Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 9 Worst “Healthy” Cooking Mistakes You Can Make

So, you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle and trying to clean up your act in the kitchen a little bit. Are you just a bit confused as far as all of the information that is floating around on the Internet about healthy cooking and not-so-healthy cooking?
If you are, that is ok, you are not alone. It is a lot to take in, especially if you are at the conception stages of your health journey. To help you get it right in the kitchen, we have compiled a list of the top ‘healthy’ cooking mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will help you steer clear of the many pitfalls that await you on your journey towards ultimate health.

Mistake #1: Cooking with Olive Oil
Yes, it is healthy; 55 percent to 80 percent of the fat in olive oil is oleic acid – an omega-9 fatty acid that lowers bad LDL cholesterol, boosts good HDLs, puts blood sugar on an even keel and helps protect against some cancers. And it’s also rich in the plant chemicals that have the power to turn on beneficial genes.
We love oilve oil and including it in your diet is a great idea, however, it is not so great to cook with. When it is exposed to high temperatures – around 375 degrees or so – it starts to break down the fatty acids and the glycerols that make it so incredibly healthy.
Drizzle with olive oil instead. Putting it on fresh veggies, salads and other dishes adds both flavor and texture. For high -heat cooking use organic extra virgin coconut oil.  It contains medium chain fatty acids that are resistant to high heat and can easily turn into ketone bodies in the liver. The ketone bodies provide energy for the brain and can be used to improve a wide variety of health issues.

Mistake #2: Peeling Fruits and Vegetables
Do you feel compelled to peel all of your fruits and veggies before you eat them? Many times, when we pull away the peel, we are discarding the most nutritious part. Peels contain not only minerals and vitamins but also beneficial fiber.
To know which peels you should remove and which you should leave on – try to pierce the skin with your nail or a sharp knife. If the skin is easily pierced – go ahead and leave it on. Foods such as carrots, potatoes, peaches, eggplant and kiwis are all great to eat with the peel intact. Just be sure you are purchasing organic fruits and veggies and give them a good wash before eating.

Mistake #3: Placing Meat From the Fridge Immediately into the Oven or Grill
Moving fresh meat from your refrigerator directly to a heat source will result in uneven cooking. Uneven cooking gives more opportunity for bacteria to thrive. If possible, take your meat out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before cooking. Unless you leave the meat out for an extended period you don’t need to worry about it spoiling.

Mistake #4: Boiling Vegetables
Vegetables contain a number of beneficial water soluble nutrients. When they are boiled in water, these nutrients are drawn out into the water – which many people just throw down the drain.
While boiling vegetables is an easy way to cook them, it often results in overcooked, nutrient diminished food. A better option is to steam, roast, stir fry or grill your veggies. If you have to boil, be sure to keep the water and use it as part of a sauce for your veggies or a base for soup. Just don’t throw it out!

Mistake #5: Not Using Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Have you been under the impression that frozen is second rate? Of course frozen foods loaded with processed ingredients and sugar should be avoided at all costs. However, frozen fruits and veggies are often picked at their prime, when they are the most loaded with nutrients, and preserved.
Vitamins and minerals in frozen fruits and veggies are high and are readily available. Best to choose frozen over a distant import because these are often picked prior to their prime ripeness and transported thousands of miles. Just as Dr. Josh Levitt, The Alternative Daily’s Health Expert explains in this video – frozen is nothing to be afraid of.

Mistake #6: Avoiding Salt
Salt is a mineral that is comprised of cube-shaped crystals of two elements sodium and chloride. In its natural state, salt contains these two elements as well other naturally occurring minerals. On the other hand, processed salt, or table salt, has very little in common with the original crystal salt.
Real and unrefined salt such as AztecSeaSalt™, that is 100% all natural, handmade and organically harvested from the Cuyutl√°n Lagoon, is not only good for you but essential to your health. Completely unprocessed, this salt balances blood sugar, improves immune system function, keeps bones strong and regulates metabolism as well as being critical to cell health.
It is the table salt that is found in processed and fast foods that is contributing to huge numbers of salt-related deaths. Loaded with sodium, stripped of essential nutrients, bleached and full of toxic additives, table (refined) salt should be avoided. If you are using a 100% unrefined salt – go ahead and salt away both during cooking and after, don’t be scared!

Mistake #7: Not Using Saturated Fat
Saturated fats are commonly known as ‘solid fats,’ due to the fact that they are solid at room temperature. They are found primarily in animal-related foods, such as meats and dairy products, along with some tropical oils, including coconut, palm and cocoa butter. While saturated fats have been demonized by the media for decades, new research is shedding light on the importance of these lipids to a healthy diet, and even to weight loss.
In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss explains the healthy properties of saturated fats, including reduced obesity levels and belly fat, as well as a LOWERED risk of heart disease.
Studies show that saturated fat raises ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, which in turn promotes weight loss and a healthier heart. Tim Ferriss points to an excess of grains, processed foods and refined carbohydrates as the culprits in weight-gain, rather than saturated fats, which have borne the brunt of popular scorn for this issue for generations.
One of the healthiest moves you can make is to get rid of all hydrogenated and trans fats in your kitchen and replace them with real, natural fat. Try cooking with organic virgin coconut oil and don’t be afraid to put a pat of grass fed butter on your steamed veggies.

Mistake #8: Making Unwise Substitutions
Making unwise substitutions can turn a great recipe into a disaster. Although you may know that coconut or almond flour is better than regular white flour and stevia better than processed sugar, making straight substitutions does not always work. For instance, too much coconut flour can make baked goods cakey and very dry turning something that is good, bad.
Be sure that you know how the substitution is going to behave with the rest of the ingredients in your recipe. If you are new to these healthy ingredients, it is always best to stick to recipes that call for them directly until you are comfortable using them as substitutes in other recipes.

Mistake #9: You Don’t Taste as You Cook
Don’t worry, if you are cooking a healthy meal, a little tasting along the way is not going to hurt. Even if you follow a recipe to the “T” you will want to taste as you cook to ensure it meets your personal taste test.
Tasting allows you to season as desired and make small changes to make the meal the best it can be. This is especially important if you are cooking the dish for the very first time.
There you have it – 9 small changes that you can make starting today to help you cook and eat healthier. Now – get cooking

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


While beans are actually one of the healthiest carbs sources out there, loaded with fiber and protein, there's actually one variety of beans you should be AVOIDING at all costs:

Baked Beans.

Fact is, manufacturers of commercial "baked beans" are completely RUINING this health food by piling in sugars galore along with a slew of artificial ingredients.

Many brands are now even including high fructose corn syrup and numerous other corn ingredients, such as corn starch, in their products...bad news!

For example, a 1-cup serving of canned "baked beans" contains more than 20 grams of ADDED sugar on average while the same 1-cup serving of regular kidney beans, pinto beans, red beans, etc, contains only a gram or two of naturally occurring sugar.  BIG difference!

That said, when buying beans and adding them to your diet (which is actually a great choice), make sure to avoid commercial "baked beans" products and instead go with bean products that don't add all the extra junk.

Some great varieties of beans and legumes are:

Pinto Beans
Red Beans
Navy Beans
Lima Beans
Black Beans
Black-eyed Peas
Marrowfat Peas
Butter Beans

And there are even some natural packaged versions of the above listed beans and legumes that add a number of healthy and natural seasonings to spice them up a bit.  The lesson here is to avoid "baked beans" in favor of the plain stuff (which you can then spice up at home) and when buying anything packaged, take a good, hard look at the ingredients and nutrition facts.

If it's got added sugar and artificial ingredients, skip it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Benefits of Walking 

1. The human body is made to walk. 

2. Walking 30 minutes a day cuts the rate of people becoming diabetic by more than half and it cuts the risk of people over 60 becoming diabetic by almost 70 percent. 

3. Walking cuts the risk of stroke by more than 25 percent. 

4. Walking reduces hypertension. The body has over 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Those blood vessels are more supple and healthier when we walk. 

5. Walking cuts the risk of cancer as well as diabetes and stroke.

6. Women who walk have a 20 percent lower likelihood of getting breast cancer and a 31 percent lower risk of getting colon cancer.

7. Women with breast cancer who walk regularly can reduce their recurrence rate and their mortality rate by over 50 percent.

8. The human body works better when we walk. The body resists diseases better when we walk, and the body heals faster when we walk.

9. We don’t have to walk a lot. Thirty minutes a day has a huge impact on our health.

10. Men who walk thirty minutes a day have a significantly lower level of prostate cancer. Men who walk regularly have a 60 percent lower risk of colon cancer.

11. For men with prostate cancer, studies have shown that walkers have a 46 percent lower mortality rate.

12. Walking also helps prevent depression, and people who walk regularly are more likely to see improvements in their depression.

13. In one study, people who walked and took medication scored twice as well in 30 days as the women who only took the medication. Another study showed that depressed people who walked regularly had a significantly higher level of not being depressed in a year compared to depressed people who did not walk. The body generates endorphins when we walk. Endorphins help us feel good.

14. Walking strengthens the heart. Walking strengthens bones.

15. Walking improves the circulatory system.

16. Walking generates positive neurochemicals. Healthy eating is important but dieting can trigger negative neurochemicals and can be hard to do.

17. Walking generates positive neurochemicals. People look forward to walking and enjoy walking.

18. And research shows that fit beats fat for many people. Walking half an hour a day has health benefits that exceed the benefits of losing 20 pounds.

19. When we walk every day, our bodies are healthier and stronger. A single 30 minute walk can reduce blood pressure by five points for over 20 hours.

20. Walking reduces the risk of blood clots in your legs.

21. People who walk regularly have much lower risk of deep vein thrombosis.

22. People who walk are less likely to catch colds, and when people get colds, walkers have a 46 percent shorter symptom time from their colds.

23. Walking improves the health of our blood, as well. Walking is a good boost of high density cholesterol and people with high levels of HDL are less likely to have heart attacks and stroke.

24. Walking significantly diminishes the risk of hip fracture and the need for gallstone surgery is 20 to 31 percent lower for walkers.

25. Walking is the right thing to do. Best news is that the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done in one lump of time. Two 15 minute walks achieve the same goals. Three 10 minute walks achieve most of those goals.

26. We can walk 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night and achieve our walking goals.

27. Walking feels good. It helps the body heal. It keeps the body healthy. It improves our biological health, our physical health, our psychosocial health, and helps with our emotional health. Walking can literally add year’s entire years to your life.

It’s good to walk.

Be good to yourself. Be good to your body.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

8 Sleeping Positions and Their Effects on Health

Getting enough sleep is the most important thing – but did you know that how you sleep can also impact your health? Let’s take a look at eight common sleeping positions and what they do to your body.

1. On Your Back, Arms at Sides

Sleeping on your back with your arms at your side is generally considered to be the best sleeping position for spine health and it’s good for your neck, too, as long as you don’t use too many pillows. That said, back sleepers tend to snore more than those in any other position and sleep apnea is strongly associated with sleeping on the back.

2. On Your Back, Arms Up

This so-called “starfish” position is also good for the back. Whether you have your arms up around your pillow or not, sleeping on your back may also help to prevent facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. However, like the arms-down back sleeping position, this one can also result in snoring and problems with acid reflux. Plus, having your arms up can put pressure on nerves in your shoulders, leading to pain.

3. Face Down

Sleeping on your stomach can improve digestion but unless you’ve developed a way to breathe through your pillow, it most likely leads to you tilting your face in one direction or the other. This can put a lot of strain on the neck. Sleeping face down can also cause back pain, as the curve of the spine is not supported.

4. Fetal Position

Sleeping all curled up into a ball with your knees drawn up and your chin tilted down might be comfortable but it can do a number on your back and neck.
The extreme curl of the fetal position can also restrict deep breathing. That considered, sleeping like a fetus can have you sleeping like a baby if you typically have problems with snoring or if you’re pregnant.

5. On Side, Arms at Sides

When you’re sleeping on your side with both arms down, the spine is best supported in its natural curve. This can definitely help reduce back and neck pain while also reducing sleep apnea. The downside? Sleeping on the side can contribute to skin aging due to gravity, meaning facial wrinkles and sagging breasts.

6. On Side, Arms Out

This position has many of the same benefits of sleeping on your side with your arms straight down. However, any side sleeping can cause shoulder and arm pain due to restricted blood flow and pressure on the nerves, which may be exacerbated by having your arms out in front of you.

7. On the Right Side

If you’re a side-sleeper, which side you sleep on also makes a difference. Sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn while sleeping on the left side can put strain on internal organs like the liver, lungs, and stomach (while minimizing acid reflux). For pregnant sleepers, doctors typically advise sleeping on the left side, since this can improve circulation to the fetus.

8. Pillow-Supplemented

Regardless of which sleeping position you prefer, it’s highly likely that you can get a better night’s rest with less pain in the morning by supplementing your body with a pillow.
Back sleepers can put a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers can place a pillow between their knees, and stomach sleepers can place a pillow under their hips to support the joints and allow for full, pain-free relaxation.

Which sleeping position gives you the best night’s rest without pain?