Kick the Candy Craving + 1 Recipe to Help!

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By: Anastasia McAdams  

https://lettuceattend.com/

I am typing this while staring at a jar of jelly beans on my co-workers desk so you can imagine what sparked my interest to write this today! With Easter approaching, the candy aisle at Kroger is anything but sparse. But honestly, when is there not holiday candy out? Didn’t we just have Valentine’s Day candy? And Christmas candy? And Halloween candy? When does the cycle stop? We are constantly put in the position to eat candy, or cake for a co-workers birthday, or the cookies we are making for our child’s third grade class.

Now, I am not saying eating a cookie or a slice of cake every now and then is a bad thing! But what happens when you grab a handful of jelly beans around 10 am, a slice of cake around 3, and then a cookie after dinner? That would be over 60 grams of sugar and I am not even calculating in your morning coffee or orange juice, or the granola bar you ate at breakfast.

The average American consumes 82 grams of sugar PER DAY! That blows my mind. We are only recommended to consume roughly 25 grams.

Sugar has been known to cause cancer, heart problems, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cavities.

It is so easy to consume sugar in our beverages, cereals, yogurts, sauces, milks, granola bars, canned goods, etc. Sugar is everywhere.

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So how do you cut that candy craving? 

·         Try swapping soda for sparkling water or kombucha. It will take some getting used to but the more you drink water, the more you crave it! I personally love adding fresh lemons and a drop of spearmint essential oil to my water.

·         Start adding half the amount of sugar you would normally add to coffee or cookies!

·         Swap applesauce, fruit juices, and sugary smoothies with REAL, WHOLE fruits! I love a sliced apple with a heaping tablespoon of almond butter.

·         Ditch the sugar altogether and incorporate small amount of Stevia in your baked goods or coffee.

·         Add pure maple syrup to pancakes instead of “pancake syrups” like Aunt Jemima.  (My recipe below uses maple syrup too!)

·         Try researching “Whole 30 Recipes” on Google! You will find so many recipes that have NO SUGAR at all!

One of my favorite things to eat when I feel like I need something sweet is my Cashew Cookie Dough Balls! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like the occasional chocolate chip cookie or scoop of ice cream, but you can’t eat those things everyday! This recipe is packed with nutritious cashews for some healthy fat, oats for fiber, cacao nibs for antioxidants (while providing a slight crunch!), and a little maple syrup for some sweetness and consistency.  This recipe is so healthy you can eat it anytime of the day!

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Cashew Cookie Dough Balls  [Makes 35 tablespoon-sized bites!]

·         1 cup roasted & salted cashews

·         1 cup quick oats (or rolled – just pulse for longer!)

·         ½ cup maple syrups

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         1/3 cup cacao nibs (found on Amazon.com!)

Pulse cashews and oats in a food processor until fine and crumbly. Add in maple syrup and vanilla. Pulse until sticky and a ball begins to form. Add in cacao nibs and pulsed until combined. Roll into 35 balls on a cookie sheet. Lick the bowl clean! Freeze for an hour before enjoying! Best stored in freezer for up to 2 months.

Nutrition (per ball): 47 cal, 6 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g protein, 9 g sodium, 3 g sugar

I hope you enjoy! Feel free to find the original recipe on my blog at:

https://lettuceattend.com/2018/03/03/cashew-cookie-dough-balls/

sources:

http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption/ - .WrKkmdPwajQ

https://draxe.com/how-many-grams-of-sugar-per-day/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Breakfast Casserole + Benefits of Eggs!

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By: Anastasia McAdams  

https://lettuceattend.com/

I know you’ve heard the saying before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” But honestly, it’s true! Breakfast kick starts your metabolism, improves your concentration, and increases your energy. Many people either skip breakfast entirely or make the McDonald’s drive-thru apart of their everyday routine. Both of those options will end up taking a toll on your physical and mental health!

I also know it can be extremely tough for some people to

a.) Find the time to eat breakfast,

b.) Find the time to prepare breakfast, or

c.) Have no idea what a “healthy” breakfast looks like.

There are so many wonderful options for breakfast but for today let’s talk about the amazing benefits of eggs, a classic breakfast staple!

 

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Eggs are packed with a ton of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. There is a common myth that eggs raise your cholesterol because of the yolk, but the omega-3’s actually help lower your cholesterol.  Eggs are also perfect in improving eye health, liver health, and brain function. BONUS: They are also perfect at aiding in weight loss! So if you have trouble losing weight, try swapping that chicken biscuit for the egg casserole below!

It is also important you be careful what eggs you consume. Next time you are at the grocery store, look for eggs marked “organic” or “free-range”. Eggs are also sold at most local farmer’s markets in your area!

This recipe is VERY EASY to make. Trust me, everyone is busy and if there is one thing I love more than eggs, its quick and easy nutritious meals. Try preparing this casserole at the beginning of the week so you can enjoy it on your way to work everyday! I like to make this casserole on Sunday evenings while I am cooking dinner since the oven is usually already preheated.

 

Sweet Potato Crust Egg Casserole

(Makes 1 9x13 casserole)

-1 dozen organic eggs

-2 small sweet potatoes (or 1 large one)

-1 C mushrooms

-2 C spinach

-1 package of organic pre-cooked breakfast sausage links (I used Applegate chicken apple sausage)

-1 T Italian seasoning

-1 T basil

-3 T nutritional yeast (or regular shredded cheese!)

-2 T favorite hot sauce

-1/2 C milk of choice

-Salt and Pepper to taste

-Cooking spray (I used Coconut Oil)

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Spray a 9×13 pan with oil. Slice sweet potatoes thin. Layer sweet potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Chop mushroom. Add on top of sweet potatoes. Add spinach on top of mushrooms. Chop breakfast sausage links into bite size pieces. Add on top of spinach.

Whisk together eggs, Italian seasoning, basil, nutritional yeast, milk, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Recipe from: https://lettuceattend.com/2017/05/10/sweet-potato-crust-egg-casserole/

Sources: https://draxe.com/health-benefits-of-eggs/

Reducing Stress

When thinking about your overall wellness one of the major factors of how you feel is surrounded by your stress level. Many people believe that their stress level is unchangeable. However, our response to circumstances and how this stress affects us can be controlled. I have listed a few tips on how to effectively manage stress in your everyday life. Everyone responds to stress differently and it is important for you to know the most effective way you will handle stress when it comes.

1.      Exercise- Exercise can be a great way to help your body relax and release important hormones called endorphins which are known at the “feel-good hormones”. This can help improve your mood naturally and exercise also aids in helping you feel accomplished and can give you more self-confidence.

 

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2.      Deep Breathing and Meditation- Focusing on deep breathing and meditation can be a key in helping your body slow down and relax. By relaxing your body through this method you can release tension that could be found from the stressful situation. Helping your body release tension is important in reducing the harmful effects of stress.

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3.      Try a stress relieving tea- Teas with Kava Kava are known to help reduce stress levels and this warm tea is well-known in health and wellness and is worth having around for stressful situations.

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4.      Laugh- Laughing can be a great medicine for reducing stress! Take some time to enjoy where you are in life. Your situation will never be “perfect” and there will always be some levels of stress. Enjoying the little things and laughing daily can help. Needs some stress reliving laughs right now? 

Pun: TODAY A MAN KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AND ASKED FOR A
         SMALL DONATION TOWARDS THE LOCAL SWIMMING POOL.

         I GAVE HIM A GLASS OF WATER.

 

 

Blood Pressure 101

Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body in vessels called arteries.  So what is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries each time the heart beats (about 60-70 times a minute at rest).

Systolic (top number): Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood.

Diastolic (bottom number): When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls

High blood pressure is considered a reading of 140/90 or higher and is a serious problem to have. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms. Some people may not find out that they have it until they have trouble with their heart, brain or kidneys. Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure.

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What causes high blood pressure?

Many times high blood pressure is lifestyle or environmentally related:

v  Stress

v  Smoking

v  Overweight

 

High blood pressure is more common in older adults.

Over half of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure.

Additional Risk Factors are if you:

q  Are overweight

q  Are a man over the age of 45

q  Are a woman over the age of 55

q  Have a family history of high blood pressure

q  Have “prehypertension” (120-139/89-89)

 

Other things that can raise your blood pressure include:

q  Eating too much salt

q  Drinking too much alcohol

q  Not eating enough potassium

q  Not exercising

q  Taking certain medicines

q  Stress that is long-lasting

q  Drinking coffee

q  Smoking

 

 

 

How Can I Track My Blood Pressure?

•       Purchase an automated cuff and check your blood pressure at your convenience at home.

•       Visit your local pharmacy.  Walgreens, CVS, and many local grocery stores with pharmacies have free blood pressure check stations.

•       Write down your blood pressures in a log or download a user friendly application on your phone.

Some people’s blood pressure is high only when they visit the doctor’s office.  This condition is called “white coat” hypertension.

 

How do I prevent high blood pressure?

ü  Keeping a healthy weight.

ü  Being physically active.

ü  Following a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.

ü  Choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium.

ü  Drinking alcohol in moderation if you drink.

 

Talk to your doctor if you feel like you may be at risk or currently have high blood pressure.

 

 

 

References

•       Flegal, KM, Carroll, MD, Ogden, CL, Curtin, LR. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010; 235–241.

•       Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

•       Obesity in the United States. Tuesday November 29th, 2011. Obesity aid.org. http://www.obesityaid.org/surgical-weight-loss/obesity-in-the-united-states/

•       How to Boost Your Metabolism, Four Factors that Slow Your Metabolism;  Diabetic Living. http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/diet/tips/boost-metabolism/?page=2

•       Sierra-Johnson et al. Eating Meals Irregularly: A Novel Environmental Risk Factor for the Metabolic Syndrome. Obesity, 2008; 16 (6): 1302 DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.203

•       MacDonald, Ann; Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. Harvard Mental Health Letter. October 19, 2010 http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605

•       Healthy Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle! Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/nutrition_for_everyone/healthy_weight/drinks.htm

•       http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html

•       Powers, Scott K., and Stephen L. Dodd. Total Fitness and Wellness. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings, 2003.
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Reading Labels - Ingredients to Avoid

Reading food labels is a great way to fully understand what ingredients or preservatives you are putting in your body. Some of these products should be a red flag to let you know the potential risks of certain foods. There are ingredients that food manufacturers are allowed to add in products, but could cause negative effects to your body. Being aware of these ingredients can help you determine which foods to avoid.

Hydrogenated- This is your “key” word for knowing if your product truly has trans fats in the food. Manufacturers are allowed to put minor levels of trans fats in foods without documenting on the nutrition facts panel. Therefore, if you truly want to know if there are any traces of trans fats this is the word you should look for in the ingredients list.

·         Labels are allowed to claim zero grams of trans fat if they have fewer than 0.49 grams, according to the FDA. To avoid even trace amounts of these harmful fats, don't eat foods with partially hydrogenated oils.

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Word ending in “-ose”- If you see an ingredient in the list that ends in “-ose” this is an indicator of added sugar in your food product. Remember that 4-5 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon and can add up quickly. Examples would be: Sucrose, Galactose

·         Can you find the hidden sugar?

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 Monosodium glutamate- This is the official name for what is commonly known as MSG. In the ingredients list the full name will be spelled out as monosodium glutamate. MSG is a salt like preservative and an article from the Mayo clinic states: “Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label. MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.”

 

Sources

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102351941

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/healthy-ingredients#1

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/monosodium-glutamate/faq-20058196

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=I3yqDmqm&id=1E0AAB5C9AAB7C7ADA4008749AA8ABDAAE7B816B&q=Examples+of+Hydrogenated+Foods&simid=608019782482855940&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=zZFzWasM&id=848B7AE280D93676B351AB093671D52DFC84D05B&q=examples+of+ose+in+food+ingredients&simid=608006622707122956&selectedIndex=18&ajaxhist=0

 

 

 

 

Stretching - Beneficial for All Ages

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Static stretching seems like the “easy” part of exercise. You just lay in the floor or sit in a chair and move your muscles until they feel slight tension and then hold. Health benefits can be found by stretching a muscle for just 20 seconds every day. These benefits include increased flexibility, increased blood flow to muscles, and can prevent certain injuries. However, most of us don’t stretch on a daily basis. Why?

 

We all hear how we need cardio in our workout to strengthen our heart and weight training exercises to build muscle. But we forget about an important, and sometimes simple, aspect of exercise. Stretching can help improve your daily life by making your body feel more relaxed and your mind less stressed.  A study at the University of Illinois found that when elderly people followed a stretching program they experienced a boost in their self-esteem. “Stretching releases dopamine which helps you feel happier and more positive about the world,” says Dr. Simon Floreani, chiropractor and Ambassador for Allied Health and Prevention.

 

Stretching as often as possible will provide the most health benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that at least 3 times a week of stretching will correlate to improved range of motion. Stretching is most effective in gaining increases in range of motion after a regular workout when your muscles are “warm” and have been used. This can also be an important exercise after sitting for long periods at an office, for the elderly population, and even children. An individual’s activities will correlate which area of the body needs the most stretching. Keeping simple stretches in mind can help you stay in optimal health and overall wellness. Here are some basic stretches you can perform in less than 5 minutes.

5 Stretches that will take you less than 5 minutes

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1. Arms Above Your Head- Stretch your arms up over your head and clasp hands. Hold for 20 seconds while breathing deeply.

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2. Side Bend- While sitting in a chair stretch your arms up over your head and bend to the side, holding the stretch for 20 seconds on each side.

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3. Seated Twist- While sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the ground rotate your body to one side while holding the back of the chair. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds on each side.

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4. Chest Stretch- While sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the ground reach back and hold the sides of the chair while pushing your chest forward. Hold for 20 seconds while breathing deeply.

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5. Lower Body Stretch- While sitting in a chair extend one leg out and bend forward stretching your hands straight out in front of you. Hold for 20 seconds on each leg.                                                                   

Sources

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/fitness/training+tips/5+ways+stretching+benefits+your+health,10989

Tunwattanapong, P., Kongkasuwan, R., & Kuptniratsaikul, V. (2016). The effectiveness of a neck and shoulder stretching exercise program among office workers with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, 30(1), 64-72. doi:10.1177/0269215515575747

http://acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/acsm-issues-new-recommendations-on-quantity-and-quality-of-exercise

 

Exercise and Pregnancy 

“You need to be physically active during pregnancy. It has terrific benefits that are associated with a better pregnancy outcome and even shorter labors. It’s a win-win for baby and for mom,” says high-risk pregnancy expert Laura Riley, MD, spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and author of Pregnancy: You and Your Baby.

There are many misconceptions surrounding exercise and pregnancy. It is important to talk to your doctor about your normal routine and your exercise intentions from the very beginning of your pregnancy. The simple guidelines are that if you are on an exercise program before becoming pregnant then it is recommended to stay with this healthy habit. If you have never been on an exercise routine before and want to start then it is important to start out slow and stick with simple exercises.

Why is physical activity during pregnancy good for you? 

For healthy pregnant women, exercise can:

  • Keep your heart, body and mind healthy
  • Help you feel good and find the extra energy you need
  • Help you stay fit and gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy
  • Ease some of the discomforts you might have during pregnancy, like constipation, backaches, trouble sleeping and varicose veins (swollen veins)
  • Prevent health problems like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
  • Help your body get ready to give birth
  • Help reduce stress

Can physical activity during pregnancy hurt your baby?

With your health care provider’s OK, exercising during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. Talk to your health care provider before you start any exercise program. Ask about what kinds of activities are safe for you to do. Physical activity is not safe for all pregnant women including certain conditions and a pregnancy with twins, triplets or more (also called multiples). Being pregnant with multiples increases your chances for having preterm labor.

After the third month of pregnancy, any exercises that make you lie flat on your back, like sit-ups is not recommended. Lying on your back can limit the flow of blood to your baby.

What types of activities are best during pregnancy? 

If your provider says it’s OK for you to exercise, pick activities you think you’ll enjoy. Some hospitals and health clubs offer aerobics and prenatal yoga classes for pregnant women. Or try things you can do with your partner or friends, like walking or dancing.

  • Swimming is a great activity for pregnant women. The water supports the weight of your growing body, and moving against it keeps your heart rate up.

What kinds of activities aren’t safe during pregnancy?

Be careful and check with your provider when choosing your activities. During pregnancy, don’t do:

  • Any activity that may hurt you or cause you to fall, like horseback riding, downhill skiing, gymnastics or bike riding
  • Any sport in which you can get hit in the belly, like ice hockey, kickboxing, soccer or basketball
  • After the third month of pregnancy, any exercises that make you lie flat on your back, like sit-ups. Lying on your back can limit the flow of blood to your baby.
  • Scuba diving. This can lead to dangerous gas bubbles in your baby’s blood vessels.
  • Exercising at high altitudes (more than 6,000 feet). This can lower the amount of oxygen that reaches your baby.
  • Activities outside on hot, humid days because your body can overheat. Also, stay out of saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms.

When you exercise, drink lots of water. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Stop your activity and call your provider if you have any unusual symptoms.

Sources

http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/exercise-during-pregnancy.aspx#

http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/exercise-during-pregnancy-myth-vs-fact#1

How To: Not Kill Your Plants

Keeping a plant alive is no easy task. If you lack a green thumb {like us} we hope this guide can assist you in your indoor plant adventures. The first step to long lasting greenery is to find a potted plant or two that works with the structure of your home and lifestyle. You may have heard succulents are indestructible. This is FALSE. Lauren and I, your devoted bloggers, have successfully managed to significantly shorten the lives of this very breed. If you can relate, do not be discouraged! The following simple steps don’t require a green thumb but with a little determination, you can bring plant life to your home.
Rules of Thumb
• One of the biggest mistakes planters make is to over-love their green friends. To avoid this deadly move, choose one or two days of the week (depending on the needs of your plants) that you water. Consistency is important. If you feel the soil and it is moist, be cautious not to continue watering this plant. Dry soil = thirsty plant.
• The size of the plant and container affects the amount of water it needs. Obviously a bigger plant will need more water, and some tend to absorb water quickly so those plants might need a little extra.
• Plants living in plastic pots with holes on the bottom have more ability to drain so the roots don’t rot.
• Start out with a low budget when purchasing your first plant. Be patient, as this is a trial and error process, when discovering which plants work best for your environment. It’s important to factor in sunlight, temperature, and watering habits.
• Talk to your local nursery about the needs of your specific plant, and do your research on which plant life will most likely survive your home’s environment.

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