The Health Benefits of Almond Milk

Every morning with my breakfast I have a cup of almond milk and a bottle of water.  Almond milk is a couple glass doors down from the regular milk in the grocery store, and shouldn’t be overlooked the next time you are at the store. IMG_20140130_180744_765 If a recipe calls for milk, depending on what the recipe is, I will either use 1% milk, or almond milk.

One of the benefits about almond milk that I like is it doesn’t go bad as fast as regular milk does, and for someone who’s single, something going bad before it can be finished can be a problem.  I was brought up not to be wasteful, and it really bothers me when part of something goes bad before I can finish it.  I do my best not to over-buy on things, but sometimes buying the smallest amount or quantity sold is still sometimes to much to consume before it goes bad.  All products aren’t perfect I suppose.

So today I wanted to share some of the health benefits almond milk.  Thanks and credit goes to lifehack.org for the article which some of the information below comes from.

1.  Almond milk helps with weight management.  One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim. It makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.

2.  Almond milk helps keep your heart healthy.  There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

3.  Almond milk keeps your skin healthy and glowing.  Almond milk contains 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting it against sun damage.

4.  Almond milk doesn’t contain lactose.  Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow’s milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute.

5.  Almond milk helps keep your digestion in check.  Almond milk contains almost one gram of fiber per serving, which is important for healthy digestion.

6.  Almond milk doesn’t require refrigeration.  Knowing that you don’t have to refrigerate almond milk means you’ll be more likely to take it with you to work, or putting it in your kids lunch for school. It’s perfectly fine at room temperature which makes it a convenient, nutritious staple to pack.

So as you can see almond milk has many benefits.  I buy the Silk brand original flavor.  I’ve also had the vanilla flavor and it’s really good too.  Other Silk choices include:  Dark chocolate, unsweetened vanilla and original, light vanilla, light original, and two new ones, original and vanilla, protein + fiber.  If you haven’t tried almond milk already you should.  I think it taste better than regular milk and it has fewer calories and 50% more calcium that regular milk.

The Health Benefits of Bananas

Bananas are something that I eat almost everyday, either one with breakfast or one with lunch.  Bananas have many health benefits. IMG_20140129_112956_224 Some you may know about and some you may not.  The information below was pulled from an article on foodmatters.tv.  I added this website to my favorites list.  There’s all kinds of good stuff on the site that I want to check out.  Have a look yourself by clicking on the link.

Now for some of the benefits of bananas.

1.  Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6.

2.  Bananas help to protect against muscle cramps during workouts and night time leg cramps.

3.  Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted     into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.

4.  High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure, and protect against heart attack and stroke

5.  Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.

6.  Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress (pain) to relieve   stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids.

7.  Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after           diarrhea.

8.  Eating bananas helps prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular               degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.

9.  Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic     diseases.

10. Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and               irritation.

Those are just some of the benefits I found most interesting. IMG_20140129_113425_294 As you can see bananas are some what of a super fruit when it comes to the health benefits of eating them.  I bought some earlier this week and I think they were only .59 cents a pound, so they are inexpensive compared to the prices of other fruits.  I encourage you to pick some up the next time you are at the grocery store.

Check out the links below for some recipes that contain bananas.

Banana Breakfast Sundae  

Banana Oatmeal Bars

Heavenly Healthy Banana Bread

The Health Benefits of Zucchini

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Two zucchini for the picture, but I only used one for my dinner.

Today I want to talk about some of the health benefits of zucchini.  First I’d like to share with you something that I didn’t know until I just looked it up, and was kind of surprised.  In culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and served as part of a main dish or a side dish.  Botanically, however, the zucchini is a fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.  Another interesting fact, the zucchini originates from Italy.  If you knew either one of these things you have one up on me because I didn’t know zucchini was a fruit, or that it originated in Italy.  I love learning new things.

So lets go over some of the health benefits of eating zucchini.  The information below has been taken from an article I found on healthdiaries.com.

1.  One cup of zucchini has 36 calories and 10% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating.

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One zucchini sliced in half and cut into quarters.

2.  The dietary fiber in zucchini helps lower cholesterol by attaching itself to bile acids that the liver makes from cholesterol for digesting fat.  Because fiber binds so well with bile acid, thus crowding its ability to immediately digest fat, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid.  The liver then draws upon even more cholesterol to produce bile acid, consequently lowering the overall cholesterol level in the body.

3.  Dietary fiber in zucchini helps promotes healthy and regular bowel movements.  Zucchini also helps prevent carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon.

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Grilled zucchini on the George Forman Grill. Just brush with a little Olive oil and add a sprinkle of Greek seasoning before you put them on to cook.

4.  A one cup serving of zucchini contains over 10% of the RDA of magnesium, a mineral proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

5.  Zucchini’s also have potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.

6.  Zucchini contains Vitamins C and A, as well as folate, which act as powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative stress that can lead to many different types of cancer.

As you can see zucchini is really good for you.  I actually have zucchini at least twice a week.  I like to cut it in half, quarter it, lightly brush it with olive oil, add a little Greek seasoning and put it on the George Forman Grill.  Simple, easy, and really yummy!

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The finished product. Dinner tonight was a grilled turkey burger with a slice of Swiss cheese on a toasted wheat bun with spicy brown mustard, pickle, lettuce and tomato. And grilled zucchini. Delicious!

Here are some more ideas for zucchini.  I’m going to have to try these.  Check them out.

10 Healthy Zucchini Recipes

Ten Delicious Zucchini Recipes for Everyone with an Abundance of Zucchini

The Health Benefits of Bagels

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My three favorite kinds of bagels, blueberry, whole wheat and very berry. And no I don’t eat three bagels at a time. This was just for the picture. 😀

I have a bagel almost every morning for breakfast.  Usually it’s a bagel with whipped cream cheese, half a serving of yogurt, a banana and a bottle of water.  Which gives me a serving of bread, dairy and fruit.  I rotate the kind of bagel I have between wheat, blueberry and very berry.  The very berry is a new flavor Lenders just introduced and they are delicious.  I hope they keep them around for a long time to come.

Many people think bagels aren’t good for you.  They think of any kind of bread as bad when trying to lose weight because of the carbohydrates, but carbohydrates are important as part of a healthy diet.  Most people eat the wrong kinds of bread.  I stay away from white bread which is made from refined white flour containing several unwholesome constituents and very little in the way of nutrients and dietary fiber which is essential for a healthy digestive system and a stable metabolism.  I stick to whole grain breads which are better for you, and I think, taste better.

So back to bagels, bagels have many health benefits that many people don’t know about.  I wanted to share some of those benefits with you today.  I want to give credit to this website benefitof.net for the information.

1.   Bagels help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Bagels are high in fiber and carbohydrates, which help reduce ‘’ bad’’ cholesterol levels and triglycerides, thus reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.

2.  Bagels help treat digestive disorders. Regular consumption of bagels and drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxic waste from the body.  Which can help with constipation, acid reflux and irregular bowel movement.

3.  Bagels are a good source of vitamins and minerals.  Bagels are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein and fiber.   Vitamin C is an essential nutrient needed to fight off illness, by making the immune system stronger and less susceptible to colds and viruses. Calcium gives you strong bones and teeth. Women need this mineral to avoid osteoporosis as they age. Iron helps in cell growth and the building of protein in red blood cells. These cells transport oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Protein also helps build and provide strength to muscle.

So no more thinking bagels are bad for you. IMG_20140127_174550_818 Just don’t sit down and eat three at a time loaded with butter and cream cheese and jelly.  I eat my bagel with the recommended serving of whipped cream cheese on it.  No more, sometimes a little less even.  Which helps me cut out a few calories while still having cream cheese.

So grab a package of bagels the next time you’re at the store.  No more thinking just because it’s bread that it’s bad for you, it’s usually all the junk you put on it that makes it bad.  A favorite of mine, besides cream cheese, is a half a serving of cream cheese with sliced tomato’s.  Yum!  I can’t wait to try some of the toppings below.  Check them out, it may inspire you to think of your own healthy toppings.

Healthy bagel toppings

Healthy bagel spreads 

The Health Benefits of Yogurt

Today I want to share with you the benefits of eating yogurt as part of a healthy diet.  I have yogurt almost every morning as a part of my breakfast. IMG_20140125_120654_468 Last week when I went grocery shopping I picked up two different flavors, Strawberry and Harvest Peach.  I bought two of the large containers instead of the single serve size because it actually cost less that way.  I just wish they had more variety in the large containers.  Don’t get me wrong I love Strawberry and Peach, but I would love to see Blueberry, Blackberry, Key Lime or a mixed berry in the large containers.  Maybe I could email the company and put in a request?

So what are some of the benefits of eating yogurt?  I found this information in an article published by Fitness Magazine, entitled, 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Yogurt, and I wanted to share of few of them with you.

Yogurt is loaded with vitamins. One serving is a significant source of potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, and vitamin B5.IMG_20140125_121105_896 Yogurt also contains B12, which maintains red blood cells and helps keep your nervous system functioning properly.

A cup of yogurt a day can help you recover faster after a workout.  “The perfect time to grab a container is within 60 minutes of exercise,” says Keri Gans, RD, a nutritionist in New York City.  The protein provides the amino acids your muscles need to repair themselves, Gans explains, and the carbohydrates replace your muscles’ energy stores, which are depleted after a hard workout.  It’s a bonus if you drink a bottle of water along with it.  The protein in yogurt may also help increase the amount of water absorbed by the intestines, improving hydration.

Yogurt may help prevent high blood pressure.  Every day 70 percent of us consume more than twice the recommended amount of salt; over time that can lead to hypertension and kidney and heart disease. IMG_20140125_121829_954 The potassium in yogurt, almost 600 milligrams per eight ounces, may help flush some of the excess sodium out of your body.  In fact, adults in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition who ate the most low-fat dairy, two or more servings daily were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate the least.

Those are just three of the 10 benefits of eating yogurt.  Not only is it good for you, but it taste great too, or at least I think so.  I encourage you to eat yogurt as part of healthy diet.

Here are a couple links to recipes that contain yogurt.  Check them out.

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Parfait 

Skinny Greek Yogurt Chicken

 

 

The Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables.  There is nothing like a fresh tomato out of my mom and dads garden in the summer. IMG_20140124_180829_346 During the winter months I have to buy them at the store.  Springtime can not get here fast enough for me, not only do I really dislike cold weather, I also miss the fresh vegetables that I get from my mom and dads garden.  Hurry up garden growing weather, I miss you.

Today I wanted to touch on some of the health benefits of eating tomatoes.  I found some great information at beliefnet.com and wanted to share some of the highlights with you.  Credit goes to them for the following facts about tomatoes.

I learned that a serving, which is one cup of red, ripe, raw tomatoes is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate (also called Vitamin Bc, which is a B vitamin that is essential for cell growth and reproduction) and potassium.  Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.  Tomatoes also provide thiamine and niacin, which are both kinds of B vitamins, as well as vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health.

Here are a few other things you may not have known about tomatoes.  Some of them even surprised me.  Tomatoes are good for your skin. IMG_20140124_180806_690 Tomatoes have beta-carotene in them which helps protect your skin from sun damage.  Tomatoes are a natural cancer fighter since they contain Lycopene.  Lycopene can reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer. Tomatoes can help keep your blood sugar balanced. Tomatoes are a good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.

As you can see there are many health benefits for eating tomatoes.  I never knew eating tomatoes could be so beneficial.  I’m glad I love them.  As for the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, maybe you could also say, a tomato a day keeps the doctor away too.  🙂

Check out this recipe I found.  I can’t wait to try it.  Looks delicious.  YUM!

Tomato Zucchini Tart

Who is Responsible for Your Actions?

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My Walking Accountability Chart. It only took a few minutes to make on my computer. Now I can keep a log of my mileage for not only the month, but for the whole year as well. Just one way that I hold myself accountable for keeping it up.

I asked this question to someone the other day and they looked at me kind of funny.  They said, “What do you mean who’s responsible?”  They responded, ” I am, of course.”  Almost everyone who is asked this question, would say the same thing, but knowing you are responsible for your actions and taking responsibility to change those actions are two different things.

Many people use excuses to not exercise and make healthier food choices.  Excuses can range from, I’m too tired to exercise to, but without fried foods I would just die.  Which, in truth, you are more likely to have major health problems and could possibly die from years of eating fried foods than you would be if you only eat them once or twice a month, or avoid them all together.  Excuses are used to make your own self feel less guilty about something.  People like to shift blame off themselves and onto other people or things, which in turn, makes the individual feel less at fault about the wrong that’s been done or the bad decision that may have been made.  Taking responsibility for your own actions is very important.  You and you alone are responsible for what you eat, and whether or not you exercise or not.  No one else.

I encourage you to make a commitment to stop making excuses for things you are responsible for.  If you don’t exercise, it’s no one’s fault but yours.  If you don’t eat healthy, or at least cut back on the amount of bad foods, it’s no one’s fault but yours.  Let go of the excuses and challenge yourself  to exercise, live better and be healthier.  No more excuses.

Here are a couple links:

Take Responsibility for Your Health and Weight

This second link has a lot of really good stuff in it.  Really enjoyed reading it.  Check it out.

Take Responsibility for Your Life

Staying Motivated When It Comes To Exercise

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Bona Dea Trails. My favorite place to walk when the weather is nice.

Motivation, by definition, is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.  Every person is motivated to get out of bed in the morning and start their day.  I know some days are harder than others when trying to pry ourselves out of that comfy spot, but we’ve got to do it.  We’ve all been in that situation of not being motivated to get out of bed, so we all know how it feels.

So what motivates a person to get out of bed instead of laying there all day?  A person’s motivation could be their job and/or making money, or their family and children.  It could even be something fun and exciting planned for the day.  No matter what it is there is a reason that motivates a person to put two feet on the ground and get out of bed.

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My mileage from the gym today.

One thing that I’ve done to keep myself motivated is to take pictures of how many miles I do at the gym.  I will also be taking a picture of myself at the start of every month to track my progress, and to keep myself motivated to keep going.  I also bought a scale and weigh myself once a week.  A word of advice, do not weigh yourself more than once a week.  Give yourself seven days before you step back on the scale.  For some people they may want to weigh themselves every two weeks.

Here are a few tips to help you start exercising, if you don’t already, or if you already do, some things to help keep you motivated.

  1. Set one goal for yourself each week.  The problem many people have when starting to work out or get into better shape is they overload themselves with too many things they must accomplish, and many times end up feeling like a failure and quit.  No matter how small the goal may feel, if by the end of the week you’ve accomplished it, then that makes you feel good.  Then the next week you can make a bigger goal.
  2. Find something that inspires you.  Search the web for weight loss stories.  Reading about other peoples successes can make the road ahead not fell so lonely and like “you’re the only one”.
  3. Post your goal.  You can post a goal online, on your Facebook or Twitter, or you could post it on your refrigerator to keep you motivated as to what you want to accomplish.
  4. Find support.  Search Facebook or the web and find other people who are going through the same thing you are.  Join a online fitness group to talk about your good, as well as your bad days with others.  Finally, follow a blog, such as this one, to help you along the way.
  5. Make a dream a reality.  With summer just a few months away many people begin to think about what they are gonna look like in their bathing suit, or swim trunks.  People find all kinds of things they “wish they could wear”.  Instead of wishing, start working toward the goal.

Here are a couple links that have more ways to stay motivated.

86 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Workout

Get Motivated to Exercise After a LONG Day at Work/5 Tips

My Workout Music

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Getting my walk on at the Bona Dea Trails.

Whether I work out and walk in the fitness center on campus, or I walk at the Bona Dea Trails, I must have my music.  It’s very motivating for me personally.  I will walk or work out without music, if I absolutely have to, but if I have ear buds available, there will be music to jam to.  To attest to this fact of ear bud availability let me tell you how prepared I wanted to be when I started this journey to a better me.  I went out and bought three pair of music ear buds so I would be covered for a while at least.  For some reason the ear buds only last a few months, and then the sound goes out in one ear or the other, no matter what brand I buy.  I did buy a pair of skull candy brand a couple years ago at Target and they lasted almost a year, but there isn’t a Target in Russellville, and Walmart doesn’t carry them.  So I’ve had to go with another brand, but like I said I bought three pair just to be fully prepared.

The music I listen to has to be upbeat, dance, make you wanna get your workout and walk on, and shake your booty kind of stuff.  No slow stuff for this guy.  I use my iHeart Radio app on my phone, plus I have music loaded onto my YouTube as well.  I have several different playlists so I don’t get tired of the same music over and over again.  When I find new songs I like I add them to my playlist which means I have lots of variety.  Variety is very important to me, which is the main reason why I don’t listen to traditional radio anymore.  They play the same 10 songs over and over again, after a month or two throw them out and find 10 new songs to play to death.  Oh radio, how you’ve changed since I was a youngster.

Some of the artists on my playlist are; Lady Gaga, David Guetta, Kylie Minogue, Lindsey Sterling, Ricky Martin, Jessica Sutta, Krewella, Raluka, Cascada, Sharon Doorson, Joss Stone, Loreen, Daft Punk, Kelly Clarkson, Annagrace, Gossip, The Bee Gees, Tiffany, Selena Gomez, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Billy Ocean, Denise Williams, Janet Jackson, and Madonna.  I have many more, but you get the idea.

Working out and walking to music just makes sense to me.  Plus, for me, it doesn’t seem like “working out” or “exercising” if I have my music going.  It’s loads of fun and  I encourage you to put some ear buds in and get your workout and walk on too.  The results are worth it.

Here is a great article I found:

7 Reasons You Should Listen To Music When You Work Out

The Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day according to countless studies.  Your body has been asleep for hours with no food or water.  During that time your body is still using energy and nutrients to keep itself running and to maintain itself.  IMG_20140118_134916_274So starting off your day with a good breakfast is not only refueling your body after hours of sleep, but also preparing your body for the day ahead.

There are many benefits to starting the day with a healthy breakfast.  Breakfast nourishes not only your body, but your mind as well.  Studies have shown, across all ages, but especially in children, that not eating breakfast causes a person to lose and lack focus, lack concentration, and have problems with thinking and problem solving skills.  People who do not eat breakfast are also prone to more stress and fatigue, more vulnerable to cravings, and are less likely to make healthy choices when it comes to those cravings and meals later on in the day.

One study done on the effects of not eating, or skipping breakfast, tracked nearly 10,000 young people from adolescence into their twenties found that not only did skipping breakfast lead to being overweight, but people who missed out on their morning meal also increased their eating at fast food restaurants, and both unhealthy behaviors caused them to gain weight.

Most of my life I have been guilty of skipping breakfast.  I have never been the type of person who wakes up and within 15 minutes can eat something. IMG_20140118_124027_703 Don’t ask me why, but for about an hour after I wake up the thought of food makes me sick.  Maybe my body needs time to wake up before I feed it?  Who knows.  To remedy this problem I wake up in the mornings, on weekdays, between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. to allow myself plenty of time to feel ready to eat something.  My first class isn’t until 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. so I have plenty of time to make sure I eat a healthy breakfast.  I will pick out my clothes for the day, put my books for the day into my book bag, and then browse the web and check my Facebook.  I then shower and shave to get ready for the day.  After all that “awake time” I then feel like eating.

One thing to remember is to give yourself plenty of time in the morning to eat breakfast.  Don’t skip it since it is the most important meal of the day.  The main reason many people skip breakfast is because of time.  Many people rush around in the morning and start the day feeling behind before the day has even started.  I encourage you to make the time to eat breakfast.  It’s important to both your body and your mind.

Here are two links with tips about what makes a healthy breakfast and ideas for healthy options.  Good stuff.

Healthy Breakfast: Quick, flexible options to grab at home

27 Ideas for a Healthier Breakfast