Diet, the noun, not the verb!

In a sense, dieting is like bad meditation. In meditation, if we attempt to think of nothing by telling ourselves, “Don’t think about that paperwork, forget about that e-mail, stop pondering that argument!” there’s no way we will get anywhere near forgetting any of those things. Similarly, when we diet, all we do is think about the junk we need to not eat. What kind of methodology is that!?

Instead of focusing on the bad, why not focus on the goodGive to yourself. Be generous to your body. Let your mind wander to the aisles of baby squash and broccoli. Delicious apples and rutabaga. Try something new everytime and indulge yourself to a tasty meal, both for your tongue and the rest of your body!

In other words, embrace a healthy diet (the noun), don’t diet (the verb).

(Picture taken from Spiritual Enthusiast Cosmic Journal blog)

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Avocado Oficionado

Some of us may think that we should only eat foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories–foods that are at the top of the ANDI Score heap! However, this is a problem that “yo-yo dieters” often have. If we don’t get enough fat or calories, we just end up in another binge cycle. Now that doesn’t mean you should swing by McDonald’s. There are plenty of healthy foods with healthy fats and sufficient fulfilling calories! “An example?” you may ask. The avocado!

Avocados have been found to destroy cancerous and pre-cancerous oral cancer cells (without harming healthy ones), protect against breast cancer (high in oleic acid), help maintain eye health (their carotenoid lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts), lower your cholesterol, keep a heart from breaking (folate, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and glutathione), help reduce your risk of a stroke (also because of folate), and, when eaten with other food, help you absorb nutrients like a sponge!

Here’s a great salad recipe with avocado in it!

I especially like what’s right above the Killer Kale Pesto recipe!

in pursuit of more

There’s just something about the promise of Spring.

Oh heavens!

The sun came out yesterday, and it seems, decided to stay for a while (the forecast is clear for at least another day).

Insert multiple smiley face emoticons here!!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

– Helen Keller

It’s safe to say it’s been a (very) welcome change and the views of the twinkling snow capped mountains are particularly breathtaking. Yesterday was the day that I just knew spring had come knocking here in these parts:

  • the larks have come singing
  • the daylight has come to linger for a (just a little) while longer
  • I nearly injured myself in my hustle to peel my boots and thick tights off to get outside.

Craving the fresh air and the outdoors after work, I hurled myself outside to enjoy the remaining glorious daylight, the bustle of…

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No Sleep = No Leap

Sleep is not for wimps! After reading a chapter of Bronson and Merryman’s Nurture Shock called “The Lost Hour,” I was amazed to learn why I have suffered. As a high school student, I have found it increasingly difficult to keep my motivation and suppress stress while the workload piles up and the lights don’t go down. Of course, it’s counterintuitive to go to sleep when there’s plenty more to do. Why not do today what could be done tomorrow?

Robbing sleeptime has become a nightly habit for many. However, new science has shown just how destructive this ever increasing human tendency is, not only affecting us emotionally and intellectually, but physically as well. For example, Nurture Shock tells us that “negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories get processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. This result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.” The result: depression.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, from which all quotes are cited

Sleep is especially critical for children. In the past thirty years, the amount of sleep that teens and pre-teens are getting per night has plummeted, “half of all adolescents getting less than seven hours of sleep on weeknights.” With “a quarter admitting that their grades have dropped because of it,” there is conclusive evidence to show why. Not only does sleep loss stunt the body’s extraction of glucose from the bloodstream–specifically inhibiting the prefrontal cortex which administers the prediction of consequences to actions and “thoughts to fulfill a goal,” but it also debilitates the process of learning. During sleep, the brain performs many activities to process new knowledge, storing it to memory throughout all waves of sleep. This means that without enough sleep, we are not able to remember all that we have learned and we’ve just been wasting our time. We need sleep!

With regard to obesity, especially childhood obesity, sleep regulates our appetite, helps break down our fat, and gives us enough energy to do exercise in the day. “Sleep loss increases the hormone ghrelin, which signals hunger, and decreases its metabolic opposite, leptin, which suppresses appetite. Sleep loss also elevates the stress hormone cortisol,” which stimulates our bodies to make fat. Results from three different studies testing the effect of sleep loss on rates of obesity (done in Japan, Canada, and Australia) concluded that “kids who get less than eight hours sleep have about a 300% higher rate of obesity than those who get a full ten hours of sleep.”

Sleep has a cumulative effect. You miss 2 hours per night for 7 nights; you’re basically going without 14 hours of sleep! That is not good! Proof: “University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Dinges did an experiment shortening adults’ sleep to six hours a night. After two weeks, they reported that they were doing okay. Yet on a battery of tests, they proved to be just as impaired as someone who has stayed awake for 24 hours straight.”

We are all humans; we cannot elude the dynamics of cause and effect. So let’s get off our bums and go to bed!

Fit Feast

This weekend, I hosted my first Fit Feast on Friday, February 17th, 2012! Forgive me for the tongue-twister. Starting with a “Fitting Beginning” of CleanGreens and sauced-up blanched vegetables, the feast explored many high ANDI scores and ended with a no refined sugar Chocolate-Date Cake (which was actually quite delicious)! Check out the following pictures in the “Fit Feast!” Picasa album:

Have a Fit Feast yourself and give those guests some nourishment!

(Recipes are currently being put on the website.)

What’s your ANDI score?

The ANDI Score System tells you just how nutrient-rich different foods are. Devised by Dr. Joel Fuhrman–Medical Doctor and founder of Eat Right America–ANDI stands for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index and each food’s nutrient density scores can be found by simply dividing its nutrient content by its calorie content. Here’s a chart of ANDI scores to give you a taste of what will nourish and let you flourish:

Goodlifer: ANDI scores

The Whole Foods Market has recently adopted and is implementing the ANDI System to continue promoting good health and provide superior nutrition!