1. You reach for multigrain bread or cereal
Foods labeled 7-grain
may seem like the healthiest choices--especially with new findings showing that a diet rich in whole grains protects against heart disease, cancer, and other ills.
The famed Nurses' Health Study documented lower rates of heart disease and stroke among whole grain eaters. Experts don't know all the reasons behind the benefits, but they do know that intact grains are rich in fiber and nutrients--including vitamin E, B vitamins, and magnesium--that are stripped away when grains are refined into flour.
Unfortunately, many foods are only posing as rich in whole grains. "Take a closer look at the labels and you may find there's not a single whole grain in them," says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for the Whole Grains Council, a nonprofit consumer group in Boston.
The reason: Labels can claim that products contain grains even if they're highly processed and stripped of most of their nutrients and all of their fiber. "White flour is made from grain, after all," says Harriman.Smarter Move
Learn the lingo of food claims. Bread that's 100% whole grain means just that--it contains no refined flour. Cereal that's made with whole grain may have a little or a lot. Crackers labeled multigrain may not have whole grains at all.
To be sure you're getting the grains you want, check the ingredients panel. Whole grains should be the first or second ingredient listed. Luckily, finding whole grain products is easier now that manufacturers supplying at least 16 g of whole grains per serving--what's considered an excellent source--are stamping their packaging with the Whole Grains Council's logo.( 2. You buy bottled water laced with vitaminsCollapse )( 3. You choose veggie chips over potato chipsCollapse )( 4. You choose snacks that are made with real fruitCollapse )( 5. You buy low-sodium products to cut down on saltCollapse )( 6. You drink fat-free milk to bone up on nutrientsCollapse )( 7. You toast your health with a glass of wine or beerCollapse )( 8. You grab a granola bar for a quick breakfastCollapse )( 9. You have an after-dinner mint instead of dessertCollapse )( 10. You save restaurant leftovers to reheat laterCollapse )
I created a place for those with a thirst for wellness and a compassion for all life. It is called the
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Here you can meet others with similar interests, spread your message of wellness, and have your health questions answered by one of our wellness experts. These services are at no cost to you - this is our way of saying thanks for making Life Dynamix part of your world :)
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To Magic & Possibilities!
Try these 10 easy new habits and you'll be fast on your way to improved health.
1. Honey, I shrunk the food! Unfortunately, the opposite has happened: Portion sizes have grown to T. rex dimensions, increasing our waistlines, and the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. To combat the trend, shrink your portions by using smaller plates, asking for a small ice cream cone, beverage or sandwich instead of a large, splitting restaurant entrees with a friend or ordering a lunch-size portion even at dinner and vowing to never supersize.
2. Pump up the volume. Choose low-fat, high-fiber foods whose lower calorie density fills you up without filling you out. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are high-volume foods that not only help trim your waistline but also provide nutrients essential for health.
3. Add to your meals—fruits and vegetables, that is! Add one fruit or vegetable to every meal, and you'll be on your way to lower blood pressure and improved health. Try grapes for breakfast, raw broccoli with low-fat dip with lunch and fruit salad with dinner.
4. Drink up. Get a water bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. You'll find yourself drinking water while you're driving, at your desk, during meetings and watching TV. Drinking water instead of coffee, soda, fruit punch or other sweetened beverages saves calories as it keeps your body functioning optimally.
5. Go meatless. Eat a meatless meal at least once each week—two or three times if you're feeling adventurous! Choose a bean tortilla, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, veggie burger instead of hamburger, chili with beans instead of meat, or a tofu stir-fry. You'll consume less fat and saturated fat, plus increase your fiber intake!
6. Breakfast with champions. Studies show people who start the day with breakfastcereal have higher intakes of vitamins and fiber and lower intakes of fat and saturated fat. For the healthiest cereal, choose one with at least five grams of fiber and no more than eight grams sugar per serving. Pour on skim milk for a double bonus!
7. Must-not-see TV. Stop eating meals while watching TV or snacking during your favorite show. Research plus common sense tells us we eat more when we're watching the tube.
8. Make friends with Charlie and his pals. Water-packed tuna, salmon and mackerel are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that protect our heart and cardiovascular system. Experts recommend eating these types of seafood twice each week.
9. Say "moo." Calcium not only builds strong bones, it also helps reduce blood pressure. Get adequate calcium by drinking milk, enjoying yogurt or low-fat cheese, or trying a calcium-fortified orange juice. If soy or rice milk is your beverage of choice, make sure it's fortified with calcium.
10. Brown bag it. Instead of buying lunch every day, or worse yet, skipping lunch altogether, pack your lunch at least one day each week. Make a sandwich with whole grain bread, low-fat meat, and lots of veggies like dark green lettuce, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and grated carrots. Add a piece of fresh fruit or a container of no-added-sugar mixed fruit or applesauce. Satisfy your sweet tooth with yogurt or fat-free pudding and your need for crunch with pretzels or baked tortilla chips. You'll save money and eat less fat, salt and sugar.
Looking for a new fitness program? How about trying the Presidential Fitness Challenge. This challenge comes in three varieties:
1. The Active Lifestyle Program - For those of you who aren't active on a daily basis yet, this is a great way to begin. The rules are basically to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week, for a total of 6 weeks.
2. The Presidential Champions Program - If you're already active and want a new challenge, this program is for you. Your goal is to see how many points you can earn by staying active. Points are based on the amount of energy each activity burns. So the more active you are, the more points you'll get. When you reach 20,000 points, you'll earn a Bronze award. Then you can continue on in the Presidential Champions program for a Silver or Gold award.
3. The Advanced Performance Presidential Champions Program - This is basically the same system as the Presidential Champions Program, except that the award goals are higher. For instance, you need to get 40,000 points to earn a Bronze award. The Presidential Champions Fitness Program Website
(where you can log your progress and also order your awards when you've reached your goal)
Also, if you want, come join the LJ pres_challenge community
to chat with others who are challenging themselves with this program.
Favorite Foods for Losing Weight
by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness
Sleep the Fat Off
Why does the concept of weight loss conjure up images of, frankly, unappetizing foods? Why do carrot sticks always spring to mind?
The answer seems to lie in the common delusion that to pare pounds you have to barely eat, and the calories you do eat should be no more than required by a mouse. But researchers are repeatedly finding that food quality is more important than quantity when it comes to weight loss. Combined with adequate exercise, your meals can be regular serving sizes. The food just needs to be, well, wholesome.
“We’ve lost sight of that word—diet,” says Kristina Campbell, runner up in a recent weight-loss challenge held in Phoenix, Ariz. “Diet used to mean what your food is for the day, not losing weight.”
Below, Kristina and clinical nutritionist and author of Dare to Lose, Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., pinpoint some essential healthy foods for anyone who wants to lose weight and/or retain good health.
1. Yams and sweet potatoes.
Great diet foods because they’re low on the so-called glycemic index, says Dr. Lieberman. The glycemic index measures the values of various foods based on how quickly they break down and are absorbed into the bloodstream. The slower the digestion, the lower the score, the better the food is for regulating blood sugars, insulin, and overall metabolism—all of which affect fat deposition.
2. Oranges, apples and grapefruit.
Dr. Lieberman recommends these particular fruits because they contain high levels of the soluble fiber pectin. Fiber slows digestion, helps eliminate toxins stored in body fat, and gives you a feeling of fullness.
3. Killer sandwiches.
To lose 40 pounds in 21 weeks, Kristina relied on plenty of hearty sandwiches stacked with vegetables, such as tomato, cucumber, sprouts, lettuce and onion, as well as deli meats – but always oven-roasted turkey over anything vacuum-packed. For bread choice, Kristina suggests anything brown with lots of seeds and heavy grains you can actually see, because less-milled ingredients contain much more fiber.
They can be a little hard to find, but low-sugar cereals packed with protein and fiber are hitting the market. The Kashi brand is one of the best, says Kristina. “I eat my cereal with skim milk and blackberries or raspberries, which contain about 8g of fiber per cup. That’s like three or four slices of bread!”
“If you eat a salad, make it valuable,” suggests Kristina, also a former five-star chef from New York City. “Get field or Asian greens and add a yogurt dressing. Plus you need a ton of vegetables and some good lean protein, like grilled salmon.”
by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness
The Art of Snacking
Bored?:15 Choices Instead of Eating
Rating Diet Ice Creams
The hunger pangs hit in the middle of the afternoon. You reach for raw vegetables and dip, congratulating yourself on your discipline. After all, you couldn’t pick a healthier snack, right?
Well, that depends. What exactly are you dunking your carrot and celery sticks into?
Often a high-fat, high-sugar dressing or dip, according to registered dietician and weight-loss coach Julie Beyer. “Shift the recipe,” she advises. “Dip your veggies in salsa instead. You can eat oodles of that and never have to think twice.”
Many of the snacks we believe are good for us contain ingredients that are actually unhealthy, experts caution. Marketing is often to blame, explains Rick Hall, who teaches nutrition at Arizona State University. “They’re packaged to look healthy, sometimes almost in a devious way, but it comes down to the consumer’s lack of knowledge, too,” Hall says.
To help raise your awareness, here are nine snacks we often misconstrue, along with some truly healthy alternatives.
1. Snack bars
Marketed as breakfast bars, granola bars, low-carb bars, etc. Frequently made from refined flours, most brands are also riddled with fat (hydrogenated oils) and sugar (in its many forms). For a real energy boost, look for snack bars made from complex carbohydrates, such as oats, and minimal or eliminated fat and sugar.
“Refined, white carbs are not OK, despite what you might have been told about their fat-free properties,” warns Hall. Oh, and one bagel is roughly equal to six slices of white bread. Go for wholegrain.
More refined carbohydrates. Pretzels have been stripped of fiber, that’s why you eat and eat and eat them and never feel full, explains Beyer. Replace with low-sodium, wholegrain tortilla chips, especially brands that use additional wholesome ingredients, such as black beans.
Surely a muffin is innocent, right? Only if you want to consume 600 to 900 calories every time you eat one. Margarine – lots of it – is what makes muffins moist. Reap the benefits of healthy fats by eating an avocado, or a handful of walnuts, which contain omega-3 oils.
5. Rice cakes
Yes, they’re low in calories. That’s because they’re puffed rice – no vitamins or minerals, mostly air! You’re much better off eating a bowl of fiber-rich brown or wild rice.
6. Beef jerky
Jerky contains as much salt as the Dead Sea. If you love it that much, make your own, or eat a soy substitute.
Again, almost always doused in unhealthy, hydrogenated oils. With their good-fat properties, olives are a wonderful alternative. Or try some protein-packed seeds and nuts.
Of course, fruit is good for you, “but first you have to debug them of pesticides and germs,” Hall reminds consumers. To avoid eating risky chemicals and the germs passed on by dozens of human hands, always wash your fruit before you cut into it with your teeth or a knife. On the topic of fruit, Hall also recommends blueberries, raspberries and cherries. “They’re some of the most potent antioxidant foods you can get because of all the phytonutrients that give the fruit their color,” he says.
9. Fruit juice
Apparently manufactures don’t think the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit are sweet enough for consumer taste buds, because they add a ton more refined sugar to most of their fruit juice products. “High fructose corn syrup” is one of the most common ways of labeling these sugar additives. Same goes for most of the “sports” drink products. Squeeze your own fruit and drink plain old water.
A good rule of thumb for ensuring you’re eating nourishing snacks instead of snacks with little or no nutritional value is to use snack time to get your daily dose of fruit and vegetables. “Go to the outskirts of the supermarket, and buy from the produce section,” counsels Hall. “Avoid processed foods, or if you do eat them, learn how to read the food labels.”
More on MSN Diet & Nutrition
Buy fresh vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave.
Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of salad greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes. Buy packages of such as baby carrots or celery sticks for quick snacks.
Use a microwave to quickly “zap” vegetables. White or sweet potatoes can be baked quickly this way.
Vary your veggie choices to keep meals interesting.
Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.
For the best nutritional value:
Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweetpotatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.
Sauces or seasonings can add calories, fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare the calories and % Daily Value for fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.
Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake. Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.
Buy canned vegetables labeled “no salt added.” If you want to add a little salt it will likely be less than the amount in the regular canned product.
Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement it.
Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.
Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads, and muffins.
Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.
Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.
Use pureed, cooked vegetables such as potatoes to thicken stews, soups and gravies. These add flavor, nutrients, and texture.
Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
Make vegetables more appealing:
Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower.
Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in-season vegetables for variety through the year.
Include cooked dry beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup.
Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices.
Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider broccoli florettes, cucumber slices, or red or green pepper strips.
Vegetable tips for children:
Set a good example for children by eating vegetables with meals and as snacks.
Let children decide on the dinner vegetables or what goes into salads.
Depending on their age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up vegetables.
Allow children to pick a new vegetable to try while shopping.
Use cut-up vegetables as part of afternoon snacks.
Children often prefer foods served separately. So, rather than mixed vegetables try serving two vegetables separately.
Keep it safe:
Wash vegetables before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry after washing.
Keep vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing, or storing.
The news made headlines around the world: Chicken soup really does help fight colds.
A team headed by lung specialist Stephen Rennard at the Nebraska Medical Center found that in a test tube chicken soup suppressed inflammation, which causes many cold symptoms. But chicken soup isn’t the only food that might help. Here’s a daily menu based on experts’ recommendations.BreakfastOrange juice or half a grapefruit.
Both are great sources of vitamin C, which could shorten the duration of colds.Whole-grain cereal or bread.
Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin E, which can help keep your immune system healthy.Black tea.
Real tea leaves (not herbal) have substances that speed the action of cilia, the tiny hairlike cells lining your nasal pas-sages, helping them expel germs.Mid-morning snackYogurt.
It can help you maintain a healthy immune system, as long as it contains beneficial bacteria. One cup of yogurt with live active cultures or a glass of kefir a day provides all you need.LunchChicken soup.
The Nebraska researchers used a traditional recipe they called “Grandma’s Soup,” which had veggies like onions, parsnips, and carrots, along with chicken. But most of the commercial varieties they tested reduced inflammation, too. For even more protection, add a clove or two of garlic.Anise-seed cookie.
Anise seeds, with their licorice-like flavor, have been found to help break up congestion.DinnerSalad of bitter greens.
Watercress and arugula can make a salad special—and research shows they may also have antiviral effects. Bitter greens are especially helpful in relieving chest congestion, sniffles, and coughs.Pasta with tomato sauce and plenty of garlic.
Because the pungent bulb is one of the most potent disease-fighting foods around, it’s worth having at least two servings a day. Raw garlic has the most benefits, but cooked garlic also packs a punch.Ginger tea.
It’s different and refreshing—and, Duke says, “ginger is loaded with virus-fighting substances, including several that act directly against cold viruses.” (One substance, gingerol, can suppress coughing.) Boil water; then steep a tablespoon of fresh shredded ginger for 2 or 3 minutes.http://www.health.com
It happens. The busier you are, the harder it is to find time to take care of yourself. Pretty soon, you're watching those good eating habits circle the drain.
That's why we came up with 25 ridiculously easy tips--total no-brainers--that make impressive nutrition happen even on days when you're on autopilot. Do the Big Easies, and you'll automatically get seven servings of fruits and veggies, all the calcium you need, plenty of fiber and omega-3 fats, tons of healing antioxidants, and more.
And the payoffs? You improve your chances of fending off cancer, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes; have more energy; stay slimmer; keep your mind sharp; and sidestep urinary tract infections.
Imagine it's a typical weekday, and you're busier than ever. Now, do the Big Easies!6 AM: Rise and Shine
You hit the snooze button for the last time and fumble your way into the kitchen. Now try these tips:( Read more...Collapse )
Is snacking a bad habit?
Not necessarily. If it keeps you from overindulging at mealtimes, as so many people do, snacking can help you control your weight and keep your body energized all day long. But you have to choose snacks that do your body some good -- and, of course, eat less at lunch and dinner than you would have if you hadn't nibbled in between.( read onCollapse )