Did you know that April is ‘Stress Awareness Month’? Stress is what you feel when you have more to handle than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. Your body speeds up your heart, makes you breathe faster, and gives you a burst of energy (the fight-or-flight response). Continue reading “Don’t STRESS out!”
The most effective ways to avoid your own energy crisis are to get plenty of sleep, drink enough water, eat a wholesome, balanced diet, exercise and try your best to avoid stress.
Now, with that being said and in an attempt to be realistic in this overworked, under-hydrated, time-crunched and stressed out culture we are all trying to live in, let’s look at some easy ways to try to achieve the balance that will help us fight fatigue.
The guidelines set by the National Sleep Foundation suggest 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults ages 18-64. Following a regular sleep cycle—same bedtime, same wake time is the best way to get in good sleep.
Avoid stressors in the hour before you go to bed, such as the news, the internet or serious discussions. Light producing electronics, even most alarm clocks emit enough light to interrupt peaceful sleep. A bath, book and quiet time to just “be” are nice ways to unwind. Keep a pad and pen by your bed to jot down the OMG thoughts like “I forgot to pay that bill” or “Remember to get a gift for Sue” will help to put your mind at ease.
We all know that we need to drink plenty of water, but truth be told, knowing and doing are two separate things. Even mild dehydration can sap your energy and cause a sense of fatigue.
Putting lemon in your water will not only make it more palatable but has an uplifting effect. It produces a clean energy that caffeinated beverages do not. NaturalHealth365.com and Livestrong.com are great websites to learn more about the cleansing and energy producing effects of lemon water.
Eat a Wholesome and Balanced Diet
Eating well usually won’t happen from a bag, box or a drive through. Eat the apple rather than the apple flavored toaster pastry. Become a label reader and be aware of the ingredients in your food choices.
Choose whole grains, real whole fruits and vegetables—again, eat the potato rather than the chip—healthy fats and lean proteins. The best sources of healthy fats are vegetable oils (olive oil!) nuts, seeds and fish. Whole energy producing foods are kale, blueberries, oatmeal, and salmon just name a few.
Move that body! My motto has always been “any movement is better than no movement”. Walk to your mailbox instead of driving to it. Even that can help create a lift. The American Heart Association recommends thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day, five days a week. You can even break up that thirty minutes into two or three 15 or 10 minute sessions.
Find what works for you. I have found I seem to like exercises that have a “K” in them…walking, hiking, biking and kayaking are my favorites. Even running around the backyard with the kids helps. And remember to seek your doctor’s advice before beginning any exercise program.
Now that’s a stressful statement. Right?! Life is full of unavoidable stress; work, bad drivers, death of a loved one, just to name a few. So wherever you can, choose your commitments carefully and wisely.
Schedule times to de-stress because often if it’s not on the calendar, something stressful will be. I met with my good friend, Michelle, to brainstorm ideas for this blog and in the process we talked and laughed—relaxation at its best! Meditation, prayer, listening to birds, being still and thankful are great ways to de-stress.
Now I know all these suggestions are probably things most of you already knew and many of you already try to do but always can’t achieve. So when time is tight and sleep and good food are eluding you, try this great energy boosting smoothie. Michelle found it on the internet for me at sallysbakingaddiction.com. The TropiKale Green Smoothie is only four ingredients, quick and easy to make, tastes amazing and will give a quick, proper energy boost.
TropiKale Green Smoothie
- ¾ Cup Almond Milk
- 2 Medium Frozen Bananas, peeled & sliced
- 2 Cups Fresh Pineapple Chunks
- 2 Heaping Cups Kale
- Blend all the ingredients on high for 3 minutes or until smooth, adding more milk if it’s too thick.
- Serve and enjoy.
Because I have just completed the most stressful and energy zapping move of my life and have no idea where my blender is, my friend Mel and her daughter Chloe tested this recipe for me. Chloe is six and will be using it for her 4H demo because she says it’s a winner!
I would like to thank Michelle, Natural Foods Manager at the Coborn’s on Cooper Avenue in St. Cloud, MN for helping me figure out this subject in a sensible way. As well as Melanie and Chloe, kitchen enthusiasts, who knew where their blender was.
Coborn’s Natural Foods Manager
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I know what you are thinking: it’s cold outside, it gets dark early, and that all makes it difficult to be active, eat nutritious and try to stay fit and healthy during these long winter months. That is why I want to take this opportunity to revitalize your desire to be well with some easy tips to keep you going through these harsh winter months. Doing so will not only keep you in a better mood, but it will keep your immune system functioning at high speed, helping to prevent you from getting sick.
First, remember it’s not just being active and it’s not just eating right; both are important in combination with each other.
For fitness, if joining the gym is in your budget and motivates you to exercise on a regular basis, that is awesome. Bring your friend or spouse along to keep it fun and to keep you committed. It’s warm indoors, plus it’s an opportunity to get out of the house and around others who share your passion for fitness and health. There are usually fun classes offered to mix it up or you can use the equipment.
Keep in mind even just walking or biking is excellent exercise; even if just for 20 minutes, it really is better than nothing. Don’t forget your iPod with your favorite music! That is sure to amp up your energy level! If you are still struggling like I am, and I am really struggling with this one personally because I don’t have the motivation myself, I will definitely be recruiting one of my friends. When I lived with my cousin, we would go to the gym every night, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I honestly looked forward to it. It was a way to unwind and have some girl time. We would walk alongside each other or ride bikes and just chat about our day and before you know it, there went an hour. Try to spend your time doing “mindless” exercise… rather than “mindless” eating. It doesn’t have to be “typical” ways of working out at the gym, either. What about playing tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, or swimming at your gym? Sometimes all it takes is getting a new workout outfit, or new gym shoes, or even just a fun water bottle or gym bag!
Okay maybe the gym isn’t your thing, then be active in other ways. This is where the “living an active lifestyle” comes in. These are all the tips, such as: taking the stairs, parking father away from the building, walking some extra laps around the mall when running errands, or having a family outing at the bowling alley or the roller-skating place instead of going out to eat.
Or how about embracing the winter and playing winter sports such as skiing, sledding, ice skating, hockey, or snowshoeing?
Maybe you feel like staying in the house. Okay then, how about lifting soup cans, doing sit ups and pushups during commercials, or putting in a workout DVD? How about jump roping in your living room or buying a treadmill and setting it in front of the TV? O you can play an active Wii game with your kids! Guess what? Cleaning your house is even considered a form of activity! Did you know you can burn nearly 200 calories in an hour?!
Now for the eating right part…
First and foremost, don’t engage in another one of those fad diets. Just eat real food. Here are some basics to healthy eating:
- Eat enough fruits and vegetables – at least one of each with every meal – and add more at snacks! Remember, all forms count: Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice.
- Consume healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, Smude’s sunflower oil, and nuts and seeds.
- Incorporate lean proteins. But don’t OD on the protein part. The average adult really only needs about 50 grams per day.
- Substitute refined grains for whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal, to name a few.
- Limit added sugars to 25 grams per day; this does NOT include whole fruits or 100% juice. However, this does include honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and raw cane sugar.
- Reduce sodium intake to 2300mg/day.
- Be aware of your portions.
Keeping track of your progress really seems to work for a lot of people. It makes them aware of their daily needs, they can make goals based on that, and then track their progress. If you start to track, be sure to reward yourself when you reach those goals.
Good luck! Please reach out anytime you have a question or would like to learn more. I always offer grocery tours; it’s a perfect environment to learn, hands on, more in depth about healthy eating.
Be sure to pick up a few of these tips from each category and you will be on the track to better overall health and wellness.
Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Dietitian
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Well, it has officially been two years since I joined Coborn’s as their supermarket registered dietitian! I can honestly tell you this has been such an amazing position to have; my favorite part; I am able to work with a variety of people in the community, like YOU. So, instead of me writing another one of my blogs, I thought it would be a nice change to allow someone like YOU to write a guest blog for me on the ups/downs, challenges and ultimate successes with eating right and dieting. I was so inspired by the story below and I know you will be as well!
I met Leni as he was cruising thru the aisles of his local Coborn’s scanning food items using the “lose it” app. I introduced myself as the supermarket dietitian and asked him if he needed any help. He was very excited to hear that I was a registered dietitian and began telling me about his current health situation and how he wanted to lose weight. After discussing his current eating habit, we set some obtainable goals. I took Leni on a shopping tour pointing out the most nutritious foods and explained how we all should be eating at every meal. Leni kept track of his daily intake with his app and would check in on a very regular basis, updating me on his progress throughout his weight loss journey. It was very motivating to see Leni not only reach his goals, but to see a more cheerful and happy person breaking through the wall of being overweight. Now, that was incredible! Leni wasn’t just focused on eating healthy, but living a healthy lifestyle that included regular exercise and being surrounded by positive people encouraging him along the way! Now, that whole package was nothing but a recipe for success!!
Let’s give it up for Leni, here is his story…
A Journey to Better Health – by Leni DiMancari
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could influence so many people to take better care of themselves and become healthy. I thought the only thing I could do to influence people was to be a better guitar player and manager. I didn’t realize that I was on the road to a shorter life because of the foods I was eating, the life I was living and not caring about what I put in my system. Here is my story that led up to my decision to live.
My journey to better health began in October of 2013 after finding out that I was on the road to heart issues and diabetes. There is a history of heart ailments in my family; my father and two sisters were both diabetic. I had consulted a physician about a lack of sleep and series of health issues that were starting to plague me. I was experiencing twitching, body aches, numbness in my fingers and shoulder, snoring, waking up every two hours, and not being able to focus at work. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and eating without thinking. At one point, I was drinking eight cans of Mountain Dew a day and eating fast food eight times a week with salt on everything. The doctor and I dug deep to find the root of my problems.
I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself physically until I found out that I was battling a lot of demons back then; I was swallowing a lot of depression. I began hating life and not caring if I lived or died, slowly poisoning myself with unhealthy foods, seasonings, soups and sugary treats. I didn’t realize that my eating was the problem until I went from a size 32 waist to a size 36 in just seven years.
Over the course of 10 years since a divorce and quitting smoking, I had put on 60 lbs. I would un-tag myself in photos on Facebook, I would hide pictures of me on my timeline, and I would constantly graze. I would hide in my apartment with a case of Mountain Dew, a bag of chips, the TV, my PC and too much time on my hands. I would rarely go out in public.
A turning point
It wasn’t until August of 2013 that I had a long talk with my sister about the negative effects of certain chemicals in food that could be a cause of the health problems I was starting to develop. She reminded me of her, my sister and Dad battling diabetes and heart issues, and after a long talk about the things I was eating and drinking, she thought I should talk to the doctor about how I was becoming. The doctor basically told me to “fix it or die.” I was depressed, lonely, and fat.
I was overweight and on the road to the end. I had no idea of the amount of garbage I was putting in my system because you don’t think about the foods you eat sometimes; in turn, you just eat. I was physically inactive. My clothes were all oversized to hide my gut. My socks would tear, my pants didn’t fit, and my face was round. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my food choices at the time, but I was wrong.
I decided to make the changes. The doctor and I had a long discussion that really helped. He reminded me that I had already proven I was a strong-willed person when I had given up alcohol and cigarettes. If I could make those changes, I could certainly take on this challenge and win. Without health insurance, I was basically on my own and had to figure it out.
Meeting Ashley and beginning my journey
I then discovered that we had a registered dietician for free available through our grocery store. I went out to the store and met with her, and in two hours, I learned more about the negative influences of our food. I decided then that it was time to take the challenge head on and I did. I had a long talk with one of my close friends about smart phone apps, and then I downloaded the LoseIt.com program.
I registered with the service, I picked up a mixed martial arts DVD, and I set out on a ten-month journey to a better life. The app keeps you in check, plus gives you a plan to work and goals to reach. It also sends you email stickers and awards for you when you reach peaks.
Ashley (the supermarket dietician) and I would look at the foods that had the worst issues on my list, and soda was the first to go. I tapered it down to zero soda by October 1st. I had no idea that the chemicals in soda were having such a negative effect on my health, until I had my first eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in years. I had no idea that my hypertension was caused by the amount of sodium I was ingesting daily. OMG, I was digesting over 4000 Mg a day; no wonder I was such a wreck. I cut my sodium levels down to under 2200 a day (less than the RDA). I was wide awake in the morning and I liked it a lot.
I eliminated the trans-fats and fried foods, too. I was starting to see changes, little by little. I also realized that I wasn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. V8 doesn’t count; it’s too high in sodium. With the help of our dietician, the Lose It program, and a newfound confidence, I was ready to try and reach my target weight of 170 lbs. I was at 230 lbs.
I wanted to be at that weight where I felt most confident (I wanted it to be the 1980s all over again). It was a huge goal, but I knew if I stuck with the program, dieted, exercised, made healthy food decisions, and eliminated the garbage foods, I could reach it within 8 to 10 months. Here’s what I did: I listened to our dietician. I took all of the high-sodium foods out of my diet and dumped the soda.
The changes I made
Here’s what I changed from my diet:
I started my body furnace moving with breakfast: eggs, toast, turkey sausage, low-sodium cheeses, spinach, low-sodium tomatoes, flax seed, onions, and jalapenos. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
In the graphic below is the short list of foods that will never be in my house again.
You have to be willing to end your relationship with bad food, in order to appreciate all of the good food. I kept five foods that I still love in the mix, knowing now that my metabolism furnace can handle it now: Five Guys little burger, Culvers mushroom and Swiss, Ciatti’s (Because I’m Italian and it doesn’t taste corporate), La Casita (Mazatlan burrito with pulled chicken, artichoke and spinach), and my treat is the Dairy Queen small chocolate malt (high calories, but still high in protein).
I calculate every meal based on calories and intake, along with a solid exercise program. I started slow to get into the groove so it became a routine daily, beginning with 15 minutes of cardio, and 30-second body planks to tighten my core. Since then, back aches are non-existent. I now do a routine of 30-45 minutes a day of cardio and kick boxing/MMA training, and I can plank for up to 25 total minutes, combining the first 15 minutes starting at a 5-minute hold, and going downward at 5-4-3-2-1. Then 5 minutes cool down planking (2 @ 2minutes, 1 at 1 minute.) The final 5 minutes is a combination of a circular plank that uses forearms, sides, back, alphabet abs and a mountain climber.
In ten months, I’ve now lost 61 lbs. and have a new confidence, a girlfriend who works out with me, an entire new wardrobe (I was happy to donate all of the oversized clothes to charity) and a better attitude. To think back to where I was and to see where I am today, I will never relapse into food problems again. My biggest advice is to not be afraid to fix it and ask someone for help. READ THE LABELS on everything. If you slip, its ok, just get back on task, and always believe in yourself that you can do this, and you will feel great about yourself. There is nothing better than to have people you haven’t seen in a year tell you that you look great.
Here is the workout routine I use six days a week, with a light workout on the off day. I walk everywhere and I usually park far away from the door when shopping, rain or shine.
I hope that Leni’s story was able to inspire you to make some positive changes in your diet and workout routine. Remember, if you ever need anything from me, I’m just an email away. Click Here and click on the “Ask Our Dietitian” button to connect with me today!
Peace and Wellness, Ashley
Coborn’s RD Supermarket Dietitian
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Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley
Ashley Studniski: Supermarket Dietitian, RD, LD
Originating from the St. Cloud area Ashley
is no stranger to the Coborn’s family.
Ashley’s college degree and experience in
Nutrition and Dietetics is a great match up with Coborn’s.
Hello Everyone! I am the new Supermarket Dietitian for Coborn’s! I am very excited to begin this new adventure! I will be doing grocery store tours, cooking demos, and nutrition education classes on various topics including chronic diseases, proper portions, label reading, and much more! Find more information about my events at www.CobornsEvents.com I will also be doing individual consultations and store tours to meet your individual needs. You can contact me directly to set up a meeting. Simply email me at email@example.com
I will be starting a monthly blog on a broad range of topics, all of course relating to healthy eating and better lifestyle practices. Be sure to check back here every month. I promise it won’t be boring! Oh and one little secret, ahem, this is my first blog, so try not to be too harsh on me…
For January, of course, the topic is “New Year’s Resolutions.” So when your relatives and friends ask you that oh so redundant question, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” you can answer confidently, without stressing about what you should do. That’s because I’ve already done the work and put together a plan just for you.
These are the resolutions that I plan to stick to and ones that I know everyone can benefit from. Nonetheless, these are just suggestions and, of course, you’ll want to personalize them to fit your needs. I do encourage you to remember that although it is good to challenge yourself, do so in moderation so that these “new” habits can be maintained throughout the year. For example, obviously it would sound fabulous if you told your peers that you will be climbing Mount Everest this summer, even though you have never hiked the hill across your street. Don’t get me wrong, I love ambitious people, but I think we all can agree that we also have to have a sense of reality. The same works with food and nutrition. If I told myself I was going to have just one Ghirardelli dark chocolate truffle once a month, I would fail miserably. Anyone that knows me would tell you that. In fact, I’m reaching for the bag sitting right next to my computer…as I type this.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
All of you who are up for our group resolutions here we go.
1. LIMIT SODIUM
Choose plain and unseasoned canned, fresh and frozen vegetables. Be aware that canned foods often contain high amounts of sodium. However, you can purchase “no added salt” or “low sodium” versions of these food items. You should also rinse your vegetables before preparing them. This will remove any excess salt and help to decrease your daily sodium intake. Many processed and packaged convenience food items are loaded with sodium as well. One way to decrease your sodium intake is to avoid these foods as much as possible. Read the nutrition labels to choose healthier version of those foods. In addition to looking at the nutrition label, you can also refer to the NuVal number. The NuVal score takes into account sodium as well as 29 other nutrients. When searching out “better” food choices, it is a good practice to refer to the nutrition label for sodium and the NuVal number for overall healthiness. For example, choosing the “no salt added” canned version of green beans has a NuVal score of 100, while the regular can of green beans is only a 55, due to the sodium content. You’ll be surprised to learn that all canned vegetables without sodium score the same as their fresh counterparts!
WHY SHOULD YOU LIMIT SODIUM?
The reason I chose limiting sodium in our diet as the number one resolution is that a diet high in sodium/salt is a major contributor to high blood pressure, which can and many times does, lead to heart disease. Salt causes our bodies to retain water. The more water and fluid we retain, the harder our heart has to pump to push all of that fluid throughout our bodies, causing an increase in blood pressure.
2. EAT FAT FREE GREEK YOGURT
Switch to a low fat or fat free version of Greek yogurt. If you don’t already include yogurt in your diet, start now. It is a great snack or addition to a lunch or breakfast. It is a good source of protein and it has Calcium and sometimes Vitamin D, which provides the building blocks for strong bones and teeth. Yogurt is also a source of Probiotics, the “good” bacteria that aid in digestion.
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than other yogurts. Increasing lean protein in your diet helps to add lean body mass. The more lean body mass you have, the more calories you are able to burn throughout the day. Protein also keeps you fuller longer, preventing you from reaching for those “not-so-healthy” snacks. Be conscious of the NuVal number as you choose a Greek yogurt. For the average person that doesn’t have a specific health condition, the higher the NuVal score, the better it is for overall health and wellness. The plain, fat free Greek yogurts will have the highest NuVal number, around 93. However Greek yogurts can score as low as 23 due to added saturated fats and sugars. If you’d like to add extra flavoring without compromising the NuVal score, consider adding fresh fruit and granola. Fresh fruit provides many vitamins and minerals as well as sweetness in flavor. And granola is a great way to increase fiber, protein and whole grains. When choosing a granola, remember to keep in mind the NuVal number as well.
3. INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL
Notice I didn’t label it “EXERCISE?” Add more activity to your life! Increase your physical activity to a higher level than what you are currently doing. Park further away from the door at the mall or at your work and lift weights, even if they’re just soup cans while watching TV in the evening. Or maybe it is working out an extra night each week. Perhaps even consider working with a personal trainer. Maybe that sounds too intense. Even a brisk walk around the mall a few times after doing some shopping is good exercise.
Okay, stop, can I make a confession? I really, really, really don’t like to exercise, especially when it involves going to the gym.
Instead of focusing on the things I don’t like, I focus on the things I do. That’s why I mentioned shopping. I LOVE SHOPPING. I don’t care if its grocery shopping or window shopping. Did I say I love shopping? When my pants are feeling a tad bit tight, especially during the holiday season, I go shopping a little more often. And since I went out into the cold and I am in a warm inside the mall, I’d like to stay a little longer before I go out in the cold again, so I’ll walk a few more laps. I believe you can go to the mall around 8:00 am and the doors will be open so you can just walk laps. I know a few people that do that, including my grandparents. Who knows? You just might see me there next Saturday.
When I’m at the gym, I try not to do the same thing every time. Some people prefer that. I personally do not. I get way too bored for that. Before I know it, I am not working out to my fullest potential. It’s as if I am on autopilot, just to check “Went to gym” off my to-do list. So, on Monday’s, I run. Tuesday’s, I lift weights. Wednesday’s, I’ll take a break because I made it half way through the week. Then it’s Zumba classes on Thursday (SUPER FUN, if you haven’t tried it!) Friday’s, I do a spin class and then it’s the weekend, which is when I take it a bit more easy.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but once you start going to the gym and it becomes part of your routine, you actually crave going to the gym. Honest! Your body releases chemicals called endorphins which promote positive feelings. Endorphins decrease your perception of pain and you feel a “runners high”, described as the good-mood-positive-and-energizing-outlook-on-life you get after a good workout. You see, exercise is good not only for your body, but for mental health as well. That’s my focus. YOU. The whole YOU. Not just your heart. Not just your body shape. Not just your weight. YOU!
4. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Whatever exercise level you decide to start at, maintain or jump to, it is important to remember that you must burn the calories you take in each day in order to maintain your weight. If you are looking to lose weight, it is important to burn more calories than you are taking in. You need to burn 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat. Even though that seems like a lot, consider burning 250 to 500 calories by exercising. Then eat proper portions and cut back on some of the “not so healthy” foods and make some substitutions. You will be surprised at how quickly you begin to shed the extra pounds. Weight loss involves a lifestyle change, both eating right and exercising and being active on a regular basis. Remember to start off with small to moderate changes in order to maintain your New Year’s resolutions. GOOD LUCK!
On a personal note, just because I am a dietitian and have studied nutrition for the last five years doesn’t mean these resolutions are any easier for me. Has anyone heard of never-ending food cravings for junk food? Or the feeling of being a bottomless pit? Or a day when you just want to sit on the couch and not move? That’s me, like every day, literally. So that’s why we are in this together! I’ll try to be the encouragement more often than not! BUT, when it comes to my chocolate addiction, I will rely on you. Just kidding, I will be the source of encouragement every day! That said, if you would like a personal consultation please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 203-6201 extension: 705
As always, I look forward to working with you!
Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian
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