Guest Post: Jane’s Journey to Wellness

The wellness journey you are about to embark on, or have been on, could positively transform the expressions of your life. I know because I started on this journey eight months ago, not knowing where it would end up.

It doesn’t end, that’s the key! It becomes a life long ingredient of your very being.

This journey has brought an inner healing to the surface and set a long held passion free to sail on an aspiring course. The ingredients I am talking about require a different approach that is energizing and transforming for strength, weight loss and confidence. But it does require that you dig deep within yourself and become conscious of “what is it you are really hungry for”?
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Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

Here’s what to know about magnesium . . .

Products containing magnesium

Products containing magnesium

  • Magnesium is a really important mineral that our body needs for more than 300 enzyme systems that control muscle, nerve, bone, protein, DNA, glucose, and energy metabolism.
  • About 99% of total body magnesium is located in bone, muscles, and soft tissues.  For this reason a blood test of magnesium level won’t necessarily detect if we have low magnesium levels.
  • The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies by age and gender, but 400 mg is a good round number for adults. The kidneys work to keep balance of magnesium, along with potassium and sodium.
  • Substances like alcohol, many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors (meds such as Nexium, Prilosec or omeprazole), can lower body magnesium levels.
  • Magnesium deficiency can contribute to health problems such as constipation, muscle spasms,  arrhythmias, hypertension, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, seizures, leg cramps, restless legs syndrome, kidney stones, myocardial infarction, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, chest pain, osteoporosis, altitude sickness, diabetes, fatty liver disease and fatigue.
  • Processed foods are stripped of most of their natural magnesium.  In general, dark green leafy veggies, beans, nuts and seeds are best sources of magnesium.
  • Since magnesium is eliminated by the kidneys, if you have kidney function below normal be sure to check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements as too much can be dangerous as well.
  • Top magnesium foods, with 25 mg magnesium or more per serving, are listed in order with best sources first:
    Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Pumpkin Seeds, Summer Squash, Turnip Greens, Soybeans, Sesame Seeds, Black Beans, Quinoa, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Navy Beans, Tempeh, Buckwheat, Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Barley, Lima Beans, Millet, Kidney Beans, Oats, Tofu, Almonds, Rye, Wheat, Papaya, Flaxseeds, Green Peas, Tuna, Scallops, Collard Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Raspberries, Winter Squash, Cabbage, Asparagus, Kale.

Please share any food ideas or recipes you have to get your daily magnesium!

Find the Connection in Your Carb Eating

How often do carb foods call your name?  iStock_000012264714Small
If you are like me you tend to crave something sweet after a meal or in the evening. I love chocolate candies or ice cream but if I have them in the house anywhere I really have a hard time not overeating them.
Unfortunately the added sugar foods and processed snack foods are a big part of the reason we have trouble with the our waistline.

So is going on a low carb diet the answer?
No.
Besides, you have probably been there done that. Diets are temporary.The key is to change the way we think about the foods we choose.

Do we need to change our mindset first?  I don’t think we have a realistic concept of how much sugar and refined carb foods we actually eat or drink these days.  In a way we are “sugar coating” our thinking about how healthy we are eating. Even those of us who should know better struggle with this! Yes that is me admitting I eat too much refined carbohydrate, mainly sugar. But because I also eat many healthy foods, sometimes I ignore that reality.

So as I practice mindful eating lately, I am becoming more aware of my sugar intake and trying to be really honest with myself asking . . . just how much sweets am I really eating compared to what’s healthy for me?  Do I need to look at my overeating triggers?
Our thoughts lead to our actions so before we can change our eating habits we need to change our thoughts about our eating habits. Ask yourself these questions and take a minute to really think about your answers:

Are your thoughts about food helpful or harmful?

Are you respecting your body and your health?

Are you taking care of yourself so you can take care of others and help others?

The stress and emotional ups and downs of life are a big trigger for overeating. Are you eating to put off doing things you don’t want to do or are you feeding an emotion that you don’t want to face?
Have you thought about what you are putting in your body and the effect it has?

Make the connection.  This can be a turning point towards long term healthier eating habits. When you think about it, foods are either helping to heal and fight disease in our body, or are they causing inflammation. Think of inflammation as a flame causing pain, redness, swelling – like what happens when we get a cut or mosquito bite or bee sting. That’s inflammation.

Too much sugar or refined snack foods create inflammation but it’s inside your body and you don’t know it unless you are paying attention to how you feel. Start thinking about that concept when you make your food choices, instead of making excuses for eating it or thinking about it as good or bad. Just connect with the reality of what that food might be doing in your body and how it makes you feel physically. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up if it’s not a nutritious food. Just become more aware. Then see if it starts to affect what or how much you choose to eat over time.

When I eat foods that are healthier I feel good mentally and physically because I think of those foods as medicine with natural vitamins and nutrients that help heal my body. If I am really connecting and caring about my body then the desire to put healing foods into my body comes from within, rather than outside rules coming from the latest diet.

I would love to hear your experiences and comments on this idea!

Favorite Recipe Share: Bourbon Chicken

This recipe has become one of my family’s favorites since finding in online a few years ago. You can find it online at this link also.

Ingredients

    • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup apple juice
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
  5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

You can serve it with rice or for a lower carb dinner serve with a salad instead!

I do make a few adjustments: I leave out the red pepper flakes only because we prefer the taste without. I also use lite soy sauce to reduce sodium, and try to use fresh garlic and ginger instead of powder.

Most of the ingredients are healthy. You might not be aware that ginger is an anti-inflammatory food that can help reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis if used regularly.  It also can help prevent cancer and is good in tea when you have cold or flu. sliced ginger root

As always the whole food version is always more effective than a supplement. The root doesn’t necessarily look pretty but has a nice aroma and flavor!

You can buy ginger root in the produce section and then just peel it and chop or mince to and add to your recipe! Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Store unpeeled in the freezer and it will keep for up to six months.

Please share your favorite healthy recipes in the comments!

 

Are you Confused about Cholesterol?

Eggs Are Finally Okay to Eat!
Okay, I am being a little sarcastic. Why? Because I think the government recommendations are way behind. 
If you have been reading or listening to the news you know that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is changing the recommendations about foods high in cholesterol.
Interesting. I wrote about this topic in a blog on eggs 5 years ago.  You can read about why eggs healthy here. And that was several years after I realized that the guidelines were off track.
Lesson: Don’t depend on the government for your nutrition advice.  One news article states that Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today, “we got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.”
The news goes on to talk about how saturated fat and trans fats are still bad for us. Well let me cut to the chase and give you my bottom line insight from over 20 years of providing nutrition therapy . . . .
The number one nutrition problem causing our health problems including weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease is PROCESSED FOODS, LACK OF SKILLS FOR COOKING REAL FOOD, and TOO MUCH SITTING!
I was lucky enough to grow up with fresh garden foods, very little screen time (3 channels on TV), and plenty of chores and play time to keep us active.
What can you do to keep your cholesterol and heart healthy?  The first step is knowing where you are now.  Start paying attention to:
1. Your grocery cart. How  many processed foods and how many fresh foods do you buy?
2. Ingredients in your packaged foods. What are you really putting in your body?
3. How often you eat out compared to home cooked meals?
4. Do a time check. How many hours of the day are you sitting at a desk, TV, computer, video games, or on your phone?
Okay. Gotta go get moving now. I just realized I have been sitting at this computer too long!

Question for you: Where do you get your nutrition advice?  Comment and share!

How All or None Thinking Makes You Feel Like a Diet Failure

Here’s how  – We decide to lose weight or get control of diabetes and we say to ourselves:

I have to eat better. I’ll start a healthy diet tomorrow.  I will get rid of all the bad foods and just eat what’s good for me.

Thinking of food as good or bad all of the time is an all-or-none mindset. We think of our eating as right or wrong. When we are following the rules we are good. But if we stop the diet we have failed and we feel like a bad person.
If we are always trying to follow someone else’s diet or food rules, we never really get in touch with our hunger or our reasons for eating. We don’t discover the foods we actually enjoy. Continue reading

Should I Be on a High Protein Diet?

My short answer to this question is STOP DIETING!
There are many weight loss diets that have been and are still promoted as high protein diets.  The better question is to ask: Am I getting enough quality protein to help me achieve my wellness goals?
Action Tip: Start by finding out how much protein you are eating or drinking now.  Take a minute and jot down what you ate yesterday and then go through and circle the protein foods.
Protein dietPlant proteins are legumes, tree nuts, seeds, peanuts, and soy. Animal protein foods include meats, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs. Continue reading

Is Weight Loss or Dieting Consuming Your Thoughts?

Happy 2015!  New start

Now that we are in the New Year and thinking of “starting over”, what is going through your mind about getting healthier?

Are you consumed by thoughts like any of those below?

I don’t feel good about my body. I’m afraid of having serious health problems like diabetes.

I just want to be able to go for a walk without my knees or back hurting me.

My clothes don’t fit. I feel fat. I ate too much again over the holidays.

I’m tired of dieting. I feel like a failure because I can’t stick with any plan.

I have constant cravings and I feel out of control.

I want my energy back. I want to feel good again. I want to live my life again. Continue reading

How to Feel Better About Your Weight and Diabetes Control on Thanksgiving

What if you could really enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing yourself to the point of misery?Thankful

My Challenge to You is to pick 1 or 2 of the tips in this article and practice them at your Thanksgiving meal.

I am choosing 3.

 

 

1. Decide how I want to feel when I am done.

2. Check my fuel gauge and notice how hungry I am before and during my meal.

3. Pause – which actually for me will mean slowing down my eating to notice the flavors, aroma and colors of the foods.

You don’t even have to tell anyone what you are doing but the ideas in this article will help you enjoy your food and not feel so guilty and miserable at the end of the day. Plus your body will thank you too!

Let me know how it goes!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

My New Favorite Probiotic for a Strong Immune System

How many of these probiotic foods have you had in the past few days?

Buttermilk    Yogurt    Cottage Cheese   Kefir   Sauerkraut    Pickled beets

I usually try to eat yogurt at least twice a week to get the good bacteria,  but recently I have discovered Kefir. It’s like a yogurt smoothie that taste’s a little sweet but still tart and has twice the live active cultures as my favorite yogurt!

kefir

What are probiotics? Probiotics are fermented foods that resupply the good bacteria in your digestive tract.  Prebiotics are the foods that feed the good bacteria. Continue reading