One Wonderful Food
There is food that will help you lose weight, increase your odds at longevity, help keep your digestion regular and generally make you feel great! The combined effect of the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber and water in this food can't be matched by even the most expensive supplement. This food is economical – and it comes in many flavors to meet all tastes.
What is this amazing health food? Vegetables; but more specifically: non-starchy vegetables.
Certainly, potatoes, yams, winter squash, peas and legumes have many positive nutritional attributes. However, since potatoes, in the form of French fries, are the most consumed "vegetable" in the United States and unhealthy excess weight is a concern for the majority of Americans. The reason for making this distinction should be obvious.
Starchy foods can be a concentrated source of calories and are frequently accompanied with lots of unhealthy fat. Therefore, for the purposes of a weight management program, starchy vegetables, winter squashes, peas and legumes should be counted as part of the "starch/carbohydrate" foods and consumed without lots of added fats. If weight loss is your goal – then, non-starchy vegetables are your "secret weapon."
The benefits of consuming a diet replete with a variety of vegetables are remarkable! Still, the typical American diet is sorely lacking this marvelous food group. A 2005 article published by The Center for Disease Control (CDC) affirmed "A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased risk for chronic disease." The CDC concludes that the research results "underscore the need for continued interventions that encourage greater fruit and vegetable consumption among U.S. adults."1
Also in 2005, the USDA released the updated Food Guide Pyramid. One of the most dramatic changes in dietary recommendations was made in the area of fruit and vegetable consumption. The total recommended servings jumped from 3-5, to 5-9 total servings of fruits and vegetables daily.2 That's a lot of food!
You will know that you're eating enough non-starchy vegetables when your lunch mates say, " Are you going to eat all that?"
Vegetables are high volume and measured in cups. One cup of raw vegetables or one half cup of cooked vegetables equals "one serving". Depending on your body size, activity level and calorie level of your food plan, you may be consuming 2-5 servings of fruit daily. The remainder of your recommended daily intake will then range between 3 and 7 servings of vegetables. To get more specific, go to MyPyramid.gov to find out what your recommended calorie intake is, estimate your fruit intake, then, determine how many servings of vegetables you should consume. If you choose non-starchy vegetables for weight loss, you will quickly see that you can lose weight, feel great and never go hungry!
For the skeptic or compulsive calorie counter – relax! On average, one half cup of non-starchy vegetables contains about 25 calories. Still, these wonder foods pack a huge nutritional punch. Just a few of the most prevalent nutrients found in vegetables are: potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Dietary fiber helps lower cholesterol, keeps your bowels functioning well and makes you feel fuller. Folate helps the body build new red blood cells. Vitamin A protects your skin and eyes and helps protect against infection. Vitamin C keeps gums and teeth healthy, is important for wound healing and aids in the absorption of iron.2
At Red Mountain guests arrive from all over the world for an adventurous mix of outdoor activities, spa pampering and weight loss or other health programs. They are often shocked when they learn that the breakfast and lunch meals are served buffet-style. A closer look at the items on the buffet reveal a plethora of – yes, non-starchy vegetables!
Red Mountain Spa's favorite non-starchy veggies:
Bell peppers (all colors)
Broccoli, broccoli rabe, broccolini, broccoflower
Collard greens (without the traditional added fats)
1Fruit and vegetable consumption among adults--United States, 2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007 Mar 16;56(10):213-7.
2 http://www.mypyramid.govAdd a comment
He said, she said...or he said, he said...or she said, she said...
By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14
"Love is a many splendored thing." - Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster (as sung by Frank Sinatra)
"Love is a battlefield." - Holly Knight and Mike Chapman (as sung by Pat Benatar)
"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds." - William Shakespeare
Hat's off to Mr. Shakespeare. Long before Frank or Pat extolled the virtues and dangers of love, Will laid it out for us in plain (olde) English. Call it what you will, but it sure isn't love if you need to change it.
At every workshop, there's at least one delightfully charming and discordant couple tossing slightly snarky digs at one another, all in the name of fun. And with the hope that I'll take sides and finally force the less-organized of the two to comply with ... something.
Not going to happen. Even if one partner is clearly the primary mess-maker, my response is always to find the way out from messiness into a functional co-existence for EVERYONE'S benefit.
Anyone who struggles with disorder and disorganization knows that something isn't working. And no amount of judging or shaming is going to provoke a positive change. Teasing or attacking your less-than-neat partner is only going to paralyze them. So let's try a different approach.
I first suggest to these couples, much to everyone else's amusement, that "today is probably not the first time you've discovered that your partner doesn't do things quite the same way you do."
Then I remind them that acceptance and a clear commitment to finding workable solutions, rather than winning or blaming, will reveal the strongest, most sustainable choice. That way, everyone gives up something and no one gives up everything. I sometimes have to repeat that sentence two or three times.
And the payoff is priceless: the neat one's face is as disappointed as the less-than-neat one's face is relieved.
As history has demonstrated for centuries, when no one wins, everyone wins!Add a comment
Weight Loss & Nutrition: Beyond Calories in Versus Calories Out
By Brad Crump,
Health Services Manager
Most of us have found ourselves in a position of wanting to lose a few pounds. For some, it is a life long quest often resulting in a mixed bag of results. For a majority, hundreds of pounds have been lost and subsequently gained back leading to feelings of failure, disappointment and a loss of hope for future success. In addition to the stresses of fluctuating results comes the confusion of weeding through all the opinions shared by experts (and self appointed experts) and deciding who is right.
One of the major mistakes people make in establishing a healthy and effective weight loss strategy centered on food and nutrition is assuming that all individuals are created equal. Each of us brings to the “dining room table” differences in genetics, metabolism and specific lifestyle factors that must be considered. There is no “one size fits all” model. Once we begin considering these differences, a more specific and individualized nutrition plan can be established.
Another major failure in developing nutritional guidelines is depending solely on the law of thermodynamics, which teaches us that if we consume less calories than we burn, weight loss should follow. There is no argument that if a person consumes 4,000 calories and only burns 2,500 that that person will not gain weight. Caloric balance is essential and must be determined by proper and specific testing like indirect calorimetry. However, there are many who have greatly reduced their calorie intake and increased their exercise and have experienced weight gain. There is an easily explainable answer and one that is very rarely discussed or considered.
The answer is that all calories are simply not created equal. To clarify, a calorie, in fact, does equal a calorie but only in terms of quantity. If I consume five grams of fat, regardless of its source, I have consumed forty-five calories. It does not matter if it is from a healthy source of omega three fats such as salmon or whether it is from a saturated variety of fat from a processed food; the calorie value is the same. What is not the same is the physiological affect each of those fats will have on my body. How does each of these fats affect my metabolism, immune system, hormone regulation and inflammation in my body?
We need to begin looking at food as an information source for the body and not just an energy or calorie source. As it relates to weight loss, we can consider the role that inflammation/allergic reactions play in our quest for weight loss as it relates to food.
In his book “The Fat Resistance Diet,” Dr. Leo Galland, M.D. provides a beautiful description of the role that inflammation from food plays in fat resistant weight loss. In it, he provides a description of a vicious cycle related to the hormone leptin and its role in supporting metabolism and regulation of appetite. Due to sensitivities or allergic reactions to specific foods, inflammation results in a change in our ability to respond to leptin. This results in changes in the rate at which we burn calories and causes us to constantly feel hungry. As this vicious cycle continues, we gain more body fat, which is in itself inflammatory, and we continue to gain weight. This causes us to assume that we are still taking in more calories than we should and we continue to decrease our caloric intake resulting in a perceived famine and resultant fat storage. This inflammatory response is sending inappropriate information to the body.
The inflammatory response we experience from food is simply one example of how we can consume the right number of calories and still gain weight. As we begin to look more specifically at what it is we are eating versus simply how much we are eating, we will begin seeing more long term and healthy weight loss.
Here is a few couple of suggestions that can assist you in your weight loss objectives:
- Identify your Resting Metabolic Rate. This is an easily administered yet scientifically based test that determines the number of calories you burn under complete resting conditions. Knowing this number will keep you from falling into the trap of over or under consumption. Remember that under consumption of calories can cause as much weight gain as over consuming.
- Determine if you’re a sensitive to or allergic to specific foods. You can best do this by following an anti-inflammatory diet which focuses on the removal of the most commonly found allergenic foods for one month. You will then go through a process of reintroducing these foods back into the diet one at a time. During the month of elimination, most people lose weight while consuming more than they were typically consuming.
Enjoy the process! As your understanding of food changes, so will your relationship with food and long term, healthy weight loss will follow.Add a comment
Eat Your Colors
Current emphasis on consuming foods of varying colors stems from the understanding that beneficial secondary metabolites, phenolic compounds are responsible for the bright colors.
Phenolic and polyphenolic compounds include flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignins. These abundant chemical compounds are considered secondary metabolites because they are not directly involved in growth and development, but seem to be very beneficial in many other ways. In research and consumer news, much attention has been paid to the antioxidant benefits of particular compounds. Of course, this has spurred a large number of commercially produced supplements of isolated compounds. It should be noted that there is limited evidence of the benefit of these supplements and no recommended daily intake has been determined for phytonutrients.
There is one great lesson in the research regarding phytonutrients – it is best to get nutrition by eating the whole food (rather than rely on supplements). Consider that, until fairly recently, the general assumption was that consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals identified in the DRI’s would be enough to ensure proper nutrition. Since estimates place the number of beneficial phytochemicals found in foods to be in the hundreds of thousands, how could we keep track of all those?
Of the flavonoids, anthocyanins are the most abundant. Anthocyanins are responsible for the deep blue pigments in berries, plums, red grapes, pomegranates, etc. The carotenes are found in foods of dark orange color such as: carrots, pumpkins, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. Lycopene is found in red foods like tomatoes and tomato products, but also in watermelon and pink grapefruit.
While dietitians may appreciate the science of beneficial secondary metabolites, nature has provided us with a color coded teaching tool for emphasizing good nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables of varied color will ensure the consumption of beneficial nutrients.
N. Hounsome, B. Hounsome, D. Tomos, G. Edwards-Jones. Plant metabolites and nutritional quality of vegetables. Journal of Food Science; May 2008; Volume 73, Issue 4 (pages R48-R65)
Wang, L. and Stoner, G. Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention; Cancer Letters; Received 14 March 2008; received in revised form 14 March 2008; accepted 8 May 2008. published online 24 June 2008.
By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14
Air travel these days is almost always stressful. Extended comforts or luxury are gone as airlines struggle to stay afloat financially. And staff seems to reserve what little courtesy remains for first/business class passengers and frequent flyers. For everyone else, being herded onto the plane and talked down to is the best we can expect.
As passengers, we also bring more than physical baggage with us. From clearing security to arriving at the gate, the experience is fraught with fear. Will I make my connection, will we crash, will there be room for my carry-on luggage?
There’s much we have no control over. But for those things within our grasp, how can we make traveling easier on ourselves?
Pack less. And pack smart.
Start by asking yourself, what do I absolutely need to have with me and available on the flight?
If you don’t check bags, it’s that much more important to ensure that anything you need is easily accessible in your ‘personal’ item. Leave everything you don’t need at your fingertips either in your suitcase or at home.
The night before a trip, I lay out all the things I want accessible that will make the flight more comfortable.
Here’s my list:
Noise-cancelling headphones, an eyemask, a neck pillow and a current book. Reading glasses, computer and computer charger (for longer flights), a pen that works, a notepad. Any work I hope to do while in transit. A jacket or shirt for cold planes.
If the headphones need to be charged or the battery replaced, do it now.
The day of the flight, I review the above items. Is it a short flight? Have I overestimated how much work I’ll actually do? Do I even feel like working? Would I rather watch a movie or read? Or nap?
I run through these questions, weeding out any unnecessary items – if they’re things I’ll still want on the trip but not on the plane, they go into my suitcase. Remember, when packing for the plane, ‘someday’ or ‘just-in-case’ is not your friend.
I also pack some snacks and maybe a meal.
And stay hydrated.
Why is it that a bottle of water can’t clear security, given that flight personnel can bring water with them? Just asking.
Back to food. Even flying business or first class, what's offered is often disappointing. Selections are overly processed and loaded with salt, fat, and sugar. So I always pack some nuts and maybe some cheese and some fruit. And chocolate!
For flights longer than two hours, I’ll make a salad or sandwich as well. I bring just enough for me and a companion (when applicable), but not enough to feed the entire coach cabin. Remember, we want the trip to be easy.
We may not be able to do much about surly, harried clerks or unhappy flight attendants, but we can control how much we load onto our backs and drag with us.Add a comment
What is Emotional Fitness and How Could a Consultation or Retreat Help Me?
By Andrea Becky Hanson, CEHP, ACEP Certified Energy Health Practitioner
Emotional Fitness is the state of being that allows you to be intimately connected and involved in all aspects of your life and maintain your sense of inner peace, strength and balance.
Sound impossible? I think all will agree that in these amazing and intense times, we need amazing, quick and effective ways to deal with the immense pressure of the energy, information and choices we must deal with on a daily basis. Whether you just have vague feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction or are overcome and overwhelmed by negative emotions and thoughts, you can benefit from the Emotional Fitness Energy Therapy Technique. Often times, this technique works when many other attempts at health and wellness have failed.
As a certified energy therapist, I skillfully and compassionately provide private consultations and retreats that allow you to experience the integrated combination of the contemporary Energy Therapy and the ancient practices of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. I believe this combination is the answer to optimum health and wellness.
An Energy Therapy session will help you learn and understand why repeated attempts to resolve problems have failed in the past. You will also receive the rich learning and understanding you need to finally be free of negative emotions and thoughts. You can delete the concepts of struggling and suffering from your vocabulary and from you life with the experience and application of the Emotional Fitness Technique.
To learn more about this subject, visit my Merging Rivers website or join us for an Emotional Fitness Retreat at Red Mountain Resort.
It Gets Bigger Before It Gets Better
By Andrew Mellen, organization expert & guest speaker May 9–14
It gets bigger before it gets better. This is my new favorite line!
It came to me during my last class at NY Open Center and I think succinctly sums up the process of dealing with historic accumulation.
Those random piles may be daunting and overwhelming, but they become even more intimidating once you start to dismantle them into smaller piles of "like" items.
So you want to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself as best you can for what will happen once you start to take those piles apart.
The mess will get bigger before it gets better.
Knowing that won't change the scale of what's in front of you, but it will soften the surprise when things seem to grow exponentially.
There really was THAT much stuff anyway, it was just a bit neater or contained.
Reiki & Stress Relief
By Bud Howard, Reiki Master
The Basics of Reiki:
At birth, we bring into this life, a supply of Ki/chi energy to fuel the body’s natural healing capabilities. That universal life energy supply is used up during the course of daily life, and needs to be replenished. When we are unable to replenish that energy for a prolonged period, we may become physically or emotionally ill. Tension/stress not released is stored in the fibers of the body’s organs, muscles, and connective tissue. Over time, this stored tension becomes a toxic form of energy, blocking the flow of this energy through the body, as well as the body’s ability to absorb it, eventually causing any of the preventable diseases encountered in the Western World.
A Reiki treatment provides the recipient with a concentrated, powerful infusion/booster shot of this life force/Reiki energy, and balances its flow and absorption in the body. The practitioner providing the therapy acts as a channel, or conduit for the concentrated flow of this energy from the practitioner’s hands into the recipient’s body. The recipient, then, applies that energy however, and where ever it is needed. No personal energy is drawn from the practitioner. On the contrary, the practitioner is simultaneously recharged and strengthened.
Training to be a Reiki Channel/practitioner is conducted in three steps/attunements. The first degree (Level 1) gives the practitioner the tools for self healing. The second degree (Level 2) provides the tools to support others in their healing efforts. The third degree (Level 3) provides the tools as well as the strength of practice to teach others.
The Origins of Reiki:
This natural healing system is described in 2,500-year old Sanskrit writings. That places its practice at roughly 600 years BCE, in the India-Tibet area. That would be within 100 years or so of when Lao Tsu is said to have written or coordinated the writing of the Tao Te Ching. No one knows how old the practice actually is.
In the 19th century, a Japanese monk or college professor (depending on who you read), Dr. Mikao Usui, rediscovered the practice as a result of his personal 20-year quest to learn the basis for the practice of healing with the hands. Dr. Mikao is said to have brought the practice back to Japan, where he proceeded to teach and practice the technique for the remainder of his life. This “Usui system” of energy healing has since been passed down by Reiki Masters, and is now practiced on a world-wide basis.
Dr. Usui coined the Japanese phrase, Reiki, which describes this healing technique. Reiki is actually two words, or characters in kanji. The character, Rei, describes the cosmic, universal aspect of the energy in question, and the character, ki, represents the fundamental life force that flows naturally through all things.
How Reiki Effects Your Body:
The body has its own natural healing capabilities that are fueled by this universal life/Reiki energy. Reiki therapy replenishes the recipient’s Reiki energy supply, while removing blockages to the energy flow, and balancing its absorption by each and every cell of the body. During this process, the recipient moves into a deep state of relaxation, softening and relaxing every muscle, connective tissue, and organ in the body. That softening removes the blockages of energy flow and makes all fibers and cells in the body more absorbent to the Reiki energy and nutrients ingested and breathed.
The body enlarges its capacity to breath. The heart rate drops. More effective oxygen transfer results in a greater quantity of oxygen being delivered to the brain, as well as every other organ in the body. The body’s metabolism works just like every other combustion system. The more oxygen is delivered the more effective the process. Thinking becomes clearer. Insights into particular questions or problems occur more readily. The natural chemicals produced by the body become those associated with resisting infection and disease, as opposed to those that support the fight/flight scenario, such as the stress hormone, adrenaline.
The Benefits and/or Drawbacks of Reiki:
A normal Reiki treatment takes about an hour. In the face of a stressful event or situation, though, a level 1 practitioner can reduce the body’s production of the stress hormone, adrenaline, in just a few minutes, by placing the hands over the kidneys – that’s very near the adrenal gland that produces that hormone when conditions become stressful.
A level 1 practitioner, over time, becomes very aware of events/sensations occurring in their own body, and can, therefore, more quickly spot internal tension as it begins to occur in the face of a stressful situation. When that awareness occurs, releasing the tension is as easy and quick as a deep sigh with the hands placed over the heart, the sternum, or the kidneys.
Practitioners giving treatment experience the same rejuvenating recharge as is experienced by the recipient often leaving the treatment with the same feelings of peace and well-being.
Self healing is a crucial first step to becoming a channel for Reiki energy. Only when you have taken responsibility for your own health and well-being can you position yourself to assist others in their own healing processes. Self treatment reduces stress, relaxes you, and strengthens your power to resist illness. At a higher level, it also brings harmony and well-being into your life.
How Reiki Can Help You Manage Your Stress Level:
A Reiki self treatment early in the day enables you to begin your day with no tension stored in the body. At the end of the day, a quick self treatment enables you to spot tension stored in the body from the events of the day. You can then quickly release that tension. In most cases this insures a restful, continuous, night’s sleep.
During the day, as events occur, the self awareness a Reiki practice provides will enable you to spot tension as it begins – often times even before it begins - to build in the body. Releasing becomes an automatic reaction rather than something that takes time, focus, and a private spot.
Barring the above, a Reiki treatment provided by a practitioner releases all the tension/emotions/memories stored in the body, replenishes and balances the healing energy, and promotes clearer, more insightful thinking, reduces the heart rate, and strengthens the immune system.
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