Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Losing the Holiday Weekend Weight

If you're like the millions of Americans who gathered together with family and friends this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day, you most likely overate, indulged in high-calorie foods and fell out of your healthy eating routine. I know I did! It's not hard to get back into your routine and shake off the extra 2-3 pounds most people gain over a long weekend of indulgence.
The key is to act quickly before those extra pounds become permanent and you add to them when the next holiday rolls around. Here's some simple tips to shed the extra weight:
1. Start off your morning with a tall glass of water with the juice of 1/2 lemon. The lemon cleanses and detoxes, balances your Ph and helps move fructose out of your liver.
2. Make exercise a priority in the morning. Just 30 min a day is all you need. Exercising in the morning gives you a metabolic boost for the entire day. Take a walk outside, head to the gym, pop in a video, dust off the Wii - anything to get you moving for 30 minutes. It doesn't have to be all-out sweatfest - just get moving!
3. Up the water intake! Get most of your water intake in the morning and through lunchtime, then, taper off towards the end of the day. But always drink if you're thirsty. Listen to your body and monitor how you feel.
4. Fill up on fiber-rich and protein-filled foods such as:
              oatmeal with berries and nuts, small drizzle of honey
              spinach salad with grilled chicken, sunflower seeds
              apple slices with almond or peanut butter for snack
              Omelette with spinach, zucchini, or peppers, topped with avocado
              Hummus with veggies
              Fish or chicken for dinner, with 2 veggies, and quinoa
5. Sleep! Usually we either stay up late or sleep in over a long weekend. Try to get back into your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible. Getting 8-9 hours a night can actually help you lose weight! Try to go to bed and rise at the same time every day.
6. Two habits that help to cleanse and detox: rebounding and dry skin brushing. I know it sounds strange, but these are my two new favorite habits. After my morning workout, I hop on my mini-trampoline or rebounder and bounce away for 5-10 minutes. Research has proven that doing so can detox the lymph glands, enhance digestion and the elimination process, and many more wonderful benefits. After my workouts, I do a quick dry skin body brushing with a natural bristle brush. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. It also tightens the skin and helps to evenly distribute fat deposits.

So try some or all of these methods and let me know how the post-holiday weight loss is going. Keep in mind it takes a couple of days for your stomach to shrink back to a normal size after over-eating. A small amount of food isn't going to fill you up today. Try eating 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day and ease back into your normal pattern of eating.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everything in Moderation?

Recently a friend of mine posted a question to our Meetup message board. She wondered what natural products other moms used for their baby's hair. She only uses chemical-free products and needed something for detangling messy curls. The responses she received provoked me to do some digging around. A lot of moms recommended Johnson & Johnson products. One mom even suggested that even if the products contained chemicals, it was OK because it was occasional and only used in moderation. But what is moderation? We are bombarded by chemicals in our food, our water, our soil, our personal care products, and the air we breathe. Nothing is moderate.

Today I decided to investigate personal care products. Johnson & Johnson products may be nostalgic , but they are also laden with chemicals.
In the regular formula of Johnson's Baby Shampoo it lists water, cocamidopropyl betaine, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate and sodium trideceth sulfate. Citric acid, PEG-150 distearate, polyquaternium-10, fragrance and tetrasodium EDTA are also ingredients. The last three ingredients are quaternium-15, yellow 10 and orange 4.

Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Lavender
The newer formula of Johnson's Baby Shampoo adds chamomile and lavender to the mix for a soothing aromatic fragrance to lull a baby to sleep. It lists as its ingredients water, cocamidopropyl betaine and PEG-80 sorbitan laurate. Sodium trideceth sulfate, fragrance, PEG-150 distearate and polyquaternium-10 are also ingredients. The last four ingredients are tetrasodium EDTA, citric acid, violet 2 and quarternium-15.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics came out with the news two years ago that Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby shampoo contained the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15, as well as the chemical byproduct 1,4-dioxane. Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known carcinogens. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that “the presence of 1,4-dioxane, even as a trace contaminant, is cause for concern,” and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added formaldehyde to its list of known human carcinogens in June 2011.

This is just one product that we slather on our newborns. Think of the myriad products we use on a daily basis and the compounding chemical onslaught our skin receives. We brush our teeth with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and flouride (which is a heavy metal); we shampoo with SLS, rub lotions on our skin that contain parabens (which may increase the risk of breast cancer and cause endocrine disruption); we use makeup that contains various chemicals that cause cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney, liver and neurotoxicity; hairspray and nail polish that contain toulene, sunscreens with PABA, Padimate A & O which are suspected carcinogens and may increase breast cancer cell division and disrupt endocrine function. Then there's perfume, lipstick, hair dyes, bath wash, soaps, deodorant, shaving creams, insect repellent, self-tanners, and more all containing chemicals that are known to cause some sort of toxicity, skin irritations, allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and cancer.

Some of these chemicals are even banned in other countries, but not in the U.S. Daily use of these products results in a progressive build up of chemicals in our system that results in a cumulative poisoning.

So if you have begun your journey into clean eating and have removed processed food from your life, it's now time to remove the chemicals your skin ingests. Read the labels on your personal care and beauty products. The next time you go shopping, compare the labels and look for "natural" ingredients. Go to your favorite products' website and read the ingredients.  There are so many new options out there and more and more companies are producing products without harmful chemicals. It's up to us to make a conscious effort to purchase wisely.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

12 Ways to Get More Veggies into Your Diet!

We've all been told to "eat more veggies," but it can be a daunting task, especially for families with young children or picky eaters. Vegetables give us fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, they're low in fat and calories and some even protect us from certain cancers. So, here's twelve ways to increase your veggie count each and every day!
1. Add some baby spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms and/or onions to your morning omelette. Top with fresh salsa and diced avocado.

2. Tear some Romaine lettuce leaves into a large bowl, fill with sliced carrots, diced bell peppers, avocado, add a lean protein like tuna, grilled chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, or Organic turkey slices.

3. Try one new veggie for dinner every week. Don't know how to cook a beet, or are you perplexed by artichokes? Ask your farmer at the market or ask your grocer how to prepare a particular vegetable. You could "Google" Brussel Sprouts and get 3 million results (my fave way to eat those is roasted!). Check out You Tube for videos on how to cut and prepare almost anything!

4.  Shred them! Kids especially won't turn their nose up to Zucchini bread and fun veggie fritters. Play around with different veggies like shredded zucchini, squash, or potatoes and make little fritters.

5.  Don't forget snacking! Veggies make great snacks too. Set out a variety of carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, sweet bell pepper strips, broccoli, and celery and let your kids try them all. Serve with hummus or ranch dip.

6. Make a fun new chip - Kale Chips! Just tear the leaves onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with some EVOO, sea salt and pepper (or red pepper flakes for a kick) and bake on 350 degrees for 10-15 min.

7. Try juicing! Play around with different veggies to juice like, cucumber, spinach, kale, beet greens, apple, and carrots. Create new combos every day and have some juice for a great afternoon pick-me-up.

8.  Skip the fries at a restaurant and order an extra serving of veggies.

9.  When planning your dinner, skip the rice or potatoes and add an extra veggie. A nice filet of fish or chicken is great with a serving of broccoli and a kale salad.

10.  When making a sandwich, pile it high with lettuce, sliced cucumber, tomato, avocado, sprouts, and smaller portions of protein. The "crunch" is so satisfying!

11.  Make it easy for you to access your veggies. When you get home from your weekly shopping trip, wash and cut your veggies for your meals that week. That way they are ready for nights when you are rushed and don't have a lot of time to prep.

12.  Add them to soups, casseroles, lasagna, enchiladas, burritos and tacos.