Tag Archives: Healthy Food

Why You Should Not Stop Taking Your Vitamins (Part 2)

Amor Sin Remedio Hopeless Love Hoffnungslose LiebeClick here to read Part 1!

Why Most Vitamin Studies Are Flawed

There is another important thing to understand about clinical trials that review the utility of vitamins in the treatment of disease. The studies that show harm are often designed like drugs studies. For example, a study may use a high dose of vitamin E and see what happens. This is actually a prescient example also explored in recent media.

Studies recently found that high doses of vitamin E and selenium didn’t prevent prostate cancer and may increase risk. What this study didn’t explore properly was the true biochemical nature of vitamin E and selenium. These nutrients work as antioxidants by donating an electron to protect or repair a damaged molecule or DNA. Once this has happened, the molecules become oxidants that can cause more damage if not supported by the complex family of antioxidants used in the human body. It’s sort of like passing a hot potato. If you don’t keep passing it, you will get burned. Many studies simply fail to take this into account.

Nature doesn’t work by giving you only one thing. We all agree that broccoli is good for you, but if that were all you ate, you would die in short order. The same is true of vitamins. Nutrients are not drugs, and they can’t be studied as drugs. They are part of a biological system in which all nutrients work as a team to support your biochemical processes.

Michael Jordon may have been the best basketball player in history, but he couldn’t have won six NBA titles without a team.

Obesity Is Linked To Malnutrition

The tragedy of media attention on poor studies is that they undermine possible solutions to some of the modern health epidemics we are facing today, and they point attention away from the real drivers of disease.

Take the case of obesity, for example. Paradoxically, Americans are becoming both more obese and more nutrient deficient at the same time. Obese children eating processed foods are nutrient depleted and increasingly get scurvy and rickets–diseases we thought were left behind in the 19th and 20th centuries. After treating over 15,000 patients and performing extensive nutritional testing on them, it is clear to me that Americans suffer from widespread nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, folate, and omega 3 fats. This is supported by the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data on our population. In fact, 13% of our population is vitamin C deficient.

Scurvy in Americans in 2013? Really? But if all you eat is processed food–and many Americans do–then you, like the British sailors of the 17th century, will get scurvy.

Unfortunately, negative studies on vitamins get huge media attention while the fact that over 100,000 Americans die and 2.2 million suffer serious adverse reactions from medication use in hospitals when used as prescribed is quietly ignored. Did you know that anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen kill more people every year than AIDS or asthma or leukemia?

In short, these studies often confuse rather than clarify, and they only serve up doses of media frenzy and superficial analysis. They leave the consumer afraid, dazed, bewildered, and reaching for their next prescription drug.

Please, be smart; don’t stop taking your vitamins. Every American needs a good quality multivitamin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fat supplement. It is part of getting a metabolic tune-up and keeping your telomeres long!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

How to Make Nut and Seed Milk – 3 Ways

almond-milk-set-shot-1024x768If you’re interested in finding an alternative to dairy and soy milk – or just want a delicious, creamy beverage to sip on or use for smoothies and hot chocolate – then look no further than these homemade nut and seed milk recipes!

I’m outlining almond, cashew, and sunflower seed milk, to start off, though there are certainly others you can explore. Enjoy!

1. Almond Milk

I resisted making almond milk for years. I kept hearing it was easy, but somehow, I couldn’t get my head around it. I don’t like processed almond milk, so I thought, “how good can it be?” Wow! Not only is it simple, it is delicious. To me it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. Does it get any better than that?

Yes, it does, because it is actually really good for you too. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, calcium, folic acid, as well as the minerals magnesium, selenuim, phosphorus and zinc. Almonds are wonderful for maintaining skin elasticity as well as helping to lower cholesterol and being a good source of protein. Dates play a big role here too. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium and calcium and are a awesome natural sweetener.

Ingredients:

  • almonds – 1 cup, raw
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • himalaya salt – a pinch
  • medjool dates – 5
  • raw cacao powder – 1 tsp (optional; for chocolate milk)
  • honey – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

Put 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl, Fill with water.

In a separate bowl put 5 medjool dates. Fill that with water.

Soak them both overnight (or for at least 4 hours)

Rinse the nuts in cool water a few times. Do NOT use the water that the nuts have been soaking in. It will make the milk taste bitter. Rinse the nuts until all of the frothy bits are gone.

Put the nuts, the dates AND the date water into the blender. Make sure to take the pits out of the dates before blending.

Add 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of himalaya salt.

Blend

Strain the almond milk though a cheesecloth, a strainer with a paper towel, or a nut bag (yes, there actually is something called a ‘nut bag’. I can’t help but giggle when I say it) . That gets out all of the almond bits, so your milk is silky smooth.

This recipe yields approximately 4 cups of almond milk. The almond milk separates naturally, so give it a quick shake before you drink it. It will last for for 3-4 days in the fridge.

2. Cashew Milk

I think that cashews are a perfect food. They are so packed with essential minerals it hard to think of something they don’t do to benefit your health. These awesome nuts support your heart, brain, bone and nerve health. They are also good for skin elasticity as well as hair and nail strength. The best part is that they are a natural anti-depressant. In short, they make you feel good and look good. Did I mention they also happen to be delicious? Lucky us.

Cashew milk is the closest to whole milk in taste and texture. The thickness comes from the fact that this milk does not need to be strained the way that almond milk does. That also makes it much easier to make with less mess.

Ingredients:

  • cashews – raw -1 cup, soaked overnight
  • medjool dates – 4 cups pitted, soaked overnight
  • water – 4 cups
  • himalaya salt – dash
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Instructions:

Rinse the nuts under cold water until the water runs clear. Add all the other ingredients (including the water that the dates were soaked in). Blend until completely smooth.

Drink it, use it in smoothies or on cereal.

3. Sunflower Seed Milk

This one might not be for everyone. The sunflower seeds have a slightly bitter after-taste similar to that of sunflower seed butter. I tend to use it more in smoothies and on cereal. I drink it plain sometimes but my kids won’t touch it like that. “So why should I make this?” You’re probably asking. Because it is really easy, it is incredibly good for you and when you feel like it, you can turn it into a magical potion called Chocolate Cardamom Sunflower Seed Milk. For that, you will thank me.

Sunflower seeds are very high in trace minerals like selenium and magnesium. These minerals are an essential part of what keep our bones strong and our nerves calm. These seeds are also filled with Vitamin E which, like an internal sunblock, protects your skin from UV radiation. Sunflower seeds also help to sweep accumulated radiation out of your system.

I tend to leave my nuts and seeds to soak overnight. As part of my bedtime ritual, I soak whichever ones I plan to use the next day. It doesn’t take much time. You just have to remember to do it which is a task in itself. Once you’re in the habit, it is like second nature. Nuts and seeds tend to be difficult for your body to break down. Soaking them makes them infinitely more digestible.

Ingredients:

  • sunflower seeds – 1 cup, raw (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • medjool dates – 4 large (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • himalaya salt – pinch

Instructions:

Rinse the seeds under cold water until the water runs clear. Put them and all of the other ingredients (including the water the dates were soaked in) into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. It should be thick and creamy, like a milkshake.

What’s your favorite nut/seed milk? Let me know in the comments section and share your recipes!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

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According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

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For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

How I’m Moving Forward in the GMO Food Debate

Bosworth Battlefield (2)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, “The Genetically Modified Food Debate”, which introduced a series of articles by Nathanael Johnson, a Grist.org writer that’s taken on the big task of sorting through the GMO debate to provide the straight story on where the science, politics and implications to people and planet truly stand.

As someone who’s followed the topic of GMO for many years, I’ve often wished for a series of articles just like this. It’s a heroic effort and having the opportunity to go on an exploration of sorts through these articles has helped me crystallize what I believe are the biggest issues and necessary next steps in the GMO food debate. If you’d like to read Johnson’s series, you can start here and find links to subsequent posts at the bottom of each article.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things can get complicated. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and planet as it relates to genetic modification is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

My primary concern about genetically engineered food crops is not so much about the study of biotechnology in plants, but the ripple effect the application of these crops is having on current farming practices and our global food community. Here are some of the things I find most troubling:

  • GMO are often bred for resistance to herbicides and pesticides. As a result, weed-killing herbicide use on genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton increased by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008.
  • GM crops support the practice of mono-cropping (growing only one type of agricultural product in a large area of land, year after year). This approach has an economic benefit in that it simplifies farming operations and decreases labor costs. However, mono-cropping depletes nutrients from the soil and decreases crop-yields over time creating a need for increased synthetic fertilizer use. Although there may be a short-term economic gain, there’s a larger long-term cost to the health of the planet.
  • Implementation of GMO and mono-cropping practices in developing countries has impacts that go beyond just human and planet health. Traditional knowledge about how to farm the land, what indigenous plants provide nutrients of need and seed saving techniques to maintain biodiversity…all this wisdom that is passed from generation to generation may be lost and maybe more importantly, be seen as inferior to modern conventional methods.

The biggest hurdle to finding a path forward that is acceptable to groups on both sides of this issue seems to sit within science. Through Johnson’s articles, it’s clear that the methods we have to determine safety and the impact to human and planet health are flawed. The questions we’re asking through testing simply do not provide the answers many people are seeking to understand. This is an issue that’s much bigger than just GMO, but yet one that is effectively stalling the ability of the food community to find consensus about how to move forward. Until we evolve both the methods of testing and what we’re testing for, I don’t see how we’re going to come together.

So, what to make of all this? Well, as for me, I plan to keep looking [read: hoping] for an evolution in testing, particularly in the form of support from our government to investigate new approaches to better answer the valid concerns around GMO’s impact to people and planet health. In the meantime, as we continue to navigate our way to better answers, I believe the right thing to do is provide as much transparency and through that, education, as possible. We don’t have the answers, and until such a time that we do and this matter is settled, why not let people make their own decision? Let’s label GM foods, raise awareness and hopefully get to a place where we can argue towards solutions.

If you’re interested in doing some digging of your own into this issue, Johnson also did a recent article that provides a “Cliff’s Notes” version of some of the most popular books on GMO. You can read this article here.

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This 12-Year-Old is Seriously Fed Up with Unhealthy School Lunches

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 11.24.43 AMIf your child came to you and asked if he could starting bringing lunch to school instead of eating cafeteria food, what would you say? What if the school lunches were free and the school district promoted them as “healthy and delicious” with mouth-watering photos and descriptions?

Zachary Maxwell was in 4th grade when he decided his days of school lunches were coming to an end, but his parents weren’t convinced. “It’s free! And it looks pretty good on the online menu.” Zachary would not back down, though, and went undercover to expose the inconsistencies in his school’s lunch menu as compared to the actual food that was served.

Oh, and Zachary is hilarious and so smart. Check it out!

“Yuck” is right! Would you eat that food?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more that one third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. Though there may be some genetic factors associated with weight, nutrition and physical activity play a major role in maintaining a healthy weight and cardiovascular health. No matter how you look at it, pizza and cheese sticks do little to help kids stay healthy, let alone give them the nutrients and energy needed to get through a demanding school day.

Do Zachary’s school lunches look like something you’d want to feed to your kids? Is it really too expensive or inconvenient to offer children healthy eating options? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

10 Reasons Why Summer is the Season for Eating Well

raspberriesThere are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four!

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

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7 Steps to Becoming an Intuitive Eater

Pink Summer Cherry LoveAs obsessed as we are with food and diets, you’d think we’d be thin and healthy by now. So why are we Americans still universally less-than-fit,  soft around the middle, and constantly worrying about weight?

The fact is, diet tips, rules and tricks won’t work if we’re ignoring the mental and emotional side of eating. Why do we still overeat—or eat the wrong things? Most of the time, when we’re craving cookies, we’re really hungry for love, sex, friendship, peace, a sense of purpose and meaning. And when you’re gripped by that kind of hunger, all the tips and tricks in the world won’t save you.

Next time you’re ready to embark on the next fix-me-fast diet, try something different: instead of focusing on the food, tune in to address the emotions that make you stray. Here’s how to start:

1. Feel your hunger. After a lifetime of denying our hunger, it’s hard to tell when we really need food. But we’re all born with the capability to eat when were hungry and stop when we’re full. As children, we eat in response to our bodies’ hunger signals. As adults, we eat in response to the clock, the latest magazine article, or our uncomfortable feelings.

Get back in touch with your body’s signals by carrying a small notepad and charting your hunger before you eat, rating it on a scale of 1 (starving) to 10 (uncomfortably full). If you do this day after day, feeling your body’s cues will soon come naturally. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start eating in response to your body—a rumbling in your belly, a slight lessening in your ability to concentrate—instead of your thoughts or emotions.

2. Stop counting. That means calories, fat, carbs, grams, portions—whatever number you use that keeps you out of your body and in your head. When you count, measure, weigh or calculate your food, you’re eating according to your intellect rather than your body’s cues. For a life-long food counter, the prospect of free-for-all noshing can be scary. Start small: eat one meal a day without counting anything. After several days, eat two meals without counting. Continue at your own pace until you’ve stopped counting your food—and start eating in response to your body, not the numbers in your head.

3. Examine your cravings. When you’re feeling the urge to eat, what are you really hungry for? If you’re craving chips, does your jaw want to chew and crunch, to relieve stress and tension? Does the noise the chips make drown out the racket in your head? When you’re aching for ice cream, maybe the soft, creamy texture makes you feel nurtured, or fills up some empty spaces. Once you have a better idea of what you’re really craving, you’re better equipped to make a conscious choice. Maybe you massage your jaw, minimize sources of stress, visit a friend who makes you feel nurtured. Or maybe you have a scoop of ice cream—but you do it as a conscious decision.

4. Practice mindful eating. There you are, in front of the fridge at 9 p.m., noshing on leftover Chinese right out of the container, with no recollection of how you got there. It’s called “eating amnesia,” where the unconscious, hand-to-mouth action of feeding yourself becomes so automatic that, before you know it, you’ve wolfed down a whole box of cookies. Become fully aware of the act of eating. Always put your food—including snacks–on a plate. Then sit down at the table, remove distractions like television, and observe your plate. Notice the colors, textures, shapes and smell for 30 seconds to a full minute before you take the first bite.  As you eat, notice the chewing action of your jaw, the taste of the food, how it feels moving down your throat and into your stomach. It’s such a pleasant practice, it will soon become second nature.

5. Be in your body. Many of us walk around all day in a state of half-awareness, not really present in the room, on the earth, in our bodies. And when we’re not in our bodies, we can’t tell if we’re hungry or when we’re full.  How often are you aware of your body? Tune in right now, as you read this, and check in, starting your toes and moving up through your body. Pause at your stomach, and notice how it feels. Is it empty, or satisfied? Does it feel rigid and tense? Numb or dull? Or is it soft and relaxed?  Once you become intimate of your stomach’s sensations, you can begin to identify true hunger.

6. Pause. When you experience a craving for food, just stop and observe it. Don’t try to make it go away, but don’t indulge it either. Sit with the discomfort of the craving. It may become intensely distressing, even painful; that’s okay. Stay with it, and notice what comes up. You’ll often find a vast ocean of emotions like fear, anxiety, even grief, under the craving for food. It’s a powerful exercise—but quite illuminating, and sometimes life-changing.

7. Be happy now. Maybe you’ve been postponing your happiness until you lose ten pounds, give up sugar or eat more greens. But the happier you are now, the more likely you’ll be to stick to your eating goals. The “do-have-be” mindset tells us that success breeds joy when, in fact, it may be the other way around. Once you’re able to accept yourself exactly as you are, you’re more likely to achieve your dietary goals, and less likely to eat from stress, depression or anxiety. And anyway, there’s no point in postponing joy. Be happy now; the rest will come.

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Lisa Turner is a widely published food writer and intuitive eating coach. She combines her degrees in health and nutrition with 25 years of training in yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help her clients explore emotional issues behind their eating habits. Lisa is also a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and Nutrition in Boulder, Colorado, and hard at work on her next book. Visit her websites at www.TheHealthyGourmet.net and InspiredEating.com.
Originally published July 2010

3 Delicious Snack Recipes for On-the-Go!

Eating healthy while you’re out and about can be a difficult thing to manage. As you know, I tend to follow the 80/20 rule in my family – eating 100% healthy at home and mostly healthy (with some indulgences) while we’re out. Enjoying a yummy, not-so-healthy treat is one thing, though, and grabbing whatever is available because you’re starving is another. The last thing you want is to be stuck with convenience store food in a pinch, which is why packing nutritious snacks is always a good idea.

Here are 3 delicious, healthy snacks that are very easy to pack in your purse, diaper bag, or backpack for those long errand days:

kale-chipsized1. Vanishing Kale Chips

I call them vanishing kale chips because they do! Seriously. In like 2 seconds. You have never seen a bunch of kale disappear as quickly as this does. The chips are crispy, salty, and oh so satisfying.

I start with organic curly kale. The kale should be on the stiff side and a rich green color. If it is wilted and yellowish it is no good.

Ingredients:

  • kale – 1 bunch, curly
  • sesame oil – 2 tbsp
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 tsp

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 300.

Cut the middle rib out of the kale leaves. Use only the curly green part.

Cut the leaves into bite size chunks and wash well. Make sure that you dry the leaves thoroughly. If the kale is soggy when you put the oil on it it won’t crisp up.

Toss the leaves with the sesame oil. Sometimes I toss them with melted *Ghee which makes them buttery and decadent and taste like movie theater popcorn. Then salt the whole bunch while you are still tossing. Use a good quality sea salt or himalaya salt.

Spread the leaves out on the top of a baking tray; the holes will allow for air to come up from underneath and will result in maximum crunch. Don’t overload the tray. I make it in two batches. By the time the second batch is done, the first one has been demolished.

The kale reduces significantly, so don’t be surprised. When it is done it should be crispy but not overly brown. It takes about 20 minutes.

roasted-G-beans-1024x7682. Crunchy Roasted Garbanzo Beans

This recipe comes with a warning. These roasted garbanzo beans are highly addictive. If you sit down with a bowl of them you will not be able to stop yourself from finishing the whole yummy batch. The good news is that you don’t have to. They are extremely nutritious and low in calories, so go ahead. Indulge.

Ingredients:

  • garbanzo beans – 1 can
  • safflower oil – 2 tbsp
  • salt
  • cayenne powder (optional)
  • garlic powder (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400.

Rinse the garbanzo beans. Dry them with a paper towel. They really need to be dry or they won’t get crunchy.

Place on a flat baking tray, and add oil, salt and spices. I say that the garlic powder and cayenne pepper are optional because you can really add any spice that appeals to you. I use cayenne pepper and garlic powder because my family loves that combination. You can use onion power, turmeric, cumin, coriander or whatever spice combination whose flavors you like.

Cook for ~30 minutes. Shake them around a bit while they are cooking to ensure they crisp up evenly. The beans are done when they are crunchy and have a nice toasted look about them.

They disappear pretty quickly so put some aside for yourself. I have to hide mine behind my computer or I won’t get any at all…

Sam-w-apple-leather3. Apple Ginger Fruit Leather

Fruit leather? You can make it without a dehydrator? Yes, you can. The key is cooking it for a long time at a low temp.

Ingredients:

  • apple – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 piece, about 1/2 inch cube
  • honey – 1 tbsp
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250

Steam the apples and the ginger for about 5 minutes. I recommend steaming over boiling because you don’t want to apples to be soggy. Remember, we are taking the moisture out.

Puree the apples, ginger, and honey.

Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper. The pan I use is 9X12. Smooth the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula. Make sure that it is distributed evenly. The leather won’t cook evenly if there are thick parts and thin parts.

Bake at 250 for about 3 hours. Check it every 1/2 hour or so. When the leather is no longer mushy to the touch it is time to take it out.

The leather will be a little hard at this time. It needs to be left out for a few hours in order to soften up. When the leather has some give, cut it into strips and enjoy. It can be left out on the counter in an airtight container for weeks but, believe me, it won’t last that long.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Family Healthy (And Have Fun Doing It!)

Matt and Jack share a snowconeWe went to a local carnival on a recent night, and the boys and I each had a snow-cone. Sam’s and mine were both bright blue and George’s was half red, half blue.

They were nothing but sugar and nasty dyes, but it was part of the fun of being there. We stood under the fireworks and happily ate them. We broke a lot of rules that night. We stayed up past 10 o’clock, we paid to play games we knew were unwinnable  and we ate carnival food. It was all part of the experience of being there and we had a blast.

This confuses some people. Most notably, my husband. Yesterday he brought home conventionally grown strawberries which I promptly returned to the store. “How can you let the boys have snow-cones and not let them eat conventional strawberries?” he asked. I understand the question, and see that it looks like hypocrisy, but this is how I make sense of our lives. This is my 80/20 rule.

scale (1)It’s All About Balance

I do not strive for nutrition perfection. That wouldn’t be any fun. I mean, what is life without french fries? Instead I strive for 80% good and 20% of whatever comes our way. Life is to be enjoyed. The negative impact of the stress of trying to eat perfectly all of the time far outweighs that of eating something that really makes us happy.

So, how do I balance this? How do I keep track? My way is to treat my home as a sacred food zone. We eat 100% clean food. No dyes, no chemicals, no pesticides (hence the no conventional strawberries rule), no refined sugars or refined flours and no GMOs. The 20% of the time that we are out in the world then all bets are off. We eat what comes our way. That said, of course we eat the best option of what we are offered. Like if we are given a choice between a not-so-good food and a just-plain-awful one, we will choose the former, and if there is a healthy option we will always go for that. But, even then sometimes, we take a time-out.

When we go to birthday parties, we eat cake. We go to the movies and eat movie-theater popcorn. Today, after a haircut, we went into town and had a double scoop of ice cream before dinner. I believe that the key to teaching children to eat healthily is for them to recognize those not-so-good-for-you foods and accept them as being something that is consumed occasionally.

The 80-20 rules works well for us. The kids know it’s all right for them to break the rule on occasion because they understand what the rule is – and why.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

How to Boost Your Metabolism for Amazing Health

2012 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World cup: Elite WomenThe process of metabolism is a powerful and greatly misunderstood force in our bodies. Case in point, did you know the more weight you carry, the faster your metabolism is working? Other factors that affect metabolism include age, sex, muscle mass, and, unfortunately, heredity.

Metabolism is the process by which sugar, protein, and fat are converted into energy. It is a network of hormones and enzymes not only converting food into fuel, but also affecting how efficiently your bodies burns that fuel. Even at resting state, your body is working to produce and store energy through anabolism and release energy through catabolism.

Because of these factors, it’s fairly difficult to completely overhaul your metabolism. But the good news is that there are several effective things you can do to influence it. This isn’t just a matter of losing weight, but rather of training your body to efficiently produce and release energy, maximize the nutrition in your food, and feel strong as you move through life.

Here are 5 articles to help you get the best metabolism possible for your body:

10 Yoga Poses That Increase Metabolism (Shape Magazine)

Surprising Foods That Boost Metabolism (Huffington Post)

Understanding Metabolism: How to Boost Yours with Exercise (Fit Day)

How to Burn More Calories while Sleeping (Fit Day)

How to Increase Your Metabolism Naturally (Calorie Secrets)

 

In addition, here are some of the best foods to start incorporating into your diet to kick start your metabolism:

  1. Oatmeal and other foods with high fat-soluble fiber
  2. Hot peppers and other spicy foods containing capsaicin
  3. Yogurt (minus the added sugars) and other foods rich in calcium and protein
  4. Fish and other good sources of lean protein

And there are lots more, so do some research and see what delicious, metabolism-boosting recipes you can come up with!

We hope these tips prove to be efficient and fun methods for increasing your metabolism. Remember, your genetics play a big role in this, as do age and sex. But by eating a healthy, well-rounded diet, building muscle, and getting plenty of sleep you are bound to start feeling healthy and happy in no time!

* * *

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