This is a guest post by Cole Millen.
After working so hard to eat right and to exercise, some people may feel anxious about how to keep healthy eating habits on vacation. Vacations are filled with temptations, and those who are not careful risk putting on a few pounds while away. However, being proactive can arm vacationers with the skills they need to avoid extra weight gain. Here are a few skills and strategies to consider.
Avoid Some Restaurant Trips
Eating out is an essential part of vacations, but there is no need to go to a restaurant for every meal. By bring along some healthy snacks, vacationers can make sure that they are not starving every time they sit down for a meal. In addition, a trip to a local grocery store or health store can allow vacationers to eat at their hotels for a few meals. Doing so will make it easier to avoid eating excessive calories, and it will also save vacationers some money. Vacationers will also want to avoid one of the most dangerous temptations of staying in a hotel: the minibar. By refusing the minibar key and bringing along snacks, vacationers can avoid the calorie-rich food and drinks contained in their minibar.
Fortunately, most vacations make it easy to exercise. By walking to destinations instead of taking taxis or other forms of transportation, it is possible to burn calories. In addition, walking often gives vacationers access to sites that are rarely seen by visitors. As more people become aware of the importance of exercise, more opportunities for fun forms of exercise are now available. Morning jog on the beach can be invigorating, and a guided tour of an area can help vacationers burn some calories.
Plan a Stategy
One strategy vacationers may wish to use is to decide where they will eat before going on vacation. By finding menus online and determining what you will order, you can help yourself avoid the temptation of eating too much while dining out. Planning beforehand can also help you research how many calories are in particular meals. Reading reviews of restaurants and finding healthy alternatives in areas like the Las Vegas Restaurants, where buffets are plentiful, can be the difference maker in a healthy week. Eating at restaurants is important while on vacation, and it is possible to enjoy delicious meals without eating too many calories.
Fortunately, companies are finding a some ways to help those looking to control their weight stay healthy. As a result, those who travel to popular vacation destinations will find options available to help. With a bit of research, vacationers can ensure that they do not pack on extra pounds while away.
Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Some people plan a trip to “get away,” while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter.
This week the 38 Power Foods blog group is taking a look at a small, but nutrition dense food. Kiwi fruit has only been in US markets since the early 1970’s. The fruit originated in China, where it is still the national fruit, and missionaries transported it to New Zealand at the beginning of the 20th century. From there the fruit was exported to California and other parts of the world. The fruit is named in English after a little round furry land ground bird, native to New Zealand, the kiwi.
There are so many reasons to make kiwi a part of your healthy diet. A serving of this fruit, two medium-sized peeled kiwis, have 18.24% of your daily fiber needs, nearly as much potassium as a banana, and about two and a half times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, which will strengthen your immune system and help to keep you looking young and lovely. And if this isn’t enough, it’s fat-free, and each piece of fruit has only about 45 calories! It’s also loaded with anti-oxidants, which you want to lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
If your body ever experiences that “sluggish” feeling, constipation, to be blunt about it—try eating two kiwis upon rising and wait half hour before eating breakfast. Within a couple of days you should be back to normal. At the rate that people and doctors are learning about the food they eat, it’s conceivable that in the future we may be hearing statements from doctor’s like, “Eat two kiwis and call me in the morning.”
Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients
If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up! Alanna – Kitchen Parade Veggie Adventure – Alyce - More Time at the Table, Ansh - Spice Roots, Casey –SweetSav Jeanette - Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Martha - Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
This posted can be seen at Full Plate Thursday, and Whole Foods Wednesday
Guest post by Sara Mackey
The following post is by freelance writer Sara Mackey. Her article is especially poignant at this time, when just April 1st, the program “60 Minutes” focused on new studies showing how toxic sugar is for the body.
Healthy, organic food choices and lower health care costs are not necessarily a foregone conclusion. It’s perfectly possible to buy organic and still be overweight and in poor health, but there is a law of science that says the simple act of observing an object changes that object. When most people really start to observe their diets and to realize what they’re eating, they change.
There is a national epidemic of obesity in America. Three out of 5 people in this nation are overweight. Insurers are in the business of assessing risk. Join those pieces and you assemble a simple equation. In our society at this moment in time, people who are thinner can find affordable individual health insurance online more easily.
Consider the Case of Added Sugars
Many people who are overweight will protest that they don’t eat a lot of sweets. It’s actually almost impossible in our society not to eat added sugars. They’re in virtually every processed food stuff sold on every grocery store shelf in the country. While it is true that since the 1970s the consumption of actual sugar has gone down 40 percent, high fructose corn syrup has taken up the slack. Both contain fructose, which neuroscience has proven is one of the most addictive substances on the planet, hitting the reward centers of the brain with a level of impact not unlike drugs such as cocaine.
On average, every person in the United States consumes 130 lbs. of sugar a year, or about a third of a pound per day. Studies have linked this high sugar consumption not just to the development of Type II diabetes, but also to hypertension and heart disease. Perhaps most frighteningly, researchers have found that about a third of all common cancers contain glucose receptors. The tumors literally feed and grow on sugar.
But even apart from the cutting edge research, the simple fact is that we, too, feed and grow on sugar. Because it is an addictive substance, over time, we become habituated to its effect, so we need more to get the same “hit,” which means over-eating. Currently, there is no greater epidemic in America than obesity, which is tied directly to the nature of the human diet.
Obesity Drives Up the Cost of Health Care
For decades now, smoking has been considered the single most negative personal habit you can adopt to knowingly ruin your health. On average, smokers run up medical bills each year that are $1300 higher than those of non-smokers. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, however, have determined that people who are obese spend $1,750 more a year on their health care. The morbidly obese spend an additional $5,500.
Because Americans eat a diet heavily laced with processed foods that are full of chemicals, we pack on the pounds faster than the inhabitants of any nation in the world. Obesity puts the human body at risk for a wide range of life-threatening illnesses from high blood pressure to diabetes and even weight-related joint failure. Though it may sound overly simplistic, changing your diet literally changes your life. Vegetarians, for instance, have a 3-20 percent lower body weight than meat eaters, and adopting a low-fat vegan diet reliably results in about 1 pound per week in weight loss.
Let’s face it. Not everyone can go vegetarian, and becoming a vegan is an even more stringent lifestyle. We can, however, start reading labels, educating ourselves about food additives, and buying natural, organic food. These simple choices, paired with even moderate exercise, can have an amazing effect on a person’s weight and overall health, which does translate to lower health care costs and lower health insurance premiums.
At one time or another you may have decided that it was time to get healthy, or time to lose weight, so you started a strict diet and exercise program…right? You might have even bought a pass to your local gym thinking you’d spend 4 to 5 hours there each week. The first week you may have gone every day that you had scheduled to go, the second week you were down to half if the days that you had initially planned on going, and by the end of the first month, or month and a half, you had you fizzled out completely. It’s no surprise to me—I’ve done it myself.
There is a much easier and more enjoyable way to losing weight and regaining health then a daily grueling 100 steps on a StairMaster, until you think your thigh muscles are going to spilt, or running on a treadmill while thinking all the time that you’ll fall off and crack your head open, or being bored to tears by the gym circuit. And don’t forget that feeling that your time and energy is wasted driving to the gym, and getting in and out of gym clothes. The alternative that people don’t think of is walking.
So, why is it that people don’t think of walking as a way of getting fit? Because of the popular myths, you know, “No pain, no gain;” “Feel the burn;” or, “No gain without the pain.” People just don’t believe that they’ll get any benefit from walking. But, here’s the thing, the average American only walks about 2,300 to 3,000 average steps a day compared to the average Japanese, who walks about 10,000 steps a day, and whose cultural group is considered to be one of the healthiest groups of people in the world. In this Huffington Post article, Liz Neporent reports that if Americans increased their steps by 2,000 a day they could maintain their weight instead of gaining the average of 1 to 3 pounds a year, and if they increased their weight by 6,000 steps and maintained a healthy diet, they would lose weight.
Image courtesy NJCCA
Walking could be the answer you’ve been looking for to get you started to lose weight, regain energy, and commit to healthy living. It’s low-impact so it won’t stress you joints, tendons and ligaments, giving you an excuse to stop. You can walk almost anywhere and at anytime of the day, although it is best in the morning or late afternoon when the air is the freshest. You can walk alone or with friends, and best of all, it’s completely free.
Please see the healthy living links below for more information on getting started with walking.
The Walking Site
How many times do you run across an article and wonder about the claims in the article. The points that the author outlines sound like they’ve been copied and pasted various times from site to site; they are flat statements without any evidence, or insight.
It’s my hope in this outline to give a more personal view about some of the benefits a yoga practice offers, to live healthy and feel healthy. The numbered points below are some of the main benefits I’ve noticed in my life, as a direct result from my at-home yoga practice. The noted benefits will depend on the types of asanas, or yoga postures and routines that you practice. The points are not ordered in terms of importance, as they are all important.
- Flexibility - The thing I love most about yoga is that it keeps me flexible with a good range of movement. And at the age of 54, I am more flexible than many teenagers, and having the body’s joints open and flexible is very important for staying young––which takes me to the second point.
- Stay young and youthful - A result of being flexible and having a good range of movement, my body is able to move and do things that many people my age cannot. And, I feel young!
- Strengthen arms and legs - My arms were always skinny and weak, but my practice has given me bicep muscles that I’m proud of. And though my legs were always fairly strong, they are even more so now.
- Core strengthening - I never really noticed my abs until I was over 50. Since I’ve been more consistent with my practice my abdominal muscles have got stronger and more visible. I’m also able to hold difficult poses, like the full boat pose, longer.
- Tone and lengthen the body - At 5’9, I am tall woman, but if I were to describe my body before I was consistent with yoga, if I might have said that it felt like a beach ball, round and bouncy. Now, with practice I would say that my body feels more like a tree––tall and strong. My legs feel especially lengthened and toned.
- Posture - There is one asana––or position, called the mountain pose, which yoga practitioners as a starting position for many standing poses. This one pose has especially taught me to stand tall, with the feet together pointed straight, the rear tucked in and the shoulders back. Standing tall and straight is natural to me now.
- Balance – It seems like this is one of the first skills to go as we age. Hip fractures are common among elderly because they lose their balance, fall, and break or fracture a hip. I can do exercises that need stillness, skill, and balance to do them. I’m confident that by continuing to practice these challenging balance exercises, I will remain sure-footed as I grow older.
- Heart conditioning - There is a misconception out there that yoga is not an aerobic exercise ––that it does not raise your heartbeat like, running, tennis, or dancing, for example. It’s true that the asanas will not raise your heartbeat; but, I have found that some yoga routines like sun salutation done in succession will raise the heartbeat and give me just as good a work-out, or better, than any of these other activities. If you doubt this statement you may want to read this article from the Pittsburgh Examiner.
- Reduce stress - Meditation is an important part of a yoga practice. With meditation I have learned to quiet the mind and go to my center of calm. It is at this center of calmness that l feel at one with the pose. In times of stress, I can slow my heartbeat and go to that center of calm to keep me from losing my temper.
- Knowing Peace - I’ve mentioned that yoga helps to reduce stress by slowing the heartbeat and calming the breathing pattern. But, in some moments of meditation, or an asana particularly well executed, I feel myself at total peace; the world stops, the mind stops talking, my body relaxes completely, and what I experience is nothing short of PEACE. It’s beautiful!