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Pull the trigger on ADHD

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Did you know, 8.7% of children age 3-17 years, suffer from ADHD according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention?

So?  What is ADHD?  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is thought to be caused by developmental differences in the brain that affects the parts controlling attention, concentration, impulsivity, activity levels and memory.

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Symptoms can include, over looking or missing details or handing in homework that is not done.  Having difficulties paying attention or remaining focused during class or lengthy reading.  Often seems not to listen when directly spoken to or their mind is elsewhere even when there is no distraction.  School work can be a chore, they start fast, then lose interest and get side tracked.  Is their desk or backpack a mess and disorganized?  Do they suffer from poor time management?  Does your child avoid or dislike school work?  Do they lose things, such as homework, glasses, keys or phone?  Do they get easily distracted and forget to complete chores?  Does your child have difficulties sitting still or waiting to take turns?  Do you find that your child is always interrupting you or talks excessively?  If so, you might want to get checked out by a Doctor.    ADHD seems to be on the rise, the question is why?

Doctors and parents have begun to turn to nutrition.  What you feed your children on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the severity and frequency of ADHD symptoms.  Foods that contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, saturated fat, caffeine and processed foods like deli meats have been linked to triggering ADHD symptoms in children.

Studies have shown that foods high in vitamin B, protein, calcium and trace minerals have actually reduced symptoms on a regular basis.

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It has been found that foods high in protein like, eggs, beans (navy and soy), goat cheese, and chicken can help a child’s concentration.  High complex carbs like, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and grapefruit have been known to aid in sleep.  Foods high in Omega 3’s also help in treating symptoms, like, salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds.  Also, foods rich in trace minerals such as spinach, kale and watercress or whole grained cereals and breads.

The studies have shown the WORST foods you can give you child with ADHD are the following: ice cream, yogurt, cow cheese.  Why the dairy products?  They have found that kids with ADHD tend to have an intolerance to cow’s milk which can trigger ADHD symptoms.  Try to remove dairy products from your child’s diet for 6-8 weeks to see if it helps lessen the symptoms.  If so, you can change to soy or nut products.

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Besides dairy products, sugar is also on the hit list.  Sugar strips the body of the vitamins, enzymes and minerals required to help stabilize moods.  Stay away from sweets which include fruit juices.  Make sure the juice you buy is 100% juice with no artificial sweeteners, colorings or flavorings

Coffee, chocolate and pop also contains caffeine which is a stimulant that triggers symptoms.  Not to mention, pop contains artificial flavorings and colors.  Chips also fall into this category.

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Frozen pizza is a real danger.  All the ingredients are triggers for symptoms.  The processed meat, the flour in the crust, the cheese….Frozen pizza or pizza bites are not healthy for anyone!   If you want pizza, make it at home and use natural ingredients.

Last but not least, watch out for “yellow” vegetables such as corn and squash.   Yellow vegetables have been known to trigger symptoms.

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If you have a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD or have symptoms go back and do a food log of what your child has been eating over the course of the week.  If they have been eating processed meats, milk, pizza, pop, chocolate…..you might want to try changing their diet.  After all,  if you can make your child feel better why wouldn’t you?

Good luck and healthy eating

Laura

 

 

 

Magnesium, who knew??

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Isn’t it crazy that we all run to the doctor for a “quick fix” pill for our aches and pains, when in reality, our problems just might boil down to the foods we consume, or don’t consume?  Eating healthy isn’t just a gimmick.  Eating the right foods that contain the right vitamins and minerals can keep our bodies fueled for a long and healthy life.

Today, I’m going to talk about the mineral, magnesium.  I’m sure some of you have heard about this.  Magnesium helps with just about every body function from breaking down proteins we eat to helping with depression!  Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s ability to keep your heart, kidneys and muscles healthy, also, keeps your bones strong.

Symptoms of low magnesium can be hard to recognize.  If you find yourself being tired all the time, that can be a symptom.  Sure everyone feels TIRED at some point in their lives with work and kids, but  an insufficient amount of magnesium can make you feel tired and weak.  Often drs. don’t check for magnesium levels at this point.  Unfortunately, this feeling of fatigue won’t go away until the magnesium levels are back to normal.

Muscle spasms and cramps are another sign of a low magnesium level.  If you are suffering from uncontrollable and unpredictable spasms and cramps and its not due to inadequate stretching, dehydration or over-exertion, have your magnesium level checked.

Magnesium is vital for proper muscle contraction and can affect your most important muscle….the heart.  If you are suffering from arrhythmia, magnesium can help you maintain a normal heart rhythm.  There have been studies on how magnesium affects your heart and if it can prevent heart disease or lower the risk of heart attacks.  While there is no guarantee, the studies have shown a positive effect on heart health.

Do you suffer from dizziness?  Not the type that happens when you stand up fast, but, from dizziness that seems to last all day.  Low magnesium levels can give you feelings of vertigo which can totally ruin your life.  If you are suffering from dizziness that just seems to be getting worse, check your magnesium level.

If you seem to have never ending nausea and vomiting, yep, once again it can be due to low magnesium.  Although, you can suffer the same if your magnesium levels are high.  If you are taking a supplement, it’s important to have your levels checked.

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Magnesium also impacts your nervous system.  Tingling and numbness can be a warning sign of a deficiency, especially if it keeps getting worse.  It’s common to feel these symptoms in your face, feet and hands.  I just want to add, numbness is not to be something to brush off.  There could be a real serious problem so make sure you get medical help.

Another interesting fact is, having a low magnesium level can affect your personality!   Do you or someone you know seem to be having abnormal amounts of confusion and irritability?  Or do simple things seem overwhelming?  Is there mood swings?  Are you having trouble sleeping?  Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome? You might want to have your magnesium level checked, before you are prescribed mind bending medications.  Drs. don’t often check magnesium levels for symptoms like these.

Along with the personality changes, low magnesium levels can cause panic attacks and/or anxiety.  If you are suffering from these regularly it could be due to magnesium deficiency.  This can lead to a vicious circle because the stress from anxiety can lower your level of magnesium even more.

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If you are suffering from high blood pressure, try taking in more magnesium.  A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension did a study and the results were that the people with the healthiest blood pressure, had the highest levels of magnesium.  Those with low levels of magnesium had high blood pressure.  Another study revealed that eating magnesium rich foods approximately 100 mg a day, would decrease the risk of having a stroke by 8 percent.

It has also been found that a lack of magnesium could play a role in developing type II diabetes.  Low levels of magnesium are 10 times higher in people that are newly diagnosed with type II diabetes.

A deficiency in magnesium can also increase your risk of developing bone problems like osteoporosis.  Your bones store large amount of magnesium, so when levels of the mineral are low for a long time, it can lead to bone loss.

Another symptom of magnesium deficiency can be migraines.  Researches say that migraines can be caused due to the dilation of blood vessels and that nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of magnesium in their blood.

Now here is something we don’t like to talk about, but, if you are having trouble with bowel movements, part of the reason might be having a low magnesium level.  Magnesium has a relaxing effect on many parts of the body, including the digestive tract.  If these muscles contract more, it makes it more difficult for waste to move through yours system, resulting in constipation.

On the other end of the spectrum, so to speak, are you having trouble with acid reflux?  Just like I previously mentioned, magnesium plays a key role in muscle relaxation throughout the body.  This includes the valves at the top and bottom of the stomach, which allow food to move through the body as it should.  If the cause of your acid reflux is a magnesium deficiency, most over-the-counter medications can actually worsen the symptoms.  So be sure once again to talk to your dr. and get your magnesium level checked.

Now that you know some symptoms of magnesium deficiency, what can you do about it?  These are a few foods that are loaded with magnesium and I would recommend that you would try to incorporate them into your daily diet.

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First, Avocados.  They are loaded with magnesium.  So go ahead and add an avocado to a salad or sandwich.  Avocados are also a great source of potassium and protein, which helps keep you feeling full and helps in the muscle building process.  Avacodos are high in the “good” fat, but still, unsaturated fat, so consume in moderation.

Then there are the DARK leafy greens.  Swiss chard, kale, and spinach are packed with magnesium.  These greens have virtually no calories or fat so enjoy.  Just remember to be careful with what you “dress” them with if you are watching your calories.

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Now there are my favorites!  Cashews and dark chocolate.  Both can help with regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.  They also help with high cholesterol, hypertension and other heart health issues.  Just remember dark chocolate means having a higher cocoa percentage.  Anything with  60% would be ideal.  No milk chocolate!!  One word of caution, the nuts and chocolate are high in fat, so, take in moderation.

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Pumpkin seeds aren’t just for Halloween anymore!  They are very high in magnesium.  Make sure to leave the shells which contain the most helpful nutrients.  Also another important seed are flax seeds, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and magnesium.  All are very good for body health.  Add the seeds to salads, sauces, and cereals or buy whole grain breads with flax seed.

The last food I’m going to include is tuna.  Tuna is loaded with magnesium and low in calories and fat.  Tuna can contain mercury, which is unhealthy if consumed in high quantities.  Also canned tuna contains lots of added salt, so, try to limit your consumption of canned tuna and go for the fresh.

Once again, I want to encourage you to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

If you find yourself with any of the above symptoms and the drs. can’t figure out a cause, ask for a magnesium test.  After all, eating healthy is a whole lot better than taking meds you don’t need.

Happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

The season for change

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Can you believe August is coming to an end?  I have no idea where the summer went, but, I think, I might have missed it!  I’ve noticed the days are getting shorter, the nights, cooler, and before you know it, Jack Frost will be knocking at the window pane.

So, now that the summer vacations are winding down, the kids are back in school, Fall gives us a time to transition into gearing up for….dare I say it??  CHRISTMAS!!  Do you find it a little unnerving to go into the stores where they are putting up Halloween decorations AND Christmas decorations at the same time?  Anyway, I’m getting off on a whole other subject!

Today, I want to check in with you and see if anyone out there reached their goal of losing weight, buying healthier foods, or have made a change for the better in their life.  Since I started this blog 6 months ago, I have lost 15 pounds!!  Most of the weight loss was due to more exercise as in walking and weight lifting.  I must admit, I can’t give up my sweets, but, I have cut down on what I was eating.

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As you know, most of my blogs have been about eating healthy and exercise.  I can not stress enough the power of exercise!  You don’t have to go to a gym or hire a trainer.   No matter what your age, get up and WALK.  If you haven’t exercised in a while, just try to walk around the block or even to the corner of the street and back.  Do this for a few days, then push yourself to go just a little farther.  Work your way up to a mile a day.

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If you have access to a swimming pool, that’s even better!  You don’t have to know how to swim, just get in and walk a few laps in waist deep water.  Remember how much fun you had as a kid, playing and splashing in the pool??  I bet you’ll be amazed how time will fly!

Another great way to get some exercise is Yoga.  If you are greatly overweight, you can check out my pins on Pinterest, look for, the lunch lady!!  The key is to start small.  You can’t expect to lose 25 pounds in 2 weeks or go down 3 dress sizes in a month.   Keep going one day at a time!!  If you lose 2 pounds a month, that’s 24 lbs in the year!

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If summer has passed you by, Fall is a great time to get up and get out!  Enjoy the sunshine, the crisp air, the changing colors of the trees.  

Remember the holidays are coming with all the candy, cookies and goodies!  If you go through the winter putting on extra pounds, it’s just going to be that much harder to take them off next Spring!

If you would like a free, personal BMI reading that tells how much body fat you are carrying around, send me your height and weight to my email: larsonlaura74@gmail.com and I’ll get you started on your way to a better life!!

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I hope you can take advantage of this new season!  Can you imagine yourself WOWING everyone at that Christmas party??

Take care

Laura

 

 

Post card from Colorado

Hi Everyone,

I don’t really have a “blog” today.  My family and I just came home from a wild weekend trip to Colorado.  We hit the ground running trying to cram everything we could into 48 hours!

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I must confess I LOVE Colorado Springs and all the little towns around the city, but, the main draw to me are the mountains…of course, right?  We didn’t get “into” the mountains on this trip but just seeing them is so magical.

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I will say, in those 2 days we ate more than our share of fast foods and sweets!  But on the other hand, walking through the mile stretch of the Cave of the Winds and it’s 100 stairs was good exercise after sitting in a car for 6 hours!

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The next morning we took an early jaunt to the Garden of the Gods.  By 9 a.m. the place was packed with nowhere to park.  We did find an out-of-the-way place and after all was said and done, we had walked almost 5 miles in just a few short hours!

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Once again we jumped in the car and headed for Pueblo Colorado.  The Arkansas River runs through the town and it is beautiful with all the statues, fountains and landscaping.  After the mile walk around the river, we sat and rested in the shade taking in the peacefulness of the city.  Of course our day didn’t end there, we HAD to walk around the historic district and take in a few antique stores!!

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When we finally made it back to the hotel, we ended the day with a swim and the hot tub.  Bed time came early because we had one more thing to do and that was to get up bright and early and hit the stream for some trout fishing!!!  I’m not a fishing type of person, so I did stay back and let my daughter and grandson go.  They had a great time standing knee-deep in a cool Colorado stream catching rainbow trout.

Needless to say, we all had a wonderful time, but the trip home was LONG as we all were tired!!

The point of this blog,  get out and enjoy life.  Instead of sitting on an exercise bike watching the pedometer or being on the floor counting reps, get out and walk, climb nature’s steps and find the beauty you are missing by being stuck in a room watching life go by.  How do you start?  Just put one foot in front of the other!

I want to thank you all for taking time to read my blogs and if you enjoy the topics please feel free to share.  Also if you have questions or have something you would like to talk about, please leave a comment!!

Have a great week!!

Laura

 

 

When do you need probiotics?

 

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I received this question from a follower the other day.  She was wondering if she should get some supplements to take just because it seems the thing “to do”.

I’ve heard many pros and cons about probiotic supplements. Probiotics are supplements you take to help put good bacteria back into your system due to a loss of bacteria, such as from taking antibiotics.

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Some health benefits of probiotics are, reducing inflammation, helps with depression and anxiety, lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels, can reduce blood pressure, enhances immune function, helps with skin disorders such as acne, rosacea and eczema, and a wide range of other health problems.

There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics.  They all have different benefits.  The major three probiotics are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and a yeast found in probiotics called Saccharomyces boulardii.  These will help with diarrhea, IBS, and lactose intolerances.

There are also, L. acidophilus which is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species.  It supports nutrient absorption and helps with the digestion of dairy foods.  B. longum helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall and it is a scavenger of toxins.  B. bifidum, is critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products.  It also is important for its ability to break down complex carbs, fat, and protein into small components that the body can use more efficiently.  L. rhamnosus, is a great travel probiotic.  This bacteria can help prevent occasional traveler’s diarrhea.

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Ok, so now you know the names of some of the healthy bacteria, don’t be so quick to run to the store to pick up a bottle.  Probiotics sold in stores may or may not have live bacteria!!  SAY WHAT???  Yes, that’s true so before you waste money on a bunch of dead bacteria, I’ll tell you why.  Since probiotic bacteria are living organisms, their health can be affected by their environment.  In years past, probiotics had to be kept in the refrigerator,  new delivery systems have done away with that for the most part, but, you still need to protect the bacteria from too much exposure to light, heat, and moisture. Not only do you have to worry about the supplements from the manufacturer but where the store is displaying them.  They shouldn’t be in the sun or near a heating vent.

The best supplements will use a delivery system that ensures a significantly high percentage of bacteria will reach your intestines alive.  Look for details on the packaging or marketing materials.  Also look at how the product is packaged.  The most preferred packaging will be in thick, opaque bottles with desiccant pouches.  There are some new styles of blister packs that also work well.

Also, the probiotic industry doesn’t require that products have expiration dates.  So, if you pick up a bottle with no expiration date, should you really buy it?  An expiration date on a probiotic supplement is the manufacturer’s promise that the bacteria will remain active and potent at the levels specified on the label until that date.

With all this being said, if you want a heathy gut you can run out and buy prebiotics (which are more or less fiber) and/or probiotics but in my opinion, stick to heathy foods!

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Examples of prebiotics are: asparagus, leeks and onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts, bananas, apples, flaxseed, wheat bran, oats, and legumes such as black beans, soy beans, kidney beans, lima beans and even peanuts!

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Examples of probiotics are: yogurt (choose yogurt with active or live cultures), Kefir, a dairy product.  Sauerkraut (make sure its unpasteurized), pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria.  Tempeh, which is a high-protein meat substitute made from soybeans.  Kimchi, which is a fermented cabbage.  Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea drink.  Pickles that are made without vinegar.  Pickles are cucumbers left to ferment for some time in a solution of salt and water.  Buttermilk, but only the traditional buttermilk.  Cultured buttermilk commonly found in America does not have any probiotic benefits.  Types of cheese like gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.  Dark chocolate and soy milk can also be good sources of a probiotic.

These are just a few examples but if you are healthy and can eat one or two different prebiotics and probiotics a day, your body will thank you.  The choice is yours.

*If you are having serious problems with any kind of bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea/constipation, I would suggest to get checked out by your doctor.

If any one else has questions, please write it down in the comment box!

Happy eating!!  Laura

 

The good ol’ summer time

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Can you believe summer is almost half way over?  It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes!!

This has been a very busy summer for me.  As anyone in business knows, when you are short-handed, someone has to bear the brunt of the storm and unfortunately, it was me.  Never the less, it’s all good.  I finally have a weekend off and I’m happy to say things will be somewhat normal for the rest of this month!

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I hope you all were able to have some fun times at the lake, or with family or took a nice vacation.  We all need that point in time to forget work, personal problems, and the daily grind for a few days.  That is why I started an inspiration board on my Pinterest page.  Not just for everyone, but, mainly myself!  A lot of the pins are to keep going for weight loss and  exercise, but they do hit the mark when it comes to work and other things going on in your life.  The main meaning is DON’T GIVE UP!

If work is really stressing you out and you feel you have given all you have without any appreciation, then another quote for you would be DON’T BE AFRAID TO START OVER.  If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.  Maybe it’s time to find something that will make you happier.

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Stress is a killer on the body and mind.  Stress puts your body into overdrive causing panic attacks, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, weight gain or loss, impairs brain function, gastrointestinal upset, alcohol or drug addiction, fertility problems, and makes you more susceptible to physical illness.  So?  What can you do?

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Exercise is a great way of reducing  stress.  Go for a walk or a jog.  Get that fresh air and sunshine pumping into your body.

Healthy eating is especially beneficial.  Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Grabbing that bag of potato chips or pint of ice cream won’t help!  It will actually make you worse.

Prioritize your to do list.  Figure out what is the most important and get that accomplished.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!!

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One of the most important things to do is to make some time for yourself.  Find something that you love to do and take some time to enjoy life.  It could be reading a book, cooking, coloring, painting, playing with your dog, gardening or start a new hobby that you’ve been putting off.

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Also remember to BREATHE!!  I know this sounds insane…you HAVE to breathe, but, it’s how you breathe.  Take in a deep breath through your nose and let is out slowly through your mouth.  Do this a few times and feel how much more relaxed you become.  Of course there is meditation, massage and yoga.

If stress is affecting your daily life and nothing seems to help, make sure you talk to your doctor.  There IS help out there.  Don’t ever give up after all, life is about moments, create them, don’t wait for them!!

Have a great summer!

Laura

 

 

 

Depression and obesity is there a link?

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In this day and age, bigger is always better, right?  WRONG!!

Watching the food shows on TV where the host eats a 3 pound hamburger and a pound of fries just to get a T-shirt and a picture on the wall is crazy!  And don’t forget the 1/2 pound burgers are becoming the norm.  After all, who wants to eat a piddley kid size hamburger?

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What people aren’t getting is, fast foods are greasy and full of calories.  They can be loaded with chemicals that you don’t even know about.  Just for fun, go to the store and grab a box of pizza rolls and read the ingredients. I did and it is AMAZING!! Can you believe we give this to our kids??? Creating food to last on shelves for weeks at a time are becoming a literal science project.  The chemicals and hydrogenated oils in foods can and do lead to brain abnormalities causing stress, anxiety, depression and weight gain.

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When you are stressed out, what is the first thing you reach for…comfort food, right?  Who doesn’t want that donut or piece of cake in the office lounge for a pick me up?  In the evening when you feel down and craving “feel good” food do you choose a meal of fried chicken with mac and cheese, or go out for that hamburger, fries and soda, or pizza and beer.

In reality, these foods are not going to help.  They can make your anxiety worse and cause you to fall into depression.  When you reach for sweets to “calm” yourself, what you are really doing is making your blood sugar rise, which in turn, causes the brain to go into  overdrive, yes, it makes you feel good for an hour or so, but then you come crashing down, feeling tired and can cause a panic attack.  The best thing to do is leave simple carbs alone.  That means don’t go for sugary snacks like candy, donuts, cakes, sugary cereals, soda, and fruit juices.  Try to eat more complex carbs that keeps your sugars on a level plain.  Complex sugars would be whole grain cereals and breads or whole fruits like apples and bananas.

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Ok, so, you don’t eat snack foods but like diet sodas or energy drinks.  Diet sodas are full of  artificial sweeteners.  These sweeteners cannot be digested by the body.  They can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.  As for energy drinks and coffee, they are full of caffeine which can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.  Caffeine can actually cause panic attacks and cause sleeplessness.  Try to avoid energy drinks at all costs!  If you are thirsty, stick to water.  After all, we humans are 70% water!!

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As for the fast food diet plan, the fries, onion rings, crispy chicken, fried fish and all that other good deep fat fried foods are cooked in hydrogenated oil.  It’s not heart healthy and can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention weight gain. It can clog your arteries and narrow the blood flow to your brain, making you feel sluggish and depressed.  Another thing with fast foods, they are loaded with sodium(salt).  Too much salt in our diet has a negative effect on our brain.  It causes fatigue and damages the immune system.  Not to mention that eating an overload of salt leads to weight gain, high blood pressure and water retention.  Too much salt can trigger panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

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Alcohol will also cause depression.  It’s true, one drink can make you feel calm and relaxed, but, drinking in excess will cause anxiety.  Alcohol affects the body and nervous system and can cause hypersensitivity, increased heart rate, lowered blood sugar levels and dehydration.

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Let’s talk about that big plate of mac and cheese that our mom’s would give us to “make us feel better.”   Research does show that people who have anxiety say, they’ve noticed an increase in anxiety symptoms minutes after eating dairy products.  Why is this?  Dairy is an inflammatory.  It can cause havoc on the digestive system.  So, if you do suffer from anxiety or depression, when it comes to dealing with dairy, the answer might be no.

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Last but not least, is that big meat lovers pizza you ordered.  The pizza is full of processed meat!  With all the chemicals in processed meats, it’s a full on war with your gut!  Gut health is a major contributor to chronic anxiety.  Not to mention that the crust is made of white flour and gluten, they are not your friends.  Gluten can trigger anxiety symptoms, depression and mood disorders.

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Now that I took away all the yummy foods, what can you eat to make you feel better?  Lets start with a healthy diet consisting of dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard.  Leafy greens fight against all kinds of inflammations.  Severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation.  Not only do the greens contain vitamins such as A,C,E, and K, and minerals, they boost your immune system and have anticancer effects.

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Next are the Omega-3 fatty acids.  These support brain function and reduce depression symptoms.  Foods rich in omega-3 are fish, such as, mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, white fish, sardines and anchovies.  Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week.  Walnuts are another example.  Not only are they full of Omega-3, they are packed with fiber and contain valuable amounts of copper, manganese and vitamin E.  There are seeds like chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds.  Believe it or not, egg yolks can be a good source of omega-3.  Soybeans and navy beans are another favorite.  They are also a good source of protein and fiber.  If you eat rice, you might want to try wild rice.  Wild rice is actually a grass, but, it is loaded with protein and fiber.  It’s also high in B vitamins, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium.

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Vitamin B12 is another important source for brain health.  It plays a key role in converting nutrients to energy.  If you feel exhausted or your mind feels foggy, then it’s time to get more vitamin B12.  Foods sources for B12 are, fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy.  It is also found in fortified cereals and soy or rice milk.  An interesting fact, many people over the age of 50 that suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, suffer from problems like dementia.  The result is that many people confuse the deficiency with dementia and are mistakenly diagnosed. What might be a surprise to you is that beef is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 and zinc which is important to brain health.  Turkey is also a good source.  Shellfish will give you the healthy B12 vitamin and also rich in potassium and iron.

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Another important vitamin to help with depression, is vitamin D.  The best source of vitamin D is SUNSHINE!  I know when I worked 12 hour shifts, it would be dark in the morning when I went to work and dark when I went home. Being stuck in a building all day, is no fun.  If you can, get out and enjoy the day over your break times.  It will give you the boost you need.

If you can’t get outside, you can also get vitamin D in fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon or fortified products such as dairy products orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. If you think you’re tired from all the stress at work or lack of sleep, it may be due to the lack of vitamin D.  This is the vitamin you need for your body to create energy.  You might just want to put down that high energy drink full of caffeine and grab a cup of sunshine.

What this all boils down to, stop eating processed foods high in chemicals and fats.  Start eating a healthy diet rich in meats, greens, beans, seeds, and fruits.  If you can’t pronounce the foods on the ingredient label, put the food down and walk away!!

With depression and obesity becoming an epidemic in this country, maybe it’s time we get back to basics.

Happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A touch of the grape

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I must admit, I’m not a connoisseur of fine wines.  In fact, when I buy wine, I’m usually drawn to the cute label at the grocery store.  That being said, my taste for wine hasn’t been very good.  When I started to do research for this blog, I have discovered many facts about wine and I’m now thinking maybe I should begin to do my homework on the different types of wine.

We have all heard the health benefits from drinking wine, but, personally, I didn’t realize ALL the benefits.  If you don’t know the hidden treasures of wine, let me fill you in.  The compound that is the “miracle cure-all” is called, resveratrol.  Resveratrol comes from the skins of grapes.

There are times when you shouldn’t drink, such as, when you are pregnant, have a drinking problem, or get migraines from wine.  In that case, you can eat grapes, blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, pistachios or peanuts. They are great sources for resveratrol.  Or you can get resveratrol in supplement form.

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If you enjoy a touch of the grape, red wine contains more resveratrol than white wines, but, they will both give you the health benefits you want.  Women are recommended to drink one glass of wine a day.  Men, are allowed 2 glasses a day.  But, before you get your glass and fill it to the brim, you must realize one glass is equivalent to 5 ounces.  Drinking more will undo all the good, plus raise your blood pressure,  you will have a risk of developing several kinds of cancer, and could damage your liver.  Moderation is the key!!  The best time to have a glass of wine is while enjoying a Mediterranean type meal.

Ok, so, now what are the health benefits?

Wine contains antioxidants.    Antioxidants combat  the free radicals in your body.  Free radicals are the mean little critters that can cause terrible health problems such as cancer.   Wine can slow the growth of breast cancer cells, suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells, and can slow down the growth of liver cancer cells.  Resveratrol can reduce the size of bowel tumors by 50%.  Wine may boost lung functions and prevent lung cancer cells from growing.  Drinking wine can also keep you from getting oral cancer.

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As if that’s not enough, wine boosts your immune system and wards off infections such as colds.  Also, as we get older, our bones get more brittle.  Wine increases bone density and reduces the chance of osteoporosis.

Wine reduces the risk of stroke by being a natural blood thinner, breaking up blood clots that could lead to a stroke.  Wine helps with the battle of heart disease, by improving blood vessel health, which in turn, improves the flow of blood, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Wine lowers cholesterol.  Resveratrol decreases LDL while increases HDL.  It also lowers blood pressure.

Wine also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.  Resveratrol has been proven to improve sensibility to insulin.  Wine improves brain function….of course not so much if you drink the whole bottle!  This is where you have to follow the 5 ounce rule.  The chemicals in red wine prevent the brain’s neurons from dying off.  As a result, it protects the brain from dementia while slowing down the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s’ and Parkinson’s.

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Resveratrol activates a protein that acts as an anti-aging agent.  This increases your overall health promoting longevity.  Resveratrol also inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria.  Wine in moderation, helps you relax and reduces depression.

Wine promotes healthy eyes.  This may help with treatment of diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration.  Wine also protects your teeth from bacteria which causes cavities.

Isn’t it funny that we run to the doctor for chemical prescriptions and pay big companies for pills that can have horrible side effects when the answer to our problems are nature made!  Of course, I don’t want you to quit taking your meds and head to the nearest winery.  Talk to your doctor first and remember MODERATION!

If you are interested in a “wine of the month”,  click on the California Wine Club next to this article.

Here’s to a long and healthy life!!

Laura

 

 

What is happening to our kids?

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Did you know, type 2 diabetes is running rampant in our country?  Not only in adults but it is a real epidemic in children ages 10-18 years old.  Out of that 60% are young girls.  What is going on?

One of the major players of diabetes 2 is being over weight.  Unfortunately, for most, the parents are also over weight and don’t take the disease seriously.  How many people do you know have said, “we’re big boned”, “we are happy when we eat”.  “She’s just growing”?  It’s after the diabetes turns into something serious where Drs. recommend medications that some parents actually take diabetes seriously.  By that time, it can be too late. Kids with diabetes 2 tend to have a faster and more severe progression of diabetes-related complications. By the age of 21, kids with type 2 diabetes can have at least one of the following complications: diabetic kidney disease, retinopathy (serious eye problems), peripheral neuropathy (painful nerve damage mainly in the hands and feet), arterial stiffness, or hypertension (high blood pressure).

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So?  What can we do about helping our children?  I know it’s hard to look in that sweet face and deny them another cupcake or helping of potatoes and gravy, but, who said parenting was easy?  The best way to help your children is to get the whole family involved.  Let’s face it, how would you like sitting at the table watching everyone eat favorites like mac and cheese, potatoes and gravy, pies and cakes and then tell you, you can’t have any because it will make you sick!salmon-dish-food-meal-46239.jpeg

 

 

Once the family is involved, you need to not necessarily get rid of the high carbs but control how much you eat.  The best way to find out how you can feed your child would be to chat with a registered dietitian.  They can make excellent recommendations for a healthy diet.  If you can’t get in touch with a RD, the next best thing is to use the MyPlate to figure out portions.   MyPlate will tell you to fill 1/2 of your plate with fresh fruits and a variety of vegetables, 1/4 of the plate will have whole grains, brown rice, bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits are examples.  The other 1/4 of your plate will be filled with lean meats such as, red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, to mention a few.  Also remember to drink or eat low fat or skim milk, yogurt, or cheese.

I know this change won’t be easy especially if you are use to grabbing a burger, fries, and soda or ordering pizza when dealing with a hectic schedule, but, in the long run, your children and YOU will become healthy and that cuts down on Dr. visits!

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Also remember to get out and exercise.  Diet alone won’t lose those unwanted pounds.  Take an evening stroll after supper.  Let the kids go roller skating, swimming, playing football in the park, challenge them in a game of basketball…anything to get them moving!!

Of course, kids being kids, might not understand what is happening to them and introducing new foods all at once can be overwhelming.  Just try to cut out one or two “bad” things and introduce a new fruit or vegetable.  They may just enjoy the change and in a few years, when they realize you saved them from the possibility of going blind or having kidney disease….they will THANK YOU!!

Good luck on your start to better health!!

Laura