It’s no surprise we call the Standard American Diet, SAD.   The Public Health Nutrition journal published a study that revealed that consumers of fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression, compared to those who eat little or none.  Processed foods high in hydrogenated oils, trans fats and high fructose can literally make us sad, so what can we eat to boost our moods?
Top 5 food groups to fight depression:

  1. Seafood!
  2. Nuts & Seeds
  3. Green Leafy Vegetables
  4. Citrus Fruits
  5. Beans
So what makes these foods nature’s antidepressants?

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OMEGA-3’S

Several studies in the last 10 years have shown that foods and supplements with omega-3 fatty acids improved depression symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression.  Dr. Tanya Edwards, blogged for Doctor Oz that she recommends her patients with depression get 2000-4000mg/d of Omega 3’s.  Supplements are great but there are many foods rich with Omega 3’s.

  • Low mercury fish – salmon, sardines, halibut, trout, anchovies, mackerel
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds & flax oil
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Shell fish – shrimp, scallops
  • Fortified eggs

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MAGNESIUM Magnesium is one of 4 major ions critical for the body.  (The others are calcium, potassium & sodium)  Its critical in over 300 bodily functions, most of those provide us with necessary energy.  But more than 80% of the worlds population is low in magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle aches, anxiety, fatigue, confusion, irritability, forgetfulness and depression.  So besides supplements what can you eat to get your daily dose of magnesium?

  • Swiss chard & spinach
  • Bran – rice, wheat & oats
  • Dried herbs – coriander, basil, spearmint, sage
  • Seeds – pumpkin, squash, sunflower, flax, sesame
  • Beans – kidney beans, black beans, lentils
  • Edamame
  • Bananas

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VITAMIN D

A study from the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ontario found a direct link between depression and vitamin D deficiency, especially in women.  Some of us don’t have the luxury of getting vitamin from sunshine on a regular basis, so here are some other great sources of vitamin D.

  • Cod liver oil
  • Oily fish – Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, mackerel, catfish
  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified cereals
  • Enriched soy milk

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FOLATE & VITAMIN B12 Low levels of folic acid or folate and vitamin B12 is linked to a higher risk of melancholic depressive symptoms.  Research has shown that deficiencies in folate and B12 are common among depressed people. Both help produce serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects our happiness.  It’s actually difficult for most people to get enough through diet alone so women especially in child bearing years should take a supplement in addition to enjoying foods high in folate and vitamin B12.

  • Dark leafy greens – spinach, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale
  • Peanuts
  • Asparagus
  • Beans – lentils, garbanzo, pinto, mung, black beans
  • Liver
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruit – oranges, grapefruit, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
  • Avocado

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NIACIN

Niacin treatments have long been helpful in the battle with depression. Niacin is important for the nervous system and brain function, but can’t be stored in the body, so it’s important to get enough niacin every day..  Deficiencies can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, restlessness and insomnia.

  • Pork, lamb, beef, chicken & turkey
  • Anchovies, tuna, mackerel, swordfish
  • Liver & kidney
  • Mushrooms
  • Paprika
  • Peanuts
Depression is a serious disease. If you or you know someone who suffer from depression, please see a physician.  If you are currently taking antidepressants, please do not stop taking your medications unless under the supervision of a doctor.

I look forward to seeing you at www.destinationwellness.com.

April


 
 
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With more than half of the US population overweight and more people focused on their health, it’s no surprise that food and beverage companies are trying to cash in and create “better for you foods”.  They will take any health scare, diet craze or food trend and create foods that are all marketing, no substance.  But as my friend Drew says, “you can slap lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”.

Agave Nectar – Amazing marketing hype!  Just when sugar was at the peak of bad press, rightfully so, a “natural” sweetener that is “better” than sugar arrives; Agave!  But most agave nectars sold in stores, that are even labeled as organic, natural or Blue have more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.  And like high fructose corn syrup, it has no nutritional value and is in calories and is more processed than table sugar.  I like this article at organiclifestyle.com on agave nectar if you want to know how it is processed.   Though it also is high in fructose, I suggest using organic, raw, local honey.  It also has antioxidants, flavanoids and regulates blood sugar.

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Reduced Fat Peanut Butter – Reduced fat peanut butter is actually worse for you than the regular peanut butter, which isn’t great either.  Reduced fat peanut butter does have slightly less fat and has a whopping 10 fewer calories than it’s regular counterpart, but they’ve replaced the healthy fats and oils of the peanuts with maltodextrin, a carb filler.  So not only does it have empty carbs but it also has double the sugar.  Go for the all natural organic peanut or other nut butters.  I love Justin’s, though it does have a little organic palm fruit oil.  There are other natural nut butters that are only nuts and salt.

Fat Free Salad Dressing – These dressings and other fat free foods began to flood the market when we were all told that fat was bad!  But when you take out the fat you have to replace it with something; these dressings replace the fat with a ton of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or other engineered chemicals to try and fake the fat.  They can also be very high in sodium.  Using fat-free dressings may also prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients from the vegetables in the salad.  Make your own salad dressing out of pure ingredients like balsamic vinegar, olive oil, citrus and fresh herbs.  Make them creamy using Tahini paste, Greek yogurt or avocado.  Don’t be afraid of healthy fats; they are good for you in small quantities.
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Enhanced or Vitamin Water – This stuff is loaded with sugar, up to 33grams per bottle, and other artificial additives like citric acid and crystalline.  Crystalline fructose is a sweetener that has shown so far to be safe, but new concerns are questioning the link to hepatoxicity, or chemical liver damage.  Vitamin water is typically not too bad in calories, usually 50 calories per serving, but why drink unnecessary calories?  Oh wait, but there are vitamins!  Don’t get too excited, you can get what you need from a pure glass of water and a daily multivitamin or a balanced diet.

Baked Chips – Marketers love to tout the word “baked”, it means healthy right?  Baked chips do have (slightly) fewer calories and fat than fried chips but that doesn’t make up for more than twice the sodium and three times more acrylamides.  Acrylamides are cancer-causing chemicals that forms when high-carb foods, like potatoes, are heated to high temperatures.  So ditch the potato chips and go with terra chips, tortilla chips, sun chips or 100% whole grain chips.

Keep an eye out for more so called "healthy" foods in my future blogs....

Best Wishes!
April
 
 
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Gluten-free foods are popping up everywhere, and you can’t turn on the TV without hearing some celebrity talking about their gluten-free diet.  We all know that a gluten-free diet is a given for people with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that damages your small intestine and prevents the absorption of nutrients leading to malnutrition.  But Celiac Disease only affects about 1% of the population, so why do I care about going gluten-free?  How about diarrhea, acne, fatigue and headaches to start…  Yikes!

You could have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance and not even know.  Experts estimate is 10% of the population, possibly more, has a gluten sensitivity.  Within that 10%, the range of severity and symptoms varies dramatically.  So how do you know if you have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten?  First, you need to eat gluten and track how you feel for a few days or a week.  The week you are still eating gluten, note how you are feeling, including tracking the following symptoms:
  • Diarrhea, constipation or both
  • Frequent gas or bloating
  • Stomach cramping and/or pain
  • Fat or mucus in stool
  • Fatigue (especially after a meal)
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Irritability, moodiness
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Aching Joints
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tingling, numbness in extremities

After you’ve had a chance to log symptoms for a few days or a week, you need to completely cut out gluten for at least 2-4 weeks.  Some people start to see symptom improvements in one week but it can take up to 4 weeks to see significant improvement.   So what foods should you completely cut out while you are testing for gluten intolerance?

You must avoid all foods, drinks and products with:
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  • Wheat, wheat berries, wheat-germ, wheat flour
  • Bulgar
  • Farro
  • Durum flour
  • Tempura crumbs
  • Spelt
  • Semolina
  • Kamut
  • Graham flour
  • Farina
  • Couscous
  • Tabbouleh
  • Barley (including, malt)
  • Rye
  • Oats, oatmeal

This is the questionable list, where you need to read labels carefully to look for wheat or wheat products, proteins and binding agents.  Or look for products labeled gluten-free:
  • Beer
  • Bread & breadcrumbs
  • Pastries, cakes, pies
  • Cereal
  • French fries & fast food
  • Energy bars
  • Cookies, crackers, candy
  • Salad dressing, condiments, Worcestershire, marinades
  • Pasta
  • Processed meats; lunch meat, meat balls, hot dogs, sausages
  • Gravy, soups & sauces
  • Soy sauce, teriyaki & “natural flavorings”
  • Matzo
  • Imitation seafood
  • Seasoned rice
  • Seasoned snack foods including nuts, popcorn, potato and tortilla chips
  • Flavored tea
  • Flavored alcohol

I’m sure you’re thinking, what CAN I eat while testing for gluten, and if I need to go gluten free?  Of course, anything labeled gluten-free or you have confirmed does  and any of the following:

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  • All fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Quinoa, amaranth, millet, teff & buckwheat
  • Arrowroot
  • Rice
  • Beans, peas & lentils
  • Corn & cornstarch
  • Eggs, milk & cheese
  • Meat; beef, lamb, chicken, turkey
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Flaxseed
  • Grits, hominy and polenta
  • Potatoes, potato starch and potato flour
  • Raw nuts
  • Sorghum and tapioca

If by cutting out gluten you see an improvement in your symptoms, you should consider cutting out or cutting down on the gluten.  Try cutting out gluten for 6 months. If you still have multiple symptoms after you’ve completely cut out gluten, talk to your doctor and consider an elimination diet to detect the source of your issues.  The other likely suspects could be dairy, sugar, fish/shellfish and alcohol.

After all this, you could still be asking, what the “F” is gluten?  The short answer, Gluten, latin for glue.  It’s a protein found in wheat, barley and rye to hold things together, it gives dough elasticity, makes it chewy and helps it rise.  For more information on gluten or going gluten-free, check out the Celiac Disease Foundation.

 
 
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I was torn whether to send this blog due to the tragedy in Boston.  A health blog seems trivial when things like this happen but I hope this can provide a distraction and a smile during hard times.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families.

Take a look in your pantry and what do you see?  If you’re like most people you’ll find at least one unopened (expired) cake mix, a chip bag with only crumbs left and boxes of stale sugary cereal?  Time for a healthy pantry makeover.

1.  Remove everything from the pantry and give the shelves a good scrub.  I have to admit, mine were sticky and dusty.  Transfer dirty boxes to a clean kitchen counter.... need I say more?

2.  Toss all unhealthy food items, making a list of what you toss.  Why?  Because you bought it for a reason so let’s figure out if we need to replace it with a healthier food item.  When I say toss you can obviously donate your food items to your local food bank, but please don’t donate old or expired foods.  I am hesitant to say donate non-healthy foods since they belong in the trash and items provided by a food bank should be healthful and nourishing.  If you can afford it, donate cash to feed those that could use a little help.  Be sure to look at each item, it’s amazing what is hiding in unsuspecting foods like high fructose corn syrup in jarred pasta sauce and propylene glycol in frosting, also found in anti-freeze.  (seriously!)

Toss all items that are, made with or contain:
  • Expired & slightly suspicious items (i.e. don’t remember when you opened it)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugar or artificial sweeteners (especially if they are in the first 3 ingredients)
  • White flour, white rice, white sugar
  • Items high in sodium (anything more than 700g per serving)
  • Transfats
  • MSG
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Soda (and diet soda) & other sugary drinks
3.  Alright, let’s get back to the list of items we just tossed.  Take a look to see where you can make better choices.  Here are some usual suspects in the toss pile that you can swap for their healthier versions.
Swap
  • Peanut butter with transfats
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • White, wheat or egg noodle pastas
  • White sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Soda
  • Sugary cereal
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chocolate chips
Better Choices
  • Natural organic nut butters
  • Baked chips, sweet potato or taro chips, kale chips, pita chips
  • Bake healthier cookies and keep them in the freezer.
  • Brown rice, spelt or soba/buckwheat pasta
  • Pure honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil
  • Green or black tea – I make a bunch and keep it in the refrigerator
  • Whole wheat cereal or flax granola
  • Veganaise or Light Canola Mayo
  • Cacao Nibs
4.  First let’s get real.  If it’s in your pantry you’ll eat it or cook with it so be careful what you buy.    Here some ideas on other items to stock in your pantry.  These are items I keep on hand at all times.  There are many days after a long day at work when I don’t want to go to the store so it's important to have items you can quickly throw together a healthy meal.
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  • 100% Whole grains & ancient grains – quinoa, millet, amaranth, oats
  • 100% Whole grain & ancient grain flour – chickpea, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat
  • Flax granola & (100%) whole grain cereals
  • Brown rice & brown rice pasta
  • Jarred vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, capers & roasted red peppers
  • Jarred sauces without high fructose corn syrup – marinara, BBQ, curry
  • Dried or canned beans
  • Canned salmon or tuna (wild caught & packed in water)
  • Canned convenience items – tomatoes, vegetables, olives.  (Canned items contain BPA so minimize the amount of canned items you chose.  Fresh and frozen are a better choice but you should have canned items for when you’re in a bind.)
  • Raw nuts & natural nut butters (I love Justin’s peanut butter and almond butters)
  • Healthy oils – olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil
  • Spices – Be sure they say 100% pure or look to see what they are cut with
  • Vinegars – red, white, rice, balsamic, cider
  • Hot Sauces – Tabasco, Cholula, Sriracha, Tapatio
  • Coconut and Almond Milk
  • Organic, low-sodium vegetable & chicken stock
  • Whole grain & ancient grain flour
  • Natural sweeteners – 100% pure maple syrup, honey, agave nectar

5.  Storage is key to save space, stay organized and keep your items fresh.  It’s worth it to invest in good storage containers, especially for cereal or granola you use most days.  I have a selection of my favorites on my website you can choose from, click here.  You can also get creative.  I save jars to re-use with my bulk food items like rice and dried beans.  I also use them to make my salad dressings.  Keeping items like cereal in glass or see through containers also let’s you keep track of when you’re getting low.

6.  Now lets get organized.  Sort items by category (pasta, cereal, snacks, baking, etc.) it will make it easier to find things when it gets a little crowded.  Look at how often you use these items.  Keep items you use a lot and smaller items at eye level so they are easy to access and see.  Do you bake a lot?  Keep your baking items on a higher, an easy to reach shelf.  Keep your trigger foods in mind and if you have to have them in your house, keep them out of sight and hard to get to.  Store healthy snacks within kids arm reach so these are the go-to option.

Thank you and best wishes!
April
 
 
I’ve heard it said over and over again eating healthy is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
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Always, the number-one tip to save money?  Plan ahead! Plan out your meals for the week, make your list and stick to it.  It really is that easy.   This also implies that you will be cooking at home which saves you a fortune.  When you plan your meals, try using a few of the same ingredients in your meals or plan meals that reheat well to take for lunch the next day.  At the end of a few days take all the remaining veggies in your crisper and make a stir fry or a soup so they don’t go to waste.

Don’t give into the latest fad Super Food.  I love Dr. Oz, but have you ever ran out to purchase the latest trendy super food that will “cure you” only to have it sit on your shelf or in your fridge and expire?   Don't get me wrong, some of them are amazing, but they can also be expensive, not great for those times when we need to tighten the purse strings.  There are plenty of foods that are super that will keep you and your family healthy without breaking the budget.  My favorite (usable) super foods that won’t break your bank, all under $1 per serving:

  • Organic Quinoa $9.77/4lbs ($0.25 per serving)
  • Eggs, Free Range  $3.50/12  ($0.29 per serving)
  • Organic Beans  $1.24/can ($0.35 per serving)
  • Organic Greens - Collard, Mustard, Kale  $3.99/lb ($1 per serving)
  • Organic Spinach  $2.49/lb ($0.41 per serving)
  • Organic Red Bell Pepper  $1.99/lb  ($0.60 per serving)
  • Sweet Potatoes  $1.30/pound ($0.65 per serving)
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Meatless Mondays, Wednesday’s and Fridays?  I’m not exactly sure why people are afraid of leaving meat off the plate but once you give it a try, it’s easier and tastier than you think.  Let’s face it, meat is expensive, or can be.  If your worried about not getting enough protein, add in kidney beans that have about 13g of protein per cup, both lentils and quinoa pack in 18g of protein and low carb tortillas have 30g!  Don’t tell your family, they won’t notice!  For ideas on meatless meals, check out my vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Finally, be sure to get the most bang for your buck when you go organic.  Everyone should know the dirty dozen foods to always buy organic because of the high levels of pesticide exposure.  The clean 15 are fruits and vegetables that are the lowest in pesticide contamination which means you don't have to purchase organic and can save you a little money at the register.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!

April Madden
 
 
Step away from the vending machine and have a snack that will give you energy and help you shed a few pounds.  So why do most of us reach for an unhealthy snack?  Because we’re not prepared.  Somehow, we ‘re surprised when 2 or 3pm rolls around and we’re hungry.  If it happens most days, than maybe it’s a sign to bring a snack to work or have them ready in the fridge so you don’t reach for something you’ll regret later.

These are my personal favorites that are delicious and are filling.  Don’t miss my bonus tips for added weight loss below.
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1.  Hummus Deviled Eggs – This is my new (seasonal) favorite and will fill you up!  Eggs are full of selenium, B12, folate and of course protein (recommended for chemotherapy and renal patients).  Hummus is high in fiber and protein, and full of healthy fats to lower cholesterol and help manage blood sugar for diabetics.  Take 2 peeled hardboiled eggs, which most of us will have laying around, cut in them half and ditch the yolk.  Put ½ Tbsp Hummus in each egg white half.  Total calories: 102 – for 4 halves!  Click here for Hummus Recipe!

2.  Shrimp Mocktail – Yep.  They are a great source of antioxidants!  Packed with selenium, which is known to reduce risk of some cancers, iodine which is great for Thyroid function and astaxanthin which protects skin from anti-aging.  Dip in Salsa, (1Tbsp) Pesto or Sriracha.   (Note: Pesto can have up to 80 calories for 1Tbsp, luckily you don’t need much)  If you want traditional shrimp cocktail, buy a sugar free cocktail sauce.  Don’t go for the regular cocktail sauce, it’s loaded with sugar.   Total calories for 10 medium sized shrimp, 60 Calories.  Throw in some celery and carrots to round out your snack.
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3.  Apples and All Natural Peanut Butter – A classic for a reason.  An apple has 4 grams of fiber, almost ¼ of the fiber you need for an entire day.  Not to mention the immune boosting vitamin C and high in potassium which helps lower your blood pressure.   A study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that piceatannol a compound found in peanuts, has the ability to block fat formation in the body.  Not to mention it is packed with protein and healthy fats.  No, more isn’t better. Limit yourself to 1 Tbsp a day.  Total calories:  195

4.  Chewy Dark Chocolate Clusters – I had to throw in a sweet snack.   Mix together 70% dark chocolate or cocao nibs, rolled oats, almond butter and dried fruit and you have yourself a sweet snack that will kill your sugar craving and keep you going until your next meal.  Oats help you control your blood sugar and better yet, will keep you full.  Nuts and nut butters are high in protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.  Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and is good for your heart, brain and soul. Click here for full recipe.
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5.  Soup! –You will hear me rave about soup.  Once a hater, I have come to love and crave a good bowl of soup.  First benefit, its cheap.  Keep it broth based and loaded with veggies, and you’ll get a ton of nutrients from the vegetables.  Feel free to throw in lean cuts of meats. Make a huge pot on Sunday and you’ll have it for lunches or snacks all week then freeze what you don’t use.  Worse case, grab a can of soup.  Just make sure that the sodium is less than 450-500mg per serving.  Get soup recipe now!

BONUS tips:

  • We often confuse thirst and hunger.  When you are starting to get hungry and/or tired in the afternoon, drink 16 oz of water and wait 5 minutes.  Then gauge your hunger.  You may still need a snack, but maybe half the size.
  • Take 15-20 minutes to eat your snack.  It’s slightly awkward at first, but doing this with any meal, including a snack will let your body properly gauge it’s hunger.
  • Plan ahead.  You’ll hear me say it over and over because it’s true.  I’ve been so busy that I forget to eat and suddenly my body is starving, I’m crabby (to say the least).  I try to keep a bag of nuts and goji berries in my purse and car just in case.
Best Wishes!
April Madden


 
 
Soda is making headlines and causing controversy with the continuous studies announcing links to major health issues and debates of how or whether government should get involve or regulate soda consumption.
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Last week Sarah Palin made headlines for taking a shot at Bloomberg’s ban on large sodas at CPAC. The *NY Post quoted her as saying “Oh, Bloomberg’s not around, our Big Gulp’s safe. Shoot, it’s just pop, with low-cal ice cubes in it. I hope that’s OK.” (Side note, thank you Sarah, for giving Tina Fey more material.) On The Dr. Oz show today, Dr. Oz will sit down with Mayor Bloomberg and talk about the controversy and the dangers of drinking soda.

For me, the soda war has nothing to do with politics, I had my own battle with soda.  For about 20 years, I had an obscene addiction to Diet Coke. I couldn’t start my morning without sipping on a Diet Coke over ice, or eat lunch without a diet coke, or drive in a car without one.  I would drive 20 miles to get a fountain soda; it was my crack. Sounds familiar? Even if you are not at that extreme, many people can relate to loving a soda, though we all know it’s bad for us.
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So, how bad is it?  The latest studies show that soda has also been linked to kidney damage, diabetes, accelerated tooth decay, and certain cancers. Regular soda can elevate blood pressure. Diet soda increases stroke risk and causes metabolic syndrome (combined symptoms that lead to diabetes and heart disease).  According to *Kick The Can, a CA health advocacy project, even one can per day increases your *risk of stoke by 16% and increases your likelihood of being overweight by 27 %. For each additional soda a kid drinks, his or her risk of obesity goes up by 60%.

Some sodas and sports drinks (Gatorade and Mountain Dew) contain flame retarding chemicals to keep the artificial flavoring from separating from the rest of the liquid. BVO, Brominated Vegetable Oil, which in high doses can cause memory loss and nerve disorders.

Are you ready to quit yet?  If you want to win your battle with soda, try using these steps to break the habit.
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  1. Start taking SAM-e a few days before you get started. SAM-e is a natural supplement with dozens of benefits but in this case it will boost your mood and help with the cravings.
  2. For one week. Reduce your soda intake to 1 can or 12 oz. per day. Choose when you will drink it and finish it within 20-30 minutes. No spreading it out throughout the day.
  3. Find a replacement drink and add it in before you quit. Water, unsweetened tea, iced coffee or fruit infused seltzer water. Don’t trade crap for crap and reach for junky energy waters, juices or other fake drinks that claim to be natural or good for you.

  • Think about why and when you want your soda. Similar to people that are addicted to nicotine or food, we all have our triggers. I had a hard time driving, I felt like I was missing something. I kept bottles of water in my car and brought tea with me.
  1. After 7 days of 12 oz per day, GO COLD TURKEY. At least for the next 3 months, it has to be zero. Use your replacement drinks instead.
  2. Throw away all your soda.
  3. Change your routine. If you used to grab a diet coke on your way to work, drive a different route. If you always have a soda with your burger, have a salad; a healthier choice will help you make other healthy choices.
  4. Celebrate!

A few additional tips:
  • Tell everyone, it will help keep you accountable
  • Grab a buddy, it’s great support
  • Calculate how much money you will save by quitting.
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It’s been six months since I quit Diet Coke and I can honestly say, I don’t miss it at all anymore. I wish you the best of luck.

For more information on Kick The Can and how you can help with cause, go to www.kickthecan.info

Resources & References:

*NY Post, Palin lampoons Bloomberg's large-soda ban at CPAC, by Michael Gartland, March 17, 2013

*Kick the Can, www.kickthecaninfo.com

 
 
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Welcome!I couldn't think of a better day to start my blog than the first day of Spring!  A time for renewal, rejuvenation, resurrection and growth.  

We’ve all heard about Cleanses and Detox Diets.  They are designed to flush your body of toxins, improve your immune system, aid in digestion, increase energy, and even make you lose a few pounds.  Even I offer these programs in my Health Coaching practice.  But these programs aren’t right for everyone and you don’t need to go to extremes to reap the health benefits.

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A full body cleanse can be stressful on the body, mind and spirit when you’re eliminating toxins from your organs.  People commonly have diarrhea, skin breakouts, headaches, extreme fatigue and moodiness.  Sound like fun yet?  A full body detox is typically best for someone who already leads a healthy life-style; free of alcohol, nicotine and processed foods.  If you want to go “all-in” your first go, please consult with me or another nutritionist, naturopath or physician to find the best plan for you

So what can you do to detox your body without putting your body through Armageddon?  Here are 10 tips to give your body a boost and you’ll see results in 7 days!

1. Fresh squeezed please!  Start your day with 16oz of water with 1 fresh squeezed lemon on an empty stomach.  Wait 20 minutes before eating breakfast. Drink it throughout the day for a added boost to your detox as long as it doesn't irritate your tummy too much.

2. Hydrate!  We’ve all heard it, 8-8oz glasses a day.  Why?  Your liver takes fat-soluble toxins and turns them water-soluble so your kidneys can get rid of them through sweat, urine or poop. (Yes I said poop!)  Without enough water, your body holds onto these toxins.  You don’t want that.
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3. Eat your fruits and veggies; 5 servings minimum per day, shoot for 9!  Refer to my sample menu for ideas on how to get there.

4. Eliminate caffeine, soda and alcohol!  Whining usually starts here.  If you usually drink several cups of coffee a day, just try reducing to 1 cup then switch to herbal teas.  Swap natural, unsweetened iced teas for soda and decaf green tea at night in place of my (I mean Your) big glass of wine.

5. Avoid ALL processed, packaged, pre-prepared foods.  Yes, even if on the box they say “natural”, “organic” or “multigrain”.  These are their genius marketing terms to make you feel like you’re eating real food. (You’re not.)

6. Absolutely no white!  No (refined) white flour, no white sugar, no cocaine.  Kidding, but not?!  Replace white flour with whole wheat or better yet, brown rice flour or quinoa flour.  Replace white sugar with coconut sugar, (100% pure) maple syrup or agave nectar.

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7. Reduce Wheat.  Replace with brown rice, black rice, quinoa, ancient grain breads and buckwheat noodles.  They are becoming easier to find; even Costco now carries ancient grain noodles, black rice and quinoa.

8. Limit (or avoid) Meat and Dairy.  Swap in beans, fish, eggs or tofu.  Dairy is tough to swap; many products are awful so try to cut it cold turkey.

9. Walk don’t’ run!  It’s actually best to keep your activity low the first few days on a detox or when drastically changing your eating habits.  That doesn’t mean sit on the sofa all day; take 1-2 brisk walks and stretch for 15 minutes.  After 3 days it’s back to 30 minutes a day of breaking a sweat!

10. Count backwards!  That is, from the time you have to wake up.  Lights out 8 ½ hours before you need to be awake.  This will allow you 30 minutes to fall asleep or an extra ½ hour of sleep, which we all could use!

**Bonus tip!  Milk Thistle supplements are great for additional liver support for times when you’ve possibly been over indulging on too much rich food or alcohol.

I recommend following this program for at least 7 days, but this plan is sustainable for a lifetime of optimum health.  The longer you stick with this, as closely as you can, the better you will feel.  Can’t master them all for 7 days straight?  It’s OK.  If you only did 5 steps this time, you’re still getting health benefits.  Aim for 7 next time and focus on progress!
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Breakfast: 3 egg white omelet with spinach,  mushrooms & red pepper. (I also smother mine with Cholula, yum!)

Lunch: Vegetable soup and a big salad packed with veggies

Snack: Apple & raw nuts
Carrots (or red pepper strips) & Hummus
Juice or Smoothie

Dinner: Vegetable & kidney bean stir fry over brown rice (click here for recipe)

Are you ready for a full body cleanse?  Email me now at april@destinationwellness.com to get started!
 

Destination Wellness offers private health coaching, group weight loss programs and tools, health products like diet and nutrition books, supplements and more.