Nutrition

Walnuts and Your Brain

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Many people like to add walnuts to food to add some zest and a little crunchy kick, but walnuts are much more than a flavor additive, as they are chock full of healthy properties and have been used in Asia as an overall health tonic and brain booster for years. Let’s take a nutty look at walnuts.     continue reading »

Eating According to TCM: Five Foods for Spring

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Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. The plants and animals awaken from the slumber of the cold winter months. The vital nutrients that have been stored in the roots of the plants and the bodies of the animals, comes to the surface and life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans tend to stay indoors more during the winter months and sometimes pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process. continue reading »

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health

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fermented food for digestive healthThe modern world is changing every single day. Because of this constant state of change, our bodies are frequently having to adjust. We have a food supply being degraded and depleted of nutritional content, which in turn, causes our bodies to become depleted. Our soil and water is contaminated with antibiotics and deadly fertilizers. All of which become part of the food chain we rely upon. Because of this, antibiotics are failing and superbugs like MRSA are on the rise. Lack of nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics are just a couple of the things wreaking havoc on our intestinal health. But there are ways to combat this and keep the gut healthy. continue reading »

Acupuncture: Not Just Needles

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Cupping AcupunctureMost people have heard of the field of acupuncture by now, but did you realize the scope of the practice encompasses Chinese medicine, which includes so much more than needles? Let’s explore this ancient therapy.

First of all, the practice of Chinese medicine starts with a diagnosis. The practitioner asks many questions to build a history; this includes the answers to digestion, appetite, diet, sleep patterns, bowel movement urination, pain, lifestyle, and stress level, for example. The acupuncturist will also be noting the voice pitch, hair luster, skin color and tone, as well as posture and mood of the patient and any significant odor. After that, there is a pulse and tongue analysis to determine where the pattern and root are, primarily. Finally, blood pressure is measured and other applicable tests done, including palpation of the body. After this history, a diagnosis and treatment plan is determined. What might be included in this plan? continue reading »

Foods for the Winter Season

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Everybody knows that food is what gives our bodies the energy we need to survive. But not everybody is aware that certain foods should be consumed during specific times of the year. In areas like the Midwest, where fruits and vegetables are harder to keep on hand when the weather becomes colder, this principle is followed a little more closely. But in areas like Hawaii and Southern California, where fresh fruits and vegetables are always available and the climate is more moderate, people sometimes forget to eat according to the seasons. continue reading »

Nutrition for Heart Health OM Nutrition & Hypertension

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blog-img-nutrition-for-heart-health-om-nutritionOriental medicine (OM) nutrition combines ancient wisdom with modern science. OM nutrition is a holistic approach, which aims to balance all five flavors within most meals with one or two flavors being emphasized for therapeutic purposes. OM nutrition for a hypertension emphasizes bitter flavors, sour flavors and energetically-cooling foods.

OM theory states the bitter flavor benefits the heart in moderation but an excess is harmful as it has a drying effect; for example, coffee is bitter. In moderation coffee acts as vasodilator increasing circulation but in excess it can raise blood pressure and has a diuretic effect. Modern scientific research has discovered while the human genome has 25 bitter taste receptors 12 of these are expressed in the human heart. continue reading »

6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

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Blog-img - 6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar_640A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 10 truths about the ugly side of sweets. continue reading »

Redefining my Relationship with Food – Guest Post

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Redefining My Relationship with FoodRebecca Freedman

For as long as I can remember, I have had an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed habits of using food as a source of comfort and a way to cope with my emotions at a young age and allowed these behaviors to escalate over the years. The purpose of food in my life was not to nourish my body when I was feeling hungry, but rather to fill a void when I was feeling bored, sad, lonely, excited, happy, anxious, etc. When food is consumed for reasons other than hunger, it is very difficult to decide when to stop eating, and you quickly begin to feel like you have lost control. Overeating caused me physical and emotional discomfort, which resulted in a cyclic behavior of turning to food once again to numb those feelings.

By the age of 20, I found myself medically fitting under the category of “obese,” weighing in at almost 300 pounds. I would try so hard to follow strict diets, but eventually I would end up feeling deprived, and I would run back to all of the foods that I wasn’t allowed to have on my diet. The shame spiral I would go down in my head after overeating always had the same exact result: more overeating.

After 6 or 7 years of feeling lost in an extreme diet-binge-diet cycle, I managed to lose some of the weight, but I didn’t feel like I had found a sustainable solution. Food still had so much power over me and I sensed that there was something deeper than dieting that I needed to address if I was going to break this cycle.

This past year, I made a commitment to myself to get to the bottom of this. My intention was to permanently change my relationship with food and develop healthy eating behaviors. What I didn’t know at the time was that in order to change my relationship with food, I first needed to change my relationship with myself. 

It turns out that true freedom comes from within, not from following the rules of a diet. When I began looking within, it became clear to me that I had allowed my excess body weight to completely define who I thought I was as a person in this world. I didn’t believe that I was worth loving and I didn’t even want to treat my body with respect. I decided to start looking closely at the stories I had created in my head throughout the years about who I thought I was and what I thought I deserved and began finding the strength to rewrite these stories. I faced my fears, took risks, and did all of the things that I always told myself that I couldn’t do. Eventually, I had enough evidence to fully support that my old stories were simply not factual and I slowly began believing in myself.

Through the development of self-love, I was able to learn how to respect and trust my body enough to actually listen to it. It turns out that I don’t need to count calories or track points to look and feel healthy because our bodies actually have a built-in signaling system that tells us when we’re hungry, full, what to eat, and when to eat it. All of the answers are inside of us; we just have to learn to listen.

Not only have I lost over 120 pounds and gone down 9 sizes in clothing, but I can confidently say that I have formed a sustainable positive relationship with food (and more importantly, with myself).

Here’s what this positive relationship looks like:

  1. I know why I’m eating when I eat. 98% of the time, I wait until my body gives me hunger signals before I choose to eat. If I have the urge to eat when I’m not hungry, I take it as an opportunity to figure out what is really going on and give myself what I need. For example, if I am craving ice cream, the first thing I do is check-in with my body to see if I’m hungry. If I’m not hungry, I ask myself how I’m feeling emotionally. Sometimes, I’m really just feeling exhausted when I want a treat. Now I address the problem directly, by allowing myself to rest when I’m feeling tired, rather than stuffing my feelings with food.
  2. When I am hungry, I take the time to really ask my body what it wants to eat. I say things to myself like,  “Hey body, how are you feeling? What kind of food will make us feel alive and unstoppable today?” When considering my options, I visualize what my body will feel like after I eat the proposed meal. As long as my body gives me the green light, I’ll eat it. This means that some days toast feels like a good idea and other days, I prefer to be grain-free. I am not on a restrictive diet; I simply listen to my body and give it what it truly wants. My body always tells me what is best. When I consider having something like French toast or doughnuts for breakfast, my body reminds me of how it typically feels after eating things like that, and then the appeal is gone and I choose something my body will thrive off of instead. I love my body and I want it to feel good!
  3. I stick to real food. This is a full-time job of constantly reading labels and asking questions to ensure that what I’m eating is actual food. I was about to put some butter on my toast this morning at a restaurant, until I looked at the package and noticed that it was not butter. The product’s technical name was “whipped spread.” Hmm… The ingredients consisted of things like liquid and partially hydrogenated soybean oil, artificial flavor, and vegetable mono & diglycerides. Thanks, but no thanks. Now that I value my life, I like to know (and be able to pronounce) the things that I’m putting into my body. I want my body to be around for a long time, so I fill it with nutrient-dense foods that are found in nature, not in a chemistry lab.
  4. When I’m full, I stop eating. This has been the hardest behavior to master. Sometimes I have to remind myself that food isn’t the only form of excitement in my life anymore. Now that I have interests, hobbies, a social life, and things I’m passionate about, I’m too busy to obsess about food. Stopping when I’m full, even if what I’m eating is delicious, is a way of reinforcing the message that I love myself and food no longer controls my life.
  5. When I eat too much or something unhealthy, I give myself a hug, and I move on. Immediately after a situation like this, thoughts of failure and fear flood my mind. I worry that I’m going to lose control and get right back into a vicious cycle. But now that I’m on my team and like myself, a stronger me jumps in and shuts those thoughts down. Sometimes I have to bring down the hammer 50 times, but I don’t give up. In reality, usually all that has actually happened is that I have given myself a stomachache and I feel bloated. I now understand that these uncomfortable feelings will go away and that I do not need to define my self-worth based on the food choices I make. When I find myself in this place, I drink tons of water, go for long walks, and I give myself extra love and compassion. I already know where judging myself will get me, and I’m not about that life anymore!

Meaty relationship with food was developed through years of trial and error and truly getting to know my body. Every body is different. We each have the ability to take the time to get to know our bodies and gather our own data about what feels good and what doesn’t. The human body is not static. The foods that feel good to us today may not feel good tomorrow, and that’s okay. Eating thoughtfully and listening to our bodies requires patience and effort, but I can’t think of anything more important to invest in than my health!

 

Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp

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Don’t forget about physical exercise

Believe it or not, when you’re exercising your body, you’re exercising your mind as well. Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping, which increases the oxygen going to your brain and lowers your risk of disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can lead to memory loss. If you can, start with some exercise in the morning. This can clear your head right off the bat to stay focused and alert during the day. Exercises that require coordination are especially helpful for keeping the mind active such as simply throwing a ball back and forth. continue reading »

7 Superfoods That Can Change Your Life

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blueberries_superfoodsYou are what you eat is an adage that holds more truth than you may realize. Unfortunately, many people today focus their diet around processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium and fat. Diets such as this can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. You can protect your body and health against such illnesses, however, by eating lean meats, fresh vegetables, and by adding the following “superfoods” to your diet.

#1) Broccoli

This edible stalky plant of the cabbage family is loaded in potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C magnesium, and calcium. Scientists believes broccoli’s phytochemicals – organic chemical compounds which occur naturally – are able to aid in skin health, regulate blood sugar levels, strengthen the immune system, and ward off joint inflammation. continue reading »