Why Should Women be Healthy?
Expert’s Name: Suzanne Monroe
What’s Your Why?
What’s your why for enjoying a healthy diet? Determining your true motivation for why you want to be healthy adds feeling and emotion to your goal, making it easier to achieve. Most people are not motivated my numbers on a scale, but they can picture themselves having more energy and feeling great. Focusing solely on your weight will leave you always stepping on the scale and analyzing the results with your calculator. How boring, right? Health is so much more than a number! Here are just a few very important reasons that might make your personal “Why Be Healthy List”. Can you connect with any of these?
Why Be Healthy List
- Increased energy to do what you love.
- A sense of balance and awareness with your life.
- Ability to choose what you eat, instead of being controlled by cravings.
- Feeling more comfortable in your own skin.
- Serving as an example to others.
- Living longer and with more joy.
The Key to Healthy Eating During Menopause
Counting calories doesn’t work! It’s just another way to fit food into the “numbers game”, but you’ll miss the bigger picture. Food is your fuel, not a mathematical equation. Food nourishes you on a deep level and goes far beyond a point, an ounce, a calorie or a fat gram. Learning to listen to your body and discover what truly nourishes you is the key to healthy eating. Freeing yourself from the endless cycle of number crunching, willpower and deprivation is the way to truly balanced eating. And once you get there, you’ll never look back. Take it from me, I used to be a calorie counter. Now I know how to choose food in a whole new way that gives me energy. When clients come to Real Life Food to lose weight, they soon discover their true motivation was something else – the weight was just a side effect of the real motivation to increase energy, end menopausal weight gain and symptoms, curb late night cravings, learn how to manage stress, or achieve balance in life – just to name a few!
Menopause is a time for not only physical changes, but emotional changes as well. When our emotions are out of balance, be it irritability, sadness, anxiety or stress, we may be led to make poor food choices. The fuel you choose can either alleviate your emotional state, calming you, grounding you, giving you long lasting energy; or it can aggravate and intensify your emotional state. Once you understand own personal “Why” you can use it as motivation to overcome any emotional or physical obstacle that may be trying to keep you from your health goals. Start with determining your own Why and let that serve as the foundation to help you reach your goals. It’s so much more fun and meaningful than dieting and counting calories!
The Keys to Food Labels
Expert’s Name: Lisa Enslow
Ladies, get out your reading glasses and keep them handy at the supermarket. Reading labels is the best way to make sure you are eating the most nutritious and health promoting foods you can. At first glance, a standard nutrition label looks like information overload. Focusing on a few key points in the nutrition label will help you quickly decide if that particular item is right for you. The goal is to be better informed and healthier, not to spend all day in the supermarket reading labels! This is also a skill that improves with practice. The more you do it, the better you will get at judging the quality of an item quickly. It’s also a great behavior to model for your children. Have them select a yogurt based on the criteria you’ll learn in this article. It’s never too early to get the kids involved in making healthier choices for themselves.
Focus on These Points
*Serving Size and servings per container: All of the nutritional data refers to amounts in a single serving. In many packaged foods the serving size is MUCH smaller than you would imagine. That Snapple Iced Tea that you grab from the cooler at the deli actually has 2 servings in it. Boxed cereal serving sizes are also often much smaller than any person would pour into the bowl.
*Dietary Fiber: Fiber helps fill you up, slows down the metabolism of sugar, and helps in your digestion and elimination. Look for foods with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. You’ll find a huge variety of fiber amounts in bread. There are many types of bread available today with 4 grams of fiber per slice, which is great!
*Fat: Beware of foods with trans fats, as these are promoters of heart disease and interfere with your metabolism. Saturated fats should be limited as they are not as heart healthy as unsaturated fats.
*Sodium: Current recommendations are for less than 2300mg of sodium per day, and 1500mg for those with health problems or family history of hypertension. Canned foods and jarred sauces are often high in sodium. A comparison of different brands will lead you to choices with less sodium. In addition there are some items being sold as “low sodium” such as soups.
*Sugar: The less the better. Choose foods with less than 5 grams per serving. Again, comparing labels among different brands is very enlightening. You can spend 10 minutes in the yogurt section alone!
*Ingredient List: Ingredients are listed according to their ranking in the product by weight. The first item is the main ingredient. Look for products with ingredients that you recognize as food, not chemicals. And in general, the shorter the ingredient list the better the food.
Food with No Labels!
The easiest and most healthful way to shop is to buy food that has no label to read! A banana, a bunch of broccoli, brown rice or quinoa from the bulk grains section of the market…these items do not have a nutrition label at all. Making sure that the bulk of your shopping cart is filled with non-labeled items is a great way to save time and eat more healthfully.
Diet and Menopause – Raw Vegan
Expert’s Name: Robin Pruitt
It is well known that antioxidants are beneficial to our health. Antioxidants significantly decrease effects of free radical damage, which accumulates with age. Specifically, research has revealed evidence that free radicals contribute to menopausal symptoms, so bolstering our antioxidant defenses may prevent or minimize some of those symptoms.
Raw Food and Antioxidants
A diet with a high percentage of raw foods provides a wealth of antioxidants. An easy way to increase your supply of antioxidants from whole food sources rather than relying on supplements is to adopt a habit of making a meal out of a salad. A well constructed salad delights the palate, provides abundant nutrition and has enough substance to be satisfying and to see you through to the next meal.
Leafy greens provide the base for a good salad—no surprise there. But the first step to building the perfect salad is to rethink the lettuce. Forget about iceberg lettuce; it has inferior nutritional value and flavor compared with other varieties. Instead, choose darker green varieties—that vibrant green color is nature’s way of pointing us toward the most nutritious choices. Romaine lettuce is a great start for the Perfect Salad, but avoid the prepackaged hearts of romaine—they’re paler and therefore likely to be less nutritious, and don’t save any labor since they still need to be washed. Go for the darker outer leaves of individual heads of romaine.
Next, layer on a rainbow assortment of shredded or chopped vegetables; use possibilities that are beyond the usual tomato and cucumber include shredded beets, zucchini, red cabbage and carrots, as well as radishes, green onions and red bell peppers.
Raw nuts and seeds add protein and healthy oils along with textural contrast and staying power to your Perfect Salad. Nuts and seeds don’t need to be roasted to be delicious. When raw, their delicate healthy oils are undamaged by heat and oxidation. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds are great choices. Both supply alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which supports healthy thyroid function.
To me, there is something deeply satisfying about a salad with avocado. A few slices of avocado can add substance without heaviness and a creamy texture that contrasts well with the crispness of most other salad ingredients. The healthy fats and high fiber content of avocados provide a satisfying richness and help give the salad staying power.
Fresh or dried fruit helps to brighten the flavor and add vitamins and phytonutrients. Raisins, currants, grapes, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried pineapple chunks, sliced strawberries or pears, mango or papaya cubes, mandarin orange slices—the list goes on. When the salad is dressed and tossed, the fruit will release juices and flavor that add another dimension to the dressing.
You’ve now constructed a very colorful salad—proof that your salad provides a bounty of the powerful antioxidant carotenoid. But guess what: you’ll get almost none of their benefit if your salad is fat-free! That’s because some fat must be present to release and help assimilate the carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins in the salad. For a simple dressing, just use a high-quality olive oil and balance it with an acid element, either citrus juice or the vinegar of your choice. Experiment with the many flavored vinegars that are available. If you prefer an oil-free dressing, be sure to include some nuts, seeds or avocado in your salad as a healthy fat source to ensure the full absorption of nutrients.
As a final touch, you can sprinkle in some additional seasonings. Possibilities include Italian seasoning blend, cayenne pepper, kale or dulse powder for micronutrients, nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor and a source of vitamin B12, and of course salt and pepper to taste.
I have found that magic happens when I toss the salad and dressing together in a large mixing bowl, and then transfer it to a serving bowl. That way, all the salad ingredients can mingle and become united by the dressing. Letting the tossed salad sit for just a few minutes before eating will allow the flavors to blend to perfection.
Yum! Now I’m hungry for my own Perfect Salad. I’ll see you in the kitchen…