Tag: healthy eating

Are Genetically Modified Foods Dangerous?

Are Genetically Modified Foods Dangerous?

From breakfast cereal to beef jerky, 80% of processed foods are made with ingredients from genetically modified crops. They’re called genetically-modified organisms (GMOs); plants that have been genetically transformed to be resistant to bugs, drought, and disease.  Millions of North American consumers have been eating dozens of GMO foods grown on hundreds of millions of acres, but is this science experiment on our food safe?

Misconstrued Food

It’s genetic engineering to the max, altering crops in a laboratory to create plants having valuable traits that can’t and don’t occur naturally. They can also be enhanced to be healthier by carrying vitamins, minerals, and proteins that they otherwise would not have.

These Frankenfoods are inspected and tested by the US Department of Agricultures’s  (USDA)Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)to review the environmental impact of genetically modified crops prior to hitting the shelves at the grocery store.

And when new traits are introduced, they’re examined and studied by the EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for toxicity and allergens. Since the 1990’s, when GMO foods hit the market, there have been  no documented adverse effects, and no studies have shown that GM foods are less safe than traditional counterparts.

But there’s a twist. These crops are also altered to be resistant to herbicides (a.k.a. weed killer).  It can be costly and time consuming to kill the weeds without killing the crop too, but with GMO plants, farmers can spray herbicide all over the weeds… and the crop. And it’s the weed killer that’s the trouble maker.

Weed Out  

Mixing genes between plants may be safe for consumption, but weed killer is not, and herbicide residue can stick to crops. Studies on both rats and fish have shown that the ingesting weed killer causes cell and tissue damage in the kidneys, liver, heart, and adrenal glands.

A simple solution would be to avoid GMO foods, but they aren’t required to be labeled, so it’s difficult to determine which of the thousands of products on the market contain genetically altered ingredients and potentially dangerous herbicide residues. However, more and more non-genetically modified foods are now being labeled as GMO Free. Also know what to avoid or choose organic!

Big Props for the Park -5 Body Weight Exercises Using a Park Bench

Big Props for the Park -5 Body Weight Exercises Using a Park Bench

In honor of the beautiful fall weather in Arizona, I want to give props to the park bench.

Here are a few ideas to get a great workout without having to go any farther than your neighborhood park. No weights or equipment required – just your own body weight! Don’t underestimate the benefits and results you can achieve by simply doing body weight exercises, Body weight exercises are some of my favorite. They can be done almost anywhere, make you sweat, and the results can be awesome!  My friends over at Man v.s. Weight have all sorts of extra information on body weight training. For more details including how to tips, workout plans, and even nutrition info, check out this link… https://www.manvsweight.com/bar-brothers-review/

 

imagesEZS80NW21. Bench jumps

  • Start by squaring up your shoulders to the bench and slightly bending your knees.
  • With both legs, jump up onto the bench and try to land in the same position from which you started.
  • Jump back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Try to do three sets of 10 jumps to get started.

 

2. Incline push-ups

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench, and put your feet back into a plank position.
  • As you do a push-up, make sure to keep your back and neck in line with each other to prevent any strain on your neck.
  • Reverse your position for a more challenging option.

images[3]    images[8]

 

3. Bulgarian split squats

  • Start by facing away from the bench.images[5]
  • Move your left foot back and lift it up onto the bench with your right foot still underneath you.
  • Slowly bend your right leg into a 90-degree angle. “Avoid bringing your knee over your toe and turning your hips,” said Kensie Noble, senior in kinesiology and president of Alliance for Health and Fitness Professionals Club.
  • Come back up to your starting position. That’s one rep. Try to finish two sets of 10 on each leg.

 

4. Step-ups

  • Face the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.images6BFZO6MJ
  • Put your right foot onto the bench.
  • As you come to the top, drive your left knee into your chest before stepping back down.
  • Do 10 reps on each leg for three rounds.

 

 

 

5. Tricep Dips

  • Sit on the bench and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the seat.
  • With your legs extended out in front of you, scoot your butt off the seat so that your hands areimagesHX05T1PA the only thing touching the bench.
  • While keeping your back straight and close to the bench, use your arms to slowly lower yourself until your elbows are around a 90-degree angle.
  • Press down into the bench to raise yourself back to the starting position.
  • That’s one rep. Try to complete two sets of 15.

 

 

 

With all of these body weight exercises, make sure that you are using good form to prevent injuries. Put some headphones on or grab a friend, and go enjoy the great outdoors.

How Not to Quit

How Not to Quit

I started thinking about the many classes and events that we have enrolled the kids in over the years. Swimming lessons, tennis lessons, karate, gymnastics, soccer, t-ball, animal camp, kids’ dash, Spanish camp, and choir.

Some of the classes were great from the start and continued to be fun for the duration of the class schedule. Some of the classes started out horrible. During my daughter’s first swim class she cried the ENTIRE 30 minutes. The next class she only cried for about the first 10 minutes, and by the third class she couldn’t wait to get in the pool. Some classes started out great but went downhill after that. And finally, some classes they complained about the entire drive there, but when they got into the class they had a blast each and every time.

One common thread among these classes is that the kids were never allowed to quit going – no matter how much they complained. A life lesson to instill responsibility and commitment. This is one of those non-negotiables that my husband and I have created for our kids – no quitting.

Every parent has their own non-negotiables for their kids and family. You know, those “rules” or ideas about behavior that you will not budge on…ever.

So, now to my point. As we hold our kids to certain standards like not quitting, we should also hold ourselves to the same kinds of standards, especially when it comes to health and wellness.

When you start a new health and fitness regimen, you are sure to experience what my kids experienced in their different classes.

Some parts of your new routine will start out great and stay great. Those parts are easy to stick with.

Some things will start out great and then go downhill after the newness and motivation wears off. These things may or may not continue to be a part of your routine. If an activity becomes so dreadful that it causes you to skip your workout all together, then get rid of it. If it is just something that is not as “fun” or easy as something else, stick with it.

Other activities will be horrible at the start. These are the activities that you want to be sure and stick with for at least a month, as they may turn into your favorite. After my first spinning class, I thought I was going to vomit, but I kept going back to give it a fair chance. Now I go three times a week, and I would love to be a spinning instructor.

Lastly, you may complain (or make excuses) before you exercise, or feel like complaining because you feel a little deprived in your menu selections; however, if you hold yourself to a non-negotiable standard and go exercise and eat healthy, you will feel fantastic each and every time!

WHAT DOES 200 CALORIES LOOK LIKE?

WHAT DOES 200 CALORIES LOOK LIKE?

High calorie foods and low calorie foods: but what does the difference actually look like? Each of the photographs below represents 200 calories of the particular type of food. When you consider that two cups of grapes contain the same number of calories as a spoonful of peanut butter, you might think twice the next time you decide what to eat. This can be helpful when assessing how you like to eat, and how foods containing different amount of calories will fit with your eating style.

For example, I like to eat volume. I feel way more satisfied when I can eat a large plate of food as opposed to a few bites of food. I will choose a plate of sliced apples over 2 slices of cheese. I may enjoy the cheese more, but it will take me awhile to eat the apples which really gives me a sense of being full. I would scarf down the cheese in a matter of minutes and within 30 minutes, I will be hungry again… and that is no fun. Quantity is more important to me, and since I can’t eat a plate of blueberry muffins and stay within my calorie intake limits, I like to choose the foods that are lowest in (per gram) calories.

Some people would much rather have quality over quantity. What I mean by quality… is deliciousness. Even though eight Hershey Kisses might leave them feeling hungry sooner, it is worth it because they enjoy the taste of the kisses, and that is more important.

So weather your style is to eat quality or quantity, just make sure that you stay within your calorie intake limits.


Apples
385 grams = 200 calories
(2 large apples)

Blueberry Muffin
72 grams = 200 calories
Peanut Butter
34 grams = 200
calories
(2 TBSP)
Grapes
290 grams = 200 calories
(about 2 cups)

Broccoli
558 grams = 200 calories
(1 whole -over 1pound)

Cheddar Cheese
51 grams = 200 calories
(2 slices 1 ounce each)

Avocado
125 grams = 200 calories

 

Sesame Seed Bagel
70 grams = 200 calories

Fried Bacon
34 grams = 200 calories
(about 4 pieces)
Hershey’s Kisses
36 grams = 200 calories
(8 kisses)
Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

keep it simple

Happy New Year! and Happy New Year Resolutions! What will it be this year? Losing weight, gaining health, getting fit, building muscle, exercise more, eat less. Whatever your goals, one of the best strategies for success is  to Keep It Simple.

Here are my four favorite tips for any health and fitness related goals –

1.  Don’t Stress Out!  Stressing out about “how bad” you ate over the last 4 days, or how little you exercised is NOT going to help you lose the weight.  Nope, in fact, stress can make you hold onto more fat and pounds.  So stop it!  Move forward and don’t look back at what you did or didn’t do last week or weekend.

2.  Exercise with intensity!  Workout hard!  It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be intense.  And who wants to spend hours exercising anyway? I was so busy with kids this week, I only got 10-20 minute at the gym each day. I made sure my intensity was maxed out, and I feel like I got a good, all be it short, workout.

3.  Drink water like it’s your job!  Yes, down that water to flush out what you are retaining from any over-indulgent eating.  Salt, alcohol, and excess sugar can lead to a lot of bloat, so drink your water to flush it out! Who cares if you go to the bathroom 12 times a day?

4.  Just eat sensibly.  Eat your lean proteins, high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It won’t take many days to see the changes.

All You Need Is The Right Tool – 9 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Food Prep

All You Need Is The Right Tool – 9 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Food Prep

imagesCAI5SIDKOne of the most effective ways to stay on track with a diet is to COOK AT HOME. But there’s more to a healthy kitchen than a well-stocked fridge and a pantry full of pre-portioned snacks.

My husband can fix almost anything. His favorite saying is “all you need is the right tool”. This is true when it comes to cooking healthy too. How you prepare and enjoy your meals matters almost as much as what you’re eating. The following are must-have items that will help turn your kitchen into a weight loss machine:

 

1. Food processor

You can purchase a mini or full-size processor for chopping or shredding vegetables, fresh herbs, and nuts with ease. It will also puree and let you sneak vitamin-rich cauliflower, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes into sauces and spreads or even soups. Whip up healthy hummus, pesto, and marinades, too. You can also try a handheld blender; they work well for smoothies.

 

2. Knives

Any smart weight loss program will call for plenty of vegetables, and a sharp knife will make all that cutting, chopping, and slicing much easier. Make sure you have a chef’s knife, a slicer, and a paring/utility knife, plus a sharpener (dull knives make prep work far less enjoyable). Armed with these, you can start your week off with containers full of red pepper strips, celery stalks, carrot sticks, and insert your favorite veggies here ____ for easy snacking. Embrace your inner Top Chef!

 

3. Downsize plates and glasses

Average plate sizes seem to be getting bigger and bigger. The bigger your plate, the more likely you are to load it up with food. Replace your 12-inch dinner plates with 9-inch salad plates, and then fill them up with high-fiber, low-calorie greens and beans plus smaller portions of healthy carbs and meat.

When it comes to glasses, Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab researchers found that individuals pour more of a beverage into short wide glasses versus tall narrow ones http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/.  I always tell people not to drink their calories, but if you want to have a morning OJ or a Friday night cocktail, choose a taller, narrower glass (think Tom Collins instead of rocks). But for water, choose the biggest goblet you can find: Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you avoid needless snacking.

 

4. Salad spinner

This kitschy tool lets you simultaneously wash and dry your greens. Spinach and lettuce will last longer if stored dry.

 

5. Mini zip-close bags or small tupperware type containers

Use them to hold individual servings of nuts, dried fruit, granola, cheese, and other easy-to-gobble items. There is nothing worse than mindlessly eating handful after handful right out of the bag, and before you know it consuming 100’s of calories in an otherwise healthy snack.

 

6. Oil mister

These gadgets allow you to add just a spritz of heart-healthy oil without overdosing on fat. Think avocado oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil. Mist veggies prior to roasting them, or add some flavor to salads. You should also keep your pantry stocked with nonstick cooking spray, which allows you to whip up everything from scrambled eggs to chicken breasts without butter or oil.

 

7. Micro plane grater/zester

Use this tool to grate small amounts of flavorful cheese into soups, salads, and more. It will also zest oranges, lemons, and limes which can pack in a lot of flavor without adding any calories.

 

8. Slow cooker

If you don’t like cooking but love coming home to a house that smells delicious, this is the tool for you. I am not a great cook… ask any of my friends, but I can rock a slow cooker. It’s hard to screw up any meal when a crockpot is your tool of choice.  Slow cookers can turn basic ingredients such as chopped vegetables, chicken, broth, and spices into low-fat, down-home comfort food. And if you have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you, you’ll be less likely to open the fridge and mindlessly snack while you wonder, “What should I make for dinner?”

 

9. Spices

A fully stocked spice cabinet lets you add flavorful, calorie-free punches to food. You’ll save on fat and sodium, too. Staples include:

Basil for pasta and veggies

Bay leaves for flavoring stocks, sauces, and stews

Cayenne pepper (red pepper) for a spicy kick

Cinnamon for hot cereals such as oatmeal or in baking

Crushed red pepper flakes to add heat to spaghetti, soups, sauces, marinades, and meats

Cumin for chili or Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern foods

Dill for fish or potatoes; mix with low-fat yogurt or sour cream for a vegetable dip

Garlic powder for any recipe that calls for garlic flavor

Oregano for tomato-based sauces as well as stews and vegetables

Rosemary for lamb, chicken, potatoes, stews, sauces, vegetables, and fresh breads

Rubbed Sage for chicken, turkey, stuffing, and pork chops

Thyme for hearty roasted or baked dishes as well as vegetables

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