If We Are What We Eat, Shouldn’t We Know Exactly What We’re Eating?

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Think about the first thing you ate today? Can you remember? Was it a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and a glass of orange juice or was it a coffee you bought at Starbucks drive-thru in the morning and a smoothie you picked up at lunch time because you were running late to work and had a busy morning? How much popcorn did you mindlessly munch on while you were watching the newTwilight movie? How many ounces of steak did you eat for dinner or did you compromise dinner because you stayed late at work and had drinks with co-workers instead? Most of us keep track of our finances, we know exactly how much we have in the bank and exactly how much we have to splurge on a new pair of shoes or a new gadget at Brookstone, yet we don’t keep tract of the very essential thing we put in our bodies every single day: food!

One of the first and most important pieces of information I gather from a client looking to improve their diet and health is a three day food journal. A three day food journal is simply a record of every morsel of food that a person puts into their mouth for three days, however, for most people (myself included the first time I kept a journal), is not so simple. What do we eat, how much do we eat, and why do we eat when we eat are all important questions that many of us have never thought about before yet can be very enlightening for us when we take the time to track it. Studies show that keeping a food journal has one of the largest impacts for weight loss in women. In fact, women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not.*

It is difficult to make dietary changes when you do not know what your eating in the first place. If you are looking to make changes in your diet I urge you to record everything that passes your lips for 3 days ( 2 weekdays and 1 weekend). Some tips for a successful food journal are as follows:

-Be honest: You don’t need to impress anyone with your food journal. Don’t be ashamed of what you ate or did not eat. This is meant to assess your “typical” eating pattern so that you can make improvements in your health and well-being.

-Be accurate: Measure or weigh portions if you have to (oz., cups, grams). Be aware of how food was prepared (grilled, baked, steamed, fried), read labels and ingredients, and pay attention to the use of condiments.

-Be consistent: Write down what you eat as you eat it in your paper food journal or electronically on your phone or tablet. Sometimes we are unaware of the “grazing” or nibble here nibble there so this is the time to bring awareness to food patterns. Below is a link to iPhone/iPad apps that make it easier to record food and count calories. It is surprising how many hidden calories are in restaurant meals however this link will make it easier to track. http://gigaom.com/apple/ipad-app-roundup-food-diaries-and-calorie-counters/

The intent of a food journal is to bring awareness to patterns in your diet (do you tend to skip meals, mostly eat out, etc), the type of eater you are (informative, emotional, social), and the areas you can make improvements (eat more vegetables, eat complex carbs instead of refined, cut back on soda). In a recent study as stated earlier, weight loss can be attributed to not skipping meals and limiting the amount of dining out for lunch. Perhaps you can wake up earlier to eat your yogurt and fruit bowl instead of running on coffee alone, prepare a lunch the night before instead of eating in the food court, or perhaps  you can substitute one of those steak dinners for grilled fish. You may be surprised how quickly your body, energy level and mood will positively respond! For a more detailed diet analysis assessing macro and micro nutrients, email your  3 day food journal to christinenjimenez@gmail.com for a free diet analysis.

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” Adelle Davis

* Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don’t skip meals and avoid going out to lunch.” ScienceDaily, 13 Jul. 2012. Web. 14 Jul. 2012.

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5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

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I have been drinking lemon water on a regular basis for 4 years now because I believe in the many benefits that  lemon water provides for the body and I see a notable difference in the way I feel. It is also one of the first nutrition tips I give people that want to turn there health around because off its benefits and ease.” But what exactly does lemon water do for the body?” people ask. Here are 5 main reasons why when life gives you lemons, squeeze them and drink it with water twice daily.

 1. Digestion- A big glass of lemon water is a great way to start your day. It encourages the liver to produce more bile which aids in digestion so having a second glass right before dinner will help things moves along internally and prevent heartburn and constipation. Lemon water acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent by “flushing” the system of toxins. It is also thought to dissolve gallstones and keep the urinary tract healthy. 

 2. Radiant Skin- Due to its high level of vitamin C, lemon juice is a natural antiseptic medicine and anti-aging fruit that rejuvenates skin from the inside out and enhances the skins glow and purity. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your skin. Apply it directly to scars to reduce appearance.

 3. Boosts Immune System- Bacteria and viruses that cause cold and flu symptoms thrive in an acidic environment in the body due to unhealthy foods, excess stress and lifestyle, therefore, lemons strengthen the immune system and helps to fight colds by its high vitamin C level.

 4. Balances pH- Although lemons are high in citric acid, once metabolized in the body, lemon juice alkalizes the body and balances the body’s pH which also helps fight colds and flu.

 5. Freshens breath- Lemon juice can also relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be careful, the citric acid can erode tooth enamel so make sure you rinse your mouth out ofter drinking.

 Have you drank your lemon water today?

Review: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

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I sat down the other day to watch a documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I had heard from friends after watching this movie that it had changed the way they wanted to eat and had motivated them to start juicing more so I thought it was worth the time to watch myself.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documents the journey of Joe Cross’s dramatic health and body transformation who is literally fat (weighing in at 325 lbs.), sick (suffering from chronic urticaria), and nearly dead (feeling lousy and living on 11 different medications). The journey lasts 60 days and 60 nights of drinking absolutely nothing but fruit and vegetable juice. The initial three days are difficult as Cross physically detoxes from food and fights the social and emotional attachments to food. He claims he just wants to “hibernate” and cannot even watch television because the food commercials ignite his appetite. However, as the days go by, Cross sheds lbs, increases energy, lowers cholesterol and gradually decreases the mgs. of his prescriptions.

After 30 days of his fasting, Cross begins his road trip from New York across the US, continuing his fast and interviewing people he meets along the way about their own health and outlook on fasting and juicing. The common consensus was that Cross was “crazy”. I was shocked to hear multiple people predict their own life expectancy to be between 50-55 and even 40 years “at the rate they were going”.  Cross meets a trucker, Phil Staples, along the way with the same chronic skin disease that he has and at an even heavier weight as Cross, 480 lbs and BMI of 58, extremely morbidly obese. Cross pours him a drink of green juice and tells him how fasting has helped minimize his outbreaks when nothing else would and offers to help Staples. They exchange information and each are on there way.

Cross returns back to Australia with a complete body transformation losing 82 lbs, increasing mental clarity, lowering cholesterol and increasing energy. Cross receives a desperate phone call from Staples who is asking for his help if its not too late. Cross travels back to visit Staples and starts him on his way toward a new life of health.

Staples’ story is truly inspiring as he begins his 10 day fast. He too faces the initial difficulty of detox but after the 10 days and losing 30lbs, he decides to go another 20 days. He improves his physicality by gradually walking more and more everyday and documenting his improvements with a doctor. Phil goes on to fast for 60 days seeing a dramatic weight loss, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, jogging, working at the YMCA, holding a juicing workshop in his local community and supporting his brother in his health after a heart attack scare during the film.

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is an inspiring and motivating documentary depicting Cross and Staples as masters of their own health. I think once you make your mind up to make changes in your life, it is possible to transform your lifestyle, body, and quality of life. Its unfortunate that most of us wait until we are literally fat, sick and nearly dead. I encourage family, friends, and everyone to eat healthy, juice and fast to prevent your risk of sickness, disease and to  live the life you love.

Cost of Phil’s brothers heart attack: $56,424 or $571 a month w/o insurance

Cost to juice: $14 per day, $28.50 for organic fruit and veggies

You can find many Reboot juice recipes and learn more about rebooting your life at

Superfood of the Week: Spirulina

Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutrient value are considered ‘super-foods.’

What is Spirulina: The blue-green algae spirulina is one of the most primitive forms of life on the planet. This algae is known for its extraordinary survival adaptations. Spirulina is considered a superfood due to its unique level of nutrient density.

Spirulina is a single cell blue green algae. Under the microscope it looks like long thin spiral threads. Spirulina has a completely unique combination of phytonutrients – including chlorophyll, phycocyanin and polysaccharides, that can help cleanse our bodies.

Where is it found: Spirulina is found all over the world in fresh water, saltwater oceans & natural springs. It thrives in pesticide free environments with plenty of sunlight and moderate temperatures. Spirulina was renowned for its healing properties and was a staple part of the North African and Aztec Indian diet many years ago. Today, natural health experts all around the world revere spirulina for its potential as a whole food mega-nutrient and natural medicine.

 Why is it good for you? Spirulina has countless uses as a supplement for health and preventing disease and is often deemed the most nutritionally complete of all food supplements, containing a rich supply of many important nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B complex. It also has a high supply of carotenoids such as beta carotene and yellow xanthophylls which have antioxidant properties. It is also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, and lipids. Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food known, 10 times more concentrated than carrots. Twenty years of research proves eating beta carotene rich foods and vegetables gives us real anti-cancer protection. Beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and improving vision. It is also packed with antioxidants that are anti-aging.

Not only is Spirulina rich in beta carotenes but it also has the highest content of B-12 and rich in iron which is especially important for vegetarians and vegans.

About 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential for growth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty and cholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

With its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.

Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body.

Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and its high protein content helps build muscle mass. At the same time, it can curb hunger that may develop during the most demanding training routines. Thus, it indirectly acts as an effective way to maintain an athlete’s ideal body weight.

Spirulina’s ability to reduce the bad cholesterol LDL in the body helps prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases, such as hardening of the arteries and strokes. It also helps lower blood pressure. While not clinically proven, spirulina may also protect against allergic reactions and liver infection.

How do you take it? Spirulina is now commercially available in tablet or powder form. Some health tonics contain spirulina as part of their ingredients. A simple daily regimen for spirulina involves taking a 500 mg tablet four to six times daily.

Are there any risks/ side effects from taking spirulina?

While it has a very high nutritional value, spirulina may also cause some side effects. Some individuals may suffer from allergic reactions to this algae, including rashes, hives, and difficulty breathing. Some commercial versions of spirulina supplements may have also been contaminated with toxic substances during production. It is therefore absolutely critical to buy spirulina only from reputable sources.While spirulina may appear safe at large doses, healthy adults should seek a doctor’s advice for the right dosage. Children and pregnant or nursing women should also consult a doctor before taking spirulina.

Articles Related to This Article:

Spirulina shown to prevent and treat cancers while boosting immune system function

Add Spirulina to Your Diet and Replace those Expensive Supplements

Spirulina: A Budget Friendly Super Food and Answer to Food Scarcity

An inside look at spirulina production: an exclusive interview with Dr. Gerry Cysewski, CEO of Cyanotech Corporation

NaturalNews connects readers with premium astaxanthin and spirulina at unheard-of discount prices

Spirulina research shows treatment of breast cancer tumors, HIV virus, and other viruses

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034809_spirulina_allergies_exercise_recovery.html#ixzz1p6YLYUEK

Take a Hike

 

I woke up this morning eager to hit Jesusita trail in Santa Barbara, California. The sun was shining and the air was clean and crisp after yesterdays rain. I knew the 1.5 hour hike to Inspiration Point would be delightful so I drank my lemon water (as I do every am on an empty stomach. It helps flush the digestive tract and cleanse the liver and kidneys), ate a piece of fruit, laced up my shoes, put on SPF, and summoned my pooch with me out the door.

Hiking for me is not only a form of aerobic activity, (from my calculations I burn 465 calories in the 90 minutes it takes for me to complete my hike) but it is a way to connect with nature and de-stress. Most often, I hike with a friend. We talk about what’s going on in our lives and it’s a great way to stay social and sometimes resembles a  “therapy” session. Other times, being alone is beneficial. I have my furry friend and I listen to my favorite tunes or the birds. Being completely present makes me appreciate where I am at that moment and my surroundings. Either way, I feel like hiking satisfies the needs of my body, mind, and spirit, a holistic activity if you will.

Its no wonder that recent studies have shown that hiking supports physical and emotional well-being. In fact, studies have shown that there are unique differences found in uphill vs. downhill hiking and outdoor vs. indoor walking. Both uphill and downhill hiking lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while only uphill hiking reduced triglyceride levels and downhill hiking was twice as effective at removing blood sugars and improving glucose intolerances. A recent study found that 71% of hikers outside felt less depressed and 90% of hikers had elevated self esteem than the people that walked inside a shopping mall.

I highly recommend going outside, breathing in that fresh air and taking a walk in a scenic location. If you are just starting to exercise, choose a flat terrain and if you are experienced, try challenging yourself with a steeper incline or higher intensity interval run. Call a friend, bring your pet or walk alone. I guarantee you’ll be happy you did.

Happy Hiking!

Suggestions for your  hike:

Pre hike: Hydrate, eat a small amount of carbs, I recommend fruit or complex carb like oatmeal. Add some flax seeds and gojji berries for increased nutrition and energy. Your body converts these carbohydrates to glucose first for immediate energy. The amount of grams you eat in carbs is not entirely important as everybody is different and finding the amount right for you is key. Don’t eat to heavily and try not to exercise on empty stomach.

During hike: Hydrate, dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries or trail mix make a good snack for hikes lasting hours but for shorter hikes may not be necessary. Listen to your body to determine your needs.

Post hike: Hydrate! I recommend coconut water as it contains many electrolytes that are lost through sweat and is essential for your body. Coconut water contains  more potassium than a banana and less calories than regular sports drinks. It is important to replenish energy as quickly as possible, shoot for within the first 30 min of exercise especially to minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. I recommend consuming a ratio of 3 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein. For example, a smoothie with protein powder ( I like Raw Protein as it is vegan and gluten free), greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit or a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter.

 

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