Sunday, November 22, 2009

10 SIMPLE ways to improve your diet

People ask me all the time how they can:
-lose weight
-lower their blood pressure
-overcome chronic constipation
-etc, etc

Although there are changes you could make specific to each of these issues, there are several easy ways you can improve your health across the board. There are simple things you can do that will improve digestion/elimination, help energize you and allow your body to function at its best.

1. Water - Your body is roughly 70% water and most people's diet is very dehydrating (processed foods, soft drinks, coffee, to name a few). This can lead to headaches, constipation, water retention (your body will hold onto water when it feels it isn't going to be replaced), buildup of toxins, among a wide range of other problems. Drinking an adequate amount of water daily will help improve metabolism, satiate hunger, and is a great start to feeling better and living your healthiest life!!
-Start your day with a large glass of water - your body has been fasting all night and drinking a glass of water is the best way to flush out those toxins
-Buy a stainless steel water bottle and keep it with you - this is a sure fire way to drink more water throughout that day
-Instead of drinking your calories (and the added sugar) opt for a glass of water when eating out

2. Replace low fiber foods with high fiber foods
-this is as easy as: once you use up the white rice you have been eating, start buying brown rice, brown basmati rice, cous cous, or quinoa as a healthier replacement. Variety ensures you won't get bored with eating the same things every day and allows more creativity in the kitchen. Whole grains provide more than just fiber, they also provide tons of protein, b vitamins and minerals. They help fill you up and unlike white, refined rice don't rob your body of its nutrient stores in order to be digested and absorbed.

3. Prepare
-the easiest way to ensure you are eating healthy is to be prepared. a great way to do this is to make food ahead of time, make a menu for the week and have healthy and easy snacks on hand.
-Making a rough menu for the week helps take some of the pressure of meal time.
-If a meal you are making calls for rice, go ahead and make more than you need and then you are already one step ahead at the next meal. Extra grain can also be eaten for breakfast - just add some dried fruit, a little non dairy milk and sweetener and you have a healthy and quick meal.
- When making a meal, consider doubling it and freezing it for later use.
-If you know what you are going to be eating the rest of the week (menu planning) you can go ahead and pre cut veggies a few days in advance.
-Muffins and waffles can be made ahead of time and frozen
-Consider buying dried beans, soaking and cooking a large batch and keeping them on hand in the freezer. They can be thawed when needed or most of the time added frozen right to whatever you are cooking. Dried beans are much cheaper that canned and there is little waste, nothing added...some canned beans contain high fructose corn syrup.

4. Eat raw every day
-salads, carrots and dip, dried fruit, fresh fruit, raw nuts and seeds added to meals,etc
-raw foods contain all their nutrients and are extremely healthy, filling you up with fiber and providing a wide range of nutrition.

5. Eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of animal protein you are consuming
-Even small amounts of animal protein have been shown to increase your risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and a plethora of other dangerous and life altering health conditions. I recommend everyone interested in health to read The China Study.
-Start by making animal protein a side dish rather than a main dish. Eat smaller portions, eat it only a couple times a week or reserve it for special occasions.

6. Eat a varied diet
-colorful fruits and vegetable indicate a variety of nutrients are present. Nutrients that are necessary for health and wellness. When you eat a variety of foods, including grains, you are ensuring all your nutrients needs are covered.

7. Keep a food diary
- A food diary is a great way to observe what (and why) you are eating. It is helpful to include times, what you ate, how you were feeling and then make sure to take some time to see where you could have improved your diet that day. A food diary also helps to identify foods that may be causing some type of reactions or problems for you (headaches, water retention, fatigue, etc)

8. Chew foods thoroughly
-Taking the time to chew your food well helps with digestion, allows you to realize faster when you are full -therefore the less you eat

9. Make meals from scratch
-even if only once a week to being with. making meals at home from healthy ingredients,devoid of additive and preservatives is very important for overall health. Being in control of what foods you and your family consume is essential to making sure you are eating the healthiest, most nutritious foods. Make it a point to try one new recipe a week and move on from there.

10. Exercise
-Walking, running, yoga, pilates, even dancing around the living room for 10 minutes a day are all great ways to burn calories, feel energized, improve metabolism and feel better overall
-Make goals for yourself, even if it's only adding 5 minutes more a week to your routine, it will make a difference
-If you have been inactive for any length of time it always wise to check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Friday, November 13, 2009

rug making

I really have been wanting to make something lately and I don't really have time to sew right now ~ so I decided to pick up my knitting worm and work on making a small rug.










I have also added several crafty books to my Swaptree "want" list.
1. Sewing Green - Betz White
2. The Creative Family - Amanda Soule
3. Handmade Home - Amanda Soule

Rocco!

p and i don't watch much tv. in fact, we have gone weeks at a time without even turning it on. it's not necessarily conscious, typically we just prefer to do other things. with that being said...i love Dr. Oz. I have not watched his new show but in the past, my mother has called me to tell me I should turn on the tv when he would make appearances on Oprah. I have also read his book, "You on a Diet," out of curiousity. He's pretty right on about health and diet.

I get Google Alerts when vegan articles and info are posted in the internet and last night one of the alerts was a clip from the Dr. Oz Show. It was an episode that involved a "meat loving" Cowboy named Rocco. Rocco was a 50 something yr old man, who basically ate meat at every meal and avoided anything that resembled a vegetable.

Anyway, after discovering that he had the heart of an 85 year old due to the amount of plaque in it, Rocco agrees to try a 28 day vegan diet. In 28 days he loses 30 lbs, drops about 6 inches from his waist, and improves his cholesterol and diabetes. In just 4 weeks, he loses 30 lbs!! this is amazing. Think of all the unneccesary extra weight people carry around with them, causing joint pain, aches, fatigue.

I get so excited about someone so unexpected attempting a vegan diet and being completely convinced! I love how simple and effective a whole foods, plant based diet can be towards complete OVERALL health improvement. It's such a no brainer that I get really frustrated when people scoff at the idea of it. The research confirms this, though sadly you don't hear much about it. There are countless studies that show that by reducing one's consumption of animal based foods, you can reverse years and years of damage to your body, many times completely eliminating the need for medication, losing weight, gaining more energy, feeling younger!!

It's not a diet of deprivation, in fact I have never eaten better! Exciting, flavor-filled foods, that are full of nutrition. Bottom line, without a doubt, eating a whole foods, plant based diet is the most beneficial thing you can do for your health.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

orange and gold and green

I love fall!!















Therapy

is thirty-one too old to still be thinking cookies can solve my problems? a cold, three nights of very little sleep and feeling a wee bit wimpy, i thought chocolate chip cookies just might be the answer. it did the trick but 4 cookies as big as my head later and i had a cookie hangover




The recipe is from one of my staple cookbooks, "La Dolce Vegan" by Sarah Kramer