Category Archives: Healthy Food

Foods to Avoid While Suffering From Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is common in mid and old aged people, especially in the women after menopause. It is a disease in which bones become porous and as a result, the patient becomes more susceptible to the bone fractures. This is very risky and people are usually unaware of its symptoms until they suffer from a fracture. In fact, this disease develops silently without any prior warnings.

Statistics show that osteoporosis causes nearly 8.9 million fractures every year and this number is increasing day by day. Every 3 second, one fracture happens due to this disease. It actually erodes the density of bones or decreases the mass of bones. The bones become so fragile that they may break down even with the little bumps or sneeze. It is estimated that nearly 200 million women are affected globally with this disease. Proper diet and regular exercise may restore their health.

Most of the experts suggest calcium-rich to fight it out. But absorption of calcium by the body is equally important in the case of Osteoporosis. So, along with eating healthy and calcium oriented foods, you need to work on the process of calcium absorption in the body. Vitamin D does it naturally. However, there are few foods that not only decline calcium but also reduce its absorption process. They can accentuate the menace of this disease. Here are those foods to avoid while suffering from this severe bone condition:

Avoid Too Much of Salt:

Salt is a major ingredient of almost every recipe but its excessive intake can be hazardous in many ways. Particularly, in the case of Osteoporosis, it can increase the calcium loss of body through urine. A research stated that increase of 100 mmol salts in the diet can expel calcium amounting 1.4 mmol from the body. Perhaps, it equates to 1% extra loss of bone every year. Food constituted of high salt include processed meat, burger, pizzas, snacks, canned soup, bread, tacos, fries, hot dogs, and canned vegetable or vegetable juices. These foods should be avoided or kept limited in the diet to escape the loss of bones.

Refrain from Carbonated Drinks:

Soft drinks lack the content of calcium and most of them contain phosphoric acid that can increase the loss of calcium through urine. It has a dual effect and makes the condition of bones more vulnerable to the diseases like this.

Avoid Caffeine:

Caffeine can leach away calcium from bones and hamper its strength to some extent. On an average, consumption of 100 mg caffeine can cost you to lose 6 mg of calcium. Avoid coffee, tea, soda and caffeine-laden drinks in this disease. Reach out for decaffeinated tea or iced tea in such cases.

Stay Away From Sugar:

Though sugar is important, but its excess quantity in diet can increase the sugar level in the blood which directly affects the erosion of calcium. It can increase calcium excretion through urine. Food like cakes, candies, juices, canned soup, biscuits, and granola bars should be completely avoided.

You should refrain from the intake of all these food items while suffering from the extreme bone issue like osteoporosis.

Healthy Meal Plans For Women

As compared to men, the nutritional requirements for women are quite different. To get the required amount of nutrients, there are certain rules that women need to follow such as eating a minimum of 5 fruits and a vegetable in a day including the whole-grains, consuming poultry, fish, pulses and beans as well as less of red meat while choosing low sugar, and low fat dairy foods. However it is also worth noting that nutritional needs usually vary in accordance to size, sex and the level of activity.
Breakfast
A good idea is to ensure that you include protein for breakfast such as eggs, dairy, lean ham or salmom. This is important as we burn more calories as we digest proteins instead of carbs. Therefore, when you ensure that breakfast has proteins, this will work to rev your metabolism. Since proteins helps to keep your fuller for a longer period of time, this will help you to eat some fewer calories for the other part of your days.
It doesn’t have to take longer to prepare a protein breakfast. All you will have to do is to top the morning toast with some scrambled eggs, a salmon slice or lean ham. No matter what you choose, the most important thing is to skip breakfast. This is important as it will set the blood sugar on a roller coaster and this can cause you to choose some wrong foods. You should bear in mind that breakfast can play an important role to your intake of calories on a daily basis and it can also help you to maintain that healthy weight.
Lunch
You should ensure that lunch consist of starchy carbs and lean proteins. Foods that are rich in carbs play an important role in supplying energy. If you do not consume them, you may end up suffering from the mid-afternoon slump. A good idea would be to select carbs that enables the blood sugars to rise steadily.
Dinner
During dinner, you do not have to avoid carbs as they are rich in fibers, have low fat and can help you to relax. A good idea would be to combine carbs with some healthy and essential fats such as what is found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. You should also consume seeds, nuts and their oils. The body will use these healthy fats overnight for the purpose of repair and regeneration and this can go a long way in regenerating healthy hair and skin.

Side Effect of Cold Drinks

Cold Drinks / Beverages / Fizzy Drinks:

Soda is one of the most consumed beverages in the United States, second only to water. Here in the States, Americans guzzle 57 gallons of soda per person every year, as if it wasn’t full of sugary calories. But what’s happening inside the bodies of soda consumers with each sip causing several side effects of cold drinks.

As soon as soda is swallowed, the pancreas is notified and rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to move sugar from food or drink into the bloodstream, where cells are then able to use sugar for energy. Within just 20 minutes, blood sugar levels spike and the liver responds to the insulin by turning sugar into fat for storage.

Within 45 minutes of gulping down a single 20-ounce glass of soda, caffeine from the drink is fully absorbed, and as a result your pupils dilate and blood pressure rises. The body produces more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain – just like a low-grade line of cocaine.

When the hour chimes, the body begins to experience a blood sugar crash, which is around the same time a person reaches for their second soda, or for another sweet and sugar snack to suffice. Soda’s connection to the obesity epidemic is so intertwined, Harvard researchers have calculated each additional soda consumed increases the risk of obesity 1.6 times.

  • Beverage companies know the haphazard sugar cycle as well as side effects of cold drinks all too well. In the United States, they spend approximately $3.2 billion in marketing each year in an effort to tempt consumers to pick up a liter of brown bubbly sugar with their pizza, or a case of cans for their child’s next birthday party. Those little children have an 80 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they become regular soda drinkers. Their future will be one full of kidney problems, reproductive issues, osteoporosis, asthma, and bad teeth with dissolved tooth enamel.

Belching & Heartburn:

Carbonated beverages contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes a gas when it warms to body temperature in your stomach. Consuming carbonated soft drinks may cause repeated belching as your stomach stretches from the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas. Food and stomach acid may come up your food pipe as you belch, causing heartburn and a sour taste in your mouth.

Poor Nutrition:

Consumption of carbonated soft drinks can adversely affect your overall nutrient intake. Drinking these beverages may reduce your consumption of proteins, starch, dietary fiber and vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin. People who drink carbonated beverages also tend to eat less fruit and drink less fruit juice compared to those who do not drink sodas.

Tooth Decay:

Regular and diet carbonated soft drinks can harm your teeth and can be one of the side effects of cold drinks. Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on sugar, producing chemicals that can break down the hard enamel of your teeth. A cavity forms when erosion of the enamel exposes the soft, inner core of your tooth. When you drink sweetened, carbonated soda, the sugar remains in your mouth, promoting the processes that lead to tooth decay. The acid in these carbonated drinks further increase the likelihood of developing cavities, because these chemicals also slowly erode the enamel of your teeth.

Eat Your Way To Good Health

You may have read a new nutritional guidebook called “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II. In that book, which emphasizes the health benefits of a supplement free vegetarian diet, you will find these three principles:

Optimal nutrition is based on eating food rather than swallowing nutrient supplements.

The closer that foods are to their native states (how they are at the peak of harvest freshness), prepared with minimal cooking, salt and processing, the greater the long-term health benefits of eating them.

It is best to choose locally and organically grown produce whenever possible.

I would add this: Drink and cook with filtered water, stay physically active by performing several hours of daily brisk walks, run, hike, bike, or swim plus include calisthenic strength training. Sleep at least eight hours each night, and take a twenty-minute power nap in the afternoon too if your schedule will allow it. Identify sources of stress in your life, form a plan to remove or manage stress. Put a smile on your face and be the positive influence on everyone you meet each day. Be moral, humble, faithful, and an honor to your family heritage and name.

I believe that people can establish the means to do the things that I added to the study findings, by consuming healthy vegetarian food in amounts that support their daily calorie burn, and in forms that provide essential nutrients. I do not agree that Vegan equals optimal health. Clean fish in two or three meals a week, poultry in two or three, and red meat in two or three are not harmful, and for the meat eaters in your family, these are the treats they crave. If you remove meat entirely, they will dismiss the diet.

This stops many folks from eating healthy: Bad habits. The eating habits of many people are so ingrained that the switch is as daunting as to stop speaking your native language. Are you a skilled cook? You had better acquire that skill, because you will pay far more money to purchase prepared meals, you have no guarantee that prepared meals are healthy, or you may not have an option where you live to find a source for prepared meals.

What is your daily routine? If your lifestyle is sedentary (mostly sitting and reclining), you are in the optimum position to make this change. Why? Mostly what you do is sit, stare at something, and eat. Rather than reach for a processed food in a bag or order online, plan one of the healthy meals around your most likely sitting situation (probably dinner). Prepare that meal (that will provide you with some physical activity). After a couple of weeks of preparing and eating healthy meals, do you feel better. Yes? Take the next step, and keep stepping ahead to end your bad habits permanently. You will love your life again!

A Low Sugar Diet Boosts Wellness

As we become more aware of the contribution of sugar to our hefty waistlines, we face hundreds of complicated food choices each day. We are also bombarded with messages from others who tell us that all calories are equal and it doesn’t matter which type of sugar you get your calories from. If you eat too much sugar, easy to do in this day of processed foods with corn derivatives added to everything from ‘artificial’ sweeteners to beef jerky, there is some truth to this claim. Too much sugar of any kind will cause you to gain weight, fuel inflammation, damage cells through oxidation and lead to diabetes and heart disease and more. The reasons for focusing on sugar intake are compelling.

The two primary forms of dietary sugar are fructose and glucose. Fructose comes from fruit and is often added to foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Glucose naturally comes from a variety of vegetables and fruits and is also added to processed foods. The body, and the brain, treat these two variants of sugar quite differently. Glucose is metabolized by insulin, which is excreted by the pancreas. Too much sugar spikes insulin levels and the body stores the excess insulin as fat. Over time, the heightened levels of insulin leads to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, often resulting in diabetes.

The liver metabolizes fructose directly, and any excess fructose increases triglyceride levels, which are also stored in the body as fat. Glucose serves as a source of energy for the cells and we need a small supply present in our blood stream to keep cells functioning correctly. Fructose serves no other purpose in our bodies so the excess levels are essentially fatty deposits and our bodies recognize them as toxins that must be removed. The first place damaged by these toxins is the liver itself, where fructose has the same effect as alcohol.

Elevated levels of glucose and fructose both stimulate the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which is the result of oxidative stress to the cells. Accelerated aging, inflammation and other diseases may result. Fructose accelerates this process at a rate seven times faster than glucose. Fructose also increases the production of uric acid, high levels of which are indicated for gout, kidney stones and hypertension.

Excess sugar and fructose in particular, feeds pathogenic bacteria in your gut, which can lead to digestive disorders and inflammation. Sustained high fructose diets can result in leptin resistance, which is a hormone that helps to regulate our metabolism and appetite. This feeds rapid weight gain. Fructose actually stimulates hunger desires in the brain, whereas glucose does not. The more fructose you eat, the more resistant you become to it and the more you want to eat.

The answer is to avoid packaged foods that are high in sugars and have refined sugar and starches as primary ingredients. In addition to high fructose corn syrup, products with names like malt syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey and molasses are all likely to have high fructose levels. Keep fruit consumption under control, but there is no need to eliminate fruit entirely as fruits supply many essential vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Use nutrient-rich vegetables as a good source of complex carbohydrates that provide our bodies with the source of glucose energy we need without spiking insulin levels. The most important thing is to recognize that too much sugar of either variety is not helpful to your diet and health.

How I Got My Nutrition on Track

80% of your progress in the gym comes down to nutrition. My failures with nutrition came from my lack of proper education and planning to the 10th power. I went crazy not knowing how I should be eating to increase my effectiveness in the weight room. I mean, with the variety of dietary theories out there how do I choose the one? I tried going paleo, vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan and gluten free all with the goal of finding something I could actually stick to! Through my own trial and errors I finally have my nutrition on track and wanted to share some tips if you need some guidance.

The Diet

My lifestyle is generally centered around following a whole foods diet. Whole foods are those that have been minimally processed or completely unprocessed when you eat them. Yes girl, this means actually cooking the majority of your meals.

I feel my best and reach my goals in the gym eating this way because the body can efficiently use whole foods as fuel without the BS. I constantly keep in mind that food is fuel. I am a premium car and my food is the gas I need to keep moving. Keeping this in mind helps me remember that whatever I put into my body will either fuel me for whatever I need to do for the day or it won’t. Since training in the gym is a top priority for me, what I eat plays an even more important role. Going hard in the gym and primarily eating whole foods gives me the freedom and flexibility to eat what I want. I can choose to eat something processed here and there and not worry about killing my progress. I’m not going to hide that pizza is life, but I just don’t feel my best during the day fueled by a heavily processed pizza. When I really want a good pizza I hit up a place like Pizza Fusion (currently only in FL, NJ, VA in the states!) because I like to know what ingredients I’m putting into my body.

This leads me to say that my ability to go hard in the gym comes with a few things:

Goals – The importance of having goals can drive your nutritional choices and help you stay on track.
Values – I personally believe in a balanced lifestyle so I wouldn’t partake in a diet that I don’t believe in and you shouldn’t either. When the way you eat already aligns with your lifestyle and values it’s automatically easier to stay on track.
Fitness Regimen – When you work out consistently you don’t want to NOT see progress. Progress always happens with consistency so keeping this in mind makes it easier to stick to your goals when your dedication to your fitness is above all else.
KISS/Staples – Next, I’ve found that keeping meals simple and sticking with your staples helps tremendously. Essentially just sticking to what you know works for you and the kinds of food you like. Practice getting good at the basics so you can excel. Don’t get crazy at first or you will get sidetracked.

The Plan
Create a menu for the week and know exactly what you are going to have for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. When you plan ahead you can stick to your budget and you don’t randomly buy things you don’t need because you already planned ahead of time. Know your weaknesses (mine is my little sweet tooth) and plan ahead! To combat my cravings for sweet things, I’ve been eating mangoes, grapes and pineapples whenever it hits. I know fruits work to stop the craving long enough for me to shift my focus to something else. I’ll also eat healthier cookies like Lenny & Larry’s that double as a great protein source. I make a plan for when I will allow myself an extra indulgence as well. I’ll check my calendar to see if a birthday or event is coming up where I will most likely be able to eat something sweet. For example, my 4 year anniversary is tomorrow so you know I’m definitely planning on enjoying a treat and the celebration!

The Habits

Below are a list of habits I’ve maintained long enough to experience the positive nutritional benefits. Don’t ever worry about breaking habits overnight. The goal is to work toward your goals and be more conscious about your eating habits. When you create excellent habits, eating another way won’t even taste as good anymore as your tastebuds will be trained to like what you’ve been giving it more recently!*

– Drinking water as the main beverage
– No sweets in the house, only enjoy out
– No extra sugar. Use stevia for tea
– No junk food (chips, cookies, processed meals)
– Snack on fresh fruit for sweet cravings
– Green tea as main caffeine source (nothing against coffee I’m just a tea drinker!)
– Minimize salt
– No alcohol
– Taking a multivitamin

*This doesn’t mean I don’t have something not on the list occasionally, it just means this is what I have made into habits that now come as naturally to me as breathing air.

At the end of the day, the way you eat should make you feel more alive. I sincerely hope that you give yourself the chance to explore what works for you and your goals if you feel like you need a change. Since processed food was never meant to be a main way of eating it’s important to understand the basics of nutrition to help you make choices that can best serve your future. If the way you’re eating keeps you sane, healthy, happy and progressive towards goals then you know you are doing something right.

Why Do You Need Sports Nutrition

Whether you are exercising to improve your health, a professional athlete or a bodybuilder, the sports nutrition plays a vital role in optimizing beneficial effects of physical activity. Choosing a right nutrition can result in injury prevention, improved performance, and recovery.

According to Thomas Edison, “The doctor of future will no longer treat human frame with drugs, rather will prevent and cure disease with nutrition”.

In order to support your goals and health, different nutrition professionals offer a number of services. Moreover, these nutrition can range from a daily food diary, to comprehensive nutrition and food plan for competitions and training.

Here we will explore the importance of sports nutrition, and how a sports nutritionist can support our training regime. Also, they covered supplements and nutrients that are frequently included in the dietary program of athletes. We will discuss these things in details.

The importance of sports nutrition

Consuming balanced food and drink is very important for us all. However, people that are actively participating in sport on a routine basis should know that it can also affect their performance. For instance, athletes, may require more calories compared to average people.

Those who are athletes, or even people that make up their mind to start exercising on a daily basis, should not let a good nutrition plan fall down on their list of priorities.

Sports performance and the energy

Protein, carbohydrates, and fats all provide our body with fuel to maintain the energy. Furthermore, carbohydrates are a primary fuel used by our working muscles. The adequate intake is necessary for preventing muscle fatigue. You are advised to monitor the fat intake, but do not completely remove it from the diet.

Fats provide fatty acids in our body that can be used an energy source – especially if your exercise sessions last more than an hour. These fats also provide the building blocks for hormones as well as formation of cell walls.

Proteins can be used as an energy source and they are critical for building new muscle tissues. People that are taking part in resistance training, their body will require additional protein.

Weight management

Eating well is very important to maintain a healthy weight. So, if you are trying to lose weight, strictly reducing fat, calorie intake or protein can have a negative impact on your performance. Meanwhile, it can also rigorously harm your body.

Some specific and useful foods that you should be a part of the diet for the optimum sports nutrition include:

· Whole grains

· Vegetables

· Fruit

· Healthy fats.

· Hydration, and

· Sources of lean protein as well as low-fat dairy products

Staying hydrated is of utmost importance, especially when you are taking part in any sport. The inadequate fluid intake can lead to dehydration. It also affects the performance, and could be dangerous for health as well.

Although dehydration can occur in any activity, it is very prevalent when exercising in humid and hot conditions. The perfect thing for re-hydration is water, but it is advised to use sports drinks with electrolytes, for those who are engaged in the physical activity for longer than an hour.

After the event

You are highly advised to avoid neglecting your nutritional needs, if you have had to walk the last half-mile of your run due to fatigue or even the things have not gone according to your plan in your game. No matter what the result is, it should be your priority.

Footballers, casual runners, athletes, and others typically do not consume enough fluids when they take part in different events, or trainings. So, it is very important to restore the balance after every event. The water is perfect for rehydration.

How sports nutrition professionals can help?

The major aim of a dietitian or sports nutritionist is to create a nutrition plan for the training needs of different clients. The plans will incorporate hydration and food. It does not matter whether you are training for professional events or exercising casually, sports nutrition is very integral to performance.

Such a strategy can also help to:

· Enhance recovery.

· Promote good health

· Increase energy levels

· Help manage weight

· Develop growth and body composition

· Improve concentration

In order to create an effective nutrition strategy, sports nutrition professionals should always assess not just your diet and training, but also day-to-day habits, lifestyle, supplements and whether you are taking any medication. Nutrition professionals should also support as well as be able to analyze you with your short-term and long-term goals.

Nutrients

Carbohydrates

The 2 key forms of carbohydrates are, 1. Starchy or complex, and 2. Simple sugars.

Complex carbohydrates, are also known as the starches, and they include grains such as pasta, rice and bread. Just like simple sugars, some complex carbohydrates are better than others. Processed refined grains like, white flour and white rice are less favorable because the fiber and nutrients are removed.

Rather, nutritionists recommend that where possible, people should opt for unrefined grains that are still packed full of minerals, fiber and vitamins.

Whereas, the simple sugars can be found in refined products and provide a sweet taste. These are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk products.

We can also add them to our foods using honey, white or brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses, etc. Although all types of sugars that we eat are used by our body in the same way, but it is highly suggested to get simple sugars from foods that are rich in sugars naturally because such foods also contain important nutrients and fiber.

Fats

It is an essential component of every diet because it is a great source of energy as well as helps our body to absorb nutrients.

Although fats are very important, but we should still monitor the quantity of intake. Using a lot of fats could result in excess weight gain and in increased risks of severe health concerns.

The saturated fats can easily be found in different animal products as well as processed foods like, chips, meat and dairy products. Such fat type is not considered to be healthy for the human heart and is thought to raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Avocados, nuts, oily fish and olives are rich in unsaturated fats. Such fats are considered to be healthy for our heart and can work to raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels as well as lower the LDL cholesterol levels.

Protein

Every cell of our body contains it and due to this reason protein is important for helping to repair and build tissues. Proteins are also used to make hormones, enzymes and a number of additional body chemicals. Furthermore, proteins are very crucial for forming the building blocks of bones, blood, cartilage, skin and muscles.

Some of the most common protein foods include fish, meat, eggs, nuts, soya products, seeds and pulses.

Supplements

Different bodybuilders, sportsmen and athletes use supplements to boost their performance, recovery and strength. Supplements are available in a number of forms ranging from minerals and multivitamins through to creatine, protein and many other ‘ergogenic’ aids.

You are advised to ensure that your diet is balanced, healthy and suits your sport, before opting to take any form of supplement. It is also advised to consult a registered nutritionist or an accredited sports dietician before if you have decided to take additional nutrients in supplemental form. These experts can assess your suitability for a particular supplement.

Some common sports supplements include the following:

Creatine

It is a high-energy compound which helps to provide and store energy. It is produced within our body, and is naturally available in meat and fish. It can also be taken in the form of supplements.

In order to increase muscle strength, creatine is used by sportsmen and athletes as a dietary supplement. It is intended to boost performance during frequent, high-intensity exercise and also help you train for longer.

Whey protein

A natural protein which is naturally present in milk, and contains very little carbohydrate, lactose or fat. It is considered a naturally complete protein, which means whey is made up of all essential amino acids that are required in our average daily diet.

Also housing the perfect combination of amino acids, this protein also contains branch chain of amino acids (BCAAs) that are the 1st ones to be used while intense training. Whey provides our body with these amino acids and in turn they assist with rebuilding and repairing lean muscle tissue.

Whey protein is extremely easy to digest so it can provide instant nourishment to our muscles and can absorb quickly.

Energy drinks

It is extremely important to stay well hydrated during training and exercise. Even a little amount of dehydration could be detrimental to your performance levels. Although, drinking water is considered a good way to keep ourselves hydrated during exercise. Still, some bodybuilders and athletes opt for energy drinks, especially people that undertake endurance events like long distance running.

A number of energy drinks consist of sodium and other electrolytes that encourage drinking and help us to stimulate thirst. They also enhance our body’s ability to hold the water. Furthermore, carbohydrates contained in many energy drinks and can provide us with extra energy which may be needed in the latter stages of training.

Finding the Best Locations for Healthy Foods

Eating right is an important part of a lifestyle that encourages overall benefits. It can help you to look and feel your best. It can provide your body with the energy it needs and assist with weight management. It also reduces the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Making positive changes can start with a plan of action and health food stores.

Selection

Eating better doesn’t mean you are limited to just a few food items that you will quickly become bored with. It doesn’t mean you can’t have any of the items you love – but you need to consume those in moderation. Selection is important for you to gain from health food stores. This allows you to try new foods, to create new meal ideas, and to avoid feeling limited.

Most health food stores strive to offer plenty of great products all the time. Some of the items they offer such as fresh fruits and vegetables may rotate due to the season. Some of them are grown all year long and others are only available during certain times of the year. They make sure you have access to what you need to eat better than before.

Look for a provider offering brands of healthy food items that have a great reputation. The best results come from foods you prepare from a raw state. However, that isn’t always practical or possible. There are times when you need packaged food items, but they can still be a healthy choice. Take the time to read labels and find out what the ingredients are before you buy.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you eat food that is tasteless or that doesn’t taste good. Instead, you should be excited about what you are going to consume. Select food items that are full of good nutrients but also pleasing to your taste buds. Be creative, experiment with new foods to see what you like, and find recipe books that give you some great ideas.

Convenience

One of the reasons people don’t eat well is they are in a hurry. There are fast food joints everywhere you turn where you can get greasy fries and burgers. Thankfully, there are more health food stores than before. Thanks to the demand for them by consumers, they are becoming more common. Find those conveniently located close to where you live and work.

If you travel often for work or for fun, use your smart phone or computer to find out where health food stores are located. Stocking up on food items from such a location rather than dining out will save you money. It will also help you to stay on track with your eating habits and goals. Find a hotel offering a kitchenette and refrigerator if you would like to prepare some meals.

Affordable

Not all health food stores charge you a fortune to eat better. In fact, many of them strive to keep the prices affordable so you can budget for them. Comparison shop so you can get an idea of the prices and where you find the best deals. You can also save money by planning meals based on what is in season or what is on sale at that point in time.

You can’t put a price tag though on feeling better physically and mentally. Eating foods that reduce fat intake and reducing the amount of unhealthy carbs you consume all adds up. It can be hard at first to make those changes but planning meals, planning snacks, and staying focused can help you make it a lifestyle change and ongoing habit.

Healthy Bones Need Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to helping your body to absorb calcium, which increases healthy bone density and calcium levels in the bloodstream. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in older adults. Many people take calcium supplements to help support healthy and strong bones. Without a good consistent supply of vitamin D, most of that calcium, along with calcium from natural foods, will simply pass through your body. In addition to supporting healthy bones, vitamin D also supports the immune system, cell regeneration and reduces inflammation. Vitamin D has also shown protective properties against colon cancer.

Many of us associate a good dose of sunshine with the best way to replenish supplies of vitamin D. When our skin is exposed to sun, we absorb ultraviolet B rays that the body uses to convert cholesterol into vitamin D. All you need is about ten minutes of direct, midday sun exposure when the sun is high to get a good healthy dose of vitamin D. Excessive cloudiness, long cold wintry days and concerns about excessive skin exposure to ultraviolet rays means we need to make sure we find adequate supplies of vitamin D in our diet. In addition, vitamin D is fat-soluble so it is important to make sure your diet includes essential fatty acids like Omega-3, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and butter.

The best natural food sources for vitamin D are the fatty fishes including, salmon, shrimp, tuna, sardines and swordfish. The next good sources are dairy products including milk, cheese, yoghurt and eggs. Some fortified products, specifically juices and breakfast cereals, are boosted with vitamin D. The benefit of this may be more than offset by the amount of sugar or wheat gluten included in those products. Please read the label carefully before selecting such products.

Obtaining sufficient vitamin D from food alone may not be enough to support healthy bones. Add to that limited sunshine exposure and aging processes that alter the body’s ability to absorb calcium, particularly in post-menopausal women, and vitamin D supplements are a good alternative. Many of these supplements are listed either D2 or D3. While both are effective, the primary difference appears to be that D3 is better absorbed in higher doses.

Absorbing vitamin D from foods or from sunshine will not create any risk of overdosing on this essential substance. It is important to observe the recommended daily allowances on the container very carefully to avoid taking too much. Too much vitamin D can become slightly toxic to your body. This can produce a variety of ailments including anorexia, weight loss, polyuria, and heart arrhythmias. High blood serum levels of vitamin D can also increase the levels of calcium in the blood, leading to calcification and damage to the cardiovascular system and the kidneys. This high calcium level may also result in kidney stones in some individuals.

The best solution is to get your vitamin D from all three sources, healthy fatty fish, sunshine and vitamin D3 supplements. Look at your diet and lifestyle and make a conscious daily choice to optimize your bone and calcium levels with a good supply of vitamin D.

A Healthy “I Hate To Cook” Lifestyle

I don’t really hate to cook, but I often can’t find the time. Maybe that sounds familiar to you?

Many years ago, Peg Bracken wrote a book called The I Hate To Cook Book. My mother never bought a copy because she liked to cook and did so often. But times and life demands have changed since then, and I take advantage of every possible opportunity to avoid cooking.

More accurately, I take advantage of every way I’ve found to eat healthful meals without cooking. This brief post will share just a few of those ways – nothing earthshaking, nothing you haven’t thought of, just ways you can keep your nutrition going in the right direction without cooking. Well, occasionally a little microwaving or heating in a toaster oven.

Vegetables

An entire industry has grown around the busy-ness of everyone’s life. You can find organic, bagged salads – with serious greens like kale, spinach, chard and more.

You might try precut broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables that are labeled “stir-fry”, but are perfect for adding to salads or other dishes, or microwaving quickly.

Trader Joe’s has refrigerated packages of many different kinds of vegetables and even pre-cut butternut squash. They can simply be warmed in a toaster oven.

Several brands of frozen vegetables can be “steamed” by microwaving them in the bag for several minutes. In general, microwaving vegetables is quick and easy.

When it comes to any vegetables, raw is always an option. Just make or buy an organic dip or an organic bottled salad dressing. With a juicer, the possibilities are virtually endless.

If you have access to a grocery store with a good salad bar, you can usually find all types of vegetables and not be limited to salad greens only.

Protein

This can be a sticking point. I’m in favor of adequate protein (20 grams or so per serving/meal). It can be difficult to get enough if you’re using what I’ve called “protein imposters.”

Protein imposters include nuts (mostly healthful fat with only a little protein), quinoa (mostly healthful carb with only a little protein), and cheese (mostly saturated fat with only a little protein).

If you’re okay with dairy products, protein options include cottage cheese and, of course, Greek yogurt. Many Greek yogurts exist now, and not all of them have much protein. Read labels and look for one with 18-22 grams of protein per serving.

I have frequently relied on protein powders. A good example is Garden of Life Raw Protein that is vegan and organic. Another good option is hemp protein powder, and my favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest. It’s more palatable than other hemp proteins. There are many other brands and types of plant proteins, as well.

Again, if you’re okay with dairy products, you might try whey protein.

I do recommend getting the unflavored variety of any protein powder you select. Flavoring almost always means added sweeteners.

Complex Starches

You can find precooked packs of brown rice or even lentils, and simply warm them or microwave them quickly.

Cans of organic, pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, and butternut squash can come to the rescue. Season them as you prefer.

If you don’t mind cooking some pasta, you might make it in quantity and refrigerate it. A recent research study found that refrigerated, reheated pasta has less insulin impact and even less calorie impact than freshly cooked pasta. If you’re looking to increase the nutrition value, try pasta made from quinoa, brown rice or black bean flour. Whole Foods sells sugar-free, organic pasta sauces that taste great.