Choose a Healthy You

Choose a Healthy You2021-12-15T13:41:05-05:00

Our mission is to promote, provoke, educate, inspire and empower our team members into all things wellness through health, fitness, nutrition, spirituality and mind.

Sample Team Challenge Post

Ready. Set. Go!

Do you want your company to walk to the moon and back? Or circumnavigate Africa? With StepSense, the goal is yours to set. Dream big, because the only limits are the ones that you set.

Your employees download StepSense from the App or Play Store, enter your unique challenge code and register for your company challenge. All their steps, flights climbed and calories burned are aggregated and displayed on the leaderboard.

Participate individually, as a team, business unit or per country with real-time leaderboards to keep everyone informed and motivated.

In a nutshell

The ultimate step challenge for you, your team or organisation. Equip your employees with the knowledge, tools and support they need to build new healthy habits.

Employee wellbeing

We support your corporate health and wellness initiatives and objectives. Helping to change culture and assisting ongoing wellbeing of your employees.

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding (Keto Friendly)

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp chia seeds

½ cup milk (almond or coconut)

1 tbsp heavy cream

1 tbsp Keto approved sweetener (erythritol or monk fruit)

1/2 tsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp peanut butter

DIRECTIONS:

Combine everything in an airtight container. Shake well to mix and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to thicken. Lasts for 4 days in the fridge.

Nutrition per serving:

132 Calories

2g Net Carbs

12g Fiber

14g Total Carbs

4g Protein

8g Fat

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Keto Friendly)

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli or 8 oz frozen broccoli

3 cups water

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the broccoli in 3 cups salted water until tender.
  2. Add the broccoli into food processor or blender and slowly add 2 cups of the cooking water back in. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture back into your pot on low heat. Add in the cheese & cream. Mix till all the cheese is melted.
  4. Serve in a mug with a little cheese on top and fresh pepper. This recipe makes 3 servings

Nutrition Info (Per serving)

  • Calories: 151
  • Net Carbs: 5g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Fiber: 2g

Almond Chicken Stir Fry – Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner

Berry-Pine Nut Chicken Salad – Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner

Meal Preparation

Meal Planning 101: A Nutrition Student Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks via lizshealthytable.com

What is Meal Planning?

For me, meal planning involves selecting meals to cook and eat in advance of the day that I need them and actively deciding to be prepared with healthful meals. It is a strategy we can all use to feed ourselves more nutrient-dense foods more often. As a naturally organized person I thrive on lists, calendars, and sticky notes, so, I thought, how hard could this be?

Meal Planning 101: A Nutrition Student Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks via lizshealthytable.com

I’m not going to lie … it was challenging to get started, but I’m still at it almost ten years later. These days, I meal plan for both myself and my fiancé. And since I’m back in school pursuing m master’s in nutrition at Boston University, meal planning often saves the day, especially on busy school weeks.

Benefits of Meal Planning:

  • Meal planning saves time. By investing a few hours each Sunday, it gives me back those precious hours during the week.It also saves me money.
  • Healthy eating has an expensive reputation, but cooking at home certainly costs less than eating out all the time!
  • My fiancé is passionate about sustainability, so one benefit I appreciate more these days than I did when I first started my meal planning journey is how much less food waste we generate simply by planning our meals. I make a list before my grocery run so that I’m only buying items we need. The result: fewer items end up in the garbage.

How I Meal Plan:

I block a period on my calendar each week, usually Friday afternoons, to take a look at what’s left in my fridge and to select the next week’s recipes.

Meal Planning 101: A Nutrition Student Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks via lizshealthytable.com

This first step ensures I’m using everything I buy – good for the planet and the wallet! I review my schedule for the week ahead and pick my shop/prep day (usually Sundays), and then I lay it all out in an excel spreadsheet. If excel isn’t exactly your jam, there are so many other ways to get organized, including meal planning apps, online and printed calendars, and Liz even has printables available including her 7-day meal planner and aisle-by-aisle supermarket shopping.

My strategy tends to be ingredient based; I select the carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and veggies that I want to eat. I also choose one big batch recipe.

A sample week might look like this:

Meal Planning 101: A Nutrition Student Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks via lizshealthytable.com

As you can see on the spreadsheet above, my “big batch” item this week is turkey chili. (I scheduled it for dinner Tuesday, because I have my Medical Nutrition Therapy class that night, which runs from 5:30-8:15pm.) I know that once class ends, I’ll be too hungry and won’t want to do any serious cooking, so this way I’m not tempted to order out. On the spreadsheet, I also made note of a Thursday virtual cooking class that I’m attending and left Friday night open for whatever we feel like eating because … well, it’s Friday!

Once the schedule is filled out, I make my grocery list so I’m ready for shopping and prepping on Sunday.

Are you a meal planner? What’s your best strategy? What do you see as the benefits?

In my next post, I’ll walk you through what meal prepping looks like in my house (AKA my apartment) and toss in a few storage, chopping, and pantry tips for good measure!

Meal Planning 101: A Nutrition Student Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks via lizshealthytable.com

Sample Meditation & Breathing Post

Meditation: Introduction

Many studies have shown the positive impact that meditating has on our health and well-being. Meditation is often advertised as a habit of happy people and is used as a means of coping with stress and anxiety. Meditation is a quiet time you should dedicate to yourself every day. Use deep inhales and exhales to refocus your attention on being in the moment. Stay tuned for tips & techniques as we explore meditation together.

Sample Meditation & Breathing Post

Simply observing the breath can damp down stress and open a door to a more healthy and mindful lifestyle.

Psychological stress has a devastating effect on health. Research shows that people with heart disease do worse over time if they don’t control stress, and stress seems to be associated with a higher risk for cancer. Stress is strongly associated with poorer memory and more aches and pains. However, reducing stress helps you sleep more restfully and control high blood pressure.

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to simply focus your attention on your breath. It’s a form of “entry level” meditation that anyone can do. You’ll notice an immediate sense of relaxation that could help protect your health over time.

If you enjoy it, breath meditation can be a gateway to a broader practice of “mindfulness,” in which you learn to accept and appreciate what comes in life and stop fighting your own thoughts and feelings. “Many people take up mindfulness practices thinking they’d like to relax more, but where it leads is a very different approach to life and its inevitable challenges,” says Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

October 7, 2022

Cooler temperatures and shorter days, means it is time for some homemade soup!  There is nothing quite like a hearty soup simmering on the stove especially if it is loaded with seasonal and local produce.  Foods such as squash, apples, carrots, and potatoes are all in season and make some amazing soups.  Enough said.  Check out these delicious recipes:

Carrot Apple Soup:

A simple recipe that the family can help with and it takes less than an hour to make.  Fall perfection!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/carrot-apple-soup/12298/?itid=lk_inline_manual_6

Miso-Maple Acorn Squash Soup:

Coconut milk and acorn squash gives this soup a decadent creamy texture and the maple and miso add a sweet and salty taste. It only needs six ingredients and less than an hour to prepare. https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/10/28/miso-maple-acorn-squash-soup/

Creamy Tomato Pumpkin Soup:

You do not often see tomato and pumpkin in the same bowl but this soup is a treat.  Add some coconut milk, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and you will be in heaven.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/10/07/creamy-tomato-pumpkin-soup-recipe/

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup:

Step aside apples, the pears are taking over.  This soup takes a little longer to prepare (about 90 minutes) but this orange-gold soup will be well worth the effort.  Keep a little bit of plain yogurt in the kitchen to add a swirl of richness to the top.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2020/11/27/squash-soup-recipe/

Pureed Beet Soup with Tahini and Herbed Pistachios:

The vibrant colour of fluorescent pink appears when you blend the tahini with the deep red of the beets.  A rich but light soup that takes about 90 minutes to make. Adding some toasted pistachios on top this vegan soup will sure to please.  A crowd stopper indeed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2020/02/18/pureed-beet-soup-with-tahini/

Roasted Carrot and Cashew Soup:

Roasted cashews, spices, and carrots make this soup an easy addition to your meals.  Using a blender or Vitamix makes this a quick vegan meal.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2019/11/03/cashews-make-this-vegan-carrot-soup-creamy-spices-make-it-wonderful/

Carrot Soup with Roasted Spices and Pecans:

Carrots, pecans, cumin, and red pepper flakes make this a favourite soup even among those who are sceptical about carrots in liquid form!  It only takes about 30 minutes and the pepper flakes will add a nice bite to this creamy soup.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2019/02/26/well-put-this-bright-tasting-carrot-soup-against-the-best-youve-had-any-day/

October 5, 2022

Fall is the perfect time for tea. Not only does it warm you up and it is the perfect pairing to a good book, it is also very healthy for you.  In fact, drinking tea on a regular basis will have a lasting impact on your overall wellness. Numerous studies have found that teas may boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and help fight against cancer and heart disease.  Here are some varieties of tea and their benefits.

White Tea:  White tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant that is native to China and India.  It is the least processed tea variety and therefore is the most effective tea in fighting forms of cancer thanks to its high levels of antioxidants.  White tea contains high levels of fluoride, catechins, and tannins that can strengthen teeth, fight plaque and make them more resistant to acid and sugar.

Herbal Tea:  Herbal Teas are similar to white teas but they also contain various herbs, spices, fruits, or other plants. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine, which is why they are a calming tea.  Some of the most popular herbal teas and their benefits are:

Chamomile:

Helps to reduce menstrual pain and muscle spasms. Improves sleep and relaxation as well as reduces stress.

Rooibos:

Improves blood pressure and circulation.  Boosts good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol.  Keeps hair strong, skin healthy, and can provide relief from allergies.

Peppermint:

Peppermint tea can help soothe an upset stomach and help cure constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and motion sickness.  It can also provide relief from tension headaches and migraines.

Ginger:

Helps to fight against morning sickness, treat chronic indigestion, and relieve joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Hibiscus:

Lowers blood pressure and fat levels, improves liver health, can help reduce sweet cravings, and may prevent kidney stones.

Green Tea:

You process Green tea in two ways.  In China, you process leaves with heat using a pan-frying or roasting method, whereas in Japan leaves are steamed.  Green tea is exceptionally high in flavonoids that can boost heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and reducing blood clots.  Research has found that green tea can help lower blood pressure, triglycerides and total cholesterol.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help keep your skin clear and glowing and can affect liver, breasts, prostate, and colorectal cancers.  Matcha is a form of green tea that has gained popularity recently.  A very fine, high quality green tea powder made from the entire leaf.  It is the only tea in which the leaves are ingested (as opposed to drinking steeped water from the leaves) resulting in the consumption of more antioxidants than regular green tea.

Black Tea:

You make Black tea from the same plant leaves as green tea but the leaves are dried and fermented. Black tea is caffeinated.  Black tea possesses flavonoids that help fight inflammation and help boost your immune system.  Black tea can also help in first aid.  You can steam, cool, and then press it on cuts, scrapes, and bruises to help relieve pain and reduce swelling.  A black tea bath can also ease inflammation caused by skin rashes and conditions such as poison ivy.

Oolong Tea:

Oolong is also made from the same plant as green and black teas but is processed differently – Green tea has minimal oxidization, black tea has a lot of oxidization which causes it to turn black, Oolong tea is somewhere in the middle so it is partially oxidized.  Oolong tea can help prevent cognitive diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  It is also high in polyphenols, which can lower inflammation and help prevent the growth of cancers and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Avoid the following teas.

Detox teas:

Often laced with laxatives that can be harmful to your health.

Fancy tea lattes and drinks:

Although they are a tea and sound healthy, they tend to be loaded with sugars.

Trendy bubble teas:

Bubble teas tend to be loaded with sugar, calories, and carbs with no nutritional values.

Herbal teas that may trigger allergies:

Given the variety of herbal teas, it is important to read the ingredients to ensure you are not allergic to one of the ingredients.

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/december/health-benefits-of-tea

September 30, 2022

Ladies, this one is for you.  Aging is not fun. As you hit 40, things change.  The most noticeable, is an increase in weight.  You might not have changed the way you eat, or the foods you eat, and you may be just as active as you were in your 20s and 30s but suddenly you are gaining weight.  There is a reason for this.  As women age, their metabolism begins to decrease.  This means that if you do not change things you will likely gain weight.

This change becomes more dramatic during perimenopause, which takes place usually in your mid 40s.  As your estrogen level decreases with perimenopause, you will start to lose muscle mass.  Muscle has a much higher metabolism rate than fat. As menopause begins, weight gain will most likely happen in the belly.  Unfortunately, hormonal replacement treatment will not prevent the weight gain. It might decrease the amount of belly fat but that fat will just find another place to settle.  Hormonal replacement treatment may also have other risks so it is really not the best option for many women.

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to help offset this weight gain.

See your doctor and get a physical:

Check for conditions that are linked to high cholesterol, heart disease as well as diabetes and thyroid issues.

Cardio and strength training:

Everyone should be doing at least 30 minutes of activity a day be it walking, running, Zumba, or a spin class.  Cardio exercise will help your heart, mood, sex drive, and prevent osteoporosis but chances are you will still lose muscle mass. Adding weight training is key to maintaining/building muscle and improve metabolism.  You have various options including High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that combines cardio with strength as well as more traditional weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, or other body weight strength exercises that can be done virtually, in a gym, group class, or via Youtube.

Check your eating habits:

Exercise will improve your metabolism and help maintain your weight but you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. Look at cutting back alcohol and foods with added sugar. Save the wine and desert for special occasions. Next increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day aiming for 5 – 7 servings.  Also, look to limit fried and processed foods as well as red meat.

Accept the situation and be patient:

There are no quick fixes to the effects of perimenopause and menopause.  Understanding the changes your body is going through and adapt your activity level and diet accordingly to maintain your health is key.  That will require an acceptance of the situation, patience as you sort out what is right for you, and you implement your plan.

https://blogs.webmd.com/womens-health/20210129/gaining-weight-in-your-40s-tips-from-a-gyn?ecd=wnl_day_091722&ctr=wnl-day-091722_lead_title&mb=3VBgGEzGk6LlXcijbBMfcw7W9SlMHoOnclThwUjrBDA%3d

September 28, 2022

The sparkling water industry is seeing a boom in sales with the popularity of products such as SodaStream, Bubly, Perrier, and La Croix.  With the health push to cut back on sugary soda and alcohol to drink more water, many wonder if these sparkling drink choices are as good as plain still water.  There are claims that carbonated water makes you feel full longer, while others claim it helps with constipation. Do these claims hold true?  Let us look.

You make sparkling water by dissolving carbon in water using high-pressure gas and low temperatures.  This process creates carbonic acid, which makes the bubbles (effervescence).  However, there are places where sparking waters occur naturally such as Soda Spring, Idaho.  In Soda Spring, a geyser in the middle of town sprays sparking water thanks to an underground pocket of CO2 gas.

Is it good for you?  Sparking water, mineral water, or seltzer, is water.  As long as there is not any sugar or sweetener in the water, it will hydrate you the same a still water.  As for the claim of helping with constipation, a 2011 study found that it helped ease constipation in stroke survivors who were unable to get out of bed.  On the down side, sparking water can make you feel bloated which can lead to belching, gas, and stomach pain.  Sparkling water is slightly more acidic than flat water and depending on the brand; there could be minerals in the water that could be harmful to teeth.  The problem from your teeth perspective comes from sparkling water that has added sugar and acid (citrus flavoured water) which will both damage teeth.

If you do not like drinking still water, sparkling water may be a good alternative just try to avoid the products with sugar and acids.

https://www.healthing.ca/wellness/food/is-carbonated-water-good-for-you

September 23, 2022

When we, as a society, talk about being fit, we have a distinct image about what that means.  Abs of steel, thin, the ability to undertake impressive athletic activities, and working out everyday are some of the traits many believe are required to being fit. Yet this is not an accurate depiction of being fit.  Fit can look and be different for different people.

For many doctors being fit means having the cardiovascular efficiency, endurance, capacity, flexibility, strength, and ease of movement to do the activities needed for daily activities and to enjoy life.  None of these aspects can be evaluated just by looking at the person.  Many thin people struggle with various aspects of these requirements while some people with larger bodies are very strong and capable of undertaking all sorts of activities and athletic endeavours.  If you are able to do the activities you need to do and enjoy doing to live a full life then chances are you are fit for your needs.

Being fit is also a balancing act.  Overdoing it can be just as harmful as not doing enough. Fitness includes rest, proper sleep, as well as good mental health.  Overdoing high-intensity workouts without rest can increase stress, which will lead to fatigue, poor sleep, burnout, and anxiety.

Here are some tips to help you get fit in the way that is right for you.

Pick exercises that address your specific needs:

Ask yourself what you need to live life the way you want and improve quality of life.  Your exercises should support that goal.  As you age, it might be more flexibility and mobility work.  If it is playing and lifting your children or grandchildren then some strength training might be in order.   If you are unsure how to proceed, talk to a certified personal trainer and/or your doctor.

Exercise to feel good and do not obsess about it:

As you increase your level of exercise, listen to your body.  If you feel like you need to rest then rest.  If you feel as though you have to exercise at the expense of family time or rest, it might be time to back off a bit.

Set realistic goals that include rest:

Find an exercise routine that fits with your life and that you are able to complete consistently without overexerting yourself. Make sure rest days are working into your goals.

Focus on how you feel and being able to do the activities you want to do:

This is what will lead to the right fitness level for you.

https://www.wellandgood.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-fit/

September 21, 2022

Days are shorter, kids are back in school, and days seem busier.  Fall is here.  To help prepare for the shorter and cooler days ahead here are some tips to keep you healthy both physically and mentally.

Vitamin D:

As we lose daylight our exposure to Vitamin D decreases.  Help offset this by taking Vitamin D supplements, which can help boot your mood and immune system.

Slow down and take time for yourself:

Start a journal or read a good book:

The fall is a good time to slow down and spend some “me” time.

Get your flu shot and get a health check up:

Boost your immune system:

Drink plenty of water, wash your hands often and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

Make Plans for the cold months:

Many people tend to stay indoors during the colder months.  Research now and plan some outings to get you active.

Moisturize your skin:

The cold can be harsh on your skin, start moisturizing before your skin gets too dry.

Enjoy in-season food:

Enjoy fall foods such as beets, cabbage, eggplant, kale, pumpkin, squash, and dark leafy greens.

Wear layers as the temperature drops:

This time of year, the temperatures can fluctuate. Wearing layers gives you the flexibility to adjust as needed.

Do some fall cleaning:

Remove clutter and things you do not need.  Doing a deep clean will provide better air quality when it comes time to close down the windows.

Prepare for the snow:

Now is a good time to make sure you have the shovels needed for snow and batteries in your flashlight in case the power goes out.  Best to get your furnace check over as well.

Get some good books to read and some family games:

https://www.activeminds.org/blog/15-autumn-wellness-tips-to-keep-you-healthy-this-fall/

Rich Roll with David Sinclair – Extending Life

Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron – Training for Longevity

Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron – Nutrition

Joe Rogan Experience #1735 – Peter Attia – Longevity

Joe Rogan Experience #1109 – Dr Matthew Walker – Sleep

Sample Mental Health Post

SAMPLE

Stretching

Stretching improves flexibility
If you want a flexible body, then stretching is the way to go. It will enhance your bodies all round
improvement and it is always recommended that some stretching exercises be included in any workout
regime.

Stretching improves circulation
Stretching exercises improve the flow of blood around your body. Improving your circulation means that
more blood and oxygen are reaching your muscles and your brain. This can help avoid injuries in a
workout and it’s also why it feels so good when we stretch first thing in the morning.

If you feel pain then you’ve gone too far
When you stretch, you should feel the strain, but not feel pain. Some soreness after stretching is normal
but, if you are feeling any real pain, then you are stretching too hard.

Stretching before a workout will not stop muscle soreness
Stretching before you exercise will help to warm you up, make you more flexible and improve your
balance, but it won’t actually stop your muscles from feeling sore after a workout. Studies have shown
that no amount stretching reduces muscle soreness, that’s just something that we have to live with!

Keep stretching balanced
When you stretch, remember to stretch both sides of your body, to keep things balanced. If you stretch
your left arm, then stretch your right arm as well, and so on. Also, remember to stretch the muscles that
will be used in a workout. For example, if you are preparing for a run, then do a few squats or lunges.

Too much stretching can decrease your performance
The best type of stretching to do before a workout is called dynamic stretching. These are stretches that
include movement in them, like squats, lunges and burpees. Too much static stretching has been shown
to actually decrease physical performance.

You need to warm up before you stretch
Some people think that stretching is a way of warming up, but this is completely wrong. Stretching cold
muscles can cause tears in the muscles. You should have a gentle warm up, before you do any stretching
exercises at all.

Add stretching to your everyday routine
Stretching is not only useful in the gym, it can be useful to stretch through the day. Many people spend a
lot of time sitting down during the day, and standing up to do a few stretches every hour or so, will help
keep your blood circulating properly and loosen up the muscles.

Winter Activities

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