Why You Should Get Rid of Animal Protein in 2015

Close-up of pretty girl eating fresh vegetable salad

While I was at the gym the other day a lady struck up a conversation with me about the holidays. She was lamenting about how difficult it is to eat healthy during the holidays because of all the temptations. Her biggest concern was the multitude of desserts at her office and all the Christmas parties.

I acknowledged the difficulty of avoiding the temptations. Then admitted that it’s a little easier for me to avoid the sweets at work because none of them are vegan friendly. She told me that she also recently became a vegan. She was so excited about the improvements she was already seeing in her health. She was really petite, so she wasn’t talking about weight changes. She was most excited about how she is now much more “regular”. Prior to adopting a vegan diet, she suffered from chronic constipation.

I know what you’re thinking – “this is a really personal conversation for two strangers to be having.” I guess I have one of those faces that make people want to disclose their personal stories to me. But I digress. Back to the benefits of being vegan.

She also raved about her improved digestion and increased energy level. This woman’s story was not unusual at all. These are the kinds of testimonies I hear all the time. It’s really the part that makes it easy to follow a vegan diet. Once people get past their initial concerns of what they have to “give up”, they begin to discover everything they will gain.

So, I want to share with you some reasons that you should consider getting rid of animal protein in 2015…and adopt a plant based diet.

  1. Weight Loss – Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. As long as people are making smart food choices they will lose weight. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower body mass index (BMI)–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.

  1. Promotes Cardiovascular Health -Animal protein contains a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats (dairy products and meat) from your diet and instead eating nuts and whole grains you will improve your cardiovascular health. Research indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

  2. Improves Cholesterol -Eliminating any food that comes from an animal eliminates all dietary cholesterol from your diet.

  3. Lowers Blood Pressure – A diet rich in whole grains helps to lower high blood pressure.

  1. High in Fiber – Plant based diets, which include a lot of vegetables, beans and nuts, are high in fiber. A high fiber diet has many health benefits, including normalized bowel movements, better digestion, stable blood sugar levels, and aids in achieving a healthy weight. High fiber diets also help fight against colon cancer.

The key to obtaining the most benefits from a plant based diet is to make smart food choices. If you stick to beans,nuts, whole grains, fruit and veggies you will achieve the most optimal results.

Once you begin to experience these healthy changes it makes it much easier to maintain this way of eating. I can assure you that the gains far outweigh anything you feel like you have to give up.

So, now I have a question for you: Do you think you can get rid of animal protein and incorporate more plant based foods into your diet?

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

How to Gain Momentum and Reach Your Fitness Goals

For the past month I have been working with a trainer to try to get ready for the New Year. There are some things I want to accomplish professionally, and for me, the success of those endeavors start with me being fit. I want to be my best self as I launch out into unchartered territory. If I feel secure with myself it gives me the confidence to pursue my dreams.

leapingimage

Prior to starting this process I was feeling really disconnected. I actually sought out a trainer to help me get some motivation and gain some momentum before the New Year. I had been working out and eating right, but for the most part, I was just going through the motions. That led to a plateau. I was no longer making any progress on my own. I might be a health coach, but I certainly find myself in situations where I need a little inspiration and motivation. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t be there for others, including my clients.

I know if I’m accountable to someone I tend to do much better. I also know if I’m paying for a service, I perform better. I don’t believe in wasting money so I have to get the most bang for my buck. I have to get the results I’m paying for.

I struggled the first couple of weeks. I floundered around trying to get into a groove. I needed to get accustomed to working out in the mornings again, and most importantly trying to track my eating. For months I’ve been winging it. That was not working for me.

Now that I’m a month into this process, I’m learning some lessons that are helping me get some footing and hopefully make some traction before I wrap this up this month. So, I wanted to share some of those lessons. Here are some things that make it easier to accomplish your health goals.

  1. Have a plan. It’s important for me to structure everything. I schedule when I’m going to workout and when I’m going to eat. Having a schedule helps me avoid getting off track. Also, plan for the unexpected or scheduled deviations. If you know you are going to be getting home late or traveling a lot, pack your meals and your snacks. This will keep you from getting hungry and avoid fast foods.
  2. Track your food. Logging my food is the best thing I can do for myself. Writing down everything I eat helps me avoid eating bad food. For me, I find it less appealing to eat a bag of potato chips when I know I have to log it later. When I don’t write down my food I tend to underestimate how much I’m eating.
  3. Get plenty of rest. If I’m going to be successful with my strenuous workouts I have to get my rest. If I’m working out at 6am, I can’t stay up until midnight. Recovery is so important when you’re trying to lose weight, and especially build muscles. Research shows that people who get inadequate sleep weigh more because they tend to snack more on sugar and caffeine to help them get energy.
  4. Make small sacrifices now to get big results later. I have to say no to things that will interfere with my eating and workout schedule. I know that I can’t alter my schedule too much because it’s so hard for me to get back on track. Therefore, I consider it a small sacrifice to skip a few events or dinners with friends so I can feel great later.
  5. Count every victory. I have to admit that I get really frustrated when I don’t see big gains on the scale. I’ve had those moments during this process. But I have to still acknowledge other gains I’ve made. I’ve lost inches in my waist and hips. I’m stronger and getting more tone in my arms. These are things that encourage me when I want to give up.

I’m using these lessons to help me complete this process. I hope you can adopt some of these lessons for yourself. Just remember, change is not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve only been at this for a month. I never intended this to be a quick process. I understand that it’s a journey and there will be highs and lows throughout. Nevertheless, I have decided that I will stick this process out as long as it takes for me to hit my goal. I won’t quit when I’m tired, I’ll quit when I’m finished.

By the way, if you need a little extra support to gain some momentum to reach your 2015 goals, I will be offering a 21-Day Jumpstart Challenge in January. Check it out. If you feel it’s for you, I hope you’ll join us.

Now, I want to hear from you. What do you do to help you stay on track when you’re pursuing your goals?

5 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays No Matter What You’re Going Through!

If there is no other time of the year that we can consciously sit and reflect on what we have to be grateful for, this is that time. In less than a week we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that practically demands that we take a moment to be thankful.

Despite that, I realize this is the time of year that often has the opposite effect on a lot of people. As many are bracing to spend hundreds of dollars on Black Friday, others will settle into a great depression. The holiday season can be extremely hard for people who are unemployed. It’s also especially hard for those who have lost loved ones.

Nevertheless, I still contend that we ALL have a reason to be grateful. When times are difficult it’s harder to find any reason to express gratitude. So, if you are finding it difficult to do that, I have a few strategies to help you.

Here are Five Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays - regardless of what’s going on in your life.

  1. Be fully present while you’re with your family and loved ones. Make a conscious effort to give whoever you are with your undivided attention. Avoid texting and scrolling your timeline on Facebook while others are talking to you. Use the time to capture real moments with your family instead of taking constant selfies with the sole intention of posting it to social media. In fact, put your phones away. When you give someone your full attention it changes the dynamic of the interaction- for them and for you.

  1. Reflect on your life. Look back over your life to see how far you’ve come. How does your life compare today to how it was even five years ago. I’ll bet there are moments during that time when you couldn’t fathom that you’d be where you are today. Think back to a situation that you didn’t think you would overcome and now you’re standing on the other side of it. Were you single and lonely and now you’re in a committed relationship or married? Were you diagnosed with an illness that you weren’t expected to overcome and now you’re healed? Were you living with friends because your finances were so bad and now you have a place of your own? Were you in college and now you’re working in your field of choice? Give it some serious thought.

  1. Compare yourself to others. I know this sounds odd and it’s not something I typically recommend. But I mean it differently. No matter what your situation is right now, I can assure you there is someone in this world praying for the life you have. Think about it. If you have a car, a home, a family who loves you, good health, a warm house or even running water, those are things so many people desire.

Running water is a commodity that we take for granted in the U.S. There are 780 million people in the world who lack access to clean water. An American taking a five minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day. Statistics show that over 2.5 times more people lack water than live in the U.S.

Finally, if you have your health, you have something that millions of people don’t have. No amount of money in the world can supercede the value of having good health.

  1. Count your blessings – LITERALLY! I encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper and start listing the blessings in your life. Whatever you consider a blessing should be on this list. I challenge you to think beyond material things. As you recall some of life’s true blessings, that list will grow really quickly.

  1. Say “Thank You” – I want you to speak these two words out loud. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say – “Thank You.” It’s one of the simplest things you can do to bring yourself to a place of gratitude. Repeat the phrase until it begins to resonate in your spirit. As it begins to resonate, stay in that space. If you do it right, you will likely be brought to tears. When you can say “Thank You” from a sincere place -despite the circumstances in your life- it will change your life exponentially.

My intention with this blog is to give everyone who reads it a reason to feel grateful. Please don’t allow the holidays to rob you of your joy. Set the intention that this will be the best holiday season ever. If you begin the holiday season from a place of gratitude I guarantee you it will be!

I’m grateful that you have chosen to read this blog! Now, I have a question for you: “What are you grateful for?”

References:

http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

How to Get Through the Holidays Without the Weight Gain

We are less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, which signifies the official start of the holiday season. That means people will be spending, partying and eating way too much. Then as the New Year rolls around most people will vow to lose weight and get in shape.

scale with santa hat

So, I suggest we get proactive. I’m not saying you should forgo the great food over the holidays. Let’s face it, the food is one of the best parts of the holidays. Just don’t over indulge. In order to do that you need a plan. I’ve come up with a list of seven things you can do to avoid the holiday weight gain.

1. Eat a good breakfast. Don’t make the mistake of saving your calories until Thanksgiving dinner. You end up starving yourself and then eat way too much. If you eat a good breakfast and some nutritious snacks throughout the day you won’t be starved at dinner and you will eat less.

2. Decide your “must haves”. What are your absolute favorite indulgences that you cannot do without? Is it sweet potato pie? Macaroni and cheese? Fried chicken? Whatever it is, make the decision that you will indulge on those foods. Knowing that you will be able to have it without the guilt eliminates the desire to overindulge. Most people tend to binge eat on foods they feel are off limits.

3. Lighten up where you can. To make allowances for your indulgences, cut back in other areas. Put more veggies on your plate- instead of starches, drink water instead of sweetened beverages, and eat on smaller plates. Most importantly, avoid going back for seconds.

4. Make sure your meal is balanced. In most households people are just loading their plates with everything that has been prepared with no regard for balance. I know in my family it’s not unusual for someone to have potatoes, corn, cornbread dressing, and mac and cheese on one plate. That’s way too many carbs in one sitting. Ensure you have carbs, proteins and fats on your plate. Just by adding proteins and fats it’s going to keep you full longer and keep you from craving more sugars and starches later.

5. Don’t eat everything just because you can. Just because it’s all there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat everything. Only get what you need or just get the foods you really want.

6. Skip the leftovers. One of the biggest problems with holiday eating, especially Thanksgiving, is the amount of food that is left over. As a result, people are eating heavy meals throughout the weekend. If you’re hosting the dinner, make sure you give your guests food they can take home so you’re not left with all the excess.

7. Get in some activity – I know it’s a holiday, but that doesn’t mean you should take a holiday from your workout. This is the day you absolutely need to hit the gym or the park for a quick run. In fact, most gyms are open half the day on Thanksgiving. Even if you don’t get in a typical workout in the morning, you can at least take a brisk walk through your neighborhood after dinner. Grab a couple of family members you want to catch up with and take a couple of laps.

These are some simple, practical things you can do to be proactive and avoid excess weight gain. If you take the right steps and have a plan before the holidays begin, you will have less weight to lose in the New Year.

Of course, once the New Year kicks off, I have a plan to help you “Get Lean in 2015.” My Get Fit FAST – 21 Day Jumpstart Program will kick off on Monday, January 5th.
I will also be teaching a Tabata Bootcamp beginning Wednesday, January 7th. I’d love to have you join us.

Registration information for both events is posted on my website under Upcoming Events.

Question: Which one of these tips do you think will be most helpful to you?

4 Foods to Heal Sickness

For the past several months leading up to the November elections most of the debate has centered around three hot button issues – employment, education and health care. Whether its an election year or not, there seems to always be an ongoing debate in our country about health care.

foodormeds

The conversation most often focuses on access – who has it and who doesn’t. While we’re focusing on who can get insurance, there is a more important issue at hand – why so many people NEED health care.

When you look at the overall health of our society it’s clear that we’re in trouble. Most Americans are dealing with some kind of major illness, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, the number of people diagnosed with these conditions is startling.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

  • Every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack.

  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.

As for diabetes, the numbers are even more shocking. The American Diabetes Association reports:

  • In 2012, research indicated that 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the US population have diabetes. Of that total, 21 million people are diagnosed, 8.1 million are undiagnosed.

  • In 2010, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes was 25.8 million people  or 8.3 % of the population. The numbers are increasing rapidly.

Despite these shocking numbers the situation isn’t hopeless. If you are suffering from any of these illnesses, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life on medications. You CAN reverse your condition. The process is simple – just change your diet. I say it all the time – “Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine be Thy Food.”

Please don’t be deceived by the prescriptions you’re using to treat your symptoms. For the most part, that’s not changing your condition. If you take control of your health by your diet you can – in many cases- reverse  your condition. At a minimum, you can improve your condition and require fewer medications.

Now, here’s the thing. I said it’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Changing life long habits is a process. It won’t happen overnight. There are no quick fixes. It takes time. The question is – how bad do you want it? What are you willing to do to reclaim your life and change the trajectory of your future?

Depending on your condition, the remedy will vary from person to person. I highly encourage you to consult with your doctor, and a dietitian if necessary, to create a lifestyle plan that works for you.

In general, there are certain foods and liquids that have healing properties that will improve your overall health. Here are a few I’ve chosen to highlight.

Garlic – has tremendous health benefits, including cardiovascular. It lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and regulates blood sugar in diabetics. Garlic is also a good source of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. One of the best benefits is its anticancer properties. Daily intake of garlic has been proven to reduce risk of most cancers, except cancer of the prostate and breast cancer.

Garlic is best if consumed in its raw state and added directly to your food. If you can’t handle raw garlic, it’s recommended you add it at the end of the cooking process. This will allow it to retain as much of its healing properties as possible. The longer it’s cooked the less nutrients it retains.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels. Apple cider vinegar’s anti-glycemic effect is very well documented. Researchers say the vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch. It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar.

It is recommended that apple cider vinegar be used sparingly and to avoid drinking it straight.  It’s so acidic that it could harm your tooth enamel and your esophagus. Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons in a big glass of water, and sip it along with your meals one or two times a day. Studies show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, and arugula are a few examples. Cruciferous vegetables are renowned for being extremely good for you. They contain phytochemicals and other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fiber) that may help detoxify certain cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to cause harm in the body.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver and cervix. It’s recommended to eat these veggies several times a week and to consume them raw or lightly steamed to retain their phytochemicals.

Water- Our body is composed of about 70% water. So, consuming water helps maintain the balance of body fluids.The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Other benefits of water include: it helps your kidneys, promotes healthy skin, helps maintain normal bowel function, and it energizes your muscles.

In conclusion, I have to emphasize that eating these foods in addition to the Standard American Diet (SAD) won’t yield results. The SAD diet consists primarily of refined foods, sugar, starches, and processed foods. None of these foods supply you with the essential nutrients your body needs. As you incorporate more healing foods into your diet, you should gradually eliminate the bad foods.

So, I have a question for you: Do you believe food is  medicine?

Reference Links:

http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/15-health-benefits-of-garlic/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/super-veggies-cruciferous-vegetables

 

It Doesn’t Matter How You Start – Just FINISH!

One of my favorite things to do is to watch Ironman triathlon events on YouTube. I can sit for hours watching old episodes of Ironman Kona, Ironman Xterra, Ironman Auckland, etc. Without doubt this is one of the hardest athletic competitions on the planet. These athletes complete a 2.4 mile swim in the ocean, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run over the course of 17 hours!! That is INSANE!

ironmanfinishI enjoy watching this sport because I get so captivated and inspired by the sheer determination of everyone out there. Of course the elite athletes start out first and they typically finish within 8-9 hours. But it’s the regular folk who inspire me the most.

They all start out motivated and are propelled by their excitement. But after a few hours in, it takes a lot more than that to get them to the finish line. Some sprint across the finish line, some jog, some walk, some crawl, and some just pass out at the finish line. But guess what? At that moment nobody cares that they barely finished or that they finished at the last second. They are not judged because they didn’t have a perfect, storybook finish.

Let’s not forget about the people who continue their race long after the clock has run out. There are many people who compete in Ironman who don’t make the midnight deadline. Nevertheless, they keep going – despite injury and fatigue- because they are determined to finish what they started. That is what really inspires me. Those are the people I remember, even more so than the elite athletes who finished in record time.

The moral of the story is - It doesn’t matter how you start. What matters is that you finish.

As 2014 continues to wind down there are many of us who have yet to achieve the health and weight loss goals we set when the year began. At the writing of this blog there are 70 days remaining in this year.

If you haven’t met your goals, I don’t want you to get discouraged or feel convicted. Forget about how many times you’ve fallen short this year in areas you wanted to see progress. Let all of that go and begin where you are. You can get back on track TODAY. Let’s commit to FINISH STRONG!

Here are some things you can do to finish strong:

  1. Make the decision to begin again. The great thing about life is that every day it gives us the opportunity to start over. Every 24 hours we get a second chance. Once you set your mind to do this it’s as good as done.
  2. Set some goals and make them plain. Be specific about your goals. Don’ make broad goals and just say you want to lose weight. Attach a number and a date to it. For example, “Lose 10 pounds by November 30th.” If you don’t like the scale, just say “Drop 1 dress size” or “Lose 2 inches from my waist.” Just be very clear about your goals.
  3. Devise a plan.  We’ve all heard it said – “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Plan your meals and your workouts. As you plan your meals, include when you will go shopping for your meals, what time you’re going to eat, what time you’re going to stop eating every evening, etc. When you plan your workouts, include what type activity you will do, how often, and for how long.  So, for example – “run for at least thirty minutes three times per week.” Get your plan in writing and keep it before you. Post it in plain sight so you see it every day.
  4. Schedule it on your calendar. What I put on my calendar tends to get done. Schedule your meals and your workouts on your calendar. You can put this in your phone and set a reminder to alert you of your appointments. You may not always make every appointment, but having it on your calendar increases the probability that it gets done.  Be a boss – bosses don’t cancel. Your time is valuable – treat it as such.
  5. Get an accountability partner.  Most people tend to do better on any plan when they know they have someone to answer to; someone to hold them accountable for their actions. Select someone who you know is a task master and will keep you on your toes. Select someone who won’t accept any excuses for not getting it done. Accountability partners are especially helpful if they are your workout partner. If you tend to skip workouts, get a buddy. You will go to the gym or run in the park if you know someone else is expecting you to show up.
  6. Don’t stop until you reach your goal. Successful people don’t stop when they’re tired; they stop when they’re done.  Be just as determined as the Ironman athletes. They don’t allow anything to come between them and their goal of completing the race.

So, no matter where you are with your goals, commit to get back on track and stay there. Be determined and committed to end 2014 with a bang…FINISH STRONG!

Question: Which of your goals do you need to recommit?

Carbs are NOT the Devil!

breadslice

When most people decide they need to drop a few unwanted pounds the first thing they usually do is lay off the carbs.  I must admit I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing a time or two. I think it was sometime in the 90′s that carbs became the enemy of the american diet – at least as far as weight loss was concerned.

Well, I’m a big advocate of living simply and practically. It’s the premise for which my blog was created. I wanted to teach people to live healthy lives by implementing practical strategies. It’s never necessary to go to extreme measures to lose weight. Ultimately, those quick fixes don’t last because they are not sustainable. To consume high protein low/no carb diets don’t work in the long term.

Here’s the thing – our bodies need a combination of nutrients to survive. In particular, our bodies need macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts.

The three most common macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA, 45% – 65% of calories should come from carbohydrates.

So this is why when people go on low carb diets they have very little energy and find it difficult to be productive. Carbs provide us with a valuable supply of energy.

Here are the main reasons why the majority of our calories should come from carbohydrates:

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.

  • Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.

  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.

  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.

  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

Most people associate carbs with higher calorie foods like sugar and starches, especially bread and potatoes. But those aren’t the only sources. All carbs are not created equally. Simple carbs provide less nutritional value than complex carbs.

Simple Carbs are found in foods like table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, jelly and jam, fruit drinks, soft drinks and candy.

Complex Carbs are found in foods like green vegetables, sweet potatoes, corn, lentils, beans and peas.They are also found in whole grains and foods made from whole grains like oatmeal and whole grain breads.

So if you are trying to lose weight and want to cut back on carbs, just choose wisely. You want to exclude the starchy, high sugar foods. You want to include more of the energy producing complex carbs.

Here are some final tips:

1. Don’t consume all of your carbs in one sitting; spread them out over small portions so you can keep your energy high and body fueled.

2. It’s best to consume carbs in the morning when your body is calorie-deprived from sleeping. Your glucose tolerance is typically at its highest during the morning, so having breakfast with a big portion of your daily carb intake is very important. Complex, slow-absorbing carbs like oatmeal are great choices for a delicious, nutritious breakfast.

3. Don’t eat carbs in the evening because most people aren’t doing any physical activity at that time. Consequently, your body won’t burn the carbs you consume, and those carbs will more likely be stored as fat.

4. Your complex and fibrous carbs like legumes, whole grains, and veggies should be spread out evenly throughout your meals. That means you should eat veggies with all of your meals except breakfast.

So, now you know why carbs aren’t the devil. If consumed properly, and in the right proportion, they can be your friend.

Reference Links:

http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/macronutrients.htm

http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html

8 Superfoods to Prevent Breast Cancer

Superfood

As you know it’s national breast cancer awareness month. Every year this time I feel obligated to devote space in my blog to this important issue. First of all because I’m a woman. Unfortunately, one in eight women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Secondly, several people I know and love have been directly affected by breast cancer. In some way, we’ve all been either directly or indirectly affected by it.

It is estimated that each year more than 220,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die. This is one of the most disheartening statistics for me because research indicates that many women don’t have to die. Despite the large amount of women diagnosed every year, more women are surviving.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990. This is partially attributed to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Another factor that impacts breast cancer diagnoses is prevention. There are are several simple recommendations to help prevent breast cancer, including nutrition.

So, I want to share with you 8 Super Foods to Prevent Breast Cancer:

  1. Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent the development of breast cancer by stopping cancer cell growth. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that a diet rich in tomatoes may help protect postmenopausal women from breast cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, lycopene also stops tumor growth by interfering with abnormal cell growth. To enjoy the benefits, you can eat cooked, concentrated or processed tomatoes. However, the best option is to drink a half glass of tomato juice daily.

  1. Garlic -Studies have found that the sulfur compounds, flavones and flavonols present in garlic help in preventing breast cancer. To get the most benefits, peel and chop the garlic cloves and let them sit for about 15 minutes before cooking. You can also crush and swallow a piece of garlic every morning to increase your chance of living a cancer-free life. However, people on blood thinners and certain other medications should talk with their doctor before taking garlic supplements.

  1. Flaxseed – flaxseed and flaxseed oil are among the few sources of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which forms a protective shield against cancer cells responsible for breast cancer.

  1. Spinach  - spinach contains the antioxidant lutein that plays a key role in guarding against breast cancer along with mouth, esophagus and stomach cancer.

  1. Broccoli –broccoli contains cancer-fighting compounds known as indole-3-carbinol that help alter estrogen metabolism and suppress breast tumor cell growth. Eating one-half cup of broccoli daily can help protect against breast cancer. Raw broccoli supplies more health benefits than cooked broccoli.

  1. Blueberries —  blueberries are power-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can aid in breast cancer prevention. The phytochemicals present in blueberries work together to prevent the growth and spread of various forms of breast cancer.To reap the most benefits from blueberries, eat them fresh instead of the packaged versions.

  1. Pomegranate – pomegranate contains natural compounds like urolithin B that suppress estrogen prevent the growth of hormone-responsive breast cancer tumors. Plus, it is packed with polyphenols like ellagic acid with antioxidant properties that reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting the growth of breast cancer.

  1. Walnuts – Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients which help your body fight inflammation and actually slow down the growth of breast cancer tumors. Marshall University researchers suggest that eating about two ounces of walnuts a day may help change the activity of multiple genes that contribute to breast cancer, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer.

So, these are just a few simple foods you can incorporate into your diet to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer. If you are a regular follower of my blog, then you know I’m a huge advocate for using food as medicine. Hippocrates – the father of western medicine – said it best - “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Reference Links:

http://www.top10homeremedies.com/superfoods/10-superfoods-that-prevent-breast-cancer.html

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

 

Forget the Fad Diets – 4 Easy Steps to Get Fit FAST!

Get Fit FAST labelSummer is officially over and we’ve entered the fall season. As the temperatures are getting cooler I’m already starting to crave warmer, more comforting foods. I was recently thinking I need to become proactive with my eating and workouts in preparation for the cold months ahead. The goal is to avoid the extra weight I typically put on in the winter. That’s when it dawned on me that all year I’ve been trying to lose the “extra weight” I gained last year. I feel like it has been a year of ups and downs with my weight. So, it got me to thinking. I had to ask myself – “why is that?” I feel like I keep losing and regaining the same five pounds.

I’m a health coach and fitness instructor, so this should be easy, right? I know how to lose weight. The truth is, we all do. When it comes to losing weight we all know what to do.  Take in fewer calories, and workout more. It’s not rocket science. But weight loss is about so much more than what we eat and how much we work out. Food is the most abused drug. It’s our comfort when we’re lonely, our companion when we’re bored, and our reward when we’re successful. We have to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food in order to achieve long term weight loss success.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the ups and downs. I want balance. I need it. My weight fluctuations have been a reflection of my inability to gain balance in my life. I know if I’m having a problem, then others can relate to it too.  That’s why I often use my life experiences – the good and the bad- as a catalyst to help others.

The solution for me has been to design a plan for myself that I can do no matter what. I’m not into fad diets and quick fixes. They only work for a season. Ultimately, I always end up in the exact same place I started – trying to lose the same 10 pounds. So, I had to come up with a way to manage my weight without feeling deprived and like I’m always dieting. The key to success in any program is that it’s sustainable. Plans that are really restrictive are difficult to sustain.

That’s how my recent eating plan came to be. I wanted to create a system that is simple and will produce results. I developed a Get Fit FAST approach. It’s a 21- day jumpstart program. It’s designed to help people incorporate healthy habits into their busy life without it being a disruption. It focuses on simple strategies that can be easily implemented. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle plan.

The best part of this plan is it goes beyond eating and working out. The group coaching aspect really helps you identify self- sabotaging habits that have prevented you from achieving consistent, sustainable weight loss in the past. That’s really the beauty of this program. We go beyond the surface.

The FAST approach is 4 steps:

Step 1 – Eat FRESH foods at every meal.

Step 2 – Make sure your foods are ACCESSIBLE.

Step 3 – Make sure the ingredients of your food are SIMPLE.

Step 4 –Make sure the food is TASTY.

Other components of the program include a nutrition plan, a fitness plan and group support. When people have a support system and accountability for their actions they tend to do much better.

It’s also a virtual program. You can do it from anywhere. Location is not a factor.

If this sounds like a plan for you and you’re ready to make a change I encourage you to join us for the next challenge that is kicking off on October 1st. The registration deadline is Monday, September 29th.

If you’re really ready to end the cycle of yoyo dieting in your life and make life long changes, you should REGISTER now.

So here’s my question: What do you think has prevented you from accomplishing your health goals?  

Are You Ignoring the Signs That It’s Time For Change?

If we know the the one constant in life is change, why do so many of us resist it?  No matter what state your life is in at this moment – good or bad – it will eventually change. What’s bad will get better and what’s good will get worse.

changesame

The best way to deal with change is to embrace it, and whenever possible, get ahead of it. When it comes to our health, our bodies will usually indicate that change is happening. Before a woman enters menopause, she’s had signs years in advance that it’s happening. When people are diagnosed with diabetes, they’ve usually experienced some warning signs – high blood pressure, numbness, frequent urination, blurry vision, etc.

These are the changes we need to embrace sooner. Unfortunately, what I’ve come to realize is many people go into denial – too often to their detriment. Everyday I encounter people who have serious health problems. What’s disheartening to me as a health coach is how few people are motivated to deal with it. Instead of dealing they choose to ignore. When it comes to your health, ignoring it or denying it won’t make it go away. If you don’t change what you’re doing,  your condition won’t stay the same. It won’t get better. It will get worse.

One of the most thought provoking questions I pose to my clients is this – what’s at risk if you do nothing? If you do nothing about your pre-diabetic or high blood pressure diagnosis what do you stand to lose?

I understand that many people feel overwhelmed and often afraid when they hear bad news. What I try to stress to people is there are things you can do to get control of this. Most health issues can be controlled or reversed. You don’t have to spend your life on medications. You can usually change your condition through nutrition.

Look at it this way, if you have the choice between being on medication for the rest of your life or improving your nutrition – what would you decide? It seems like a no brainer, but too often it is not. Instead of sacrificing a few favorite foods or getting up a little earlier to workout, a lot of people choose to remain the same. They end up taking medications. After taking medication for an extended period of time some people become deceived into thinking the problem is handled. At least for now, most medications don’t cure diseases – they temporarily reduce symptoms and reduce pain. It’s like putting a bandage on a gun shot wound when the patient really needs surgery. The bandage will hold up for a little while, but unless something is done to improve the patient’s condition, the problem will get worse.

For some people it’s difficult to comprehend that changing your eating habits can change your health. Well, it’s true. Hippocrates – the father of western medicine said it best - “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Evidence shows that following a plant based diet can prevent – and in some cases – reverse major health issues. Even if you don’t become a vegan or vegetarian you can still incorporate more plant based foods into your diet.

Here are three simple things you can do:

  1. Eat fresh foods at every meal. Get rid of processed and canned foods. Don’t eat green beans in the can, buy fresh green beans. Don’t buy frozen broccoli with cheese sauce. Instead, steam your fresh broccoli crowns in veggie broth; you can even roast them in the oven with olive oil. Add blueberries or strawberries to your oatmeal or cereal in the morning. Have a big green salad with your dinner or for dinner.

  2. Drink green juices/smoothies. Avoid the bottled versions from the grocery store and make your own. There are many simple recipes. Just choose a few leafy green veggies you like, add a banana, apple or pineapples to sweeten it, and blend them with water.

  3. Reduce your meat consumption. Let there be one day of the week that you don’t consume any animal protein. Have a meatless Monday.

These are just three simple things you can do to add more plant based foods into your diet. They are small changes, but will have a big impact if you do them and if you’re consistent.

So, I want to ask you again – What’s at risk if you do nothing about your current condition? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments.