A Clean Diet

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There’s lots of talk about “clean diets.” If you want to start eating well, but don’t know where to begin, look to the Mediterranean Diet. It’s one of the most universally agreed upon regimens for feeling good:

Key components of the Mediterranean diet*

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

(I would add: limit caffeine, sugar and fried foods).

*From The Mayo Clinic

Appetite

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My husband of twenty-one years decided to lose weight. At 6′, he was at his all-time high of 220 lbs. The impetus for change? He saw a picture of himself that a friend took and didn’t like what he saw.

There are several ways to slim down: cut calories, increase physical activity (exercise!) or both. Hubby is choosing to cut calories.  Through research, he’s discovered that in order to reach his target weight of 180 lbs, he cannot go over 2,000 calories.

2,000 calories to a man who has eaten anything he wanted whenever he wanted is a drastic change.

In the past two months, he has stuck to this limit most of the time. He’s now down to 204 lbs. and finds the sacrifice worth it.

As with most things in life, what you do consistently will yield results: both good and not so good. When he chooses to eat a big slice of cake or ice cream, he foregoes dinner.

Doing the right thing is most painful when we think of our appetites in terms of what we are sacrificing, but we usually succeed when we focus on what we “gain.”

The Body

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Sitting around or lying around all day makes you weak. (Livestrong.com)

With the pervasive use of screen time, people are being increasingly physically passive. I heard this quote the other day that rang so true to me:

The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.

— Ido Portal

Exercise, we all know, is good for the heart and the bones. It keeps your blood pressure in check.

 

As we train our newly adopted pitbull mix, I wanted to ensure we handled aggression in her properly.

“Dog exercise burns the dog’s excess energy and helps maintain the dog’s healthy state of mind. This is important because, in order to talk to the mind, you need to remove the energy from the body.”

Cesar Milan

I can totally relate to this! I need to exercise and (re)move energy in my body so that my mind can work better as well. Perhaps more humans (especially in cars and on the Internet) would be less aggressive if they exercised daily.

In the end, you only have one body and it’s your sole vehicle for moving about in this world. Help your body take you where you want to go.

One Fruit You Should Buy Organic

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Strawberries recently became #1 on the Dirty Dozen list. The Environmental Working Group puts out a list annually of the top fruits and vegetables contaminated with pesticides. For the third year in a row, strawberries topped the list. In fact, 1/3 of all strawberries (non-organic) tested positive for TEN or more pesticides! One sample had 22 pesticides.

I know organic foods are more expensive. Although I care very much about what I feed my family (especially as a breast cancer survivor), I can’t afford – nor do I want – to purchase all of my food organic. However, something like berries, with all the pits and divots, contains too much pesticide for my comfort.

If you’re wondering about #2, it’s spinach. It is advised that if you purchase non-organic spinach, you should soak it in water and baking soda for 15 minutes. Then you’re good to go!

 

 

 

The Root of the Matter

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Doodle of root vegetables*

I’m going to sound like a terrible mom, but I packed raw carrots in my daughters’ lunches a few weeks ago for the first time this school year. After the first day, one of the teens said, “I love carrots! I felt so good after I ate it.”

With all the pre-packaged foods available now, (Lunchables, anyone? – ick!)  it’s so easy to overlook the simplicity (and goodness) of washing, cutting and packing fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch.

It’s so easy!

It’s so good for you!

“Today, strong evidence exists that some of the vital nutrients found in many root vegetables — including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber — can help fight cancer, diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory-based disorders like heart disease and arthritis.”

Dr. Axe

Aphrodisiac? Tummy Relief? Anti-Inflammatory?

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Is there a food item that can do all of these things?

My daughter has GI problems and when she has ginger tea, she swears it helps.

Ten facts about ginger*:

  1. Ginger is actually a rhizome, not a root. A rhizome is an underground stem.
  2. The ginger plant is an herb.
  3. Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom.
  4. Ginger is native to southeastern Asia.
  5. You can grow ginger from rhizomes found at grocery stores.
  6. Mature ginger rhizomes, ones most commonly sold in grocery stores, are harvested after 10-12 months.
  7. Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions and the tropics.
  8. Ginger can be cultivated all year round. However the best time to plant them is at the end winter and early spring.
  9. A ginger plant can grow up to 4 ft. tall.
  10. Ginger has MANY health benefits, some including ant-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation, and gastrointestinal relief.

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*from https://thatsitfruit.com/blog/10-interesting-facts-about-ginger/