Monthly Archives: December 2013

Does Winter Make You Fat?

Does the Winter Season Make You Fat?

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Winter is officially here!  For many, this means weight gain.

 Many people start going into hibernation mode come dropping temps.  They eat heavier foods. They gain (more) weight. They cozy up and hunker down.

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Over the last month there have been numerous holiday parties that we all have been attending:  work parties, family parties, drinks with your girlfriends, neighborhood potlucks, Yankee swaps.  The list goes on. And just when you think it will slow down, we have New Year’s Eve next week,  topping it off with Valentines Day.

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Holy more weight gain!  Continuous months of indulging and mindless eating and drinking.

So, how are you going to handle the winter?

Fear not. Winter is a great time to detox, leading into the lightness of spring.

Don’t forget to get your vitamin D.  The days get their shortest come winter.  Researchers at Aberdeen University found that obese people had 10% less vitamin D than people of average weight. The study also found that excess body fat absorbed vitamin D so the body couldn’t use it. Scientists now believe that there is a direct correlation between obesity and low levels of vitamin D. With that, get out there, even in the cold, and get your sunshine, if only for 10 minutes per day.

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Move your booty and continue exercising regularly. It can be as simple as taking a walk out in the snowy terrain.

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Sometimes you may not feel like it due to the cold weather, but hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

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Enjoy winter foods. Move toward the more warming winter foods and also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including ginger and peppercorns.

Here is a list of the seasonal foods of winter:

Avocado, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Grapefruit, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Kumquats, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarin Oranges, Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons, Potatoes, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Satsumas, Shallots, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips, Winter Squash*

Enjoy them all.  Try new things.  Just remember, don’t let the couch lure you into curling up with the unhealthy comfort foods like creamy soups or mac and cheese.

Enjoy your winter!

Karen 🙂

Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seeds

What’s The Skinny on the Super Seeds?  Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seeds

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Both chia seeds and flax seeds top the list of superfoods. They are both easy to add to your salads or smoothies for a nutritional punch.  But is one better than the other?  Let’s compare.

  Chia Seeds/2 Tbsp. Flax Seeds/2 Tbsp
Calories 122 80
Protein 4g 3g
Complete Protein? Yes No
Fiber 6.9g 4g
Omega 3 (EFA) 5,000mg 2,700mg
Taste Faintly nutty/ Earthy Whole grain/Nutty
Storage Keep for 2 years Spoil quickly
Versatility Don’t need to grind Must grind
Gluten Gluten-free Gluten-free

Other good sources of 13% RDA

Calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium

Zinc, magnesium, copper, 15% RDA B1

More antioxidants than blueberries more lignans

Depending on what source you check out, either could win out. If you had to choose based on the above comparison, it looks like chia seeds win out, but not by a landslide. Use both. Each have their own nutritional benefits and are an easy addition to your healthy diet where variety is key.

Have a great Christmas Eve!

Karen

Healthy Snacking

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Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us, and especially during the holiday season. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or the evening after dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, un-nutritious, and high in calories, sugar, or fat.

The trick to snacking without piling on the pounds is to find healthy alternatives to the regular snacks you might normally reach for.

Usually, when we get a craving it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!). Obviously, my examples are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be trim and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to substitute.

Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:

  • fresh, whole fruit
  • apples and almond butter
  • dried fruit
  • green smoothies
  • banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or  raisins ,and serve)
  • dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter
  • organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips

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For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • olives
  • pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root
  • tabouli, hummus
  • steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
  • freshly made salsa or guacamole
  • Sauerkraut (will also knock your sweet craving right out!)
  • salted edamame

Classic-Hummus

Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:

  • smoothies
  • avocados
  • rice pudding
  • dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
  • puréed soups
  • puddings made with silken tofu, avocado, or mashed banana
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • coconut milk

strawberry smoothie

Finally, don‘t cave and reach for the Pringles, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:

  • apples
  • frozen grapes
  • rice cakes
  • light popcorn or plain popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
  • carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • celery and nut butter
  • raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts

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Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline.

Have a great holiday and happy healthy eating 🙂 

Karen

5 Surprising Beauty Foods

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All fresh fruits and vegetables contain magical powers when it comes to shiny hair, clear skin, and strong nails. However, the ones I’ve chosen below are perhaps not as well known for their powerful beauty benefits. Try and include these foods into your diet if you want to look your best without the need for botox or other unnatural remedies.

  1. Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature ageing, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.
  2. Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.
  3. Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.
  5. Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.

The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to juice and combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep?

 

How Does Food Affect Your Mood?

How does food affect your mood?

Did you know that food has vibrations that allow it to create change in our bodies on a cellular level?  Food that is alive and from the earth will energize and invigorate you, while processed, pre-packaged, dead food will leave you feeling lethargic and uninspired, like a light that has fizzled out.  Makes sense doesn’t it?

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Dark green leafy vegetables are full of chlorophyll, which is basically liquid sunshine. It is the substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert it into usable energy.  When we consume raw dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard, we fill our body with the equivalent of the plant’s life blood – the very thing that allows a seed to flourish and take form.

Chemically, the blood of the plant, chlorophyll, is very similar to our blood and, when consumed, it helps us to oxygenate and breathe life into every cell.  Pretty cool, huh? Chlorophyll is also extremely cleansing and detoxifying.

Here are some other high vibrational foods for you to try:

  •  Tree Fruits – try apples, pears, bananas, coconuts, avocados, nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, oranges, lemons, limes, mangos, pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, and olives.
  •  Non-green veggies
  • Raw Cacao – chocolate in its pure form has over 1,200 phytonutrients. It contains nutrients like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.  It also contains phenylethylamine, which are the feel good characteristics, and theobromine which dilates the cardiovascular system to allow all the benefits to come in.
  •  Goji Berries – packed with antioxidants, which can help minimize free radical damage to our cells.
  •  Cultured and Fermented Foods –a great source of probiotics, which will help your digestion stay on track.

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I firmly believe in the old saying, “You are what you eat.”  Junk in = feeling like junk, and rich, living, nutrient-dense food = much happier body and mind.  Don’t just take my word for it.  We’ve all tried the junk in, junk out experiment, so don’t you think it’s time to rock your body and mind with some fresh and fabulous food? By eating food that vibrates at a higher frequency, we increase our life-force energy and feel more radiant inside and out.

Thanks for reading!

Karen!

Avoiding Fast Food While You’re On The Go!

Fast Food

 

How to avoid a fast food joint when on the go and hungry

Well, I am sure at one time or another we have all found ourselves on the drive thru line, starving, and craving some food that will provide a solution to that crazy grumbling sound in our bellies. So, we go for something quick and fast. It also doesn’t help that each town has at least one to two or even more fast food joints to offer some quick yet unhealthy options for us. How do we avoid this? How can we avoid being that hungry, craving, cranky, and in a need of a fast fix person who has lost all control for healthy determination? Well, it is much simpler than you’d think.

The real fast food, before corporations built these multi-million dollar unhealthy options for us, was good old-fashioned fruits and veggies. Imagine that! Fruits and veggies should always be the number one option, and they are sold everywhere we turn as well, although they don’t usually have a drive thru. So, if it is about convenience then we need to prepare ahead of time. If we pack snacks and quick foods to go in our purse or brief case then we will always have a fast food option that aligns with having a healthy determination.

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I suggest packing apples, bananas, oranges, and even some healthy homemade trail mix! Trail mix is my favorite go to snack when I’m on the go. I put some nuts, raisins, and dried fruit like cranberries in a little Ziploc back or plastic Tupperware container. It is always there and it doesn’t fail me. It also quick to prepare and if I make a bunch of it I can take little servings for a couple days so it lasts.

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The best way to avoid fast food joints while on the go is to always make sure you have a fast food option in your purse!!!

Thanks for reading!

Karen

How To Improve Your Health Today!

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3 things you can do to improve your health Today!

There’s something that I didn’t realize when I first started working one-on-one with people who want to make their health and wellness a priority, people who are sick of feeling less than amazing, and people who are confused about who to listen to for advice.

Here it is:  Most of us already know what we need to be doing to improve our health!

There is a lot of information (and mis-information) when it comes to the foods we eat. Just look at the variety of books in the ‘diet’ or ‘health’ section of your local bookstore. But when it comes down to it, we still know the basic things we should be doing to improve our health.

In fact, when I ask my clients “What are three things you think you could be doing, to improve your health?” I get similar answers each time:

  1. Be more active
  2. Stop eating _______ or stop drinking ________ (or stop smoking!)
  3. Eat more vegetables.

We intuitively know how to make ourselves well. But when it comes to following through? That’s where we fall apart. I know!! I have done it, too. I still do it. I might be a health coach, but I’m still human! I eat chips, I drink wine, and sometimes I don’t eat as well as I know I can.

For the next week, I’d like you to think about the obstacles that are stopping you from living your healthiest life. Think about it, journal about it, reflect on it.

What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you work long hours and cooking a healthy meal seems too time-consuming, or maybe you feel that the price of healthy food is too high. Perhaps you will discover that you aren’t sure if you really deserve to feel amazing.

Your job for the next week is to simply think, reflect, and journal on these obstacles. Knowing your obstacles, habits, and patterns will help you figure out how to work around them!

I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me what is stopping you! Let’s work it out together!

Karen 🙂

How To Avoid A Holiday Season Hangover!

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We’re currently in the midst of the Holiday Season; where shopping for gifts, attending endless events, drinking excessive alcohol, chowing down on unhealthy bites and spending extra money are all the norm.  For most of us we love a great Holiday Party, but the hangover we have the next day, whether it be from food – alcohol – or money affects our well-being,  jolliness and attitude towards the Holidays.

To battle these stresses it’s important to think about the positives of the Holidays. Spending time with family, giving back to the less fortunate and receiving smiles and hugs for gifts you have given are all reasons to love this time of year.   Still, even with the positives you may have to remind yourself to stay joyful, especially after racking up your credit card OR cheating for the 10th time on your diet.

Here are my 6 tips on how to avoid a Holiday Hangover –  

1. It’s OK to say “no!” You’re going to receive a lot of party invites but realize you don’t have to attend all of them. It’s OK to say “NO.” Pick and choose wisely and don’t over-stress if you can’t make that cookie swap party or secret santa gathering with the neighbors. Let yourself off the hook!

2. Create a gift giving budget: The best way to avoid credit card panic, over spending and money stresses is to keep a Holiday Gift Budget and stick to it.

– Set budgets with friends and family – “This year let’s only spend $20 on our gifts.”

3. Make homemade gifts for people:  Most of the time people appreciate this more than a store bought gift. Here are some great ideas for DIY gifts!

– Also, make your own Christmas cards – click here on how-to make a great card at home!

4. Keep a workout calendar: Use a visual aid (put it in a place you look everyday) to help you track your exercise progress throughout December.  This will help you understand how much time you’re giving back or not giving back to yourself!

Find a December workout buddy to help keep you both accountable for workouts!

5. Eat before the party: Most parties have delicious  snacks at every corner and the best way to avoid eating lots of them is to eat before you attend.  Fill-up on a nutritious meal before entering the party and you will be less likely to binge on empty calories.

6. Do a pre-party workout: Have 20 minutes, try a doing a quick workout prior to your party and not only will you feel amazing but you will be craving healthy food options all night. Your metabolic rate will also be higher, helping you digest foods quicker.

Wishing you a season full of joy, happiness and healthiness!

Karen 🙂

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