Category

Nutrition

The Best Foods for Pre- and Post-Workout

By Nutrition No Comments

You’ve committed to an exercise routine, but do you find you run out of energy halfway through your workout? Or maybe you feel good during your workout but kind of crash a half-hour later?

Your body requires proper nutrition to perform optimally. With this in mind, here are the best foods to eat before and after your workout.

OPTIMAL PRE-WORKOUT NUTRITION

Eating the right foods before your workout will help to fuel your body so you can perform your best. Here are some of the best foods to eat before your workout.

Carbohydrates

The glucose derived from carbs will help to power your muscles during your workout. Some great carb options for a pre-workout snack are bananas, whole wheat toast, oatmeal, fruit salad, and pasta.

Protein

Eating protein before exercise has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis. Eating protein before your workout will help your muscles recover and help you to see more gains.

Some good pre-workout protein options include eggs, meats, yogurt, and whey protein drinks. If you opt for the protein shakes, just be sure your protein powder doesn’t contain copious amounts of sugar or unnecessary fillers.

Fat

Glycogen from carbs is what will help fuel your shorter, high-intensity workouts, but to fuel your longer moderate-intensity workouts, you’ll want to make sure you eat some healthy fats before your workout. Some great fat options are eggs, full-fat dairy, avocado, and fatty fish like salmon.

OPTIMAL POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION

You’ve eaten the right foods to power your body through your workout and now you are done, stretched, and showered. That doesn’t mean your work is done. Your post-workout nutrition is just as important as your pre-workout nutrition.

You see, when you were working out, your muscles used up all of your glycogen stores for fuel. Some of the proteins in your muscles also got broken down and damaged by physical activity. Your body naturally wants to rebuild and replenish and so you’ve got to make sure you give it the right tools to do so.

And guess what those tools are? They are the very same MACRO nutrients you gave your body before your workout: carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Here are a few more ideas of foods to try under each category:

Carbs

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice cakes
  • Potatoes
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables

Protein

  • Cottage cheese
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar
  • Tuna

Fats

  • A salad with olive oil
  • Nut butter
  • Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)

The bottom line is, if you give your body the proper nutrition, it will work and work hard for you, so you can reach your fitness goals! So be sure to eat the right foods before and after each workout.

 

SOURCES:

 

How to Kick the Cravings and Retrain Your Tastebuds for a Healthier Diet

By Nutrition No Comments

Do you tend to opt for a donut and vanilla latte in the morning? Does your lunch typically include a soda? Do you always have dessert with dinner and maybe even a sweet treat before bed?

Do you also find that the more sugary foods you eat, the more you crave them and the hungrier you feel?  It is indeed a vicious cycle!

The good news is, there are actual ways you can STOP the cravings for sweets and junk food and retrain your tastebuds to want healthy foods. Use the following tips to help you get healthy once and for all!

Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

When we eat foods high in simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread, it causes a blood sugar spike, which leads to more sugar cravings. In order to get a handle on your tastebuds and overall health, you really need to cut out refined carbs and replace them with complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.

Eat More Protein

Research has uncovered an interesting fact: your body will force you to eat in order to get enough protein! That’s why when you eat a lot of carbs you still feel really hungry and keep eating. It’s because your body NEEDS way more protein to be healthy than you are giving it. Eat more quality protein from meats, eggs, and dairy. You’ll find that a lot of your cravings will quickly subside and you’ll feel fuller longer.

Eat More Healthy Fats

Healthy fats found in foods like fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and avocados are important for your overall health. And, like protein, they will help to satiate you. Fat is also important for brain health. Many mood disorders, like depression, stem from a lack of healthy fats in the diet. When we feel depressed or anxious, we tend to reach for unhealthy comfort foods laden with trans fats and refined sugars. So be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats.

Stay Hydrated

We think of hydration as getting enough water in the diet. But hydration is about ensuring we have a proper balance of electrolytes. Just as our body will crave all kinds of foods in an effort to get enough protein, it will also try to get you to eat to get enough salt and other important electrolytes like calcium and potassium. Try using sea salt instead of refined table salt, and/or opt to take an electrolyte supplement every day.

When you know WHY your body is craving certain foods – because it is trying to get you to eat what it REALLY needs – then you can take the appropriate steps to stop the cravings and get healthy once and for all!

 

SOURCES:

 

Intuitive Eating During COVID-19

By Nutrition No Comments

COVID-19 can be compared to freshmen year of college – it’s stressful, you feel overwhelmed, and it’s way too easy to pack on an extra 15 pounds! Many of us, having been stuck at home and dealing with stress for the past 4-5 months, have found our eating habits have taken a nosedive.

So how do we remedy this?

Many of us are still in lockdown mode and still dealing with the fear and stress of the pandemic. Are we supposed to try and put ourselves on a strict diet so we can lose weight and get healthy? Strict diets almost never work for most people, particularly when they are dealing with a stressful situation.

A far better solution is to turn to intuitive eating.

What is Intuitive Eating Exactly?

Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based, mind-body nutritional approach that helps people honor their body and their health. By listening to the body and giving it what it needs nutritionally, you are able to meet your physical and psychological needs.

Now let’s talk about what intuitive eating is NOT.

It is NOT a diet or a specific food plan. It is not something where you restrict certain foods or count calories, carbs, or macros. Dieting and food restriction has never worked long-term. It is not sustainable.

But intuitive eating IS sustainable. This is not a diet but a new way to become self-aware and practice self-love and self-care.

How Does it Work?

Most diets put foods into one of two categories: Spinach goes into the “good” category and cake goes into the “bad” category. Intuitive eating gives a person permission to view all food as good and to eat whatever you like because you are trusting your body to tell you what it wants and needs. Anytime we can tune out the exterior world and tune into ourselves, we are far more apt to find balance and optimal health.

Getting Started

There are a few steps I always recommend clients take to get started with intuitive eating.

1. Start Listening

From a young age, we’re taught to listen to others. But rarely is a young person taught how to tune into themselves. It’s time you start. Check-in with yourself throughout the day to see how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Just begin to listen to your own inner voice more over the coming days and weeks.

2. Drop Those Judgements

What foods have you been told are an absolute no-no? Red meat? Butter? Sugar? It’s time to start reevaluating what you have been told by others and let your body tell you what is “good” and “bad” for YOU.

3. Eat More

If you are someone who comes from a diet mentality that has had you eat less, try and eat more and see how your body responds. Remember, you want to really LISTEN to what your body tells you. Eat 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. Do you find you’re still hungry? Do you find you get full easily?

Intuitive eating works and it can help you if you’re dealing with stress eating from COVID. If you need any help or guidance with this new lifestyle, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

SOURCES:

4 Stay-Fit Tips for People Who Hate Exercise

By Nutrition, Sports / Exercise No Comments

Hate exercising? You’re definitely not alone.

It seems that each year, millions of people around the country start off with good intentions, committing to an exercise plan, only to quit completely a few weeks later.

Look, we understand, exercising is not easy. It’s hard work, but it’s hard work that’s really important for your health and overall well-being. And we want to make sure the next time you commit to an exercise plan, you STAY committed.

So, with that in mind, here are 4 tips that will help you stay fit, even when you hate exercise:

Tip #1: Have Fun

No one says you have to go to the gym 5 days a week and do circuit training. If you hate going to the gym, then find something you actually enjoy doing. Do you like swimming? Hiking? Kayaking? Dancing? Playing basketball? There are PLENTY of ways you can get your body moving, condition your heart while building some lean muscle. Find something you love to do and you’ll actually do it more.

Tip #2: Give Yourself Some Time

The science is out and it says that it takes roughly 30 days for a human being to form a new habit. So you can expect that days 1-29 are going to be challenging to ensure you work out. That’s okay. Just be sure to give yourself adequate time to allow this new habit to form. If you do, you’ll find it does indeed get easier to incorporate exercise into your life.

Tip #3: Build Exercise into Your Daily Life

Some people will swear until they are blue in the face that “they just don’t have time for exercising.” Well, you can easily make time if you build exercise into your life. For instance, if you try and spend time with the family each day, why not get the family to go on a family bike ride after dinner?

If you need to spend an hour each day reading through student papers, why not read through them while on the stationary bike? There are ways you can kill 2 birds with one proverbial stone, so look for ways to do it in your own life.

Tip #4: Take Baby Steps

Too many people make HUGE goals that are simply unrealistic. For example, someone may make a goal to lose 40 pounds in 3 months. Well, that’s not only unrealistic, but it’s also not even healthy.

Someone else may have a goal of running a marathon in 3 months. Well, if you’ve never run a day in your life, that’s also not very realistic.

When starting out, set small goals that you can easily achieve. As an example, your first goal may be to consistently swim for half an hour, three days a week for one month. That’s very doable. And when you reach a goal, it gives you confidence in your abilities and energy to keep going and reach even more goals.

If you follow these 4 tips, you will be able to stick to an exercise plan and see positive results from your efforts. Who knows? You may even learn to LIKE exercising.

 

SOURCES:

Balance Your Mood With Food: How Good Nutrition Supports Mental Health

By General, Nutrition No Comments

Our brains are magnificent machines: while the brain controls rudimentary yet complex functions like your heartbeat, breathing and motor functions, it also controls a multitude of other complicated tasks such as creating your thoughts and feelings. A machine this advanced, that runs 24/7, clearly requires fuel to run. The fuel you supply to your hard-working brain is none other than the food and drink you consume.

Like any other machine, the quality of your brain function is relative to the quality of the fuel you put in it. Foods rich in nourishment such as complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help stabilize blood sugar levels while increasing your brain’s energy. When it comes to feeding the brain, you get back what you put in.

Selenium

Selenium is an important mineral that your body relies on to perform many of its basic functions. Studies have shown that people with a low amount of selenium in their diet have an elevated rate of depression, irritability, and anxiety. While too little selenium causes health problems, too much can be toxic. According to the National Institute of Health, 55 mcg of selenium a day is the sweet spot for adults 19 years of age and older.

Brazil nuts are by far the most selenium-rich food available. An ounce (about 7 or 8) of brazil nuts contains 544 mcg of selenium per serving, so two or three brazil nuts a day is more than sufficient to get your RDA of selenium. You can also get your 55 mcg a day with 3 to 4 ounces of halibut, roasted ham, or shrimp. Cottage cheese, roast chicken, oatmeal, and eggs also contain moderate amounts of selenium, around 10 to 20 mcg per serving.

Folate (Folic Acid)

Studies have shown that an increased intake of folate or folic acid is associated with a lower risk of depression. Folate is found in a wide variety of food, with spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and brussels sprouts containing the highest levels. You can also get your recommended 400 mcg of folate with avocado, peanuts, orange juice, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, and whole grains, among many other foods.

Omega-3

Dopamine and serotonin are chemicals in the brain that are produced by nerve cells. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer, and dopamine controls your feelings of pleasure and reward. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties in them, and they effect the transmission of dopamine and serotonin. Omega-3 also has a role in brain development and function, with the ability to stabilize moods. Omega 3 foods include salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and chia seeds.

There are many other nutritious foods that will serve as prime fuel for your brain, helping you perform, feel and be at your very best. Using this list to help change your eating habits for the better is a great step in the right direction.

If you’re struggling with a mood disorder and would like some support and guidance to live a more balanced life, contact my office today so we can set up a time to talk.

Satisfied Versus Full – How to Make Sure You’re Not Overeating

By Nutrition No Comments

Most of us have felt that familiar feeling of overeating. We go from feeling “starved” to sort of blacking out as we shove food into our mouths and then roughly 20 minutes later feel “too full” and uncomfortable.

Why does this happen to us and so often? Well, there are three reasons, really”

The first reason and you’ve probably heard this one before (though ignored it maybe once or twice?) is that it takes time for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that you have eaten enough. This is why eating slowly is very helpful.

The second reason we tend to eat too much is simple – food tastes delicious! We don’t pay attention to whether or not we have “had enough” because we’re too busy loving how our food tastes. This is especially true when eating sweets. Have you ever taken just a few bites of brownie or ice cream and then said I’ve had enough? No, because we crave sweet foods and eat them as if our life depended on it.

And the third reason is that as humans, it seems being full is a sensation that is wired into our DNA. Our ancestors, who lived a feast and famine kind of life, ate as much as they could when food was around, so they could live off the fat when food wasn’t around. This is how the human race survived.

Of course, with a Popeye’s and Burger King on most corners of America and grocery stores open 24/7, most of us have little famine to worry about! Though our modern world has changed, our wiring hasn’t – we still eat until FULL.

But it’s important to be able to listen to your body so you can distinguish between being satisfied – or satiated – and full. So how do you tell these two sensations apart?

Mindful Eating

In order to distinguish you’ll have to start being a mindful eater, which means you will really need to pay attention to your food more. Taste and smell your food, chew thoroughly and recognize how it makes you feel. When you are mindful, you tend to eat more slowly, and this will help you recognize when you cross the line from hungry to satiated.

So being satiated really means not being hungry any longer. You’ve had just enough to satisfy your hunger pains.

Being full, on the other hand, is an uncomfortable physical feeling in your stomach. Being full means surreptitiously reaching under the table to loosen your pants.

So, here are some tips that will help you stop eating too much:

When

Only eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.

How

Eat slowly and eat mindfully, paying attention to the sensations you are experiencing.

Also, portion your food appropriately – cutting it in half and saving the other half for lunch the next day.

What

Eat clean, healthy wholesome foods that won’t leave you feeling sluggish and “off” after a meal.

If you follow these tips you will find you have much more control over how much you eat. And this means you won’t have to wear elastic waistband pants to dinner anymore or lie down soon after a meal to sleep off the pain.

 

Resources:

Five Healthy Ways to Reward Yourself

By General, Nutrition No Comments

For many of us, when we think of a treat or a reward, our minds turn to food: our favorite chocolate cake at the local bakery, or a big, cheesy slice of pizza. If food doesn’t do it for you, you might want to reward yourself with some other unhealthy habit such as expensive purchases or overindulging in alcohol.

When we’re looking to treat ourselves, it’s usually to reward a positive change or goal we’ve reached through discipline and consistent effort. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, turning to an unhealthy habit to reward good behavior can possibly un-do your hard work; at the very least, you’re taking a step back from your healthy change instead of taking a more positive step forward. If you want to find ways to treat yourself that won’t impede your progress, read on to discover five healthy ways you can reward yourself for a job well done.

1. Relax & Rejuvenate

There might be no better way to spoil yourself than a massage or day spa treatment. Schedule yourself for a massage, a facial treatment, a mud bath or a hot stone massage. You might also want to visit a hot spring, where you can relax surrounded by nature in warm, geothermal pools.

2. Get a Makeover

A makeover is a great way to celebrate hitting a goal. Get a manicure, a new haircut or hire a professional makeup artist to create a new look. You can also consult a personal stylist to help you update your wardrobe.

3. Enjoy Some Alone Time

Some alone time might be just what you need to treat yourself. Take a day off work and plan a “stay-cation” for yourself. Take a bubble bath, find a new podcast to listen to, have a cup of hot tea or coffee while you curl up with a new book or binge-watch some shows on your streaming service. You can also go out by yourself and enjoy a movie or visit an art gallery.

4. Plan a Night Out

If spending time with loved ones is something you crave, plan a fun night out with friends. Find a comedy club, a festival, concert or sporting event to attend.

5. Take a Day Trip

Plan a day trip to a locale you’ve been meaning to visit. Plan a mountain hike or a visit to a beach or lake and enjoy a swim and a healthy picnic. If you’re looking for something more active, consider canoeing, horseback riding or a bike ride. If something relaxing is more your speed, take a long drive and spend the night out under the stars with a loved one.

Changing out our bad habits for healthier ones takes time and effort. By learning to reward ourselves in a more positive way, we reinforce our newer, better habits while discarding the old habits that held us back.

If you’re trying to make positive changes in your life and need guidance and encouragement, a licensed professional can help. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.

5 Foods to Keep Your Immune System Strong

By Nutrition No Comments

As the events of COVID-19 continue to unfold, many of us are focusing on how we can keep ourselves and our families as healthy as possible. While social distancing and increased hand washing can be very effective at stopping the spreading of the Corona virus, it is equally important to keep our immune systems strong.

With this in mind, here are some of the absolute best foods you can eat to help support your immune system:

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are loaded with powerful antioxidants. In fact, they contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can boost your immune system. A 2016 study found that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. The researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get sick with respiratory tract infections and the common cold.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is the aromatic spice that makes curry yellow. It is also often used in alternative medicine thanks to its active compound curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to improve a person’s immune response because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

3. Spinach

Popeye knew that spinach would help him be stronger. But I wonder if he knew how good it was for his immune system. Spinach contains vitamin C & E, as well as beneficial flavonoids and carotenoids. Not only are vitamin C & E great for the immune system, but research shows flavonoids may help prevent common colds in otherwise healthy people. So, it stands to reason it may help protect against other viruses as well.

4. Citrus Fruits

Most of us, when we feel an illness coming on, reach for more vitamin C-rich foods. But what is it about vitamin C specifically that makes it so good for our immune systems?

Vitamin C is believed to increase the production of white blood cells. These are the cells responsible for attacking foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.

Some popular citrus fruits high in vitamin C include:

  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • lemons
  • limes
  • clementines

Unlike other animals whose bodies do produce vitamin C, humans must get their vitamin C from the foods they eat or through supplementation. So be sure to add more citrus fruits to your diet.

5. Red Bell Peppers

We can’t talk about vitamin C without mentioning that ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain even more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. So if you prefer veggies to fruits, then be sure to eat more red bell peppers.

While this is not an exhaustive list of immune-boosting foods, it will get you started eating right so you can stay healthy during this pandemic. It’s also important to stay hydrated and eliminate sugars and trans fats from your diet as well.


SOURCES:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412