients come from fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, many people do not include enough of them in their diet, especially vegetables. Do yourself a favor and try to include them at every meal. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips to go along with your sandwich, why not grab an apple or banana. If you bring your lunch to work, why not include some healthy vegetables such as carrots, peppers or broccoli to go with your meal? You can also choose to have a side of vegetables with your dinner, instead of fries or bread. Try including fruit and vegetables in your morning meals, as well. Oh—and don’t forget to incorporate fruit and vegetables for a morning, afternoon or evening snack. Try having some carrots, cauliflower and celery with hummus or your favorite dip, or snack on them alone. Apricots, raisins, cherries and grapes also make great healthy snacks. Find your favorites and enjoy their sweet flavor.
    fruit and vegetables
  3. Stay Active
    The morning is a great time to exercise. If you have the time, why not go for a walk, get on your treadmill (if you have one), do some stretches or yoga? You can also jump rope for 10 minutes. There are many possibilities. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning, make sure you schedule some time in your day for it. Your body was meant to move. Make sure you find ways to stay active. You can go to a gym, lift weights or do kick boxing. You can also get on a stationary bike or get outside to run or go a long walk. If those things don’t interest you, find some other activity that does. There are  many options.
    yoga
  4. Plan Meals
    Many people these days opt for processed foods, go out to eat and eat unhealthy foods on the run. To help avoid these tendencies, try and make more home-cooked meals. The best way to do this is to pre-plan your meals. You can start by making a list of several meals you would like to make for the week. You can write down some of your favorites, or look for some new recipes to try. Why not pull out  your favorite cookbook, or search Pinterest or some other food site. Next you can make a grocery list of any ingredients you don’t already have on hand and then plan a trip to the grocery store. Once you have your groceries, you can prepare some items ahead to make things easier. For example, you can chop vegetables in advance for salads, stir-fries, or snacking. If you are making several recipes with chicken, why not cook them together? You can also cook a few extra chicken breasts to have on hand for salads, a quick stir-fry or some other dish. By planning ahead, you can save yourself time, eat healthier and avoid that usual visit to that local restaurant when you don’t necessarily have items on hand.
    cookbook
  5. Add More Good Fats To Your Diet—
    Fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. Unfortunately, many people are still hooked on low-fat foods, which aren’t all that healthy. Low fat foods tend to have added sugar, chemicals and preservative added to them to make them taste better. It is better to choose foods that contain monounsaturated fats (MUFAS), which are good fats. You can find them in a variety of whole foods including: avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and certain varieties of fish. Make sure you start adding more good fats to your diet to reap their health benefits.
    avocados
  6. Take Time For Yourself—
    Make sure you take some time daily to practice a little self care. We all lead busy lives and can get stressed out from work, running our children around or attending meetings all day. It is easy to get caught up in our daily lives and the needs of others. That is why it is important to take a little time out of your day, just for you. There is nothing wrong with tending to some needs of your own. Make sure you allow yourself time to do a little reading, go shopping, work out, have a pedicure or something else you enjoy.

    reading

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight Health Benefits Of Clementines

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

clementines

Clementines are abundant this time of year and are a popular fruit of the season. It is no wonder grocery stores tend to stock up on these tasty gems. Many stores carry clementines in bulk quantities, especially during the holiday season, which makes them an affordable fruit. A lot of consumers like clementines because they have many health benefits, are sweet to eat and are a low calorie food. Like bananas, clementines are easy to peel, making them an easy option for an on the go snack. Clementines are loaded with a variety of vital nutrients your body needs for health, which is extremely important this time of year, when colds and flu are prevalent. In addition, clementines contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps promote healthy gut flora (gut microbiome).

grocery store produce section

Some nutrients found in clementines include:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate

Clementines have other health benefits too. Since clementines have a significant amount of vitamin C, they help strengthen our immune system, as well as protect our skin from UV radiation. They also help build collagen and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Clementines also have antioxidant properties that help prevent cancer and other disease. Folate found in clementines helps promote brain functioning and may help to reduce depression. Additionally, clementines contribute to muscle and bone health.

vitamin C

In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk about how eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs and some of the best sources of these powerful nutrients come from fruit and vegetables. In this season of giving, make sure you gift yourself by eating right. Make sure you reach for clementines and other rainbow colored food to help increase your daily intake of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

clementines

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/clementines.html

The Great Grain Debate…

Whole grains have been a central part of the human diet since early
civilization. That’s not surprising, given the fact that they provide a host of beneficial nutrients for your body including, iron, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B and a number of essential enzymes. Grains also have other benefits that contribute to health as well, including helping to reduce heart disease, stroke, obesity and more. But with all their known benefits, why has there been a great grain debate about them lately?

question

It is true that grains have been around for thousands of years, but today’s grains are much different than grains of the past. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about how today’s grains are different and how some people can tolerate them and others can’t in the chapter titled, Know Thyself. Most grains today bear little resemblance to the grains found in the diet thousands of years ago.¹ Many grains today are genetically modified and are treated with chemicals to help preserve them give them and give them a longer shelf live. It is no small wonder that many people have developed food allergies, sensitivities and problems tolerating gluten as a result of the modifications. Packaged food items, which have become a staple in the diets of many consumers, contain heavily processed grains. Unfortunately, they  don’t have the same benefits for your body, as eating whole grains.

genetically modified

What Are Whole grains?

Whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.²

grains

About Grains

Grains are easy to make and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Grains have a distinct texture and mild flavor. If you want to enhance the flavor, you can easily add herbs, spices, vegetables or fruit to a recipe. Many people enjoy grains as a side dish at lunch or dinner. Others may include grains as part of a healthy breakfast. Try adding fruit, nuts, seeds, greens or avocados to your morning rice, oats or quinoa to make it even healthier for you.

grains

Common Grains

If you are a person who enjoys grains, there are many to choose from.

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Wheat

Other Grains Available

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Couscous
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Teff

There are a number of grains that have gained  popularity recently, such as quinoa and millet, yet they date back to biblical times. If you tolerate grains, why not experiment with other varieties and enjoy their healthful properties? Grains are abundant in supply and can be a healthy addition to the diet for some individuals.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Sources:
¹Permutter, David. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 62. Print.

²“Definition of a Whole Grain.” Definition of a Whole Grain | The Whole Grains Council, wholegrainscouncil.org/definition-whole-grain.

 

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

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/

5 Protein Breakfast Ideas For Sustained Energy…

Did you know that breakfast is thought to be the most important meal of the day?

breakfast
breakfast

That’s right and is why you should eat breakfast for sustained energy every day! Many nutrition experts agree that after a long night’s sleep your body needs nutrients to fuel your body and help you get your day going. Unfortunately, many people skip breakfast, or opt for something sweet and sugary, such as a donut or breakfast cereal. While eating cereal may be better than eating nothing at all for breakfast, it is a carbohydrate, which your body tends to burn fast and may leave you feeling hungry in a few hours. Many cereals also contain sugar, which causes inflammation in your body. To avoid hunger pains and help keep your energy up, it is important to add protein to your breakfast. Protein stays with you longer and helps give you lasting energy. In fact, according to research published in the International Journal of Obesity, participants who ate a protein-packed breakfast ate 26 percent fewer calories at lunch than those who ate a calorically identical meal with less protein.¹ That’s a good reason to start adding protein to your breakfast. Why not give your body the sustained energy it needs and help prevent over-eating at lunch-time? That sounds like some “Win Win” advise. Following are some breakfast ideas for you.

5 Protein Breakfast Ideas For Sustained Energy:

  1. Breakfast Egg Burrrito
    breakfast burrito
    breakfast burrito

    Eggs are great source of protein and are not only tasty, but good for you. You can add some other healthy ingredients to your eggs too, including black beans to bring your protein intake up even more. You can also add in other vegetables such as peppers, onions or tomatoes to give your body a boost of vitamins and other nutrients to help fuel your body. You can eat your eggs alone, or wrap them up in a corn or flour tortilla for a quick, easy meal.

  2. Peanut butter toast
    peanut butter toast
    peanut butter toast

    Nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter are a great source of protein. Spread a little of this tasty butter on some whole wheat or sour dough toast. You can also find a gluten-free bread option if you have gluten sensitivities, or spread your peanut butter on apple for another option. Look for healthier versions of peanut butter and other nut butters, as some brands may contain a lot of sugar, or other additives. Make sure you read the food label to know what you are buying.

  3. Yogurt
    yogurt breakfast
    yogurt breakfast

    Many people are a fan of yogurt and enjoy eating it for breakfast. Yogurt typically contains a healthy dose of protein, but may contain sugar and other added ingredients. Look for a Greek version, as a healthier option. Keep in mind that plain yogurt is also better for you than one with added fruit or other flavors. You can add in your own fruit, nuts and seeds to make it healthier and provide more protein, good fat and nutrients.

  4. Breakfast Smoothie
    breakfast smoothie
    breakfast smoothie

    Breakfast smoothies are a popular choice for many people. They are easy to make, good for you and quite tasty. You can use a variety of ingredients including protein powder, nuts, fruit and vegetables. You can also add in a variety of super foods including coconut oil, chia seeds, maca, cacao chips and more. For a simple smoothie, you can try a scoop of vanilla protein powder, banana, handful of spinach, 1 tsp. of coconut oil and some almond or coconut milk. There are many options, so play around and see what appeals to you.

  5. Oatmeal
    oatmeal
    oatmeal

    Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day and will give you a burst of energy and protein. Feel free to add other items to enhance the taste and protein content. You can add apples, blueberries, walnuts, almonds, coconut and more. Play around to find that perfect taste you enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. If you would like other breakfast recipes to try and learn more about living a healthy life-style, check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. Grab a FREE chapter here.

Source:

¹Kelly, Diana. “High-Protein Breakfast Ideas: 8 Easy Options.” Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com/health/wellness/high-protein-breakfast-ideas/.

Unplug And Unwind For A Healthy Lifestyle…

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take a camping trip near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) to unplug and unwind and enjoy some beautiful, pristine country with my family. With our pop-up camper in tow, vehicle stuffed with camping gear and the dogs, we left to meet our daughter and her family for a long weekend of fun and relaxation.

It had been years, since I was up this way and I somehow forgot how breath-taking and peaceful this area in Northern Minnesota really is. If you’ve never visited and enjoy the great outdoors, I would highly recommend it. It is a great place to get back to nature, unplug from technology and the media, get away from the busyness of daily life and feed your spirit to create balance.

Speaking of unplugging from technology and the media, did you know that “we are exposed to more stimuli in one week than our ancient ancestors were exposed to in their entire lifetime?”¹ That’s a little scary. Many people today have a hard time breaking away from all of the news and media, which is unfortunate and unhealthy. In fact, “one of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyper-connected, 24/7 media world is say: ‘I don’t know, or I don’t care in regards to what’s happening all over the world all of the time.'”² If you missed a little more news you would probably feel less anxious, sleep better and over-all feel a whole lot better.

That was one good thing about this camping trip, we were all forced to unplug and be more present with each other, which is something we all can work on.  In this area, even if you bring your cell phone, you can’t really use it a whole lot. It is hard to get service, so forget about catching up on the latest social media posts. I brought my cell phone along on the hiking trails and down by the lake, but only to capture some of the gorgeous scenery.

We all need time away from technology to unplug and unwind and reconnect with ourselves to rejuvenate our mind and body. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about self care and how renewing your energy is a necessity. We all need time to get away from our daily routines and work life. Even if you can’t get away from work, or don’t have the time built-up for a vacation, there are plenty of other ways you can unplug and unwind in your daily life. After a long day at work, why not get outside and enjoy a nice, long walk? You can also take in a yoga class or get a massage to relax your mind and body. If you live by a lake, why not go for a boat ride, take out your paddle board, go for a bike ride around it, or just sit quietly and take in the calming affects of the water? There are many options. The important thing is to get away and out of your regular routine. Oh—and make sure you leave your cell phone behind, or at least turn it on silent!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Daily Stoic. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Daily Stoic, pg 4

²¹Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Daily Stoic. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Daily Stoic, pg 3

5 Summertime Slimming Foods

Awe summertime!

There’s so much to enjoy! One of the things I look forward to in the summer is the fresh produce and what better way to enjoy a beautiful day than eating some summertime slimming food like watermelon! It’s juicy, delicious and refreshing and who doesn’t like a little watermelon juice running down their face in the summer?

eating watermelon

Watermelon is not the only refreshing food plentiful in the summer either, which is a good thing. Garden fresh vegetables are always plentiful, whether you grow your own, find them at a farmers market, or buy some locally grown produce at the grocery store. Some people get fresh vegetables weekly from a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA). If you’re not familiar with CSAs, they are groups made up of farmers in a particular area who work directly with consumers to buy their crops. These farmers typically offer a number of “crop shares” to people in their local community. I talk a little about CSA memberships and how they work in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. If you are interested, you can find it on Amazon.

In this blog, I thought I would share a few summertime slimming foods with you. Let’s take a look…

5 Summertime Slimming Foods:

  1. Watermelon—
    watermelon
    Watermelon is not only refreshing, it is high in vitamins, including vitamin A and C. Watermelons are also rich in antioxidants including lypocene, which helps your body fight free radicals. As their name implies, watermelons contain a lot of water which can help detoxify your body and help you to stay hydrated. Watermelons have some other healthful benefits, as well. They are known to help lower blood pressure, help reduce insulin resistance and help with sore muscles. Watermelons are plentiful and easy to grow. Some people grow their own in their gardens, but most people like to grab one from the grocery store or farmers market to take with to a BBQ, family picnic, or enjoy at the lake. Make sure you grab one of your own to indulge in some of the health benefits it provides.
  2. Cucumbers—
    cucumbers
    Cucumbers are another summertime slimming food and are loaded with water. In fact, they are made up of 90% water, yet they also offer some valuable healthful properties. Cucumbers are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties that benefit the body. Cucumbers contain vitamins, C, K and B5, which helps provide energy for your body. They also contain manganese, which helps build healthy bones, as well as potassium and magnesium, which are good for your heart health. Many people enjoy cucumbers in salads, or like to eat them alone. Gardeners often like to can them to enjoy pickles in the fall and winter months. Cucumbers can also be added to water to help hydrate and detoxify your body. They can also be added to green juice, or smoothies for an added boost of nutrients.
  3. Carrots—
    carrots
    Carrots are not only sweet and crunchy, they are another slimming vegetable that packs some powerful nutrients. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A, which is good for you eye health. They are rich in beta carotene and helps protect you from macular degeneration and cataracts. They also have other health benefits including helping to prevent cancer, especially lung and breast cancer. They also help slow down the aging process and promote healthy skin. Make sure you eat plenty of this vegetable for vitality and both eye and skin health. Who doesn’t want healthy eyes and less wrinkles? Carrots also help detoxify the body and contain fiber that helps with your digestive process. Make sure you snack on plenty of this crunchy vegetable.
  4. Tomatoes—
    tomatoes
    Tomatoes are another slimming food that are bountiful in the summer. Many people grow their own tomato plants in the garden, or have a potted plant for the patio or deck and why not? They are easy to grow, tasty and have many nutritional benefits. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin A, E, B6 and K. They are also a good source of potassium and fiber and can help boost your metabolism. Tomatoes are also good for eye sight and skin health. They also help detoxify the body and help reduce inflammation. Tomatoes help reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. Whether you grow your own, or purchase tomatoes at the grocery store, make sure you add this vegetable to your diet for its many healthful properties. Tomatoes can be eaten alone, sliced on salads or sandwiches, or added to pasta. They can also be added to stir fries, rice and more.
  5. Peppers—
    peppers

Peppers are another summertime slimming food that packs a punch when it comes to your health. Peppers contain a host of vitamins and help your immune system. Peppers contain plenty of vitamin C, E and B6. They also contain phytochemcials and antioxidants, which help protect your body. Peppers have a number of health benefits including helping with eye health and anemia. If you have an iron deficiency, make sure you add some peppers to your diet. They contain a decent amount of iron, which can help keep your energy up.  Peppers are low in calories and are great for dipping. You can add them to salads, rice, spaghetti, and more. Peppers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes and are part of the chili pepper family. Although some peppers are hot, you can find varieties that are medium to mild in flavor. Make sure you add this sweet vegetable to your diet for its many healthful properties.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:
¹Gary. “25 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Watermelon (#11 Is Impressive).” Well-Being Secrets, 24 Jan. 2017, www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-watermelon/.
²“What Are Cucumbers Good For?” Mercola.com, foodfacts.mercola.com/cucumber.html.

³“10 Benefits of Carrots: The Crunchy Powerfood.” 10 Benefits Of Carrots | Care2 Healthy Living, www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html.

5 Ways To Feed Your Spirit To Feel Balanced…

It is hard to believe that the Fourth of July has already come and gone. Hope you are enjoying your summer and finding ways to feed your spirit. Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy things you like to do, which help you feel balanced such as swimming, boating, biking, golfing, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Over the Fourth, I had plenty of time to experience some of these things, especially family time. We had a family gathering at our lake home that included 27 people total with 2 babies, 2 toddlers and 9 dogs! Crazy, huh? Thankfully some people came at different times, so it was more manageable. Everyone pitched in and helped out with food and clean up too. Thankfully, one of my daughters made a meal plan using a spreadsheet to help make things easier, so we could all enjoy ourselves more. I have to say, overall it was a good weekend and everyone had a great time! There were plenty of good conversations, and lots of great memories were made. Hope you created some good memories of your own with your family and loved ones.

Having healthy relationships is important and help us feel balanced in our lives. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about primary foods and secondary foods. Primary foods include relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality. Secondary foods are the foods we eat.¹ While both are important, primary foods feed us at a different level. They feed our soul and help us to feel balanced, feel joy and help make us happy.

Following are 5 ways to help you feed your spirit and feel balanced:

  1. Have Healthy Relationships—
    Relationships play a big part in our day to day lives. Make sure you are including enough of them in your life. You can join a church group, bowling league, health club, tennis team, etc. If you have family near by, make an attempt to get together from time to time.

    relationships
    relationships
  2. Stay Active—
    Your body was meant to move. Make sure you find ways to stay active. Go on a walk, run, or a bike ride. If that doesn’t interest you, find some other activity that does. You can join a gym, lift weights, do yoga, kick boxing, etc. You can also look back at your childhood and find something you used to like to do such as play basketball, swing, jump rope, or hula hoop.

    running
    running
  3. Find Work Your Enjoy—
    We spend a big part of our day and our lives working. It is important to find something that you like to do, or a job that has a fair amount of duties you enjoy. If you don’t have enough tasks you enjoy, maybe you want to consider finding a different job. If that’s not an option, maybe you can find something outside of work that fulfills some of your needs, or find a hobby you enjoy.

    working
    working
  4. Spend Some Time Embracing Your Spirituality—
    Many people like going to church and enjoy the community and worship that it offers. Other people however, are more spiritual in nature and may prefer less structure. No matter which one fits your practice and beliefs, it is important to take some time to reflect and be alone. You can also practice meditating, spending some time out in nature, doing yoga, or taking a meditative walk.

    Spiritual
    Spiritual
  5. Take Time For Self Care—
    Many people are good at taking care of others, but when it comes to taking care of themselves, it might be another story. Make sure you take some time to practice a little self care. You can have a massage, go shopping, have a pedicure, go to a concert, go to the golf range, etc.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Primary Food.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017.

 

Healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad that I made over the weekend. It is easy to make and includes some greens, nutrient dense vegetables and protein that your body needs and craves. It is also quite tasty. Give it a try if you like.

Recipe: Healthy Mediterranean Chicken And Vegetable Salad

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad_2
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 package bagged spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Pita bread, wrap, or corn chips for serving

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a  frying pan with olive oil. Add the cut up chicken. Season with Cajun seasoning, or another favorite seasoning to taste. Saute the chicken breast in the oil, until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the vegetable and dill. Mix together and then add in the chicken. In separate smaller bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir until well blended and then pour over the vegetable and chicken mix, stirring until the vegetables are coated.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Serve alone, or in a wrap, pita bread, or with Tostito chips. Top with the feta, or Parmesan cheese.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are interested in other healthy recipes, as well as finding out more about living a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” which is available on Amazon.