herbsandyoga

Simple ways to lead a healthy and nutritious life!


Leave a comment

Seek Out Nutrition and Health Advice from Credentialed Sources

f3687284ed30b02e454c4f48541973e5

With the rise of the internet and everyone wanting to have their own little piece of the interwebs, also comes a rise in false information.  The above quote says it all.  We would like to believe that when we open up a tab to a blog, that their information is true and correct.  Not likely.  I find that the most false information is on the health/nutrition posts and blogs. 

Americans in general are pretty darn confused on what is good and what is not so good, food wise.  These confusing subjects are further discredited by individuals who feel the need to post their own information, which is most likely not correct.  Now I am not putting down those who have lost weight and choose to share their journeys and their methods online.  Kudos to them for taking charge of their health! I am talking about people with absolutely no education in nutrition finding information on talk shows and various sites and then proceeding to post the same false information on their pages and blogs. 

This is why we have experts and professionals who have taken the time to learn and study the correct diet and methods of health, fitness and weight loss.  Check the site’s “about me” section.  Have they received a degree/certification in health and fitness? If the answer is yes, you can pretty much guess that they are credentialed and are giving correct information.  If the answer is no, I would seek alternative sites to get information from.

This subject really gets under my skin simply because I have taken a large amount of time in the past years to learn and study nutrition and the correct processes and diets needing to maintain optimal health.  I see and read about “health coaches” and others that are spreading false information or pushing “health” products that definitely aren’t healthy at all.  They will argue until they’re blue in face that they are right when, in fact, they are just as misinformed as the rest of the country.  The difference is these people are selling products and giving advice to people based on pretty much nothing. 

Isolated soy protein, MLM companies, meal replacement shakes, unethical weight loss, are all just some of the things I see people trying to get others to buy or adopt as a routine.  Stick to what you know.  If you are interested in nutrition and health, then by all means take some courses at a local college.  Enroll in an online program from an accredited university. But please, do not give others health advice.  American citizens need true and concrete facts to be able to get where we need to be as a healthy society.  This rush of misinformation is only fanning the flames of the fire. 

So I ask all of you: please put down the meal replacement shakes, stop listening to so-and-so tell you what Dr. Oz said on his last show, and seek out a credentialed dietitian or nutritionist.  I am not asking you to buy any crazy products or to “lose 10 lbs in 5 days!”…I am simply saying if you are going to invest in your future and your health, make smart choices and listen to the experts. 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Warm Weather Tips for Health

Spring has finally sprung here in good ole Toledo, Ohio.  Even though there’s a brisk wind and the temperature’s only in the 50’s today, everyone in the city is already thinking about warmer weather and all the glorious times to come.  The stores are putting out bathing suits, sand buckets and shovels, pool toys, etc.  This particular blog is going to point out a few things we may not think of when we head out for a summer picnic, or to tidy up the garden/yard, or just to soak up some of that glorious sunshine.

sunshine-hi

 

Spring/Summer Tips for Health:

  • Food safety and the outdoors.

Spring and summer is a great time to share food with one another.  Potlucks, picnics, family reunions are all very common in the warmer months.  Pasta and potato salads are a huge hit for BBQs and picnics.  Traditional salads use mayonnaise and/or sour cream as a base for the dressing.  Food safety is extremely important.  Opt for foods/ salads that use oil and vinegar as the base or dressing.  This ingredient swap will allow for the dish to remain outdoors without the need for ice and no worries about if the dish will spoil or not.  But, if you love that recipe that Aunt so-and-so gave you and don’t care for the swap, go ahead and make it, taking extra care to keep it properly stored.  Food borne illness is a huge bummer that you don’t want hanging out at your party!

This no-mayo recipe sounds DELICIOUS! Plus, there is zucchini listed in the ingredients and who doesn’t LOVE zucchini?! This is a great way to use up some of your homegrown veggies! Thank you to The Cooking Photographer for this recipe:

http://www.thecookingphotographer.com/2009/07/tomato-zucchini-pasta-with-sherry.html

 

  •  Don’t grill that meat too long.

Who doesn’t love the taste and smell of barbequed food?! There’s something nostalgic and wonderful about getting the family all together and grilling out on a sunny summer day.  But, in the midst of all that summery goodness, carcinogens lurk.  Evil little things.  According to Beth Sumrell Ehrensberger, MPH, RD, ” Two classes of carcinogens, or cancer causing substances, can be found in high concentrations in grilled meats. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when muscle meats, including beef, pork, poultry and fish, are cooked at a high temperature, as they are when grilled. Another class of carcinogens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are formed on the surface of meats by smoke and flame flares which occur when fat and juices drip down onto the heat source below.” (Healthcastle.com)  So how can we avoid these cancer-causing substances? Don’t grill too long.  If you like burnt meat, or extremely well done, maybe consider cooking it less or use another method of cooking.  You want to make sure these chemicals don’t have time to compound on the meat.  Also, marinating your meat (particularly with rosemary, thyme, or other herbs) can greatly reduce the amount of HCAs that form in your food.  Use lean cuts of meat with minimal grilling time (make sure its safe, though) or try a veggie-based alternative.  Vegetables and/or veggie burgers have decreased or minimal carcinogens when grilled.  You can still enjoy your favorite summer foods, just keep in mind these tips on grilling to ensure the safest food is being consumed.

 

  • Make your own sunscreen.

Throw out that bottle of name brand sunscreen.  Take the time to research the chemicals listed on the bottle.  There are many companies out there that make non-toxic, paraben free sunblock.  You can also find many recipes online on how to make it yourself.  Making your own sunscreen is simple and will save you the harsh chemicals in conventional sunblock.  I, myself, was a victim of conventional sunscreen.  Every summer, every year, my mom would slather the highest SPF you could find on my body.  Fast forward 20 years, I am in the dermatologist office with basal cell carcinoma on my forehead, abdomen, and back.  I did my research after having those areas removed and was angered to find that these sunblocks do more harm than good.  No more will I waste my money on those products.  Be sun smart! Read more about the toxic truth here: http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/toxic-sunscreen-ingredients/

  • Natural pest repellents.

I love bugs as much as the next guy (well girl, but whatever), but that doesn’t mean that I want mosquitos flocking around me.  I’m not a fan of those bug sprays, with the DEET and all…for those of you that don’t know, DEET is the active ingredient most commonly found in bug repellent sprays.  This ingredient is also known to have negative effects on the nervous system and cause neurological damage.  I choose to avoid it, especially when there are alternatives that work just as good, if not better.  You can also plant herbs and flowers that repel certain pesky insects.  Citronella, marigolds, basil, rosemary, and lavender are just a few that can repel mosquitos and other buggy bugs.  Plant these in combinations in planters around your patio and enjoy the outdoors in peace 🙂 And, get some fresh herbs while you’re at it!

This recipe is from DeliciousWife. Bug Be Gone Spray:

1/2 cup distilled water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or witch hazel
40-50 drops of essential oil (the ones i use lavender, rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, tea tree, or citronella)

 **In an 8 oz spray bottle, add the distilled water, apple cider vinegar, and essential oil. shake bottle and it’s ready to use. **
  • Don’t spray your lawn with chemicals.

There’s a war on dandelions and I, for one, am not going to be a part of it.  I happen to love everything about dandelions and every other “weed” in my yard.  Perfect, manicured lawns are boring.  Not to mention, full of chemicals.  These weeds not only have medicinal and nutritional benefits, they also provide a balanced ecosystem for our friends- the butterflies and the bees.  I urge you to look up the devastating facts and statistics concerning these important creatures.  If certain “weeds” bother you, look up organic and non-toxic alternatives.  Vinegar, Epsom salts, organic fertilizers, and compost are all just a few natural ways to keep your lawn healthy and free of whatever irks you, if you so choose.  If you would like to read more about the bees and butterflies and their disappearance here’s a great link to check out:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4557.cfm

 

Happy and Healthy outdoor adventures! 🙂


1 Comment

Growing Food Can Be Super Easy! You Can Do It!!

Leading a healthy life can be quite confusing and for some, even frustrating.  One of my favorite ways to incorporate healthy foods into my life is to GROW MY OWN FOOD.  Simplicity, my friends.  Simplicity.  My first year gardening, I had no idea what I was doing and my vegetables still grew well and provided me and my family with enough veggies during the summer months for me to feel like a success.  Since then, every year has gotten easier.  Companion planting, pest control, soil tests…it’s enough to make someone think having a garden is too much work.  IT’S NOT! Just give it a try.  My two favorite summer crops and the easiest for me to grow are cucumbers and zucchini.  I had so many I was giving some away, which I wanted to do anyway because what’s having a garden if you aren’t going to share with family? 🙂

The savings of having a garden are out of the world.  I’ll put it this way: a packet of non-GMO seeds (let’s pick zucchini) will run you about $2-2.50 from Baker Creek.  Each packet comes with approximately 15-20 seeds (don’t quote me here I am just guessing from how many I have planted and how many are left in the pack).  One seed (plant) will produce between 4-6 individual zucchini (again I am going with my personal experience in my garden).  That means that each packet will provide you with approximately 75 zucchini (at 15 seeds per pack and 5 veggies per plant).  That, my friend, is a GOOD DEAL!

The savings of planting your own veggies and fruits are beyond awesome.  Even if you just plant a few of your favorites, the end will be worth the time you take.  I haven’t even touched on the fact that growing your own veggies and fruits allows you to control what goes in the soil (or doesn’t go in the soil! ahem! Monsanto….) and also if you have kids, this allows them to see where their food comes from and why that is important.  My kids love helping me in the garden and having their own plants to water and watch grow.  It’s a learning experience that they love.  Reminds me of last year’s garden when we would wake up and go outside to harvest kale for our morning smoothies! It was something they looked forward to and I really want to them to cherish those memories and hopefully continue on the tradition with their kids.  Far too many kids don’t have a clue where their food comes from and why it is important to go back to basics when it comes to food and simplifying how we eat these foods.  Processed is out and fresh, homegrown is in!

Kim’s Novice Tips to Get You Started:

  • Make sure you start your seeds at the appropriate time.  Some veggies and fruits take longer so make sure to read the packet to familiarize yourself with the timing, amount of sun and water, etc.
  • Give your plants room to breathe.  Some will need only a little space while others, will spread out like wildfire and may need to be trellised.
  • Water in the morning or evening.  Watering in the summer heat with the sun beating down may scorch your leaves.
  • Companion planting! Google it and read up! Plants have friends and foes. In my experience, marigolds are always friends of plants are good pest deterrents.
  • Look into organic or homemade pest control.  I cant tell you how many different types of concoctions I made with garlic, spices, and herbs to try and rid my garden of pests and critters. Those darn cats!
  • Last, start your seeds in organic soil.  Harden them off before you plant them outside and save yourself the sadness when they wither away in the harsh conditions in the transition from inside to outside.   Gently run your hand over the top of the sprouts every now and then to strengthen the roots and get them ready for the wind.  Put the seedlings outside for a few hours in the sun and the dark to get them used to the different times of sun and moonlight.

Most of all, don’t get frustrated if some plants die on you.  It’s trial and error and once you get down in the dirt and get closer to nature, you will find that having a garden can be quite therapeutic.  The rewards in the end are worth it, and quite TASTY!! Nothing beats a homegrown veggie in the summer.  Homemade pickles? Yes! Zucchini bread? Oh yeah! Fresh, sweet watermelon? I can taste it already! (My daughter picked out Georgia Rattlesnake watermelon from Baker Creek this year and I am excited to try it!)

Don’t think for one second that you can’t do this.  If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a garden, start out with a small one.  Plant one or two things.  Trust me, when I was planting my first garden I had no clue what I was doing and I didn’t even know if anything would grow.  I didn’t have any fancy nutrient rich soil or the big gardener hat and tools for my garden.  I had a few seeds and some regular old dirt.  You live and you learn. LIVE HAPPY AND HEALTHY!

This is the soil I use to start my seeds indoors.

This is the soil I use to start my seeds indoors.

 

These are my kids broccoli plants. They water them everyday and are excited to watch them grow!

These are my kids broccoli plants. They water them everyday and are excited to watch them grow!

So far my kale, carrots, green zebra tomatoes, and copia tomatoes have sprouted!

So far my kale, carrots, green zebra tomatoes, and copia tomatoes have sprouted!


Leave a comment >

March is National NUTRITION Month!!!

46656225

I love making memes. I could fill this entire blog with nutrition memes but I will spare everyone.  Seriously though, eat ALL the colors! Did you know that the colors of fruits and vegetables have special characteristics and specific benefits?

RED: Provides powerful antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may be beneficial in controlling blood pressure, preventing heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), and warding off various types of cancers.  Examples of such powerful substances include ellagic acid, quercetin, and lycopene. 

ORANGE AND YELLOW: Extremely beneficial to eye health, lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promotes collagen formation, helps build healthier bones by working with certain minerals, and helps balance the pH levels in the body.  Examples include zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lycopene, and potassium. 

GREEN: These power-packed foods can help boost the immune system, detoxify the blood, fight free radicals, reduce LDL levels, regulate bowel movements, and promote all-around general health.  Some powerful green phytochemicals include chlorophyll, lutein, folate, and zeaxanthin.

BLUE AND PURPLE: For heart health, weight management, lowering blood pressure, fight inflammation, improving motor skills, and cancer prevention.  Examples include resveratrol, ellagic acid, vitamin C, and fiber.

Did you notice a trend in the above-mentioned descriptions?

These fruits and vegetables share characteristics and phytonutrients.  They all work together to provide a myriad of powerful benefits.  This is why you see so many of us nutritionists preaching to “eat the rainbow” or “eat the colors”.  You want as many of these nutrients as possible when choosing a meal.  Let’s say you are making a salad.  Instead of just lettuce and dressing and a smattering of pre-cut vegetables thrown in, choose to make the salad with as many veggies/fruits as you see fit.  The traditional salad is no more! Push that big bowl of iceberg lettuce to the side and make room for SOME COLOR!

Choose more nutritious greens, such as a spring mix, romaine, or spinach.  Or use cabbage or something more non-traditional lettuce.  This recipe from one of my favorite sites, Oh She Glows, uses red cabbage as a base:

http://www.agfg.com.au/guide/recipes/recipe/rainbow-salad

aa3df421fcd88ea5d162c626c2ac0230

 

There are SO many ways to incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks to ensure that you are getting the full benefits of the foods, as well as getting the correct amounts of fresh and raw foods.  Choose quality produce, preferably organic, using the “clean 15, dirty dozen” guidelines.  Grow your own organically, if possible.  Let me tell you I cannot wait until spring to start my garden! This winter seems like it will never end! I am adding organic radishes, beets, and corn to my garden this year, along with the 13 other non-GMO veggies and fruits I planted last year! SO EXCITED!

d5fcdb0473f2e15c76798bf07cebc553

HAPPY AND HEALTHY EATING!! HAPPY NUTRITION MONTH! 🙂

 


1 Comment

HEMP! It's not just for hippies :)

HEMP! It's not just for hippies :)

Hemp has so many uses! From textiles, to jewelry, to food, the hemp plant is a versatile one! The first time I used hemp seeds in my smoothies, I was hooked. This seed has so many nutrients I don’t know why everyone hasn’t heard of it or used it! One of the first things I tell my clients is to go out and get some shelled hemp seeds and experiment away. You can grind them into a powder and use it just as you would whey protein in your smoothies (only without the yucky processed additives). You can add them to your favorite granola recipe or sprinkle them on a salad. From protein to essential fatty acids, these hemp seeds are packed full of nutrients that are extremely beneficial to a healthy body. These seeds provide a one-stop shop for a plant-based protein option for vegetarians and vegans. Not to mention its a complete protein! Score! Click the picture above for a GREAT site on hemp seed nutrition 🙂

 


Leave a comment

Meal Replacement Shakes?! Please. How about some REAL NUTRITION!

ImageAnyone that knows me knows full well that I do not advocate for any pre-made, pre-packaged health products.  Yes, I’m talking Herbalife, Advocare, South Beach, Special K, Slim Fast, etc.  I have had it out with numerous Herbalife coaches (or whatever they want to call themselves since they have no education on nutrition for the most part) that their products are not healthy and I would please ask them to stop giving health advice to people.  So, you’re telling me that you are going to sell your product to people and not know what’s wrong with the product? Then WHY are you selling it to people?! The American consumer is already far too confused on what they should and should not be eating as well as deciphering between the marketing hype and what are true facts.  I am sure this blog will receive the same auto-typed response to my hatred for Herbalife and companies like it.  “Do my research and I’ll change my mind” I have had this response VERBATIM from a few of their distributors.  Sounds to me like they’re trained to respond the same way to the naysayers.  I am truly getting off my point that we need to stop buying this crap.  If there are vitamins, minerals, and protein in their “amazing” shakes then make your own NATURAL shake with the same vitamins, minerals, and protein.  Save yourself the sucralose.  Yes SUCRALOSE! When I was approached years back to become a distributor I went to try out the shakes and learn more.  I looked on the label and stopped at the artificial sugar and asked about why it was in there if their products are SO healthy.  They shrugged it off with a kind of Ron Burgundy response – “it’s science”.  The bottom line here is NO I do not need to do more research or go back to school to know that I wont buy, sell, advocate to my clients to EVER buy these products.  Let’s start a REAL FOOD revolution, people! Ask your Wellness Coach if they have a degree in ANY nutrition/health field and I’m sure you will be surprised.  Keep your money, folks.  Try this all natural protein shake instead (found on Pinterest).  And throw that can of whatever you bought away!

 


Leave a comment

Find Your Support System and Keep Them Close

Since starting as a nutritionist, I have found something that seems to ring true for most people that come to me looking to make a change.  They are all dealing with a “non-supporter”.  When making a lifestyle change, a positive attitude and outlook is a must.  You must WANT to change and you must know that it will take some time.  This is where the “non-supporter” can become detrimental to the progress of the person wanting to change.  A tight-knit team of supporters behind you or right there with you is a key component to being successful.  Here are some tips to make sure you are supported 100% on your health journey:

  • Don’t be afraid to ditch the “Negative Nancy”.  If someone has a problem with your desire to better yourself or is constantly making rude comments about your healthy choices, then don’t feel bad about letting them go.  Maybe only for a while, maybe for longer, but someone that supports you won’t make you feel bad about your new decisions. 
  • Find new friends that share the same visions as you.  Surrounding yourself with positive influences and role models are a sure way to keep yourself motivated and positive about the changes.  Join a fitness class or look into community activities that go right along with your new lifestyle. 
  • Talk with the people who may not be so supportive and communicate to them how much it means to you.