Stocking Your Healthy Kitchen


Making sure your kitchen is well stocked with healthy foods is preparing yourself for successful weight loss and optimal health. Making this happen requires consistent and well planned grocery shopping and preparation. The work might seem overwhelming but will make healthy eating much easier in the long run.

First make a list of what you have. Then make a list of the things that you need to stock up on. Hit the grocery store and fill in your kitchen with healthy foods. If you need help making your list, the following is a basic list of some healthy kitchen essentials:

Healthy foods for your pantry:

* Whole grains – quinoa, amaranth, kamut, barley
* Lentils
* Canned goods – diced tomatoes, healthy soups, tuna, salmon, mixed beans
* Whole grain crackers
* Whole grain cereals
* Rolled Oats
* Green/Black tea
* Whole wheat pasta
* Mixed nuts/trail mix
* Dried fruit
* Vinegar – balsamic, apple cider, red wine, raspberry
* Oils – olive, coconut, canola, sesame, sesame, avocado
* Spices – oregano, basil, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon
* Garlic
* Ginger

Healthy foods for your fridge:

* Low fat milk
* Water jug – Brita is a great brand for this
* Vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, carrots, spinach
* Fruit -Apples, strawberries, blueberries, oranges
* Lean meat – chicken/turkey breast, lean cuts of steak, grass fed beef
* Fatty Fish – salmon, mackerel, cod
* Eggs
* Pesto/salsa/healthy sauces
* Margarine

Healthy foods for your freezer:

* Frozen veggies
* Frozen meats
* Frozen fish
* Frozen berries
* Ready-made stir-fry mix

Healthy foods for your counter top:

* Whole wheat bread/high fiber pita
* Fruits (bananas, apples, oranges)

Useful appliances for your kitchen:

* Coffee grinder – useful for grinding seeds like the very healthy flaxseed
* Blender – great for making healthy fruit and veggie smoothies

These foods are great basics for anyone who wants to live healthier and eat right. If you are cooking within two days or so you will want to take inventory of what is available for your meal preparation. Making sure you have those staples available makes grocery shopping and healthier eating easier.

Everyone might have other necessary items on their kitchen staples list. Remember that these are just the basics and your list might be longer or shorter. Whatever the specifics of the list are, remember that keeping a healthy stocked kitchen will make weight loss much easier!

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Government Takes On Obesity Problem


This week the Center For Disease Control and Prevention is holding a three-day conference in Washington, D.C. to tackle the problem of obesity. The CDC has recently published several reports on the issues of obesity and also released a set of recommendations for how communitires can implement programs and policies to help combat the problem of obesity.

Obesity continues to be a huge problem facing the United States. It is a major risk factor for deadly conditions like heart disease and diabetes, which cause Americans to spend billions of dollars on health care each year. The CDC recently found that the proportion of obese U.S. adults rose again last year to 26.1 percent. They have shown that obesity is a big problem that continues to grow and now that are trying to answer the question about what should be done about it.

The three-day conference they are hosting is called “Weight of the Nation.” Their is much chatter surrounding the conference about whether the federal government can tackle the issues of weight gain and obesity without intruding into Americans’ personal lives by intruding into their kitchens, restaurants, and stores. While there have been several local bans on trans fats in restaurants, many argue that these and other measures are limiting personal choice.

Many, like Texas state Senator Kel Seliger opposed state bans on trans fat but still support provisions to provide healthier foods in public schools along with proper dietary education. While he supports education he believes the government should stay away from restriciting food content. Like many other public officials, he would rather inform the public than coerce them into living a healthy lifestyle.

This week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the CDC conference that reducing obesity rates is at the heart of the president’s health care plan. This is after the CDC reported and increase in the health cost of obesity, which is now up to $147 billion annually. Both Sebelius and former president Bill Clinton argued that reducing obesity would lower health care costs dramatically.

Among all this the turn of the conference and speakers turned to prevention of obesity. The new recommendations from the CDC focus on making healthy foods more available and promoting physical activity. Additionally the recommendations call for the restriction of unhealthy foods and beverages in public venues, a point that is in contention with many.  Discussion over other “fat tax” measures continued but would face trouble when being made into law.

However, all involved recognize the problem and the need for solutions.  The Trust for America’s Health declared in a report this month that America’s current obesity policies are “failing,” citing no decrease in adult obesity in the last year.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Happiness and Healthiness Are Contagious


Happiness may love company even more than misery. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego, found that happiness may stem more from a group effort than from one person’s lifestyle and choices.

Their 20-year study of 5,000 individuals shows that a person’s positive emotional state is actually contagious, affecting not just his or her immediate social circle, but friends’ friends, and even friends’ friends’ friends. The upbeat vibes ripple out to touch those people never even met, with the effects lasting up to a year.

Even better news is sadness can’t hold a can’t handle to this kind of emotional contagion. Happiness spreads farther than sadness ever could. So while a frown might temporarily infect a room, smiles and laughter will carry on to many people and places.

I’m sure by now you don’t need any more convincing. Verdict? Happiness wins!

So lets all start our own cheerful chain reactions and make the world a happier place. Do something today that lifts your spirits and you will send out your own waves of contentment to those around you.

And while you are doing something to make you and those around you happier, think about what will also make them healthier. Just liked happiness is catching, so are healthy habits. If you hang around people that choose poorly regarding health, diet, and fitness, chances are you will start to make poor choices too. However, if you spend time with people that make these things a priority you will start to do the same.

So your commitment to health and fitness will rub off on those around you just like being happy can.

Stumped on how to share your healthy habits? Try these techniques:

  • Invite a friend for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Have a pool party with swimming and active games.
  • Choose a healthy restaurant or prepare a healthy meal for a night with friends.
  • Read a blog about living healthy together as a book club.
  • Have a competition to see who can lose weight or complete a fitness challenge.
  • Ask a friend to attend a community health event or meeting.

There are tons of ways you can reach out and help spread your commitment to fitness and living a healthy life. Even without looking for obvious ways you can spread your passion to others, just like a smile can spread happiness.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Weight Loss Using Wii Sports


Can you lose weight by playing video games?

Generally video games are lumped into the category of things that cause weight gain and obesity. Along with television and computer usage, video games are considered a negative aspect of modern life when used in exccess. They take children and adults away from physical activity and keep them glued to a screen for hours. The loss of exercise that once was a major part of American lifestyles has led to the growing obesity problem. Video games have generally been part of the problem. But can they also be part of the solution?

Some think video games can be exactly that: the solution to the obesity epidemic. One of the newest fitness ideas is using video games with movement. While it previously may have seemed improabable to combine the ideas of video games and exercise, the new video games from Nintendo have bridged that gap. Video games like Wii Sports now require physical activity and help encourage a more active lifestyle.

Some people have even gone so far as to test these video games for weight loss potential. One gaming blogger did a comphrehensive experiment using the Nintendo Wii and Wii Sports. For six weeks he used his Wii Sports without changing his eating habits at all. After a month and a half of playing each of the sports very aggressively, he dropped 9 pounds and dropped his body fat percentage from 19% to 17.2%. At the end he made the conclusions that you get back whatever you put into something, meaning you will lose more weight if you use the system more aggressively and often. Also he concluded that video games are a great way to exercise without even realizing you are burning calories.

There are even independent studies from California State University, West Virginia University, and Liverpool John Moores University (read about the studies, here and here) that conclude the Wii is a great workout and kids burn 40% more calories. The studies concluded that the activity associated with the game can impact the child’s hearrate, energy expenditure, and calories burned.

If you are looking for a fun, easy way to exercise you might want to buy a Nintendo Wii and try Wii Sports. It is a great way to start exercising if you are a beginner and a fun way to crosstrain if you already live an active lifestyle.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

About The Author

The Tortoise Diet


Most diets out their focus on quick weight loss. The best selling diets are ones that can help take the weigh off quickly and most try to show that they can fulfill this promise. However, some diets take a different route. Some diets promise weight loss without speed.

Enter The Tortoise Diet. The Tortoise Diet is a diet book from the successful loser Patricia Church. A registered nurse, Church dieted for years and after the many cycles of on-and-off dieting she finally found the right way and lost 120 pounds.

The Tortoise Diet is a book about long-lasting fat loss instead of quick fix weight solutions. The slow and steady weight loss is the kind that reminds you of the Tortoise route in the Tortoise and the Hare. The book covers all the basics of healthy weight loss. It goes into elaborate detail on each tenet and explains the tried and true basics instead of new, unproven ideas.

The Tortoise Diet focuses on these basic principles: eating a balanced diet, choosing the right kinds of foods, getting regular amounts of cardio exercise and strength training, and charting progress. The balanced diet is based on the Basal Metabolic Rate and is comprised of 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. Following the plan dieters choose lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole-grain high-fiber carbs, and fats from whole foods.

Church spends time explaining the formulas used for calculating the right weights and daily calories levels that will help you follow the plan. The book also has a large section devoted entirely to meal ideas. It includes a very useful list of snack and meal ideas separated by calorie level.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

The book doesn’t break any new ground, but the ideas are sound and when applied can create sustainable weight loss. The author’s own story is proof that the ideas will work when applied.

The book is great for a beginner who doesn’t know the basics or how to choose good foods. Many people are confused by the mix of diet and food companies that have pitched various and conflicting ideas to us. Many people have no idea what a healthy, balanced diet is. The Tortoise Diet covers the basics of a balanced diet for those people.

While The Tortoise Diet correctly lays out a path of healthy weight loss it does not address the reasons why normal dieting is flawed or the behavioral and mental aspects involved in making lifestyle changes. However the overall principles for weight loss are excellent.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

4 Ways To Beat Food Buffets


All you can eat buffets are a huge downfall for many dieters. All the delicious food they can ever eat is asembled for consumption right before their eyes. Buffets at restaurants and social functions can be a dieter’s downfall or they can be an occasion to celebrate success. Although they can be trying, buffets can be navigated successfully if you have a plan in place. If you attack the buffet with a well planned strategy you will walk away feeling victorious.

1. Get your food and go.
Don’t linger over a buffet. The more time you spend around large tables covered in food the more you will eat. Don’t be the person that stands around the table the whole time. Get your food, put it on the plate or in the to go box, and leave the area. Get out of its pull.

2. Choose a small plate.
A large plate at a buffet leads to more food consumed. By choosing a smaller plate you will automatically limit the amount of food you consume. You also have a much better chance of choosing proper portion sizes of foods.

3. Scan the buffet before loading up.
Check out what the buffet has to offer before you load up your plate. Most people start at one end and go down the line adding every single thing that might look good until they have a mountainous plate. If you take a minute to walk around first and check out the foods you can make a mental list of the best healthy foods on the table. That way you will be prepared and no what to skip when you go through the line.

4. Stay balanced.
The hardest part of eating a buffet is avoiding the tendency to choose only fattening foods. If you want to have dessert you should get it but skip appetizers or super sized main dishes. Try to remember what a healthy plate looks like and keep the balance between food groups. Remember that keeping a balance between healthy and fattening foods will make the meal less of a disaster.

Even if you follow these tips, a buffet might still be a struggle that is best avoided. If it is easier on your wallet and your mind to just skip situations with buffets, especially all you can eat buffets at restaurants. If you can’t avoid the buffets that are part of social gatherings try not to use them as an excuse to go crazy.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

3 Ways To Avoid Weekend Weight Gain


Many people make the mistake of dieting strictly during the week and then letting loose on the weekend. They allow themselves to unwind too much and find out on Monday that the needle on the scale has moved much farther than they hoped.

According to researchers many people change their eating habits drastically on weekends. All of the parties and excursions out with friends often include high calorie foods and alcoholic beverages. Most people over indulge in both and over time this easily leads to weight gain.

One study on weekend eating habits shows researchers found people take in 115 more calories per day on the weekend compared to weekdays. That extra 200 calories every weekend adds up over time.

While it might seem like an impossible problem, there are some simple ways to put a stop to the extra calories and weight gain associated with weekend eating.

1. Stock up on healthy food.
Make sure you don’t have any reason to reach for unhealthy junk food or call to order a pizza. If you kitchen is well stocked with healthy food you will be less likely to fall into poor eating habits. Check your fridge and pantry on Friday and stock up on healthy foods for the weekend.

2. Don’t skip meals
Many people will skip meals early in the day to “save room” or “save calories” for later meals or going out. This almost always backfires and you end up eating more at night than if you had eaten normally throughout the day. Don’t skip meals on the weekend. If you have a meal at night eat lighter meals during the day that will take the edge off hunger without leaving you famished.

3. Go easy on the alcohol
Most alcoholic drinks have a high caloric content so try not to go overboard with drinking on the weekends. Depending on what you are drinking, just cutting back one drink can save 150 calories. Plus, if you drink in moderation you won’t end up eating the fatty foods that people love to eat when drunk.

It is okay to have an occasional splurge meal or weekend. But if you want to achieve your weight and fitness goals you have to make some restrictions. Eliminating just a few of the bad habits that lead many to weekend weight gain will put you one step closer toward achieving your goals. And if the weekend doesn’t go according to plan, don’t worry. Tomorrow is always a new day and next weekend is always a chance to change your habits.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Summer Fruit


It is summer time, which is the best time of the year to enjoy fruit. No other season offers as many delicious fruits at their peak of taste and freshness.

If you are not familiar with the overabundance of fresh summer fruits available, no need to worry. We’ve got a quick run down for you of some of the fruits that come into season over the summer months. Some are more prominent in the early summer months and some don’t come into their own until later in the summer, but all are delicious choices for you to try!

Apricots: These are delicious fresh and are also good dried or in curries, fried rice or granola. You can eat them on their own, halve then stuff then bake, or cook and puree to use in ice cream or mousse. Choose apricots that are deep yellow with a pink blush and no sign of green. They should be plump and firm.

Blackberries: Blackberries are fun to pick during the end of summer. You can rinse them then eat directly. Find berries that are firm, plump, and fully colored.

Cherries: Fiber containing cherries can be sweet or sharp. Sweet cherries are good to eat fresh but sharper varieties should be cooked. Look for green and flexible stems and avoid spots, bruises, and splits.

Gooseberries: Gooseberries can be eaten raw but are more often cooked for use in jellies and preserves. Look for the large, ripe berries that have a tawny blush.

Plums: Raw plums are delicious during the summer. Eat them at room temperature of chill them for salads or sorbets. There are many different varieties but you should look for plums that yield to slight pressure and are plump and heavy in size.

Raspberries: Raw raspberries are great for desserts and smoothies. You can also cook them for great jams, muffins, and pies. Always look for firm, plump and fully colored berries.

Strawberries: Strawberries are many people’s favorite summer fruit. They are great in fruit tarts, fruit salads, smoothies, and sorbets. They also can be cooked into delicious jams or pies. When selecting strawberries look for berries with a good red color and green, leafy hull. Avoid berries with spots of soft areas.

Watermelon: Another summer fruit favorite that is good for all occasions, especially parties. Look for a watermelon that yields to slight pressure at the stem end with a sweet scent. Avoid melons that are very soft.

If you are looking for a great fruit salad recipe, try this one that utilizes the fresh fruit summer produces:

Minted Fruit Salad

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
8 cups cut up assorted fresh fruit
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except fruit; stir until sugar dissolves. Place fruit in large shallow dish; pour lemon juice over. Cover, chill 3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate leftovers.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Obesity Rates Continue To Rise in America


According to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released this month by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) obesity rates in the United States are rising with no signs of slowing. Adult obesity rates climbed in 23 states. Not a single state showed a decline in obesity rates in the past year.

The highest rate of adult obesity occurred in Mississippi for the fifth year in the row. The high rate of 32.5 percent put it at the top of the list. Out of the top ten states with the highest obesity rates, 8 were in the South. Four of those states have obesity rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, Alabama at 31.2 percent, West Virginia at 31.1 percent, and Tennessee at 30.2 percent.

In 31 states the adult obesity rate now exceeds 25 percent. In 49 states and Washington, D.C. the adult obesity rate exceeds 20 percent. This means that currently two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight. For the lowest rate of obesity one has to look outside the overweight Southern United States to Colorado where the percentage of obese adults is 18.9 percent.

This growth in obesity rates is a huge change from the past. As recently as 1991 there were no states with obesity rates above 20 percent. This year sixteen different states experienced an increase for the second year in a row. Eleven states experienced an increase in adult obesity rates for the third straight year. There is no doubt about it – the obesity epidemic in America is growing.

In addition to the growing rate of adult obesity, the percentage of obese children has also grown and is now at or above 30 percent in 30 states. Mississippi won the top spot in the list of child obesity rates as well. Mississippi had the highest rate of obese or overweight children at 44.4 percent. Once again, eight of the top ten states with the highest rates of child obesity were in the south. These rates of childhood obesity are triple what they were in 1980. The lowest rates occurred in Minnesota and Utah where the childhood obesity rate was 23.1 percent.

Besides the rankings of state obesity rates the F as in Fat report also reviews the government policies aimed at reducing obesity. There are some positive findings that can help combat the rising rates of obesity. These policies include nutritional standards for school meals in nineteen states, nutritional standards for competitive foods in twenty-seven states, body mass index screenings of children in twenty states, and others. Reports like this are shedding light on the growing waistlines in America while encouraging action to reverse the trend.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author

Newest Fitness Craze: Zumba


What is Zumba?

Zumba is an exercise craze sweeping the nation right now. Almost a million Americans have taken a Zumba class at their local gym and many, many more are begging their local gyms to start offering a Zumba class.

Zumba is an intense style of dance-aerobics workout set to upbeat latin music. Zumba, pronounced ZOOM-buh, is like a dance party held in the gym. It emulates the kind of dancing found in a nightclub without any of the negative aspects found in a nightclub.

Why would anyone try Zumba? Because it is fun, fun, fun! It is exercise that you can do every day and feel excited about doing it. The creator of Zumba made it fun because he wanted you to work out and love working out. It is a fun, effective way to get in an aerobic workout that will show you results.

A Little Zumba History

Zumba was created by celebrity fitness trainer, “Beto” Perez, who comes from Columbia. In the mid 1990s he forgot his music tapes for an aerobics class and had to improvise to the Latin music he had in his car. From that accidental beginning the revolutionary program of Zumba was born. It soon became the most popular class at his fitness facility.

Perez brought the program to the United States in 1999 and it spread from there. It has been very popular among the Hispanic market and is quickly creeping into the mainstream fitness market.

Zumba Workouts Rock!

The word Zumba is Colombian for “fast.” Classes are 60 minutes long and participants are moving the entire time. Zumba classes incorporate footwork and body movements from various dance styles including flamenco, salsa, and hip hop. In a Zumba class you can expect to gyrate, clap, dip, slide, spin, and groove to the fast paced music.

The Zumba routines feature intervals of faster and slower rhythms and some classes use weight for resistance training. Often gyms will offer a beginning Zumba class as well as one that utilizes weights. Either way the general frenzied place of the music leaves everyone in the class dripping with sweat by the end.

If you haven’t tried a Zumba class yet check with your gym or local gyms in the area for classes. If none are offered consider buying Zumba DVDs and having a class of your own in the living room or community center! Get ready to sweat, have fun and a great workout!

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

About The Author