Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Wonders of Oatmeal

Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  Originating from the wild red oat from Asia, oats are mostly grown in North America and Europe.  Having been cultivated for over 2000 years it originally was used for medicinal purposes.  Hippocrates said it right with "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".  Whole oats are the only source of a unique group of antioxidants called Avenanthramides which have protective effects against heart disease.
Other benefits of oats are:
*Lowers blood pressure.
*Lowers cholesterol.
*Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
* High in fiber which helps in weight loss and lowers risks of colon cancer.
*Athletic performance enhancer. Being a great source for carbohydrates and protein gives it a long lasting energy source.
*Enhances immune response to disease because of its unique fiber called beta-glucan.  B-glucan helps white blood cells get to the sites of infection and inflammation areas quickly.  This helps in eliminating bacteria for quicker healing.  

Starch is the single biggest component of oats.  The main types of starch in oats are:
*Rapidly digested starch (7%) which is quickly broken and absorbed as glucose (energy).
*Slowly digested starch (22%)slowly broken down and absorbed (sustained energy).
*Resistant starch (25%) which functions like fiber. It escapes digestion and improves gut health by feeding "friendly"gut bacteria. (For more info read the 5-part series on: Gut Health).

At the end of the day, oats are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

One of the quickest ways to enjoy oats in the morning are creating your own overnight oats recipe.
By preparing the night before there is no excuse for not having a healthy breakfast ready to take "on the go".

My recipe is:
1/2 cup organic rolled oats.
1/2 tsp cinnamon.
1 tbs each of ground flax and chia seeds.
1 tbs of hemp protein powder
1/4 cup frozen mixed blueberries and raspberries.
1 cup coconut or almond milk.
Shake it all up and refrigerate overnight.
Its ready to go the next morning.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sleep and Health

Your body, especially your brain, needs good quality sleep.  While we sleep, our bodies do much needed maintenance on our "operating systems".  Our cortisol (stress) levels drop, our immune system gets stronger and our bodies releases growth hormones and testosterone.  Growth hormones contribute to healthy protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism.  Although some people say they can "get by" with just a few hours of sleep, we should get a minimum of 8 hours of a very restful sleep. 

When not enough sleep is obtained we are kept awake and alert by adrenaline, which is a stress hormone.  The stress hormones wreak havoc on our immune system, memory, and our bodies ability to remove toxins.  This can lead to degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.  

According to research, more than 50% of us get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.  It should take 10-20 minutes to fall asleep; any quicker OR longer means we are moderately sleep deprived.  So, are we functioning from pure energy or energy from stress hormones?  

I can fall asleep in the normal time range, but my issue is I twitch while falling asleep.  This becomes quite an issue with Kris because it startles her and keeps her from getting a good nights rest.  For the past week, I have been implementing some new practices before bed so we can have some restful nights.  The good news is that it is working!  About 30 minutes before bed I will have a glass of Calm.  It works very well to calm your mind and muscles to help you relax.

Next, I do a nasal irrigation using a neti-pot.  It helps to clear the sinus, 
which in turn improves breathing.  

Finally, I do some yoga poses designed for relaxation and sleep.  Here are a couple of articles on sleep poses: 10 Poses for Better Sleep5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep.

Restful sleep, exercise, healthy eating, stress reduction and 
sharing your love make for a wonderful life.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Eat More Fruits and Veggies

It should be a no-brainer that we need to fill our plates with fruits and veggies.  It doesn't matter what type of diet you choose: Plant-based, Paleo, Mediterranean, Low-Carb High Fat, Bulletproof etc., the center of it should be a large amount of fruits or veggies.  Even the USDA Food Plate and the better version from the Harvard School of Public Health recommends at least 50% of every meal from fruits and veggies.  A survey by the American Heart Association states that only 1-1.5% of American children and adults achieve a healthy eating pattern.  

For optimal health we should strive to have 10 or more servings per day. 

Researchers analyzing 95 studies of two million people found that those consuming 2.5 servings of fruits and veggies lowered their risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death by 13-15%.  Those who consumed 8-10 servings lowered it by 24-35%.

The best foods to fight heart related diseases are:
*Leafy greens
*Green Beans
Along with those, to help combat cancer eat yellow and red veggies like:


Here are some easy ways to up your intake of fruits and veggies:
*Make your main dish a salad: use dark leafy greens, seeds, beans, avocados, chickpeas, raisins to add a lot of color.  Top it with a healthy dressing.

*Top a baked potato with black beans or salsa, which is full of fiber and protein.
*Have a Smoothie for breakfast.  Use frozen blueberries, bananas, hemp protein powder with kale or spinach.
*Enjoy a veggie wrap using a whole wheat tortilla or a steamed collard green and load it up with hummus, veggies and salsa.
*Snack on grapes, carrot sticks, bananas, celery with almond butter, broccoli florets.
*Make Grilled Veggie Kabobs, with bell peppers, onions, zucchini and even add fruit like pineapple, apples and peaches.
*Make up a batch of Beet/Black Bean burgers topped with romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado and Trader Joes Organic Butter Pickles.
*Have fruit for dessert, like frozen grapes or homemade Banana Raspberry "Nice" Cream.
*Cold-pressed juices can be found in many grocery stores.  Just make sure they aren't all fruit and aren't high in sugars; get the ones that have veggies in them too!  If you are lucky enough to have a "Juice Press" near you, well good for you, because I don't.  Don't rub it in!

Eating 8-10 servings of fruits and veggies a day is the best insurance against illness and obesity.  Even the most unhealthy of meals is made better when you add vegetables.  

For some delicious quick and easy recipes, checkout The Happy Pear on Youtube.  

Have a great week.
Be kind.