How to stick to your dietary plan throughout the summer

As the weather gets warmer, spring and summer parties pop up like flowers in full bloom. Invitations to BBQ’s, picnics, spring galas, block parties, even brunch outdoors seem to spring up.

If you’re like me, you want to go socialize, enjoy the gorgeous weather and see friends! But if you’re like me, you also see the dietary pitfalls at every turn. Food and drink can be extremely social, and the pressures and temptation to eat something that is less healthy can outweigh, momentarily, the long term desire to be healthy. So what’s the solution? Give in to the dessert? Stay home?

BALANCE is the solution. The world will not come to a screeching halt if you eat that brownie at the picnic. Nor will the pounds pile back on if you partake in those delicious BBQ’d ribs that your neighbor made. However, saying yes to every indulgence can lead to those bad habits that you fought so hard to make disappear. Make healthy choices 80% of the time, and the other 20%, just live your life! Here are some ideas  to help you make more positive choices, more often!

  1. Fill up before you go. Before you leave the house, eat a meal that you know is good and good for you! If you show up to a social occasion hungry, you’ll be more inclined to make choices that aren’t as good for you!
  2. Supplement every alcoholic beverage with one large glass of water. Not only will you help your body long term by staying hydrated, you’ll feel more full and be less inclined to consume less healthy food and drink.
  3. Bring a small notebook with you, and write down everything you eat (and drink!). If you don’t feel comfortable taking a notebook out at a party, try taking a quick snapshot of each item and journaling it when you are in private. Studies show that when we track our habits, we subconsciously make better choices (see our blog on food journaling here.
  4. At a buffet line, grab a small plate. At buffet lines, we tend to overfill our plates anyway. Those large plates, when piled high, can be a caloric bomb. Fill your plate, but keep it small! If you’re still hungry, go back for seconds.

Match your healthy eating with more fitness snuck into your day! Short on time? Follow our  7 proven hacks for finally getting your body back in under 10 minutes a day (without a gym!)

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Five Tips to Stay Motivated During Weight-Loss

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Staying motivated and encouraged during weight-loss, or on your journey to a healthier you– whatever that may mean for you, can be so difficult. Here are a few ideas to keep things in perspective, and keep you moving forward! Thanks to Melissa Murphy for this list of tips!

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Let’s face it. Losing weight is hard! Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. Just remember that it is a battle that is won by thousands annually. It may be difficult at times but it is possible to reach your weight loss goals. Follow these tips to keep yourself encouraged and motivated.

1. Remember that every ounce counts. Ounces add up to pounds. Remind yourself of that the next time you are disappointed when your scales reflects your weight loss in ounces instead of the pounds you were hoping for.

2. Avoid comparing yourself with other people. You may be sharing your weight loss journey with a friend or a buddy at the gym. It is important to remember that every human body is unique and you will not always reach your goals at the same time that your friend does. You may be faster or slower. The important thing to remember is that you are getting there.

3. Maintaining your weight is considered a success. There may be times in your weight loss journey when you plateau for a week or two and you do not experience weight loss at all. Choose to view this as a success. After all, when you reach your final weight loss goal your next challenge will be that of maintenance. If you can maintain it now, you can maintain it in the future.

4. Get out more. Many people are tempted to stay at home when they are trying to lose weight because they feel that they cannot eat what other people eat and they won’t have as much fun. One of the skills that health conscious people learn is to enjoy themselves when going out with friends and still manage their dining out experiences. Practice making healthy choices when you are out at a restaurant. You will need these skills later when you are maintaining your weight.

5. Avoid the temptation to starve yourself or skip meals. The weight loss that comes from starving yourself is short lived. The key to effective long-term weight loss is keeping blood sugar levels from spiking and dipping. Eating every few hours will help you feel less deprived and help you lose more weight faster.

Although weight loss endeavors can be frustrating and even stressful at times, the most important thing to remember is not to give up. Set realistic weight loss goals and press forward one day at a time. Visualize yourself reaching those milestones one by one. Pretty soon you will experience the major accomplishment of having lost ten or twenty pounds and you will find that your motivation is renewed and your journey will become easier.

A great addition to your weight loss plan is to pepper in movement and exercise when you can. You don’t need to make a commitment to a gym! Check out our 7 proven hacks for finally getting your body back in under 10 minutes a day (without a gym!)

Wheat: An Overview (Then, Now, and What It Means)

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I’ve been reading the book Wheat Belly and have been thinking about how the agricultural evolutions during the last decade have contributed to the state of health/weight in America. AND how I could break it down to share with our readers.

Then, this morning, I received an email from Hungry for Change with a link to this page describing almost exactly what i’ve been reading; it felt too serendipitous not to share!

Check it out!

Baby’s First Juicer: What To Think About When Buying a Juicer

Congratulations on taking a giant leap for your health!!! The decision to start juicing is one that I can’t recommend highly enough– for a little bit about why juicing is so great, check out this! And this!

Amazon sent me an email earlier this week with the top rated juicers (I had been researching for a friend who is just beginning to juice, and Amazon remembered and is a marketing genius and sent me the list…). According to Amazon consumers, these top five juicers take the cake:

Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer, Black and Chrome 

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor 

Omega J8004 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer, White

Breville  JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juicing Machine 

Omega J8003 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer, White 

But which one is right for you?

First things first: once you’ve read this, you should continue to read around to pick to perfect one for you! I’ll provide you with some links to other sources, but find some of your own! Read customer reviews on multiple sites, talk to people at juice bars and health food stores. These recommendations are based on the research I’ve done, but may not be right for you.

Here are some things to think about:

— What type of juicer is it?
—– Masticating juicers grind you food up at a slower speed. They break up the cells so you get more complete nutrition. Literally, it chews (hence, masticating!) up your fruits and veggies and then squeezes the juice out. Because they operate at a slower speed, the juice doesn’t heat up as much as with other types of juicers. This is important! Heating up the juice kills some nutrients and the enzymes that your body needs to process and absorb the nutrients! Also, because they don’t get heated up, they don’t oxidize (like when a cut up apple turns brown) as quickly. This is GOOD– especially if you’re a busy bee and will want to juice the night before or something.
—– Centrifugal juicers work at a much higher speed. As you feed the veggie in, it meets with a spinning plate (think flat cheese grater) with fine metal mesh walls. The juice spins around through the mesh walls, and the pulp shoots out the back of the juicer into a special pulpy place.  Because of the high speed and friction, the juice heats up and will oxidize more quickly. I personally avoid this by drinking the juice right away…

— How much do you plan to juice?
—– Though it would be great if you could juice every day, that’s  not realistic for everyone. If you’re planning to make a big lifestyle change and become a serious juicer, you would be wise to invest in a more expensive, higher quality machine. If not, there are less expensive machines out there that get the job done!

–How much can you afford to spend?
—– This sort of goes with the one above.  I bought my first juicer from a target-like store for around $70 bucks. It’s not the best machine, but I was a college student and it was better than nothing. However, I am saving up to buy my first big girl juicer. Hopefully SOON!

— What do you plan to juice?
—– Of course, I recommend juicing lots and LOTS of veggies with a little fruit mixed in for taste. But the veggies are where it’s at, so to speak.  For veggies, one of the juicers above would probably be best; however, there are also juicers specific to other purposes, such as citrus or wheatgrass.

Always– any juicing is better than no juicing, but if you’re gonna do it, why not do it right!?!? Right now I have a cheap centrifugal juicer, but I can’t wait until I can buy a new one– one of the omega masticating juicers, for sure. Talking with one of my juiciest juicer friends and inspirations, she told me that she has an Omega masticating juicer– the vertical one. She told me that she used to have a nice Breville juicer that served it’s purpose, but that once she got the Omega, she realized what she’d been missing: the richness of flavor was so much greater with the Omega, and she could taste the different layered favors of the veggies; whereas the Breville just kind of blended them all together and seemed less robust.

She also mentioned the same thing that I did when it comes to cost– if you’re serious about making a major life and health change, it is worth the investment of a quality machine.  Here are a couple of websites that give a good comparison of the machines and will help you make the decision:
http://www.discountjuicers.com/compare2.html
http://www.harvestessentials.com/sigemju.html

Good luck! Feel free to be in touch with any questions! And while you’re emailing us anyway, why not try to snag one of Monica’s free strategy sessions this month? Email support@hhfusion.com

Happy juicing!!!!!

Live Food vs. Dead Food

Diets (as in the foods people eat, not as in a fad telling you to eat energy bars and drink shakes) focused on consuming raw foods are growing and growing in popularity.  As mentioned in our post about quinoa, cells are the building blocks of your body, and eating raw foods provides the most and best nutrition for creating new cells!

Here is an excerpt from Rhio’s Hooked On Raw to give you some more, in depth info about why eating raw is so great! I love when she says “…life comes from life…” It so great to keep it in perspective like that!

Cooked foods cannot create true health because they are missing some very vital elements needed by the body for its optimal functioning; things like enzymes, oxygen, hormones, phytochemicals, bio-electrical energy and life-force. When foods are heated above 105° F they begin to lose all of these. By 118° F, most food is dead. Yes, the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins are still there, but in a greatly altered state – not at all what nature provided.Each cell of the body is like a tiny battery, and raw and living foods supply the bio-electricity which charges these batteries. The bio-electrical energy of raw food can be clearly seen in Kirlian photographs of the food. This photographic process shows electrical discharges that naturally emanate from all living things as luminescent, aura-like flares surrounding the subject. The glow is bright and radiant in raw foods, yet almost totally absent in Kirlian photographs of comparable cooked foods.To me “life-force” means “the energy that is able to create life.” The sprouting ability of raw foods demonstrates the presence of the life-force within them. All grains, legumes, beans and seeds sprout. Nuts in the shell sprout. Potatoes sprout and create new potato plants. (Do not eat potato sprouts as they are poisonous.) If you stick the top part of a pineapple into water, it will sprout roots. Apple seeds create apple trees. Avocado pits and mango pits sprout.

Now, take cooked versions of all the above, put them into soil and see if a plant will grow. Cooked food rots, rather than sprouts, and a new plant does not come forth. Through observation, you can easily demonstrate for yourself what you are losing by eating cooked foods. A food that is cooked cannot create life and cannot maintain the life-force energy in our bodies.

Cooking food disrupts its molecular structure and kills all the enzymes too. Enzymes are the indispensable catalysts which enable the body to utilize vitamins and minerals. (Think of enzymes as the workmen and vitamins and minerals as the bricks and mortar. Without the workmen, the bricks and mortar don’t get put into place.) Enzymes are extremely heat-sensitive and thus do not survive in cooked foods. The vitamins and phytochemicals also are injured, greatly diminished, and left in an altered molecular state. The minerals are made less soluble. The fats have turned from life enhancing cis fatty acids to trans fatty acids, which create damaging free radicals in the body. Trans fatty acids also interfere with respiration of the cells. The proteins (including vegetable proteins), become denatured; they then coagulate (like the white of an egg) and are very difficult to digest. Some researchers report that unmetabolized protein particles in the bloodstream are a possible cause of allergies.

When you eat cooked (enzymeless) foods, you put a heavy burden on your body, which then has to produce the enzymes missing in the food. One of the reasons you feel lethargic or sleepy after a cooked meal is because the body is diverting its energy to replacing the enzymes that were not supplied. By comparison, a raw food meal leaves you feeling light and full of energy. You can judge this for yourself. Uncooked foods digest in 1/3 to 1/2 the time of cooked foods. The stress of creating and replacing enzymes, meal after meal, day after day, year after year, greatly contributes to accelerated aging.

Ingesting cooked food also causes the body to produce a surge of white blood cells (leukocytosis). These cells normally defend against disease, infection and injury to the body, but their production is a routine effect of ingesting cooked foods (as if the body considers such food a threat or danger). Because leukocytes carry a variety of enzymes, there is another possible explanation for the increase in white blood cells. The leukocytes may be delivering the missing enzymes so that digestion can proceed unhindered. Leukocytosis does not occur when raw, unheated foods are eaten. A ccording to Viktoras Kulvinskas,5 “in any pathological condition, including the intoxification of the digestive system with cooked food or other toxic materials, these white cells increase from 5 or 6 thousand per cubic millimeter to 7, 8 or 9 thousand per cu.m.m.” Leukocytosis also occurs when additives, pesticides and chemically based supplements are ingested. And, of course, producing these cells creates an additional stress upon the body.

Raw foods are full of oxygen, especially green leafy vegetables which contain an abundance of chlorophyll. The chemical structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to the hemoglobin in our red blood cells. The only difference is that the hemoglobin molecule has iron in its nucleus and the chlorophyll molecule has magnesium. Chlorophyll detoxifies the bloodstream and every other part of the body better than anything else you could eat. When you eat raw green chlorophyll foods, you oxygenate the blood. The bloodstream, through its capillary system, then delivers this oxygen to every cell in your body. And when you eat greens in blended form, such as in Dr. Ann’s Energy Soups (se e Recipe Index), this process is even more efficient.

Sprouted seeds contain vital elements which nourish our glands, nerves and brain. The hormones needed by the body are created out of the natural fat and other essential principles found in seeds. Think about how few seeds are found in the average diet. The plant breeders are hybridizing most of the seeds out of our foods. Now we can get seedless watermelons, seedless grapes, seedless citrus, and the list goes on. Even if we did find a seed, most of us don’t understand the value of eating it and thus, it would be discarded.

When you eat cooked starch, the body absorbs more than it needs. Getting rid of the excess starch then becomes another burden to the body. Those who favor cooked foods often make the point that since the body cannot absorb raw starch, this is a sign the food should be cooked. Another way to look at it, however, is that the body absorbs just enough of the raw starch for its needs and then passes out the rest. (When pig farmers feed their pigs raw potatoes, the pigs stay slender. Since farmers sell their pigs by the pound, they have learned to feed them cooked potatoes, which fattens them up.)

Cellulose – the woody, fibrous part of food – was previously believed to be unnecessary to the body. Because the body did not absorb it, it wasn’t deemed important. Now we know that this fiber is what keeps things moving through our body so that we don’t become constipated. Nature is vindicated again! I believe, in addition, that raw fiber has the ability to act as a broom which sweeps the intestinal tract and keeps it clean. Cooked fiber has lost the ability to do this for us. Enemas and colonics serve their purpose, but they are a poor substitute for what nature, by putting (raw) fiber into foods, has provided.

Raw and live foods nourish and improve the body’s inner environment. Raw and live foods enable the body to dislodge and expel accumulated wastes. A member of my family had a tiny sliver of metal lodged in his hand as a result of an accident. For two years he tried to get it out by squeezing, pushing, and probing with sterilized needles, etc., but it wouldn’t budge. He went to the Optimum Health Institute (to learn about live foods) for a week and, when he returned home, decided he would continue on raw foods. Four weeks later, a bubble formed on his hand and inside the bubble was the sliver of metal. This is an example of what raw and live foods do. If something is not supposed to be in your body, it will be expelled.

Eating cooked food prevents the immune system from working on what is really important in keeping us superbly healthy and young in body, mind and soul. We exhaust and dissipate the body’s strength by using the immune system to combat the unnatural cooked foods, chemically based supplements, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones (in meats, poultry, fish and dairy) and numerous other toxins we ingest, breathe in or absorb through our skin. When we really need the immune system to support us (as when a disease or infection develops or an injury occurs), it then lacks the strength to defend us properly.

Eating healthy means giving your body power foods it can easily assimilate and use for regeneration and rejuvenation. Life comes from life. So the more foods you eat which are organic and straight from nature’s raw garden, the better you are going to feel.

Best source of nutrition?

Just so I don’t keep you hanging: It’s fruits and vegetables. Gotcha. : )

If I haven’t made you mad enough to keep you from reading the rest, I’ll continue…

So, I was walking by a Walgreens/CVS/Duane Reade type of store this weekend and saw an end cap labeled “Nutrition” through the window. I was scurrying along, so I slowed my average NY speed walking to catch what they had displayed in such an important category, and it turned out to just be a bunch of diet bars.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if, instead of bars and supplements and shakes miracle pills, on a shelf labeled “Nutrition” is where stores kept things like fruits and vegetables and quinoa?

Now I don’t mean to be a debbie downer about all bars. In fact, in times of crazy schedules and general life madness, they can be helpful in a crunch! What concerns me are silly diets that have people only eating bars and drinking shakes to be “healthy.” Huh?

My favorite bar right now is the Good Greens bar. They are made by a Cleveland based company, so when I was attending school in Cleveland, they were readily available and so great to keep me going during my ridiculous college schedule! They are vegan, gluten free and boast to provide 100% of your daily fruits and vegetables.

Also, they’re freakin delicious.

BUT! I’m afraid that some people who eat things like this think that they are an alternative to eating REAL food.

They’re not.

So, in a PINCH, feel free to reach for your bar of choice (after researching the real nutritional value and what they will really be doing for you), but don’t let the convenience keep you from planning ahead to prepare/cook real, whole foods with a actual fruits and vegetables. These are still processed foods, and are not to replace the real, whole, good ole natural FOOD.

Live food is the best food. Check back for more on this later in the week!

And, while you’re waiting for our next enthralling, informative blog, why not shoot us an email for a shot at a FREE strategy session with Monica to figure out what is the best plan of action to help you reach your health goals and FINALLY overcome your struggles with wellness and/or weight loss. It will be totally worth it, I promise!
support@hhfusion.com

Get Some SLEEP to Help Lose Weight!

Americans are so silly.  We cram our schedules, and our kids’ schedules, full of activities, and scurry around from place to place all day exhausting ourselves.  Then once we’re home, we take time to unwind, and next thing we know it’s midnight and we’re still awake, and we have to be up at 6:00 tomorrow morning to get everything going for the nest day! That makes MAYBE 5 hours of sleep.  Maybe.

So, ok, why is sleep so important?  Well, we all know that while were sleeping our body is working to repair and heal and recover for the next day.  It’s a time when your body doesn’t have to think about digesting or anything else to keep it busy (unless you had a giant snack/meal before bed and your body is trying to figure out what to do with it, so it just sits around (like when you turn off the dishwasher in the middle of the cycle)).  Your body NEEEDS this time to recuperate.

Sleep debt is like any other kind of debt, it builds up.  Your body will continue to “pay” with high interest rates until you catch up! And if you don’t, your account, your body, YOU, will shut down!  Who wants that?  And if your body’s playing catch up just to be able to function normally, how can if be thinking about good, healthy weight loss? Plus, we all know that when we’re sleepy we’re so much more tempted to reach for those caffeinated drinks and bad, fatty, snacks foods that make us “feel better.”

But here’s something I didn’t really know about how sleep effects weight loss: Hormones!  The body restores hormones at night, and the two that have to do with weight loss are ghrelin and leptin. Grehlin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. When you’re sleep deprived you have more Grehlin– so more eating! Leptin does the opposite: tells you when to stop eating, and you have less of that when you’re not getting enough sleep.  So, more of the hormone telling you TO eat, and less of the hormone telling you to STOP eating… Could be a weight-gain culprit that you didn’t even suspect! Plus, your metabolism is slower when you’re sleep deprived.  Just badness all around.

So, the good news is that, in theory, this should be a pretty easy one to fix!  People usually need about 7.5 hours of sleep to strike a healthy balance.  That’s 10:00 pm-5:30 am, 11:00 pm-6:30 am… You get the picture.

Make sleep a priority! And while you’re making some good, healthy changes, why don’t you shoot us an email for a chance at a free strategy session with Monica?  support@hhfusion.com  Talk to you soon!

Why Veggies Are SO Amazing!

So, one of my dearest, dearest friends has decided to start juicing!!!! : )  I’m so excited for her and all the goodness that will ensue!

But starting a new path on your health journey like this can be confusing and overwhelming! One of the questions she asked me was what the specific benefits of each veggie are, and what they might do for different ailments or conditions. I looked all over the internet, and found these cool resources!

A cool overview of veggies by color and what they have to offer:
Here are some more specific lists with benefits of individual veggies:
But THIS is probably the best option– I’ll probably get it for myself once I have a few spare dollars! It looks awesome!
The “Juicing Bible” book lists what all produce qualities are. It also lists health problems and what juice combos aid that problem. But the real worth of the book is not only the recipes but you can look up ANY veg/fruit/herb item and it will give you a full description of:
Actions – what the produce actually does for you
Uses – Same as above but more detail and vitamin content
Buying/Storing
Juicing Yield
Pulping
Recipes
So, hopefully this gives you some new information about the wonders of VEGGIES and all that they can do of your health!  If you’d like help more specific to your needs, why not shoot us an email at support@hhfusion.com for a free strategy session with Monica???

Juicing for Weight-Loss and Detoxification

I’m on a juicing kick!

BUT! It’s important to note that juicing isn’t for everyone.  If you are making fruity juices, it can introduce a large amount of sugar into your body and cause blood glucose spikes because the fiber from the actual fruit isn’t there to be digested and slow down the absorption rate (check back for more on fiber from Monica later this week!). So, if you have blood-sugar issues, this is something to be aware of.

For this reason we suggest very veggie juices (like the one I told you about here ) because they’re less sugary!

Something I like to tell people about the detox and weight-loss benefits of juicing or doing a sweet little juice fast is this: the toxins we eat and are subjected to are sometimes fat soluble instead of water soluble. This means that they will store themselves deep in your fat cells and not go away, which means the fat won’t go away! You may be going strong for a while, but then hit a weight-loss wall.  Sound familiar?  When doing a detox, the  toxins bind to certain minerals in the juices (also look back this week for a post about which veggies/fruits might give you which benefits!), and then the fat is more available to be eliminated.  Cool, right?

From my friends at wellness resources.com:
“…toxins are stuffed into your fat in the first place to get them away from your metabolism.  When they are in your circulation they can readily disrupt your metabolism, causing weight gain.  Yet, as you lose weight they go back into your circulation.  You must effectively clear them or you will feel crummy, fatigued, irritable, and/or simply not lose any weight.

Sometimes you will lose weight just fine for a while and then you hit a toxic layer of fat.  You didn’t change your diet or exercise – possibly there was a bit more stress – but now you are in a toxic slow down.  Your weight loss will stop or you will start gaining weight as your body now holds water in an effort to dilute the poisons.  If you get frustrated you’ll start eating more, which will actually make you feel much better, as the toxins will be packaged back up into fat and sent back to storage.  Of course, you won’t feel much better next time you look at the scale. ”

I hate that so much gross stuff is in our body that we don’t even know about or have any control over.

The good news is, doing a cleanse every once in a while (I shoot for once a month), helps to eliminate some of these toxins and symptoms!  The body is an amazing machine that, under the right conditions, is very effective at eliminating bad guys and keeping you healthy and happy. The hitch is, the more you eat, the more your body has to work and focus on digesting, and the less time it has to combat the toxic intruders (think about this when it comes to snacking– constant snacking makes it so your body never really has a break to work on other things!). Drinking delicious, detoxifying veggie juices will give your body a break from digestion, enable your body to absorb the necessary nutrients more efficiently, and perhaps be the key to eliminating some of those STUBBORN, ANNOYING, LINGERING pounds!

What is your favorite detox juice recipe?

Remember that we give away a few FREE strategy sessions with Monica every month! Leave a comment or email us  at support@hhfusion.com for a chance to win!

It’s Too Hot to Samba, So Bike!

As we begin the summer months, and it gets more and more beautiful outside, who wouldn’t want to find great ways to exercise while enjoying the beautiful weather?  Amazingly enough, I have found a solution: biking!

I’ve been biking more frequently lately, and thought I would share my experience with you as we make the transition into summer! Knowing the crunch for both time and space that many people have, I realize that it’s not practical to think that everyone owns a bike– I don’t either! When I feel the urge to pedal through Central Park, I call upon Larry’s Freewheeling to remedy my bikelessness (check out their facebook page here! http://ow.ly/1O10xP ). Check local listings for places that might rent bikes near year, or sell used bikes at reasonable rates.

Biking truly is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of summer while burning calories, working your entire body (in a way that’s joint friendly), and getting some cardio into your schedule!  I hope to see you out there! Happy peddling!