*Roadmap to Health and Happiness* Tips from an Integrative Nutrition Ambassador!

As an Integrative Nutrition Ambassador and training Health Coach, I know my stuff. But it takes more than knowing my stuff to reach my own health and wellness goals. Despite the cliché, I put in effort and make conscious choices to maintain the best health of my life. I achieve success thru sensible physical activity and meeting realistic goals.

Diets don’t work!

Eating well and physical activity does. Approach health as a lifestyle (change), not a diet. Unless you plan to be on a diet for the rest of your life, you’re just going to go back to your former way of eating and likely gain back any weight you’ve lost. Eating whole, nutritious foods has to become a daily habit.
All calories are NOT created equal, and thinking you’ll maintain health simply by counting them or cutting them will likely leave you hungry, irritable, malnourished and not much healthier than you were when you started. Eating more fresh, raw- foods is a great way to increase your immune function, feel satisfied, add variety, and supercharge your health.
Crap is crap, no matter how many calories are involved. Calories from nutrient-rich foods versus nutritionally-bunk ones from processed or refined sugars and carbs will have different effects on the body. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods help maintain stable blood sugar levels, minimize cravings, while your brain signals your belly that it’s full. Nutrient-poor foods will have the opposite effect, causing hormonal havoc, spiking insulin, setting off cravings, dulling satiety signals and encouraging overeating. In other words: nutrient rich foods help keep weight in check naturally, no counting required.

Find good FOOD, and find what works for you.

Everyone is different and it might take a little trial and error to figure out what’s best for you. If you’re aiming to lose weight, never skip meals. I eat a fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal with seeds, fruit and nuts. I drink lots of water throughout the day, cook broth-based soups and stews that are loaded with veggies, and eat all my dinners accompanied with loads of salad and vegetables. I limit or avoid, dairy, refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but don’t deny myself, especially if it’s a couple homemade chocolate chip cookies for a treat.
A few ways I’ve made more fresh, raw foods a habit:
I focus on adding more raw vegetables and fruits – crowding out processed and refined foods -, rather than an all-or-nothing approach. I’ll be honest here — I don’t follow or even recommend a 100 percent raw diet. Balance is a beautiful thing, and you’ll still be vibrantly healthy if you eat lots of fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables (say, up to 50 percent of your daily diet) along with healthfully cooked whole foods.
By far the easiest way to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your daily routine is to keep them on hand, making healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables a staple in the fridge. You’d be surprised how easy it is to whip up a snack – I can peel an orange faster than I can heat up pizza rolls! And again, it’s not all-or-nothing. You can pair an apple with nut butter or berries with yogurt. At our house, we love relish trays with a thick dip I blend(er) up using cottage cheese and seasoning. I also always serve avocado slices along side home cooked Curry, Cajun, or Mexican meals – adds a creamy texture while providing a healthy fat.
I drink a green smoothie everyday. Yes, this means kale. Otherwise, you can successfully add spinach to any green smoothie no matter what kind of blender you own. Try the following smoothie for breakfast: 2 cups mango, one banana, 2 cups spinach, and a little water or orange juice. Even picky kids will enjoy this recipe!

Get professional help, and not just with a nutritionist.

In the end, the best way to lose and maintain weight is to get healthy. You cannot sidestep nature. This means eating real food, moving your body regularly, getting adequate amounts of sleep, and finding ways to manage stress.
However, keep in mind that you don’t have to make all of these changes overnight! It’s a process. Just keep adding and eating more fresh and raw foods, finding healthy recipes you enjoy, and some gentle exercise.
You don’t need to do it alone and you can get invaluable assistance from a health coach, therapist, or personal trainer.
Check out my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach services on the Contact/ Services pages on this blog.
I’d love to work with you personally!

A *FREE* guide of the type of services I’ll offer is available by following the Integrative Nutrition Six Month Roadmap to Health and Happiness link (below).

You’re worth it, and your health is important, so don’t skimp! You’ll enjoy higher and higher levels of health and vitality!

To Your Health!
~V

Advertisements

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Green Smoothies = Pot O’ Gold

green smoothie 003

Based on my 2+ years experience with smoothies, I can definitely say that drinking green smoothies is the quickest, easiest way to obtain incredible health results without a lot of fuss or effort.

Simply by adding one green smoothie to your diet every day will likely start to bring about amazing positive change in your body. When the body gets the foods it needs, it can heal itself.

Green Smoothies are fast and extremely easy to make. No matter what your schedule is, you can manage making a Green Smoothie. From start to finish, it takes less than 5 minutes, and that includes cleaning up! And – if you are overweight – you will likely start losing weight really quickly too, because you will be eating less of the fattening foods that you normally crave.

I’ve been drinking them for years, and I honestly cannot remember feeling so vibrant!

Here is my list of why drink green smoothies in no particular order:

1. Green smoothies make healthy nutrition effortless. Let’s face it: most of us are very busy these days, and healthy nutrition is one more item on the already too long to-do list (often falling to the bottom replaced by more urgent tasks). No wonder that eating enough of green leafy vegetables is often a problem with many people, especially children. Fortunately regular consumption of green smoothies forms a good habit of eating greens. After a few of weeks of drinking green smoothies, you may find yourself craving and enjoying greens. You will become addicted to them, which is a good thing!

2. Green smoothies are incredibly nutritious!Because green smoothies incorporate fresh fruits and veggies, they are usually high in vitamins A, C, K, E as well as calcium, fiber, and protein. The darker, leafy greens also provide a variety of important phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lutein, which protect our cells from damage. Some even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats that are important to brain health and functions. Most experts agree that we need to eat fresh fruits and veggies every day. The USDA recommends that we eat at least 3 cups of the leafy green variety every week.

3. Green smoothies are easy to digest. When blended well, all the valuable nutrients in these fruits and veggies become homogenized, or divided into such small particles that it becomes easy for the body to assimilate these nutrients. The green smoothies literally start to get absorbed in your mouth!
What people don’t typically know is that the cell walls of many leafy greens are incredibly durable and hard for the body to break apart. Chewing really well helps to “break” the cell walls and allow access to the nutrition inside, but very few people chew their food that well, especially children. This is just another reason that green smoothies are so wonderful. Using a blender breaks these cell walls apart and makes these nutrient easily available. The blender “chews” the greens for you!

4. Green smoothies are easy to make, and quick to clean up after. No cooking or washing pots and pans required! It’s also much easier than juicing–even the most health conscious people do not consume enough green juices on a regular basis because it takes too long to prepare them and clean the equipment after juicing. I used to do a lot of juicing in the past and I still do it, but let’s face it – it is quite time consuming and really messy. My problem is over since I started making green smoothies. Making smoothies is a super easy way to eat lots of greens, and a great alternative to juicing.

5. Green smoothies belong to the most palatable dishes for people of all ages.
With a ratio of fruits to veggies as 60:40 the fruit taste dominates the flavor, yet at the same time the green vegetables balance out the sweetness of the fruit, adding nice zest to it. Green smoothies are simply the best tasting dishes for the majority of adults and children.

6. Green smoothies reduce cravings for sugar and other processed foods that are not good for you by flooding your body with nutrients. When you consume your greens in the form of green smoothies, you can greatly reduce the consumption of oils and salt in your diet (in the form of salad dressings and other foods you would normally eat). One reason we crave certain foods, is that these foods contain opiate-like chemicals that make you crave them. The primary addictive foods include sugar, chocolate, cheese and meat. The other reason is this: The diet that an average person consumes today is deficient in many essential nutrients. If your body does not get what it needs to function properly, it will demand you eat more and more food. Green smoothies will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to function.

7. Green smoothies can help you lose weight by reducing those cravings that keep sabotaging your weight loss goals.

8. Green smoothies are perfect food for children of all ages, including babies of six or more months old when introducing new food to them after mother’s milk. Kids love smoothies and most will never notice they are drinking their vegetables unless you tell them! If you can’t get your kids to eat spinach or kale in their dinner salad, you will be amazed to see them relishing these very same ingredients inside a fruit smoothie. Of course, you have to be careful and slowly introduce new ingredients to avoid food allergies.

9. Green smoothies, unlike juices, are a complete food because they retain all fiber. They provide a feeling satiety, and can be used to replace meals.

10. Green smoothies are loaded with fiber, which helps improve digestion and elimination. The fiber acts like a powerful broom that sweeps the colon of toxins and waste. In each smoothie you’ll be getting plenty of FIBER – so forget about those colon cleansing supplements!

11.Green smoothies allow you to easily use up leftovers, such as leftover fruit and greens in the same way as you might put your leftover vegetables in a soup or stew.

12. Green smoothies can help you achieve beautiful skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, and a more youthful appearance. There is no skin cream or hair conditioner available on the market today that can compare to the beautifying effects of a regular supply of green smoothies. You will also need less makeup, deodorants and soaps.

13. Green smoothies can help you achieve overall improved health, increased energy and clear thinking. In one drink you will be consuming more nutrients than you have in a week if you live on processed foods!

14. Green smoothies will help you save energy and money. You will eat out less (try green smoothies for lunch instead of fast food) and there will be little cleanup. You won’t need any (or take fewer) supplements. You’ll be clean and beautiful from the inside!

You may be wondering if it’s actually possible to experience all these benefits! Actually, it is . I read testimonials all the time from people all over the world who have experienced the power of raw and living foods, and I noticed that the benefits I mentioned above are the ones almost everybody who tries this way of eating experiences!

However, green smoothies habit goes well beyond adopting a few simple recipes for health and weight loss. Don’t let the simplicity of the recipes and ingredients fool you. You will see improvements in your life in many other areas, not just health and weight management.

Adding just one green smoothie a day will affect other areas in your life too. You will cleanse and detoxify your body, and this will lead to trigger the desire to clear and cleanse your lifestyle, your relationships, your work. You are likely to experience the desire to drop unhealthy habits, open your heart more and improve your life in both large and small ways – including, perhaps, adopting a more wellness centered lifestyle.

To Your Health!

~V

Recipes: No More Excuses! Fifteen Easy Ingredient Green Smoothies

green smoothie 003

Easy Quick Green Smoothie Recipes

Mango Mixer
•2 cups water
•2 mangos
•1 cup spinach

Banana Basic
•1 cup water
•2 bananas
•1 cup kale

Strawberry Soul
•1 cup water
•1 cup strawberries
•1 banana
•1 cup romaine lettuce

Pear Promise
•2 cups water
•2 pears
•1 banana
•1 cup spinach

Tropical
•2 cups water
•1 cup pineapple
•1 banana
•1 cup spinach

Exotic
•2 cups water
•1 mango
•1 cup pineapple
•1 cup mixed baby leaves

Frugal
•1 cup water
•2 apples
•1 banana
•½ cucumber

Sweetness Start
•2 cups water
•1 cup strawberries
•1 mango
•1 cup spinach

Peachy Pail
•1 cup water
•3 peaches
•1 banana
•2 celery stalks

Blueberry Bliss
•2 cups water
•1 cup blueberries
•1 banana
•1 cup spinach

Berry Best
•2 cups water
•1 cup mixed berries
•1 mango
•1 cup spinach

Raspberry Ripple
•2 cups water
•1 cup raspberries
•1 banana
•1 cup bok choy/ pak choi

Citrus Cooler
•1 cup water
•1 cup pineapple
•1 orange
•1 cup spinach

Amazing Apricot
•2 cups water
•1 cup apricots
•1 banana
•1 cup romaine lettuce

Crazy Coconut
•1 cup water
•1 pineapple
•½ cup coconut
•1 cup spinach