Archives for March 2013

Chia Seeds – A Natural Appetite Suppressant With Benefits

Chia is yet another edible seed that has nutritional benefits similar to those found in flax seeds.  But, the chia seed has some additional qualities not found in flax seeds that goes beyond the obvious, which is being able to grow a head of hair on a terra-cotta bust of Bart Simpson. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

Bart Simpson Chia Pet

Omega-3s, Antioxidants and Gel

Here’s the run-down on the properties of chia seeds that make them even more of a superfood than their close neighbor flax.

Chia seeds are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than flax, and the abundance of antioxidants they contain extends the shelf life so that they can be stored for long periods of time without becoming rancid.  They also provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Chia provides 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon which is a significant amount.   The daily recommended amount of fiber is 14 grams (approximately 1 tablespoon) per 1,000 calories.  If you need something to compare this to, a Fiber One Bar has 9 grams of fiber.

A Jar of Chia Seeds

A Jar of Chia Seeds

What may be one of the biggest attribute of chia seeds are the way they form a gel when they are allowed to sit in water for 30 minutes. Research suggests that this same reaction takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and converts them into sugar.

When added to green tea, protein shakes, juices or smoothies, the seed’s gelling action causes the liquid to become thicker and more filling.

Chia seeds can be added to oatmeal and cereal, home-baked breads, cakes and muffins, and sprinkled on yogurt and other foods. There’s no need to grind chia seeds before you eat them.

Proceed With Caution

Because of the high fiber content, it’s a good idea to add chia to your diet slowly.  Rapidly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can result in some unpleasant symptoms including stomach cramps and flatulence.  Start with a teaspoon a day and work your way up as your system begins to tolerate the increase in fiber.

A little chia goes a long way.

A little chia goes a long way.

Research has shown that eating chia can lead to improvement in certain health conditions and can actually result in lower doses of prescription medications being needed and in some cases eliminated altogether.  People that are taking prescription medications to manage heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or have obesity and lifestyle related conditions should consult with their doctors before eating chia seeds because an adjustment in the mediation may be required to prevent overdosing.

Here’s a quick, easy and nutritious recipe for chia seeds:

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola

Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of canola oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine oats, seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Dry Ingredients

Slowly stir in honey and canola oil.

Spread granola mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Let cool until oats become crunchy.

Chia Seed Granola on cookie sheet

Makes four ¼ cup servings.

Use the cinnamon chai seed granola as a topping for Greek yogurt, or put in a baggie for a healthy on-the-go snack.

Chia Seed Granola in bowl

What’s your favorite way to use chia seeds? Be sure and tell your friends about the health benefits of Chia Seeds.

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The Six Core Exercises You Should Be Doing Every Day.

If you’ve got your running shoes out and are training for a 5K, 10K or bigger event, having a strong core is the key to your overall success.  It’s true that to be a good runner you need to spend time running.  You also need to spend some time on exercises that will increase your overall stability and core.

Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:30 marathoner and running coach warns people to not let their ‘engine outpace their chassis.  Fitzgerald says that it’s important to remember that your aerobic fitness develops at a faster pace than your structural. What does Fitzgerald suggest?  Strength training and core work so that your chassis can keep up with your engine.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link

On days that you’re doing cross training activities like strength training, cycling, and swimming, take a few minutes and incorporate these six key core exercises into your routine.  Doing all six will only take 10 to 15 minutes and taking the time to do them will pay dividends on race day.

1. Rotational Lunge – This is a very active standing core exercise.  You can use a light weight medicine ball or dumbbell.  Starting position is standing with your the ball or dumbbell at chest level.   Step one leg forward into a lunge while you rotate to the opposite side, or as I like to say, “rotate towards the open leg”.  Step back to starting position.  Change legs. Repeat for 16 repetitions, alternating.

2.  Lateral Lunge With A Twist – You can use a small weighted medicine ball or dumbbell for this exercise.  Stand with feet side by side, ball in front of your chest.  Keep hips forward while stepping right leg out to a lateral lunge position rotating ball past the knee.  Step back to center. Change legs.  Alternate legs for 16 repetitions.

 

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Michelle Obama Arms, 6-Pack Abs, Goodbye Google Reader. It’s Friday. I’m In [Link] Love.

It’s Friday and time for a little link love.  Here we go with the best of the best in health and fitness (and more) from the past week with links you’ll love.

It's Friday, I'm In Love.

It’s Friday, I’m In Love.

How To Get Michelle Obama Arms –   Spring is here which means summer – aka tank top season – is not far behind.  Are your arms ready?  Fitness Magazine provides the absolute best exercises to do to get tank-top ready arms.  Check out the exercises that you can do at home:  How To Get Michelle Obama Arms.

Six Pack Ab Workout – If you need a six pack to go with the trimmed and toned arms, join the “30 Day 6 Pack Abs” program at Lionsgate’s Be Fit You Tube channel.  The program is an intense mix of cardio and strength training workouts to sculpt your abs and strengthen your core.  You’ll follow a calendar and do a different program everyday with each workout lasting anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes.  Check out 6 Pack Abs here: 30 Day 6 Pack Abs.

Impress Your Guests With This Salad – If you’ve having guests for brunch or dinner, or need a new idea for a salad for Easter dinner, here’s a gorgeous early spring salad from Former Chef.com.  You’ll see from the pictures at the site that

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40 Tips To Help You Eat Right Every Day

It’s National Nutrition Month and the National Dietetics Association has launched their annual nutrition campaign.  This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” which encourages personalized eating plans while following the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eating nutritious, whole foods isn’t as hard as you might imagine.  Even if you are too busy to cook, find yourself in the fast-food drive-up one or two times a week, or have an aversion to vegetables, there are some small, but significant choices that you can make every day that can dramatically improve your health.

When you have an empty plate there are plenty of decisions to make as to how to fill it.  Here's 40 tips to help you make the right choices.

When you have an empty plate there are plenty of decisions to make as to how to fill it. Here are 40 tips to help you make the right choices.

Here are 40 tips to help you eat right, your way, every day, with lots of links leading to additional information.

  1. Change the screensaver on your computers to a picture of healthy, delicious looking food.
  2. Buy a bag of apples and eat one every day.
  3. Substitute cut up raw vegetables for salty commercially packaged food s (ex. potato chips) that you usually eat.
  4. Use a smaller plate at dinner.
  5. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  6. Be in the moment and practice mindful eating at every meal.
  7. Eat a green, leafy salad with a variety of vegetables three times each week.
  8. Eat plain Greek yogurt and add fresh or frozen fruit instead of buying pre-mixed yogurt and fruit products.
  9. Print this wallet sized portion guide and put one on the refrigerator and one on your desk at work.
  10. Add a teaspoon of ground flax seeds to oatmeal, cereal, and homemade muffin and bread mixes.
  11. Have at least one meatless main dish each week.
  12. Purchase and prepare a new vegetable every week until you’ve tried them all.
  13. Sauté foods in a conservative amount of olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
  14. Try a green smoothie.  Even if you’re not a fan of fresh spinach, you won’t taste it but you’ll get the benefits of the nutrients.
  15. Put a bowl of fresh fruit in a visible spot on the counter to grab as an on-the-go snack.
  16. Use whole wheat flour instead of white to make pancakes, homemade muffins and breads.
  17. Buy nutritious sweet potatoes for baking instead of  white.
  18. Get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  19. Get in the habit of reading food labels and focus on checking salt, sugar and fat content.
  20. Make extra servings of healthy main meal dishes and take them to work for lunch the next day.
  21. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
  22. Make your own smart water by adding fruit or vegetables.
  23. Let your children help with preparing at least one meal each week.
  24. Turn the TV off during meal time.
  25. Download the Fooducate app and find out how the foods you eat rate.
  26. Select dark green and purple lettuces to use in salads.   The more colorful the leaf, the higher nutrition content.
  27. At least twice a week eat seafood that’s high in Omega-3  fatty acids.  Salmon, anchovies and bluefin tuna have the highest Omega-3 content.
  28. Start each day with breakfast that includes a serving of a healthy protein like almonds, eggs, or turkey sausage.
  29. Limit the processed foods in your diet.  Packaged foods with more than five ingredients usually indicate they have been heavily processed and therefore lacking in nutrition.
  30. Forget the word diet and start thinking about healthy eating and living as something you do every day.
  31. Eliminate all sugary beverages including sodas, juices, and sweet tea and coffee drinks.
  32. If you drink alcohol, make red wine your beverage of choice.  Red wine has a variety of antioxidants believed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  33. Satisfy a chocolate craving with dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is loaded with heart healthy flavanols not found in milk or white chocolate.
  34. Substitute hummus, a low-fat, high protein food, for high-calorie dips and spreads.
  35. Add the Restaurant Nutrition app to your phone so you can check out dining options ahead of time and will be prepared to make good choices when you get there.
  36. Next time you have a day where you make less than good choices, shake it off and move on.  Every day is a new day.  Don’t dwell in the past.
  37. Eat at least three servings of legumes every week.  Many members of the legume family – black beans for example – can be added to soups and stews to provide additional fiber, nutrition and protein.
  38. Create your own Top 10 Superfood list that consists of your favorite nutrient dense foods. Every week eat at least one serving of every food on the list.
  39. Pause before each meal to make sure you’re eating the healthiest foods in the right amounts and in the right balance.
  40. Think about which of these tips you can incorporate long-term into your lifestyle.  Pick five or six and practice them until they are a natural part of your life, then add two or three more.  Keep going until you’ve mastered all 40.

What other ways are there to eat right, your way, every day?   Add your nutrition tip to the comment box below. To learn more about the Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day campaign, click here to visit Eatright.org.

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Is It Time to Shift Your Focus From Weight-Loss To Health-Gain?

If you could free yourself from the scale and the nagging obsession of always wanting to lose the last ten pounds, you might be healthier and happier than you ever thought possible.

I just finished reading an interesting op-ed piece No Evidence Weight Loss Improves Health.  The article is an interview with Linda Bacon, nutrition professor and researcher, and author of the book Health At Every Size who is tired of the pressure society puts on people to lose weight.

Bacon’s goal is to see an end to the war obesity which she believes has led to the discrimination of overweight people, a rampant preoccupation with food, disordered eating habits and billions of wasted dollars. She wants people to switch the focus from weight to health and is leading a movement by the same name as her book, Health At Every Size.

Bacon believes that as a society we have been led to believe that losing weight automatically improves health, but she says there is no evidence that weight loss prolongs life.  She says that “lifestyle changes – like eating more nutritious foods and getting regular physical activity – is the key to better health.  In just about every weight loss trial, participants make lifestyle changes to achieve the weight loss, like changing their diet or exercise patterns.  These changes alone could account for improved health results, whether or not weight was lost.”

Living healthy is less about the number on the scale and more about making good choices everyday.

Living healthy is less about the number on the scale and more about making good choices everyday.

In the interview, she voiced her real concern which is with the eating disorders that have developed out of this obsession we have with weight loss.  She says that research clearly demonstrates that excessive fear of weight gain can lead directly to eating disorders.  Plus, the stress that an obsession with trying to lose weight produces contributes to hypertension and depression and takes a toll on overall health and happiness.

What Would Implementing A  Health Gain Strategy Look Like?

In a letter Linda writes to people who are considering their next diet she says:

It’s way too easy to believe that a thin body will right everything wrong in your world. That your life will automatically improve once you’re thin enough to take the steps you feel your weight prevents you from taking today. But it won’t. The reality is that this fantasy of weight loss is what’s stopping you from achieving your dreams—not your weight itself. The pursuit of weight loss rarely produces the thin, happy life many people dream of.

 I’m not asking you to give up on your dreams. What I am suggesting is that you move on. When you stop trying to control your weight, you allow your body to do the job for you—naturally and much more effectively. If you stop fighting yourself, achieving and maintaining a weight that is healthy for your body becomes effortless.

If you read the full op-ed piece and are convinced that switching from a weight loss strategy to a health based one is something you want to do, what would that look like?  What changes would you make?  How hard would it be?

Moving from a weight loss to a health gain strategy means you’ll have to put the scale in the dumpster, erase the MyFitnessPal app from your phone, and not worry about how many calories you burned in Zumba class.  Food choices will no longer be based on how many calories they have in them, but on whether or not they are good for you and have nutrients that your body can use.  You’ll want to only eat foods that make you feel healthy and strong.

Physical activity goals will be based on maintaining cardiovascular health, disease prevention, and bone density, and you’ll seek to find new ways of feeling happy and develop habits that help you do just that.  Bacon says you’ll need to stop worrying about the numbers on the scale and focus on what makes you feel good in the body you have right now.

It certainly sounds more liberating than Dr. Oz’s 30 Day Cleanse, Body By Vi’s two shakes and a heat- and-eat meal a day routine, or meticulously tracking Weight Watcher points.  But in a society where we are inundated with images of air brushed swim suit models, celebrity endorsements of weight loss products, and Biggest Loser competitions, deciding that how much we weigh doesn’t matter, won’t be easy.  It will require a 360 degree paradigm shift and significant behavior change.

Are you ready to forget about your weight and focus solely on your health?  Learn more about Linda Bacon and her Health at Every Size movement at http://www.lindabacon.org.

You might also like 15 Ways To Improve Your Health Without Losing A Pound.

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Skip The Monster and Make Your Own Energy Drink

Commercial energy drinks are sending more and more people to the hospital each year.  Between 2007 and 2011, the number of emergency room visits more than doubled from somewhere around 10,000 to almost 21,000.  In 2010, 58 percent of emergency room visits involved energy drinks alone.  Forty two percent also included drug or alcohol use.

As you may have guessed, many of these cases involved teens or young adults.  However there was an alarming spike in the number of people age 40 and over showing up in the hospital ER after consuming these beverages.  The symptoms most likely to bring people to hospital are insomnia, nervousness, headaches, rapid heart rate and seizures.

A report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration warns that energy drinks contain not only large amounts of caffeine, but many also have additional active ingredients that boost the effects of the caffeine.

Some doctors are concerned because the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks can cause an increase in heart rate and a spike in blood pressure, according to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Steinbaum recently told HealthDay that “In anyone that has underlying heart condition, these two effects can be deadly.”

Teens and young adults are the largest group of energy drink abusers and may pair the beverages with alcohol or drugs which accounts for 42% of reported ER visits.  But, drink-related ER visits by people age 40 and older increased 279 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Caffeine Content of Popular Energy Drinks

Below is a list of some of the most popular energy drinks with their caffeine content.  It’s enlightening to see that Mountain Dew – which at one time was the mother of all caffeinated beverages – looks wimpy compared to the others on the list:

  1. 5 Hour Energy – Caffeine – 138 mg per 2 ounces
  2. Amp Energy – Caffeine – 142 mg per 16 ounces
  3. Buzz Water – Caffeine – 200 mg per 16.9 ounces
  4. Brewed Coffee – Caffeine – 108 mg per 8 ounces
  5. Crunk Energy – Caffeine – 192 mg per 16 ounces
  6. Java Monster – Caffeine – 180 mg per 15 ounces
  7. Monster Energy – Caffeine – 160 mg per 16 ounces
  8. Mountain Dew – Caffeine 54 mg per 12 ounces
  9. Pepsi-Cola – Caffeine 38 mg per 12 ounces
  10. Red Bull – Caffeine 80 mg per 8.4 ounces
  11. Red Eye Energy – Caffeine 106  mg per 11.1 ounces

If you want to look up your favorite caffeinated beverage to find out what its caffeine content is, there’s an extensive list at Energyfiend.com.

Make Your Own Natural Energy Drink

Chai tea and lemons with a shot of honey make a refreshing energy drink.

Chai tea and lemons with a shot of honey make a refreshing energy drink.

Most of us like to have some caffeine in our day.  I admit that I do.  I’m a coffee drinker.  Coffee helps me get my day started, and has kept me productive through many an afternoon slump.  I try to be careful not to overdo it and substitute this freshly made Lemon-Chai Tea energy concoction on days when I need to be alert but don’t want to risk being irritable or restless from too much caffeine.

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Twenty Reasons Why You Should Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Every Day.

You already know that a daily dose of exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health.  What you may not know is that 30 minutes a day of cardio and strength exercises effects every single cell in your body.  Exercise is the secret sauce to a longer, more productive existence.  And the best news is you don’t have to do P90X or Insanity-type workouts to get the benefits (although those are certainly solid programs).  Moderate, but regular, doses of exercise does a body good too!

Here are twenty reasons why you should get (at least) 30 minutes of exercise a day:

1.  Heart Disease – Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

2.  Increased Brain Power – Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning according to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey and author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Exercise increases mental clarity and may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimers.

Exercise is the secret ingredient to a long and healthy life.

Exercise is the secret ingredient to a long and healthy life.

3.  Depression – A study published in 2005 found that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. When you exercise you secrete chemicals called endorphins which are the body’s own natural anti-depressants.

4.  Diabetes – Studies show that exercise has the potential to control diabetes by nonmedical means, reduce the severity of the disease, and significantly reduce the risk of long-term complications

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Try This: A Simple, Tasty and Nutritious Turnip Recipe

I haven’t had turnips since I was a child.  My mother used to fix them on occasion because my father enjoyed them.  At the time I thought they were nothing more than a variation of spuds.  Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) and have set some goals to eat a wider variety of vegetables in order to benefit from the various nutritional attributes of each, I’ve revisited turnips.

It turns out they’re not at all what I thought they were growing up.  They aren’t part of the potato family, but belong in the broad Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage, kale, and Brussel-sprouts.  They are nutritious and can be used in a variety of ways.

Turnips have tons of attributes.  For starters  . . .  they're pretty!

Turnips have tons of attributes. For starters . . . they’re pretty!

Health Benefits of Turnips

  • High in vitamin C providing about 21 mg or 35% of DRA per 100 g.
  • Rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoid, xanthin, and luetin. The leafy tops are an excellent source of vitamin K.
  • Low in calories.  A half of a cup serving of turnips is only about 30 calories.
  • Contain other nutrients that are worth mentioning; potassium – 233 mg (5%); magnesium 11 mg (2.5%); manganese 0.134 mg (6%); dietary fiber 1.8 g (5%).

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When Diets Don’t Work: Exploring Emotional Eating.

I read a compelling article about Chaz Gaddie, the owner and chef of four restaurants in Northern California who says he made a career of his “drug of choice”.  At 6 feet 4 inches and 386 pounds, Chaz was prediabetic, suffered from sleep apnea, and was taking anti-inflammatories every night to help with the pain and burning in his body.

He knew what he needed to do to lose weight, but he just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t until a patron of one his restaurants, who was also a doctor, invited Gaddie to lunch.  Over lunch, the doctor told Gaddie he needed to act fast to save his own life and gave him a brochure on gastric bypass surgery.

At first Gaddie was taken aback by the doctor’s suggestion, but it turned out to be the wake-up call he needed.  Although he didn’t opt for surgery, he did realize that he had to do something. He met with a nutritionist and began journaling.  He wrote down his feelings and by doing so learned that he ate when he was sad, angry, resentful, anxious, scared, depressed, lonely or frustrated.

Anger, frustration, lonliness and helplessness can lead to emotional eating.

Anger, frustration, lonliness and helplessness can lead to emotional eating.

Gaddie believed that the emotional eating stemmed from his childhood.  His dad left when he was not quite two years of age.  Alone, his mother raised him until she remarried. Gaddie developed self-worth issues that he tried to treat with food which led to overeating.  The overeating made him feel guilty and the guilt led to more eating.

In 2005 Gaddie joined Weight Watchers and won the Great Summer Slimdown Essay Competition by losing 127.5 pounds in six month.  That year he sold his restaurants and totally changed his life by moving to Indonesia.   He continues to exercise, eat healthy foods and keep a journal of his feelings.

Gaddie says that “the food and exercise are probably the easiest part of what it takes to lose weight.  Success lies in understanding the mental and even more so, the emotional aspects of one’s eating issues.”

Decades of Emotional Eating

Oprah was one of the first celebrities to bring emotional eating out of the closet.  I’ll never forget reading about the struggles she has with her own emotional eating in the book Make The Connection.

“I lived in the model city of Columbia, Maryland, where all the streets were named after great poets or titles or poems.  I lived on Windstream Drive, across from the great Columbia Mall.  They had some of the best food stalls known to womankind.  A whole booth sold nothing but potatoes, any kind you could imagine.

There was a pizza booth, a corn dog booth, and my favorite at the time, a giant chocolate-chip cookie stall.  On weekends I’d stroll the mall, going from stall to stall.  Sometimes I would order from every booth.

I didn’t realize at the time that by overeating, I was trying to fill something deeper, something unconscious.  If you had asked me then or even ten years later, I would have answered: I love chocolate chip cookies.  The fact that I was lonely, depressed, and having a hard time adjusting to a new job never entered my mind.”  — Oprah

Oprah has talked about her own battles with weight loss, weight gain and fad diets that are the result of years of emotional eating.  Over the decades she has been instrumental in making emotional eating a mainstream issue, and has given it a voice.

Psychologists Weigh In On What Helps Their Clients

Experts believe that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.  All of the emotions that Gaddie mentioned – boredom, anger, anxiety, loneliness, sadness – can be triggers that lead to uncontrolled eating.

Learning to recognize why you’re reaching for a candy bar, bag of potato chips, or a tub of ice cream when you are emotionally overwhelmed is only half of the battle. Over time, self-medicating with food becomes a habit and once that pattern is established, you have to take action to change those behaviors.

In a recent Consumer Reports poll, 1,328 licensed psychologists were asked how they deal with their client’s weight and weight-loss challenges.  The respondents repeatedly identified emotional factors as the major barrier to overcoming them.

The psychologists also identified the strategies they use to help their clients who struggle with weight issues.  They listed the following.

1. Cognitive therapy – This form of therapy helps people identify and correct dysfunctional thoughts that lead to unhealthy emotions and behaviors.  For example, someone that blows their diet by eating a half a bag of potato chips and tells themselves they might as well eat the whole bag, would learn how to view this as a one-time-event and not get stuck in the failure zone.

2.  Problem-solving – Psychologists help client’s find solutions aimed at overcoming barriers to weight loss. Someone who doesn’t get enough physical activity because they don’t have time to go the gym after work would explore other options such as 10 minute workouts, walking lunch breaks, or doing exercises at their desk.

3.  Mindfulness training – Substantial research has been done on the role that in mindless eating plays in successful weight management.  Mindfulness training teaches patients how to be in the present when they are eating and to avoid the distractions that can lead to overeating.

Some other ways to gain control of emotional eating patterns are engaging in relaxation exercises, practicing meditation and joining a live or on-line support group.

Emotional eating is not only a barrier to weight loss, but also to weight management once the pounds do come off.  Re-gaining the weight and yo-yo dieting often times can be attributed to unaddressed emotional eating problems that were not recognized or dealt with during the weight-loss process.

You Are Not Alone

It’s estimated that nearly 11 million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders.  If you’re tired of dieting, weight regain, and being told you just need to eat less and move more you might benefit from the strategies cited by the psychologists.

There are also several excellent web sites that focus on emotional eating that can get you started on your journey of emotional healing. Two excellent web sites are:

  • Karen C.L. Anderson’s blog by the same name focuses on emotional eating, self love and self-acceptance.  Her blog is internationally known and was selected by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating as one of the top 50 emotional eating blogs.
  • Rachel W. Cole – Wisdom For Women Living Well-Fed Lives – Rachel has conquered her own eating disorder, and has become a certified life coach through The Coaches Training Institute.  Her blog ask the question, “What are you hungry for?”

The Institute For The Psychology of Eating has selected a list of what they’ve determined to be the Top 50 Emotional Eating Blogs.  Both Karen and Rachel’s sites are listed along with 48 other excellent resources.

You might also enjoy reading Mindless Eating and Your Waistline: Is There A Connection?

Do you know someone who would benefit from this information?  Be Social! Share! 

Flax Seeds Are In The Top Five On The Superfoods List.

Health Benefits of Flax Seeds 

Flax seeds have recently been given the designation of a super food.  According to Gloria Tsang, RD, over at HealthCastle.com these tiny seeds are not just a super food, but rank number two on a list of the top five healthiest foods.  Gloria’s article 5 Super Foods: the Next Generation, lists the top five foods picked by dieticians.  They are:  walnuts, flax seeds, pomegranates, salmon, and dark greens such as kale, chard, collard greens and bok choy.

What is it about flax seeds that put them at the number two spot on the list?

The list of health benefits of flax seeds is lengthy so I’ll summarize.

1.  Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Out of 129 foods on the World’s Healthiest Foods list, flaxseeds come out number one as a source of omega-3s.  The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are numerous.  Most significant is the role that they play in boosting heart health and lowering triglycerides.  But studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids may also help with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, depression, prenatal health, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease.

Whole flax seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and stored in an air tight container.

Whole flax seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and stored in an air tight container.

2.  Flax seeds are high in fiber which is known to improve the health of the digestive tract and assist the intestines with the absorption of nutrients.

3.  Flax seeds are loaded with antioxidants.  Research has shown that eating foods high in antioxidants will help lower the risk of not only cardiovascular disease, but type 2 diabetes, asthma, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.  When flax seeds are compared to other antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries and olives, flaxseeds rank ninth in total polyphenol content. (Polyphenols are a group of important antioxidants.)

4.  Flax seeds contain high amounts of other nutrients that are key to good nutrition: manganese (17.5%); vitamin B1 15.3%; magnesium 13.7%; tryptophan (12.5%) and phosphorus (8.9%).  Two tablespoons of flax seeds is about 74 calories.

5.  Flax seeds have been shown to be effective in the prevention of some cancers.  Evidence of reduced risk is the strongest for breast, prostate and colon cancers due to the high level of antioxidants found in the seeds.

Sprinkle ground flax seeds on oatmeal, cereal, muffin mixes and vegetables.

Sprinkle ground flax seeds on oatmeal, cereal, muffin mixes and vegetables.

Incorporating Flax Seeds Into Your Diet

Flax Seeds can be purchased whole or ground.  It is recommended that the seeds be ground before they are eaten to increase their digestibility.  If you buy the whole seeds they can be quickly ground in a coffee or spice grinder.  Pre-ground seeds are easier to use but have a shorter shelf life, which makes the whole seeds a better nutritional choice if you don’t mind grinding them yourself.

Ground seeds can be added to homemade cookie, muffin and bread recipes, oatmeal, cold cereal, smoothies, and sprinkled on vegetables.

Because of the high fiber content, some people experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they first begin incorporating the seeds into their diet.  Start with a small amount and increase the quantity slowly as your system adjusts to the increased fiber.

For a detailed report on the health benefits of flax seeds, there’s an excellent article at WHFoods.com.

Here’s a Quick, Easy and Delicious Recipe for Peanut Butter Protein Balls with Flax Seeds 

A friend gave me recipe for protein balls that incorporates flax seeds. These balls are good before or after a workout, or as a healthy snack anytime.

Ingredients:

3 cups of whole oats
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1/2 to 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup flax seed

Flax seed power ball mixture ready to go in the freezer.

Flax seed power ball mixture ready to go in the freezer.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients well.  Put the bowl with the  mixture in the freezer for five to 10 minutes.  Once balls are firm, roll into one inch balls.
If balls are too sticky to roll, put them back in the freezer for 10 more minutes. Put balls on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Take out of freezer and put them in a freezer bag to store. Makes around 40 balls.

Store the balls in a freezer bag. They are delicious before or after a workout or anytime.

Store the balls in a freezer bag. They are delicious before or after a workout or anytime.

You can substitute other ingredients for the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I used raisins in mine. Yummy!

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