Archive | January, 2014

Preparing Your Pantry for Health

6 Jan

We all know how challenging the goal of weight loss or just eating healthier can be. Goals that require long-term change are naturally more difficult, so it’s much easier to be successful when we prepare. One of the best steps to take toward healthier eating is to edit your pantry. I recommend really pushing yourself during this process – eliminating temptations now will make it much easier to stay on track later. So, let’s get started…

First, consider your goals and identify the ingredients that don’t support your health. Some obvious targets for elimination are foods containing hydrogenated oils/shortening, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucrolose, saccharin, sorbitol), artificial flavors, and MSG/monosodium glutamate. These ingredients can cause weight gain, food cravings and many other symptoms, so they are the first to eliminate.

In the pantry – You will want to look closely for these ingredients in all processed foods, spices, canned soups, canned tuna, sodas, and snack foods.
In the fridge – You’re likely to find the offensive ingredients in yogurt, condiments, salad dressings, and (of course) sodas.

Have you already eliminated all these? If so, other considerations are:

Corn syrup – Used as a cheaper sugar substitute, it is chemically processed, has no nutritional value and is very likely genetically modified.
Brominated flour – Found in many baked goods and breads, it has been linked to thyroid dysfunction and cancer.
Food dyes – It’s best for our health to avoid artificial food dyes, especially blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, yellow 6, green 3, red 3, red 40, FD&C Lakes (can be any combo of dyes), and citrus red 2 (often used in oranges, hot dogs and sausage).
Nitrates, nitrites, sulfites – These additives are used way too often to preserve color in foods. They can cause headaches, migraines, respiratory issues, and digestive disorders.
Vegetable oil/brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – Vegetable oil seems benign enough, however they are extracted using chemicals and are likely made with genetically modified ingredients (canola, soybean, corn, safflower, and sunflower). Better choices are coconut oil and olive oil. And a note about BVO – watch for it in, of all things, beverages, despite the fact that it’s banned in Europe and Japan.
Peservatives BHT, BHA, TBMQ sodium benzoate, and potassium benzoate are all unnecessary chemicals added to increase shelf life or inhibit mold and can cause a variety of issues, including skin irritation, hyperactivity, and cancer.
Gluten – if you are concerned about digestive issues, you may want to eliminate gluten for a period of time to see if there is improvement in your health. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, durum wheat, graham flour, kamut, semolina, spelt, wheat germ, wheat bran, rye, bleached flour. It’s also important to note that studies now suggest that most people do not digest gluten efficiently, possibly because much of it has been genetically modified.

There are certainly a lot of ingredients to look for, so it can be a little overwhelming. After the initial purge, it’s easier to eat and shop healthier. Need help finding alternatives? Comment below and I’ll be glad to share the healthier options I’ve found.

Health & Happiness to You!

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Achieving Our Health Goals in the New Year

3 Jan

Happy New Year to all! It’s a perfect time to refocus and set goals that will best serve us in the coming year and beyond. What could be better than to aim our sights on improving health and living our best lives? I know it sounds crazy, but I get super excited about this kind of challenge! Even more exciting is when you can make a meaningful plan AND make it achievable. Health goals are so important – they deserve to be given every chance for success. WE deserve it!!
I know certain strategies work for some and not others, but I’ll list a few of the ones that serve me well. I would love to hear what works for you too, so please comment.
To start, take some time to identify your goals and create a goal sheet you can reference. Once you’ve listed your goals, review each one and:
– List the benefits of accomplishing the goal;
– Write down the consequences to you and others if you DON’T accomplish the goal;
– Identify the steps or increments that make the goal easier to accomplish;
– Establish a realistic timeline for completing each step;
– Put the steps for each goal on a calendar.

Now for the best part – it’s time to put your plan into action. Keep your goals in mind by reviewing your goal sheet regularly. If you need more inspiration, create a vision board with images that represent the accomplishment of each goal. These references coupled with the steps on your calendar will help guide you toward success.

As I mentioned, I get very excited about establishing health goals. If you need help, send me an email at lw@peak-brain-performance.com or visit Peak Brain Performance. Here’s to great health and happy living!