Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Legacy to Live By.

I hope that as human beings we all remember where we came from, where our ancestors came from, and where our ancestors' ancestors came from...this way we can all grasp and respect the reality of what they went through and how we all stayed alive to procreate over the last thousands of years. We ate food,moved and strengthened our bodies. We hunted, gathered, planted, harvested and traveled all over this world, spreading our wisdom down to the next generations. We got here somehow, and we stayed here thorugh survival.

For a human to survive it must recieve nutritional elements and fibers, drink clean waters, and keep the body healthy and strong. In a perfect world, if all this is achieved and no diseases or ailments challenge us, we should continue on to procreate, live our lives and die of natural causes. Thousands of years ago we did not have supplements, we did not have pre- packaged foods. Nutrition was simple. Maybe not simple to get, but simple to master. Yes, we had to kill, skin and cook our game. We had to grow and reap our fruits vegatables, beans, legumes and oats, but we didn't have to deal with all the DANGEROUS ingredients and consequenses that we all have faced for the last few decades. Furthermore it is important to grasp the reality behind supplements. Yes, we did not have them "back then" however, "back then" our soils were full of minerals and nutrients. Our waters were not laden with human defication, over population affects of toxic gases and massive trash piles. Our foods were not manufactured for mass consumption, which allowed farmers "back then" to grow at a natural, slower pace. Now we have to filter our water, but it still is not enough. We have to choose between organic or non- organic, despite the dangers. We have to take medication to ease our pains from illness, mental challenges, physical retardations, obesity, and chemical dependancy. How did we get here? And why do we have to stay here. The answers, in my opinion is this; We got here because of compounding ignorance. We trusted that food was nutritional, so over the years, we trusted in our systems to deliver health to our tables. Unfortunately, capitalization got in the way. Now we have to screen our grocery lists. We have to re- teach our parents and grandparents. We have to break to them, the bad news that so many things in our cabinets are taking away from our bodies health, with out us even being aware. We have to inform them that the FDA isn't THE ULTIMATE wiseone when dicphering healthy, nutritional foods. WE ARE. Beyond re- teaching the ones who taught us, we are given a wonderful oppurtunity; to teach our kids nutritional wisdom. This is when we get to shine. This is how we get to pass our legacy's down through the next generations to come. Not from our amazing ability to market globally and increase profits in the family business 57% anually yeilding better stock profits and better bonuses at the end of the year. Instead, we should strive to pass down the legacy of WELLNESS. We should hope to create a legacy with in our bodies through strong, functional health, while strenthening and challenging our minds towards logical approaches to our diets. These are things our kids should be focusing on.....In home and in school. LOGICAL NUTRITION!

Our lands and seas nourished our ancestors. And with our help, our lands and seas will continue to, as long as we nourish her soils and respect her waters, otherwise food will die and we will die too. Very simple. This possible outcome is now evident through the unfortunate situation in the Gulf of Mexico. Our actions yeild consequenses, in every dimenson of space and time. It is inescapeable. For every action there is a reaction. For every cause there is an effect. Things do NOT just happen. They are created. Bad situations or good situations all have a beginning and an end. This may take hundreds of years, it may take thousands of years, or it may never ever happen, unfortunately our generation will not ever find the answers to these questions. We must realize that if we do not start simplifing and cleaning- up our diets, this world will continue to produce and market unnutritonal, dangerous foods. Obesity will continue. Capitalization off these foods will continue. Bad habits with in our lifestyles will continue. And the need for synthetic, addictive drugs will continue as long as we keep our bodies out of balance. We must strive in passing on conscious, progressive awareness to the importance of our internal health. This is not just for a certain "group" of people. This is a movement that every human being, from every demographic must participate in. It is our responsibility, as humans to care for ourselves, each other and of course our animals, plants and elements. This way we can continue to pass down wisdom and abundance to our kids, our kids' kids...and our kids' grandkids...Start your legacy today!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning!

We are on the tail end of spring, and I can smell the coconut oil of the south Florida summer's already. This time of the year always motivates me to get my body buring clean and nutritionally balanced for the impending heat we will be living in until fall. It's hard to function in our summer temperatures alone, with out added baggage, so simplifying and perfecting your diet now, before the heat, will prepare you better for the extra calories burnt and save you from binging on ice- cream cones and slushies.

Any food choice, depending on where you live, is of great advantage when it complements the seasons. If your local growers are displaying georgous citrus, beautifully colored squash and crunchy apples, jump on it! Don't go for the fruits and vegetables that are out of season just because you like them. Get creative and go with the "ripe" picks, so that your body starts naturally turning over for the new season ahead. Aside from naturally occurring, in- season and indigenous produce, it is very important to not "get hungry" through out the day and especially at night before bed. We have to keep our gas tanks full, or else we will stall and CRASH and be in dire need of a quick tow to functionability. And the quickest "tow trucks" are the easiest to find; candy bars, sodas, muffins, cookies, chips, or pizza slices. Prepare your self for eating consistently through out the day. Pick and plan your meals when you wake up. This is when your body is at its optimal chemical balance. You've slept, rested, regenerated and re- saturated your body with all the neccessary hormones to "survive" the day. This abundant and balanced state is why some people claim to be "not hungry" when they get up in the morning, causing them to skip breakfast and not eat until they are "hungry" for lunch. This is how we set our bodies into an unbalnced hurricane and tend to be "starving" around dinner. Our bodies are in tune with what it wants, unfortunately our minds, sometimes are not. When the cravings in our mind, caused by chemical imbalances (ie; low blood sugar, high estrogen), overtake our good judgement, we begin a destuctive cycle of poor food choices that lead to more chemical imbalances, causing a domino effect towards unhappiness. Our bodies crave whole foods and when we deprive our bodies of fresh, in- season produce, humanely grown livestock, and pure, dominantly water- based fluids we begin to crave the latter; sweets, salts and grease. Our bodies know that when it is deprived of proper fats, known as Omega's, good sodiums such as sea salts, or good sugars such as fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates (tomatoes, potatoes, and strawberries), it will send a chemical message to the body saying " survive! find! obtain nutrients immediately! This is when we have that sudden, unescabable urge to eat potato chips, french fries, chocolate bars or soda. These are all high- sugar, high- sodium or easy fixes to our bodies imbalance, the absolute INCORRECT way of obtaining our nutrients.
Stay on top of the natural neccessities of your body. Try to limit your "binge days' down to a couple days a week, and eventually 1 a week. These are the days that you can eat your treats, however, on the other days, saturate your body with fresh produce and whole grains. Even if your mind is craving a burger and fries, over power it and replace it with lean red meat and a baked potato. This way, when you do have that burger, it is well deserved, moderated and enjoyed so much more. Try to notice how much whole food (produce, fresh cooked meats, grains and beans) you eat in a day, compared to non- whole foods (sliced bread, lunch meat, applesauce, yogurt, salted peanuts). Anything that has been processed in anyway, ie; salted, pasturized, pre- cooked, preserved, cured, canned, dried, packaged for shelf life, or sweetened unaturally is non- whole. These are the foods you should be restricting from your diet. Focus on a goal. For every non- whole food meal or snack you eat, balance it out with 2-3 whole food meals. You will find that your body is much happier. This is not easy to do! I am not super woman, and no one is perfect. However, it takes dicipline to stay on track regularly so that a couple binge days a month don't off- set your internal health and spin you into a unhealthy lifestyle.

I often hear people say "I take a multi, I feel fine." Define "fine". Are we conditioned to deal with and ignore certain symptoms that our body gives out about our internal health? It is of much importance to self- educate ourselves on the basics of our bodies. This allows us to focus on preventative measures, rather that dealing with an illness or disease. We age everyday naturally, and illness, sickness and obiesity is a way our body tells us that we are off somewhere. There are so many unfortunate situations that we may not have control of. Babies are born with issues that cannot be cured, kids develop autism, adults, kids and infants are diagnosed with cancers. It is these situations that grab our hearts and make us wonder why? and how? However, if we are lucky, we are born with healthy bodies and sharp, open minds. Among the many years we travel through to get us to the places and situations that arise that demand our healthy bodies and open minds, we can only hope that we have learned the correct lessons that keep these vehicles in good, naturally intended health. We are hopefully born with a clean- slate, it should be our primary focus as the human species to keep that slate shiny and clean in order to preserve our longevity and better our generations to come after us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

One Day at A Time......

We wake up in the morning, thinking that today is the day! "i'm gonna smoke only one ciggarette today" or " I'm not gonna drink a soda today" or "I'll allow myself one candy bar, or one cookie" ...... fully revved up to turn over a new leaf and start some new lifestyle choices. So we dump out the ciggarettes, we throw away the soda cans and we make our friends promise that they won't tease us with cookies..... Two weeks later, we are back to our old habits. Despite how amazing we feel during our boycott, despite the way our body starts to change and tighten and strengthen, despite the known health risks and consequences we may face in the event we continue down our "unhealthy roads"..we still find our selves throwing back diet sodas and pepperoni pizza. Our minds are the culprits, and we are being controlled by our foods! How do we get control back? How do we start to say "No" when our hands are clenching around the cookie jar? ....How about this; don't think, just react.
Some mornings, I work at a little, quaint beach restaraunt. We serve an amazing breakfast menu that offers a healthy, fresh fruit salad, or fresh eggs and multi grain toast, smoked salmon or even eggwhite omlettes. Furthermore, we offer a choice of chocolate chip pancakes, bagel and cream cheese or a belgium waffle, and even eggs benedict. So for the beginning of the morning, I'm disihing out what ever it is my guests are ordering, I have no say in what they eat. I might have to smell homefries and bacon under my nose for 2 hours before I get a chance to eat. This means that if everyone is eating like little piggies, I'm getting all the aromas of Belgium waffles, sausage links, syrup and bacon. All these aromas are getting into my senses, into my brain and eventually rumbling my stomach and making my mouth water. So unconciously, I walk over to my computer, touch my fingers to the order menu and punch in my breakfast, with out even thinking about "what I want". I know what I want; I want eggs benedict and pancakes with bacon and syrup, because thats what is making my mouth water and tummy grumble. However, after my fingers touch the screen a couple times, and swiftly, with- in 10 minutes I have my amazing breakfast before me. 2 eggs scrambled, dry multigrain toast, no homefries, sub fruit cup. I eat like a robot, not even thinking about how much I really want to stuff two pieces of bacon in my throat, because if I did, I would, because I'm thinking about how good it will taste. But if we don't think, and we just do what we know is better for us, we may find it a lot easier than dealing with the indigestion and feelings of guilt and the extra pounds in our jeans.
Easier said than done? Abso- friggin- loutely! I am no angel when it comes to junk foods! Trust me! I may have some in depth knowledge on how our body deals with foods and how foods change our bodies, but when it come to the mind, I am not worthy. Our minds, over the years of growing up, dealing with stress, boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, family gatherings, friends and cook- outs etc...the list goes on...all the "moments" create memories. Because food is fuel, a good percentage of our memories revolve around food, we just may not realize it. Growing up with an Italian father, food was everything. You aren't even hungry and you have atleast two different people stuffing food in your face. Food is health, wealth and happiness. Sharing meals and cooking is the centerpiece to most families, and with these "moments" come emotions. We link happy thoughts with "happy- meals" B.B.Q's, Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday Pizza night. You name it, there is an emotion behind it. We compound all the years of egg- nog and chocolate- chip cookies around Christmas time and you can betcha that there are more good memories attached to cookies and egg nog than there are bad....So what is my point? Stop thinking about how good food tastes, and ask your self.."is it really good for me, or does it just taste good?" and further that by considering the other habits we may hold on to. Smoking. I smoked for 10 plus years. Many people do not know that abut me. I still can't believe it sometimes, but I did. I don't anymore, though, and my reason: it's not good for my body.Period. Exclamation point. Do you need a better reason to prevent you from basically killing yourself. Yes your addicted, because you're doing it everyday, despite the necessity for oxygen and antioxcidants and despite the minerals that it is stripping from your body. Stop thinking about quitting, stop thinking about drinking more water, stop thinking about not drinking soda or scotch,Just do it already! Life goes by quicker than you think, especially when your struggling with ailments.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The A B C 's of nutrition.

Always Be in Control! matter how "busy" you are, or how "stressed" you are or even despite the fact that you have to keep some unhealthy foods in your home for your kids or spouse. These reasons are not reasons to eat unwisely, but instead they could be considered proof of your lack of knowledge. Being "in control" can mean so many different things, but in order to gain control of your decisions pertaining to nutrition, you have to have a reason to stay away from certaing things, you must have knowledge on the consequenses of eating unwisely, and have the guts to admit that you may not be eating enough of the right things and too much of the wrong.
Getting "in control" is dynamic! And once you grasp it, it will be with you forever! Our foods serve a purpose; fuel. Fuel makes things go. With out food, we would die. So with this concept, lets think of the quality of different types of fuel. Let's put aside the price factor, and just focus on the efficiency factor. When we choose foods, it's usually because we are hungry. After you eat a food, you should feel good, like you've accomplished something. You have fueled your body. You are in control of your body. Yet, sometimes, you eat a food, and you feel horrible after eating it. Whether it's emotional guilt or physical discomfort, you have lost control of your body, you are allowing that food and it's power (appeal), to control you.
Being controlled by foods is done subconciously. Our brains create connections with foods and the way it makes us feel. Then it continually reinforces that connection, creating a habit. Good or bad. The science behind nutrition and our psyche is quite profound, and we should never underestimate the power behind it. Slowly but surely, everyday of our lives, we are reinforcing some sort of nutritional habit, good or bad. Everyday the things we chose to eat, for whatever reasons we chose to eat them, define our habits. Anyone that knows me understands the depth of my addiction to chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Unfortunately I allow this. And unfortunately, sometimes, most times, I let that emotional surge of pleasure control my actions that steer me towards the cookie jars. We all have our favorite foods, and some enjoy them in a healthy way. However, when you find your self feeling sad after eating certain foods, or emotional for long periods of time. Step back to reconsider if the short pleasure phase is worth the set backs these foods put on your body. Break a week down into 7 days, and everyday acknowledge your eating habits for that particular day. For example, "Every Monday I eat two salads and a bowl of cereal. Every Tuesday I have a burger and pancakes, and usually a soda." When you verbally and visually acknowledge the things you consume, you accept responsibility. This gives you control. Try grouping together foods. For example processed or unprocessed, or animal fat or vegatable fat, artificially sweetened and naturally sweetened. If you have to, keep a little journal, but simply acknowledging the types of food you put into your body will help you constructively evaluate your eating habits. Once you group them, try realize how much processed foods you eat in comparison to whole foods, figure out how much artificial sweetners you consume incomparison to plant derived sweetners such as honey and stevia. Calculate how much animal fat is in your diet, how much plant fat is in your diet, how much water and alcohol is in your diet. Realize how many carbs you consume derived from artificial sugar or high fructose sugar. And last but not least, acknowledge how you feel after you eat. Acknowledge if there is a difference in your energy or attitude, try to recognize if you feel gassy, bloated, tired, or if you have immediate bowel movements, immediate urination, or nausea.Critique critique critique!
Notice I didn't say food groups, but instead I used the word "type". Presently, our foods have gone way beyond the food group boundaries. We now have some pretty technical science that goes into creating our foods, drinks and supplements. This could be looked at in both a positive and negative light. On the unfortunate side, we have artificial ingredients that make up our foods today. Many components are not broken down by our bodies and are creating tumors, acne, rashes, cancers, mood swings, liver and kidney disorder, blood disorders, heart complications, birth defects, etc. I'm sure some of you are saying "Oh well, only in large doses over time." However, all we have is time and I like my time. Artificial sweetners are popular because of the low/no calorie marketing, yet not many basic consumers have been sufficiently educated on what exactly makes up that sweetner, to allow them to make a more educated decision on weather this product is beneficial or harmful. The standards set forth to regulate our food and drinks are not as strict as they should be. The human body is quite resilient, which is possiby why many foods and drinks hit the supermarket shelves, yet every year a new research comes out highlighting that something that we love to eat daily may cause cancer, or birth defects or heart disease. So in a preventitive manner, i seek to enlighten as many as I can on the possible consequeses of eating certain "types" of foods. To allow you to group together certain foods (soda and "light"yogurts, or ritz crackers and cereal) to regulate how much of that food type you consume on a weekly and daily basis.
On a brighter note, thanks to our crafty scientist we are now able to supplement many neccessary minerals and vitamins. With ease, we can read a label and drink a shake and taa daa..we have all of our vitimains and minerals for the day. Wonderful! We can regulate and detoxify our digestion systems with a simple drink, we can cleanse our blood, our colons, and our minds knowing that for every area we wish to become more regulated on, we can find a drink, bar or pill that does the job. Science and nutrition are a great team! Unfortunately, our best interest is not aways the top priority. We live in a capatalistic society! Everything has a market. Ever realize how some of the most affordable foods are sometime the least healthy? Fortunately, we all have brains that like to process new info, so this should motivate us to go out and research the foods that we eat most, and see if they are harmful, in any dose.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Identifying the Necessity for Change.

Verbally expressing that you "want to make a lifestyle or diet change" and actually stepping away from your self, identifying problem areas that demand change, and changing those areas, are two seperate animals. When we decide that we want to improve our fitness by increasing endurance training, strength training, muscle gain or fat- loss, this all demands nutritional knowledge on some level. Yet we are quick to assume that we know what works with out really knowing "HOW" or "WHY" it works. We must indentify the reason behind the necessity for change. Why do we have to burn off excess fat? Why do we need to strengthen our back muscles? Why do we have to increase our endurance? In order to fully utilize foods and liquids for their purpose, we must understand what they do inside our bodies. Saying that you do not want to eat carbs so that you can lose weight is not the correct approach. Yet stepping back, "Googling" the word "carbohydrate" and taking an hour out of your day to educate your self to fully understand the definition and the purpose of a carbohydrate with in our bodies will allow you to confidently and realistically create a plan that works FOR YOU.

When the New Year rolls around, many people are quick to jump on turning over a new leaf. We grab onto the latest fitness and diet fads and immediately assume that "I as well would benefit from no carbohydrates". Integrating new actions into our day for the sake of health is imperative, yet understanding the processes behind these action are even more imperative. I very often meet people that don't eat carbs or sugars. Most are pretty smart about it. Some have been steering clear of white flour, mashed potatoes and drinks with high- sugar counts, yet some even consider oatmeal, whole wheat breads and bananas a threat to their physique. Yes, there are some people out there that are unfortunate to have some sort of intollerance to certain foods, and many do deal with it in smart ways. Yet when I hear a person express that they want to loose weight so they are going to eat "no carbs", but then I see them drink a diet coke. I wonder if they are chosing the right battle. Do we fully understand the thought process behind "No- Carb- Diets"? Or are we just grasping onto these concepts because we think that carbs make us gain weight? Weight gain is caused by more than one reason. And every person gains weight for different reasons. Muscle gain yeilds weight gain. Water intake yeilds weight gain. Constipation yeilds weight gain. High- sodium diets yeild water retention which yeilds weight gain. Fat- gain is the same, some hold on to fat because of internal PH levels, which are caused by diets or stress. Some hold on to weight because of lack of movement, and lack of muscle demand. It is my presonal opinion that body weight is not a good tool to measure when fine tuning your fitness goals. It is an interesting tool, but not a very good representation of what we are working on achieving. I always pay attention to my clothes and how they fit me. May sound silly, but it has worked for me. My body weight fluctuated so much with in a month. If I am training and super lean, I weight more than when I'm being "lazy Kristen" and not doing any strength training. Most know that muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle demands more than fat.( Burns more calories) When we over load our bodies with white enriched flours, fatty animal meat, processed or artificial sugars, this is very demanding and difficult for the body to deal with. So illness, weight gain or even obesity may prevail. But assuming that one particular piece to a puzzle is the sole culprit on a nutrional shortcoming is a falacy .We need to start thinking differently. Diets are based on a process of our bodies. When we seek an action we demand a change. Going on a diet may consist of having a regimented, professionally drawn out "food plan", or it may be as simple as no fatty red meats, no white flour and clean proteins. The processes of our bodies all demand a specific formula of nutirients, minerals, chemicals, protiens, sugars etc. If we are lacking a piece to the puzzle, the process will not be carried out.. Fire will not ignite with out the correct blend of fuel and oxygen.If your going to go on a specific diet, educate your self on the reason you are going on this diet. Constructively criticize your habits and lifestyle. Find out why we gain weight for instance, or find the explination for muscle building. Learn how your body breaks down food, on a simple level, and a whole new world will open up for you! Your wellness and fitness goals will start to become reality with in a whole different realm of clarity.Everyone has the ability to learn something new everyday. We just have to desire the knowledge, and admit that maybe our way isn't the best way, or even the correct way. Educate before you attack! This will allow you to fine tune your habits easily, by giving you clarity with in your choices and an understanding of your body and what it's doing on the inside. Things will start to make sense. You will have control of your body again! Understanding why you gain weight, why you tone down, and why your body reacts the way it does will give you the confidence to assess yourself and create your own personal plan toward your fitness and nutritional goals. Happy New Year!