What the heck does green have to do with the color black? Well to begin with, both black and green are very slimming. While wearing black can give the illusion of weight lost, eating lots of greens can actually promote weight loss. Eating greens with every meal can reduce your overall calorie consumption. Consider these numbers:
- 4 cups of arugula = 20 calories
- 4 cups chopped kale = 130 calories
- 4 cups of spinach = 30 calories
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce = 30 calories
- 3 cups chopped broccoli= 90
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts = 40 calories
- 3 slices cheese pizza = 420 calories!
- 1 black dress or shirt = the illusion of 10 fewer pounds on the wearer!
Green is Chic
Just like wearing black, it’s very chic to eat greens. Eating processed, packaged food is way overrated. It’s a well known fact among the rich and famous that the best way to look and feel healthiest and full of energy is to eat mineral-and-antioxidant-rich super greens. And like wearing black, eating green looks good on just about everyone. We know the benefits of that black outfit, including a very high rate of return — just like greens: the more you eat the more benefits you’ll reap. Leafy greens provide huge amounts of Vitamins A, K and C. They give us calcium and iron and lots of other micronutrients, with very few calories.
Both Black And Green Go With Everything!
One of the advantages of wearing basic black is that it can be accessorized with bold colors to make a stand-out statement; the same holds true for green! Start with your basic greens and add deep red onion slices (vitamins C, B6); bright green avocado (vitamins K, C, B5, folate); bold orange carrots (vitamins A, K, C, B6); multicolored bell peppers (vitamins C, A, K, B6); and cherry red tomatoes (vitamins C, A, K, potassium) for a gorgeous and nutritionally wonderful meal.
All of these beautiful colors pair fabulously with both green and black! Eating green has amazing health benefits that one cannot possibly get by donning just a chic black outfit alone.
Check out these stats:
- 1 cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 350% of vitamin K, 133% of our daily vitamin A and 90% of vitamin C.
- 2 cups of romaine lettuce give us more than 164% of vitamin A, 120% vitamin K, 40% vitamin C, 8% calcium and 12% iron — in only 32 calories!
- 1 cup of broccoli supplies 115% of vitamin A and more than 135% of vitamin C.
- 1 cup of cooked spinach? 110% of vitamin K, 377% of vitamin A and 30% vitamin C.
With the holiday season upon us it’s a good idea to take stock. This is a fun time of year for most of us. We get to spend more time with our families and enjoy reconnecting with old friends.
Many of us have time honored holiday traditions: mom’s special stuffing recipe, Christmas cookies and latkes. We take the time to prepare all of our favorite dishes; we enjoy the rituals and it’s important to us that we pass these traditions on to our children.
Something else often happens at this time of year — we lose sight of our health and then we regret that decision (yes, it is a decision!) when January rolls around. With all the added holiday activities, we don’t take the time to exercise and eat mindfully; our health takes a back seat to the season.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not suggesting you become party poopers by avoiding festive food and drinks. I enjoy the traditions just as much as everyone else!
I’m simply suggesting we look at things a bit differently this holiday season. Instead of eating and drinking with reckless abandon — you know what I’m talking about — why not try setting small daily or weekly goals to help us feel better and maintain our good health over the next two months?
Here’s what can happen when we fumble through the season without a plan:
- Skip morning exercise because you’re tired from a late night holiday party
- Feel sluggish because you skipped exercise
- Not thinking about health because you skipped exercise so stop for a bagel and cream cheese (What the heck? You’ve already blown the day, right?)
- Feel tired because you’ve eaten less than a healthy breakfast so grab a candy bar for energy, and the sugar cycle continues
- Go holiday shopping so don’t have time for a proper lunch (what’s the difference at this point?)
- Go home after work and blow off exercise again because now you are feeling really low energy
- Make something quick for dinner instead of taking the time to eat whole foods you’ve prepared
- Vow to do better tomorrow!
Follow these guidelines to avoid the downward spiral:
- Make your exercise plan at the beginning of the week.
- Stick to the plan no matter what!
- Take time to plan your weekly meals at the beginning of each week; keep it simple by combining lean proteins and produce (see ideas below).
- Create a shopping list and purchase whole foods so you’ll have healthful ingredients on hand when you’re tired and out of time.
- Drink at least 50 ounces of water every day. This will keep you hydrated so you don’t confuse hunger with dehydration. This will also help you avoid the dreaded hangover. Yes, dehydration is usually what causes your hangover — that and too much alcohol!
- Plan what you’ll eat while dining out and at parties. Eat healthy snacks before heading out (see list below). Then stick to mostly proteins like shrimp and chicken along with veggies and fruit at parties and restaurants. Go ahead and sample the chips, dips and other party treats—once, then fill up on the stuff that will help you feel better the next day.
- Try your best to get seven hours sleep. Before downing your third—or fourth–beverage, stop and think about how you’re going to feel tomorrow!
- Wake up feeling good in the morning and proud of yourself that you stuck to your plan. Then go exercise!
Follow the 80/20 rule: Make a concerted effort to eat well eighty percent of the time. You’ll be happy you did!
As the seasons change so do our eating habits. Our bodies know best, and naturally feel best when connected with our environment. According to health expert Andrea Beaman, when we eat locally grown, seasonal foods, our internal environment (the body and its organs) aligns with the external environment (the world around us), creating a system that is physically stronger and prepared for the elements.
You’ve probably noticed that on a steamy hot summer day you crave cooling foods like crisp green salads, juicy fruits and refreshing smoothies. But as the weather changes these types of foods don’t seem quite as appealing. Innately we desire heavier, warming foods like soups and stews.
For body, mind and spirit, it’s wonderful to eat what grows in our immediate environment and climate — it can help us feel more balanced, healthy and connected. Not only that, eating locally grown, seasonal foods tastes better; foods picked at the peak of ripeness are the most flavorful. In addition, eating everything from everywhere harms our environment because it burns large amounts of fossil fuel to ship foods to and from faraway places.
One of the best things about fall is squash! You’ll see many varieties these days in all the markets. In addition to getting the tastiest, freshest food, you’ll be supporting local farmers and strengthening the economic base of our community!
Here are a few of my favorite fall and winter recipes. Click on the links below for additional recipes. Happy, healthy cooking!
Let’s face it — practicing healthful behavior can seem like a chore sometimes.
When we’re down or tired we just don’t feel like exercising and the last thing we want to do is prepare a healthful meal. Sometimes we start our workout, lose steam halfway through and just don’t feel like continuing.
So how do we find the motivation to stick with our plan or even more challenging, start a new exercise program? And how do we keep making healthy choices even though sometimes we’d rather stop for take-out or heat up a frozen dinner?
Here’s an example of one person who found that motivation.
A few months ago at one of our early morning classes I looked across the parking lot to see a very big guy, Evan, walking towards me. Evan explained that he was there to try the class because he was ready to make some changes. He said he was really disappointed in himself for having gained so much weight over the years and he was tired of being out of shape.
Since his first class seven weeks ago, Evan has made it to every single workout. When his schedule doesn’t permit him to attend an early class, he comes in the evening. At first he wanted to focus on exercising, but after about a month he decided to set a weight loss goal. too. His goal is to get down to 300 pounds. He’s lost five pounds so far and is right on target!
When Evan’s going to a big game or has a big party coming up and warns me he might not “do too well,” I tell him there’s always going to be a game and a celebration — that’s part of normal life. We can’t use those as excuses for caving and not doing what we know we should to take care of ourselves. Sure, an occasional splurge is okay, even healthy, but this is not what packs on extra pounds!
When I asked him recently what motivates him, Evan told me his parents were both sedentary, overweight and don’t eat healthfully. He said he didn’t want to end up in the same situation as he grows older. The good news is not only is Evan exercising regularly now, his parents have jumped on the bandwagon and have started walking every day!
Most kids are naturally very physically active. Just watch small children for five minutes to see what I mean. But for many of us, aging brings with it a more sedentary lifestyle. While some adults naturally enjoy exercise more than others, we all have to start somewhere.
If you’re new to exercise, don’t be intimidated by the “uberfits” you see running around Arlington at lightening speed, sweating bullets. While these folks really do enjoy it, super high intensity workouts aren’t for everyone. Almost all of us could get there if we really wanted to, but for many the best exercise is one that challenges you, that you enjoy, and that encourages you to keep doing it for the rest of your life — or for as long as you’re physically able!
A good exercise routine combines strength training with cardiovascular training. A recent study from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital confirmed that exercise definitely adds years to our lives. It found: “Physical activity above the minimal recommended level was associated with additional gains in longevity. For example, walking briskly for at least 450 minutes a week (about one hour a day) was associated with a gain of 4.5 years.”
To get physically fit you need at least one goal, you need self discipline and you need determination. What you don’t need is excuses about why you can’t exercise. You don’t need any special equipment either, except for a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes and a watch, preferably with a timer – or you can use your phone.
One other thing you need is a good plan… which I am happy to supply here!
If you’ve been walking regularly your legs are probably already pretty strong. Now it’s time to rev it up a little. How about adding some upper body and core strength? Instead of walking at a steady pace, try interval training. You don’t necessarily need more time, you’ll just be pushing yourself a little harder. Keep your eye out for park benches or curbs you can use for tricep dips along the way.
Simon and Garfunkel had it right way back in 1967 when they wrote, “Slow down you move too fast.”
We live in a global world; we’re connected 24/7. We check email just before turning out the light each night and then as soon as we wake up in the morning. We’re surrounded with busy-ness and constant motion. We often run from one task to the next without taking a moment to stop and think about what we’re doing. We’re on call 24/7 ready to act — and react.
It’s all very mentally and physically exhausting. No wonder many of us are “stressed out!”
You may not even know you’re suffering from stress. According to the CDC here are some common symptoms: Tension and irritability; fear and anxiety about the future; difficulty making decisions; loss of appetite or overeating (or drinking); sadness; feeling powerless; sleep problems; headache; back pains; and stomach problems.
So what do we do to help stay mentally (and physically) well?
We all have the same 24 hours. Yes, we’re all insanely busy but we can make the decision to slow things down even just for a few moments each day. How we think can have just as much to do with our physical and mental wellbeing as what we put into our bodies.
Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is defined as an attentive awareness of the present moment. In our fast-paced, stressed-out world, living mindfully has become more important than ever. We can practice mindfulness when biking to work, walking the dog, going for a jog, driving the car or preparing a meal. All of these activities offer us the opportunity to pay attention to the present moment. Instead of multi-tasking to see how many things we can do at once, try paying attention to what we see, hear, smell, taste or touch at any given moment. The happiest people find pleasure in their simple everyday tasks.
Affirm the Positive: Begin your day in the right frame of mind by thinking positive thoughts. Even before you get out of bed take a moment to decide that you’re going to do your best to make it a great day. Arm yourself with a positive outlook so you’ll be better equipped to ward off negative people and events. Instead of negative self-talk, use positive daily affirmations (those you create or something you read) to help you stay focused. It is possible to conquer our fears and enjoy the present. Seize the day by making the conscious decision to do so.
Raise your hand if you’re happy with your current body weight. Stamp your feet if you spend way too much time and energy thinking about food and how to lose weight!
You’ve probably tried all kinds of diets — maybe you lost weight initially but then gained it all back. It’s hard to know what to eat especially with so many authors and food manufactures telling us their way will make us thin. Their ways are obviously not working since according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention almost 70% of us are overweight or obese.
Want to know the secret of successful weight loss? Would you like to learn how to remove unwanted pounds once and for all? I can be honest with you because I don’t stand to make millions of dollars selling the latest and greatest magic cure. The best reward for me would be you reaching your optimal body weight and your improved health!
Are you ready for it? Here it is: The only diet that works is the one you can actually follow and stick with for the rest of your life. That means it can’t include exotic or hard to find ingredients. The successful diet can’t be so strict that you get frustrated and quit. The best diet will allow and encourage you to make gradual sustainable changes.
Okay, that sounds great but what should we eat to help us achieve our weight loss goals? The answer is simple and straight forward: EAT REAL, WHOLE FOODS. Sound too good to be true? Here’s another secret: Eating well should not be mysterious. But the very first thing you have to do is decide that you are going to change your ways. Decide that you are worth it.
Then make a plan. The plan should be specific: “I’m going to lose two pounds a week starting Monday. I will eliminate processed foods from my diet. Starting Monday my diet will consist of mostly lean animal and plant proteins, three to four cups of vegetables every day, 2-4 servings of fruit. I’ll limit my whole grains and nuts and I’ll drink at least 50 ounces of water every day.
Most of the thin, healthy looking people you see walking around eat real food. These folks take the time to shop for and prepare their own meals made with real food! They don’t dine out every night of the week and they don’t eat Lean Cuisine, cheeseburgers, fries, pizza, chips, muffins, bagels with cream cheese or donuts. The thin, healthy people don’t wait in line at McDonald’s for breakfast sandwiches or order lunch at Subway — no, Subway is not a healthy choice regardless of what Jared says!
A new government study estimates that nearly 80 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week (at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 1.25 hours of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both) — potentially setting themselves up for years of health problems.
Think about it like this: It’s hard to wake up and get out of bed early, especially when it’s dark! It’s hard to sweat, and sore muscles hurt. It’s hard to exercise when you’re tired at the end of the day. Once you start, there will be times when you want to give up and it’s often hard to stick with it!
But aging is a lot harder when you haven’t been physically active; it becomes harder to stand up and sit down. With less core strength, you may experience backache and suffer more falls, not to mention being at greater risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and other diseases. The longer you wait the harder it will be. Make the right choice. Do it now!
Stop making excuses and start making fitness part of your life. I know, you’re too busy, you hate to exercise, you can’t afford it, you get bored easily, everything hurts, you hate the gym, you never see results, you’ve tried and failed…
Turn those excuses into reasons: I’ll have more energy, I’ll sleep better at night, I’ll burn more calories at rest, I’ll be better equipped to handle stress, I’ll increase my lean body mass, I’ll be able to stay focused. I’ll be happier!
Ready to get started? Try these tips to increase your chance of success:
- Make an appointment with yourself. You wouldn’t blow off a doctor’s appointment just because you didn’t feel like going. If you keep your exercise appointment, you won’t need as many doctors appointments!
- Get a buddy. Working out with a friend is more fun, and being accountable to someone else helps you stay on track.
- Set tangible goals. Don’t just say, “I’m going to start exercising.” Take time at the beginning of each week to plan which days you’ll exercise. Write down the time and the activity. Whatever you choose, be sure to elevate your heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes. This means breathing heavily but able to carry on a conversation.
- Find a form of fitness that works with your budget and schedule. We Arlingtonians have tons of resources available to us. See below, after the jump.
What exactly does it mean to be healthy? For many of us, “good health” is just a vague notion — until something goes wrong and we’re forced to take a closer look.
In this series of biweekly columns we’ll discuss what factors — other than genetics — contribute to our mental and physical well being, including fitness, nutrition and even how we think about our lives. The goal is for all of us to start taking control of our own health!
When was the last time you felt great? Maybe it’s right now. But maybe you’ve been feeling sluggish and run down and you can’t quite figure out why.
What if I told you there was one thing you could eliminate or cut way back on that would help you lose weight and feel better, and even help stave off sickness and disease? Would you give it a try?
Can you guess what I’m referring to? Here are a few hints:
- This ingredient is hidden in many foods.
- It goes by at least 20 different names.
- It affects our weight, moods, appetite, complexion and energy levels.
- It’s been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of cancer.
What ingredient do all these items share?
Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed sugar! That’s right, all of the above processed foods have added sugar to make them taste better to consumers and to reap big profits for the food manufacturers — who don’t give a darn about your health.
What’s so bad about sugar anyway, as long as we don’t eat too many calories? Well, there’s nothing wrong with having a sweet every now and then. The problem is that our bodies are just not meant to process the huge amount of sugar the average American now eats on a daily basis: 22.7 teaspoons a day! (The recommended daily amount is not more than 6 teaspoons for women, 9 for men.)