Need Energy? Give These Healthy Foods A Try!

Everyday that I write this blog I become more and more aware of how important the right diet is for our overall health, immune system, body weight, energy level, moods and so much more. If you are anything at all like me then you need all the energy you can get to keep up with all the things each day puts in front of you. The below foods will get and keep you going full of energy as well as giving your immune system a nice boost.

Healthy Foods To Give You A Natural Boost

**Berries-Ooooohhhh, I love berries and now I have even more reasons! Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are high in vitamin and fiber content, they're an excellent source of antioxidants, compounds that protect our bodies from the stress of day to day living, and fresh berries are kind to the waistline; they are naturally high in water and low in calories. Dried berries also provide excellent nutrition, but since most of the water is missing, their calories are more concentrated and you’ll usually wind up eating more of them.

**Citrus-Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C; one orange has a whole day’s requirement.They’re also loaded with soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, and helps you to manage your weight.

**Salmon-Cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring, are premiere sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are fats our bodies can’t produce, so it’s a good idea to include them in our diet (unless you are a vegetarian like me then you can try walnuts or flax seeds) . If you read my post about healthy hair, you will notice salmon was included in that post as well.

**Vegetables-There’s no such thing as a bad vegetable so eat up. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are a crucial component of any healthy eating plan. Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn.
Lycopene, the plant chemical responsible for the ruby red of tomatoes and watermelon, is believed to fight cancer and promote heart health.
Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are sky-high in potent anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane and quercitin.

**Nuts and Seeds-Almonds, pecans and pistachios are rich in protein. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids. Toss sesame seeds in a meal for extra calcium and vitamin E.
Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are particularly good sources of phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, which promote heart health. These are easy to take with you for on the go energy. I take nuts everywhere and eat them all day. As I have mentioned probably a hundred times-nuts are my number one diet secret!

**Olive oil-Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. It contains Vitamin E and antioxidants
and is an excellent replacement for unhealthy saturated fats like butter. I take a spoon full of olive oil before eating spaghetti so the bad fats in the pasta can't make me fat. Extra virgin olive oil is also great for healthy skin.

**Tea- Recent studies have shown drinking green tea might boost metabolism, oolong teas can lower blood sugar, and black teas can promote oral health. Tea contains half the caffeine of coffee and packs a punch of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants believed to protect against heart disease, certain cancers and stroke.

**Legumes-Beans, peas, peanuts and lentils are all part of the legume family. Legumes are rich in folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants. Their high protein and complex carbohydrates provide steady energy that lasts for hours. Also great for vegetarians (like me) who need protein.

**Whole grains-They’re delicious, inexpensive and packed with protein, B vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some immediate benefits you might notice are stable blood sugar, less hunger between meals, and better weight management.

**Lean Protein-Protein is an important part of every diet and is found in many different foods. Lean protein, the best kind, can be found in fish, skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin and certain cuts of beef, like the top round. Low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, ricotta and other cheeses supply both protein and calcium. I also love extra firm tofu for a great protein!

ref-The Food Network

I am on the go so much and hate to admit it but I do have a hard time fitting in all these foods all the time. I take a whole food supplement called The Pops by Whole Food Nation and they have one supplement for energy, and one for calming. I take about 2-4 capsules of the energy in the morning (it also naturally speeds up my metabolism-woohoo weight loss) depending how much energy I need, grab my nuts and some tea (caffeine) and I can go all day and night feeling great. I used to be exhausted all day and couldn't wait until the end of the day but now I enjoy my days and am no longer sluggish! So, go get some power foods and start feeling your best!

Do sugar-free and diet products make you look fat?

I was going to write an original post today but since I just discussed with you my diet soda relapse (thanks for all the positive comments by the way) I thought that this post by Kim Klaver of Whole Food Nation fame and one of my personal heroes (she is one of the creators of the whole food supplements-the pops that I live on) made a lot of sense and kind of went hand in hand with the diet soda dangers (I am still whining about these dangers-I swear it is an addiction with these sodas). It really is fascinating how you really need to pay attention and be your own food watchdog.

Secret: Sugar-free low-calorie products may make you look uh, fatter.

Remember: weight (that nobody wants) = fat that's been stored and water that's been retained.
OK here's the scoop.

Sugar-free, low calorie sweeteners typically use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, splenda or saccharin. (Read the label on anything lo-cal, sugar-free or diet - as in diet cookies- before you open your mouth.)

And here's how they make you look fatter, according to Dr. Heidi (creator of the the ER weight control program):

"When an artificial
sweetener gets into your blood stream, your immune system's alarms go off. Among other things, your body starts retaining water.

"The water is used to escort the toxins out of your body, but often they get lodged in your tissue. Your body wants to flush the toxins, but when they don't go, your body continues to retain the water. Which makes it look fat and puffy.

"Ergo, the more artificial sweeteners you put in your mouth, the more water your body retains to protect you from the risk of toxic effects. And the fatter you look. The body's reaction to artificial sweeteners is also a cause of ugly cellulite."

**I can personally vouch for this because when I was on my diet soda binge last week I puffed up and it was not attractive. When I am good and drink my tea and water I am great with no puffiness. One more reason to avoid diet sodas.

Ava Saves A Baby Squirrel!

I know that I generally write about health since this is a health blog but I thought that today I would share with you a wonderful story about the cutest little baby squirrel that Ava (my 6 year old daughter) and I were able to save.

Since I enjoy and appreciate wildlife, I have tried to create a refuge for the wildlife in my neighborhood by putting in a small pond and planting plants that the animals can eat from year round in my backyard. I also put out various bird feeders and squirrel and duck food (somehow a couple of ducks found my tiny pond and come each summer) daily.

Generally when spring arrives we are found with a few wildlife emergencies but this year we had not had rescued but one small robin so it was interesting that Friday morning Ava mentioned how we had not found any injured animals in awhile. I was relieved at this as it is stressful and sometimes regardless of what we do to try and help the wildlife they don't make it. So, as we got home Friday evening Ava started yelling that there was a baby animal hurt or possibly dead. My stomach turned at the thought of it being dead (I get very emotional about these little creatures) and went over to take a look.

There lying in the grass was a tiny little animal with flies buzzing on it and not moving. With a heavy heart I got my gardeners gloves and prepared to have an animal funeral with Ava. You can imagine my surprise and Ava's screams when the little baby jumped in my hands. AHHHHHH-now what and what is this little teeny tiny alive animal that is going to die if I don't do something QUICK? We quickly grabbed a cat carrier, put some warm towels in and put the baby in it. I ran up to the computer and discovered this was a baby squirrel that was dehydrated and needed to get its body temperature up quick or death was imminent.

Panicking Ava and I put a heating pad under some towels and wrapped the baby in blankets while we ran to buy Pedialyte to restore electrolytes. With a syringe we fed the baby warmed up Gatorade and Pedialyte every two hours throughout the evening and morning (need I tell you that I got no sleep at all that night) until our local wildlife rescue center opened and we could take him there.

It was cute because once he was warmed up a bit and feeling a bit better he started whistling very loudly and walking around. When we arrived at Operation Wildlife we were told that he looked great and we had done a good job of getting him hydrated and keeping him warm.

I hope once he is ready to be released back into the wild he can be released here. We named him Fuzzy and are already attached (would love to see him running around the yard with the other squirrels). I love that my daughter Ava loves animals so much and understands the importance of treating all creatures with kindness and love. This made my day and this is one of the reasons I get up in the morning. I am a big believer in the power of one-even if you can help one animal, or one person in all your life then I feel you have done something to make the world and your heart a better place.

P.S. That is him in the picture!

Bad Girl Gone Good Gone Bad Again! My Diet Soda Relapse

I write this with a scowl at the knowledge that you all now know the truth! I have had a diet soda relapse. I had been so good for the last 3-4 months and did not even miss that #$@ Diet Pepsi, and Coke Zero and then all of a sudden there it was again tantalizing me. Oh I tried and tried to resist the lure of that delicious ice cold diet soda, but sometimes even the most evil temptations come calling and like that one person that you just knew (and so did everyone else-especially your mother) was bad for you, no good, and would eventually break your heart, you just dove in head first leaving caution to the wind (generally a BIG mistake that I apparently never learn from).

The first few sips of that soda were delicious and innocent and then a couple more sips turned into a couple more and then to me covertly running in the gas station to grab a Diet Pepsi and run out before being noticed (by who I have not quite figured out). Then I started telling my friends that I was only having an occasional diet soda (lies, all lies) as they looked at me suspiciously. Oh no, what has happened to Health Nut Wannabe Mom? Don't worry, I still eat my fruits and vegetables, have chocolate in moderation (unless under extreme duress which is a given I think), drink my 8 glasses of water and am a vegetarian (trying to be vegan). Well, I have given my confession and now I am on the rocky road to diet soda recovery once again.

Just in case you missed my post on why I gave up the ever delicious yet dangerous diet soda habit, I am posting the dangers of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners.

Diet Soda Dangers

*** Aspartame has been associated with a variety of UNPLEASANT SIDE EFFECTS such as gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, and mood swings (hmm, that could cover the mood swings my husband complains about).

-Aspartame has been approved by health and regulatory authorities in 100 countries 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. More here.

***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 (yes formaldehyde from aspartame in the diet soda). More here.

***PARKINSON'S DISEASE, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, AND LUPUS have all been rumored to be associated with Aspartame intake. Here is a really interesting article to support and back up these claims. I really recommend this piece if you want to delve deeper. 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).

So, hopefully after having reread this post I will give it up for good. Are you addicted to diet soda, chocolate, anything?

Can NOT eating Actually Make You Fat?

As I think I have mentioned in almost every other post or so-I have always been obsessed with eating, dieting, exercising, and looking for the magic pill to make it all so easy (why can't I just eat a box of chocolates and not feel guilty for once in my life?). I remember the days when I thought that I would skip breakfast, longingly watch that girl in the lunchroom eat dessert or only eat a half piece of lettuce a to try and lose weight. I was miserable and hungry so I love the below article by Kim Klaver of Whole Food Nation fame (she is one of the founders of the whole food supplements that I religiously take and panic if I am close to out of). I can eat, you can eat, we can all eat and yes we can lose weight and be healthy!! I have never found the magic pill but I have found a lot of great and helpful information to help me sort it out. Naturally, I want to share it with you so I hope that this helps you as it has helped me!

Can NOT Eating Make You Fat?????

by Kim Klaver

"Well, I don't eat in the mornings, so that has to be helping me lose, right?"

Actually, not eating will likely put more fat on you, says Dr. Heidi, nutrition professor and creator of the Extreme Regime Weight Control program.

What's going on?

1. Not eating signals your body (YB) to pump up her fat storing machine.
Your body, call her YB, is designed to protect you. When you don't eat for several hours or more, YB perceives a famine coming. So it makes more fat-storing enzymes. The longer and more often you go without eating, the more efficient YB becomes - at fat storing. (!)

[YB does that to protect you so there's something in her storage bin for you in case you go even longer without eating. She knows you might need it for energy later.]

"But I'm not hungry in the morning!"

2. You an AM coffee drinker?
Coffee's a stimulant that kills your appetite. That would explain why you're not hungry in the mornings. You may think that's good. But actually, not eating kicks up YB's fat storage function - YB thinks there's a famine coming and wants to protect you.

3. When you finally DO eat, is it too much too late?
Workaholics: We know the pitfalls of piling it on late, don't we? The digestive fires are weak at night so if you eat a big dinner, well, that puts the fat on. YB can't digest a big dinner late at night.

1. AM coffee drinkers: have some water and real food before you have coffee.
2. Late night eaters: eat something small - so YB can digest it with the small digestive energy available so late.
3. Slow digesters: Consider using whole food supplements with potent digestive enzymes ."

This requires some serious changing of habits on my part. It is hard to get it out of my head that not eating will make me skinny. I still panic once in awhile and think that I just need to skip this meal or that meal to stay thin (but then I remember what I have learned and what actually is working for me-eating healthy). So, next time you think you don't have time for breakfast or that healthy snack, think again !

Adopt A Cat And You Are Less Likely To Die Of A Heart Attack

I wrote a previous post on all the health benefits of having pets and now comes even more evidence of the wonderful benefits of having a cat (I have a couple so hopefully this rules me completely out of the heart attack zone). I showed the following evidence of the health benefits of living with cats to my husband in the hopes that he would be slightly less angry with me the next time I bring home a homeless cat (they always seem to find me). This is also a great study if you are currently trying to convince your spouse that you should adopt a cat so read on!

Why Having A Cat Is Good For Your Heart In More Ways Than One

According to a study at the University of Minnesota, researchers tracked 4,435 people ages 30-75 for up to 20 years (that is a long time), they found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely to die of a heart attack than people who lived in homes without cats. The researchers doing the study could not say exactly why this was but thought it probably had something to do with "stress relief". I agree with this because whenever I am upset all I have to do is pet my cat and I can feel the tension literally melt away. Having my cats is better than any pill or chocolate bar (it is a close tie between the chocolate bar and cats-just kidding) that I could have when I feel upset or in turmoil.

Unfortunately, there were not enough dog owners in the study to make the same assumption but I imagine that the results would be similar based on other studies that I have seen. I also think that having a pet adds entertainment as mine do the silliest things and keep me laughing-they say laughter is the best medicine.

Adopting a cat or dog from an animal shelter may be good for your heart too in that you know you saved a valuable life and are loved unconditionally for who you are by them. I really cannot express enough the benefits both for your heart health and your heart happiness in living with a pet.

What Is Ailing You? Try These Food Cures

Today's post is by someone who I not only consider a friend but that I admire deeply on all things spiritual, Steffany Barton. Steffany is a a professional psychic medium, a Karuna Reiki Master -- the highest level of achievement in Reiki, has a degree in nursing, and is a compassionate and kind friend. We get together with our children each week and I was so amazed when she told me about foods that can cure what ails us emotionally and spiritually. I am so excited that she was willing to pass this information on so that you too can benefit from her knowledge. It never ceases to amaze me at how important what we put in our bodies each day is.

Food Cures

by-Steffany Barton

As a young nursing student in a class on wellness teaching for cardiac rehab patients, I heard my instructor muse, “Remember, when it comes to good health, Food is Medicine.”

I had never heard the adage before, yet it struck a cord with me. In the health care industry, providers are often times all too quick to throw complicated medications with numerous side effects at a problem. Instead, could it be that certain foods can work to enhance the body’s ceaseless efforts to maintain balance and wellness?

I began to study more on the healing properties of foods. Years later, I began to delve a bit more deeply into the spiritual benefits of a healthy diet. We are beings composed of energy that simultaneously shape and are shaped by our environment. Food is energy, too, and when we match our needs with foods that offer the appropriate frequencies, miracles
can happen.

So experiment a little, and if you have any of the following concerns, head to the pantry and dig in!

**For persistent fatigue, worrisome thoughts about money, concerns with living situation, or struggles in job or career, foods that are grown underground provide support. This includes potatoes, nuts, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Tomatoes, radishes, strawberries, cucumbers, mushrooms, and rhubarb can also be beneficial. These foods support clear thinking on making good decisions for self care, finances, career, and home life.

**When feeling stuck creatively, experiencing an inability to enjoy and appreciate the senses or the natural world, struggling with addictions, or looking for intimacy, reach for foods that are warming to the body. These include ginger, fennel, cumin, cabbage, pumpkins, artichoke, ghee, licorice, cinnamon, and salmon. Peaches, mangoes, apricots, nectarines, and watermelon are good choices, too. Highly refined starches such as white bread and pastas are best avoided when dealing with these issues and they can induce a sensation of insatiability. Warming the body through food helps enliven the senses and reawaken the parts of our body that cue us in to a sense of satisfaction.

**We all deal with power struggles and boundaries, so to help make clear and healthy decisions about self image, self concept, and self discipline, look for foods that are yellow in color. Bananas, yellow squash, mustard, spaghetti squash, lemons (and any other citrus fruit); sunflowers seeds, pineapple, kiwi, golden apples, grapes, and corn are easily accessible options. Water is also extremely important, as adequate hydration provides for clear thinking.

**If healing the spiritual or emotional aspects of the heart becomes important, go green! Broccoli, spinach, olives (and olive oil), mint, parsley, grapes, okra, squash, cucumbers, peas, green beans, oregano offer assistance. Beets, alfalfa, mustard greens, and avocados are also nice choices to help nurture the heart. A significant part of healing the heart comes from learning to accept unconditional love, and it is exceedingly difficult to receive that which we do not give ourselves. So, buy choosing foods that honor and nurture our health and well being, we allow our heart to heal and flourish.

**If communication has run amuck in your life, Mother Nature offers several nutritional options to offset blockages. Kelp, seafood, kale, horseradish, blueberries, bok choy, tomatoes, green tea, pomegranate, and bamboo shoots each provide support. Often times, poor self esteem underlies problems in communication and difficulty in self expression, so partnering these foods with those mentioned above can prove especially helpful.

**When struggling to see hope for the future, experiencing difficulty with dreaming, or feeling bored and uninspired in life, antioxidant rich foods can reopen our creative vision. Blackberries, raspberries, eggplant, purple cabbage, black grapes, red wine (in moderation, of course), acai berry, and almonds all feed the soul. If you are seeking to reconnect with your inner vision, it can often be beneficial to reduce dairy consumption. Cheese, milk, and ice cream can, for many people, cloud our spiritual vision. Milk alternatives can offer all the same nutritional benefits, and often times many more.

**If you struggle with the concept of a higher power, question the purpose of life on Earth (hey, we’ve all been there), feel a sense of separation, or a nameless, faceless longing for something just out of reach (sometimes called existential grief), consider not what you eat, but the process of eating. Spend a moment centering yourself before taking in a meal. Bless the food before you and honor the spirits of the individuals involved in the growth, sale, and preparation of the food. Express gratitude for the opportunity to be nourished, and let eating become a bold statement of self respect and self care. You don’t have to mutter some stuffy prayer or spend a lot of time in ritual, but the heart centered intention of gratitude and love can transform the act of eating into a spiritual practice.

Our bodies are designed for perfection. Listen to your inner wisdom and allow food to become a truly healing medicine!

Let me just say that Steffany is the real deal. I am one of those skeptical sorts and after a couple of one on one consultations and group classes with Steffany I am more at peace and comfortable with life on the other side, angels and all those other mysteries that allude us. If you get the chance please visit her site at Angels Insight (she does one on ones over the phone too).

Awards, Tags, My Favorites And More Awards!!

I just love when great things happen like receiving an award or tags from other bloggers that I admire. Jules over at Arduous Nincompoop (she has a fun blog with great pictures) tagged me with the four things....... tag, Erica over at Tales From The Tracks (I always love her point of view) honored me with the “Just Plain Fun to Read” award, Ria from It's My Party ( and I'll Cry If I Want too) (her blog is funny, witty and always interesting) and Heather at Azure Island Designs (this is one very talented lady whose jewelry you have to see) were both kind enough to award me with the "Sweet Home Award" . I am so grateful and honored that these bloggers that I hold in such high esteem thought to pass these awards and tag onto me. Just when I was having one of those months wondering if I really was doing okay as a blogger these nice and encouraging things happen to keep me going. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Please check out their sites for fun, informative and interesting information-you will be glad that you did.

The Fun Begins! I am passing these awards and tag on! I had a really hard time choosing because there are so many blogs that I enjoy reading daily but below are the blogs that I am awarding. Hurrah!

Sweet Home Award Goes To-

**The Zen In You
- This blog fills my heart and spirit

**Lapidary Queen Wannabees -An amazing artist and always has very creative ideas

**Alan Is Gay And Straight-Honest and open blog-A gay mans story and the challenges of life after rehab

**LWGodsil's Jadis Jewelry-Paintings, jewelry and Gandhi quotes from this free thinker

**Lady Terri- Always interesting and funny-I like that she tells it like it is!

Just Plain Fun to Read Award Goes T0-

**Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars-Really you just have to stop by to see for yourself. This is a feisty and funny blog. I have seen nothing quite like it and love it.

**Regina's Family Seasons-I am addicted to her blog and life. An inspirational and fun lady that tells it how it is with a compassionate heart.

**The Passive Dad
-Passive income and debt elimination strategies (I need these and am learning-so hard)

**Random Ramblings-I am completely fascinated by her nature pictures and events in her yard. I mean completely obsessed with seeing what will happen next

**People You Need To Know- A smart blog by a business savvy lady

**The Cat/Dog Log-Great resource for all things cat/dog plus she supports animals in shelters-super lady

And Now Four Things......

Four jobs I've had:
1) Waitress (I was awful)
2) Makeup Artist
3) Sales Advisor
4) Receptionist

Four movies I can watch over and over
1) BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries
2) Bridget Jones Diary
3) Somethings Gotta Give
4) Two Can Play That Game

Four places I've lived
1) Germany
2) Costa Rica
3) North Carolina
4.) Kansas

Four Pet Peeves:
1) Game shows
2) Cruel and inhumane people
3) Know it alls
4) whistling (there is a story to this-stuck on an airplane with a whistler and I have not been the same since).

Four TV shows I love
1)The Tudors
2) The Office
3) American Idol
4) English Mysteries on Biography

Four places I've vacationed
1) Kauai, Hawaii
2) Los Angeles, California
3) Cancun, Mexico
4) Panama

Four of my favorite dishes
1) Chocolate
2) Chocolate
3) Chocolate
4) Raspberries

Four sites I visit daily
1) Perez Hilton
2) New York Post (page six)
3) Entrecard
4)Fox News

Four places I would rather be right now
1) Costa Rica
2) In bed
3) England
4) Inside a Janet Evanovich novel playing detective alongside Stephanie Plum

People I tag

Shae- Shae

Moms Check nyo
Live Laugh Love
Buddy's Fitness News
Rocki's Rock'n Blog

This was so much fun! I hope that you will check out the sites above as they are all unique and interesting in their own way.

P.S. To all of you bloggers that I have chosen-if tagging and passing on awards is not your thing then no big deal to me-just wanted you to know that I think you are great!

Foolproof Nutrition For Function and Fat Loss-Simple Easy Tips To Get And Stay In Shape

I wanted to share this easy to understand and brilliant article written by the person that I admire the most when it comes to nutrition and fitness, Christopher Warden. Christopher is a New York fitness expert who has helped me to understand nutrition and get my body into shape. He also writes one of the best blogs out there called Fitness Philosopher (visit it if you get the chance). The below article gave me some great and simple to use everyday guidelines to keep myself on the road to a better body inside and out so I wanted to share them with you.

Foolproof Nutrition For Function and Fat Loss

by Christopher Warden

Dr. John Berardi has his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs. My friends Eugene and Mike have their Nutritional Guidelines for Fat Loss. And now you have my take on the subject, as shared personally with my clients. . . more often than they care to hear it.

How do they differ? They really don't - with the exception of our unique delivery styles. Of course, this is the least you should expect. . . especially when you're looking for consistency in nutrition and coaching advice.

Foolproof Nutrition for Function and Fat Loss

1. Listen to your body. Don't obsess over it, but learn about it, understand it. . . just become aware of it. With increased awareness, you'll know what to eat. . . or at least realize which foods your body works best with.

2. Eat what you enjoy, but be realistic. Two points here:

  • If "what you enjoy" is preventing you from getting healthy/burning fat, there's no way around it -- you've got to "eat what you enjoy," but minimally, if at all.
  • On the flip side, eating healthier is not synonymous with eating foods that you hate. There are thousands of healthy, great foods (and great preparation styles) to choose from -- select foods that you love to eat, not those that are "ideal," but that you'd avoid even if it were the last bit o' food on Earth.

2a. Don't confuse "healthy" with "optimal for function and fat loss." Two more points:

  • Overeating any food can make you fat. . . or make it difficult for to burn the excess you're storing.
  • Many foods touted as "healthy" are labeled this way based on the "low-fat/high carb/heart-healthy" paradigm that's been preached for years. High carb (read: starch and sugar) is definitely not the key to inducing fat loss. . . and it's not a good prescription for long-term cardiovascular health either.

3. Eat 4-6 meals per day. Keep your body's metabolism working efficiently by eating at 2-3 hour intervals.

3a. Make sure one of those meals is always BREAKFAST. Yes, it really is the most important meal of the day. . .

4. Eat protein at EVERY meal. As Paul Chek would say, "Eat something with eyes, or something that comes from something with eyes. . ."

5. Eat a vegetable (or fruit) at EVERY meal. Whole food, high fiber, low starch/sugar, nutrient rich carbohydrates are ideal. . .

6. Don't compartmentalize! In other words, avoid eating "just protein" or "just carbs" at a meal. Combine macronutrients as you need to (per #4 and #5) and as your body "asks" for. Doing this not only provides the body with what it needs, it enables it to metabolize the food as efficiently as possible.

7. Drink water! At least half your bodyweight in ounces each day . . .

8. Minimize consumption of processed /starchy/sugary food and beverages. Especially if you've got health issues or have significant body fat to lose. If you're going to eat them (you really shouldn't be if you've got health/body fat issues), when's the best time? Post-training.


The foundation for health, fitness, function, fat loss -- whatever it is that you're trying to improve -- is always going to start with nutrition.

Quality nutrition:

  • gives you the high quality building blocks you need to build every cell/hormone/ transport molecule in your body.
  • provides the energy for every cell - for every life process - to function.
  • is about more than just "energy in vs. energy out." It creates an internal environment of optimal structure and peak physiological function.

So, hang these guidelines (or the others shared above) from your fridge. Place them on your bedside table. On your bathroom mirror. On your desk at work. Study and absorb them -- because commitment to these universal principles will provide the foundation for function and fat loss most of the time.

Great, simple advice to be your best by someone who knows. If you enjoyed this article please visit Christopher at Fitness Philosopher -you will be glad that you did.

Nutty For Nuts! My Diet Secret-SHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't Tell

Recycling one of my favorite posts!

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 here

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

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!


Feeling Like A Sumo Wrestler? Tips To Lose Water Weight Naturally

One of the worst things my body does is puff up with water weight. I despise it, yes, that is right-I despise it. I can go from fitting into my favorite jeans perfectly to being completely uncomfortable and neurotic as to why just 24 hours later everything fits tighter, my eyes are puffy and I feel like a sumo wrestler. I am not into taking water pills or anything like that so I wanted to share some things that you can do in your diet to help you lose that water weight or even better-avoid it altogether.

Bye, Bye Water Weight Tips

**Drink Water- I feel like I say this almost everyday when writing about something you need to do to be healthy. If you are not drinking enough water then your body will go into survival mode and retain water. Drink at least eight (8 ounces each) glasses of water a day (I have also heard that drinking half your body weight in water a day is a good idea as well-ex-if you weigh 100 lbs then drink 50 ounces of water). Tip- Try filling up a 32 ounce or 64 ounce cup and it will go down quicker I find.

**Avoid Foods That Are High In Sodium-Diet drinks and foods such as canned soups, hot dogs, ham, bacon, frozen dinners and pizza tend to have high sodium content so watch out for these (plus they are not the healthiest choices). I also find when snacking on nuts that I tend to retain more water if I buy the salty ones (which of course are the ones that I want). I try to buy raw almonds or lightly salted instead of the salty cashews that I adore.

**Add Lemon Or Lime- I love to add lemon to my water! Not only do lemons and limes act as a natural diuretic but they really can refresh the taste of water. I also like to squeeze lemon on my salads and for you non-vegetarians, fish is excellent with a little lemon!!!

**Try A Natural Diuretic-Natural diuretics (meaning they relieve water retention by making you urinate more) can help you to flush some of those excess fluids . Some popular natural diuretics are green tea, which has been used for centuries in China, dandelion leaf teas, cranberry juice, and apple cider vinegar. My personal favorite of these is the green tea. Please keep in mind to use any diuretic in moderation.

I hope this helps make those bloated, puffy days a tad less uncomfortable.

Are We Trusting Too Much With Food?

I found this article by one of the people that I admire on health and business information the most-Kim Klaver. I take the whole food supplements (the pops) that her company makes and through her have learned so much about nutrition. I find that everyday I learn more through reading, and blogging. I thought that I would pass this on as I am still learning what to trust and not trust when it comes to eating.

"Most of us are too busy to pay attention to more than a few things, and for the rest, we trust. We must. No time.

When it comes to food, we may have trusted too much. (Judging by the size and health of most of America.) The interests of big food today are not the interests of your body's health. Compare:
Big Food value #1

Shelf life. Once-real food is now irradiated and subjected to extreme heat which kills all the vitamins and enzymes. The chemicals so distort the food molecules that they're not usable by our bodies. But hey, it has shelf life and looks good.
Can your body survive big food's value #1?

A body can't process 'shelf-lifed' food. It wants real food. Translation: Fresh. Clean. Not genetically mutilated. With its vitamins and nutrients intact. Available from local farmers in most cities in the US.
If your body is in great shape, no need to change anything. If it isn't, consider doing something novel for it: real food.

Why follow the crowd? Do they look that good to you?

So be weird. Think different. Do different.

2,500 years ago, here's what a revered religious leader told his followers:
"Do not take anything on 'authority'. Nor blindly believe it because the government or your teacher said it. Instead, test ideas and actions yourself, and when you know they lead to harm or ill, abandon them. If you know they lead to benefit or happiness, adopt them. Be lamps unto yourselves."-Buddha.
Look in the (full length) mirror. Has big food harmed you or benefited you? Will you continue to trust them."

Hmmmmmmmmmm! She always makes me think. I am now a religious label reader and still working on completely understanding even that.

Want To Quit Smoking? Food Do's And Don'ts

Have you tried and tried to quit smoking but it never seems to stick? I found some interesting information on foods that can assist you in your efforts!

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 cigarette smoke at the same time is enough to turn one off . Never again.

Try These Foods To Help You Quit Smoking-They Make Cigarettes Taste Worse

**Dairy Products-Try organic low-fat yogurt, and cheeses
**Water-Great for you in every way so drink at least half your body weight in water each day. Ex-If you weigh 120 lbs then it is recommended that you drink at least 60 ounces of water.
**Juice-Do watch the sugar here
**Fruits-Go for the lower sugar fruits like cantaloupe, pineapple and berries
**Vegetables-Nibble on fresh carrots, and celery and enjoy a delicious spinach salad with a vinaigrette dressing for a healthy and delicious treat.

Avoid These Foods If you Want To Quit Smoking-They Make Cigarettes Taste Better



I am sure you have noticed that the foods to help you quit smoking are all on the healthy side while the foods to avoid if you want to quit smoking are on the far less healthy end of the spectrum. Makes sense I think.

Keep in mind that I am not saying these foods will make you quit smoking-I understand that smoking is a tough thing to quit but I hope that maybe these food choices can help in making this very difficult transition slightly easier.

P.S.You should also include exercise as it can help smokers ward off cravings for cigarettes.

Did The Surgeon General Get It Wrong About Weight Loss?

I am like a bee to honey when I see any article that talks about weight loss. I soak up every magazine, product, review, blog, you name it that has anything to deal with losing weight. I find it fascinating all the fad diets, the people who manage to lose lots of weight and keep it off and of course I am always looking for the proverbial magic pill to make me perfect and thin while I eat chocolate all day. Having said that, I have found for me that the key to being thin is a healthy diet chocked full of fruits, vegetables, protein (not the animal kind for me-vegetarian), nuts, water and regular exercise (and yes, I must have some chocolate in there too or what is the point?). So, when I saw the following report from Whole Food Nation, I had to read it and see what it was all about. I really could not believe the information that I found and feel like their free report contained some of the most useful information I have seen on weight loss to date.

Did the Surgeon General get it wrong about weight?

"Which of these statements do you believe?

1. "Overweight and obesity result from excess calorie consumption and/or inadequate physical activity"

U.S. Surgeon General, 2001


2. "Those who are overweight eat fewer calories than those of normal weight."

National Academy of Sciences,
Diet and Health
, 1989

Most people say #1. And if you believe that, you might be surprised about what's been unearthed lately. The overweight people are not, after all, gluttons or sloths.

Turns out that it's not how much you eat, but what. Did you know that:

  • Calorie counting has turned out to be useless, and may even be dangerous.
  • 20,000 women who reduced their daily calories by an average of 360 calories per day weighed only 2 lbs less after 8 years of dieting!
  • Massive reviews of the research reveal the miserable results of low-calorie diets
  • Gluttony is not the problem, researchers say.
  • Calorie counting is the problem!

Do you know the ten hidden side effects of low calorie dieting?

Do you know the 4 guiding principles of weight loss without starving or counting?

It's all in a short report by Whole Food Nation. Want it?"

Now, if you want the free report you do have to give your name and email but this is not some sales pitch (I don't like sales pitches) and this is not some company that is going to sell your email and harass you to buy their products (I wouldn't do that to you-I promise). But it is an excellent and eye opening report that might just help you. I would put the report on my blog but am not allowed so I wanted to provide you all with the opportunity to check it out if you like. If you do want the free report click here and then you will be taken to a page where you enter your name and email (again, I promise you this is not some gimmick or spam). I am so suspicious of anything free which is why I keep reiterating that this is really legitimate. If you decide to check it out-Please let me know what you think.

P.S. I actually hosted a nutrition seminar here (I felt so professional for once) in Kansas City by the author of this report -Dr.Heidi Dulay, Ed.D., N.C. and I was completely in awe of her knowledge and kind spirit. She asked me about my diet and had me pegged completely in a few minutes (she is part of my motivation for starting this blog). Thank you Dr. Heidi for all you do!

Five Misconceptions Of Exercise

John over at one of my favorite blogs-EZGreatLife is having me do a guest post today! I did an interview with Christopher Warden, a New York City fitness professional on misconceptions of exercise. This was an eye opening interview as I found I had been following along with many of these misconceptions in my own training routine. Why not hop on over to EZGreatLife
and see how your exercise/training knowledge stacks up! John also has some other great posts you might enjoy checking out too! Let me know what you think!!!

Fat, Fat I Ain't Down With That! Easy Tips To Revive Your Metabolism!

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