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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wake up to a good day!

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Morning has broken, a new day has started.  It’s time to drag yourself out of bed, make your way to the kitchen and start brewing that magical potion that gets your body moving.  Is there nothing better than the aroma of fresh ground coffee?

After years of debate, studies have proven that coffee is actually good for you!!  Of course we all know that coffee contains caffeine which stimulates the nervous system.  Coffee also has beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and anticancer properties.  Coffee contains much higher amounts of antioxidants in a typical serving compared with tea, and even higher than some fruits and vegetables.

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For years, coffee was considered bad for people with cardio vascular disease.  The thought being caffeine was bad for the heart, new data shows the opposite may be true.  The studies show that drinking 3 to 4 cups (6 to 8 oz. equals a cup) of coffee a day not only cuts down the risk of CVD, people also had a lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease and stroke than non-drinkers.  Unfortunately, if you suffer from uncontrolled high blood pressure, drinking coffee is a risk.

On the down side, decaffeinated coffee will have less of an effect than filtered caffeinated coffee.  Unfiltered coffee, (boiled, Turkish or French press) can have the exact opposite result and can be a health risk.

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The antioxidant effects of coffee can lower the risk of some cancers, such as, prostrate, endometrial, melanoma, oral cancers, leukemia, non melanoma skin cancer and liver cancer.  Coffee appears to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Coffee drinking also lowers the risk of chronic liver disease, fibrosis and cirrhosis.  Risks of gallstones also decline in coffee drinkers.  Consumption of coffee also is known to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

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One of the few times drinking coffee is harmful is during pregnancy.  Drinking coffee at this time can cause low birth weight and miscarriage.  Drinking coffee during pregnancy appears to raise the risk of childhood leukemia.  Possible reasons for the danger of caffeine during pregnancy is that the caffeine doubles in pregnancy.  The caffeine in one cup of coffee is much higher, the fetus has low levels of enzymes to break it down, which can be harmful to the baby.

Even though coffee has a lot of health benefits, not everyone should drink it.  Regular coffee can increase energy and alertness, but some people may have anxiety that’s ramped up by caffeine.  People that have trouble sleeping or have trouble with GERD should stay away from coffee.

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With all the health benefits of coffee, that doesn’t mean you should run to the nearest coffee house and order a coffee with sugary syrups and creams.  Remember those drinks only add extra calories.  If you have to have a flavored coffee, chose a low fat cappuccino or latte.  Also, just a dusting of cocoa powder or cinnamon will give you flavor without all the added fat, sugar, and calories.  Also, be aware that a sweet roll, cookie or a piece of pie, goes great with coffee, but remember you don’t need the added calories.  Let’s keep things HEALTHY!!

Here’s to the start of a new day!!!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

My heart is all a flutter!

 

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Spring…..a time when love is in the air!  What’s more perfect than strolling, hand in hand along a deserted beach?  Suddenly, he turns to you, you turn to him and your heart begins to FLUTTER….you can’t catch your breath…….you feel light headed…as you gaze into each others eyes, you wonder….is this what love feels like???  No wait…..something’s wrong, you begin to feel nauseous and your body is covered in a cold sweat.  Something is terribly, terribly wrong!

You my dear, are having symptoms of a heart attack!  What do you do?  Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Ok, so maybe for you young people, love can feel like this, but, for us middle-aged and older women, we need to know the causes and symptoms of heart trouble.  Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of women in the United States.

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Other symptoms of a heart attack can be tightness in your chest or back, pain going down your left arm, pain in the left side of your neck or jaw, overall fatigue not due to sleeping problems or depression.  light-headedness or dizzy,  irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath as if you can’t take a full breath, are also symptoms.  Nausea, vomiting, indigestion and other GI upsets are atypical signs of a heart attack.

How can you keep a heart attack or stroke at bay?  First thing if you are 20 or more pounds over weight and don’t exercise on a regular basis, it’s time to change your life style!  If you smoke, STOP!   Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of heart disease by 50%??  Also, just a moderate weight-loss can help.

You also need to know your cholesterol numbers.  Cholesterol is the fatty plaque that lines your blood vessels and arteries.  If a piece of that fatty plaque breaks off, it can cause a blockage.  Depending on where the blockage occurs, you can have a heart attack or stroke.  The “bad” cholesterol LDL needs to be 200 or lower.  Your “good” cholesterol or HDL needs to be 40 or greater.  High cholesterol can be hereditary.  In that case you will have to talk to your doctor because a change of lifestyle alone won’t help.  You might need medications.

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So?  What’s this lifestyle change?  It’s the same ol’ song and dance.  Eat right, exercise, and stop smoking.   Start exercising 30 minutes a day.  This doesn’t have to be done all at once.  Ten minutes here, ten there, and ten more.  You can take the stairs instead of the elevator or park at the far end of the parking lot for starters.  Turn the music on and dance, swim, play tennis, but, if you’re not use to exercising, walking at a fast pace is really the best way to get started.

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As for eating, stay away from any saturated fats, trans fats, cut down on salt and red, fatty meat.  Opt to eat fruits and vegetables without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars.  Choose fiber-rich WHOLE grains, make sure to read the labels!  You can have poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways….not fried!  Salmon, trout, and herring are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which is very heart healthy.  Select skim or 1% dairy products.  Cut back on beverages with added sugars.  Most importantly, follow portion sizes.  You need to burn more calories than you eat.

Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.  If you get the green light to exercise get out there and MOVE!!  You’re heart will thank you and so will your family!!

If you need some support or help in changing your life style, email me and I can help.

Healthy eating everyone!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the thought of summer make you shutter with fear?

 

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How many times have you told yourself, “this summer, I’m going to fit into those cute sundresses, shorts or maybe even that cute swimming suit and not feel ashamed, because, I am a new slimmer me!”  Unfortunately, life happens and now you feel depressed.

Being overweight is influenced by many factors.  Body weight can be the result of genetics, metabolism, mental, environmental, cultural and economical influences.  If your weight isn’t caused by any medical issues, then there is hope that by changing your lifestyle you can lose the weight and keep it off.

Being over weight and having a sedentary life style can cause medical issues such as, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain kinds of cancers, sleep apnea, osteoporosis, depression, and plain ol’ poor quality of life.

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So?  How do you change your lifestyle?  First off, ask yourself how many times a week do you eat in fast food places.  How do you prepare your foods at home?  Are they processed from a can or box?  If you eat processed foods, do you look at the serving size on the box?  How much soda do you drink?  A medium glass of soda from a fast food place can be over 200 calories alone.

 

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Another question to ask yourself is, how many hours do you sit in front of your T.V. or computer screen, or play video games?  This question is very important if you have an over weight child.  When we consume more calories than we use, we naturally gain weight.

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Exercise is a main key in preventing heart disease.  It also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, colon cancer, and other cancers.  Did you know, 40% of adults and 43% of adolescents in the United States do not take part in leisure time physical activity?  That is a scary statistic!!

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Don’t worry, I get it.  You have an hour commute in bumper to bumper traffic.  Put in a stress filled 8-12 hour shift, then the bumper to bumper commute back home.  The last thing you want to do is cook a meal or go for a walk.  But to be honest, if you would go for a 20 minute walk, bike ride or just turn on the music and dance around the room, whatever kind of exercise you like to do, your mind and body would refresh itself.  You would be in a better mood and also sleep better.

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As far as your diet….eat peanut butter toast or maybe a boiled egg, real orange juice and whole grain toast for breakfast. Quit ordering those mocha lattes with extra foam on your commute.  Pack a lunch with fruit, berries and/or veggies like carrots, celery, lettuce.  Add a hard-boiled egg, cheese, peanut butter, turkey, ham or tuna, instead of a fast food hamburger and French fries.  If you have to have a soda, try a diet soda or unsweetened ice tea.  On your commute home have some nuts, seeds, and fruit to munch on instead of a frappe, milkshake or GIANT soda.  As for supper, don’t sit down and call for pizza.  Throw a chicken in to bake.  While it’s baking, go for a walk.  When you come home, cook some brown rice and stir fry some vegetables and then sit down to a healthy meal.

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I’m not saying you can never eat another pizza or enjoy a latte again, just do it as a treat. Believe me, saving those high calorie pleasures as a special treat make them taste even better!!

If you need support in starting your new life style, email me at larsonlaura74@gmail.com and I will get you started.  It’s not as hard as you think and you’ll thank yourself!!

Let’s make that change happen!!!

Good luck!!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh, Spring a time of freedom

 

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Spring, my favorite time of the year!  It’s a time to shed those heavy winter coats, kick off your shoes and enjoy the freedom of fresh air and sunshine!

Growing up on a farm, spring was a magical time.  I remember waking to the chirps of the robins, meadow larks, blue jays, and once in a while the beautiful song of a canary.

Spring was the time to start planting on the farm.  I would watch my dad and uncle disk the soil and plant the corn.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh turned soil.  There was such a sense of accomplishment watching the ground come to life after a long cold winter.

As for re-birth, momma cats would always hide their babies in the hay mow.  I remember running to the barn with my girlfriend as we searched through the hay to find the kittens.  We would laugh at the kittens as they spit and hissed, trying to act like tigers, when we picked them up.  It wasn’t long until we had them purring and running to us when they saw us in the hay mow.

Also in the barn, the sows were having piglets.  Baby pigs have to be one of the cutest animals in the world.  It’s too bad they grow up to be big, ugly, and MEAN!!  Once in a while, dad would bring a runt into the house for us to bottle feed.  That little pig would play and follow you around just like a dog.  Yep, pretty much like Wilber in the story of Charlotte’s Web.  But, when that little piggy started eating regular feed, it went back into the barn with his brothers and sisters!

My favorite memory on the farm was walking out to the pasture in the evening with my dad.  We’d go out and turn on the water for the water tank and just stand and watch the cows and calves.  The cows would be eating the new sprigs of  fresh grass, while the calves would be running and frolicking with each other in the evening air.

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There were other times when I would saddle up my horse and take an evening ride around the farm.  I remember one time, I rode in the pasture just as the cows were settling down for the night.  To the east, the moon was sitting on the horizon like a huge, orange ball.  In the distance there was the cry of a coyote and her pups.  I remember feeling like that moment was something out of a movie.  It was beautiful!!

Of course, Spring can get a little rough out here on the prairie!  Mother nature likes to unexpectedly throw a storm or two on you.  But even with the winds, hail, sudden downpours of heavy of rain, and yes, even a tornado, there is beauty in the fury.  The shapes and colors of the clouds during the storms are magnificent.  Watching the lightning as it streaks across the sky and the rumble of what seems like never-ending thunder is amazing.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen the destruction of these storms many times.  The flash flooding, the ruination of homes, trees and everything else in the path of  tornadoes, the killing of animals from lightning, the beating the farmer’s crops take from the hail.  A life time of work gone in a few minutes.

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For me growing up on a farm was a spectacular.  I will never forget those days.

I wish you all a very happy spring!

Laura

 

 

A spoonful of sugar

pexels-photo-356365.jpegIf you’re like me, after a stressful day, you can’t wait to take that first sweet, creamy, bite of a candy bar.  Nothing can take its place after a hard day at work!  But now imagine, never being able to taste that sweet, luscious, melt in your mouth piece of candy ever again!!  I can’t imagine that happening either!  But, to a rare few of people out there, their love of sugar has come to an end.

A reader asked me if there was such a thing as a sugar allergy.  It seems if she puts sugar in her coffee, or, eats a candy bar, or any form of sugar, she gets severe cramps that last for several hours.

A sugar allergy would be very rare.  A sugar intolerance on the other hand might be a more suitable term.  An allergy is when, a food causes an immune system reaction that affects many organs of the body.  In some cases it can be life threatening.  A food intolerance  is less serious and often limited to digestive problems.

There is such a thing called Genetic Sucrose-Isomaltase Deficiency or GSID. I can give you a lot of medical talk, but, to make this short, a person with GSID can not digest sugar, whether it’s white sugar or the starches in fruits, vegetables and grains like bread and rice.

GSID is often mistaken as other sugar intolerances, such as fructose or lactose intolerances, and gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.

Symptoms can be abdominal pain, cramping, nausea/vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.  There is nothing you can take to ease the symptoms of GSID.  You just have to wait for the sugar to run through your body.  It can be minutes or hours depending on how fast the sugar moves through your digestive tract.

GSID in children can affect growth and development.  People suffering from GSID are at risk of chronic malnutrition, diarrhea, gassiness, abdominal distention and pain.  Failure to thrive is another characteristic of this disorder.

If you think this sounds like something you may have.  See your doctor!  There are tests they can do to test for GSID, which include, a hydrogen breath test, 13C sucrose breath test, a stool pH, a SI Genetic test or a small bowel biopsy with disaccharidase enzyme testing.

There is a simple test you can do at home.  Stir 4 tablespoons of ordinary sugar into a 4 oz. glass of water.  Mix until completely dissolved.  Drink it all on an empty stomach.  Wait and see if symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramping or diarrhea occur during the next 4-8 hours.  Well….I didn’t say it would be FUN!!

The good news is, there is help for this deficiency.  Talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.  The dietitian will want a food log of everything you have eaten over a period of time.  Then the starches will be taken out of your diet and slowly be re-introduced depending on how well you are tolerating the foods.  Soon you will learn which foods you will have to take off your diet.

There is a prescription the doctor can give you to help you live a more “normal” life.

So, don’t sit and wonder if you are out of your mind.  Sugar intolerance is a REAL thing.  Go get checked out, after all, what do you have to lose other than those nasty symptoms!

Good luck and here’s to pain-free eating!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a lot of bologna…or is it?

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It’s Wednesday and once again, I have the mid-week blahs.  If you’re like me, work has been crazy and the last thing you want to do this evening is cook for the family!

Unfortunately, for me being an empty nester, it’s so easy to pull some kind of processed food out of the freezer and throw it in the micro-wave and VOLIA supper is ready.  But yet,  I have to wonder, when did process food become the norm?

Processed food is loaded with all sorts of chemicals and/or artificial flavorings that we can’t even pronounce or have a clue what they are.  I suggest that you start looking at the ingredients on the labels and try to avoid foods that have the following ingredients.

  1. Partially hydrogenated oil. This product is used to increase shelf life and stabilize flavor. Unfortunately, this product can raise your LDL which is the bad cholesterol and it can also lower your HDL or good cholesterol which isn’t good if you have heart disease or diabetes.  The foods that you need to look out for are margarines, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads and chips
  2. High fructose corn syrup.  This product has been debated for a long time, what it really boils down to is too much sugar is a bad thing.  It leads to obesity and increases the risk for diabetes.
  3. MSG.  Most processed food is loaded with this product.  MSG has many other names which can fool you.  If you see monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, autolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed  vegetable protein, yeast extract and even citric acid, beware.  MSG is a preservative that is known to trigger migraines not to mention obesity and type II diabetes.  MSG is found in canned soups, fast food, salad dressings. diet beverages, packaged sausages and hotdogs, beef stew and in some packaged vegetarian foods.
  4. BHA and BHT are another little favorite in processed foods.  They are used as a preservative in cereals, potato chips, and chewing gum to keep them from going rancid.  These additives can cause sleeplessness, and loss of appetite.  They have been known to cause liver and kidney damage, hair loss, behavioral problems and even cancer.
  5. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.  These chemicals are used to preserve shelf life of meats like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage.  These little guys are known to cause cancer.
  6. Proply gallate.  This preservative is used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling.  Watch for it in vegetable oil, potato sticks, chicken soup base, meat products chewing gum and even in cosmetic products.  It could cause cancers.
  7. Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid.  These little guys are ok for the most part.  They are used in some fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and pickles.  They are harmless unless you have an allergy to them.  The only time they are dangerous is when mixed with beverages containing asorbic acid.  When mixed with asorbic acid this chemical changes into benzene that causes leukemia and other cancers
  8. Potassium Bromate.  This is an additive used in bread and rolls.  This has been known to cause cancer in lab animals.  Make sure you check your bread and crackers.
  9. Last but not least, Food Colorings, Red #3 used in baked goods and candy can cause chromosomal damage and thyroid tumors.  Red #40 that is found in drinks, candy and pet food has caused lymph tumors in lab tests.  Yellow #5 and 6 can also cause tumors.

With all these chemicals, it makes you think twice before reaching for that processed meat and canned food!!  All I can tell you is to TRY to cook with fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables when you can.  Your body will LOVE you for it!!

Laura

 

Busy hands!

We finally made it to March!!  I know the weather is going crazy around the country this weekend, but, for me, it’s 70 degrees and sunshine!  You can always tell when springtime is near when the sandhill cranes start coming in by droves here in Nebraska.  That is a sight to see if you are ever in this part of the country!!

One thing about spring, it makes a person want to get outside and take in the fresh air.  It’s a time of regrowth not to mention my favorite time of year.  I can’t wait to get outside and start planting flowers and yes, I even like mowing grass!

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If you haven’t started an exercise regime yet, now is the perfect time!  I know I’ve said this before, but, gardening is a great way of exercising,  digging holes, squatting down to plant, and walking to get the hose….believe me, you will feel that in your legs and back!Mowing grass with a small, push mower is another great way to get steps in, plus sunshine and vitamin D!  Soon it will be time for bike rides, swimming, and walks in the park.

All of these things are great things to do to get you up and out of the house and forget about running to the fridge or cabinets for something to eat.  As they say, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so keep your hands and mind busy on other things than junk food!  Get creative!  Start thinking about something you have never tried before.  Which brings me to my point of busy hands.

I have a couple of followers that have taught themselves not only creative ways of de-stressing, but, keeping their minds off food.  One has taught herself to make jewelry.  In the winter time she designs and makes beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pins.  In the spring, summer and fall, she goes to flea markets and sells her products.

 

 

 

Another one of my followers taught herself how to crochet.  She started out slow learning how to chain and a couple of stitches, but now, she has made beautiful afghans, baby hats for hospitals and even sweaters for her cats!!  She has just started to make little stuffed toys.

As you can see both of these women are very artistic and talented!! Also, if you are interested in any of their work, contact me at this site!

So, when you are feeling BORED…..drop the chips and the chocolates and get your mind and hands BUSY!!

Good luck and I hope to see some pictures of your artistic work!!

Laura