“F” Words

 

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“I’m talking about pursuiting it in your heart! Like believe in it! Having faith! 100%! That whatever it is you set out to do, that you can do it!” – Eric Thomas

“If you don’t trust, you will die physically if not emotionally.  To do anything in life, you must have faith” -Tony Robbins

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” -Steve Jobs


I recently read a book that totally changed by perspectives and priorities. “The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck” is a highly acclaimed New York Times Bestseller by Mark Manson. Don’t let the vulgar title fool you. this book is chalk full of real advice and a fresh perspective. For the most part, Mark explains that most peoples cares and priorities are out of alignment. H suggests that society teaches us the wrong things to care about. These lessons include but are not limited to being liked all the time, following all the rules, having a ton of things, and making a boat load of money. He stresses that putting too much emphasis on these things will ultimately leave people empty and hating their lives. After reading this book, i came up with my own “F” words to live by.

Faith– Having a belief bigger than myself provides me with a strong positive outlook despite challenges. I believe things will turn out well no matter the circumstances.

Focus: Life becomes what we focus on. We have unlimited choices, options, people, etc. to define our lives. Our mood and out look will even change depending on what we focus on. We can choose to focus on the positive aspects and be optimistic even in the most dire of circumstances.  It may just be harder to find sometimes.

Family: Love them or hate them, your family will always be around. They are there when we are born and most of the time stick around until the end. We all have a unique connection with our family from day one and should celebrate that fact.

Friends: Our friends are basically an extension of our family. They fill in the gaps that your family cannot. They understand and empathize your situations and can be trusted to always have your best interest at heart. The best of friends pick you up and love you when you are at your lowest.

Food: Most people do not realize that food fuels your body. It is like gasoline for a car. Foods provide so much of what our bodies need each day- water, energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals just to name a few. If you want to feel better and look better, prioritize choosing quality and natural foods in your day.

Fluids: Our body is made up of 60% water. Let me say that again, we are made up of 60% water!! So then, why is it that we do not drink enough h20?? Simply put, most people do not prioritize water for one reason or another. Maybe they think it tastes bland. oO, they don’t “feel” thirsty. The fact is, we are really bad at identifying thirst. We are usually dehydrated by the time we feel thirsty. Or, we confuse thirst for hunger and eat excess calories.  Do yourreelf a favor and drink more water and low calorie drinks.

Fitness: Our bodies are meant to move. They are designed to move in all directions and ways. Why then do we stay at rest in front of our tv or at our desk? Because it’s easy of course! Well, lack of motion is detrimental to your body and mind. When we exercise, we improve our physical body. Exercise even improves our mood and clears our thinking. Go out and move!

Society has become a world of unlimited options. We have so much at our fingertips and can access virtually anything we please. But its important to focus on the important facets of a healthy individual. Prioritize these “F: words and see how your life changes! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!!

Egg Head

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“Say!  I like green eggs & ham!  I do!  I like then, Sam-I-am! Green Eggs & Ham, Dr. Seuss

 

“If you could choose to master a single ingredient, no choice would teach you more about cooking than the egg. It is an end in itself; it’s a multipurpose ingredient; it’s an all-purpose garnish; it’s an invaluable tool.’ -Michael Ruhlman

“I love eggs so much!  I feel like my day hasn’t started until I have had my eggs.  I’m probably going to die from high cholesterol!” -Norah Jones

Every day, we are bombarded with marketing messages and half truths about many products or commodities.  Companies like to highlight the best and unique qualities of their offerings to make people become customers.  The marketplace is highly competitive and each company needs to stand out to consumers in some way.  Sometimes, companies and the general public even demonize products to make others look good.  For example, consider hygiene products.  Some commercials marketing body washes, toothbrushes, or shavers put down older, yet still effective products in their category.

One food that carries a bad reputation is the egg.  The egg has a rough and interesting history in nutrition.  Sometimes, it is seen as a gold standard of lean protein.  I’m sure you have heard the saying “the incredible, edible egg.”  Sometimes, the public has demonized eggs for their cholesterol content in the yolk.  They believed that the cholesterol in egg yolks raised blood cholesterol and lead to heart disease.

In fact, the bullied egg is just an egg.  It cannot take on properties such as good or evil.  It doesn’t think or do anything.  It’s just an object until people act upon it in some way.  In most cases, eggs can contribute to a healthy well rounded meal plan.  Some reasons why eggs are great include:

  • They provide a good source of lean protein; 7 grams per egg
  • They do not cost a lot
  • Each egg contains only 75 calories
  • They are low in salt
  • They are low in carbohydrates
  • They are extremely low in saturated fat
  • They are versatile and fit with many other foods

These benefits and nutrition facts are just the beginning.  I’m sure you get the picture so I won’t drone on about it.  The next question is, “How do I eat my eggs?  Here’s a list to get you started:

  • scrambled
  • fried
  • overeasy
  • “sunny side up”
  • in an omelet
  • on whole grain toast
  • over whole grain oatmeal.

Eggs can be a tasty and versatile addition to a healthy, well rounded meal plan.  They are easy to cook and do not cost much.  Be wary of the reputation(s) the public puts on certain foods.  They are not always accurate.  As Always, Easy, Move, and Improve!

Kitchen= A Cooking Lab

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“The kitchen’s a laboratory, and everything that happens there has to do with science. It’s biology, chemistry, physics. Yes, there’s history. Yes, there’s artistry. Yes, to all of that. But what happened there, what actually happens to the food is all science.” Food critic-Alton Brown

No-one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” – Chef Julia Child

“It is important to experiment and endlessly seek after creating the best possible flavors when preparing foods. That means not being afraid to experiment with various ingredients.” – Chef Rocco DiSpirito

Every now and again, I get inspired in the kitchen.  I look at things a different way and want to experiment.  I come up with concoctions that some people would consider weird or odd.  But, to my surprise they come out quite tasty!  For example, I make a  cookies and cream protein shake in a shaker bottle with milk and ice after my workouts.  One day, I decided to blend my same shake with a scoop of hazelnut chocolate spread. It came out AMAZING!  I was wowed by the taste and texture change!  Another time, I needed to make a quick meal.  We had cooked noodles already, but I wasn’t feeling red sauce.  Instead, I mixed 1 tablespoon with a few shakes of garlic powder, minced onion, and parmesan cheese.  Viola, homemade garlic parmesan pasta sauce!

I’m sure most people would say these recipes are too simple or easy to make.  But, I just want to make a point here.  You can view your kitchen as a science lab.  You see, cooking is a form of science.  Different cooking methods use heat, cooling, mixing, blending, and others to create chemical and physical changes to the ingredients.  When these ingredients react and/ or interact with each other, the possible combinations are endless!

Long story short, cooking is a skill.  Anyone can learn the skill.  It comes with trial and error.  It’s ok to move out of your comfort zone in the kitchen.  Trying something new can be an exciting experience.  That’s how you can get better.  The resulting dishes you make may surprise you!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

*Readers: Have you ever cooked up anything in the kitchen that was new to you?  How did it go?  Comment below and let us know your experiences!*

Rise Up

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The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise. -Miguel C Cervantes

The greatest glory in living lies not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall” -Nelson Mandella

We never lose our demons, [Mordo]. We only learn to live above them. -The Ancient One, Dr. Strange

You will, at some point in your life, be confronted with some kind of adversity.  It’s more often than not a universal given.  Some people would disagree with that statement.  But, life was not meant to be easy.  Obstacles and difficult decisions present themselves when we set goals and go after them.  The bitter truth is that we all fall.  What matters most is that we pick ourselves up again.

This concept can be applied to health goals.  Say you are looking to lose weight.  Along your journey, you find yourself in this situation.   Dessert was way too tempting at the restaurant. You decided to treat yourself since you are out with your friends.  The next day rolls around.  Because you had dessert yesterday, today wouldn’t hurt right?  A snowball effect occurs. The discipline and food choices haven’t been easy. Now, the discipline has fallen away and bad habit takes over. You have fallen off the proverbial “wagon”. So, you revert to your old habits.  In this case, you have two choices: keep falling behind, OR rise above your obstacles.

Consider sticking to a workout routine.  You begin with high expectations.  You have energy and motivation to get started. You are loving your workouts.  They are fun and exhilarating.  But, at some point, you plateau.  The workouts aren’t as fun anymore.  Your energy isn’t there.  You’re not seeing progress as fast.  Your’e discouraged.  What do you do?  Stop going or rise above?  I’ll give you a clue: it’s the latter.  Decide to rise above the negative feelings and doubts in your mind.  Once you do, you will enter the next level of progress.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

Veg Out

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“The easiest diet, you know, is eat vegetables.  Eat fresh food, just a really healthy sensible diet like the ones you read about all the time” -Drew Carey

“If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t“-Michael Pollan

“Soups are a great way to introduce a lot of vegetables [to kids]. Stir-fries, too, because they contain so many different shapes and colors.” Emeril Legasse

I got it all the time from patients and clients.  It became an excuse I expected.  You’re not the only one to think it.  I’m positive you have said to yourself:  “I just do not like vegetables alone.  I can’t stomach fresh vegetables by themselves.”  While I admit vegetables are not the tastiest or most appetizing foods, I don’t deny the value they bring to a diet.  Plant foods, especially vegetables, add many health benefits to a well rounded diet.  High in nutrients, vegetables help protect against disease, especially cancer and cardiovascular disease.  They are very low in calories so they do not promote weight gain.  In fact, they fill you up quickly and may help promote weight loss!

If you do not like vegetables on their own, there is still hope.  veggies are one of the most versatile food groups.  They can be eaten alone or made with other dishes mixed or cooked in.  Try out these strategies and stick with your favorites:

  1. Add chopped vegetables on top of a thin crust cheese pizza (limit pieces of pizza)
  2. Cook them in a soup/ broth
  3. Add chopped vegetables to your pasta sauce
  4. Blend them in your morning smoothie
  5. Mix vegetables in a cold pasta salad
  6. Add them to your eggs/ omelets
  7. Add them to your favorite low fat sandwich
  8. Mix cooked vegetables into a rice dish
  9. Cook vegetables in a slow cooker with your favorite lean meat
  10. Dip vegetables in your favorite hummus

This list is only a start.  Play with the idea.  Be creative.  Someone just like you came up with the ideas above.  There are no rules really.  Make it a point to add vegetables to your daily routine.  As Always Eat, Improve, and Improve!

Top 10 Ways to Cut Calories

It’s common knowledge that to lose weight, one must burn off more calories than they take in.  People get encouraged often to “cut” calories out of their day.  However, sometimes people do not know where to cut these extra calories.  For starters, take a look at this list:

  1. Eat smaller portions
  2. Add vegetables
  3. Limit snack foods
  4. Drink more water
  5. Drink less sugary beverages
  6. Drink more water
  7. Eat at home more often
  8. Eat more grilled foods
  9. Limit desserts
  10. Limit fried foods

If you have more questions on how to lose weight, or these fail, consult a dietitian.  They are trained to identify extra calories and suggest alternatives.  Did I miss any? Share your favorite ways to cut calories in the comments below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Marketing Misdirection

 

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“Fast food chains spend a large amount of marketing to get the attention of children. People form their eating habits as children so they try to nurture their clients as youngsters.”-Eric Schlosser

“You can take a 2 pound bag of sugar, and slap a label on it that says “100% fat free,” and while factually true; this is unbelievably misleading” -Jason Vale

“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need” -Will Rogers

 What Marketers Want: Currently, everything is marketed to some degree. Products are marketed. Services are marketed. They get advertised in many forms: radio, commercials, written ads, posters/ banners, demonstrations, trade shows, etc. Marketers and advertising agents WORK HARD to gain your attention. Once they gain your focus, they tell you what they want you to hear: “buy this”, “use that,” “switch to us.” Thier main goal is to get your business and make you a loyal customer.

What Consumers Want: Consumers want different things than marketers. Basically, we all have needs or wants that need to be satisfied. Each customer has differing wants and needs. For the most part, consumers want CONFIDENCE AND HONESTY. They want products and services that meet or exceed their expectations and match what is promised by marketers. When it comes to food, consumers want safe, tasty, and unaltered foods. They want foods that are “non GMO”, “all natural”, “fat free”, “gluten free,” “guaranteed to help lose weight”, etc. They also want foods “low in fat”, “sugar free”, “low in calories”, or even “organic.”

 Claims to Question: The trouble is, most marketing terms do not have a standard definition. Marketing, labeling, and advertising is a creative and artistic aspect of business. Therefore, it is open to interpretation. Marketers use keywords and hot topics to gain consumer’s trust. Many food manufacturers develop their food products by switching out ingredients to satisfy these claims. Sometimes, they add harmful or unhealthy ingredients in their place. Therefore, it becomes difficult to know what you are actually getting. Here is a short list of claims to be cognizant of:

  • fat free
  • gluten/ lactose free
  • diet/ sugar free
  • 100% organic
  • low in calories
  • all natural

Pay Attention Here: Instead of trying to interpret the claims on the front of the packaging, use other information to determine your grocery options:

  • The Nutrition Facts Label companies are required by law to include all nutrition facts about a food in detail
  • Minimal Packaging: most of the time, foods with less packaging tend to be high quality nutrition foods
  • Minimal Ingredients: Foods with a low number of ingredients are less altered
  • Ingredients you can Recognize: If you can’t read an ingredient, it’s probably an artificial chemical and does not benefit you

These are definitely just an example. Please share any other claims to question or tactics to identify healthy foods below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!