Tag Archives: healthy

Spring Cleaning Your Way to Better Health


As the temperature begins to rise, the desire to begin spring cleaning sets in. Have you cleared out your closet, basement or garage yet? If you haven’t, it’s probably on a “to-do” list somewhere. But, have you given any thought to spending time in the pantry or refrigerator to get rid of the foods that are less healthy in order to make room for those that are good for you?

Experts agree that eating clean and exercising daily are the key components to overall health and wellness. There is no better time than now to begin both regimens. Go for a walk or a bike ride or anything else that gets you outdoors for at least an hour a day. Spend 15 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen. Why? Many Americans are vitamin D deficient and will benefit from the exposure. However, what most people don’t know is that, without adequate vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. So, the key to strong bones is vitamin D + calcium.

Do you have low fat dairy products in the refrigerator? If you don’t, toss the old. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurts are rich sources of important nutrients, including calcium and protein. Unlike other foods, when fat is removed from dairy products, no additional ingredients are added. So, stock up on low fat dairy but beware of flavored yogurts that are very high in sugar. Instead, have plain yogurt, add fresh fruit, a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds for a satisfying and nutrient rich treat.

What about fresh produce? Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious but they can be expensive and spoil quickly if not consumed. My advice to clients is to check what’s currently in season before buying. The seasonal produce is always less expensive. There are many websites that can give you this information, including fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. When possible and affordable, choose organic if the skin on the produce is eaten. For example, choose organic apples or berries but not organic bananas or pineapples. Also, check out your local farmers market to look for the best prices on fresh produce. It may surprise you.

What about your pantry? Is it stocked with wholesome snacks and cereals or nutritionally deficient ones? How do you know? Read the food label. Ideally, a serving should have less than 8g of sugar, 5g or more of protein and 20% or more of dietary fiber. I also like to encourage clients to look for foods that have no more than 5 ingredients listed. This will help you determine if that cold cereal you have been eating is actually good for you. Does your oatmeal contain just oats or other unnecessary ingredients? Now is the time to toss these nutritionally inadequate foods and spend some time reading food labels in the aisles of your local supermarket to find ones that you’ll feel good about eating.

So, before you clean out anything else this spring, head to the kitchen. Toss out the old and replace with healthy, nutrient dense foods. You just might be amazed at the new found energy you’ll have to do all those other things on the never-ending “to do” list.



Healthy Valentine’s Day Breakfast in Bed Recipes

Many people like to shower their Valentines with chocolates and candy. But what if your loved one wants to tone down the sweets?

Click on the video link to see some perfect breakfast in bed meals that won’t disappoint those on a diet.


Childhood Obesity: The Facts Behind the ‘Epidemic’

Officially, obesity in children is defined as a body fat level that is more than 30 percent for girls and 25 percent for boys. Unlike adults, children are measured on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale according to their age and gender, as their height is frequently changing. For children between two and 19 years-old, Centers for Disease Control Growth Charts define those with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex as overweight; those with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile are classified as obese.

It isn’t easy to pin down exactly what caused this, well, trend. For Deborah Levy, the answer is twofold.

“First, these kids are less active,” she explains. “Years ago, kids would ride bikes to go to friends’ houses; today they are driven everywhere. Kids also used to have a gym class at school almost every day of the week. Now, gym classes are only a couple of days a week. Our tweens and teens spend more time on the computer, cell phone, playing hand-held games, and watching TV than playing ball or jumping rope outside. Next, portion sizes of the foods kids choose to eat often are growing in size. For example, bagels are twice the size of what they used to be and pizza slices are much larger as well.  So, when kids don’t realize what portion sizes should be and think they can enjoy a bagel or two slices of pizza, what they don’t realize is they may be taking in the equivalent of two bagels or four slices of pizza in calorie and fat content.”

Click here to read this article on The Daily Meal looks at the causes and effects of the childhood obesity issue and potential actions to help children and their parents who continue to struggle with this.


Flip-Flop Ready Feet

Let’s face it. This has been a very long winter. In fact, our feet have been shoved into our snow boots for way too long. But, that all begins to change now. The snow is melting and its time to dig out our shoes without shearling. Reach deep into the closet and you will find that your open toe clogs, sandals, and flip flops are still there, waiting to be worn.

But, the question is…are your feet flip-flop  ready? If the answer is “no”, there’s one beauty must-have for the season: coconut oil.
Why coconut oil? 
Coconut oil is ideal as a lightweight, non-greasy, pleasant-smelling moisturizer for your skin. Unlike  moisturizers on the drugstore shelves which are mainly water or petroleum based, coconut oil is a natural remedy that conditions, hydrates and moisturizes our skin cells. You can use it as an all-over foot conditioning treatment (including the cuticles which benefit from the additional moisturizing too) or mix it with sugar or sea salt for a heavenly foot scrub.  What better way to get rid of the dry, scaly, flakey skin on your feet before stepping out into the warmth for the world to see?
 Even more amazing is that coconut oil can protect your feet from those dreaded fungal infections  that can occur during the summer months when your feet are exposed. How? The anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties come naturally from the medium chain tryglicerides in the oil. Coconut oil also has been shown offer some protection of UV rays during the long, sunny days and, when mixed with tea tree oil it can be used to keep those pesky mosquitos away during the warm, humid nights.
So…what are you waiting for? Grab a container of Carrington Farms Extra Virgin  Coconut Oil, warm some between your hands, then apply generously to feet and become “flip flop ready”. You’ll be glad you did.

Coconut oil in coffee

A study published in the Journal of Lipids  compared results of people using coconut oil versus vegetable oil. On a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise regimen, both groups had a reduction in BMI. However, only the group using coconut oil had a reduction in waist circumference and an increase in HDL levels (good cholesterol). Vegetable oil group had a lowering of the good cholesterol and raising of total cholesterol levels. Coconut oil has an overall positive effect on cholesterol levels and may play a role in reducing abdominal fat.

The Journal of Nutrition published a study explaining that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) like those found in Coconut Oil can increase your metabolism and promote fat burning. MCTs are metabolized differently than long chain tryglycerides (LCTs) which are in vegetable oils. Unlike LCTs which are  readily stored in your body, MCTs are not stored, but sent directly to the liver where they are used immediately as energy.
Adding Coconut Oil to coffee yields many positive  results. It can help raise HDL levels and reduce waist circumference for overall health. It can also help to increase  metabolism and give you an additional boost of sustainable energy.
It is important to note that, as part of a healthy diet, all fats should be limited. Coconut oil should replace other oils, not be in addition to them.
Coconut oil comes in both a liquid and solid form. When adding to coffee, choose the solid form. Brew your coffee as usual. Pour hot cup of coffee into either a blender or blender bottle. Add nonfat milk (dairy, soy, almond,etc) to coffee.  Then add 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil. (Limit to 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil for 2 cups of coffee a day.) Blend or shake well. Enjoy your delicious and creamy blended drink that is not only good for your heart but also good for your body.