All posts by linda.larue

About linda.larue

Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, Creator of America

3 Tips to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Here are my top 3 tips to help beat the February Blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder S.A.D.), that I have found personally helpful both to me and clients that suffer from S.A.D.

1. Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. Being more fit along with keeping your weight in check will make you feel better about yourself, too, which will lift your mood. Working out aerobically will make your body pump out feel good endorphins, which are your body’s best mood elevators (or natural anti-depressants).

2. Get outside for 30 minutes of sun every day. Listen, I know that when it’s cold outside all you may want to do is stay inside. However, bundling up for a 30-minute walk will let the sun shine bright on your face, burn calories, and make your body pump endorphins. Try holding 2-pound dumbbells in your hands to involve your upper core, shoulders, and arms. It will increase your calorie burn by 33%. Or try snowshoeing or Nordic walking by adding ski poles, as you’ll also work your entire upper body and again burn 33% more calories. I promise you’ll feel so much better and invigorated after your walk outside. Recruit a walking buddy to talk it out too and lift your mood.

3. Light therapy box. Light therapy boxes may offer an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder. A light therapy box is a device used mainly to treat S.A.D. Its use is also being studied in other types of depression. Light therapy mimics outdoor light. This causes a biochemical change in your brain that lifts your mood and reduces symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Light therapy boxes are also known as light boxes, bright light therapy boxes and phototherapy boxes. 

You can buy a light therapy box over-the-counter, without a doctor’s prescription. Internet retailers, drugstores and even some hardware stores offer a wide variety of light therapy boxes and other light devices for seasonal affective disorder treatment.

But take caution before buying. Not all light therapy boxes being sold have been tested to make sure they’re safe and effective. Features such as light intensity, safety, cost, and style are important considerations when you buy a light box. And different light boxes work in different ways, using different parts of the light spectrum and offering different illumination intensities. That’s why it’s important to understand what you’re buying and what features to consider.

*Check with your health professional before buying a light therapy box.

Originally published in 2010

4 Ways to Cut Calories on Thanksgiving

Studies show Americans gain between 5 to 10 pounds during the fall through the winter food-fest holidays.  It’s a yearly cycle that brings us temporary enjoyment and then despair as we begin to feel our pant waists become tighter along with unsightly, muffin top bulge.  Many of us are unclear about how to prepare healthy, low calorie, low-fat meals without sacrificing taste and flavor. 

I’ve consulted with my friend Registered Dietitian, Robyn Goldberg, R.D. to learn about some healthy holiday meal makeover tips and recipes that are quick and easy.  These Calorie and cost cutting tips and recipes will make you the star of your holiday gathering and have all your girlfriends asking for your healthy holiday meal makeover secrets!   
  1. Make creamy sauces and dips “skinny” by using nonfat dairy products or using extra firm, low-fat tofu.  Tofu has a consistency that is easily implemented in desserts, puddings, whipped toppings, frostings, dressings, and creamed sauces.  Soymilk and rice milk may also be used in place of full fat or reduced fat dairy products.  De-fatting the turkey and stuffing are key healthy steps for serving lean poultry.  While the bird is resting after cooking, put the pan drippings in the freezer for 20 minutes.  The fat will congeal on the top for easy removal.  Bake the stuffing in a casserole dish instead of in the turkey where it absorbs animal fat.  Baste the turkey with low sodium broth instead of fatty drippings.
  2. Roast vegetables instead of frying them. Roasting veggies helps to enhance and intensify their flavor because it concentrates the natural sugars.  Cut the veggies into wedges or strips then, season with fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and/or oregano and brush lightly with good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until fork tender.  Using canola oil instead of margarine or extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing are healthy alternatives for butter or hydrogenated, trans-fat bottled dressings and marinades.  
  3. When you are cooking, avoid frequently tasting the food.  Munching during cooking will add calories and inches to your waistline.  A great idea to cut calories during cooking is to serve crudities of fresh veggies for you during the cooking day (then, later to your guests).  This will help fill you and your guests up—not out.  Other great low Calorie, low-fat appetizer ideas include low fat hummus with baked pita triangles or a reduced fat cracker with your favorite low-fat spread.  Try making fun and colorful fruit or veggie kabobs with your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies, which will be taste best are they are freshest and most budget friendly as they are in season.  Pick deeply colored fruit and vegetables, because they are highest in vitamins, minerals, and cancer fighting nutrients.
  4. Make a health dessert. Dessert is always a hot topic over the holidays.  Pies are commonly seen at various events.  I recommend my healthy and delicious Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust that is only 125 Calories per slice or substitute a fresh fruit cobbler to satisfy to your sweet tooth without sacrificing taste. 

 

Originally published in 2008

100 Calorie Sex & The City Skinny Cosmopolitan

Although Cosmopolitans are the signature cocktail for the Sex & The City women, one drink can total up to 300 calories plus! That’s due to the high amounts of sugar in cranberry juice and the Cointreau or triple sec, which can sometimes totaling more than 4 teaspoons of sugar (16 grams of carbohydrate) per Cosmo. Here’s a way to make it low in sugar and carbs without sacrificing flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 jigger (1.5 oz or 3 tablespoons) vodka
  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) diet cranberry juice (NOT "light"—it must say diet)
  • OR 2 teaspoons unsweetened cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice  
  • ½ tsp. orange extract
  • 3 packets Splenda

Preparation: Put ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-full of ice. Shake well. Taste for sweetness if using unsweetened cranberry juice, which is highly variable. (You may need to add another Splenda packet.) Strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a curl of lime peel. Nutritional Content: Each serving has 2.5g Carbohydrate, 105 calories.

For more low cal recipes join Linda’s Make Healthy A Lifestyle free emagazine @www.LindaLaRue.com/members.

Happy Cinco de Mayo: ONLY 112 Calorie Skinny Margarita

Most margarita recipes use highly caloric, sugary orange flavored liquors, such as curocao, triple sec or grand marnier that will bust your diet. Here’s a great recipe that is pretty much 0g carbs, and only 112 calories versus a regular margarita, which has 740 calories!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh limejuice
  • ½ cup club soda
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 shot patron silver
  • lime wedge
  • ½ tsp orange extract 

Mix together the orange extract, Splenda packets, and soda water. Put crushed ice into a shaker and pour this liquid over the ice. Add in 1 shot tequila, lemon and limejuice. Shake thoroughly and then pour into a glass. Calories: 112 per serving. Carbohydrates: 0g.

For more healthy recipes buy my SOUPer Skinny Soup Diet ebook @http://www.LindaLaRue.com/store.

 

Green UR Diet: Curb UR Appetite

If your goal is to live a greener lifestyle, begin by eating less. Did you know that in 1985 Americans ate using 9-inch plates, and today the average plate is 12 inches? That’s a whopping 33% increase? You can use the Eating Green Calculator to discover the environmental impact of your eating habits.

To eat most healthfully when assembling your dinner plate, try this visual: 1/2 your plate should be veggies, 1/4 should be whole grain, and 1/4 should be protein. And, use a healthy plate size is 9 inches—not 12!

For more yummy & healthy nutrition tips & recipes, join my FREE Make Healthy A Lifestyle emag@http://www.LindaLaRue.com/members!

3 Healthy, Salty-Sweet Snack Solutions for Stress Eating

 Stress can oftentimes derail your diet, causing you to reach for high calorie unhealthy snacks that will leave you only more depressed and stressed out. It’s a vicious, downwardly spiraling circle. Nutritionists agree that when stress triggers our emotional eating urges we crave either salty or sweet foods first. My solution is to substitute naturally sweet and moderately salty healthy snacks that you can quickly put together, then store in your pantry and/or freezer. My secret weapon to help fight salt and sugar urges is adding spice to all my healthy snacks. Heat (capsaicinoids) generates feel good hormones, endorphins, which is the perfect solution to combat stress. 

Here are my 3 favorite healthy recipe snacks 

 Caliente Cottage Cheese & Fruit

This is one of my favorite snacks, because it combines sweet and salty to satisfy both my stressed induced emotional food cravings. 

    Ingredients

    ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese

    ½ cup of your favorite fresh seasonal fruit

    ½ tsp. salt

    ¼ tsp. fresh cracked pepper

    ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper 

    Mix all ingredients together & enjoy! Serving size: 1 cup. Calories: 130. 

 

Latin-Asian Spicy Roasted Soy Nuts

This healthy, high protein salty snack stores well for a few weeks. Plus, I can place them on Baggies for an easy go-anywhere snack when I’m on the go. 

    Ingredients

    16-ounce packet raw soy nuts

    1 T. low sodium soy sauce

    1 ½ tsp. Kosher or sea salt

    ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

    ½ tsp. ancho chili powder 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees C.

Place raw nuts in mixing bowl. Coat with low sodium sauce to moisten nuts to hold spices. Then, add salt, cayenne and ancho chili powder.

Spray large cookie shoot with non-fat cooking spray. Place nuts on sheet then, back for 10 minutes or until light, golden brown.

Serving size: 1/3 cup. Calories: 140. 

 Spicy Mexican Dark Hot Chocolate

There is nothing more comforting when it’s cold or nasty outside than a cup of hot cocoa.  Using a high-grade, unsweetened dark chocolate powder gives this hot cocoa a rich, deeply intense, chocolate flavor without the Calories.  The spices (with a touch of salt), add a few additional layers of depth. I recommend using a 60 to 70% unsweetened dark cocoa powder.  You can readily find and purchase high-grade cocoa powder at Costco (or try a restaurant supply store) for a reasonable price, (and cocoa lasts forever).



 

             Ingredients

    1 T 60 to 70% unsweetened cocoa powder

    1 capful of pure vanilla extract

    1/8 tsp. salt

    ¼ tsp Mexican cinnamon

    1/8 tsp. cayenne powder

    ¼ tsp. ancho chili powder

    3/4 cup 2% milk

    3 packets of Splenda or 1 tsp. of sucralose

1. Heat cocoa powder, vanilla, milk, salt, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, cinnamon and 3 packets of Spenda or sucralose in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir well with a small whisk until your desired temperature, making sure not to bring to boil.  

2. Pour into cup.  *You may add 1 T of nonfat real dairy whipped topping, as it is a “free food” (meaning negligible calories). Serving size: ½ cup.  Nutrition Content:  155 Calories, 13.5g fat, 1.5g protein, 16 carbohydrates, 100g sodium. 

For more healthy recipes to help you lose weight and keep it off forever, buy my SOUPer Slim Diet eBook and join my free digital magazine, Make Healthy A Lifestyle. 
 

 

Recipe: M Caf

Instead of drinking green beer this St. Paddy’s Day, try eating your fav green veggie. Lately, I’ve fallen in LOVE with M Café’s Kale with Spicy Peanut Dressing. (I honestly can’t get enough of it.) Besides being delish, kale is also one of those super foods. Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties, and is considered to have anti-inflammatory (or anti-ageing) properties. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxnthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin are encouraged to avoid this food since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are often attempting to lower.

Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Sulforaphane, which is formed when cruciferates are chopped or chewed, triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, and inhibits chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies, induces colon cancer cells to commit suicide. Here’s the recipe below & I hope you enjoy—and it’s macro:)!

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch kale?
  • ¼ cup peanuts, chopped for garnish
  • ¼ red onion, halved and sliced for garnish Spicy Peanut Dressing*
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ½ T honey?
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T brown rice vinegar?
  • ½ tsp. garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. ginger, minced?
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper?
  • 1/8 tsp. salt?
  • 1 ½ oz hot water

DIRECTIONS

1. Remove the kale from the stems. ?Add a pinch of Salt to a pot of boiling water, then blanch the Kale for 3 min. ?Remove the Kale from the boiling water and shock it in a container of ice water. ?Finally, squeeze the excess water out of the cooled Kale.

2. To make Spicy Peanut Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients into a blender. Blend until mixture turns into a smooth consistency.

3. Drizzle the dressing on top of the Kale and mix the kale and dressing together until kale is evenly coated. Garnish with sliced red onions and chopped peanuts.

(Makes enough to dress 2 large bunches of kale. Stores well refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.) Serving size: ½ cup. *For more healthy recipes join my free digital magazine, Make Healthy A Lifestyle @http://www.LindaLaRue.com.

Top 10 Workout Playlist: Get GLEEful:)!

GLEE is a noun defined as, “being full of joy”. It’s also one of my favorite, new TV shows this year having won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy. I love their diversely rich cast, and their weekly song mash-up that’s a combination of favorite new and oldie tunes. Lately, I’ve been adding some GLEE tunes to my workout playlist, because they make me smile:)

 

 

1. Don’t Stop Believin’—Glee Cast (3:50)

2. Bust a Move—Glee Cast (4:24)

3. Don’t Stand So Close To Me—Glee Cast (4:17)

4. Push It—Glee Cast (3:17)

5. Mercy—Glee Cast (3:27)

6. Gold Digger—Glee Cast (3:00)

7. Defying Gravity—Glee Cast (2:21)

*For more great workout articles including free workout videos visit me @http://www.LindaLaRue.com/members.

Crunchless Abs: The 10 Second Flat Belly Fix

My Crunchless Abs Set-Up is the most important move you must master before begining any workout. Building pillar strength and keeping your core in great alignment as you are exercising is the key component professional and elite athletes master, and practice daily because it keeps them moving optimally and injury free. Plus, you’ll constantly work your core muscles 3-Dimensionally while targeting your front abdominals, your sides, and your lower back. I promise you’ll feel this simple exercise hit your deep lower abdominals that will weave you a beautiful, tight, new "Abdominal Girdle". Below, I’ve given you my 2 simple, key points that will teach and train you to have proper core alignment, which is the perfect "DO ANYWHERE" flat abs fix.  

1. Alignment. Maintaining great form and proper core alignment will accelerate your results. Proper, neutral spine alignment is where your ears are stacked directly over your shoulder, hips, and knees. Then, pull and keep your shoulders down while lifting slightly your breastbone. Think about keeping equal tension between your front and backside. I call this “bracing” your core.

This leads to #2 or a continuous, “soft” Kegel. A Kegel or Pelvic Floor Pull Up is a contraction of your pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominus muscle, your true, deep core muscles, which are your natural "Abs Girdle". You can find and activate your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your urine mid-stream. Then, try to pull or zip up your pelvic floor muscles up and into your pelvic cavity. I’d like you to try to do a Kegel continuously throughout every move. This will activate your Abs Girdle to fire non-stop, transforming the look of your entire midsection flat. Your transverse abdominus wraps around your entire torso. It’s the muscle that keeps your belly flat and gives you a strong back too.

You can feel your deep transverse belly muscle by placing your finger pads on your hip bone, then, slide your fingers inward about 2 inches. Keep your fingers here to feel your transverse firing as you’re exercising. It will also keep you mind-body core-connected. Think about trying to keep this set up during the day and when you are working out. At first it may seem challenging.

Have faith, it will become easier, as mastery is simply focused repetition. Best of all you can do this flat ab move anywhere, such as while you’re driving in your car or reading this post! Begin by trying this set-up for 10 seconds, then build to 30 seconds 3-5x/day.

*Try my new, total body CORE TRANSFORMER that was named by AOL as 1 of the 5 best Ab Workouts in America @http://www.LindaLaRue.com/store.

Crunchless Abs: The Gymless Flat Belly Fix

My Crunchless Abs Set-Up is the most important move you must master before begining any workout. Building pillar strength and keeping your core in great alignment as you are exercising is the key component professional and elite athletes master, and practice daily because it keeps them moving optimally and injury free. Plus, you’ll constantly work your core muscles 3-Dimensionally while targeting your front abdominals, your sides, and your lower back. I promise you’ll feel this simple exercise hit your deep lower abdominals that will weave you a beautiful, tight, new "Abdominal Girdle". Below, I’ve given you my 2 simple, key points that will teach and train you to have proper core alignment, which is the perfect "DO ANYWHERE" flat abs fix.  

1. Alignment. Maintaining great form and proper core alignment will accelerate your results. Proper, neutral spine alignment is where your ears are stacked directly over your shoulder, hips, and knees. Then, pull and keep your shoulders down while lifting slightly your breastbone. Think about keeping equal tension between your front and backside. I call this “bracing” your core.

This leads to #2 or a continuous, “soft” Kegel. A Kegel or Pelvic Floor Pull Up is a contraction of your pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominus muscle, your true, deep core muscles, which are your natural "Abs Girdle". You can find and activate your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your urine mid-stream. Then, try to pull or zip up your pelvic floor muscles up and into your pelvic cavity. I’d like you to try to do a Kegel continuously throughout every move. This will activate your Abs Girdle to fire non-stop, transforming the look of your entire midsection flat. Your transverse abdominus wraps around your entire torso. It’s the muscle that keeps your belly flat and gives you a strong back too. You can feel your deep transverse belly muscle by placing your finger pads on your hip bone, then, slide your fingers inward about 2 inches. Keep your fingers here to feel your transverse firing as you’re exercising. It will also keep you mind-body core-connected. Think about trying to keep this set up during the day and when you are working out. At first it may seem challenging.

Have faith, it will become easier, as mastery is simply focused repetition. Best of all you can do this flat ab move anywhere, such as while you’re driving in your car or reading this post!

*Try my new CORE TRANSFORMER that was named by AOL as 1 of the 5 best Ab workouts in America @http://www.LindaLaRue.com/store.

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