It seems to be a fancy way to drink water when you’re out to eat. It seems like it’s a good thing to do because you vaguely remember hearing or reading that it’s good for something. But, you don’t do it every day. If you are like me, you’ve thought about adding lemon to your water and you’ve even done it when it’s convenient and you remember to do it. But, it has not been a regular part of your routine.
Well, in case you don’t remember why it’s so good to add lemon to your water, here’s a little list of reasons why it’s so good for us to do.
1. Digestion. Because lemon juice has a similar structure to our stomach’s juices, it aids digestion by helping flush out toxins from the digestive tract. It helps relieve indigestion and bloating and hydrates the colon.
2. Immunity. Lemon helps boost immunity because it is rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C in lemon also helps our bodies to absorb more iron, which also strengthens our immunity. Lemons also have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, to help fight off colds and flu. People who drink lemon water daily are actually less likely to get sick to begin with.
3. Energy. Lemon water (especially in first thing in the morning) gives an instant energy boost. Who can’t use that… at any time of the day?
4. Alkalize. Lemons are of the most alkalizing food sources available. Most of what Americans eat on the standard American diet, like processed foods, sugar, and white flour, make our bodies very acidic. Too much acidity can cause obesity, inflammation, and other more serious diseases. Lemon water is an easy, tasty way to prevent too much acidity.
5. Antioxidants. The antioxidants contained in lemons help alleviate the effects of aging and reduce the risk of several types of cancer. This alone is a great reason to start drinking lemon water every day!
It’s the number one new year’s resolution because it’s, among other things, not very easy to do. It’s not the weight loss itself that’s difficult, it’s the changes, the choices we have to change that we prefer to keep as they are, that make the process difficult. But, if you think of weight loss in the context of baby steps, then everyone can do the following three things and lose weight this year (even with just about one quarter of the year behind us)!
1. Baby steps. Make one healthy choice this week. Instead of having dessert every night, cut it out during the week or on the weekend. The following week, make an additional change while keeping the first one. Maybe you can eat an apple instead of a bag of chips as part of your lunch.
This concept is backed by a study done by the National Institute of Health, which showed that people lost more weight and kept it off for longer periods of time when they made small, gradual changes to their lifestyles.
2. Skip commercials. I know that technology now often allows us to fast forward through commercials. However, for those of us who still have commercials to sit through, take the time to get your body moving. If you don’t see commercials anymore, just hit that pause button for a minute or two for a workout. Anyone can do a 1-2 minute workout, right? Do as many jumping jacks as you can in a minute. Attempt a few push ups. Jump rope.
Did you know that adding five minutes of exercise (cardiovascular) translates into burning 30 to 50 calories? Burning that many calories per day means potentially losing 4 pounds in a year. Just imagine what 10, 15, or 20 minutes a day could do.
3. Make your own lunch. Don’t go to the vending machine, or the fast food restaurant, or even the grocery store for a something quick and easy for lunch. Make your own. You’ll cut calories, sodium, and sugar because processed foods are full of all those obstacles to your weight loss. You’ll save money and feel better as a result.
What baby steps have you taken to lose weight?
Could you use a thrifty and yummy health tip today? We all know that there are so many things we have to think about making sure we get. Vitamin C. Vitamin D3. Omega-3s. Minerals. Anti-oxidants. Protein. Water. Good fats. The list goes on and on. We know that. That’s why it’s so nice to find out that there are yummy sources of multiple elements of a healthy diet. If I can kill two birds with one stone (and have it be an enjoyable experience), then that’s what I want to do.
Dark Chocolate. We have already read about the anti-oxidants in dark chocolate. We also know that dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa) contains mood boosting compounds. But, did you know that chocolate that is 70-85% cocoa is a great source of fiber? Yep. One gram of dark chocolate contains 3 grams of fiber. So, get your antioxidants, your fiber, and feel good about it all with a yummy treat.
Almonds. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, B complex vitamins, minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. But, they are also rich in fiber. Another surprise, right? One cup of almonds contains 4 grams of fiber. Just remember to keep it to about a cup, though, because those calories add up quickly with nuts!
Avocados. There’s a reason it’s called a superfood. In just one fifth of a medium sized avocado, you get about 20 minerals and vitamins. The fat in avocados is the “good fat,” which assists in weight loss by satisfying hunger and increasing metabolism. In addition to all the properties that contribute to its “superfood” status, avocado contains 7 grams of fiber in just one half of an avocado. How could you not include avocado in your next meal, whichever meal it may be!
What are your favorite “multipurpose” foods?
We have all heard that we all need calcium for strong, healthy bones. But did you know that calcium is also responsible for muscle and nerve function as well as enabling our blood to clot normally? Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, and women have an increased risk with age. We tend to think, however, that getting the proper amount of calcium requires the recommended three glasses of a dairy product daily. Most of us are not drinking three glasses of milk in a week, much less a day! I know people who are allergic to dairy; they surely cannot drink that much milk. In reality, though, we can get calcium from many other non-dairy sources.
In case you are allergic to dairy or you, like me, outgrew your desire to drink that much milk a few decades ago, here are a few foods that may interest you.
Non-Dairy Milks. Soy, rice, and nut milks also provide calcium. Keep in mind that in addition to drinking the milk, you can also cook with it and still get the much needed calcium.
Kale. There’s a reason it’s called a superfood. It’s full of so many nutrients… including calcium. One cup of kale will meet 10 percent of the daily requirement.
Bok Choy. I’m thrilled to see Bok Choy on the list because we had a garden full of it last season. One cup of shredded Bok Choy will give you 15 percent of the daily requirement. Maybe we should plant Bok Choy again? Hmmm…
Broccoli. Broccoli is one of my all time favorite veggies. It’s full of lots of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. One cup of chopped broccoli will provide you with 5 percent of the daily requirement. Oh, eat two cups worth! Make it 10 percent at dinner alone!
Spinach. Here’s another one of my favorites. It tastes great no matter how it’s cooked and it’s full of nutrients. One cup of this dark leafy veggie amounts to 25 percent of the daily requirement! I’m happy to say that we do have spinach seeds planted in our spring garden.
How do you get your calcium?
I’m sure some of you are already rolling your eyes at the thought of not taking a shower every day. Of course, if you are like me, then you are hopeful that your current pattern might be justified by some authority on health and medicine. Well, if you are in that second group, you are right.
Dr. Joseph Mercola makes the claim that daily showers are actually not good for our health. He explains that we all have beneficial bacteria living on our skin. It works to fight off bad bacteria we are exposed to. But every time we lather up our favorite shower soap, gel, or shampoo, we rid our skin of that good bacteria and the protection it provides. He also suggests that limiting showers would be one major way to conserve water for the sake of the environment.
The natural question arises, of course, about how often to shower. Dr. Mercola suggests that if there’s need, because of body odor, to shower more than once per week (which used to be the standard before the advertising industry got a hold of the bathing and showering market), then it’s important to limit the amount of soap used.
Here are a few tips for healthy showering according to the doctor.
1. When showering, make sure you use warm, rather than hot, water. That’s a tough one because I do love a hot shower at this time of the year. Hot water is harder on the skin than warm water is.
2. When you shower, limit your use of soap to the areas that most need it. He suggests arm pits, groin, and the soles of your feet.
3. As soon as you get out of the shower, moisturize! He suggests getting a generous scoop of coconut oil to seal the moisture all over your body.
Do you shower every day? What do you think of the concept of limiting showers for the sake of our health and our environment?
It may not seem like you will ever bare your arms or legs because spring appears to have been canceled across the nation this year, but spring and summer really are just around the corner. You will wear shorts and tank tops once again. While it’s popular to think about and actually do something to get in shape or get healthy at the beginning of the year, there really is no better time than the present to do whatever it is you want or need to do for your health. Even for those of us who tend to eat healthy and workout regularly, it doesn’t take very much to get out of our routine and find ourselves asking, “How did I used to keep in shape?” So, here are just a few little tips (and perhaps reminders) for weight loss and healthy living.
1. Know thyself. There’s not a cookie cutter workout or “diet” that is going to work for everyone. So, figure out what works best for you. Do you prefer working out in the morning or in the afternoon? Do you like to run on a treadmill or walk outside with the children? Do you tend to struggle with eating right at home or at work? Is your problem snacking throughout the day or eating larger portions at meal time? These are all critical questions to help you customize your fitness routine.
2. Reevaluate your kitchen. Until you can resist temptations in the kitchen, just go ahead and remove them. It’s easier to choose an apple over potato chips when there are no potato chips in the pantry. If you buy snacks for your family, perhaps you can buy them snacks that aren’t tempting for you. I don’t mind having organic cheese sandwich crackers in the pantry for my children because they don’t tempt me quite the same way as do chips and salsa. Choose what sits in your pantry wisely.
3. Enjoy your exercise. There are so many people who will tell you the best exercises to do, when to do them, and how long and how often to do those exercises. However, what matters the most is that you actually do exercise. So, find something you love to do. Run, walk, jump around to music in your living room, get a yoga DVD. Do what you will enjoy! That’s what will keep you going back for more.
What do you do to stay consistent with your fitness routine?
Years ago, when I was a member of a gym, I used to joke that the gym would finally be back to normal in March. We all know why. Those who had “resolved” to get fit got discouraged, didn’t see all the weight loss or fit-ness happen fast enough, or just gave up. Well, even if you are not a member of a gym, this is the time (if you did make a resolution) that your resolve, your motivation, your hope is tested. Don’t give up! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your weight loss in case you didn’t see the results you’d hoped for in the last two months.
1. Vary your workout. Be sure that whatever you consider your workouts include aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching. Cardio alone may not be sufficient for weight loss. Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle translates into better metabolism. So, be sure you’re working on building your strength at least twice a week. If you do the same workout every day, change it. Add weights. Increase weights. Add time. Add intensity. Do interval training. All those changes will change your workout, strengthen your muscles, and improve your ability to lose weight.
2. Watch those extra calories. Sometimes when we work out, we give ourselves the liberty to indulge more than we would when we are not working out. There’s not much room for indulging if you are trying to lose weight. If you want something special, then be sure to cut the equivalent number of calories elsewhere.
3. Exercise is not just what happens at the gym. Be careful not to let yourself get lazy the rest of the day. Let your workout time inspire you to keep moving. If you slow down from your normal pace, you may also cut the number of total calories you’d normally burn on any given day. So, take the stairs and park a little farther. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
How do you maximize your workouts?
I don’t know one mother who isn’t concerned about her children eating healthy food. We may all have varying degrees of applying what we believe is healthy to our daily lives. But, we all think about it, don’t we? Sometimes, we try so hard to make them eat broccoli and spinach that we forget that it doesn’t always have to be so hard. Here are a few reminders of foods that are great for kids that don’t have to be so hard for them to eat–or drink!
1. Milk. Milk is great for children. It’s a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein for children. And, be sure to get whole milk, not the low fat variety. Good fats are good for us and actually do more to maintain a healthy metabolism. That whole “low fat” trend many of us were brought up on has proven to be a faulty model for good health and weight loss.
2. Apples. Apples make for an easy, healthy snack. Ideally, your children will eat an unpeeled apple as a snack. The skin contains about 5 grams of fiber. However, if your children are like mine and prefer it peeled, they’ll still get half of that fiber along with a good dose of vitamin C.
3. Eggs. Eggs contain protein, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals. I try to make sure that my children get eggs almost every day.
4. Vegetables. We all know that we all, adults and children alike, don’t get enough dark green, leafy vegetables in our diets. So, some of us moms are apt to try to sneak them into sauces and smoothies to make sure our children get ‘em. However, we need to remember that there are other vegetables that are more palatable for little ones. Carrots, peas, and potatoes are a few. My children enjoy crunching on a raw carrot much more than they do eating cooked carrots. Other children prefer cooked carrots because they taste sweeter when they are baked or roasted. Don’t look down on the non-green veggies. They, too, contain nourishing vitamins and minerals.
What are some healthy foods that your children love to eat?