Out of the gate and wham!
What to prioritize so there is no chaos today?
A family, whether it is a house of ten, or two, is an interdependent, intricately woven dynamic of needs, agendas, desires. Ok, I am not telling you something you don't already know, I know. But I wanted you to know that I doknow, and understand how challenging it is to nurture yet another cog in your wheel of life - the one that addresses your family's nutrition and fitness. The one that has a huge affect on your family's overall health and wellness.
Wouldn't we all liketo have increased energy, confidence, mental clarity, joy - decreased body fat, bloat, inflammation, pain? Well, I know it is possible. And yes, I do believe that pursuing it can be FUN. Even with a subtle shift in daily planning, and different choices at the grocery store, you can do this. But it really starts from a basic paradigm ofdetermination. You choose. And, when you develop good habits, you choose the things that have value. Like a healthier approach to eating. And you can share your new zest for this transitioning with your spouse, and your kids. Make it FUN, and the habit will be contagious. This can happen at any age, any stage of life. A small child, a teenager, and even a conditioned adult.
The ability to choose is a unique human endowment. This is what separates us from every other creature on earth. You are proactiveby design. You are innately empowered to make positive changes in your life. In my book, Burn Fat For Fuel, I document my journey from an extremely unhealthy, addicted, and fatperson to a competitive athlete and certified fitness director. In my earlier years I was controlled by cravings, impulses, and what others thought of how I looked. I was reactive. I abdicated my power. I was miserable. I tried every diet and quick fix ever created - dazed and confusedas they say by all the diet industry 'truths' out there. I gained and lost hundreds of pounds. It was too hard. I just gave up. Then, due to an injury, I met an amazing physical therapist, and I came in contact with disciplined, healthy, active people. I was immersed in a different atmosphere, absorbing so much positive, determined energy, that it was empowering. I became proactive. I developed different habits. Habits I have kept for over 30 years.
These habits were so life-changing, I became determined to share them. FUN (Families Understanding Nutrition )is my Lifestyle program to learn how to eat better, exercise more efficiently, and become leaner, energized, and more productive. It contains modules for individuals, families, and children. It is rooted in the premise that one size does not fit all, and is layered with simple, practical, and sound guidance that will help navigate the health & fitness terrain. The outcome is a higher level of well-being- and an increased awareness of what cannot be ignored. It helps find the key to unlock the innate passion to self-improve, and provides the knowledge, motivation, and tools to accomplish goals. It acknowledges that goals can be attained in stages, and failure is only a momentary condition in a moment to momentparadigm that celebrates small (but significant) victories, and endless brand new opportunities to begin anew. Take AIM is a template I developed to assess people's unique needs, inform them, and motivate them to explore a healthier lifestyle. It is a Jumpstart program. It contains the evaluation materials (as well as the tools) to determine specific nutrition and exercise requirements.
My last article explored the link between body fat (and specifically belly fat) and hypoglycemia, and stress. And I said I would continue the conversation. I applaud any effort to find a way to lose body fat. But it is fatwe want to lose. Not muscle. Not 'weight.' So it is not about the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat. So starving yourself will not work in this pursuit, because your body cannibalizes its muscle to feed your brain, and your blood sugar plummets creating a hypoglycemic condition with cravings for some simple carbohydrate to raise blood sugar levels. And while all of this is happening your body is holding on to its fat for dear life. Diets that deprive you of key nutrients that keep your metabolic functions symbiotically humming along will ultimately fail you. Processed foods, energy drinks, 'protein' bars, and other convenience 'meals' aren't locking you into a healthy behavioral pattern that will develop into a good habit. And, look at the ingredients list of this stuff you are spending your money on. If it is as long as Ulysseswith words you cannot pronounce, it is probably not the best choice. Like Acesulfame K - which is yet another artificial sweetener. And, really, how healthy does Red Dye #40 sound? And then there is the ever-present corn syrup. Campaigns to convince you that this stuff is benign say it is a 'natural' product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation. Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more. While accessing articles and abstracts from noted researchers I found so much evidence to support keeping yourself (and your kids) away from this stuff that it cannot be ignored. When I built my company, Live It Or Diet,Iwas honored and privileged to work with one of these incredible scientists - Dr. Jeffrey Bland (a renowned nutritional biochemist and student of Linus Pauling). His, and other research shows that sugar in anyform causes obesity and disease in the amounts consumed bythe average American adult and child - 150 pounds per person per year. One 20 ounce sweetened soda, sports drink, or tea has 17 teaspoons of sugar, and the average teenager often drinks two a day! There are 120 teaspoons in one pound of sugar. This means 1/4 pound of sugar is equivalent to 30 teaspoons. An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 ounces of sugar. It only takes four 12-ounce cans of sodas to equal 1/4 pound of sugar! For some people, drinking this amount of soda in one day is a daily habit. And sugar is hidden in so many other products we consume, like: salad dressings, barbeque sauces, ketchup, crackers, soup, breads, and more. So add that in as well.
Less than 100 years ago, the average intake of sugar was only about 4 pounds per person per year.
Food dyes! Americans are currently eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. It seems we now need our foods to have more appealing colors. Manufacturers opt to use synthetic dyes rather than natural colorants from foods, and those synthetic dyes have dangerous health consequences - particularly for children. Research has associated synthetic dyes with problems in children including: allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A published U.S. study I read said; when children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity consumed a food-dye blend they performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo.A British study found that; children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.)There are movements petitioning the FDA to ban food dyes - like Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Yellow 5 and Red 2 and 40. I mean, honestly. Do we really need them???
So your cereal is not green or pink.
It is vitally important to reduce artificial ingredients, sugars, and saturated fats in order to keep your digestive system properly balanced. As I have said, an unbalanced gut can cause inflammation, bloating, and weight gain. So why would you drink a 'meal replacement' drink that contains stuff that is: made from chemically digested wood chips, used in diaper rash medications - or 100 other things that you don't want to know about. Because it's easy? One researcher wrote: "Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency." We let companies mislead us. We turn a blind eye.
So, bottoms up.
Listen, I am a big fan of more convenient nutritional solutions - like naturalshakes that include fiber, protein, fruit, and other healthy ingredients that nourish, alkalize and energize. If you already are enjoying smoothies that are pre-made no muss no fuss and want to know why to go through the hassle to make your own, I hope I have given you ample reasons to try this. By stripping smoothies of dairy (especially if that is an issue for you), sugars, and artificial ingredients, the recipe I am about to share with you maximizes all that is great about protein smoothies - supplying easily digestible optimal nutrition, critical alkalization, energy, and satiation at any time of the day. Every morning I make a shake for my husband, Pat and I. It is not much of a process, and it is so rewarding! In a blender I mix a little V-8 Fusion with an unsweetened non-dairy milk, (we like vanilla almond milk - Silk or Almond Breeze) a tablespoon of So Delicious plain yogurt (also non-dairy), a banana, some frozen mixed fruit (you can buy it in a bag at the supermarket), and Vega OneAll-In-One Nutritional Shake. I have researched so many protein powders. This is a good one. It is plant-based. There is no added sugar (less than 1 gram of sugar). There are greens, fiber, 20 grams of protein, and probiotics - promoting gut health. We love French Vanilla (but there are other flavors). This daily shake I make supports our mission to include only positively impacting meals in our diet. (It is one of our 4 daily meals). It makes us feel great. It stabilizes blood sugar. It is filling. And it is yum.
Now, bottoms up.