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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daily Dose of Superfoods

Eat Your Way Healthy - Everyday Superfoods

If there was a magic pill for good health, it would already exist. But there are some “super foods” to help you out.
Not only can super foods help promote weight control, but they taste good, provide disease-fighting nutrients, fill you up without excess calories, and are easy to add to your meals. Let’s look at a few a super foods that are easy to find and cost-friendly.

Quinoa: Nourishing whole grains are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Quinoa is an ancient grain that is easy to make, high in protein and fiber, and is a good source of iron. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It’s available in most supermarkets. Tip: Quinoa is as easy to prepare as rice, cooks quicker, can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and even served cold in yogurt at breakfast.

Spinach: Popeye knew what he was doing! Spinach is a powerhouse. The rich, dark color comes from phyto-chemicals (plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties), and vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron. These minerals are very helpful in protecting against heart disease and preserving eyesight. Tip: try spinach in salads or cook them with onions and veggies to add greens in your evening meal.

Salmon: Packed with healthy omega 3’s, the “good fats,” salmon helps to reduce inflammation and plaque inside the arteries. The Food and Drug Administration and American Heart Association advise eating salmon and other cold-water fish at least two times per week Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces) has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. Tip: You can grill or bake it, top it with salsa or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salads.

 Berries: Powerful antioxidants, which are good for your heart, and fiber, which aids in lowering LDL cholesterol, can be found in berries. Blueberries and raspberries also contain lutein, which is important for healthy vision.  Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries are widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. Tip: Berries can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.

Eggs: Versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein is eggs. Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Tip: Enjoy them at any meal or hard-boil eggs to carry with you as a portable snack.

Nuts:  People tend to shy away due to their high fat content, but nut protein has heart-healthy fats, high in fiber and antioxidants. The key to enjoying nuts is portion control. All nuts are healthful in small doses and studies show they can help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss. Whether you prefer pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans, an ounce a day helps fill you up. Nuts also add texture and flavor to salads, side dishes, baked goods, and entrees. Tip: Try putting together a single-serving bag of nuts for easy and portable snacks.
Recipe Corner
Two quick recipes, hot and cold, using the super foods above.
Two handfuls of spinach (washed)
½ cup walnuts
1 cup berries of choice (use with cold dish only)
4 ounces salmon
1 egg (does this make ½ cup?)
½ cup of quinoa
Salad dressing (cold dish only)
2 tbsp olive oil (hot dish only)

Spinach & Quinoa Salad with Salmon - served cold
Cook salmon on stovetop until light pink, or in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes
Boil water and cook quinoa on stovetop as directed on the box. Let cool.  
Wash spinach and chop in to smaller pieces, set aside
Chop walnuts to desired consistency and set aside
Wash berries and set aside
Hard boil an egg for 5 minutes, cool, and peel. Break up to desired consistency and set aside.
Take quinoa out of fridge
Create salad using spinach as the base, topped with ingredients above
Sprinkle with quinoa as desired
Top with the salad dressing of your choice— Just oil and vinegar work wonders!

Spinach & Quinoa Stir Fry - served hot
Cook salmon on stovetop until light pink or in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes
Boil water and cook quinoa on stovetop as directed on the box. Let cool.  
Hard boil an egg for 5 minutes, cool, and peel. Break up to desired consistency and set aside.
Wash spinach. Using two tablespoons of olive oil, cook on low heat until dark green Chop walnuts to desired consistency and set aside
Place quinoa on plate and top with other ingredients as desired

Need help with nutrition & lifestyle goals?  Contact me for a consultation.

Signing off,
Healthy is Lifestyle!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Much Exercise is Enough?

How Much Exercise is “Enough?”

We all know that exercise is an essential part of your overall health. Thirty minutes of physical activity, every day, is where it begins to help you maintain a healthy weight and reap the benefits of lowering your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. But is 30 minutes enough for everyone?

The American College of Sports Medicine gives basic guidelines for the min. amount of exercise for better health:

Moderately intense cardio 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week. If you can have a conversation while working out, you're probably working at a moderate level.
Vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes/day, 3 days/week.  When you become too out of breath to talk comfortably, you are doing vigorous activity. Running is considered vigorous exercise, while fast walking is moderate exercise.
Eight to 10 strength-training exercises doing 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. The major muscle groups are lower body, abs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, and back.

When Does the Minimum Time Increase?The amount of physical activity you need varies depending on your weight and goals for weight loss. If you’re following the 30-minute guideline and are gaining weight or not losing weight, you may need 60 to 90 minutes a day to see results.

Ninety minutes every day is recommended for people who have been significantly overweight, lost a substantial amount of weight, and/or seek to maintain that weight loss long term. While 90 minutes is the minimum for people in this category, most people aren't even doing 30 minutes.

Cumulative Effects of Exercise
Is your goal to make time to exercise and find a way to work the recommended amount--whether it’s 30, 60, or 90 minutes-- into a busy schedule?  The good news is, you can do it in bits and pieces, think of it as money in the exercise bank!

The effects of exercise are cumulative so you don’t have to do it all at once. Like change in your pocket, it all adds up at the end of the day. While you don't need to spend hours at the gym every day, you do have to get your heart pumping. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Did you break a sweat? Whatever activity you choose, move your body to a degree that makes you breathe faster or harder. When you do, you are being physically active which burns calories and turns in to inches lost.

What happens if you miss a day? Energy balance means that you will burn more calories on the other days. In a sense, you can’t make up for a skipped day but you are increasing your metabolism overall with exercise. The bigger problem is falling off the exercise wagon and never getting back on. When you miss a day, don't try to pack more into your next workout because you will feel overwhelmed, sore, and tired and you may never want to exercise again. At the very least, squeeze some push-ups or sit-ups in and get back into your routine the next day.

Schedule the time. Physical activity for 30 to 90 minutes on most days can be done if you make it a priority--but it's something you have to want to do. Put exercise on your calendar and don’t plan anything in those time slots. You will be surprised how easy it is to keep going!

If you or your loved ones are struggling to lose weight, eat healthy and remain stress-free, visit my website and feel free to contact me for a consultation.  Enjoy the tips and remember, Healthy is a Lifestyle! 
ACSM and AHA. Physical Activity and Public Health Guidelines. ACSM. Accessed Jan 31, 2011.
Jakicic JM, Clark K, Coleman E, et al. American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Appropriate intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Dec;33(12):2145-56.
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.Fitness Fundamentals: Guidelines for Personal Exercise Programs. Accessed Jan 31, 2011.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finding Perspective

What a week in the DC area! 
  • Snow and ice took out power in over 359,000 homes.  In my county, 100,000 people still do not have power.  (yep, I'm included)
  • A homeless man died outside of my friend's office building just this morning 
  • People spent over 7 hours in their cars trying to get home, only some were able to get a hotel
  • My dad is in the hospital after a fall and probably heading to rehab/PT before he can go home again
Why do I mention all of this on my blog? Perspective is why.  We are lucky for what we have!  Today, I'm not going to write about how to eat healthier or exercise more.  Today is about keeping your head up in the face of adversity.  I've been struggling with this all week, but I like to think I'm doing okay.  Today is about staying positive while those around you may complain about the minor things.  Perspective keeps you level-headed for the major things. 

My 91 year-old Dad recited the poem below while we enjoyed a nice dinner at Cafe 1894 in Kensington, MD just a few weeks back.  1984 is fairly new and a quiet little place that feels more like a 1940's restaurant in the midst of the busy DC metro area.  Their website doesn't do them justice, but you should check out their food and atmosphere.  A true hidden gem in Kensington's Antique Row!

Ironically, that's the last nice dinner I shared with my dad before he had two bad falls.  Now, he's trying to find his will and strength to eat well, walk again and live independently.  It's amazing how fast life can turn around.  Now especially, I cherish the poem he recited by Rudyard Kipling:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Enjoy your day, your weekend and your loved ones.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Inspired by Others

I created Lifestyles By Leslie as a blog to inspire others, but in recent weeks I've found myself pushed by others to reach my full potential.  Just when I think I have a few tools under my belt, people show me what they are made of:

A Teacher’s Awards Ceremony

I’m a Sr. Account Manager for Kaiser Permanente and I work on the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) account.  MCPS and Kaiser are partnered for the MCPS On the Move competition. 131 elementary schools registered over 3,500 teachers to compete, get healthier and win prizes for their efforts on an individual, team and school level.  Phase I of the competition focused on fitness and it ended last night with an awards ceremony.  The teachers tracked enough minutes of exercise to go to the moon and back!!!  Phase II begins in March, focused on nutrition.  Yours truly will be writing the MCPS On the Move Blog which I’m pretty excited about!

Dominique Dawes was the keynote speaker for the awards ceremony.  I met Dominique in 1998 at the US National Gymnastics Championship in Indianapolis.  I was there for a team coaches training and Dominique came to the coaches reception afterwards for pictures. 

Today, Dominique is a grown woman – well spoken, energetic and insightful.  She inspired over 200 teachers last night by telling them funny stories to keep their momentum going as they enter phase II of the competition.  She echoed my saying that healthy is a lifestyle or as she said put it, “wellness is journey, not a destination.”  At the end of the ceremony, I found myself feeling like I’m not doing enough!  I left with an autographed picture and a new perspective – get clear on your intention and your goals in order to make big or small changes in your life - even though that is what my first two posts were all about, for me included, it's a daily struggle to keep on track towards those achievements.  Life gets busy!  We are human - if we do not have some kind of coach (wife/husband, friend, family, co-worker) we lose momentum at times.  Look at that, I struggle with the same road blocks as you!  At the end of each day , check in and ask yourself, “Did I do something small today to move towards my goals?” 

A Yoga Certification
In December, I “sort of” set the intension to get my 200-level yoga certification by the end of 2011.  The program is 8 months long and I found myself thinking, “Eight months is a long time…I don’t know if I want that commitment. Can I afford it?” Then, I had to laugh at these doubts because my nutrition certification was over a year long, in the uber-expensive town of NYC, with weekend travel to boot.  I’ve wanted to get a yoga certification and expand my pratice since 2008 ---  it’s about time I just do it!  I am still working out how to pay the monthly cost, but I am putting my intension out there that I will find a way.  Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?  Find a way to reach your goals through faith, hope and love. 

My intensions for Winter & Spring 2011:
  • I will offer a vision board workshop this winter
  • Continue enjoying my nutrition clients as they change their relationships with food
  • I plan to create a fun, simple detox cleanse, available via phone and email support
  • I will continue to inspire people through guilt-free, self care
  • With the help of a good friend, I will continue searching for the perfect venue to create a wellness conference in DC/MD.
Life is too short; do what you are meant to do.  If you don’t know what you are meant to do, brainstorm or get together with a health coach like myself:

Comment and tell me about your goals.  Keep reaching towards your dreams!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cultivate Mindful Eating

If you are finding healthy eating to be a challenge, you are not alone! To make it easier, try slowing down during meals to become mindful.  Mindful of what, you ask?  Mindful of what you are putting on your plate and in to your body throughout each day.  In doing so, you will find your meals to be a stress reliever instead of a “stressor” and you may even enjoy the time-out during a busy day!  A few mindful eating tips:

When sitting down for a meal, take time to appreciate the food you are about to eat.  If you focus the attention on your meal, you can bring awareness and gratitude.  Take the time to give thanks – not everyone has food on their tables and we should be thankful to have healthy meals.

Taste & Chew
In order to enjoy your food with gratitude, it also requires taking the time to taste each and every bite. You may not realize it, but digestion begins in the mouth not the stomach.  Two digestive enzymes, amalyse  and lipase, are found in saliva – they are not available anywhere else in your digestive system!  These enzymes begin the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats while chewing stimulates the “go” trigger, producing digestive enzymes in the stomach.  As you chew and begin to digest your food, notice all the tastes and textures which can make chewing a mindful experience.

Put the Fork Down!
Try this experiment and begin to put your folk down between bites.  It sounds funny, but we are so used to eating fast that it seems like you should have something in your hand at all times.  Be a rebel and stop!  If you take the time to pause between bites, you will give your brain a chance to catch up with what is in your stomach  - your brain will tell you when you are full.  Halfway through your plate of food, check in ask yourself, "Are you still hungry.?' If you are, go ahead and eat, if not, you will know exactly when your body has had enough food.  Not overeating means you’ll be taking in less calories.  We all know that translates to inches lost!
Finish Last
Have you ever felt like you are the first or last person to finish a meal?  See if you can be the last one at the table to finish. By doing this, it makes eating slow fun and creates mindfulness. This is a fun way to make mindful eating part or your daily life.
For more information, check out the Principles of Mindful Eating  Print out a copy and share it with friends and family!
Keep your body moving, nourish it and remember, “Healthy is a Lifestyle!”

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Resolutions: Nurture Stick-to-it-ness

Every New Year, millions of people want to pick up a healthy habit or drop an old one.  In struggling to keep resolutions, many people fall into the trap of:
1) Trying to do too much and becoming overwhelmed or
2) Not using support or resources to meet their goals.

Here are some ideas for resolutions to get you started:

Drop a Bad Habit  
Obvious bad habits such as late night KFC chicken have repercussions, but small habits may not be as obvious such as what your portion sizes look like.  This can add up to thousands of calories and inches on your waistline every year.

To do: Think about your goals and what habit you want to break.  Send comments to the blog and I will post the top ten goals next week!

Cook at Home
If today's economy doesn’t provide you with enough incentive to eat out less, cooking has significantly less calories than the food at restaurants. Restaurants stay in business because their food tastes better and this is due to added sugars, sodium and fats.
Try cooking more at home.  You will get more satisfaction out of fewer calories by losing inches.  Also, preparing the food yourself can feed your creative side by experimenting with sauces and spices. 

Stay tuned: In my next blog, look for simple and tasty recipes!

Crowding Out 

Like most people looking to tone up or lose weight for the New Year, the simple addition of more green vegetables may be enough to shed pounds without really trying to eliminate the foods you enjoy.
Adding more green vegetables to your diet will fill you up so you’re less likely to look for added calories throughout the day. (i.e.: you may not crave that candy bar mid-afternoon)  Green veggies are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and dark green veggies have plenty of Vitamin D to boot!

Pick Your #1 and Stick-to-it 
New Year's resolutions tend to come in bunches which make it difficult to complete a certain task.  The key is focus - prioritize the most important change you want to make and you can accomplish your fitness, nutrition and lifestyle goals in 2011, one by one.

To do: Think about your top goal and send comments my way.  I will post the top ten goals, next week!

When you create your 2011 goals, try to follow these guidelines:

Make your resolutions clear:  Saying “I want to be in shape” is a basic statement. Attach a timeframe and choose a goal that’s realistic. Try saying: “By April 1st, I plan to lose 3 inches from my waist.”

Take baby steps: Break your goals into small, manageable steps that can be done on a daily basis.

Add resolutions in your schedule like other appointments: Schedules are used at work so why not apply them for your personal goals? Use the baby steps and schedule time on your calendar to complete them.

Envision yourself being successful: How would you feel after achieving your goal? Remember this feeling when you need some motivation to keep going. 

Post your resolutions:  Find a location (refrigerator, desk, post-it board) that you use often to post your goals and stay motivated. Creating a vision board of your goals is also a healthy exercise which stimulates creativity and focus.

Here’s to a healthy and happy start of 2011.  Comments and feedback are welcome!

Always remember, healthy is a lifestyle!