Thursday, September 30, 2010

Someone has to say STOP!

Growing up, many of my friends thought that vegetables came in a can.... no, seriously, THEY DID! Vegetables were supposed to be mushy, and mostly gray. They were tasteless globs that sat on their plate, untouched and unloved...poor veggies! They came from a can, got warmed in a microwave and sat untouched and uneaten on their plates, their final destination: the garbage disposal. Their parents tried to get them to eat them; they threatened, they pleaded, they covered them with Velveeta, but to no avail!

So what was wrong with the veggies we grew up on? They weren't FRESH. They were processed and salted and shoveled into cans that sat on shelves for months, sometimes years! Who wants to eat that???? Seriously folks, do you want to eat salty, overly processed, months old food? EWWWWWW!!!!!! So why in the world are you serving it to your kids?? An alternative to canned veggies is frozen. It's almost as good as fresh, as the veggies are usually flash frozen right after being harvested. If you are a busy mom, as most of us are, then frozen veggies can help you keep your family in the healthy veggie business.

We do what we learn, what we grow up with, what we are used to as the norm. If you grew up on veggies from a can, then you are probably pleading with your kids to eat the mushy peas on their plates. Peas come in PODS, people! Buy them fresh, let the kids help take them out of the pods (yes, they will actually think this is fun), let them taste them raw...then steam them, lightly, just a bit to warm them, but not enough to take the crunch out of them. Yes! Peas have a crunch! Most vegetables can be eaten raw and are very tasty that way. If not raw, then steam them or stir fry them lightly in olive oil. You will be amazed at the colors; veggies are not meant to be gray, or washed out, their colors are vibrant and attractive! The Skittles commercial is right in one thing: Eat the Rainbow! Vegetables come in a rainbow of colors, greens and yellows and oranges and reds and even purples and we are meant to eat them all!

It's time to put a stop to the mushy vegetable brigade. Just say NO! No, I won't feed my kids canned veggies! No, I won't microwave the veggies to death! No, I won't deny my kids the delicious crunch of a fresh vegetable prepared with love and care! No, I won't over-salt the veggies! As a matter of fact, I won't salt the veggies at all! Stop the vegetable insanity and start serving fresh, crunchy, colorful veggies...your kids will love them!

Now...don't get me started on canned fruit.......

Monday, September 27, 2010

You Don't Have To Go Bananas Over Potassium

Seriously, you don't! There are plenty of other ways to get the Potassium your body needs. You could take a supplement....nah, who wants to pop a horse pill when all you have to do is eat a balanced diet? Orange juice, avocados, tomatoes, beet greens, brazil nuts, beans....all are good sources of potassium. So why take a pill?

Potassium is considered a critical electrolyte and something our bodies need to function properly. Our bodies can't store potassium, so it is something we must get through our diet. Potassium strengthens the arteries and is essential for the healthy functioning of the brain. It helps balance out the fluids in our bodies and may reduce blood pressure as well. Potassium is important for the proper contraction of our muscles as well. There is a vitally important muscle I need to mention that if it stops contracting, we have a life-threatening problem....and that would be? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller? That's right! THE HEART!!! What more important muscle do we have? Potassium is a key ingredient to the proper contracting of your heart and the pumping of blood throughout your body. Anyone feel like that banana now? How about some tomatoes? Brazil nuts? Brussels sprouts! No? Ok, I can see I have more convincing to do....

Potassium is necessary for the proper functioning of our cells and a deficiency in our bodies can lead to a decrease in the levels of oxygen in the cells. It also regulates the transfer of nutrients to our cells and helps regulate kidney function as well. A lack of potassium can wreak havoc with our bodies. Potassium deficiencies (hypokalemia) are rare, but not unheard of. The human body requires approximately 2-4 grams per day, which is easily achieved through a balanced diet. Signs of a potassium deficiency are diarrhea, sweating, muscle weakness, increased heart rate and nausea. A severe deficiency can lead to heart failure or even stroke.

Too much potassium (hyperkalemia) can also be dangerous. It is essential to get the right amount of this electrolyte and get it in its most natural form. If you are eating a balanced diet, then there is no need to rush out and get a potassium supplement. The 2-4 grams we need are easily obtained through a healthy, balanced meal plan. Potassium toxicity is rare; the signs can include muscle weakness, heart complaints, fatigue and a tingling sensation. Mild hyperkalemia will not change the rhythm of your heart in a measurable way, but moderate hyperkalemia can cause changes on an EKG and sever hyperkalemia can cause the heart to stop beating. Another symptom worth mentioning, which is rare, but can be frightening is periodic paralysis. If the onset of hyperkalemia is rapid, then, in rare cases, a sudden paralysis can occur. The cause of this phenomenon is not clear, but experts in the field believe it could have something to do with the suppression of electrical activity in the muscles.

So, are you convinced yet of the importance of this critical electrolyte? The key here is moderation. We don't want to have too much potassium but we don't want too little, either.

The best way to balance your intake is to eat....tah dah! You got it! A well-balanced diet with whole foods, not processed junk and fast fixes! Here are a few examples of potassium rich whole foods:

Baked Potato, flesh and skin
Tomato products
Beet Greens
Brazil Nuts
Whole Tomatoes
Lima Beans Cantaloupe
Soy Milk/Beans Spinach
cooked Refried Beans

Trail Mix

Dairy products
Red Grapes
Corn, sweet

Getting the correct amount of Potassium doesn't have to mean eating a banana every day (though that's not that bad of an idea); there are many other foods you can eat to acquire an adequate amount. A diet rich in whole foods will almost guarantee you the best balance of potassium without you ever even having to worry about it....the only thing you have to worry about now is not slipping on all the banana peels. Ha, Ha!!

* The recommended daily allowance for a woman 24 years and older is 1875 - 5625 mg per day.

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 - Nutrient Lists

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stressed? STOP...BREATHE

Close your eyes, relax all your muscles, consciously empty your mind....

This is the beginning of your road to meditation. At first, meditation takes a concentrated effort. You have to remember to do so many things, how can you possibly empty your mind? The idea is to just do it. Train your body to relax, your mind to empty and your breathing to deepen. Why? Read on and find out more....

Historically, meditation dates back to the earliest known religions, although you don't have to be religious in order to benefit from the practice. Some form of meditation shows up in just about every religion's history, it may have been called by different names, but it is the same thing. Meditation has many benefits to our health. It increases the blood flow to your organs, decreases headaches and muscle tension, decreases your respiratory rate and increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Meditation also enhances the immune system and helps curb chronic diseases along with a host of other advantages.

Meditation is a stress reliever and mood enhancer and increases the ability to concentrate and think clearly. Just a few minutes at the beginning of your day can change your outlook and your productivity. We all have our own way of relieving stress, this is only one way that you can change your health, your brain chemistry and your life in general. There are many different ways to meditate, one is not any better than the other, the key is to just do it. Make sure you will not be interrupted, turn off the tv, the cell phone, anything that could cause a distraction (yes, that means the kids too!). Get comfortable; some people lie down to meditate, some sit on the floor with their backs supported and some sit with their backs straight and in lotus position. Do what makes you most comfortable, after all this is supposed to be for your benefit, not something to do so that you can say you do it "right"! Clear your mind of any negativity and self talk; this is the time for positive energy. Some people say they imagine their thoughts encased in a bubble and floating away into the sky. Some people focus on an object. I once knew someone who had a picture of a tiger that he meditated in front of, he said he filled his mind with images of this strong, beautiful beast and felt a strength and peace surround him.

As you focus on an object become aware of your breath, of your body relaxing with each inhale and exhale. Purposely relax each part of your body until you are not aware of any tension in any muscles. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale through your mouth. Or you can try a rapid breathing method where you stick your tongue out like a dog and pant for 2-4 minutes, either one will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. In fact, it might increase it so much you may feel yourself getting dizzy the first few times you try it! Some people like to chant when they breathe, choosing a specific word or phrase that has special meaning to them.

You can meditate any time, anywhere, the idea is to bring peace, relaxation and focus into an otherwise hectic and stressful day. Take some time today and try it, you might be surprised at the focus and clarity it will bring to the rest of your day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't Judge a Book By its Cover, the Myth of the Super Mom

We have all heard it, most of us have even said it... "I wish I had more energy," or "I wish I could just lose this last ten pounds," or "If I could just get my kids to eat one vegetable!". We all wish we could be super mom, but super mom doesn't exist. We can look at someone and say "She does it all" but no one can "do it all". Every one of us has limits.

Super mom syndrome is all around us, we all envy someone else's energy or enthusiasm or knowledge of a subject we know little about but wish we knew more of. There's the mom down the block who has 3 kids, a clean house and works as a doctor full time. You know what? She doesn't do it all either. There's Suzy Homemaker around the corner who always has fresh cut flowers from her perfect garden on her table with her made from scratch cookies. She doesn't do it all either. There is something in each of these women's lives that they have had to let go of, something they cannot get done and have chosen not to do.

There is some good news, though. While we can't do it all, we can chose to do certain things. The key is to prioritize. A little planning goes a long way, as does a little understanding. A little knowledge can go a long way in helping you to raise a happy, healthy family. Don't worry about looking perfect, even the so-called perfect housewives can't do everything they want to do or think they should do. I have heard it many times, being accused of being perfect of being super mom or a "high-energy" mom that no one can keep up with. Trust me, it's not true. Yes, I have a lot of energy, but it comes from the way I eat and the planning that I do. My house doesn't run itself, it takes a lot of hard work and forethought to do it...and there are times I fail miserably! I have my days where I don't want to get out of bed, I want to throw frozen waffles in the microwave and I want to sit in my bunny slippers and watch tv! We all have those days, and you know what? So do it! Moderation is the key, you don't have to do everything every time! Maybe you get out of bed, put on your bunny slippers, turn on the tv, but you make homemade whole grain waffles instead. Or better yet, when you do have energy, make those waffles and stick them in your freezer for just this occasion!

There are little ways to find the time to do the things that are most important to you. The first thing you have to do is decide on what these important things are and then list them in order of importance. Now, you see those things at the bottom of the list? Throw those out, they are low priority, you can do them on occasion, when you have extra energy (ha, ha). For me, the most important thing is teaching my kids healthy eating habits that they will have for the rest of their lives. That may not be your number one priority, and that's ok! We all have different things that are important to us. The idea is to make sure you streamline and don't try to do too much, because that is when you get overwhelmed and feel like you have failed. When we feel like we have failed, we tend to give up or to beat ourselves up and that is not helpful to anyone, least of all you.

If you find that you have a lot of changes that you want to make, try making them one at a time. Make one change and keep it up until it becomes a habit, then make another change. Nobody can overhaul her life all at one time, this is when we tend to just say forget it! We look at all the things we want to do (not necessarily NEED to do) and we think we just can't do it all, so we don't do any of it. If we really want to change our health and the health of our kids, we need to do it one step at a time. The first step is to decide just how healthy you want to be, you don't have to do it all! Change white flour to whole grain, make brown rice for dinner instead of white rice, choose whole grain pastas instead of white pasta and let your family get used to all the new tastes! You will find when you start eating healthier that you feel better and your energy will skyrocket! Take your kids shopping with you and have them choose a new fruit and a new vegetable to try each week. Cultivate their tastes and they will thank you for it later.

The key to the whole thing is moderation. Don't try to be super mom, she is a myth. Be the best you that you can be and do the best you can for your family. Decide what is top priority and make those changes first, don't try to make them all at once or you will quit before you have even started!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Introducing...Iva Young

Hi Everyone! Are you ready to get healthy? I'm guessing you are because you are here, at Before I start giving you all the "secrets" to good health, I thought you might like to know a little about me and my journey.

I grew up eating traditional Croation foods, which are delicious, but high in fat and calories. All my life I had problems with my digestive health and I did not know why! Now I am not blaming my family, we do what we know, right? My mom is a great cook and we ate very well, but we did not eat very healthfully. Once I discovered that this was my problem, I went right to work to find out everything I could to correct the problem. I have done so much research on nutrition and exercise and I want to share it with you! There is so much information out there; it can be so confusing to put it together. I have met many moms who want to get healthy and who want to keep their families healthy, but they feel pulled in different directions by all the information that is out there. So I decided that it was time for someone to step up and make sense of it all. This is what my book Healthy Mom does. It makes sense of all the information about nutrition that is out there. It's a one stop source of information and education.

I will be writing about all kinds of different ideas and sharing so much information here on my blog. I hope you will come back again and see for yourself. You don't have to promise me that you will follow my advice, just that you will come back and see for yourself what it is all about! I guarantee that if you read the information you will want to try it for yourself!

If you want to know more about me or about my life, please watch the video below. I changed my life...let me help you change yours!


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