Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2008-03-30

STEVIA-SWEETER THAN SUGAR, NONCALORIC, HEALTHY, AND HERES THE KICKER-IT TASTES GREAT!

For some reason in my warped mind I seem to think that most anything that is good for me is either not to my taste or at best passable. Imagine how surprised and suspicious (suspicious by nature) I was when I found out about and tried Stevia, an alternative to the artificial sweeteners on the market (like Aspartame, Nutrasweet, etc) and loved it (pls. note that I don't sell Stevia, just really like it and its health benefits and wanted to share with you). Unlike artificial alternatives which contain acetic acid, formaldehyde, chloride, and other un-pronouncables Stevia is a healthy fat free, non caloric, 100% naturally sweet plant with a zero glycemic index that is 30 times sweeter than sugar. These attributes make Stevia a good alternative to sugar or chemical sweeteners. Native people in Paraguay and other parts of South America have used stevia safely for centuries. More recently Stevia gained popularity as a sweetener for coffees and teas, but it can sweeten just about anything you like. Because it works so well in cooking and baking, you can easily substitute Stevia for sugar in just about any recipe. Did you read that last sentence?! Yes, we can make our delicious sweets with this non caloric plant and lose the calories and negative impact of sugar! Ahhhh-the good life. Here are some great facts about Stevia-

**STEVIA IS A SOUTH AMERICAN HERB that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar.

**THE BODY DOES NOT METABOLIZE the sweet glycosides from the stevia leaf or any of its processed forms - so there is no caloric intake. Stevia doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by diabetics. Great news for diabetics and on a side note my brother has had diabetes since he was a child and now uses Stevia with wonderful results.

**STEVIA has been used since pre-Colombian times with no reports of ill side affects. Stevia has also withstood years of research that has proven Stevia to be safe for human and animal consumption. Stevia has been used around the world with NO reports of Stevia overdose or toxicity to humans in the past forty years.

**WHY IS STEVIA JUST COMING ON THE MARKET? Stevia has been around for a long time, even in the United States. Early studies on Stevia go back to the 1950's but the United States is a nation chin deep in bureaucracy, dirty-politics and corruption. In the 1950's the sugar industry fought to prevent the use of Stevia in the United States. Today, the manufacturers of Nutrasweet (aspartame) have practically bought the FDA to prevent it's approval as a food additive and therefore a sugar substitute. If you don't believe me, contact 60 Minutes of CBS. In the Spring of 1997 they aired a report on how Nutrasweet "bought" influence with the FDA to force the approval of a sweetener that is now blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands of Americans (hence my giving up Diet Pepsi). I also found dozens more articles siting that the use of Stevia in the U.S. being repressed because of the billion dollar artificial sweetener industry. This would be a great topic for anyone wanting to write about big companies controlling our health, etc for the sake of a profit. Keep in mind that I am one of those sorts that never really believes we are hearing the whole story from the bigwigs. REF-http://www.cookingwithstevia.com/stevia_faq.html#anchor02

**SINCE THE 1970'S JAPAN HAS BEEN USING STEVIA IN A WIDE VARIETY OF FOODS such as ice cream, sodas, pickles, sauces, and a variety of beverages. In fact, Stevia now has over 50% of the sweetener market share in Japan. That number continues to grow as the evidence against Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners mount.MMMHMMMM.

Obviously, I am on the Stevia train here and I do love it. I use it in my tea and have gotten my friends using it in their coffee as well. I sprinkle it on cereal , fruit,peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal (I have a sweet tooth so what can I say). I have not tried baking with it yet as I am no baker (I want to be but I'm just not )but I think I will try some experimenting and let you know what I come up with.

You can buy Stevia at your local health food store (Wild Oats, Whole Foods) in the supplement section near the vitamins. I bought 100 packets for $6.99 but you can also get it in a liquid form or a big jar of it to use. I am really excited about finding this, not only for my health but also for the weight loss benefits. Now if they would only make a dark organic healthy chocolate bunny with Stevia so I could eat that instead of the leftover version of my daughters that I just inhaled- I would be in heaven!

Best,
Heidi

P.S. You can google "Stevia Recipes" or "Stevia Cookbook" and a ton of sites come up-so give it a try and tell me what you think.
2008-03-27

RELIEF FOR ALLERGIES VIA THE NATURAL WAY!

Sniff, sneeze, sniffle-yes, I am talking about those allergies that make your life miserable. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey,more than 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of allergy (I personally get the hideous teary, puffy eye look when mine hit). Seasonal allergy symptoms are a natural reaction , the result of an overreaction by the immune system. If you are looking for relief from seasonal allergies, natural remedies are a great place to start. They are generally less harsh on the system than conventional drugs and they do more than just cover up your symptoms. Nutritional strategies, Herbs and homeopathic remedies are all wonderful ways to get your allergies on the right track..

NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES

**Research shows that there is a DEFINITE LINK BETWEEN ALLERGIES AND DIET. When we become deficient in certain nutrients and binge on highly processed ingredients and sugar our allergy symptoms can worsen. Frequent use of antibiotics can also have a negative effect on allergies.
**PROBIOTICS-Like L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium can help with some symptoms. Probiotic supplements provide billions of live organisms per capsule and they are beneficial forms of bacteria that support healthy immune function. They can also be found in yogurt, fermented foods and some probiotic fortified foods. I take a whole food supplement that has prebiotics and probiotics so I don't have to worry about finding it anywhere else.
**VITAMIN C-regulates the release of histamine. Can be found in citrus fruits, peppers, watermelon and dark leafy greens.
**VITAMIN E-is associated with lessening the risk of hay fever. Wheat germ, whole grains, nuts, seeds,eggs and dark leafy vegetables are a few sources.
**GRAPE SEED EXTRACT-rich in antioxidants, may support a healthy inflammation response in the body
**OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS-important for many functions in the body, including a healthy inflammation response. Fish, flaxseed, walnuts and dark leafy greens. I personally take flaxseed oil. Not the best tasting but you do what you gotta do.


HERBS THAT MAY HELP YOUR ALLERGIES


**BUTTERBUR-has been shown to support healthy membranes, and some studies have shown it to be helpful in decreasing the body's production of histamines and leukotrienes. Research indicates it works as well as many common conventional choices.
**EYEBRIGHT-Used for eye infections and respiratory conditions. Helps soothe flamed membranes
**STINGING NETTLE-Considered to be one of the best herbs to calm allergy symptoms )works great when paired with eyebright)
**ECHINACEA, GARLIC, CHAMOMILE, YARROW, AND LICORICE ROOT-These all support the respiratory and immune systems , and help sinus function.



HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

Homeopathic medicines come in many forms, including nasal and throat sprays,eyedrops and tablets that dissolve. For a variety of allergy symptoms, homeopathic formulas with a combination of ingredients often work best. They are clinically tested and work by exposing the body to a highly diluted dose of an allergen which helps the immune system.
**NASAL CONGESTION-Recommended homeopathic remedy is Sabadilla.
**WATERY EYES, SNEEZING, RUNNY NOSE- Recommended homeopathic remedy is Galphimia glauca.
**SINUS CONGESTION AND PRESSURE, DRYNESS-Recommended homeopathic remedy is Kali bichromium.
**RUNNY NOSE, SNEEZING AND SORE THROAT-Recommended homeopathic remedy is Sabadilla.
**VARIETY OF EYE SYMPTOMS-Recommended homeopathic remedy is Euphrasia offinalis
**LARGE VARIETY OF SYMPTOMS-Recommended homeopathic remedy is Histaminum hydrochloricum-

reference Whole Foods market March/April 2008


Now, to be honest with you (keep in mind I am a wanna be health nut and not a full fledged health nut-YET) I would have thought that I would have had no idea what to do or where to get any of these remedies because the names are so foreign to me. However, I went to my local health market and it was not difficult at all to find these items. If I can do it with two wild children running around screaming and me barely able to focus all you wanna be health nuts can too. As for you full fledged health nuts I am sure you probably have got it down. I really embrace trying natural remedies as they are easier on your system and have less side effects.

Best,


Heidi



P.S. I am sorry to all those who have emailed health questions and comments that I have not answered. I will be doing that this weekend . I want to say how much I love all the comments and enjoy all the neat things I am learning from you!

2008-03-25

TIPS TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS-YES, THERE REALLY IS HELP

As I have mentioned before, I love food, love to eat and constantly crave chocolate, Diet Pepsi (of course), Mexican food, anything really fattening, sweet or starchy (notice no cravings for anything truly healthy-ironic isn't it!). Now on the other hand it is important for me to be healthy and maintain a weight that I am comfortable with and unfortunately what I crave is not necessarily what my body needs (why, why, why?). I have found some ways that we can help ourselves with those cravings and do some damage control for our bodies. I believe that moderation is the key to success to anything in life -so I say- don't deny yourself but why not try to minimize those unhealthy cravings so you feel better.

WHY WE HAVE FOOD CRAVINGS

**CUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT-The time of day may trigger a desire eat if it coincides with mealtime or usually later in the afternoon . "By far the greatest number of cravings occur late in the day," says Marcia Levin Pelchat, Ph.D., of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, an institute that does research on taste and food preferences. "That's when our blood glucose drops, making us sluggish and in need of a lift" All it takes now is a cue -- a fast-food billboard on your way home or a co-worker's candy bar -- to bring on a major craving. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_5_22/ai_95540550

**WHEN WE ARE STRESSED OUT, BORED OR UPSET-Bad moods frequently give rise to cravings: We imagine that if we eat a cookie or a chocolate bar, we'll feel better -- and often we do. Carbohydrates sweet or starchy foods -- increase the secretion of the brain chemical serotonin, which in turn can improve mood.

**BEFORE YOUR PERIOD- Research shows that many of our cravings for chocolate and carbohydrate-rich foods are particularly intense in the days leading up to menstruation. Experts theorize that women may overeat carbs in an attempt to raise serotonin levels to counter the bad moods and mild depression related to PMS.http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_5_22/ai_95540550

HOW TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS

**EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS DURING THE DAY-If you skip meals (ex. breakfast) or go too long without eating, your blood sugar levels will fall too low, which is a perfect recipe for food cravings, overeating and even binges. Allowing 3-4 hours between meals/snacks is a sensible maximum for women, although 3 hours is better. Men typically can safely wait 4-5 hours. And you don't need to eat much: even a single oat-cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay. As well as maintaining stable blood glucose levels, regular eating helps your metabolism to burn calories at an efficient rate. Finally, studies show that regular eating helps to reduce cravings associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). I hate to say this but I don't think that I can go 3-4 hours without something. I am a snacker so maybe just some smaller healthy little meals would work too (for those of you who read this blog often-need I say nuts would be a good snack).

**REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF DRINKS THAT ACT AS STIMULANTS-According to some experts, stimulants (ex. sugar, caffeine in tea/coffee, caffeinated soft drinks-all things I of course enjoy)can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, and should be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. Switch to herbal teas, spring water and diluted pure fruit juices.

**RECONDITION YOUR BODY NOT TO HAVE THEM AT ALL-Ohmg! Did I really write that???? Not to have them at all???? What would life be like without the occasional pizza, the brownies, cookies, chocolate and of course the highly revered by me Diet Pepsi craving??? This is why I am a health wannabee because the thought of life without those dear yet junky foods sounds sad and lonely (please tell me there are others out there in this world who feel the same so I don't feel so pathetic). Okay, let me say it in a way that sounds more doable to my ears (and those in the health nut wannabe's club ears)-Recondition your body to have them in moderation. How about that? Sounds better, don't you think? Apparently,when it comes to cravings, it is like a wave-the urge goes up, it crests, then it goes back down. The trick, then, is to surf the craving crest and get past it. Do things that distract you from thoughts of eating. If you normally go to the convenience store and get Laffy Taffy and chocolate in the morning then instead pick up the phone and call a friend, go for a walk, read my blog, whatever it takes (within reason). ref-Whole Foods Market March/April issue.

I also found this list at http://www.naturopathyworks.com/pages/cravings.php by Dr. Colleen Huber that tells you when you crave something (ex-chocolate) then you really need (magnesium) so try (Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits). There are tons of different foods she has listed and what you can replace those cravings with in a healthier way.

Best,

Heidi

P.S. Thanks for all the support on my Diet Pepsi withdrawal. I am doing much better than expected (I 'm still alive) and think this is not going to be as hard as expected. I appreciate all the suggestions and am putting them to use.


2008-03-23

IT'S OVER! NO MORE DIET PEPSI FOR ME! OH NO! NOW WHAT?

Ring, ring, I was calling my friend Julie to tell her the big news (anyone who knows me knows this is BIG news)- I am ending it with Diet Pepsi after 20 long years of ignorant bliss, I told her. I was met by a long pause of silence and then Julie said that she was not going to have anything to do with me for a few days (isn't it nice to have people around who know you so well!) because she knew I would be just horribly cranky and was I sure I really wanted to do this? Of course I don't want to give up my favorite vice for reasons such as I really, really, really love Diet Pepsi ( I would drink at least four 12 oz cans a day). What would I drink in the morning to get me going (I despise coffee-childhood issue that I will save for another time)? When I'm happy I want a Diet Pepsi, when I'm sad I want a Diet Pepsi, whenever I exist I want a Diet Pepsi. For years friends and foes have been telling me not to drink diet drinks because of the Aspartame, but like the person you may have dated who was just awful for you( but lots of fun -the wild one) and you just could not seem to shake for reasons that defied your logic, I have not wanted to stop drinking my diet sodas. Oh, I have tried and tried in the past but I was never serious about it until now. My dramatic change was brought about by a couple articles that I recently read and they really stuck with me (I will share that information below).

I thought that my diet soda was not so bad because hey, it was my one vice. I don't smoke, drink alcohol (I did but in the best interest of society now abstain) or eat meat so I could have diet soda, right? AHHHHHH!!!! I just hate when I rationalize something and the entire time in my gut I know, just know I am full of it! So here I sit drinking a water feeling rather sorry for myself (my mother would be terribly upset with me b/c for 39 years she has been telling me to never feel sorry for myself because as her famous quote goes-"I cried because I had no shoes until I saw the man with no feet"). Okay, yes that does put a lot of things into perspective but I swear 39 years of that quote is enough (now my poor daughters have to hear it from ME) and true as it is I still want a Diet Pepsi even though some people have no water and I should be happy that I have water ( and I AM happy to have water but upset that something I like so much just doesn't feel right to have anymore). No more sulking-let's get on with it-my reasons for giving up the bad boy in my life, my diet soda!

WHY I WON'T DRINK DIET SODAS ANYMORE

*** Aspartame has been associated with a variety of UNPLEASANT SIDE EFFECTS such as gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, and mood swings.

***TOXICITY FEARS-Aspartame has been approved by health and regulatory authorities in 100countries throughout the world.Despite this, many reputable scientists still have concerns that aspartame may cause a range of health problems. Most relate to the way it is broken down inside the body.When we eat aspartame, it is converted into methanol, formaldehyde and formic acid. Methanol can be toxic at very low levels, and there has been no extensive testing of the effects of chronic, long term exposure.The amount of methanol needed to cause acute toxicity varies widely from person to person.Chronic formaldehyde exposure, at very low doses, has been shown to cause immune system and neurological damage, as well as headaches, poor general health, permanent genetic damage, and a number of other serious problems. High levels of formic acid in the body can damage the retina, leading to blindness.. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1125

***A LINK TO SEIZURES?Among others, The Lancet medical journal has published reports of nine[ actually 3 ] cases of seizures linked to aspartame use. In an independent study of aspartame in children with epilepsy, it was shown that a single dose could provoke the sort of brain waves that cause seizures. One theory is that the epileptic seizures may be triggered by the effects of formaldehyde. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1125

***PARKINSON'S DISEASE, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, AND LUPUS have all been rumored to be associated with Aspartame intake. http://www.rense.com/general21/parkinsonFox.htm-This is a really interesting article to support and back up these claims. I really recommend this article. It pretty much did it for me and I am a tough sell on this. I can rationalize anything if I really want to but this kind of made me say okay, that's it for me!

***Being the odd and suspicious sort I think there is some kind of CONSPIRACY THEORY/payoffs in the FDA for saying it is okay to have Aspartame (this is only my neurotic opinion).

SOLUTIONS TO GET OVER MY DIET PEPSI OBSESSION

*** DRINK BREWABLE ICED TEA, AND OTHER DRINKS (recipes below) and sweeten it with STEVIA (remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener in place of sugar and flavor enhancer for centuries and can be found in your local health food store in the supplement areas).

*** DRINK LOTS OF WATER

***FOCUS ON HOW MUCH BETTER I will feel/am feeling now that I am choosing to be healthier.


Super Stevia Recipes from "The Stevia Cookbook," copyright 1999 by Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates

LEMONADE

Yield: 10 8-ounce servings
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
8 cups water
2 teaspoons stevia liquid concentrate
ice cubes
lemon for garnish 1. Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir until well blended 2. Pour into ice-filled 10-ounce glasses, garnish with lemon slices, and serve

PINA COLADA SMOOTHIE

YIELD: TWO 8-OUNCE SERVINGS
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple juice
1/3 cup plain yogurt, or kefir
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1/8 teaspoon white stevia powder, or to taste 1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and whip on high speed for 30 seconds. 2. Serve immediately.

Best!

Heidi

Your thoughts and suggestions are very much appreciated.





2008-03-20

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS FROM A SELF CONFESSED DIET FREAK PT. 2

Now, I am sure you have been racing wildly back and forth just waiting for me to post part 2 of my diet tips (just kidding). I am going to get to them but first I want to say thank you to all of you who left comments because not only did you make my day but I realized there are a lot of us out there who do the nut thing to help control weight! I really thought I was on to something with the NUT DIET and had visions of the all the fame and happiness the nut diet book, the nut diet movie, the nut diet brand nuts, and an appearance on the Oprah show would bring. But, it is not to be as it seems the nut diet secret really is no secret so I will have to content myself with just watching the Oprah show (if the kids will let me) instead of being on it-C'est la vie. Alright, lets get down to diet business-drum roll please!

**EAT FAT BURNING FOODS-Here are some that will help you burn off that booty (or stomach in my case)-
*****CITRUS FRUITS-Citrus fruits like, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, and limes contain high concentrations of Vitamin C (this is also called ascorbic acid). This Vitamin C has a fat burning quality. Vitamin C reduces the effectiveness of fat. It reduces its content and can liquefy or dilute fat. By diluting the fat, it makes it less effective, and easier to flush out of your system. Vitamin C also works on cholesterol deposits. Vitamin C can help burn out the cholesterol, hence, making it difficult for cholesterol deposits to form in blood vessels.
By adding Citrus Fruits to your daily diet, try every meal and also a snack, you will great increase your metabolism, increase your ability to get rid of fat, and also help you to control your cholesterol levels.
*******GARLIC-Garlic is one of the most effective fat burning foods.It contains the compound allicin which has anti bacterial effects and helps reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats. The juice of garlic or the oil of garlic catalyses the action of getting rid of body fat.
*******CARROTS-Adding a carrot to the beginning of every meal is a very effective way to lose weight. Why do you ask? The carrot leaves no room in the stomach for the dessert. When using this trick you should been able to lose about a pound in one week. I have not personally tried this but I will and let you know if you are interested.
*******SPICY FOODS (RED CHILE PEPPERS)-When we eat foods that are really spicy, we tend to eat less. Some studies suggest that appetite suppression is due to capsaicin, a chemical found in many spicy foods. The capsaicin present in peppers induces the body to produce more stress hormones which in turn revs the metabolic rate burning more calories in the process.
********APPLES-Apple is quite difficult to digest therefore making it a great food to burn off calories. Your body will work hard to digest the apple and with only 81 calories in a standard apple you will be in those new jeans in no time.
********OATMEAL-Oatmeal will fill you up, stick to your ribs and give your body a much needed dose of fiber. Just stay away from the flavored instant oatmeal that is usually loaded with sugar (it sure tastes good, I know). Buy the tub of Quaker Oats (it is much cheaper than packaged instant oatmeal) and try adding a fresh, chopped apple, some cinnamon and a bit of Stevia (similar to Splenda but I like its natural properties better) to it.



**BRUSH YOUR TEETH AS SOON AS YOUR DONE WITH YOUR PORTIONS. It’s a psychological thing. The mint reminds you food is done, teeth are clean, and it reduces the want to snack or go back for seconds. When I first heard this I thought uh,uh but you know my teeth are much cleaner and it really works for me.

**WHOLE FOOD MULTI'S-I take Whole food multi supplements everyday (in case you have not heard of them they are fruits, veggies, spices and herbs in a capsule-you get the benefits of all the foods put in the supplement. Think of taking broccoli and putting it in a powder form in a capsule). The ones I take have natural metabolic boosters in them that naturally speed up my metabolism and I get the health benefits of the fruits and veggies. They also give me energy to keep going . On days when I eat too much I just take a couple extra and that helps balance me out.


**NUTS-Okay, if you read my blog on a somewhat consistent basis you knew I was going to say it again. Nuts, nuts and more nuts. Nuts are truly my #1 diet secret. Without them I would never feel full or satisfied and would give up and eat everything in sight. Willpower is not my strong point but with those nuts I can do it. Crazy I know but hey, it works for me!

Again, much to my mother's dismay I am not a doctor, nutritionist or anything of the sort but have been obsessed with weight always so I hope this helps you. Also, I recommend speaking with your doctor before starting a weight loss program.

Heidi

P.S. Please join me in the next day or two to help me with my Diet Pepsi breakup. I am ending my 20 year love affair with Diet Pepsi and it isn't going to be easy (been down this road before but Diet Pepsi and I cannot seem to make a real break). I'm almost forty so I can do this, right?

2008-03-18

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS FROM A SELF CONFESSED DIET FREAK! PART 1

Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with my weight and have tried just about every pill, fad diet, and exercise program. I even went to a lecture on how to lose weight through breathing once (of course I ate Now and Later candy the whole time because I figured if I could get the breathing thing down well I could eat what I wanted. Right? Well, not exactly). The irony to all this is that I am thin and small boned. I have some weird issue with thinking I'm not even when my size and the scale say I am (I will delve into that another time). The good thing is that I have figured out how to be healthy about this bizarre weight issue I have and not succumb to being overweight or underweight. After trying truly everything under the sun to find a happy balance of being happy with my body size and weight I have also found several ways to be healthy at the same time. I like to eat and I like filling food so I have to be able to feel satisfied or any weight loss tip or plan just won't work for me.

Also, keep in mind that with my last child I gained about 70 pounds and was back to my pre-baby weight within 4 months (it was not easy or fun but I did it) and I did it with the help of some of these tips below (no, I did not exercise but I should have-nobody's perfect) .


You may think you have heard it all about dieting but here is my spin on it!


**As I said in an earlier post, EAT NUTS if you are hungry and need to feel full. I usually combine the nuts with low carb foods and do this for a couple to a few days in a row to lose weight quickly. I would not do this everyday for a long period of time but by eating foods such as nuts, cheese, salads, low carb veggies (edame/soybeans, and green beans are a couple of my favorites and Soybeans contain lecithin, a chemical that will shield your cells from accumulating fat. This chemical prevents, like a shield, fat from forming on your cells. It will also break down fatty deposits in your body.
Eat soybeans at least 3 times a week and you'll be boosting your bodies ability to get rid of fat. You can find soybeans at most grocery stores in the frozen veggie area)and other low carb items combined really pull the weight off me quick (2-4 lbs in 3-5 days).


**Okay, I know everyone says this but it is true-DRINK LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. Did you know if you drink cold water, your body has to work to heat backup, speeding up your metabolism? So, not only does the water help you feel full and keep you hydrated, you can burn more calories by drinking it cold. I still drink my very unhealthy diet sodas but if you combine water with it you are doing some damage control.

**DON'T DRINK AWAY ALL YOUR CALORIES. I used to drink a lot of juices more than anything else and I found that I was probably consuming a minimum of 500 calories just in juice. I would rather eat 500 calories wouldn't you?

**If you like sweets a lot like I do then GO FOR THE LOW CARB PROTEIN BARS. I love them and found that many of them were actually like having a candy bar too. I really enjoyed the Atkins brand bars the best myself and still do grab one of those instead of a regular candy bar.

**NEVER LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY. This is an absolute must for me! If I allow myself to get to the point of really, really hungry then I will eat whatever I want regardless of my good intentions of the day. To combat this I recommend eating several small meals a day instead of three big ones. I usually carry string cheese (organic if you can), nuts, or protein bars with me at all times so that I am constantly full. Being hungry is no fun and there is no reason you cannot lose weight and feel full all the time.

**IF YOU MUST HAVE IT THEN GO AHEAD AND EAT IT. There is nothing worse than depriving yourself. If you want a cookie, chocolate or whatever, then have it. Just make sure you do it in moderation so that you don't feel completely remorseful after consuming an entire pan of brownies (I've done that). It never works to deprive yourself. It's like the person who never wanted to date you and you probably never wanted to date them except for the fact that they didn't want you and that made them desirable (more on that later) to you. It is human nature to want what you can't have, so have it.


I am going to do a part 2 either tomorrow or Thursday so pls. be sure to check back. I may include some foods that actually burn fat and am going to tell you about how I fit in the health part. Below is a recipe I love for those low carb days. It fills you up and is very good . From http://www.seeveggiesdifferently.com/recipe_detail.aspx?id=7888



Santa Fe Breakfast Frittata
Ingredients
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 Morningstar Farms® Veggie Sausage Patties (you can substitute meat if you are not vegetarian)
1 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper, green bell pepper or combination
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack cheese or Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
sliced avocado, lime wedges, sour cream, salsa or sliced green onions (optional)

Directions
1. In medium bowl beat together eggs and milk. Set aside.2. In large oven-safe nonstick skillet cook MORNINGSTAR FARMS VEGGIE SAUSAGE PATTIES and bell pepper in 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat about 3 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender. Stir in beans and remaining 2 teaspoons oil.3. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat. As mixture sets, run spatula around edge of skillet, allowing uncooked portions of eggs to flow underneath. Continue cooking and lifting until mixture is almost set and surface is moist.4. Sprinkle cheese over top. Broil 4- to 5-inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until top is just set and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, sour cream, salsa or green onions, if desired.NOTE: To thaw, place in microwave and heat for 30 seconds.

Remember-I am not a nutritionist, doctor or anything of the sort (as much as my mother would have liked that) just someone who wants to share what has worked for her as I know the ups and downs of body weight issues. Also, I recommend talking to your doctor before starting any diet program.

Heidi
2008-03-16

CHOCOLATE-THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY


I love chocolate!! I mean that I really, really love chocolate, so I decided to find out a little bit more about the the good and the bad to know what I was up against. Life without chocolate for me would be dark indeed so I am glad to see that there are some terrific benefits.

Chocolate Pros

**If you eat chocolate, only eat dark chocolate-Dark chocolate has many beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids that have powerful antioxidant properties, which can actually help to protect you from damaging oxidative stress. (This is good news-definitely cheers me up a bit)

**Chocolate contains the same type of disease-fighting "phenolic" chemicals as red wine and fruits and vegetables, says Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California at Davis.

**Boosts brain chemicals More Americans crave chocolate than any other food. Some explanations: chocolate's "melt-in-the mouth" consistency and mood-lifting chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine. And when mixed with sugar and fat, chocolate appears to boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain (endorphins and serotonin), thus promoting euphoria and calm. Some women use chocolate candy to "self-medicate" for premenstrual syndrome, studies have found.

**Doesn't cause acne. Giving up chocolate won't cure acne or pimples, according to a famous test at the University of Pennsylvania. In the test, 65 acne-plagued adolescents ate the amount of chocolate in 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate a day for a month. For another month, they ate a dummy chocolate bar. Their acne was no worse on the real chocolate than on the fake chocolate.

**Helps lactose intolerance .Chocolate makes milk easier to digest if you are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa to 1 cup of milk blocked cramping, bloating and other signs of lactose intolerance in half of 35 subjects. Cocoa stimulates lactase enzyme activity, they found.

**Also, researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego recently found that chocolate contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana's soothing effects on the brain.

**Tests show chocolate contains antibacterial compounds that may discourage, not promote, tooth decay.

**No link to hyperactivity -Some contend that eating chocolate (or sugar) causes hyperactivity, aggression or other behavior problems, notably in children. But several scientific studies have found no evidence of that. In fact, some research finds sweets calm many children.

**Tastes really, really good!

Chocolate Cons

**Chocolate's greatest crime is that it usually is combined with animal fats, dangerous trans-fats and sugar in high-calorie, bad-fat baked goods.

**Can cause heartburn. Chocolate is a common culprit in heartburn, according to tests by Donald O. Castell, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The reason: Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine, which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus. If you suffer from heartburn, he advises, go easy on chocolate.

**Does contain caffeine. Most people have no negative reaction to small amounts of caffeine. If you're sensitive, you should know how chocolate stacks up with caffeine sources:
5 oz. brewed coffee has
85mg caffeine
5 oz. loose tea or 1 tea bag, 30mg
6 oz. cola, 18mg
1 oz. chocolate candy, 6mg
5 oz. cocoa or hot chocolate, 4mg
6 oz. chocolate milk, 4mg

Fun Fact

The average American eats almost 12 pounds of chocolate a year. World chocolate consumption rises 3 percent a year, while cocoa bean production rises just 1.5 percent. To avert an eventual shortage, growers are working to increase production. http://www.usaweekend.com/98_issues/980607/980607eat_smart_chocolate.html

Best,

Heidi








2008-03-13

NUTTY FOR NUTS! MY DIET SECRET! SHHHH! DON'T TELL


When I was a little girl my family and I would visit my grandparents each summer in their small rural Kansas town. I always enjoyed those summers because my papa would take me with him to collect walnuts and then we would run home to crack them with the nutcracker. I loved nuts-all kinds of nuts and could eat them to the exclusion of anything else back then. As I grew older and became conscious of my weight (neurotic might be a better word) I stopped eating nuts because I thought they were fattening and would make me gain weight.


But, I now no longer wistfully stare at the cashews, almonds, peanuts, and almonds as I shop and instead fill up my buggy with nuts, nuts, nuts! What can account for such a drastic turnaround you may wonder? Well let me tell you! I have discovered that for me nuts actually help me maintain and when necessary lose a couple of pounds. When my favorite jeans start getting a bit snug I know it is time for a little nut detox. I follow a low carb diet for two days consisting of usually cheese, salad (or whatever low carb foods you like) and yes, NUTS (usually almonds, peanuts or cashews)! Now, let me tell you why this works for me. I like to eat and I have to feel satisfied or a day of low carb eating or dieting will not work and I will grab the next completely unhealthy, fattening and inappropriate thing in sight to eat. The nuts make me feel full and satisfied because they are filling and therefore I don't feel a need to grab some chips, brownies, etc. When people ask me how I do it I can honestly say NUTS.


**Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health found three times as many people trying to lose weight were able to stick to a Mediterranean-style moderate-fat weight loss diet that included nuts, peanuts and peanut butter versus the traditionally recommended low-fat diet. (International Journal of Obesity, Oct. 5, 2001).
As long as you control total calories, eating a handful of nuts daily may help prevent weight gain and possibly promote weight loss. The fat, protein and fiber in nuts help you feel full longer, so you may eat less during the day. By helping induce a feeling of satiety, nuts may help people feel less deprived and not like they're "dieting." Just limit your portion to a healthy handful.


** Nuts naturally contain no cholesterol and very little sodium (unless of course you get the salted so try to stick to lightly salted or no salt if possible)


**More than 30 studies have shown that nuts in the diet can reduce the risk of heart disease regardless of the nut studied.


**Nuts serve as an important source of protein


Now to make things even better I found this incredible recipe on http://www.low-carb.com/fatfastparfait.html


This is a recipe from Low Carb Connoisseur Cafe & Market in Anderson, SC


Fat Fast Low Carb Macadamia Parfait


1 8 oz package of Regular Cream Cheese

1 cup Hula Princess Macadamia Nuts

*Heavy Whipping CreamExpert Foods Mousse Mix*

No calorie sweetener such as Stevia

*Singing Dog Sugar Free Vanilla Extract*

Several small serving bowls or parfait dishes


1.To make the nut layer: Crush Hula Princess Macadamia Nuts to a medium fine consistency.

2. To make the cream cheese layer: Whip package of cream cheese with an electric mixer and slowly add heavy whipping cream until you reach a mouse like consistency. Stir in sweetener and Singing Dog Vanilla extract to taste.

3. To make the whipped cream: Combine 1/4 cup of whipping cream with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and sweeten to taste. Whip until doubled in volume but still soft. Add 2 teaspoons Expert Foods Mousse Mix and whip until thick but not stiff. Thin if necessary with a little cream.

4. For each serving dish - start with a layer of crushed mac nuts in the bottom of the dish, and alternate with cream cheese mixture.

Top with whipped cream and a few whole macadamia nuts. Chill thoroughly and enjoy!


LOVED IT! NOW GO GET NUTTY!



2008-03-11

A SPOONFUL OF OLIVE OIL HELPS THE SPAGHETTI GO DOWN!


I once read somewhere where Sophia Loren said that she owed everything to spaghetti or something to that effect. I took it to mean that she was healthy and thin because of spaghetti but who knows. Maybe she never said it and I just thought she said it so I could eat lots of spaghetti and not feel guilty about it. Now, I never thought of spaghetti as being unhealthy actually, I always thought spaghetti was one of the healthiest things I could eat (remember that I am a health nut wannabee with good reason). I am not saying that spaghetti is unhealthy necessarily but here is how to tell if your spaghetti is good for you or not (don't worry if you like the unhealthy spaghetti like I do, I have a damage control secret to share with you).


Unealthy spaghetti- If it's made with white flour, like most pasta, and smothered in cream sauce, it's unhealthy. From the Body Ecology perspective, conventional pastas feed pathogenic yeast and bacteria in your intestines. They disturb the growth of good microflora, and can lower your immunity. Candida, a systemic fungal infection, especially thrives on the natural complex sugars in pasta that can ferment in your gut and encourage candida overgrowth. How depressing! (info. from body ecology.com)

Healthy spaghetti-If it’s whole grain al dente (firm) pasta with unsweetened tomato sauce, it's healthy. Whole grain al dente pasta is much higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. It's slowly absorbed into the bloodstream and doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike. (info. from bellaonline.com)

Let's say that you love the unhealthy pasta like me and for those days when you cannot have the wheat healthy pasta for whatever reason like you don't want to or the kids are threatening you if you make that "one" pasta again that not even the wild opossum that comes to eat cat food each night would eat -I have a damage control tip for you! I learned this from the incredible nutritionist Dr. Heidi Dulay. She said that if you had one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil BEFORE you ate your pasta it would help by putting the good fats in from the olive oil and not allowing the bad fats in from the evil unhealthy but much loved spaghetti. I gave it a try and as a side benefit the extra virgin olive oil is great for your skin.
2008-03-10

Can it be??? Foods that help you quit smoking!!


Wow! Today, I was taking a bit of time as usual to become more informed on my health and wellness and came across this article about foods that help you quit smoking. I have personally never smoked as I had an embarrassing introduction to cigarettes in tenth grade at the local Pizza Hut in front of a guy I liked and that was it for me. Spitting water on the object of your affection while coughing to death from the cigarrette smoke at the same time is enough to turn one off (both of us apparently). Never again.

Below is the article that I found on http://www.guideforbetterhealth.com/health-fitness/quit-smoking/foods-that-help-you-stop-smoking/.

If you have tried patches or anti-smoking medications, but still can’t stop smoking, maybe it is time to experiment with specific foods to help quit smoking.
Yes, there are foods proven to help when you’re trying to stop smoking.
However, there are also foods like coffee, alcohol and meat that make cigarettes taste better.
So you should also avoid these foods because they can serve as a trigger to smoke again once you quit.
Foods that make cigarettes taste worse include dairy products, water, juice, fruits, and vegetables.
The good thing is that these foods are all considered healthy and low in calories.
You should also include exercise as it can help smokers ward off cravings for cigarettes.


What do you think??
2008-03-08

Miracle Foods That Help Fight The Signs of Aging








Being about to hit forty I have found myself contemplating all kinds of anti-aging possibilities. I worked in the beauty industry so I know several great anti-aging products (which I will talk about at a later date) for the outer skin but now I want to do more and it starts on the inside. Here are some great foods to help fight the signs of aging!!!



**DRINK LOTS OF WATER (you probably knew that was coming)! Water jump starts your digestive track and bowels, removes toxins from your body, and even prevents and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. The old standard of 64 ounces of water a day (eight 8 oz. glasses) still holds, but the more water you can drink the better.



**MAGNESIUM-Magnesium is an important, but often overlooked, part of a healthy diet. Foods high in magnesium, such as beets, dates, raisins, and soybeans, help fight a variety of cancers and keep you looking young.


**TOMATOES-Rich in lycopene, tomatoes help prevent prostate cancer in men, plus they’re chock full of antioxidants to slow the aging process and keep you looking young. Specifically, tomato sauces and tomato paste are the way to go. Tomatoes must be cooked to really release their cancer-fighting properties, and a few tablespoons of concentrated tomato sauce are nutritionally equivalent to pounds of fresh tomatoes.


**BERRIES-All black and blue berries such as blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and black grapes contain phytochemicals known as flavonoids-powerful antioxidants which help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging.



**WATERMELON-Both the flesh and seeds of the watermelon are nutritious so try blending them together in a food processor and drinking as a juice. The flesh contain vitamin A, B and C ; the seeds contain selenium, essential fats, zinc and vitamin E, all of which help against free radical damage and aging.


**BEST FATS FOR ANTI-AGING(ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, flax seed, nuts (esp. almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and macadamia), pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.



**BEST PROTEIN SOURCES FOR ANTI-AGING (ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, trout, anchovies, sardines, poultry, yogurt, high EFA eggs, kefir, cottage cheese, tofu.



**BEST CARBOHYDRATE CHOICES FOR ANTI-AGING (ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Artichokes, avocados, dark-green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, spinach, escarole, romaine lettuce, cherries, berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.), apples, pears, barley, beans (dried and fresh), bean sprouts, endive, eggplant, cabbage, kale, red and green peppers, bok choy, celery, cucumbers, kidney beans, pinto beans, chick peas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, honeydew melons, lentils, bean sprouts, mushrooms, tomatoes, turnips, pomegranates, snow peas, slow cooking oatmeal.



Now I just need to find some healthy anti-aging food recipes to incorporate some of these things. Wouldn't that be fun!!

Best to you all!
Heidi