May 25, 2017

Wellness Series: 3 Tips to Eating Well

Welcome to a NEW! Wellness Series for Living Well! Today I’m focusing on Eating Well. In a series of posts within the next week, I will be sharing with you my view a living well which will range from all over the wellness wheel and continuum including eating, movement, stress, relationships, and even occupational wellness… with my own perspective included.

Overall my view of wellness is very well rounded, flexible, and rather holistic but not extreme- meaning I always try to first find and explore natural methods of living well or lifestyle changes to live better but I’m not completely against Western medicine.

Of the first of many posts in this series, we are starting with Eating Well.

First let me give you a few disclaimers:

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May 17, 2017

Summer Survival Eating Tips

HELLO summer! Even though we’re outside in the sunshine, going on vacations, and enjoying BBQ’s with friends, we can still eat healthy during the summer months.

Today is a guest post from my friend, Shannon! In the last year, Shannon & I have collaborated together on wellness events, speaking events, and just connecting really well. Since moving to South Dakota, Shannon has been a great friend and I’m so thankful for her.

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March 1, 2017

4 Things to do during March for National Nutrition Month

Hello, March 1st. You always arrive quickly since your sister, February, is so short (or in my family, we may refer to this as vertically challenged). Regardless it’s so good to see you because that means that spring is quickly approaching!

Since March is National Nutrition Month, there 4 easy-peasy things we could do to enhance our nutrition health with big rewards.

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December 9, 2016

Local Review: Braymiller Market in Hamburg, NY

My hometown is Hamburg, NY. And even though it has been many, many years since I have permanently resided in this town, I visit regardless of what state I currently call home. My whole family still lives in this town and it’s a great community that continues to grow and is quite more trendy now with more restaurants, boutique shops and events. 
And this place, Braymiller Market, usually gets my business. For me, this is a staple.
This local produce and grocery stand has been in business for years. Years! It started as a roadside stand and has grown over the years. I know so many people who have worked there over the years, including my best friend. But the interesting part for me is that ownership has recently switched to a dear family. Every summer during my college years, I was at this family’s house watching their kids. I remember having so much fun with these kids whether it was using chalk in the driveway, going to the zoo or aquarium, or scavenger hunts, or making science experiments, swimming, etc. And now, they own this staple of a market.

Which, by the way, these kids I watched are grown adults now. How does that happen? Aren’t they supposed to stay little forever? Did they not get the memo? 

Main point: Great family.
Anyways this market is just down the road from my childhood home and we were frequent customers. Heck, my family still is a frequent customer. But when I stop by, I don’t hesitate to get some bananas and fresh veggies for dinner. The food is fresh and local, and there is a deli, grocery area, ice cream parlor, etc. 
If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by. Tell the owner that Laura says hi, and that his kids need to stop growing up so fast. Did I really just say that? #I’mgettingold
November 4, 2016

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Brain

I love food. And I love how food impacts our health and bodies which we have control. I believe that food can change us, at times- cure us, and heal us. But when I found this video, I wanted to share it with you because it’s another way which details about how food affects our brain, our mood, and our sleep. But it may also serve as a great reminder too. This video reiterates the facts that the food we eat impacts all aspects of our wellness. It.is.THAT.powerful.
It’s another way to prove and showcase the importance of eating lots of greens, some fruits, and complex carbs and lean proteins. There can be balance in a nutritional diet, and ideally stricter diets if trying to lose weight, reach health goals to impact your lipid profile or cholesterol, reach athletic goals.  
Our perception of our nutrition habits can be misleading or off. The best way to identify the details of nutrition is to track your food. You could certainly do it with pen and paper, but honestly the tools online to use e-trackers make it fool proof. MyFitnessPal is very popular and rather user-friendly. But food logs or food journals are the first step to identifying nutritional gaps in your diet.
*Let’s also mention that many times we think we already know what we are eating- how much, what quantities, and what’s appropriate for us right now.  But our nutritional needs change and vary based on our activity, age, special circumstances (pregnancy, illness, healthy goal setting, etc), and therefore doing a food log is actually helpful for awareness and adjustments. 
Are you eating enough?
Is is quality food to benefit your body and brain?
How are your other aspects of wellness (mood, emotions, sleep, intellectual, etc) affected lately?
Changes in our nutritional diet can make big differences when it tailored to our needs. Not everyone is the same as we each may need certain tweaks for our needs, but the basis is the same and this video highlights that well. 
So routinely enjoy more nutrient rich greens, juicy fruits with fiber, and lean proteins. You’ll feel fuller longer, giving your body and brain the nutrients is needs and deserves, and your mood and sleep will reap the benefits along the way. 

September 2, 2016

Healthy Lunch On-The-Go

You know those days where you are running and running and running from thing to thing, or commitment to commitment, and you need lunch NOW? But you want it healthy and you want it quick? Often times, my go-to is tuna. Yes, canned tuna. All the people who hate tuna just said YUCK outloud. #Iheardyou. 
Now this is very simple. Like, so simple. But you know how sometimes you just need a reminder of how simple lunch can be?! Not rocket science. Just simple. 

But here me out- it’s quick and convenient, it’s healthy (hello, omega 3?!), and it’s cheap. It’s low in saturated fat and a great source of protein. Get the light tuna in water and you are good.to.go. (Heck, salmon would be awesome too!!)
The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week: “Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death.  Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly).” {link}

I usually put tuna on top of sliced cucumbers or sliced tomatoes, with pepper on top. Then I’ll have a side of something else- apple and almonds, and maybe a string cheese, for example. Because then, in one meal I’m getting a protein, veg, fruit, some healthy nuts, and maybe some dairy. 
Have a great long weekend!
Eat healthy, my friends. #moderation

August 30, 2016

Confession: I Don’t Follow Recipes

It’s true.     

I don’t typically follow recipes.
Julia Child - the first celebrity chef I started following.:
I enjoy creating food items-
cooking, baking, gardening, etc. I find it therapeutic. 
I like knowing what
ingredients are in my food, choosing which ingredients go in my food, 
and the
notion of ‘farm to table’ living. It gives me the opportunity to make healthy 
meals for my family and also, let’s be real- save some serious money. 
Because
making my own food is so much cheaper and typically, healthier, if you choose.


But following a recipe???


In most cases, I’d rather go off the beaten path. 
When it comes to cooking (more
so cooking than baking), I don’t follow recipes. 
I “eye ball” measurements in
my hand and add flavor based on taste. Do many of you do this too?? Some may call this laziness  creativity (eh hem), I call it learning. I mean, typically I’ll look at a few
recipes to get inspired and then I’ll do my own thing. So if my husband says, ‘you
should make that one dish we had last Thursday night’, I’m typically left in
wonder (first, what I make? Second, what did I put in that time??). Because let’s be honest, depending on the dish, it may not be the same twice. And sometimes it takes
me a couple tries to find my own version and my rhythm, but it works. Again, creativity. Learning, let’s say.
This method typically works in my favor because I end up creating food based on
the items I have on hand in my kitchen. And usually, it’s because I have a slew of leftovers that I want to use up because I hate throwing away large amounts of food. So I try to be resourceful. For example, tonight we are going to have a chicken soup because I have a bunch of leftover chicken I roasted recently, a bunch of leftover roasted potatoes from yesterday, a bunch of fresh spinach I can use, plus some seasonings and flavor and VOILA! (It makes much more sense to me when I’m just throwing things into the crockpot or stockpot) But if you noticed- everything is already cooked, so I just have to throw it together. I’m banking on dinner being done in 20 minutes. Wanna bet on it?
However
there have been plenty of times where this hasn’t worked in my favor. Once I
was rushing way too much while making chili (typically one of the easier dishes to make) and instead of putting in a bunch of chili
powder, I put in a bunch of red pepper flakes by accident. Oh my goodness, our
mouths were ON FIRE. #oops. Lesson learned, focus and don’t rush.
So maybe that’s the lesson in life… 
Learn from the life recipes of others… but create your own. 
Happy Tuesday.

August 10, 2016

How to Get a Healthy Brain

I’m a proud flashes graduate (#kentstateuniversity) and in
their recent alumni magazine, they had so many articles about how researchers
are discovering more about advancing our health. I plan to share these with
you- and give credit to these amazing researchers and authors.
The one article was about how researchers are discovering
how we can “train and maintain a healthy
brain”.”
Well the article is quite interesting. According to John Gunstad,
Ph.D, professor of psychological sciences and director of KSU’s Applied
Psychology Center, he indicates that extra lbs weigh down our brains.
He indicates that he, along with his research colleagues,
are still figuring this out. But so far, there are some hypothesis’. Erin
Peterson, author of the article “Use Your Head”, indicated that Gunstad predicts
that “gaining weight seems to make it
harder for our bodies to regulate sugar, and even modest disruptions in these
blood sugar levels can make it harder for our brains to work the way they’re
supposed to.”
 
The good news?
Even losing a few pounds can reap rewards right away.
Gunstad says, “Individuals who start
losing weight may notice improvements even within the first couple weeks.”

A-mazing.
If you need help losing a few lbs., let me know and I can
help you.

Treat your body well with healthy food and movement.  

Have a great day!

April 28, 2016

Companies Focusing on Lowering Salt

This is encouraging news!

Mars Food, a popular brand of foods who manufactures Uncle Ben’s rice products, pledged to lower the sodium content in its processed foods by an average of 20 percent by 2021″. It also made a public push to the FDA to bring more awareness to the issue. 
This is big news because there is so much salt in prepackage foods and when big food companies, such as Mars Inc, makes a big announcement to say HEY THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE!, that’s just awesome. 
Salt is consumed in too high of quantities in the US and it leads to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. 
With a devoted effort and action steps, we can change the forecast of the American diet together. 
March 22, 2016

Food labels- Ingredients

We, as Americans, have been looking at food labels for years. Maybe you look at the food labels as a regular part of your grocery shopping. Or maybe you don’t ever look at them due to lack of interest or not knowing what you are reading. However the most important aspect of the entire food label is the list of ingredients at the bottom. 
If the entire food label was eliminated, the ingredients list would be the key aspect which would beg to remain. 
Here’s the deal…
The ingredients are listed in order of quantity. 
The ingredient listed first is the ingredient the product most contains. The ingredients listed towards the end are minimal. Therefore the first three ingredients listed are your most important to pay attention. You can read through the rest of the ingredients list, but if you are in a rush- just focus on the first three ingredients listed. 
Look for “whole” in whole grains. 
This is especially true in breads and pastas, crackers and cereals. Product marketing can really fool an innocent consumer with words of white whole wheat or multigrain. The word ‘whole’ should be listed in the first couple ingredients, in whole wheat, rye, oats, or another similar grain carbohydrate. The word “enriched” means that the grain has been stripped of some/all of it’s nutrients. 
Sugar in disguise
Many items have sugar- even naturally sugars, such as fruit. However in regards to items which require a nutrition label of ingredients, we unfortunately find the slew of sugars in an item. Ingredients ending in -ose are sugar products. This would include fructose, dextrose and sucrose. Yes, they may add more flavor however it can also contribute to weight gain 
Trans fats
Trans fats are either made naturally or artificially. When artificially trans fatty acids are created it is by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them a solid. We should be replacing the trans fats in our diets with monounsaturted and polyunsaturated fats. By reducing our trans fat and saturated fat consumption, we can reduce our risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and stroke. The American Heart Association has an easy to read FAQ list. 
In summary…
The key is whole foods and balance. 
Try to consume lots of food that don’t even have a label! This would be everything in the produce isle at the grocery store- the fruits and vegetables. 
Everything in moderation. The issue typically becomes when we eat too much of the unhealthy items and/or too often. It’s okay to have an item which doesn’t fit in the categories above, but be limited in how much and how often they are consumed. 
Strive for the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time so for the remaining 20%, you can have a little dessert or treat. Moderation. 
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