Tag Archives: healthy living

Maneuvering Through Food Label Mania

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I always like to tell those seeking healthy eating advice to read labels before purchasing a product.  But sometimes label-reading can be a little like figuring out a Rubik’s Cube.  So I thought it might be helpful to explain what some of the labels mean on the foods you decide to stick in your grocery cart.  I also do my research online from reputable sites.  One of my go-to’s is http://www.sustainabletable.org.  They have some of the latest news when it comes to the food industry.

  • Whole Grain:  This is not something new in today’s society.  You can find it on most “health” food items.  It means the food contains the entire grain and has not been refined in processing.
  • Non-GMO, GMO-Free, or No-GMO’s:  There could be an entire post done on this one.  So I am keeping it simple.  Foods with this label do not contain any genetically modified or genetically engineered products.  GMO means scientists have altered the state of an organism’s genetic make-up by taking a specific gene from one organism and sticking it into a plant or animal that has an entirely different genetic make-up.  Many crops today use GMO seeds to withstand pesticides during the farming process.
  • Free-Range:  This is used in the egg and poultry industry to indicate chickens that have access to the outdoors and are not restricted to chicken coups.  Be mindful because “free-range” is different that the term “pastured.”  Free-range chickens can still be limited to the amount of time they get to “freely” roam outside.  The USDA has set the standards for this classification and products may not always be cruelty-free or antibiotic-free.
  • Antibiotic-free and Hormone-free:  This one is pretty self-explanatory and means animals were not given any form of antibiotics or hormones during their life span.  By federal law, hogs and poultry are not allowed to be given hormones.  Of course, there is always room to dig with this topic….what you see or read may not be what you get.  Just be sure to check the company, even if the product is organic.  Not everyone abides by the same standards.
  • Grain-fed vs. Grass-fed:  When you buy your meats you definitely want to lean on the side of grass-fed.  Grass fed animals are allowed to eat from their own natural habitat, while grain-fed animals are given feed.  Here is where you have to really watch your labels.  If you purchase grain-fed products, be sure the label reads “100% Vegetarian Fed.”  Otherwise, producers could be putting animal by-product in their feed.  Yuck!
  • RBGH-free or RBST-free:  This simply means the animals were not injected with any hormones before going to slaughter.  You DEFINITELY want your meats to be free of these.  Some studies have linked these injections with increasing hormone development in children, especially girls.  Also, the hormones have been linked to different illnesses and cancers.  Do your investigation through reliable sources, or just avoid it if that is easier.  In my book, I just stay as clean as possible with what I put in my body, or the body of my kids.
  • Pasture-raised:  You will start to see more and more of this on food labels, and that is thanks to the huge movement from consumers demanding better quality food.  This is what I always look for when I buy my eggs at the supermarket.  Just because it says “cage-free” doesn’t mean it was allowed to roam around a farm and eat it’s natural food-source.  Remember, you are what you eat!
  • Healthy:  Many food companies will make the claim that their product is considered “healthy.”  WATCH YOUR FOOD LABELS!  If the ingredient lists contains a slew of words you can’t pronounce or they have a lot of numbers in them, place it back on the shelf.  Many people are floored when they realize what they thought was a healthy food to eat really wasn’t, especially when they could never figure out the cause behind weight gain or other health issues.  Labels are your best bet, not what is printed on the front of the package.

Buying good, quality food does not have to be a challenge.  You just need to educate yourself a bit and be proactive when it comes to purchasing.  We, alone, are the ones in charge of our well-being, and the habits we develop to become healthier will only funnel over into the next generation.  Maybe one day we will see the end of harmful preservatives and chemicals placed in our food supply.

For more information on healthy living ideas, visit my website at http://www.lifestylelistener.com or my Facebook page, @lifestylelistener for recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Happy shopping, and until next time,

Cheers

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Ruminate This!

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Do you ever have those nights when you wake up around 3 in the morning, your mind starts spinning, and suddenly you are mentally jotting down all the things you have to get accomplished for the next day?  This was me yesterday morning, and there was no going back to sleep.

I woke up and looked at my alarm clock, which read 3:30 AM. “Ugh,” I thought to myself. “Here we go.”  I knew what was going to happen in the next few moments because I had gone to bed thinking about something that was weighing on my heart. So the moment my eyeballs popped open, my mind went straight to that situation and the horses started sprinting for the finish line.  I tossed and turned until about 5 AM, then finally gave up and went downstairs to make coffee.

As I wrote in my journal that morning, I realized there is a repeat pattern here and I feel I am not the only one doing this sort of thing.  Psychology Today has a name for this sort of thing, called “rumination.”  Ruminating is basically when we have something on our mind, a problem or worry, and we continue to think about it until it winds up causing our minds to go into a tailspin of anxiety and depression.  Of course some situations are worse than others, but if you find yourself waking up constantly over a specific worry or concern, you could be setting yourself up for something worse than just a trip to the bathroom or a drink of water.

When I am out do dinner with my lady friends the topic of not sleeping seems to always come up among us.  I have consciously made a note of how many individuals do this sort of thing, and pretty much most of us are getting up at some point in the night.  This also means none of us are giving our bodies the rest they need.  I am not saying we all are suffering from anxiety or depression, but when you think about the typical stress levels we place upon ourselves on a daily basis, ruminating is likely to happen.  I recently listened to an audio lecture about dealing with stress and worry. The constant theme that came up in this series was how our stressed-out society never takes a break from what we place on ourselves, resulting in all sorts of health issues.  One of those issues is, of course, lack of sleep.

Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to keep our bodies and minds healthy, so when you don’t get enough, your entire system can get out of whack. Sounds awesome, right?  So do you find yourself constantly waking up at night stressed or worried about the next day or about a list of problems?  What can you do?

Well, there are several things you can try to help get your mind out of the “rumin-rut.”

One way you can break the cycle of worry and stress is to just try and laugh more during your day.  Stop taking yourself so seriously all the time and get some good guffaws in.  Think about a funny time, or look at pictures of fun memories.  It’s much better to have laughing wrinkles than frowning wrinkles!

Find someone you can talk to in confidence.  Getting things off your chest and out in the open is a great way to work through a problem or situation.  Keeping things bottled up inside will only cause the issue to fester and eat at your mind.

Find ways to relax, even if it’s just for five minutes.  Give your brain a chance to decompress and break up the monotony of your daily grind.  Meditate, go for a short walk, sit down and listen to calming music, take a coffee break and read a book. Whatever it is that gives you peace of mind, do it, and do it for at least five to ten minutes each day.

We are responsible for our own cognitive health, and that means taking the bull by the horns and finding ways to fix the stress we have in life.  Things may not go any slower for you, but you need to take care of your brain and get your rest.  Trust me, your mind and your body will thank you.

Until next time,

Cheers

Discovering a New and Healthy You

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Do you ever think about the day after a holiday?  Like after Christmas or July 4th, and the stores have all the decorations reduced down.  It takes the wind out of my sail a bit when I see those lonely decorations, unused and unwanted on their shelf.  The day after Valentine’s Day is like that for me, not because all the pink and red heart decorations are left un-purchased.  No, for me February 15 marks the anniversary of my dad’s death.  But this year is a little different for me.  I am turning a day that is usually filled with sadness into something positive.  Today, I am officially putting myself out there in the world as a certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  And with that announcement comes my personal website that offers information on what I do and the various ways I can help people discover the healthiest, happiest version of themselves.

My journey to living a healthy lifestyle did not always start on an easy track. I have posted about my experience with battling an eating disorder in college, so I won’t go into excessive detail here. If you want to get that whole story, check out my post “The Shadow of Control.” It will be filed under February of 2017 on this blog, http://www.myglasstoshare.com. This piece basically lines out how I ended up where I am today in regards to healthy eating habits and beneficial lifestyle routines.

My passion for good nutrition and overall wellness practices started when I was in my twenties, continuing on and growing stronger as I entered my thirties. Now as I approach my forties, I feel so blessed and excited to have the knowledge I do under my belt so I can help others around me get on track with their own lives.

Health and nutrition, well, those can be tricky subjects. There is so much information out there about what the “correct” way to live should be, or who has the best diet to loose weight or detoxify your liver. But what I learned, and absolutely loved, about the certification program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition was their belief that everyone is a bio-individual. What is considered one individual’s perfect diet plan may be completely toxic for another. Bio-individuality is the key when it comes to finding the perfect food plan to follow for your body.

Another important aspect to having a healthy lifestyle is finding balance in areas outside the kitchen. Relationships matter and have a huge impact on your overall well-being. A career that is stressful, or a lack of physical activity are other areas important to keep balanced when trying to be healthy and whole. My training program calls these things “Primary Foods.” We get so hung up on thinking diet is the way to a balanced life, we tend to forget the other things going on that can affect the “what” we eat and the “why” we eat.

It has taken myself a few years to figure out my own balance with my life, as well as with my diet regiment. And I feel my experiences, my knowledge, and my ability to just simply sit back and listen helps me put power back into YOUR hands. You will be the designer of this new pathway to balance and health. I will simply provide you the much needed support and tools to get you there. So stop trying the latest fad diet, or running yourself mentally into the ground with obligations and commitments. Let’s do this together because being healthy doesn’t have to be hard!

For more information and to contact me for a free consultation, visit http://www.lifestylelistener.com.