Tag Archives: Vegetables

Navigating the College Cafeteria

I had the privilege of coaching some college athletes over the summer.  They were happy with our work together, but worried about how to keep up their new healthy eating habits in the college cafeteria.  Here are my quick tips:

  1. Don’t head straight for the line! Take a breath and ask yourself, “How can I nourish myself?” This question serves you better than, “What is there to eat?”
  2. Walk around and ask what’s at the salad bar? Pasta bar? Main and side dishes? Even check the dessert bar for granola, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Use the available foods creatively to make your own meal that fuels your brain and body. Seek plants!
  4. Breakfast ideas: Oatmeal- stir in berries, nuts, cinnamon Yogurt parfait- choose Greek to punch up the protein and add fruit, berries, nuts, and cinnamon Cereal- increase the nutrient density by avoiding artificial colors and added sugars while choosing plain Cheerios or granola and adding fruit, berries, nuts, and seeds Pancakes or waffles- choose just one instead of a stack and add yogurt to the top with (you guessed it) fruit and berries
  5. Snack ideas- use a little creative thievery. Take an apple, banana, or orange to go. Bring a quart or gallon baggie and make your own trail mix using the breakfast and/or dessert bar. Pour in whole grain cereal or granola, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, a (few) pretzels for salty balance, and some (few) chocolate chips or M&M’s
  6. Lunch- again, walk around and see what is available and treat offerings like ingredients. Doing a colorful basic salad is a great choice, but you may lose interest some days. Take broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. and microwave to “al dente.” Stir into ½ cup of pasta, rice, over baked potato, or quinoa (yes, they got the memo.) Add a bit of dressing and you have a nice dish! Put a bunch of veggies in a bowl and pour soup over it for phytonutrient power. Chili today? Make a taco salad and pour some chili over it for a Mexican treat. Make your own bruschetta! Pop some bread in the toaster. While you wait for toast, get tomatoes in a bowl and go for the salad herb area. Stir olive oil, garlic, basil, and a dash of Parmesan in with the tomatoes (cut them up a bit). Spread the mixture over the now complete toast- Yum!
  7. Dinner- use the same creative ideas. Use the healthy plate reference to remind yourself of proportion. Half your plate is vegetables, ¼ lean protein (fish, beans, quinoa, grilled chicken), ¼ whole grain or starchy vegetable like sweet potato, squash, beets, or baked potato (with skin).

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Go Organic?

organic farmI recently facilitated a workshop for some clients entitled “Go Organic?”  It was a joy and honor to coach the group through the organic decision making process.

Below, I have included several links to content that was helpful for our workshop and will help inform you and help you to navigate clean eating.

http://ow.ly/o1mXV   Dr. Dean Ornish speaking at the 2012 salesforce.com Dreamforce Conference (if everyone lived as he suggests we would all be happy, healthy, and I would be out of a job).

http://geneticroulettemovie.com/ GMO documentary- MD’s, researchers, scientists all connecting the dots of the havoc GMO’s are wreaking on our population. Children are extremely vulnerable.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/ Keeps entities involved in food supply on their toes.

http://mosesorganic.org/resourcedirectory.html Organic in the midwest.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313,00.html Epigenetics- great/readable article in Time Mag. about how DNA doesn’t have to be your destiny

Thank you again and bless you in your journeys!

Healthy Best!

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For Kids, Optimal Nutrition means Optimal Development

Feeding children well has been a hot topic amongst parents for at least the last fourteen years.  That’s when I was pregnant with my first baby and began paying keen attention to the matter.  “Back then” organic was a little known concept out of California, micronutrients were a mystery, and no one had heard of Omega-3’s.  Even so, at playgroup, school pick-up, and on the ball-field, chat often turned to nutrition.

Over the last decade,  science has supported the fact that feeding children well is essential.  Studies have shown over and over that children who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains have the brain function to achieve academically, have the energy to perform well in sports, and the focus that allows for creativity in art and music.   Kids who eat well feel great and do their very best. 

With so much information now out on the subject, many parents need guidance.  I recommend reading Dr. William Sears’ “Family Nutrition Book” as well as “Nutrition Deficit Disorder.”  These thoroughly, yet simply, explain exactly how to keep your child’s daily nutrition optimal.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Disease Proof Your Child” is also excellent.  Web MD has a great top 10 foods list that serves as a quick reference guide.    http://children.webmd.com/child-nutrition-8/brain-foods-for-children?page=2

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What You Can Conceive, You Can Achieve

Visualization has long been a tactic in sports psychology.  It has been proven that if one visualizes the accomplishment of a goal, it’s achievement is probable.  I often tell clients that if they visualize themselves fit and healthy, they are more likely to take the steps to be that way.

This same approach can be used daily to increase intake of fruits and vegetables.  Eating the 9-13 servings of plants each day which are required for optimal health may be a challenge.   A study profiled in Science Daily found that if you want to improve the way you eat, the best way to do so is to both make an action plan and visualize yourself carrying it out, according to researchers.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s an interesting article on cabbage just in time for St. Patrick’s day.  This year, try not to boil it to death.  Keep those nutrients to yourself – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Healthy Best -Leslie

This St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrate the healing prowess of cabbage – one of the traditional staples of Irish cuisine. Like other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.), cabbage contains powerful phytochemicals with possible anti-cancer effects. Now, new research is investigating the potential of such compounds to counter ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that significantly increases the risk of colon cancer.

Here is the article, entitled “Plant Extract May Be Effective Against Inflammatory Bowel Disease” which was published on the website ScienceDaily.

Researchers at South Dakota State University isolated and administered particular cruciferous compounds to mice afflicted with ulcerative colitis. Among the more impressive results: a whopping 87% reduction in colon inflammation after five days of observation.Further investigation suggests the compounds work in a dose-dependent manner (e.g., double the intake, double the effect), specifically by suppressing genes associated with inflammation.

While more research is needed to confirm these benefits in humans, there are plenty of reasons to eat more cruciferous vegetables, and cabbage in particular. One cup of cabbage contains 80% vitamin K, 50% vitamin C and 10% folate for just 20 calories. High cabbage intake among Polish women (30 lbs. annually vs. 10 lbs. for American women) may contribute to the former’s 66% lower risk of breast cancer. Try an unconventional approach to a time-honored dish with this recipe for Unstuffed Cabbage.

 Bonus: Asparagus may be another vegetable to include this St. Patrick’s Day – especially if you’re celebrating with Irish ale. One lab study showed that asparagus extract helped curb liver toxicity.

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Book Review- Pediatrician William Sears’ “Prime Time Health”

I have just reviewed a great new book by William Sears MD and his wife Martha Sears RN called Prime Time Health.  Dr. Sears is an internationally renowned pediatrician who has authored over 30 books.  He has been referred to as “America’s Pediatrician.”
Why would a pediatrician be writing about health in mid-life and healthy aging?  When Dr. Sears was 57 he battled colon cancer.  This made him determined to avoid what he calls the “three D’s” (disease, disability, and doctors) for the rest of his life.  Now at age 70, after a great deal of research and making health his hobby, Dr. Sears has the blood chemistry of a much younger person and is enjoying Prime Time Health.  The Sears’ book explains simply and clearly how to enjoy mid-life and prime time.
I’d love to share his “Nine Simple Steps” with you all!  They are the following: 

  1. Make health your hobby – It’s time to hike, bike, and go to farmer’s markets.
  2. Keep your arteries clean – Avoid “sticky stuff” with added sugars /saturated fat. Sticky in your mouth is sticky in your arteries. 
  3. MOVE!
  4. Reduce your waist –  Belly fat is a factory for disease-causing processes.
  5. Eat more seafood and less meat – Yes- more positive news about omega-3’s; give yourself an “oil-change!”
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables – Oxidation is biological rusting that wears and tears your tissues and organs.  Oxidation is the culprit in everything from wrinkles to major diseases.  The anti-oxidants in fruits and vegetables fight this process beautifully.
  7.  Take Juice Plus – After Dr. Sears’ colon cancer, his wife Martha made him start eating JP.  He read all the published research and papers, started eating it, and takes no other supplements, vitamins, or prescription drugs. 
  8. Graze on good foods – As we age, our bodies become less efficient in absorbing nutrients.  Dr. Sears even blends himself a “green drink” and sips it throughout his day.
  9. Practice the “Pills/Skills” model of health care and self-care.  Instead of asking “What can I take?”- ask “What can I DO?”

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Kale- Not Just for Decoration

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with some friends.  Over our salads, the subject of eating various vegetables came up.  Everyone chimed in on how they just loved spinach and other leafy greens.  One friend buys brussels sprouts on the stalk to engage her children.  Another boils up some beautiful beets and her family enjoys them with salt, pepper, and olive oil right out of the pot!  I chimed in about eating kale chopped raw into a salad, sauteed into a pasta, or roasted with olive oil and mushrooms.  Everyone looked at me with wonder.  The general consensus around the table was that kale looks great ornamentally in outdoor potted arrangements or decorating a plate full of what they’d really like to eat!
I felt this way about kale until a few years ago when during my nutrition research I read a series of books by Steven Pratt, MD.  His book, “SuperFoodsRx,” included kale as part of the family of dark green leafy vegetables one should eat every day.  I kept seeing kale in the various publications and websites.  The following are some key points which helped me to include kale in my family’s diet:

  1. Kale is loaded with micronutrients and vitamins.  Per cup it has 1327% of vitamin K, 192% of vitamin A, and 88% of vitamin C.
  2. Organosulfur compounds abound in kale!  Sulforaphane inhibits and (in some cases) kills cancer cells.  Some studies have even shown that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds found in cruciferous vegetables like kale.
  3. Kale’s antioxidant profile helps optimize your cells’ detoxification, cleansing ability, and mitigates chronic inflammation.
  4. The lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids act protect eye health and lower cataract risk.  These are plentiful in kale! 
  5. During this cold and flu season, enjoy kale to help support a healthy immune system.
    My favorite kale is the red variety at Whole Foods.  There is also good kale at your local veggie market.  Give it a whirl- your cells will love you.

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