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!

Live Like Hawking

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“It matters if you just don’t give up.” – Stephen Hawking

“I understand you need more help.   And if there is – someone – who is prepared to offer it – I won’t object, as long – as long as you continue to love me.  -Stephen to Jane Hawking, A Theory of Everything

“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” -Stephen Hawking

While growing up, I had heard the name “Stephen Hawking” thrown around in the media and conversation several times.  I didn’t know who Stephen Hawking was or why he was famous.  Recently, I did see Stephen Hawking in several TV commercials.  I also viewed the movie based on his adult life called “The Theory of Everything”

In summary, Stephen Hawking is one of the most influential and famous scientists of the 20th century.  Hawking began his journey as a Theoretical Physics student at the University of Cambridge in the 1960s.  He wanted to find out the meaning of life and how  it came to be.  Through his college experience, he began working on his PhD thesis.  Hawking barely studied since he was so brilliant.  During his tenure at Cambridge, he caught the attention of Jane Wilde and they fell in love. Everything seemed to be going well.  However, Hawking’s story takes a wild turn from here.  At age 21 and admisdt his fisrt breakthrough, Hawking gets diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gherig’s Disease).  Ultimately, Stephen loses the ability to manually move his muscles and quickly becomes paralyzed and dependent on Jane and others.

The inspiring part is that Hawking’s story only begins there.  Stephen continues his work and studies at Cambridge gaining his doctorate in Theoretical Physics.  He writes many books and makes several breakthroughs in the field.  Hawking becomes world famous.  He marries Jane Wilde and they stay married for 30 years and even raise 3 children.  At this time, Hawking is in his 70s when Drs. told him he wouldn’t survive 2 years at 21.  How did he overcome these massive odds and become one of the most recognizable scientists in the world?  I have a few ideas you can use yourself:

Stay Positive:  Throughout the movie, we see Hawking go through many physical and emotional struggles/ stages in his life.  When Stephen gets his diagnosis, he shuts himself away from others and becomes depressed.  He quickly realizes that choosing a negative attitude wasn’t helping his situation.  He gets hospitalized several times and even goes into a coma for a short period.  Despite these challenges, Hawking stays positive.  He jokes and has fun with his children quite often.  He travels the world and enjoys the many wonders it offers.  A positive attitude can change an unbearable and desperate situation into something hopeful!

Ask For Help.  One scene in “The Theory of Everything” portrays Hawking in bed about to go to sleep with Jane.  He says quietly “I would understand you need more help.   And if there is – someone – who is prepared to offer it – I won’t object, as long – as long as you continue to love me.”  Jane responds with “Of course.  For infinity.”  At this time, Hawking was becoming one of the most known scientists of his time.  He has written several publicized works and gained some sense of fame.  It would have been easy for him to have an inflated ego. It would have been easy for him to have confidence in his abilitie and figure everything in his life was working.  However, he was still realistic and humble in his nature.  he understood that he could not do it all alone.  He knew that everyone, especially him, needed others to survive and to move forward in life. He decided to be vulnerable and honest to his wife Jane.  She happily accepts the offer and they recruit help.

Do What you Can.  Life is unfair.  It can be cruel to many people.  It can take away much more than give back.  But, we are strong as individuals and as people.  For those who lose much, they focus on what they can do over what life has stolen from them.  Hawking may have lost his movement and muscles, but not his mind and ability to love what he did.  Stephen continued to explore his theory and cosmetology as a whole.  He studied and wrote.  He spent time with his family and the people he was closest with.  He focused on what made him special and didn’t allow his debilitating and progressive disease to stop him.

All in all, I encourage you to live like Stephen Hawking.  When life throws you curveballs, stay positive, ask for help, and do what you can.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Find Your Peanut Gang

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“Few people are successful unless other people want them to be.” -Charlie Brown

“There is never a heavier burden than great potential” -Linus

Charlie:  I can’t stop thinking about it, Linus. After all the humiliating disasters she witnessed this year, why would she choose me? Was she feeling sorry for me? I don’t want her to choose me just because she was feeling sorry for me. I have slightly more dignity than that.

Linus: Charlie Brown, it might be time to consider the wild possibility that you’re a good person and that people like you. But you know, you’ll never really know the answer, unless… [you ask her]   -The Peanuts Movie

I’m a product of the 90’s.  In my opinion one of the most unique decades in recent history.  This time period gave us brightly colored neon clothes, boy bands, and some of the most unique and popular toy brands ever.  Anyone who knew me growing up can tell you that I ate up many of those memorable TV shows, movies, and music.  I enjoyed watching Pokemon, Power Rangers, Transformers, and many others and played with my toys for hours.  One of the most popular cartoons and comic strips was “The Peanuts.”  Although this comic strip debuted in the 1940s, it continued to stay popular into 2000 until the author, Charles Shulz, decided to retire.

“Peanuts” centered around a lovable, kind, and compassionate boy, Charlie Brown.  Charlie desired to be the most popular and most talented student in school.  He wanted the spotlight and wanted to be the best he could be.  The comics followed him as he made attempts to try new activities and survive school with his friends Linus, Peppermint Patty. Lucy, Sally, and even his beagle Snoopy among many others.  Despite his efforts and desire to be better, Charlie Brown continues to fail and embarrass himself in front of his friends.  To add insult to injury, most of his friends had specific talents.  Lucy was a natural born leader.  Peppermint Patty was a great athlete.  Linus gave great advice and had wisdom well beyond his years.  Even Snoopy had a fantastic and wild imagination.  He uses it to write about his character, Flying Ace, and his battles against the Red Baron.

I recently watched the newest addition to the Peanuts franchise, “The Peanuts Movie.”  As expected, the film followed Charlie Brown as he works to impress his friends and a new girl at school.  Throughout the film, Charlie continues to fail and embarrass himself. When it seems that Charlie Brown is a hopeless case, he makes a huge realization.  Charlie Brown always thought he had to be talented, confident, and smart to be popular.  Through several interactions, he realizes that those factors don’t matter.  Charlie is still liked and accepted by his friends.  They like him for who he is instead of who he is not.  Charlie Brown is a good person.  He cares for others, works hard, and has unwavering honesty.  Once Charlie makes that realization, he achieves the confidence to talk to his crush, the Little Red Headed Girl.  During their conversation, the girl reinforces that Charlie is a kind, honest, and compassionate person.

Ok, so I know that was a strung out explanation.  But, I feel it was necessary.  I wanted to set the stage for my message: “find those who see the best in you.” You will interact with MANY people along your journey.  Some will like you, some will not.  That’s a hard truth to swallow.  Some people will try to bring you down and focus on what you are not.  The sad reality is that some people feel they have to impress these people.  I even had that belief in high school: “If I get the attention of the ‘cool crowd’, I will gain their acceptance and ultimately build up my confidence.  Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into a group of people or an individual, some people just won’t care.  Instead, find people who like you for you.  Find those people who support you and cheer you up.  Find those people who give you their time, honest opinion, and effort in return.  Invest your time, opinions, and efforts in return.  Relationships will flourish and you will become your best self.  You may be surprised of the result.  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!

 

Embrace the Journey

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Bugs Bunny: “Guys, look who’s finally ready to play.”  Michael Jordan: Let’s see if I remember how to do this.”-Space Jam

“I’m going on an adventure!” -Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

“I want to come with you to Alderaan. There’s nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.” -Luke Skywalker, Star Wars: A New Hope

I love movies.  Especially action/ adventure movies.  I love following the storylines and experiencing the ups and downs of the characters.  They are so inspiring.  The characters find themselves in crazy situations and you follow them as they over come obstacles and challenges until they meet their goals.  They go from ordinary people to dynamic and engaging individuals with amazing stories that most people envy and talk about for years after the movie gets released.

If you look closely, most main characters have a moment of complete conviction.  They have a decision to make.  They have been faced with an unexpected opportunity.  Depending on the movie, that opportunity can be leaving home to fight in an intergalactic war (Star Wars), leaving home with a band of misfit dwarves (The Hobbit), or even playing in a basketball game against cartoon aliens (Space Jam).  In this moment, they decide to go all in.  They decide to say yes to the journey.  They are willing to enter the unknown and openly accept the risks they are undertaking.

Consider this: we all, at one point in our lives, will find ourselves in opportunities to embrace an adventure.  Everyone has a different path in their life. However, most people fail to recognize that their path is directed from outside sources.  In all actuality, they have a choice to decide their path.  They have a choice to say “yes” to all the excitement and adventure out there in the world.  Their journey can be as simple as moving to a new home or as complex as starting a new business.  When it comes to improving your health, your journey can be competing in a challenging race, deciding to eat right, r just committing to a workout program.  The question that remains: Will you embrace your journey?  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Help Me Out

Hello friends!  I hope this message finds you well and that your new year is going the way you dreamed it would be!  I need your help.  I would like to learn more about you as my readers.  I would like to know about your likes and dislikes. I would like to know more about your interests and learning needs.  Therefore, I have created a SHORT survey.  This survey will take less than 5 MINUTES.  Please consider taking a moment to give me your feedback.  It will only help your experience get better.  Your feedback will be invaluable in making this blog the best it can be.  Thank you!

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