Donna Surface - News

Spiritwood Music Inc. Blog

News from Pat Surface and Spiritwood Music

Are You Paying More For Nutrition-less?

Happy Summer! I believe it has finally arrived in our part of the country. Yay! Time to shed our Winter clothes - the massive layers that have been covering our bodies like a fleece tent. Time to let your body out in the sun. Ready?

I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the health and fitness conversation with you. This subject can be so confounding that your resolve to make changes dissipates into pledging a future start date that keeps moving into infinity. But, Summer is here - now. Let's, I said in my last PATH Press article - have some FUN. In that issue I introduced my lifestyle program - FUN (Families Understanding Nutrition) and I ended with a nutrition-packed shake recipe to help jump-start a fat-busting regimen - acknowledging that we need simple, convenient solutions to the dilemma of trying to be healthy while balancing a budget and time. As I said, I am all about fast, convenient, less mess, and more bang for a buck.

I am often asked, "how can I make healthier choices on my budget?" We grab inexpensive products sacrificing quality for discounts, thinking we will have more food if we stick with this concept. But the truth is these products have so little nutritional value that you are not being nourished or satiated. So, you wind up eating moreof this stuff. But, if you consume a better alternative - one with higher fiber and lower sugar - you will eat lessof it. Your body will signal you that it is done. And it will stay done longer. So you are in reality not spending more money for food when you switch to healthy products. You will actually be spending less!

In this issue I wanted to present you with some healthy alternatives to popular foods. Breakfast alternatives, snack alternatives, and more. And, I would like to encourage you to develop the habit of choosing and usingthese foods. We are capable of developing good habits. We develop the bad ones. We were not born with them. So, we can do this!

My husband, Pat, and I recently had a visit from a friend who has been struggling with weight for years. He could really benefit to lose 100 lbs. His wife and daughter are also obese. And now his precious grandson is becoming obese, and the grandson is being ridiculed at school. This has struck home for this man. It is breaking his heart. He wants to make a lifestyle change for himself and his family.

He says the eating habits of his family has always been extremely unhealthy - high fat and sugar. Our friend spent 2 days with us eating the way we eat, and loved it. He was asking me at every meal - "how did you make this, what is in this, what is the difference between this and that?" He went home armed with alternatives - solutions to what he grabs on the go - quick healthy snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner options easy to fix and inexpensive. Well, he stated he received no support from his family. They want to stay where they are at - in denial and eating as they always have. They do not want to be confronted about their weight or change their lifestyle habits. They don't want a mirror. They want their food. He was completely shot down - and told "every time you visit those folks you come home with this *ra*." But he is trying to go it alone. He calls me or Pat every day to report his determination to stick with his new game plan - and to receive encouragement. He bought his own cereal, granola bars, and bread. He is walking every morning. He is hoping to lead by example. He is hoping to rescue his grandson.

How can you get your family on board with a lifestyle adjustment - switching to quality family nutrition and exercise? How do you make it less daunting, more interesting, and FUN? Like an adventure that you embark on together? One way to begin is to have a family meeting, and everyone chooses just 1 thing to change - exchangefor something healthier. Even if you change just 1 thing to start - that is positive motion. And it will bring you benefits that you will see and feel. And that is motivating. Set individual goals as a family. Participate as a family. You can even make it a competition. I have a friend that has set up a competition with his wife. They each have an activity tracker- a device that measures steps and energy expended. Each day they compare numbers - see who walked the most steps and burned the most calories. (My friend likes to win.) There are many activity trackers out there. On Amazon prices range from $12.00 to hundreds. You don't need to spend a lot of money - some of the lower priced ones that look good are: Pivotal Living, OUMAX T2, Fitbit Zip, Jawbone UP, and Polar Loop. Now doesn't this sound like FUN?

Foods That Pack A Punch

Foods with high nutritional density will help your family become winners. But, where to start? A FUN thing I came up with is Super Snack- a snack baggie filled with yummy stuff - different cereals (I usually buy 4 different ones), raisins, almond slivers, etc. I make gallon storage bags of this mixture, and separate it into portions that are approximately 200 calories each (snack baggie size). Pat gets to have a snack baggie of this concoction a couple of times a day to fill in the gaps between meals. It is super high in fiber, low in sugar, and crushes cravings. We take this with us wherever we go. Now, there are certain products that I love and will spend the money on to use in this - cereals I buy in the health-food section (like Kashi Heart to Heart Toasted Oat Cereal, Barbara's Puffins, Cascadian Farms Graham Crunch). But, evensupermarket brands like General Mills have healthier product choices (Fiber One, Multi-grain Cherios, Wheat Chex). Read labels, and choose cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber (more is better) and no more than 8 grams of sugar (less is better). But, no matter what you choose, your Super Snackwill cost far less than the other stuff you grab on the go. There are tons of servings, and when you add it all up each one costs less than a dollar. How much does that bag of chips, 'granola' bar, or vending machine munchie cost you?  

I know you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, we often do not take the time to have it. Oatmeal is a great choice. And you can make it quick. There are minute oats that have high fiber. Starting your day with slow-burning oatmeal will help regulate your hunger and provide your body with compounds that escort the bad cholesterol out of your belly. And if you pair it with fruits, you will double the effect.

micro egg cooker.jpgAnd then there is the eggstaordinary egg. Eggs are so good for you. They are among the best sources for the B vitamin choline and the amino acid methionine, which suppresses the activity of genes related to insulin resistance, obesity, and fatty liver diseases. They also provide a powerful protein punch, which helps fire up your metabolism and keep you full throughout the beginning of your day. Ohhh, now I really don't have time to make eggs! No worries.

I found this really cool little thing. It is - Nordic Ware Microwave Eggs 'n Muffin Breakfast Pan- on AMAZON it is only $3.37. It is just a little cooker - big enough for 2 eggs and it makes them into a soufflé! So, I make something I call a -


2 eggs (scramble right in little cooker) - add some low-fat cheese and cut up ham or bacon bits, a few veggies if you like. Microware 2 minutes. Put it on a Multi-grain Lite English Muffin (very high in fiber and low calorie). 2 minutes!!! Done and yum!

There are also healthy ways to make tuna or chicken salad. Tacos. Coleslaw. Mac and Cheese. Quesadillas. Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup (that's right without the cream!). There is so much I want to share with you. But this time I will stick with jump-starting your day in a healthy way.

Here is something Pat and I do every morning before we walk:In room temperature (or luke-warm) pure spring water mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a dash of ginger, and a dash of cayenne pepper. This will stimulate your digestive system, alkalize, and in general get things going J. Ginger aids blood sugar regulation & digestion, cayenne pepper is alkalizing and aids elimination, and lemon is a miracle—it is the only food that is either alkalizing or acid forming, depending on what your body needs (In fact, try this: after a meal, if you crave sweet, eat a few lemon slices. Ask for a dish of lemons when you eat out—for your water, and after your meal). And lemon also aids digestion. Studies show that this combination of ingredients  can also be thermogenic (fat-burning!). You can drink this drink throughout your day as well. This is all we have before we walk. If you do this in the morning you have fasted throughout the night, and your body will burn fat for fuel immediately during cardio instead of burning sugar in your blood from eating. But - please note - do not do this if you have blood sugar issues like hypoglycemia or diabetes, heart disease or other health concerns. As a health and fitness director certified by the American College Of Sports Medicine I recommend an exercise test prior to beginning a vigorous exercise program is for high risk individuals of any age. I also recommend a heart-rate monitor. (Polar has inexpensive ones on Amazon - I like the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor.) It will display your heart rate during exercise so you know you are working hard enough to burn fat, but not too hard to harm you. Next time I will teach you how to determine your individual target heart for fat-burning. But in general, most healthy individuals should be exercising at about 120-130 beats per minute to burn serious fat.

If you are just starting out - begin slowly. Work up to it. Walk 10 minutes if that is all you can manage. Walk a little farther each day. Add a house, a block - challenge yourself. Work up to 20 minutes. Then 30. You should never feel out of breath. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising. Again, if you have no health issues doing aerobic exercise first thing in the morning is best. If you cannot exercise in the morning, try and do it after work and before your evening meal if you can. But the important thing is to get it done. Aim at doing your cardiovascular exercise at least 3 times a week.  

Question: What is the best type of aerobic exercise to choose when beginning a program?  Answer: One you will enjoy and stick with.

Now - go have some FUN.









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