What Makes Broccoli and Kale Superfoods?

Broccoli and kale are often touted to be “superfoods.” And, yes, they really are amazingly healthy for you. If you’re wondering what exactly is in these green powerhouses that makes them so “super,” I’ve dived into the research to give you some nerdy reasons to make these a staple in your diet. To start, they’re both considered cruciferous vegetables related to each other in the Brassica family. This family of super plants also includes cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts. These superfoods have a ton of nutrition, and other health-promoting compounds, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to cook too! Super nutrition Broccoli and kale are full of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. They’re both considered to be nutrient dense which is a measure of nutrients per calorie – and these both have a lot! 100 grams of broccoli (about 1 cup, chopped) contains: 34 calories 2.8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 6.6 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g fiber. Good source of B vitamins (when eaten raw) >100% of your daily vitamin C Almost 100% of your vitamin K Good source of manganese Traces of all the other vitamins and …

Why Am I Always Hungry?

If you often feel hungry, you are not alone! There are many reasons to feel hungry. Of course, the most obvious one is that you are actually physically hungry. Perhaps your stomach is empty, your blood sugar has dropped, and your hunger hormones are having a party. But other times, the hunger may not be physical hunger. It may be a craving or an emotional trigger. These are common reasons why some people eat too much. It could be brought on by a certain type of diet, stress, or other things going on in life. It’s easy to mistake “psychological” hunger for “physical” hunger. I’m going to talk about the difference between both of these types of hunger, and give you some tips how to figure out which is which. And, of course, I will give you a very filling recipe too! Physical hunger vs. psychological hunger Your “physical” hunger is regulated by the body through your hunger hormones. And of course, it should be. You don’t want to be completely drained of fuel and nutrients for a long time. So, you’re programmed to seek food when your body physically …

New Year – Improved You!!

Happy New Year! To say that I am shock at how quickly 2018 went by does not even begin to describe how I feel. I am super happy to be going into a new year but it seems like 2018 went by so quickly. I look back at my 2018 goals and ask myself – did I get everything done that I said I would do? Did I hit my target goals? Did I make changes that will benefit me in 2019? If not, what do I need to do NOW to make those change? How about you? Did you happen to ask your self the same questions? Were there goals that you meant to accomplish but didn’t quite make the target? I’m not a psychic but… I feel pretty confident in saying that 2019 is probably going to go just as fast as 2018 did. And if you felt that you didn’t accomplish all your health, wellness and fitness goals, I’m here to say 2 things: 1. It’s not too late and 2. Get started now! If you don’t quite know where to start or you have already started but …

I’m Sick. What Can I Do (Naturally)?

Getting a common cold doesn’t have to be so… common. There are things you can do naturally to make getting sick less likely. But, if you do happen to get sick, there are things you can also do to help support your body to fight it off. Good hand hygiene and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold quicker. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy. And that’s what this post is all about. First, I’ll give you some tips to reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. Then, I’ll let you in on some of my strategies to recover from that cold you may still get from time to time. Natural tips to reduce your risk of sickness Here are some great ideas to incorporate into your daily life to reduce your risk of getting sick. 1 Wash your hands. A lot. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m …

Creating a Mindset for Health

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference? That thing is MINDSET! Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset. And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought. Very interesting health mindset study Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study. Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers. What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active! How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if …

Need a Mood Boost? Eat This.

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right? Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods. While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods. First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health. Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings. Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods. Mood-boosting foods Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So, make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. …

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

It’s official! Organizations and governments are (finally) declaring a maximum amount of daily sugar intake. While this is a step forward, there are still a few problems. One – they don’t all agree with each other. And, two, I don’t necessarily agree with them either. We all know sugar is NOT a health food. It isn’t full of nutrition, and excess consumption is not associated with great health. The problem is that sugar is everywhere. It’s naturally occurring. It’s also added to just about every processed food there is. And this “added sugar” is a factor in many chronic diseases we see today. Sugar is inflammatory. Too much is associated with weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cavities. Too much sugar is a huge health risk, no matter how you look at it. So let’s talk about how much sugar is “too much.” Added sugar vs. naturally occurring sugar. What do some of the officials say? Before we talk about the “official” numbers (and why I don’t agree with them), you need to know the difference between “added” sugar and “naturally occurring” sugar. Fruit and other healthy whole foods …

Mindfulness and Meditation… Do They Really Work?

Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation. Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.” “Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body. Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post. The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors’ visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent! So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too. Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and …

Here’s How to Make Cooking More Fun

If you don’t love cooking, maybe I can help to make it more fun for you? I know that sometimes I don’t find cooking to be all that fun. I can get into a rut just like everyone else. So that’s why I’ve listed my best “fun” cooking tips for you. Fun Cooking Tip #1 Check out new recipes. Sometimes just seeing the beautiful food photos and reading the recipe can spark some inspiration and fun in your kitchen. You can head to your local bookstore. Or look up your favorite nutritionists, chefs, bakers, and other online foodies. Maybe do a quick search on Google or Pinterest to see thousands of new ideas. Perhaps you have some ingredients in your fridge that are just waiting to be eaten. Pro Tip: Searching through recipes can be so fun and inspiring, and can also end up taking waaaay longer than planned. So, consider setting your timer when you start browsing. The last thing you want is to take too much time looking, that you don’t leave enough time for cooking. Fun Cooking Tip #2 Make grocery shopping fun and inspiring. When you’re …

Heartburn – Can I Help it with Foods and Lifestyle?

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn. Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week! Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the strong acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus. It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name “heartburn.” Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well. Don’t get me wrong, stomach acid is good! Stomach acid is essential for good health and optimal digestion. We need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e. bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus! Stomach acid doesn’t usually burn the stomach itself; this is because the stomach is protected by a layer of mucus. But your esophagus doesn’t have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to …