Heart Healthy Foods

It’s the month of LOVE! What better way to show yourself some LOVE than by eating foods that fuel a happy, healthy heart?! Here are six easy foods to add into your diet to ensure you are maintaining a heart that is in tip-top shape!

 

1. Leafy Green Vegetables: from spinach to kale to collard greens!

Leafy greens are packed with Vitamin K which helps protect your arteries. These super foods also reduce blood pressure and decrease the stiffness in the lining of your blood vessels. When you eat more leafy greens – you lower your risk for heart disease.

 

2. Whole Grains: from oats to brown rice to quinoa!

Whole grains are very high in fiber which greatly reduces your bad LDL cholesterol and decreases the risk of heart disease.

 

3. Berries: from blueberries to strawberries to raspberries!

Incredibly high in antioxidants, berries help protect your heart against inflammation. Eating berries daily can help improve the function of the cells in your blood vessels which in turn control your blood pressure.

 

4. Avocados!

This fruit is a wonderful source of healthy monounsaturated fats that help reduce your levels of cholesterol. They are also high in potassium which is key nutrient in maintaining a healthy heart.

 

5. Dark Chocolate: Chocolate?! It’s true!

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that can help reduce your risk for coronary heart disease. But just remember, it’s still high in sugar so just be careful not to eat too much. Search for chocolate that is 70% or higher in cocoa.

 

6. Olive Oil: similar to avocados!

This monounsaturated fat is packed with antioxidants to fight inflammation in you heart and reduce your risk for chronic disease.

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Creating a Healthy New Year

How To Plan For A Healthy Year!

 

It can be incredibly stressful to think about creating and sticking to resolutions in the New Year. Maybe you like the idea of a healthier lifestyle, but you don’t even know where you should start! Let’s look at some simple ways to incorporate wellness into your everyday lifestyle. Health should be fun and easy, not difficult and time-consuming.

1. Find an exercise you enjoy! Try taking the dog for a walk, joining a running club, biking to work, walking with the family after dinner, or joining a fitness group. We should be exercising because we love our body – not because we hate it.

1. Find an exercise you enjoy! Try taking the dog for a walk, joining a running club, biking to work, walking with the family after dinner, or joining a fitness group. We should be exercising because we love our body – not because we hate it.

2. Meal plan and grocery shop for the week! The internet is a wonderful place when it comes to find quick and healthy recipes. Try typing in “Healthy, Easy Recipes” on Google and I guarantee thousands of results will pop up. Follow this rule-of-thumb: Pick 2 meals that sound like something you and your family would enjoy and pick a meal that you have never tried before in your life! Write down all the ingredients, head to the grocery store, and prepare a few meals for the week!

2. Meal plan and grocery shop for the week! The internet is a wonderful place when it comes to find quick and healthy recipes. Try typing in “Healthy, Easy Recipes” on Google and I guarantee thousands of results will pop up. Follow this rule-of-thumb: Pick 2 meals that sound like something you and your family would enjoy and pick a meal that you have never tried before in your life! Write down all the ingredients, head to the grocery store, and prepare a few meals for the week!

3. Make family time a priority! Family time is incredibly important. When you leave your work at work, you have more time to focus on your loved ones. As you commute home, mentally prepare yourself with questions you can ask your family about their day and also take that time to destress from any problems at work.

3. Make family time a priority! Family time is incredibly important. When you leave your work at work, you have more time to focus on your loved ones. As you commute home, mentally prepare yourself with questions you can ask your family about their day and also take that time to destress from any problems at work.

4. Invest in personal development! Read books, listen to podcasts, journal about gratitude – do these things and you will discover a side of you that you didn’t realize existed yet. When we invest in ourselves, everyone around us benefits! Try researching some of the best personal growth books and podcasts on the market right now!

4. Invest in personal development! Read books, listen to podcasts, journal about gratitude – do these things and you will discover a side of you that you didn’t realize existed yet. When we invest in ourselves, everyone around us benefits! Try researching some of the best personal growth books and podcasts on the market right now!

5. Smile! A smile is incredibly contagious. Next time you feel down or off-set, try smiling! Smiling has been shown to instantly increase your mood and the mood of those around you. Positive thinking helps as well. When a negative thought pops in your head – try thinking of something positive instead and don’t forget to smile!

5. Smile! A smile is incredibly contagious. Next time you feel down or off-set, try smiling! Smiling has been shown to instantly increase your mood and the mood of those around you. Positive thinking helps as well. When a negative thought pops in your head – try thinking of something positive instead and don’t forget to smile!

Eating for the Season

Did you know that our ancestors would only eat the food they could find where they lived?

That often meant eating different varieties of produce at each and every season. There was no such thing as eating a tomato in December if they lived in Kentucky. Now we can walk into a grocery store and pick up almost any piece of produce our heart desires, rarely wondering how far that produce had to travel. What’s even worse? Our supermarket produce is picked several weeks before the fruit or vegetable is even ripened, so by the time we pick up a cucumber or apple to purchase – it’s already lost most of its nutritional value and flavor. When we eat seasonally, we are living in harmony with nature which leaves our bodies in balance and content.

 

Did you know that food that grows in certain seasons is actually beneficial to our health?

In the summer you can find plenty of cucumbers and watermelon, all which help cool down the body naturally from the heat. For example, when you eat an apple in the fall, it helps transition your body from the hot summer days to the cooler fall evenings. In spring, we can find a lot of leafy greens in order to help detox the body and lose some weight stored during the winter months. Seasonal produce is also picked at its ripest which means it contains all of its nutrients. The plant has had more sun exposure which leads to higher levels of antioxidants!

 

Did you know that eating in season is more affordable than most would think?

If you take a walk around your local farmer’s market in the summer, the overabundance of produce such as watermelons and cucumbers allow them to be sold at a lower cost.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the produce you should pick up at your local farmer’s market this December to make sure you are not only saving money but getting the most nutritional benefits from your food!

 Foods to eat this December:

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Water: The Miracle Drink!

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Our bodies around roughly 60% water which means we need to drink A LOT of water to keep everything running smoothly. You’ve heard the golden rule of drink 8 glasses of water a day but in actuality adults should be consuming anywhere from 15.5 cups for men to 11.5 cups for women and even more than that if you exercise regularly.

 

 So, what makes water a miracle drink anyways?

·         Gets rid of headaches

·         Improves mood / boosts energy

·         Relieves fatigue

·         Relieves constipation / improves digestion

·         Promotes weight loss / reduces food cravings

·         Boost immune system

·         Improves complexion

·         Regulates body temperature

·         Flushes out toxins

 

The best way to get more water each day is to simply start drinking as much as you can! The more water you drink, the more your body will crave it.

 

Here are some helpful hints to drink more water:

 

1.    Fill up two 32 oz. bottles of water. Drink one before noon and the other before bedtime.

2.    Try adding different fruits and herbs to water such as strawberry basil, lemon lavender, or cucumber mint.

3.    Look for sparkling water if you are used to the carbonation of sugar.

4.    Eat water-filled foods such as cucumber or watermelon.

5.    Set an alarm on your phone to drink one 8 oz. glass of water every hour you are awake that day.

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Reducing Plastic Waste and Exposure

Did you know humanity now produces roughly its own weight in plastic every year? Did you know American’s alone use over 500 million straws a day? Did you know the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year?

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So, what are the negative effects of plastic pollution and what are some ways we can help reduce this problem?

            For the last 50 years, the consumption of plastics has continued to rise all over the world. Experts say by the year 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the middle of the ocean is said to be 3 times the size of France. Plastic pollution is also incredibly toxic to human health. Did you know babies are born pre-polluted? In other words, babies are polluted at birth. (For more information visit: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/babies-are-polluted-at-birth-new-report-says/625/). Also, the plastic packaging on all our favorite grocery store items can contain up to 148 unknown toxins – toxins that eventually wind up in landfills or the ocean.

            Basically, the more plastic we use – the more toxins we invite into our homes, our bodies, and our environment. Not only do we want to be aware of the relevance of chemical exposure to our health, but also take important steps to reduce that exposure. Dr. Leo Trasande, co-director of Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center explains “There are some safe and simple steps that a family can [take] to limit exposure to chemicals in the environment. They can make sure their home doesn’t have lead-based paint hazards, they can limit their consumption of methylmercury in some fish, they can eat organic, they can limit spraying pesticides in homes, they can have their home tested for radon, they can make sure their water supply isn’t contaminated by arsenic etc.”  In addition to Dr. Trasande’s recommendations, below are 10 more ways to help reduce plastic waste in your home and community!

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1.    Carry reusable shopping bags – some businesses hand them out for free at events and several grocery stores sell them for around $1.00 Try keeping a bunch in the back of your car at all times!

2.    Give up bottled water – there are hundreds of stainless steel water or glass water bottle options all over the internet or at several local grocery stores.

3.    Carry a stainless-steel mug/thermos – if you go to coffee shops regularly, ask them to put your coffee in your mug/thermos instead!

4.    Give up plastic straws – carry your own reusable straws or just nix them from your lifestyle completely.

5.    Return any berry, cherry tomato, or other plastic containers to your local farmer’s market for the farmers to reuse!

6.    Buy milk from a local source – they usually come in glass containers instead of plastic.

7.    Research homemade shampoos, deodorant’s, and toothpaste to place in glass containers instead of buying plastic bottled toiletries.

8.    Pick up reusable snack bags and sandwich bags from Amazon!

9.    Replace all your plastic containers with reusable glass containers.

10. Put your recycling bin to use! Look up all the things your local recycler’s take and make sure to recycle as many things as you can.

Sources:

https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

https://www.ecowatch.com/

http://plastic-pollution.org

https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/science

https://www.von.gov.ng/world-environment-day-moving-towards-a-plastic-free-future/

https://gippslandunwrapped.com/

What is Kombucha? + 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking It!

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 What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea, sugar, and a SCOBY. A SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Don’t get freaked out by the bacteria and yeast though! Our guts need extra special bacteria and yeast in order to function properly and maintain a healthy body and lucky for us kombucha is a wonderful way to get some of those probiotics. Once the tea and sugar ferment with the SCOBY, the beverage becomes carbonated and contains those probiotics plus B vitamins, enzymes, and acetic, gluconic, and lactic acid. Kombucha is a perfect option to enjoy if you are trying to nix soda because it still contains the bubbly carbonation you may crave. BONUS – it only contains 4 g of sugar per cup which is about ¼ of the sugar in your favorite soda.

Did you know?

Kombucha has been around for about 2000 years and is known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese. So, let’s talk about some powerful benefits to this Immortal Health Elixir!

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What does it taste like?

            Plain kombucha tastes slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and slightly acidic. However, there are several brands at your local grocery store that flavor kombucha with different fruits and juices to counteract the acidic taste. Just be mindful of the sugar content on the label! A lot of kombucha companies will add in unnecessary sugars. Look for brands with 4 grams per cup.

10 Reasons to Drink Kombucha

1.      Improves Digestion

2.      Immunity Boost

3.      Natural Detoxification and Liver Support

4.      Mood and Energy Enhancement

5.      Helps Managing Diabetes

6.      Arthritis Prevention

7.      Cancer Prevention

8.      Beneficial for Weight Loss

9.      Cholesterol Reduction

10.  Antibacterial Agent

Where can you buy kombucha?

            Several grocery stores have begun to carry kombucha. I have seen kombucha on the shelves of Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Kroger, Meijer, Wal Mart, Aldi, and Publix.

Best Kombucha Brands:

·         GT’s Kombucha

·         Health Ade

·         Humm Kombucha

·         Kevita

·         Humm

·         Brew Dr.

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Make Your Own! Kombucha Recipe:

Supplies – large metal jar or bowl with a wide opening, 1 large cloth or dish towel, 1 SCOBY disk (found at health stores)

Ingredients – 8 C water, ½ C cane sugar, 4 tea bags, 1 C pre-made kombucha

Directions – Boil water in a large pot. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in tea bags and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Discard tea bags and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add mixture to large jar. Drop in SCOBY and pre-made kombucha. Cover with cloth or thin towel. Keep secure with a rubber band. Allow mixture to ferment for 7-10 days.

Resources:

https://draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday/

http://www.wideopeneats.com/10-health-benefits-kombucha/

https://wellnessmama.com/23994/kombucha-benefits/

https://www.revivalhomesteadsupply.com/article/brewing-kombucha

 

Just Take 10 Minutes + Healthy Trail Mix

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Did you know that the average American sits for almost 10 hours a day? Sitting for more than 4 hours has been shown to lead to reduced metabolic rate, disrupted sugar levels, and increased blood pressure. In turn, these traits can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, backaches, and depression. All things we should try to avoid!

So, how can you reduce your chances of getting any of these side effects? Just take 10 minutes!

Every hour to two hours, make it a priority to walk for 10 minutes. You can walk outside, you can walk around the office a few times, you can walk in the parking, just wherever! Grab a coworker, listen to a podcast, or walk in silence. When you take 10 minutes to walk, you are doing more than just reducing the amount of hours you sit at work.

Taking frequent breaks has been shown to improve mental health and clarity, improve creativity levels, reduce stress, curb your appetite, and improve your mood.

Here are some extra options that can help reduce the amount of hours you sit per day:

1. Standing desks

2. Desk Mounts/Risers

3.Sit-Stand Chairs

4. Bosu Ball Chair (still technically “sitting,” but you are engaging your core to balance!)

Need an extra boost to get you up every 10 minutes? Grab a small handful of this healthy trail-mix to eat when you get back!

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Healthy Trail Mix!

-2 C almonds

-2 C cashews

-1 C dried cranberries

-1 C dark chocolate chips

-1 C coconut chips (found at most grocery stores!)

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and transfer to an airtight container.

 

 

10 Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer!

 

By: Anastasia McAdams https://lettuceattend.com/

            The weather is warmer, the sun is brighter, and the days are longer…I think it’s safe to say summer is here to stay a while. Let’s break down 10 ways you can stay healthy this summer!

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1.     Drink plenty of water (and then drink more water after that!)

Many experts recommend drinking 8-10 cups of water per day, but with the summer heat you will most likely be sweating a lot! Try to aim for 1 gallon of water a day. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go!

*BONUS TIP* Whenever you start to crave sweets, chug a glass of water. Most likely you are just dehydrated!

2.     Wear sunscreen

Probably one of the most important tips right after drinking water! Aim for a sunscreen that is 30 SPF, broad spectrum, and water resistance. Try to apply sunscreen every 40 minutes. It is always best to research sunscreens that are non-toxic as well. Did you know 1 in 5 American develop skin cancer in their life? Lather up!

3.     Avoid being outside at 3 p.m.

Several studies have shown that 3 p.m. is the hottest time of the day. Avoid going outside at this time and stick to indoor activities when you can. If you do have to be outside, move slower! Don’t overdue yourself in the heat.

4.     Wear a hat

Along with sunscreen, wear a hat whenever possible. You not only want to avoid your face getting sun damage, but you want to protect your eye sight as well! Try keeping a ball cap in your car, purse, gym bag, etc. that way you always have one laying around to throw on.

5.     Eat hydrating foods

Watermelon, cucumber, celery, grapes, and berries are all wonderful foods to eat to stay hydrated. Did you know watermelon is made up of 92% water? Try swapping watermelon for those late-night ice cream cravings or even throw it on the grill! Grilled watermelon tastes great! Another fun food to eat is popsicles! Try making a fun and healthy popsicle recipe to enjoy with your kids.

6.     Take a walk after dinner

The temperature drops a little in the evenings so be sure to fit in a walk after dinner if you can. Taking evening walks is a great way to help your food digest, spend time with loved ones, help you unwind.

7.     Avoid drink too much alcohol

Now, don’t ditch alcohol altogether because that only leads to you craving it more! Instead, cut back to 1 – 2 drinks per week. Alcohol can dehydrate you very quickly, so it is best to avoid it altogether if you can. Try swapping alcohol for sparkling water, smoothies, vegetable and fruit juices, or infused waters.

8.     Eat smaller meals

With the temperatures being so hot, the last thing you will want to do is eat a large meal. Eating a large meal can only leave you feeling lethargic! Instead, aim for smaller quantities that help your energy levels, not deplete them.

9.     Bike to work

Mornings are usually a little cooler temperature wise so try riding your bike to work! It is hard to do much physical activity outside during the winter months so enjoy these few months where you have the chance to bike or walk to work!

10. Visit your local Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Markets are a wonderful way to make sure you are eating seasonally. Certain fruits and vegetables grow best in certain seasons for a reason…because that is when it is the best time for your body to eat them! Try visiting the market and researching fun ways to cook the produce you picked up. Also, never hesitate to talk to the Farmer you are purchasing from.

 

 

Sources:

https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-much-water-is-in-a-watermelon

https://www.almanac.com/fact/what-is-the-hottest-time-of-dayr

https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs

http://peaksfashion.com/summer-health-tips-to-avoid-risks/