Sunday, February 23, 2014

Quality Eggs

Quality eggs are not obvious with all the different labels. Here's a great article from Organic Consumers Association on what words to look for: “Free Range” is better than “Cage Free,” but “Pasture Raised” is best. Avoiding cheap factory farm eggs is not only the right thing to do for your vote on agricultural practices but also for your health. Eggs got a bad rap in the 1980s about their nutrition, but when you get what I call "happy eggs," you'll get Omega-3 good fats and other important vitamins and minerals. Eggs are an inexpensive protein packed full of nutrients if you get the right ones. Egg-xcellent!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Barley: star-quality rice-substitute

I was drawn to this article about rice substitutes, and wanted to share that I think barley is the most accessible for most people to try as a healthier alternative for rice or pasta. We want more nutrient-dense and low-glycemic load meals so that we can maintain healthy weight and feel great. Quinoa (keen-wah) was listed at the top and can be very tasty, but some people don't like the taste of quinoa or have issues digesting it. Barley is somewhat "old school" and works well as a pilaf and has a nutty chewy texture that is more widely accepted especially for beginners not confident about cooking healthy.

My favorite way to eat barley is to mix in mushrooms, peas, veggies, onions and parsley to cooked barley so that I'm getting a rainbow of nutrition and a lot of flavor. And some like to make it creamy like risotto, if you cook it with broth. A warning about barley in soup: If you're packing leftovers, be sure to separate the barley from the soup or your leftovers will no longer be soup but actually become barley mush. Barley loves to soak up the liquids!! Here are some ideas for barley recipes.

The nutrition graphic here shows a terrific mineral profile for barley. Many of us hear about how we need to improve our selenium intake in our foods to boost our optimal health, an important anti-inflammatory mineral that is no longer rich in our agricultural soil. It's found to be helpful for lowering risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and thyroid disease. International standards are higher than in the US and selenium can improve your immune health as well as vision health. Other sources of selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, some seafood, animal protein, eggs, beans. The NIH page  or WHFoods page offers suggestions of foods that you can incorporate. If you don't eat foods like Brazil nuts or barley daily (who does?), I like to take this high-quality multi-mineral as my backup so that I get enough of my minerals daily, as my insurance for optimal health.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boost your energy in less than 5 minutes

Easy ways to boost your energy in less than 5 minutes!
Some strategies only take 30 seconds of tuning in.
Are you one of those people who go non-stop? Or maybe feel rushed? Try some (or all) of these strategies and see how you get a boost of energy!

* Stop rushing and Tune in: Take breaks from the computer screen or whatever you're focused on. Close your eyes, sit tall and calm, and breath deep belly breaths for 30 seconds. You can do this on your bathroom break--sitting break, or while you're washing your hands.
* If you have a place to lie down quietly in a comfortable place, we call this "active rest," it might even be better than a nap. Our spine is working hard to be in vertical so it is such a relief to allow your spine to rest horizontal! Keep your knees bent to give your low back some support. Breathe deep belly breaths and let your back relax/melt into the mat or floor.
* Sometimes it's just that your body needs more support all around. Did you get enough healthy energizing food or snacks throughout the day? Take these Activated B vitamins that have super absorption (feel the boost within 5 minutes!). Time it either in the morning or in the afternoon to avoid the post-lunch lull. B-vitamins helps support your nervous system as you deal with daily stressors and it's good for your heart! And it's great to take it before a workout. Some athletes have reported that the lift stronger weights or have other performance boosts with this vitamin B. And it's safe! Most of us are low on B-vitamins and because it's water soluble, it's safe to take several caps a day bc any extra will simply be disposed of in your urine.
* If you've had long-term stress, whether from a family/life incident or chronic long work hours, you might need some support to bring down your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and support your adrenals. This supplement helps you improve your health of your stress hormones to a better balance-- why it's called ACTS (adrenals, cortisol, thyroid, and stress).
* Depending on your mood, listen to some happy or relaxing music on your way out of the office to your exercise class or home workout so you have the energy! My favorite diva power songs come from Pink or old school Gloria Gaynor. What are your favorite power songs?
* Have fresh plants at your desk or home. Nature helps change the energy in the area and might even make you smile! I bought these potted tulips before the flowers were in bloom, and apparently they were bursting with so much energy that each stem produced twin flowers! Now, that's extra energy from the flowers for you!