Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Archive for March, 2012


Color is fun; it makes me want to smile.

Do you have an explosion of colors on your plate every day?   

Red foods, such as red berries, red grapefruit, watermelon, red apples, red peppers, pomegranates, beets, radicchio, red cabbage, and tomatoes, contain lycopene and anthocyanins, which help maintain heart health, boost memory, keep your urinary tract healthy, and lower your risk for some cancers.







Yellow and orange foods, like apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peaches, oranges, pineapple, lemons, tangerines, yellow peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrots, get their color from carotenoids, which strengthen your immune system, help you maintain sharp vision, and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.







Green foods, such as green apples, honeydew melon, green grapes, kiwi, lime, pears, avocado, asparagus, arugula, artichokes, broccoli, broccoli rabe, kale, collard greens, green peppers, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, zucchini, and green cabbage, contain lutein and indoles. Deep green vegetables also supply plenty of key minerals and essential vitamins. They can help you keep your vision sharp and maintain strong bones and teeth; they can also help prevent cancer.







Blue and purple foods have anthocyanins and phenolics, which may have antiaging benefits. Try blackberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, raisins, eggplant, purple potatoes, and purple asparagus.








Many white and brown foods contain the phytonutrient allicin, which has been shown to aid in preventing heart disease and cancer. They also often have powerful antimicrobial properties. Try fruits and vegetables like bananas, dates, cauliflower, garlic, onion, mushrooms, ginger, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, and turnips.







Let’s make our plates colorful and fun!  If you can add at least one choice from each of the color groups to the day’s meals, you’ll have consumed five servings of

fruits and vegetables without even trying!

What colors are you eating today? 



It happens to all of us, and we call is lapses or potholes or going backwards… We just don’t do well for a while with our choices in nutrition, exercise and mind fillers and we just wind up feeling lousy.  And we know better, and we know that nothing happens by accident, so we realize that this horrible feeling is self-induced, which doesn’t help in the guilt department…  But that’s our real life and that is where we are at.

Now what?

CRAVINGS are not vague annoyances that might go away. They are specific reactions to specific situations that can be isolated, confronted, and understood.  It’s not enough to resolve to be strong.  Start thinking about when and where the cravings happen, or what triggers the desire to eat junk.  Why is this happening?  Does it have to do with stress? With lack of planning?  With not eating enough fiber/protein to feel full all day?

NO MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE is not a vague annoyance that might go away.  It is most often the result of thought patterns that must be addressed. What is your mind choosing to dwell on?  How are you spending your mind time?  Or your lack of motivation can also be the result of bad choices–how little did you sleep? How poorly did you eat?  How much did you drink, and what?  Maybe you made a poor choice that brought about another one, and then another one, like ripples in the water.

Sounds ridiculously simple, but sometimes, all you’ve got to do is to just accept and understand your shortcomings, take a deep breath, and  GET BACK ON THE HORSE!

Start making new kinds of ripples in your life!

Because what matters is not where you have been but what you are choosing right now.

Right this minute, or second.


Somewhere way back in a drawer, do you have one of these?

Would you consider bringing it back to the front of the drawer?

Many studies have been done on the benefits of using a pedometer and the bottom line is this: People who start a walking program for their health get more out of it by using a pedometer.

1. “People who use pedometers increase their physical activity by about 2,000 steps a day, about a mile,” said one study author Dr. Dena M. Bravata, a senior research scientist at Stanford University. “They also seem to lower their blood pressure more and lose more weight.”

This conclusion came from an analysis of 26 studies with a total of 2,767 participants. Most were observational studies, which means the researchers simply watched what the volunteers did, while eight had some scientific controls.  Pedometer users in the controlled trials increased their physical activity by 2,491 steps per day more than those who didn’t use the devices. The comparable increase for pedometer users in observational trials was 2,183 steps per day.

2. Pedometer users had their systolic blood pressure — the higher number — fall by an average of 3.8 millimeters. A 2-mm reduction is associated with a 10 percent reduction in stroke mortality and a 7 percent reduction in death from blood vessel conditions.

3. Pedometer users reduced their body-mass index by 0.4 percent — about 2.5 pounds for a 195-pound individual.

I know that when I wear a pedometer, I am aware of it all day long and I want the number on there to be big, so I move more on purpose.  I even do an extra few jumping jacks or park further away just to see the number go up.  Pretty stupid, I agree, but it works!  And that is exactly what studies found.  “One major advantage of pedometer use in an exercise program is that it caters to the American quest for numbers,” said James Hill, director of the University of Colorado Center for Human Nutrition and co-founder of America on the Move, an organization dedicated to increasing physical activity.

America on the Move is a wonderful little “app” through which you can “walk” your way across America, stopping at different landmarks along the way and learn.  You can choose the amount of steps you want to challenge yourself with daily and pick a trail accordingly.  Every night, you record your steps and move forward across the country.  Lots of fun.  You have 6 weeks to finish your trail. If you are interested in signing up, here is the website.  It’s free, by the way.

Simply put, pedometers increase motivation for physical activity by putting it in terms of a number that you can watch it and manage.

So, how about pulling yours out of the drawer for the next six weeks?  You might enjoy flowers, and deer, and sunshine, and neighbors like never before!  And make your dog real happy in the process…

Barb’s Skinny Muffin

There have been many versions of this skinny muffin floating around the internet lately. The original had a bit too much fat in my eyes, even though it was good fat.  So for whatever it’s worth, here is my version.  I love it!  It keeps me full a long time and makes my tummy happy.

1/4 cup ground flax seed (easily ground in a coffee maker)

2 egg whites

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup grated carrots

1 T sliced almonds

1 packet Stevia (use raw honey if you don’t like Stevia)

Put it all in a microwavable mug and mix well. Microwave for 90 seconds. Voila!

242 great for you calories, 14 g of fat that brings your metabolism up, 18 g of energy carbohydrates, 14 g of lean muscle building protein and 7 g of awesome fiber.

You are welcome!

Food Density

Choosing foods that are less concentrated with calories lets you get a larger portion size with fewer calories–sometimes, that can be very attractive! 

The definition of ENERFY DENSITY is “the amount of energy stored in a given system per unit volume or mass, depending on the context.”  Obviously, all foods have a certain number of calories within a given amount (volume).  Some foods are high in energy density, meaning that a small volume of that food has a large number of calories.  Alternatively, some foods have low energy density.  Two factors play an important role in what makes food less calorie packed and more filling:

  • Water: many fruits and vegetables are high in water, which provides volume but not calories.  Grapefruits are 90 % water and only 39 calories for a half-fruit serving for example.  Carrots are 88 % water and have 52 calories in one cup.
  • Fiber: high-fiber foods not only provide volume, but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer!

So, as far as food density, if you are looking to reduce calories while eating well, what are your best food choices?

  • VEGGIES, VEGGIES, VEGGIES!  Most of them are low in calories and high in volume.  Most vegetable servings (1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked or 2 cups leafy vegetables) have about 25 calories!  Starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash) contain more calories, about 70 in a half-cup serving.
  • FRUITS: Practically all fruits work well.  Some are better choices than others though; you should limit fruit juices, tropical fruits and dried fruits as they are concentrated sources of natural sugar.  Fresh, unpeeled is the very best.  The more processed it is—peeled, then sliced, then diced, then juiced—the less work you have to digest it; and you definitely want your body to work with your food! Never forget the importance of blood sugars!
  • CARBOHYDRATES: the good kind!  Look for whole grains, of course: whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain cereals…
  • PROTEIN: animal and plant sources; legumes–beans, peas and lentils, filled with fiber–, and fish, skinned white meat poultry and egg whites.

Such a simple, excellent key!

Barb’s Fit U Challenges

Ten weeks of challenges, all done!  My hat off to you!

How do you feel?

Do you notice any difference?

Was it worth it?

Would you like more challenges?

Let me know!

Keep it Off!

OK, you are a happy camper, having lost the weight you set out to lose; good for you! It wasn’t easy, but now you are so pleased with your results–how you feel, how you look and the sense of accomplishment that goes with a goal accomplished.

And hopefully, you did more than lose weight– you changes your lifestyle for good.  Right?

Any kind of lifestyle habit changes are prone to relapses, unfortunately.  So once you reach your goal, it is good to have a plan as to how you will maintain your new lifestyle.

Here are ten tips for you:

1. Keep monitoring your weight.  Maybe not weekly, but a couple of times a month would be good.  It forces you to stay aware!

2. Never skip breakfast! All studies done show that this is a key element in losing weight and keeping it off.

3. Don’t stop drinking your water, and lots of it! Remember that often, when you think you are hungry, you are just thirsty…

4. Stay consistent.  That’s how you lost it, that’s how you are going to keep it off.  Consistent in your eating, your prepping the food, your planning the menus, your exercise routine.  Just do it.

5. Surround yourself with people who support you: a workout buddy, a colleague who will ask you how you are doing, an encouraging friend… Pick one person and ask them if he/she can help you be accountable–maybe a weekly email or phone call to make sure you stay on track.

6. Keep exercising but change up your routine every so often to keep challenging yourself and your muscles.

7. Give yourself a couple of new health goals, like maybe working toward a 5K, or a toned tummy etc…Give yourself an ending date.  It will keep you focused and energized.

8. Remember to eat mindfully, enjoying your food.

9. Don’t read diet magazine articles.  Stick to what you know works for you!

10. Don’t forget to enjoy the new YOU!

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