Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No matter how you feel....

If you really want to know the truth, in order to relieve pain you need to engage in more physical activity and you have got to start somewhere...

We are designed to move. The meaning of the saying survival of the fittest has changed throughout human history. In early human history we were physically fit in order to obtain food and to not become food. Now our lifestyles are more sedentary and we do not have the same motivation to move and stay fit. Our sedentary lifestyle is directly affecting our health and leading to chronic illness. Obesity, Adult onset Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, depression and anxiety, high cholesterol and blood pressure and cancer are some of the direct results. So we must adjust our thinking and attitudes. We must renew our relationship to our body and movement. 

Now, if you are like me, you are allergic to exercise. I realized as I aged that I had become less physically active and this caused me some concern about my health. I decided in the end to change how I talked to myself and removed the word exercise from my vocabulary and replaced it with physical activity. This small shift can make all the difference. I also remembered in my childhood when I was more active that I never used the word exercise and I remembered when movement was directly connected to feelings of fun and utter joy. It is time to re-connect with this fun and joy.


Numerous studies indicate that exercise may be up to 95% as effective as prescription drugs for relieving depression. And while the effect of anti-depressants often takes months to kick in, people report relief from depression within only the first four weeks of adopting a physical activity program. 

"Chronic back pain is difficult to treat and causes loads of misery. But something as simple as twice-weekly yoga appears to relieve pain and improve mood in people with the condition." LA Times

Being physically active not only gives you pleasure and quality of life, flexibility and strength, it also rewards you with better sleep, healthier lifestyle choices, more energy, coordination and balance, agility, physical grace, endurance and stamina, power and speed, self confidence and improved health. 

Motivation Tips
  • Think of physical activity as a menu rather than a diet. There are many different choices that are fun, rewarding and productive. Try something new and exciting.
  • Start small.
  • Go outside and play.
  • Identify whether you are a loner or a team player.
  • Join a team. 
  • You can have both activity and leisure.
  • Ditch the workout and join the party: try Zumba.
  • Walk the dog. If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise.
  • Exercise videos.
  • Sign up for a class. 
  • Personal Trainer.
  • Cross Training.
  • Set a goal and record your progress. 
  • See yourself fit - make it a part of your identity.
  • Do some floor exercises while you are watching TV.
  • Exercise with a friend.
  • Develop an interest or hobby that requires physical activity.
  • The best way to get out of your head is to get physically active.
  • Don't forget about the rewards that being active will give you: increased oxygen and blood supply to tissues improves immune system functioning and decreases risk of disease.
  • Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional and mental states.   
  • Those who do not find time to exercise will have to find time for illness.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

7 Substitutes for Diet-Killing Picnic Foods

By Joe Wilkes
It's almost summertime, which brings the incongruous collision of picnic season and swimsuit season. The weather's perfect for hiking, camping, barbecuing, and days at the beach—lots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, but just as many opportunities to pig out at pool parties, luaus, outdoor festivals, and county fairs. Here are some foods to try avoiding during the dog days of summer, and some ideas for substitutions for picnic favorites.

People Having a Picnic
  1. Fried chicken. It's not the K or the C in KFC® that's the problem; it's the F, which stands for fried. And if you have any desire to stay slim this summer, it's time to tell the Colonel you're "kicking the bucket." One extra-crispy KFC breast will run you 510 calories and 33 grams of fat, 7 of them saturated. That's nearly three times the calories of a home-grilled skinless chicken breast, and almost 15 times as much fat—more than nine times the saturated fat alone. So you're clearly better off cooking the chicken yourself. But if you're grabbing something on the run, KFC does have a grilled chicken breast option, or you might want to visit the rotisserie case at your local supermarket—if you go there, try picking a chicken that's not slathered in sugary barbecue sauce. Either way, make sure you remove the skin—that's where you'll find a lot of the fat and calories.
  2. Sandwiches. A picnic without sandwiches is like a picnic without ants. It just wouldn't be the same. But of course the sandwich is only as good as its ingredients. If you're using white bread, you're just eating empty carbohydrates. Make sure you buy whole-grain bread, and that it has the word "whole" in the ingredient list. Wheat bread is essentially the same as white bread, only with a little molasses added for brown coloring. It's nutritionally the same, if not worse. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the fiber and the vitamins you're looking for. For lunch meat, try avoiding processed meats like bologna and salami. They're packed with extra fat and sodium. And when buying unprocessed meats like turkey or roast beef, make sure they really are unprocessed. The makers of some brands of turkey grind up the skin and dark meat and then press it into lunch meat form, so you're really getting as much fat and sodium as you'd get from bologna. Watch out for flavored turkey as well. Most of the time the secret ingredient is salt. If you want to be really healthy, buy a whole turkey breast from your market's poultry section and roast it yourself, so you can control the amount of salt you add.
  3. Hamburger

  4. Brats and burgers. It's always great to fire up the grill and start cooking up a mess of meat. And the good news is that grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. It adds tons of flavor without adding fat. Of course, the best thing to grill would be skinless chicken or fish, or vegetables. But if you're craving a juicy burger or brat and a portobello burger just won't do, there are still some decisions you can make to keep things on the lean side.

    For burgers, consider a leaner option than beef, like ground turkey or buffalo. But as always, check the label. Some ground turkey has as much fat as fatty ground beef. Ground turkey breast is usually much leaner than ground turkey that's either dark meat or mixed dark and white meat. If you've decided to go ahead and make beef burgers, try to find some that has the lowest fat content available, less than 5 percent if possible. Ground sirloin is usually pretty close. If you can't find a grind that's low enough in fat, ask your butcher to grind a lean piece of chuck roast or top sirloin for you. In addition to being leaner, this will also reduce your chances of picking up food-borne illnesses like E. coli, since only one cow is involved in producing a steak, as opposed to potentially hundreds in ground beef. In fact, if you're someone who likes to eat your burger rare, having the butcher grind a piece of meat for you is a must.

    Bratwurst is another delicious summer fave, but watch the fat and sodium content in these as well. The chicken, turkey, and even veggie versions of sausage sound like they'd be lighter, but they're often just as fatty as the pork versions.
  5. Potato or macaroni salad. The culprit in these two picnic staples? Mayonnaise. At 5 grams of fat and more than 50 calories per tablespoon, mayonnaise is the element of these side dishes that'll sidetrack your diet. But you can mitigate the damage somewhat by replacing the mayonnaise with nonfat yogurt, or you could try whirling some nonfat cottage cheese or nonfat ricotta cheese in a food processor to give it a creamier texture. You'll get fewer calories and less fat—plus by going eggless, you'll lessen your risk of salmonella. Another way to make potato salad healthier is to leave the skin on, as they contain the spud's fiber and most of its vitamins. For macaroni salad, you can boost fiber by using whole-grain pasta. Make either salad tastier and better for you with heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, and lots of veggies.
  6. Baked Beans

  7. Baked beans. Beans, beans, the musical fruit . . . well, you know the rest. Full of fiber and low in fat, beans are a great side dish that'll help you feel full. What you want to watch out for is the sugar that's added to most baked beans—sometimes a tablespoon or more in a cup. Try plain pinto beans, or my favorite, beans canned with jalapeños. Replace high-calorie sweet with low-calorie fire and you won't even miss the sugar. Three-bean salad is another flavorful way to consume your legumes without a lot of added fat or sugar.
  8. Trail mix. Summer's a great time for checking out nature, and it's always great to bring along a healthy snack like trail mix. But check the ingredients. Some trail mixes, especially those that contain granola, can be loaded with fat and super-unhealthy hydrogenated oils. There are trail mixes on the market that have more fat than a large order of fast-food fries, so it's definitely a "buyer beware" situation. Also check out how much sugar is in the trail mix or granola bars you take backpacking. Some bars aren't much healthier than a Snickers®. If the ingredients in your trail mix include chocolate chips and marshmallows, you may not have made the healthiest choice. Try making your own trail mix with healthy unsweetened oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Or take along a couple of P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bars.
  9. Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And we'll really be screaming when we try to stuff ourselves into our swimsuits after eating everyone's favorite fatty, frosty indulgence. It's hard to resist a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the tinkling of the ice cream truck bell can still make me want to bolt into the street. But depending on scoop size (which can average from 1/2 cup to a full cup or more), that scoop of vanilla can have upwards of 400 calories and as much as 25 grams of fat, up to 15 of them saturated. If you're culinarily gifted, you might consider making your own sorbet. If not, check out some of the ones available on the market. Sorbets are usually low-fat or nonfat, although they can still have tons of sugar. Try to find some that are mostly fruit. Speaking of fruit, for a healthy frozen treat, how about sticking some fruit in the freezer? Most fruits, especially berries, grapes, and bananas, freeze quite well. They'll last longer and popping a few frozen grapes in your mouth can cool you off on a hot day and you'll still get all the vitamins, fiber, and health benefits that a Creamsicle® just can't provide.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

7 Days: 7 Breakfasts

By Joe Wilkes
It's hard to work good nutrition into our days. We're working longer and longer hours and still trying to fit in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, not to mention all the studies coming out that say we're not getting nearly enough sleep. The hours run out. The snooze button gets pushed. Breakfast often turns into eating last night's leftover takeout during the morning commute. Or worse, it turns into no breakfast at all.
Breakfast Burrito
People often skip breakfast in hopes of getting more sleep or losing more weight, but in fact, people who replace breakfast with extra sleep end up having less energy. Breakfast skippers also tend to gain more weight. They start the day with a slow metabolism and then overeat at lunch because they're hungry. You're much better off trying to eat something nutritious in the morning so your brain and body rev up and you don't start the day with cravings that often get relieved by donuts in the break room. Here are seven breakfasts that you can squeeze into the busiest schedule.
Note: Some of the recipes call for eggs. You can use egg substitutes like Egg Beaters® (1/4 cup per egg), two egg whites per whole egg, or tofu, depending on the recipe and your dietary concerns. Additionally, some recipes call for whole wheat ingredients. Gluten-free versions can be substituted in every case (but no white-flour substitutes!). All nutritional information is per serving. Recipes are for one serving unless otherwise noted.

Sunday: Mom's Pancake Recipe

PancakesLike so many of my family's "secret" recipes, this one began life on the side of a package of food. In this case, it was a carton of eggs (no surprise when you see the second ingredient). But this is a pretty good way of sneaking extra protein to your kids—it'll definitely get a better reaction than a boiled egg and a scoop of cottage cheese. For the grownups who are watching their cholesterol, my brother came up with an alternative; substituting six egg whites and half an avocado for the six eggs. The pancakes turn out a bit green, but if you can get past that, they're quite tasty. You can top them with your favorite fresh fruit. If you can't live without maple syrup, go for grade B or grade C. Those syrups contain more of the natural minerals that are filtered out of the grade A syrup. And they're cheaper!
  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup barley flour)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
Blend or food-process the first six ingredients on high until smooth. Add milk slowly to reach batter consistency. Cook on a hot, nonstick griddle. Number of pancakes varies depending on size. Serves 6.
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
22515 grams9 grams1.5 grams13 grams

Monday: Power Oatmeal

Oatmeal with BluberriesOatmeal is one of the healthiest grains around. The Mayo Clinic even includes it in its list of the top five foods to lower your cholesterol numbers. It has a high soluble fiber content that helps cholesterol reduction and slows sugar digestion, a benefit for people living with diabetes. It also has a high insoluble fiber content, which has been linked to cancer prevention. It's a good source of protein, as well as vitamin E, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients. While it is a little on the bland side flavor-wise, it's easy to liven it up with some healthy ingredients, including seasonal or thawed frozen berries, nuts, and flaxseed.
There are a lot of schools of thought on the best way to prepare oatmeal. Purists will choose unrolled oats, either whole or steel-cut, and cook them forever (all right, 30 to 40 minutes). Those of us who don't live on "Martha Stewart time" are more apt to select rolled or quick-cooking oats, which can cook in about 5 to 10 minutes. And those of us truly strapped for time enjoy the convenience of instant oatmeal. For this recipe, use the plain oatmeal of your choice; just choose one that doesn't include sugary flavorings like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc. We're going to flavor it ourselves with high-antioxidant blueberries and heart-healthy fats from walnuts and flaxseed. For extra protein, add half a scoop of Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder.
  • 1 cup prepared oatmeal (see above)
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl (or a to-go cup).

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving); without and with Whey Protein Powder:
43626 grams48 grams10 grams12 grams
(w/ Whey Protein Powder)
27 grams50 grams11 grams21 grams

Tuesday: Carl's Chocolate Almond Shakeology®

Chocolate Almond Shakeology, Chocolate, and AlmondsI was able to get my hands on Beachbody® CEO Carl Daikeler's favorite Shakeology recipe. And anyone who has been fortunate enough to spend time in the company of our energetic boss, you'll join me in saying, "I'll have what he's having." For hard-to-find ingredients like almond butter or almond milk, you could substitute peanut butter or soy, rice, or skim milk. For hard-to-stomach ingredients like the raw egg, you could use protein powder.
Mix all ingredients in a blender until creamy.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
44312 grams62 grams13 grams27 grams

Wednesday: Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito and IngredientsGoing to college in Southern California, I gained a lot of sustenance from burritos of all kinds. I also gained a lot of weight. Stuffed full of cheese, fried potatoes, and larded-up refried beans, the breakfast burritos were delicious and filling to a fault. But breakfast burritos don't have to be unhealthy. Fillings like veggies and eggs that were often crowded out by the cheaper and fattier ingredients can be elevated to star status in the dish. You'll create a quick, healthy breakfast that can be eaten on the move (although the police department and your dry cleaner would discourage trying to eat while driving).
By the way, here's a tip for easy-peasy scrambled eggs or egg substitutes I learned from a "restaurant" in our last office building that prepared a wide variety of hot dishes using only a microwave. Scramble an egg in a coffee cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Depending on your wattage, nuke it for 30 seconds to a minute, and voilà, scrambled eggs perfect for a sandwich or a burrito.
  • 1 scrambled egg or egg substitute (or tofu)
  • 1 6-inch whole-grain tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp. black beans, canned
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat cheddar cheese (or soy cheese)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped onion
  • Hot sauce to taste
What follows are the microwave directions. You could alternatively scramble the egg and heat the beans in a small frying pan.
Microwave scrambled egg or egg substitute until cooked. While egg is cooking, spread out tortilla on a dinner plate or cutting board. Spread cooked egg in the middle of one-half of the tortilla. Heat the beans in the microwave (not too much or they'll explode!). While beans are heating, sprinkle cheese on eggs, then pile on beans, tomatoes, and onions (if you don't have time to chop fresh veggies, a healthy salsa could be substituted). Add hot sauce if desired. Fold tortilla in half over the ingredients and fold in the sides. (This part may take some practice. My first burrito-folding attempts usually resulted in a dish I called burrito salad, but I eventually got the hang of it.)
Preparation time: 10 minutes (or more, depending on your tortilla-folding skills)
Nutritional information (per serving):
30410 grams35 grams6 grams20 grams

Thursday: Fruit Parfait

Fruit ParfaitThe Harvard School of Public Health recommends that most people have at least NINE half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day. So you can see that if you skip breakfast, you're really putting the pressure on the rest of your meals. A diet high in fruits and veggies lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and blood sugar problems, as well as offering many other health benefits. This recipe layers yogurt with three different types of fresh fruit. You can substitute any other fruit (preferably seasonal) for one of the fruits in this recipe. (For anyone thinking of hitting the drive-thru at McDonald's® for its version of this recipe, you could do worse in an emergency, but this is way healthier.)
  • 1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (or soy yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp. almonds, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed, ground
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced
In a tall glass, layer ingredients in the following order: 1/2 cup yogurt, followed by a sprinkle of almonds, flaxseed, and blueberries; repeat process with apples and cantaloupe (or whatever order of fruit you choose). If presentation isn't that important to you, you could just mix it all up in a bowl and eat it. (I live alone. No one's watching.)
Preparation time: 10 minutes (more or less depending on what needs chopping)
Nutritional information (per serving):
45316 grams57 grams9 grams27 grams

Friday: Tuna Salad Surprise

Tuna SaladHave you ever noticed that some mornings the cat has a healthier breakfast than you do? Tuna's not just for lunch anymore. In fact, when we have our big, healthy employee breakfast at Beachbody, a big bowl of this tuna recipe is usually the star of the buffet. Tuna is really high in protein and a great source of vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You could mix it up by substituting canned salmon once in a while. This recipe replaces fattening mayonnaise with healthy veggies and lemon juice for a refreshing, high-energy breakfast (although we might suggest an after-breakfast mint).
  • 5 oz. canned tuna in water (if in oil, skip olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley and/or cilantro (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Raw jalapeño (if desired)
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Chop in some raw jalapeño for extra zip!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
35615 grams12 grams2 grams43 grams

Saturday: Vegetable Frittata

Vegetable FrittataSince it's the weekend, it might be nice to make something you don't have to eat in the car. Frittatas are like omelets for the oven. All the flavor, but you don't have to try to flip it on the stove top (or onto the floor as the case may be.) It's a crowd pleaser! Feel free to experiment with other favorite veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, torn
  • 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Swiss cheese (or soy cheese), shredded
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese (or soy cheese), grated
  • Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pie pan or baking dish with cooking spray. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then mix in all ingredients. Pour into the pan. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are firm. Cut into 2 servings (like an omelet!).
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
41423 grams14 grams

Thursday, April 14, 2011


A time comes in your life when you finally get it…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out – ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change…or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that neither of you is Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real [perceptual] world there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of ‘happily ever after’ must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with … and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a ‘consumer’ looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. And you learn that being alone does not mean being lonely.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK….and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want … and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve…and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone…and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Positive Affirmations for a Positively Wonderful Day

from KAREN FICARELLI Fitness4Her
Positive affirmations are your brain’s way of redirecting your body’s energy to keep you motivated. The brain cannot see or hear it only reacts to the stimuli that you feed it. Negative affirmations like: “I am always tired” or “Why can’t I ever do anything right?” Only serve to reinforce negative energy and stand in the way of your progress. If you need help coming up with your own positive affirmations, try some of the following to get you started.

For Exercise:
• I love to exercise.
• Exercise makes me feel good.
• Exercise is good for my heart, my lungs and my health.
• I feel healthier when I exercise.
• I look better when I exercise and it shows.
• I have more energy when I exercise.
• I am becoming stronger every day.
• My family and I are both happier when I exercise.
• I get more accomplished when I exercise.
• I look better in my clothes when I exercise.
• I sleep better because I exercise.
• My skin looks good when I exercise.
• I can handle life’s challenges when I exercise.
• My diet is easier to maintain because I exercise.

For Diet:
• I love to eat healthy foods.
• I will eat slowly and enjoy the taste of my food.
• My body is benefiting because I am taking charge of what I eat.
• I don’t feel guilty about eating.
• Food is not the problem.
• Food is the answer.
• I love life and want to eat healthy foods.
• The foods I eat will protect my body from disease.
• The foods I eat will give me strength.
• I no longer want to eat foods that provide empty calories.
• Before I reach for a snack I will think about what I am putting into my body.
• I will always wait 10 minutes after eating before going back for seconds.
• I am grateful for my health and want to preserve it.
• I will not be judged by the number on the scale.
• I can make a difference in my own life.

Begin each day with positive affirmations. Write them down in your fitness journal where you can see them. Repeat them to yourself in the morning before your workout and remind yourself of them before you go to bed at night. Believe in yourself, be grateful for all that you have and all that you are, a healthy positive, wonderful you!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies

From EatingWell:  March/April 2008
Here’s a healthy twist on shrimp scampi. We left out the butter and loaded the dish up with red peppers and asparagus for a refreshing spring meal. Serve with quinoa. And if you don’t want to use quinoa substitute brown rice instead like I did.
-Amy :)

4 servings | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes


4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.


Per serving : 227 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 174 mg Cholesterol; 14 g Carbohydrates; 28 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 514 mg Sodium; 670 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Monday, April 4, 2011

9 Appetite-Suppressing Foods

By Whitney Provost

If you're like most people, conquering your appetite is one of the biggest challenges you face in your fitness and weight loss journey. As soon as the word "diet" crosses your lips, you may find yourself craving all the junk you know you're not supposed to eat. The secret is eating the right foods to help calm the cravings for the wrong ones. Adding these 9 easy-to-find, tasty foods to your meal plan can help you rein in your appetite before it gets out of control!

Rolled Oats

  1. Oatmeal. This hot cereal is high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which means it fills you up and takes a long time to digest. Research has shown that diets high in slow-burning carbohydrates like oatmeal suppress the hunger hormone grehlin more effectively than diets high in fat do. In fact, when you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you may find that your appetite is lower at lunchtime. Steel-cut or rolled oats digest more slowly than the "instant" variety do, so it's worth taking a few extra minutes in the morning to prepare your breakfast the old-fashioned way.
  2. Apples. Not only are apples nutritious, but what sets them apart from other fruits is pectin, a soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar, keeps you full, and sustains your energy. One medium apple with skin contains 4 grams of fiber, which is more than you'd get in an average slice of whole wheat bread. Add an apple and some cinnamon to your morning oatmeal for an appetite-suppressing breakfast.
  3. Pine nuts. These edible pine-tree seeds contain more protein than any other nut or seed, and their oil stimulates two appetite-suppressing hormones (cholecystokinin [CCK] and glucagon-like peptide-1) that tell your brain you're not hungry. Blend pine nuts with basil, garlic, and a little olive oil to make pesto, or sprinkle them on your salad or oatmeal for a delicious, nutty crunch.
  4. Salad

  5. Salad. The fiber in typical salad vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, and peppers is very filling and helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that when people start a meal with a small salad, they eat significantly fewer calories in the meal itself. Just watch out for the high-fat dressings (or worse, fat-free dressings that are high in sugar). Try having the dressing on the side and dipping your fork into it for easy portion control, or simply add a dash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for a tasty, super-low-calorie option. Bonus tip: Try to eat a vegetable at every meal to keep your appetite at bay all day long.
  6. Olive oil and other unsaturated fats. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that unsaturated fat causes the intestines to release a compound (oleoylethanolamide) that has been shown to reduce appetite and stimulate weight loss. Some great unsaturated fat choices include avocados, olives and olive oil, almonds, salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, and sesame seeds. These foods are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation while regulating your appetite.
  7. Flaxseeds. Flax is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds are also very high in protein and fiber, making them excellent for appetite control. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over oatmeal, salads, or yogurt, or add them to smoothies to help stabilize your blood sugar and turn off the hunger hormones.
  8. Beans. The fiber in beans increases CCK, a digestive hormone that's a natural appetite suppressant. A research study at the University of California at Davis found that men who ate a high-fiber meal containing beans had CCK levels that were two times higher than when they ate a low-fiber meal. Beans also keep your blood sugar steady, which helps stave off hunger.
  9. Whey Protein Powder

  10. Whey protein. New studies suggest that whey protein stimulates the hormones that increase the feeling of being full. In one study, researchers at the University of Surrey in England found that people who consumed whey protein felt fuller and more satisfied with less food. Whey also stabilizes blood sugar, and that can help control food urges. Make a drink with Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder to calm your appetite any time of the day.
  11. Spicy foods. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their heat, can also help control your raging appetite. A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition suggests that capsaicin-rich foods may help you consume fewer calories, plus they help support weight loss by suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller. You can add hot pepper sauce to tomato juice, stir-fry some Anaheim or Serrano peppers with other vegetables, or cook up some jalapeño or poblano peppers in your omelet. Other spicy ingredients may have similar effects, so try adding spices like hot mustard and curry to your salads and meats.
When I drink Shakeology, I'm not as hungry throughout the day and my sugar cravings are nonexistent.—Melanie B., Illinois

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Breakfasts for Big Results

By Guest Blogger Joe Wilkes
Breakfast. It seems like forever since Mom told us breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but one study shows it's actually true—she wasn't just nagging us. Breakfast is a key component of weight management: A study presented at the 90th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society showed that participants who consumed large breakfasts high in protein and carbohydrates followed by a low-carb, low calorie diet for the rest of the day lost almost five times as much weight as the participants who followed a low-carb, high-protein diet throughout the day. So what's the big deal about breakfast? And what is a big breakfast anyway? It doesn't seem like the lumberjack special at the local diner would do much to get the pounds off, so what should we be eating?

Eggs and Toast

The study supported the idea that when we wake up in the morning, our bodies want food. You've burned through all the fuel from the previous day, and now your body's ready to burn anything—even muscle—to get a jump-start on the day. And if you skip breakfast, muscle is indeed what your body will burn. Later in the day, your brain is still in starvation mode from breakfast (or lack thereof), so your body will store all the calories you eat as adipose tissue, or fat, to save up for the next day when you try to starve it again. This study also found that levels of serotonin, the chemical responsible for controlling cravings, were much higher in the morning, which is why breakfast is the meal so many of us are willing to skip. But if our bodies are left unfed, our serotonin levels drop, and our bodies' craving for sweets begin to rise throughout the day.

But before you hit McDonald's for their 800-calorie Big Breakfast, or worse, their 1,150-calorie Deluxe Breakfast, or swing by Denny's for a 740-calorie Grand Slam or 950-calorie All-American Slam with hash browns, keep in mind, these weren't the breakfasts the study participants consumed. The big-breakfast group had a 610-calorie breakfast as part of a 1,240-calorie day. Breakfasts included milk, lean meat, cheese, whole grains, a serving of healthy fat, and one ounce of chocolate or candy to defray the craving for sweets. The other group's participants consumed 1,085 calories per day as part of a high-protein, low-carb diet; only 290 of their daily calories were consumed at breakfast. Both groups were on their respective diets for eight months. The high-protein group lost an average of nine pounds, but the big-breakfast group lost an average of 40 pounds. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the big-breakfast group complained less about cravings and hunger.

The big-breakfast group's breakfast consisted of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Study reviewers attribute some of the success of the big-breakfast group to the fact that the protein and healthy fats eaten kept the participants full and reduced cravings. They also said that nutritional requirements were well met and that there weren't empty calories consumed, because the breakfasts included lots of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats. So bad news for the lumberjack-special devotees—a big plate of greasy hash browns, bacon, and biscuits with gravy isn't going to get the job done, unless the job we're discussing is clogging your arteries.

Here are some healthy big breakfasts, similar to the ones consumed by the study's participants.

Chicken and the Egg

2 large eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled
1 grapefruit

589 calories, 52 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 5.5 grams saturated fat, 12 grams fiber.

Oats 'n' Berries Breakfast

Oats 'n' Berries
1 packet plain instant oatmeal, prepared, with 1 scoop Beachbody® Whey Protein Powder
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 oz. roasted turkey breast
1 large hard-boiled egg
1 oz. dark chocolate

631 calories, 62 grams carbohydrates, 47 grams protein, 21 grams fat. 8 grams saturated fat, 10 grams fiber.

Two Egg Sandwiches

2 whole wheat English muffins, toasted
2 large poached eggs
2 slices low-fat Swiss cheese
2 slices Canadian bacon, grilled

597 calories, 57 grams carbohydrates, 45 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 8 grams fiber.

Vegetarian Breakfast

Cottage Cheese
1 cup cottage cheese (2% milk fat)
1 cup sliced peaches, canned in juice, not syrup
1 slice whole wheat toast
1/2 avocado
2 vegetarian sausage links, cooked

621 calories, 62.5 grams carbohydrates, 47 grams protein, 26.5 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 16.5 grams fiber.

Pescetarian Breakfast

1 6-oz. can light tuna, canned in water, drained
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably olive oil- or canola oil-based)
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 oz. dark chocolate

592 calories, 45 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams protein, 22 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 10 grams fiber.
Reference http://www.endo-society.org/media/ENDO-08/research/New-weight-loss-diet-recommends-high-carb.cfm

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beating the Late Night Binging!

Realize your motivation and then determine the best strategy for either changing your motivation 
or dealing with it.

Reasons for evening eating
There are three common culprits of nighttime snack attacks:

You may be bored or dealing with another emotion like stress, and use this time to preoccupy or anesthetize yourself with food.

You have restricted your calories too much during the day and truly are hungry.

Off-limits thinking
The psychological nature of "dieting" prompts you to feel that late-night eating is taboo which, in turn, creates "off limits" thinking. Sometimes when we tell ourselves we can't have something, we end up wanting it all the more.

Underneath it all, we are all human, and we are all motivated first and foremost by desire. When our desires contradict our current goals, then we must stand square and control them, so that they don't control us.  

You have complete and total control of one thing and one thing only: Your own MIND. When this thought enters your subconscious mind, you have the power to NEVER turn the thought into an action.

Late-night survival tips
To combat those cravings, here are some real-life survival tips for beating the battle.
  • Be sure to eat 3 good meals during the day with 1 or 2 between meal snacks. A good insurance policy is to eat most of your calories before 6 PM.
  • When you feel the urge to eat late at night, try drinking 2 or more cups of water. You can also make a cup of herbal tea sweeten with honey or artificial sugar. Hot liquids have a soothing effect on emotions and appetite.
  • Remind yourself that it's normal to feel hungry late at night due to habitually eating late. Breaking this habit is like learning to quit smoking. Remind yourself of your goal to lose 20 or 30 pounds and the key to losing this weight is to STOP late night eating.
  • Much of late night eating after dinner can be avoided by hiding the junk food. Put foods that you're prone to eat late at night out of sight. Better yet, don't buy junk food at all.
  • Suck on hard candy. Most hard candy have only a few calories and they give you the satisfaction of snacking.
  • Keep a written copy of your diet plan in view, which will keep your goal of losing weight firmly fixed in your mind. The temptation to snack late at night will not be as great if you don't give into the urge for several weeks.
  • Some people have great success by simply brushing their teeth late at night. This method has been known to curb late night eating for many people.
  • The most vulnerable time for eating late is 1 hour after dinner right up to bedtime. Keep your life interesting by working on a favorite hobby and NOT watching TV. The ads on TV can subconsciously trigger the impulse to eat. Boredom is your biggest danger to late night eating.
  • Psyche yourself for the battle. You know that you will feel tempted to snack late at night. It's an artificial feeling that will go away when you go to bed. The next morning, you probably won't be hungry .... eat breakfast anyway .... it's the most important meal of the day.

If you need help creating a sensible diet plan that will help you to lose weight, let us help. We specialize in personal diet plans that will help you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Our menus with snacks have helped many successful clients. To get started on your personal diet plan, click  Join Our Club.


My Meal Planner                                   

Team Beachbody® makes it easy to plan 
everything you’re going to eat, so you’ll 
always have delicious food that supports 
your fitness and your weight loss program. 
You can figure out your personal nutrition 
requirements, build and print out menus and 
shopping lists, and make sure you have 
plenty of variety so you’ll never get bored.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get Healthy Today!

A conversation between a fitness coach and a person who claims they want to get into shape and be healthier. DON”T BE STRIPED SHIRT GUY!!! GET HEALTHY TODAY!! Click the link below, Sign In for FREE, to start on your journey back to health and wellness.


Practice these habits and Guidelines on the assigned day to start.  Incorporate them as you can even if it is only one at a time.  Eventually, they will become daily habits automatically.  

By the yard it's hard, but by the inch it's a cinch.

Monday: Image that everyone you meet and interact with is smiling at you the entire time, even if they aren't.  

Tuesday: Give a sincere compliment to every person you meet today. (Include the one in the mirror.)  

Wednesday: Practice loving encouragement of others in anything they are doing, especially those who are not living up to your expectations. (This includes you.)  

Thursday: Ask sincere questions of how you may be able to help someone accomplish a mutual goal, listen fully, honor their input, and discover an action plan together. 

Friday: Take action to organize next week's work goals and polish off any remaining details of projects scheduled for today's completion.

Saturday: Change your deadlines into goal lines. You will succeed more often and not feel dead at the end of the project. It also encourages teamwork and challenging fun.

Sunday: Observe the natural phenomena such as weather, land formation, flora, fauna, and celebrate your relationship to the beauty and wonder of creation. Utilize what you encounter to its fullest advantage from flying a kite on a windy day to skiing the slopes or building a snowman in the snow.

Tough day: Imaging any tight spot in your body (especially your tummy) smiling a big warm smile while taking in and letting out a slow, deep, conscious breath. (Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised.)

prescribed by Dr. Robert L Groves, ND 

Fat to Fit

Five Easy Steps to Start Your Fitness Program Today!

We all have excuses for unhealthy behavior: too busy, too tired, rough week. But start your fitness journey now, and soon you’ll find exercise more gratifying than comfort food.
Now never seems like a good time to start making positive changes in our lives. Yet today is all we have. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is a day away.

So what can you do TODAY? Let’s spell it out.

  • T: Tell everyone you know that you are going to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. This adds to your motivation: When you share your goals with others, you won’t want to let them down.

  • O: Organize a team of supporters. Consider your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, gym members, and even your doctor. Having folks in your corner to encourage you will help you through the plateaus we all hit on the road to better fitness.

  • D: Decide how much weight you need to lose, how many minutes each day you will exercise, and how many calories you will consume each day. Keep notes, and post your progress daily.

  • A: Act immediately. Start today! Stick to your program no matter what. If you slip up, just get up and restart your program. Make getting fit your first priority.

  • Y: You are the key to success. You want — and deserve — a vital, trim, flexible, and athletic body.

Start TODAY… and you will quickly recover the zestful joy of living that you knew as a child. A change of heart (nothing less and nothing more) will help you realize fitness beyond your wildest dreams. Begin TODAY!

Monday, March 21, 2011

6 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Kitchen

Guest Blogger Joe Wilkes
It's springtime, which for a lot of us means it's time to do a deep-clean of our homes—throwing out the old, organizing the new, storing the winter clothes, and getting ready for warmer weather and a fresh start. For others, it's the beginning of another season of denial about how squalid our living conditions have become. Even more than New Year's, spring is a good time to make some new resolutions and create an environment that'll make us want to keep them. Here are some ideas for getting your kitchen into shape.

1.  Out with the old. I like to think of my refrigerator as a cabinet of hope. Most times, it's full of fruits and vegetables, purchased in a fit of confidence that I would steam and stir-fry my way to a slimmer me. Then I end up going out to restaurants with friends, and my Sunday produce ends up looking pretty bad by week's end. Yet, unbelievably, I leave it all in my refrigerator with the hope that it'll somehow return to a state of edibility. Similarly, expired dairy products and aging condiment bottles litter my shelves, the result of my misguided optimism that they too will come back in fashion—like my '80s wardrobe will, if I just wait long enough. I'm here to tell you, however, that there's been no grocery miracle in my refrigerator these many years. And now, it's time to give the expired residents of this frosty food hinterland a proper burial.

First thing to do: Get rid of everything that even looks old. Be merciless. If it's past the expiration date, throw it out. If it doesn't have an expiration date, throw it out. Another scourge in my fridge is the many plastic containers filled with leftovers. I don't remember exactly what meal they are left over from, but I can't recall anything that included frizzy mold as an ingredient. Much of the reason the containers languish in the back of the fridge is because I'm avoiding the horror of having to wash out the science experiment they've become. This year, I'm going to throw money at the problem, and throw out the leftovers in their containers without ever lifting the lid. Then, I will treat myself to shiny, new plastic containers as a reward for my new hygienic lifestyle. Additionally, if my plastic cutting boards are beyond bleaching, it's a good annual tradition to replace them

2.  Out with the bad. While I'm gripped in the mania of throwing away all the food that has literally turned to garbage, I'm also going to throw away the food that's metaphorically garbage. All the unhealthy snack foods that lure me away from my healthy eating plan are going to have to go. I'm evicting the half-full bags of tortilla and potato chips from my cupboards. Ben and Jerry's® are moving from the freezer to the dumpster. Any empty-calorie snacks I can steal a spoonful or handful of and pretend they don't count have to hit the road. Once I clear the cupboards and refrigerator, I can go to the store and load up on healthy staples, whose temptations I won't have to resist.

3.  In with the new. Now that the refrigerator's clean and the cupboards are bare, it's time to shop. Stock up the larder with delicious, healthy foods from the first two tiers of Michi's Ladder. And make sure to get lots of easy-to-prepare snacks to keep within easy reach when hunger pangs hit. Great snacks include cottage cheese, nonfat yogurt, hummus, salsa, and raisins. Instant oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, and egg whites are good to have on hand for breakfast. And foods like brown rice, dried beans, canned broths, water-packed tuna, and frozen fruits and vegetables are good staples to always keep in supply for mealtime. Of course, you should also try eating plenty of fresh produce, seafood, and lean meats. Just don't be like me and go crazy at the Sunday farmers' market only to have to throw food away at the end of the week. Buy enough perishable items to last a couple of days, then make short trips to the supermarket or farmers' market during the week. Your food will taste better and fresher, and you won't have a CSI episode in the crisper drawer at the end of the week.

4.  When life gives you lemons . . . I know I've talked a lot about throwing all your produce away. But some of it can do a little cleaning work for you before it hits the compost bin. Lemons are very acidic, and their juice is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. You can use lemon juice to bleach countertop stains and shine up metal. And it makes your kitchen smell lemony fresh to boot! Instead of throwing those lemons in the trash, throw one or two in the garbage disposal and grind away. It'll help get rid of food dried onto the blades while filling your kitchen with the smell of lemons. (If the lemons are really old and the rinds have turned hard and leathery, don't try this. The disposal blades might not be able to chop them, and they'll just rattle around in your disposal forever. Trust me, I know.) Another great tip a friend gave me is to cut a bunch of lemons in half and put them in a big microwave-safe bowl filled with water. Then microwave the bowl of lemons on high for a few minutes, until the water steams. Keep the microwave closed. The lemon-juice-infused steam will permeate all the stuff cooked onto the microwave walls from various exploding culinary attempts. The crud will wipe off easily and your microwave will smell great. Best of all, no toxic cleaners will accidentally find their way into your meals!

5.  Vinegar—not just for salad. While you're cleaning and staying nontoxic, try using the Michi's Ladder top-tier favorite vinegar to spruce up your kitchen. Diluted with water, white vinegar can be used to clean windows, wash floors, and wipe countertops. It cuts grease and removes stains from cookware, and if you run a pot full of the vinegar and water solution through your coffeemaker, you'll be amazed at the kind of hard-water deposits it removes. It's also good for removing hard-water stains on your glassware. It even cuts soap scum and kills mildew, so you might give good, old-fashioned, cheap white vinegar a try before investing in expensive cleaners that can introduce toxins into your kitchen.

 6.  Baking soda—not just for baking. Here's a fun fact. Did you know that baking soda mixed with grease makes soap? It's true. It's a great, cheap, nontoxic way to wipe off your stovetop and the surrounding areas that have been spattered by a season's worth of stir-fries. An open box can absorb odors in the refrigerator, and a little sprinkled in your garbage can will do likewise. If you have a grease fire, you can put it out with baking soda. If you have pots with burned-on food, let them soak in baking soda and water overnight. Also, if you have plastic storage containers that are a bit stinky from their previous occupants, try soaking them overnight in baking soda and water. You can make a baking soda paste with water and polish your silver. It's a miracle product—nontoxic and cheap!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Top Benefits of Shopping at Farmers Markets

Why Everyone Should Be Shopping at Farmers Markets 
by guest blogger ~ March 18, 2011

This is a Guest post by April Uffner

Many Americans, myself included buy produce at their local supermarket or superstore without really thinking about where that produce came from. After all, fruits and vegetables are healthy for us, we grew up shopping

 at the supermarket, and an apple is an apple, a strawberry is a strawberry,right? Actually, not so much! After taking some time to reasearch this topic, I now understand a lot more about the food that I eat.

Did you know that a lot of supermarket produce is picked before it is ripe, ( sometimes it is artificially ripened later). It is transported from different parts of the country, even the world, which can take up to 2 weeks, and on top of that, it may have been sitting on that shelf a lot longer than you think. This affects its nutrient content, it's freshness, and it's taste. It also has a negative effect on the environment, and our local economies.

If you don't like the sound of that, you can shop your local farmer's market. There are many benefits of shopping at the farmers market. Here are some of the top reasons to shop at farmers markets. You may never want to buy your produce at a superstore again!

Fresh, and locally grown! 
At the farmers market you will be purchacing food that is fresh, ripe, and recently picked, sometimes even that day.

It is healthier!
This produce was allowed to reach its peak of ripeness before being picked. It is is nutrient rich, and fresh, it is better for you than supermarket produce.

Meet the farmers!
This means you can ask questions about the produce, try doing that at a supermarket! You will know how it was grown, when it was picked, etc. You can feel confident about the food that you buy.

More variety
Farmers markets offer produce that supermarkets can't. Farmers can grow whatever they want, they do not have to worry about their produce withstanding long trips, unnatural lighting, or temperature changes like supermarkets do. This means they can grow a wider variety of foods to offer to their customers.

Better taste
Since the food has reached the peak of ripeness, and was recently picked, this produce tastes how nature intended it to taste! Farmers market produce just tastes better!

Support local farmers

When produce is sold at supermarkets, farmers are often getting only about 10% of the profits, when they sell their produce at farm markets, they will get 100% of the profit from that produce.

Put your money into your local economy
The farmers you are supporting often support local businesses, local farms also create jobs in the area. Buying at farm markets helps these farms to stay in business, and our local economies to thrive. I would much rather do that than support major corporations.

Better for the environment
Buying local means the food we buy does not have to travel long distances, polluting the environment, just to get to us.

Farmers markets often have lots of other stands offering fresh, homemade prepared foods, freshly ground coffee, seafood, meats and cheeses, sandwiches, candy, smoothies and many more! There are many unique foods here that you can not find in supermarkets! Farmers markets may also have stands featuring local craftsmen, and fresh flower stands as well. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon with your family, and benefit your community at the same time.