I admit I’ve got some serious hoarder tendencies, especially when it comes to food. While I’m not especially proud of my mismatched assortment of Pyrex and Tupperware, I have to say that opening the door and seeing those myriad containers of leftover food makes me feel good.
by The FIRM nutrition expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.
Spring has sprung! So let’s use this change in seasons to motivate us to clean out our kitchens — and our nutrition plans while we’re at it.
There might be something wrong with your inner tube, and it could be making you sick and overweight. You may not even realize you have a problem … But if you have health concerns of any kind, or you are overweight, your inner tube could be the root cause. Of course, I’m not talking about a beach toy. I mean the inner tube of life — your digestive system.
Did you know that the brain has the same chemical reaction to sugary and fatty foods as it does to cocaine or nicotine? According to Dr. Pam Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix, the chemical reaction happens before you even eat the food — all you have to do is think about it!
Dr. Peeke recently appeared on GaiamTV.com’s Gaiam Inspirations to talk about America’s food addiction and how to retrain your brain to make healthier choices. Dr. Peeke’s interest in the topic of food addiction started because of the way her patients talked about food. “I can’t get off this stuff.” “The withdrawal is killing me.” They sounded like drug addicts, and she started to wonder if there was a connection between food and addiction.
She found that there’s a very striking connection — and the same centers of the brain are involved that regulate drug addiction. And, she says, don’t think for a second the food industry hasn’t figured this out.
The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.
Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.
The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Mindy Fenske
A while back, I took a teaching sabbatical and worked out of my house for a few months. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved having the flexibility of working from home, but I had a small problem.
I would be working diligently at my computer, tap-tap-tapping the keyboard, when, all of a sudden, my fingers would stop. Then my legs would stand me up and walk me into the kitchen and, before I even realized what was happening, my hand would be force-feeding chips into my open mouth. It was as if my body was possessed by aliens!
Looking to add more kick to your oatmeal, baked goods and salad toppings? Why not give these super seeds a try?
Grain-like seeds such as chia and teff have been gaining popularity in the mainstream over the past few years. And what’s not to enjoy? They are versatile, gluten-free nutrition powerhouses rich in protein and fiber, among other important nutrients.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelly Branning
I am a Libra. Although I don’t read my horoscope, I do identify with those scales that represent my sign. Balance, balance and more balance. It is a daily challenge to keep those scales from tipping over. One side seems overloaded with the things we do for others and the outside world, like family, career, social life and housework. The other side of the scale, including exercise and nutrition, usually threatens to let go at any time.
I think the absolute foundation of a balanced life is good self-care, coupled with good self-awareness. That said … how are you doing? How is your eating? Do you get everything you need from the foods you eat? Hopefully you are eating healthy, life-affirming foods every 3-4 hours. How about exercise? Are you finding a little time to work out and get stronger? If you don’t know how you are doing, let’s take some time to figure it out.
Our friends at Vega are launching Vega Energizing Smoothie, a delicious and convenient nutrient boost!
Unlike traditional smoothie mixes, you only need water (or juice) to shake and go. Every serving also comes with two servings of veggies; 10 g of complete, plant-based protein; 5 g of fiber and 1 g of Omega-3. Available in four mouth-watering flavors: mixed tropical fruits, chocolate, vanilla almond and berries (plus an unflavored natural).
Get energized and win
Because we’re big smoothie fans here at the Gaiam office, we’re helping celebrate the launch by sponsoring Vega’s Get Energized Photo Contest! From now through July 31, head over to Vega’s Get Energized Photo Contest page on Facebook and show the world how you #GetEnergized.
One of the biggest things you can do to support and encourage responsibly raised food is to vote with your wallet. You may be patronizing CSAs and farmers’ markets for local produce, buying organic brands from your supermarket, and studying nutrition labels for evils like high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives. But if you’re eating in restaurants blissfully ignorant of where the food on your plate comes from, then you might be undermining your efforts.
Choose the food you eat in restaurants just as wisely as what you choose to eat at home, and your choices will be more likely to influence the foodservice community to change their ways and offer more environmentally friendly choices on their menus. Plus, with restaurants, being green goes beyond the food they serve — restaurants can, and should, be conservative with energy usage, use eco-responsible construction methods, and treat their staff fairly.
Do a little research on the restaurants in your area, or before you travel to other cities, to find businesses that care about the environment. These tips will help you make the best choices: