Jan 25

National Heart Health Month & Our Friend Diabetes

February is all about the heart. From the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day to advocacy and awareness of heart health. In relation to diabetes, heart health and the former share some common ground. For worse, one complication increases the risk of the other, yet, on the positive, these health conditions provide a push to take extra care of our health and food choices.

In the least, here are some small steps that can aid big health results for blood sugar control and caring for our heart.

  • Nurture sleep. Tis the secret sauce of our health. We should act like we are getting paid to sleep; because in the end, we really are regarding health. When we are sleep-deprived, we are not only sparking a cascade of events in hormonal imbalance, including insulin resistance, but we are also throwing our cravings for a loop. Even if you are not able to pack in the needed 8 hours of sleep by catering to a bedtime, etc., then strive for quality sleep. How? Make sure your room is cool (68F), pitch black, quiet and calm. Get blackout curtains if needed, use some ear plugs if you are a city slicker like myself and detox from electronics a good our before making it to your pillow. Lastly, look into trying a magnesium supplement. Every night I have a routine of sipping on some tea with some unflavored Natural Calm (a magnesium drink).
  • Choose each meal based on a combinations of vegetables and some fruit. From there add in high quality protein. Indeed, make the target of vegetables 2 cups per meal and select of variety of color.  Does this recommendation sound familiar? It not only stems from my philosophy of eating more real food, but rides on the recommendations of one of the top-rated diets in the last 6 years, the DASH diet. 
  • Measure your current weight, and then take that number and divide it in half. The number you get is the value of ounces you should drink within a day. And sorry, the liquids from coffee/tea do not go into this estimation. Find a good water bottle and take it along with you EVERYWHERE.
  • Get up every 60 minutes. Sitting in the modern cigarette. It’s hurting our health on a daily basis. If you follow the tip to drink more, you very much so will be getting up to use the loo more. Either way, cardiovascular health isn’t about hitting it hard in the gym, although that can be a plus if monitored in a healthy dose, but just moving more each hour of the day can please your body, improve blood sugar control, production and more.
  • Lastly, it’s not only about what we feed ourselves with food, but it’s also about what we feed our mind. Pay attention to how you talk yourself, and if the tone can be more gentle or nicer, start changing your thoughts. Be kind, supportive and reassuring.

Jan 14

Crush of the Month – Roasted Cabbage

Sure I’ve seen roasted cabbage on Pinterest a zillion times, however, never did I ever until now try it. And good golly, it’s amazing. Loaded with fiber and nutrients that aid our liver for detox, this extremely economical vegetable needs some promotion and love. Curious for more health information on cabbage? Check out this write-up I did in months past. 

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When I roast cabbage I so easily reach my goal of 6-10 cups of vegetables a day. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go without delay.

RECIPE:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of foil over a baking sheet. Spray a light layer of olive oil onto the foil, then place the sliced cabbage on the foil.

Spray another light layer of olive oil on the top of cabbage and sprinkle on s/p. Bake for 20 minutes, flip cabbage over, and bake for a final 20 minutes.

Dec 20

Local Chicago Company – Sustainable Jerky

While at a holiday party this month, I ran into the owner, Ricky Hirsch, of Think Jerky and was a bit blown away when tasting a sample of his turkey jerky, among other sustainable flavors. Our conversation flowed and I asked if Ricky could share a little of his story on my blog. Enjoy!

Per Ricky: “Jerky has always been my favorite food until I was old enough to realize that it just wasn’t healthy. Gas station jerky has always been pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives. I gave up eating it because I thought that’s how jerky had to be.

Two years ago I came to the realization that jerky is just baked protein and has the potential, if made properly, to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Since I’m not a cook, I partnered with three of the best Chefs in the country to make the recipes. Our Chefs include:

  1. Laurent Gras | Three-Star Michelin Chef
  2. Gale Gand | Food Network Host
  3. Matt Troost | Farm-to-Table expert

We are the first company ever with a collection of Chefs like this and the first company ever with a three-star Michelin Chef. Think Jerky only uses sustainable-raised proteins, with restaurant quality ingredients in recipes by famous Chefs. All of our ingredients are gluten free, Non-GMO, all natural, no nitrites, and have no added hormones or antibiotics.

Our jerky is perfectly portioned in single-serve 100 calorie bags that have 16g protein and only 6g carbs, and is the perfect snack for traveling and the 2pm snack.

We are just launching this week and completed our Kickstarter where we ended up a top 5 most backed food ever. We have already been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Eater, Crain’s, Paleo Magazine, WGN TV, Splash, Chicago Tribune, Michigan Avenue Magazine, and many more, pretty crazy for a product that’s not fully launched yet.

You can find our jerky online at www.ThinkJerky.com and locally in Chicago

Thank you for letting me share a little of our story and hope your readers can easily find our product and enjoy the benefits, including flavor!”

Ricky

Dec 01

Crush of The Month #Instacart

Have you heard of Instacart? It’s a new go-to in my health toolbox. With road-trips and holidays away, I simply draft up some meals for the week following my return home and place an Instacart grocery delivery upon my arrival. The best thing, I think, about this convenience tactic is I always place an order of organic rotisserie chicken with my grocery order and have a healthy dinner ready to eat while unpacking. Win, win.

What are some of you modern day “tools” for health these days?

 

(And while I understand Instacart is a local Chicago offering, I do believe many groceries are now offering such services to have delivery in other cities).

Nov 18

Find A Rhythm in Gaining Better Health

If only we could wake up daily to minimal stress, pure healthy food, in the perfect quantities, exercise, sunshine, we would all be well on our way. In reality, many of us struggle to get out the door on time, let alone have a balanced meal before we hit the day running. It’s too easy to be reactive with our health by choosing lunch by whatever cafe or fast-food joint is nearest, and prioritizing our job and or kids.

Yet, the road to health needs a proactive approach with a soft plan of fitting in weekly exercise, mind-body practices, bonding with peers and suggested meals/snacks. Looking at research of what habits help most people attain a healthy weight and overall sense of wellness, here are a few ideas to emulate.

  • Plan you Meals – no need to make this harder than it is. And surely do not map out a diet meant for a bird. Have a balance of produce and ingredients full of fat and protein at each meal. Make the meals attractive to your palate, as eating well includes a component of satisfaction. A few ways I do this – I take out a small dry erase board I have stashed on the side of the refrigerator and think of 4 meals to make for the week. I always double the recipe to have for a following lunch/dinner. Another strategy I use to plan out weekly meals  is I will briefly play on Pinterest and select a recipe that looks good (and easy!) and add it to my Notepad on my phone, where I also keep my grocery list. Having a list on my phone makes it a lot harder to leave a physical list behind. Rarely do I get anywhere without a phone.

balanced meal

  • Batch Cook – meals eaten at home do not require hours in the kitchen. Use tools like a slow cooker, roast a cookie-sheet’s worth of vegetables for the week, increase a recipe to cook once, eat twice, set aside an evening to chop vegetables and fruit for grab and go snacks. Make a massive salad to pair with planned meals for the week and more. I often use frozen vegetables for roasting. Frozen vegetables can be healthier than fresh, as fresh produce depletes of nutrients as it ages. At breakfast I often compile lunch. At dinners, I often put together ingredients in a blender, to then set in the refrigerator overnight for an AM smoothie. Meal prep needs to be easy and efficient, or else it can feel like a chore or project. Keep the task simple.

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  • Nurture sleep – kids aren’t the only ones who get cranky when they stay up past their bedtime. It’s funny as adults, we push ourselves to stay up to watch a show and or ignore our tired ques just because the clock tells us it’s too early to tuck ourselves in. Cutting sleep less than 8 hours is not doing ourselves any favors – our hormones are thrown off, including leptin/ghrelin (hunger hormones), cortisol, insulin, we crave more carbs and sugar, and the list goes on. Beyond the quantity of sleep, work on the quality. Make sure your bedroom is cool, use blackout curtains, eye masks and ear plugs if need be. Have a bedtime ritual so you fall asleep quickly and even concoct a bedtime cocktail of bone broth, sleepy time tea or enjoy some Natural Calm with collagen.
  • Don’t skip meals, or starve yourself. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy one is not about eating less, it’s about eating smarter. Understand your true hunger verse cravings and strive to eat mostly real food.

smoothie

  • Drink water. Did you know being hydrated can actually make us appear younger, prevent fatigue, better regulate blood sugar, digestion, mental clarity, lose weight and the list goes on. Have a water bottle on you. Always.
  • Don’t stress over the small things. Practice 80/20 with choosing the right food. Enjoy the 20% with no guilt.
  • Develop habits that can be maintained long-term. Avoid fads and shortcuts. Make changes small enough that they become part of a lifestyle, not a to-do list.

Happy holidays, safe travels and please share any actions that help keep you on tract.

Nov 02

Paleo & Cholesterol Concerns

A client just sent me an email last night w/ some lab work. While she is just one person, using a real food template for her diet, there is many other stories and research out there that can help calm any worries in eating healthy yet cholesterol containing foods and attaining ideal cardiovascular health. Email verbatim below; and with her permission. Thanks Eileen for sharing and being transparent for my readers as well.

“Hi Kelly! I know I usually e-mail you from my Gmail, but I had a health assessment at work and wanted to share my results below. I’ve always had pretty low cholesterol and despite eating 3-4 eggs a day since I first saw you ~18 months ago, I still have healthy cholesterol. I just wanted to share, not that you needed proof, but in case there are any doubters out there—the screenshot below is proof!” (Click image to enlarge).

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Oct 28

Paleo Infused News to Use

Veggies. A food group that the vegans, Adkins followers, paleo folks, etc will all agree on, are crucial for optimal health. My tip today indeed relates to not only how to incorporate veggies at every meal, but how to keep them fresh throughout the week.

Tip #1

Salad spinner. Storing your leafy greens in a salad spinner helps extend the shelf-life. Give it a try and enjoy salads all week, start to finish. Take this one step further and chop up a large salad every Sunday so you have something quick, nutritious and high volume for evenings when you are quite hungry and need something quick. A salad can compliment any meal. My gym even serves a side salad with breakfast orders.

Tip #2

If you do not have a salad spinner, put a clean, dry paper towel in the container or bag that the leafy greens came in. I just did this minutes ago after I purchased, then used, Costco’s Power Mix leafy greens in my smoothie. Just putting a paper towel in the resealable bag, and changing the paper towel for a fresh one every 2-3 days, can really extend the freshness of these veggies.

Tip #3

Do not be afraid to have veggies at breakfast. More so, make it a habit. If you are on the go or whipping up something nice at home, there is no good excuse for not eating veggies to start the day. Some ideas 1) One to 3 cups of leafy greens in a smoothie, 2) ever had a paleo pancake? There are numerous recipes out there, but I most often take half a banana, 3 eggs and 1 cup of leafy greens, cinnamon and toss all the above in a blender until I get a smooth batter like consistency. With such, I warm some coconut oil in a skillet and make 2 real food pancakes. 3) An american breakfast with eggs and meat and some leftover veggies from the night before. Or roast up a cookie sheet-worth of veggies each Sunday. The examples of how to include more vegetables in the AM can easily go on, but find a way to eat 6-10 servings of veggies a day, and start with breakfast.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Oct 13

Crush of the Month #StevesPaleoGoods

As I aim to set some themes for monthly posts, I have come up with a title which highlights something I have been crushing on lately.

If you are on the journey of seeking out more real food, including some convenience food, you have likely heard of Steve’s PaleoGoods. Not only are the products the highest quality, but they go to a great cause. Fifteen percent of the proceeds of each purchase goes to Steve’s Club National Program. That’s what I call a win-win; eating well and helping others.

So why am I writing about Steve’s Paleo Goods now? Full disclosure, they did contact me about trialing some of their products, but the truth be told. I always thought highly of the company but being a “paleo” RD I made many of these food products on my own. Yet, just 4 months ago, I had my second child and more than ever appreciate things that are high quality and convenient. More so, I don’t have to spend more time reviewing, checking product, etc to know it meets my expectations. Most recently, I have tried some of these, along with my toddler (he loves the dried strawberries and “granola” bars!).

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In the last month I have traveled to NOLA, Cancun, Ohio, Traverse City, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Ohio and back to Chicago. You can easily guess how handy these snacks were, especially the jerky. I paired the protein sources w/ some portable fruit and I was well on my way. The “granola” was awesome on Greek Yogurt, and the Honey Mustard, which is predominately olive oil, made some of my latest salads come alive.

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I have confidently recommended Steve’s PaleoGoods products to my clients as they are delicious and nutritious. Beyond what is captured above, please know they offer a slew of products including bone broth.

Thank you Steve for setting the bar for high quality food, making it easy for consumers to choose sound ingredients by simply placing orders online.

On that note, next month I am going to highlight my latest way to make grocery shopping efficient, while being modern.

Sep 15

Healthy Office Snacks

Last month I had a request to answer what my top office snack would be. My reply included the below, among another 30+ suggestions from health experts. For more information, click here.

“My favorite snack to have in the office varies depending on what my or a client’s current health goal is. If my goal is weight loss, which is true as I am still shaking the baby weight from my second child born this summer, I’d pack large organic carrots.

Having a portable, healthy carb and crunchy snack like this will help me follow true hunger. Having something healthy like carrots prevents me from eating something out of boredom, stress or thirst.

Other ideas include portioned 1-2 ounce nuts (I love the raw almonds sold at Trader Joe’s). This snack is great if I know I have 5-7 hours between my lunch and dinner. And lastly, dark chocolate. This is a great thing to have on hand in an office where treats, baked goods and birthday cakes are debuted all too often.

A healthy treat like dark chocolate can be a good swap for something dessert-like without derailing health goals. Of course baked goods are fine to have when a client or myself really want it, but it’s also good to only indulge when those things are really worth it.”

 

Aug 17

The Life of a Supermom—Identifying and Meeting the Challenges

Please note this is a guest post. Author details of this content below. Enjoy!

How do you find the experience of being a mom? Most likely, you have discovered early in the role that your responsibilities toward your child and the family, as a whole, are not easy. The idea of juggling all your obligations at the workplace and the family while meeting everybody’s expectations of you is daunting even as you think about it. The pressures at work and in the family, as well as the challenge of handling your child as he or she goes through the different phases of growing up, can take their toll on you. Rest assured that if you are going through difficult times as a mom, you are far from alone.

A recent survey on what moms consider are the greatest challenges in playing their role reveals that the early phases of childhood have presented the most number of challenges. This article will discuss the top 5 factors that cause much stress to moms, as well as present ways for you to cope with the stress healthily.

  1. Going through sleepless nights

All moms have had their fair share of sleep deprivation. You might even think that you have had more than your fair share of sleepless nights. Such scenario is especially true when your child is sick. It is only natural that you, as a mom, cannot sleep well while your child is feeling ill. At the smallest wail from your toddler or the pained breathing of your child, you rouse yourself from sleep just to check on them. When you feel that your child needs professional medical attention, you immediately scoot to the nearest hospital even though it’s in the wee hours of the morning. Suffice it to say that when you became a mom, you have found yourself becoming even more selfless than you thought possible.

  1. Dealing with your child’s tantrums

Picture this scene. You are at the mall, and your toddler points to a toy, asking you to buy it for him or her. You say no because you are on a tight budget and besides, your child already has enough toys. When your child realizes that you are not giving in to his or her demands, your child begins to throw a fit and starts making a scene in public. Despite your best efforts to silence your child, other mall goers are now looking your way and shooting glances of annoyance at you while you cringe deep inside. How would you act then? Will you just buy the toy that your child wants to silence him or her? Or will you hold your ground, gently but firmly explaining why you are not going to make the purchase?

Is the scenario above a familiar one? As a mom, you probably had to deal with more tantrums than you can count. In an attempt to quiet their children, some moms give in to their children’s petty demands, which results to even more tantrums in the future.  Indeed, the stress that comes with having to figure out a way to end your child’s tantrums without giving up parental authority is not a small one.

  1. Showing extreme patience

Being a mom requires a very high level of patience. Of all the things you need to do, you need to be willing to keep repeating yourself to your child to make sure that he or she understands you. You also have to learn how to understand the way your child thinks and feels even when you feel utterly lost. You have to admit, however, that despite your commitment to keeping your cool even in the most stressful mother-child situations, you sometimes snap. Such momentary loss of patience can end up with you scolding your child too strongly or hitting your child too hard for a mistake he or she has committed.

Of course, you know you can always apologize to your child for going overboard once in a while. Even then, you know you could not undo the scars you may have inflicted on your child nor shrug off your guilt feelings so easily. After all, your child may not be old enough to understand that you are stressed at work or with a family problem, which led to you lashing out your frustrations on them. It is thus unsurprising that moms find motherhood an emotionally taxing responsibility!

  1. Completing all of your household chores

Being a mom does not end your role of being a wife to your husband. You know that you cannot just neglect your household chores because you now have a baby. Sure, having someone help you out with your chores would make your life easier than doing everything alone. However, not all moms can afford such help at the present and thus need to juggle their responsibilities at home all alone.

A typical domestic scene would, therefore, involve you, as the mom, getting up early in the morning to prepare for your family’s breakfast. Then you would need to help your child prepare for school and then drop him or her off there. When you get back home you find that you have an endless list of chores to do—washing the dishes, washing your clothes, cleaning the house, making yourself lunch, etc. Before you know it, it’s time for you to pick your child up from school and then help him or her with any homework that their teachers may have given them. Then your husband drives home, and you would have to cater for his needs as well. While they are resting, you get busy in the kitchen, preparing for dinner. Most often, your tasks do not end with dinner, which makes you the last person fall asleep at night.

It is no wonder, then, how people call you a supermom! It truly is not an easy role that you are playing in your family.

  1. Getting your children to eat healthily

Training your child to eat their fruit slices, veggie dishes, and drinks their milk, if they’re no longer drinking breast milk; preferably coconut milk is a good alternative. It is often not an easy one though. It most probably involves a lot of coaxings, bribery, and threatening to get your child to eat healthy foods. After all, your child chooses food according to how the food looks and tastes, and not so much for its nutritional value.

For you to keep your child as healthy as possible, you would need to resort to creativity in feeding them. Some have found that mixing in vitamins in their toddlers’ milk is the best way to make them drink vitamins. If your toddler does not like fruits, you could make a puree or a concentrate of the fruit instead so it would be appealing to them. You could resort to any means of feeding your child as long as you get to make them eat the right foods instead of junk ones.

To sum the list above, the top five challenges of motherhood are dealing with sleepless nights, handling tantrums, showing patience, completing household chores, and feeding your child right. However, there is one more challenge that you, as a mom, face as you deal with all your responsibilities. The greatest challenge of being a mom is probably that of staying healthy and fit despite all the stresses that you have to go through. How could you make sure that you do not neglect yourself while caring for the other members of your family? You may think: Where do I find the time to keep myself healthy and fit when I have to complete a dizzying list of To-Dos every day?

Many healthy moms have found the suggestions below very helpful in addressing their challenges in maintaining physical fitness despite a busy schedule. You may also want to consider the suggestions and see how you could apply them yourself.

  1. Follow a schedule

No matter how busy you may be, you will most likely be able to complete your chores satisfactorily if you arrange your affairs beforehand. So instead of waiting for the next day before you plan your tasks out, you might find it helpful to plan in advance. Making a schedule and sticking to it can help you spend your time wisely and also give you time to relax.

  1. Divide the tasks in your family

No matter how much of a supermom you are, you have to admit that you cannot do everything in the house alone. Why don’t you ask other members in your family to help you out on certain tasks? For instance, if your child is old enough to wash the dishes, could he or she probably handle that task? If your husband could help you prepare for dinner every night, you would not be too tired at the end of the day.

  1. Observe a fitness routine

You do not have to take a 30-minute jog every day to be physically fit. Instead, you can try to fit in 10-minute exercises in your schedule every morning, afternoon, and evening. Doing so will help you stay fit and your blood cholesterol and pressure levels normal.

About the author of this post:

Ashley Sotelo is a pro-active health enthusiast; she does research for various leading health companies focusing mainly on the different alternative treatments available for chronic illnesses. Writing health articles has grown to become her passion, becoming the author of roughly a hundred of such articles and currently writing at BRI Nutrition whose sole purpose is to provide natural and safe supplements. When she is not writing or engaging in her regular fitness routine, she could be found curled up in a nook and reading her favorite books.

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