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Diet and Depression

Americans are suffering from depression at alarming rates today. Depression and its medical treatment with medications is in the news far too often lately. One staggering statistic states that almost 8% of Americans over the age of 12 are suffering from this disorder.  This disordered mood state affects the daily lives of those affected as well as their families, their workplace and even the economy.

What Affects Mood?

Patients who are diagnosed with depression are often treated with medication without consideration of dietary habits. Recently in 2016, a group decided to do just that. They discovered that those who ate less processed foods had fewer depressive symptoms. Furthermore the study demonstrated that vegetarians here happier than meat eaters.

Neurochemicals

Monamine Oxidase (MAO)

Depression has been linked to both brain inflammation and neurochemical transmitter imbalances. Medications for depression symptoms balance these neurotransmitters as their mechanism of action. One such medication that is a monamine oxidase (MAO), and in depressed people this chemical is too high. This is important because high levels of this result in rapid breakdown of the neurotransmitters needed for feeling good emotionally. Too much MAO leads to too little serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

There are some readily available foods that contain another chemical called quercetin that act as a MAO inhibitor. When you inhibit the high levels of MAO then the serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine can return to normal levels. These normal levels mean that mood can improve. These quercetin containing foods include apple, kale, berries, grapes, onion and green tea.

Seratonin

Serotonin, mentioned above is one of the feel good neurotransmitters. Proper amounts of serotonin are necessary for a happy mood. Serotonin is made from amino acids in our bodies that we consume from foods.  One of those amino acids is Tryptophan. Meat is high in this amino acid, however the high concentration of it actually results in a competitive situation where there is less of it available for the brain. To improve the ratio of tryptophan that is available to the brain, consume a diet rich in plant based complex carbohydrates. These are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Inflammation

Inflammation in the body tissues including the brain, is linked to diets high in processed foods. Arachidonic acid, also called Omega 6, is a polysaccharide fat. This chemical cause’s inflammation in the body and can result in depressive mood symptoms. With increased inflammation in the tissues of the body, the immune system is over stimulated. When our immune systems are over stimulated feelings of anxiety, stress, hopelessness can prevail. Foods that have noted to have high levels of this chemical include chicken, eggs and other animal products. Studies are showing that reducing these foods in the daily diet can improve mental health.

We know that plants are high in phytochemicals and therefore also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that will pick up and neutralize free radicals that wreak havoc on body cells and tissues by causing inflammation.

Foods for Mood

Limit

Animal proteins

Increase

Plant based Omega 3’s: walnuts, flax seeds, leafy greens, sunflower seeds, watercress, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, broccoli and peas.

Complex carbohydrates: whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

“Rather than resorting to medications, following a plant-based diet, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, from fruits and vegetables, can serve as an inexpensive, natural and noninvasive therapeutic means to support mental health”.

Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine 2015

If you are thinking of taking your life, please don’t. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Call a suicide hotline and speak to someone!

If you are currently taking medication for depression do not decrease or stop taking the medication. Make the dietary changes suggested above and then talk to your prescribing provider about the possibility of stopping the medicine.

I have seen some very sad people change into joyful ones when they make a plan to regain their health and they stick to it.

My book, Second Chance at Health can be your guide.

 Purchase my book by clicking this link- Buy Book Now

Reference:

Food and Mood: Eating Plants to Fight the Blues. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 06232015.

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The Empty Nest

Are you and empty nester? The empty nest phase of our lives can be scary. Empty nester’s are those of us whose children have left the home and are finding their own way. Some may find this to be a difficult phase to adjust to. It may lead to feeling lost, depressed and lonely.

This major life transition is real. But there are actions you can take to lead to positive change. By being proactive and aware of your feeling you use this time to rediscover and redefine yourself.

Mid-Life Changes

Mid-life is a time of transition. You may be experiencing personal changes, health changes, relationship changes, career changes and more. While some mid-lifer’s may still have children at home, perhaps due to a second marriage and a second family, or perhaps raising grandchildren, many are now empty nesters, and you may be one of them.

We are now happy empty nesters. But it wasn’t always so . Our transition occurred six years ago when my youngest daughter left for college (and she was only 30 minutes away).  I struggled with my identity as a person because I have been a full time mother since I was 18. It became real to me after she was dropped off at her dorm. I realized then that I had no longer had any children at home.

It took me a few months of tears, irritability, work problems and marriage problems to identify that the source of my stress and sadness was being an empty nester. However once I began to understand this phase in my life was the source of the unrest, I sought help. It took me about six months with help from my doctor and a caring husband to begin blossoming into this new phase of my life.

Start a New Life

Being active at mid-life can ease the transition into the new phase of your life. Mid-life can be the most amazing opportunity to rediscover yourself by being proactive.

The Silvernest team has written a great blog on some actions to take to ease the transition to a new and amazing you. Check out their blog:  How Empty Nesters can Benefit from an Active Lifestyle.

Being active and eating a healthy diet is paramount to health at any age, but particularly middle age. I have an easy to follow guide that will help you navigate the health issues of mid-life, how to monitor them, how to choose the right exercise and eating plan and more. Check out my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

If you liked this blog, please like, comment and share on your social media.

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Prescription for Improved Health-Go Outside!

Guest Author: Amy Britton, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Americans increasingly spend more time indoors, over 90% according to one survey. Yet most of us intuitively know that spending time in nature makes us feel good. Maybe that’s why we putter around making our yards and patios inviting and why we seek to spend our vacations in areas known for their natural beauty, whether they be mountains, beaches, or forests.

Nature Matters

Now researchers are backing that notion up with hard data and can even quantify the “dose” needed to benefit our health. A large (n> 19000) study conducted in England published June 2019 indicated that accumulating at least 120 minutes per week of recreational contact in nature (not including time in their own gardens) resulted in a higher likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being, compared to those who had no nature contact within the previous week. The results held across various age groups and socioeconomic status levels. Also, it didn’t matter how the time was divvied up; visits could be in a large chunk or several shorter intervals.

Benefits

While this study is limited in that the outcome measures were self-reported, other smaller studies provide evidence that contact with natural settings can have tangible benefits such as reduced salivary cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increased heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is an indicator of physiologic stress, with decreased heart rate variability recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

More time spent outdoors has even also been correlated with a reduced risk of myopia (nearsightedness) in children, even in those whose parents are myopic. 

Game Plan

Some suggested ways to increase your exposure to the great outdoors include:

  1. enjoying your morning beverage out on your patio
  2. Making your usual treadmill run or walk out on a park trail
  3. Enjoying lunch at a café with outdoor seating,
  4. Walking to your destination instead of using a vehicle whenever possible.

Taking your exercise outside is an easy way to incorporate nature into your day. If you need help deciding what type of exercise plan to begin order my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. This book is an easy read guide that will help you discover the best plan for you to regain your health.

Please like, comment and share if you love this post.

Sources:

KLEPEIS et al., “The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants.” https://www.nature.com/articles/7500165

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3

White WP, Alcock I, Grellier J, et al. (2019, June) Scientific Reports vol 9 “Spending at Least 120 Minutes a Week in Nature Is Associated with Good Health and Wellbeing.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5814008/ Razani, N., Morshed, S., Kohn, M. A., Wells, N. M., Thompson, D., Alqassari, M., … Rutherford, G. W. (2018). Effect of park prescriptions with and without group visits to parks on stress reduction in low-income parents: SHINE randomized trial. PloS one13(2), e0192921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192921

French AN, Ashby RS, Morgan IG, Rose KA. 2013. Time outdoors and the prevention of myopia. Exp Eye Res 114:58–68, PMID: 23644222, 10.1016/j.exer.2013.04.018.

Gladwell, V. F., Kuoppa, P., Tarvainen, M. P., & Rogerson, M. (2016). A Lunchtime Walk in Nature Enhances Restoration of Autonomic Control during Night-Time Sleep: Results from a Preliminary Study. International journal of environmental research and public health13(3), 280. doi:10.3390/ijerph13030280

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Ten Symptoms of Low Thyroid

Senior Couple Exercising In Park

Keep Your Energy

The thyroid is the energy management center of your body. It regulates your cells as the most basic level. Without adequate thyroid function you can experience physical changes.

What does the Thyroid Do?

The thyroid is a small gland located in your throat area that helps manage your metabolism. When it functions properly your energy is stable and your body systems work appropriately.

Here are 10 common symptoms of low thyroid functioning:

  1. Dry skin: this occurs due because the skin is not as active in replenishing itself and the old skin is not being pushed off at its usual rate. (thick heel callus).
  2. Hair loss: this happens because the hair follicles are less active due to less energy available- and hair formation is not a life preserving necessity, so your body makes a decision to use the limited energy elsewhere.
  3. Brittle and slow growing nails: this happens for the same reason as hair loss. Nails are not necessary for life.
  4. Loss of outer 3rd of your eyebrow: this is an interesting sign, and it happens for the same reason that hair loss and nail changes occur.
  5. Fatigue: simply put, the cells are not producing energy and the decreased energy they do produce result in a deficit when you are doing your activities of daily living
  6. Yawning: excessive yawning, indicating an air hunger for your cells, resulting from the decreased energy available for your daily activities.
  7. Changes in menstrual cycle: the hormone systems are all interconnected and rely on homeostasis and proper functioning. You may miss periods if you are hypothyroid.
  8. Constipation and sluggish digestion: this is a result of decreased energy available for the cells responsible for the digestion process.
  9. Muscle and joint pains: our muscles and joints rely on energy to work properly, if there is not enough energy to do so, metabolites can build up resulting discomfort.
  10. Weight gain: this happens because our metabolism is slowed down; the cells do not have the energy to process our food as energy, so it stores it as fat.

What to do if you have these symptoms?

Checking to see if you have a thyroid problem is as simple as a lab test. The lab test is called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH.  When this level is out of the normal range I recommend to further testing identify the specific hormones that are abnormal.

Some endocrinologist’s prefer to have the TSH drawn as a fasting lab, so don’t eat 8-12 hours before this lab test. There are other lab tests in addition to the TSH that can help identify if the issue is an autoimmune issue like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or something else. The lab will usually have a range for the results and any number higher or lower than that range should be evaluated by your medical professional.

If you identify with some of these common symptoms, see your primary care provider for evaluation! You can also visit my Ulta Lab Test Nursechrisp site and order the lab test at a discounted rate to see what your TSH level is. If it is normal, then you can will know that this condition is not a contributing factor to your symptoms.

How Is Low Thyroid Treated?

The treatment for a simple hypothyroid condition (the absence of a more serious illness) is an oral thyroid supplement.  Your doctor will  monitor with blood draws and will adjust the does to ensure an adequate level.

What if my Level is Normal?

If your thyroid level is normal and you still experience some of these symptoms improving your lifestyle can help.

Here are my recommendations:

  1. No processed foods
  2. No added sugar
  3. No fast food
  4. Walk 10,000 steps per day
  5. Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep per day
  6. Eat wholesome foods in the right quantity
  7. Limit alcohol to one drink per day
  8. Pray/meditate daily
  9. Drink enough water
  10. Limit medications

Whether you have an identified thyroid issue or not, excess weight at mid-life needs to be addressed so that you can be as healthy as you can be! Improving your nutrition through clean eating along with increasing daily movement is the way to do it!

I would love to guide you through the maze of choosing eating and movement plans! I have written an ebook called, Second Chance at Health – Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating that simplifies this for you!

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Food Sources of Vitamin D

Natural foods rich in vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to maintaining a healthy body. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our modern age for a variety of reasons. The main reasons include our indoor lifestyle and use of skin protectant. There are not very many natural food sources for vitamin D.

Science is not infallible, we must change our thinking when new information is exposed, and this pertains to the importance of vitamin D. In this post I will describe what Vitamin D is, how it helps our bodies, symptoms of deficiency,  the recommended amounts to consume each day and the food sources that you can eat to obtain your Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that we obtain from food or our environment via the sun, or supplements. Vitamin D is stored in the human liver and fat from exposure during the sunny periods, for utilization during the winter, less sunny season. We have circumvented this natural process by limiting our exposure to sun in the summer months with sunscreen, clothes and a lifestyle of avoiding the sun.

The dermatologists have scared us to the point of damage. Skin cancer is a concern, but so is vitamin D deficiency

What does vitamin D do in our bodies?

  • Regulates the immune system
  • Regulates neuromuscular function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Required for bone strength
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Decreases the risk for depression
  • Reduces risk for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • May reduce risk for certain cancers

What are signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Classic signs are rickets (which is an old disease of the bone) and osteomlacia. This is related to the interaction of vitamin D and calcium for bone strength. Subtle bone pain and fatigue can be symptoms that are missed with a Vitamin D deficiency. We do know that low Vitamin D can result in osteoporosis. Additionally, there is some evidence that colon cancer, diabetes type 2, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

The medical conditions above demonstrate the broad array of physical effects from inadequate Vitamin D, and can seem nonspecific. However, a lab test can be a good place to start to identify your levels.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Certain people are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and some of them include those who have indoor lifestyles, dark skinned people, infants who are nursed for a prolonged time. Additionally, men and women who have had gastric bypass or have inflammatory bowel disease appear to have limited ability to absorb it via their gut. Older adults are also at risk; this may be due to their tendency to be indoors. Medications can also put people at deficiency. It is known that steroids and certain cholesterol medicines as well as anti-epileptic medicine can interrupt the absorption and result in a deficiency.

What are the most common sources of vitamin D?         

Sun

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It is synthesized in the skin, by a certain wavelength in the sun’s rays; wave length 290-320 nanometers, penetrates the skin and synthesized through a chemical process to previtamin D which then converts to vitamin D.

We know that sun is a source, but this article is about the food sources of Vitamin D. The food sources are limited, but let’s review them now.

Food

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. Cow’s milk has been fortified with vitamin d for years.

Interestingly, the foods that are high in vitamin D are ones that are found in the sea. I always wondered why Eskimos who lived in the north- who had no sun for months, survived. Well, once again, God takes care of his humans. Blubber or muktuk, as its called by the Inuit/Eskimos of Alaska and Canada is high in vitamin C and vitamin D. Citrus is difficult to come by in the arctic, God is good.

 Ok, so we won’t be eating whale blubber, but we can eat wild caught salmon, wild caught mackerel, cod liver, tuna, and sardines.

The cow is a good source of vitamin D in the flesh and the calf liver. Egg yolks also have vitamin D. Dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D are also a good source, like cheese, or yoghurt made with the fortified milk.

Enhanced mushrooms have been developed to be an additional food source.

This is a table from a trusted website, National Institute of Health (see references) for food sources.

Food Sources
FoodIUs per serving*Percent DV**
Cod liver oil, 1 table-
spoon
1,360340
Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces566142
Salmon (sockeye),
cooked, 3 ounces
447112
Tuna fish, canned in water, drained,
3 ounces
15439
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup13734
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup115-12429-31
Yogurt, fortified with
20% of the DV for
vitamin D, 6 ounces
8020
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon6015
Sardines, canned in oil, drained,
2 sardines
4612
Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces4211
Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk)4110
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup4010
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce62

#1

Recommended Numbers and Blood Levels

Recommended Daily Amounts of Vitamin D (RDA) varies depending on age and gender. Middle aged adults should be consuming 600 IU.

The lab value to aim for via a blood test for 25(OH)D is >30ng/ml.

This level should be the goal via sun, food and supplements.

Vitamin D research continues and its importance is becoming increasingly clear. To optimize your Vitamin D levels to reduce your risk for deficiency, ensure that you go outside for 20 minutes during the day without sunscreen, include food sources weekly, and take supplements to ensure that your levels are optimal.

You can go to your primary care provider to obtain a blood test, or you can go to my Ulta website and order it yourself and take the results to the doctor if they are abnormal.

Choosing healthy foods and staying active is paramount to reduce your risk for experiencing lifestyle related diseases. My book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can help you find the best eating plans and movement plans for you!

Reference:

1. Vitamin D for Health Professionals/Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

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5 Foods for Weight Loss

While there are not any magic foods to eat for weight loss, these are my favorite foods to eat for weight loss or weight management.  I will recommend foods from the common food categories and that can easily be found and any grocery store.

Incorporate these foods into a low calorie diet by ensuring the proper serving size. If you are on a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, the sweet potato carbohydrate content is too high.  Soups are great options on all programs with the proper ingredients.

Vegetables

1. Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite vegetables is Brussel sprouts (and I actually don’t like many vegetables). This vegetable comes from the cabbage family, but they aren’t baby cabbages. They grow on a stalk. ¾ of a cup of Brussel sprouts have a measly 80 calories. Additionally, can be eaten fresh, or frozen. They are high in fiber which helps with satiation. They are also high in vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A and iron.

One of my favorite ways to prepare them is cut them in half, coat them in healthy olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crispy.

2. Chicken

Chicken without the skin is a versatile protein source that will help with weight loss because it is satiating. A proper sized portion is approximately 3-4 oz. Adequate protein is necessary for weight loss so that you can preserve your muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. A serving of chicken will provide approximately 190 calories, 35 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat.

My favorite preparation is to pound the breast slightly flat, season with salt and pepper and cook in a teaspoon of healthy oil.

3. Raspberries

Some nutritionists would recommend not eating fruit on a weight loss program but if there was one fruit that could be included it is the raspberry. Raspberries are little packages that pack a punch. They contain naturally occurring ketones that some companies have capitalized one. The raspberry ketones are said to assist the body in accessing fat from fat cells for energy. You could use the raspberry ketone supplement, but you can also just include the fruit itself. I am a fan of eating natural whole foods rather than eating supplements. Raspberries are a low calorie fruit; in 1 cup you will consume only 65 calories. They pack a fantastic amount of necessary vitamins as well. They are rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, B-6, and even protein.

My favorite way to eat raspberries is eating them fresh out of the package (after washing).

4. Sweet Potato

Yes, even the sweet potato can be used for weight loss. They are high in fiber, which helps for satiation, and have a low glycemic effect, which helps prevent sugar fluctuations that can lead to over eating. One 5 “ long sweet potato has far fewer calories than one would imagine. The calorie count for this size vegetable is approximately 112 calories. This amazing vegetable provides substantial amounts of Vitamin A, and significant amounts of fiber, potassium and B-6, and lesser amounts of Vitamin C, and iron.

My favorite way to prepare this vegetable is cut it into 1 inch wedges and coat with a healthy oil and salt and pepper and bake. I also love sweet potato soup.

5. Soups

Ok this isn’t actually a food, but it can be a simply fabulous staple to any weight loss and weigh maintenance program. Homemade soup will be the healthiest choice because you will be able to manage the ingredients, and fat content. Broth based soups with copious amounts of vegetables and some tasty lean protein can fill you up easily.

My grandmother made the most delicious tomato/broth based soup that I have ever tasted. It was full of green beans, carrots, and maybe a potato or two.

No Magic Foods

In my experience the best eating plans that are sustainable include the foods that people like to eat in the proper portion size. Portion size is incredibly important as portions eaten are usually 2 to 2 1/2 times larger than they should be.

There are no magic weight loss foods, but these foods can be eaten for weight loss. Eat a clean healthy diet. Ensure that the foods are in their most natural form. Eat them if they walked, swam, flew or grew. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

If you want more guidance on how to gain health with clean eating order my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

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I – Is for Increase for Fitness after 40

 

I-I can do everything though him who gives me strength. Philippians, 4:13

I is for Increase: Increasing the number of servings of fruits and vegetable into your daily diet can improve your digestion and lead to weight loss.

While fruits and even some vegetables are demonized as being “full of sugar”, they also provide many other nutrients along with those sugars.

So if there is a choice between a Snickers bar and an apple. You know which one to choose.

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Meal Delivery for Fitness after 40

The convenience of home meal delivery has taken off, and 2 years ago, when my husband and I became empty nesters, we hopped on the bandwagon, and have never looked back. We have used Blue Apron from the beginning, only because they enticed us with free meals. And we have never looked back. Per my commitment to my readers, I only review or give my opinion of products that I have personal experience with. Blue Apron is the food delivery system company that we use on a weekly basis, and have since 2015.

Convenient, healthy, good value and pure deliciousness are all ways that I describe my Blue Apron meal delivery. These meals are so delicious that most days my husband and I remark that it is hard to decide which bite to take last.

I need to make a confession, I abhor cooking, and that might not be a strong enough word. I don’t enjoy chopping, grating, pressing or any other cooking related activity. However, Blue Apron’s food is so delicious that I will endure the process so that I can eat the gourmet dishes that are produced in my kitchen.

How Blue Apron has Enhanced My Life

Blue Apron has enhanced my life in many ways. It has improved my marriage. Wait. What? Yes, my husband and I do more cooking together than we ever did before, and cooking together has improved our marriage. This has occurred because we have to work together to create the meals. It has enhanced our days because the hour or so spent together chopping, cooking and cleaning has increased our communication!

So these meals are good for your body, and your marriage. It has encouraged me to eat a large variety of foods. Blue Apron has me eating more kale, spinach and fish than ever. I eat more vegetables than ever. Our use of healthy olive oil is probably in the gallons. We purchase pepper corns and pink Himalayan sea salt by the bag.

But can they be used to enhance your fitness after 40 you ask. I wholeheartedly say yes. The variety of meals offered can fit into many of the eating plans that I recommend in my book.

The weekly selection is varied and even has options for Whole30. The produce is organic, the fish and meat are sustainabley produced and without additives. The portion sizes of the sides are almost always serve 3-4 (we purchase for 2 adults). The protein portions are right sized.

We find that the recipes are easy to modify to meet our calorie needs. That means I don’t eat all of it and manage portion size. That’s it. That is how you can use the food delivery system to attain and maintain your weight loss and fitness goals after 40. You can enjoy rich tasting delicious food that is conveniently delivered to your home, have very little waste and stay trim and healthy.

Blue Apron has not paid me for this endorsement, perhaps one day I will be considered and influencer and they will, but for now…my opinion is…give it a try.

Benefits of Blue Apron

Blue Apron meals are versatile and can be incorporated into many special eating plans. They can be incorporated into a low carb, high protein, low calorie, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan or Paleo diet.  These are programs that I recommend in my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. The food is delivered weekly in a refrigerated box, which can easily be recycled. There is no waste, the produce is fresh and delicious, the meats and fish are high quality.

The variety of meals available makes selection easy even for the pickiest of eaters. The directions are clear and easy to follow. The time to prep and cook are reasonable at the worst and fast and quick at best. Clean up is a snap because it usually is just one pan (at most two).

How it Works

Blue Apron offers pre-packaged meals with minimal to moderate preparation required. Usually 30-45 minutes total time. They offer packages for two and for families. The cost per meal is around $10. Meal selection is easy, and can be changed week by week. You can customize your selections up to the week before your scheduled delivery. You select your delivery day, and they will adjust the actual date if there is a holiday interrupting the scheduled. The meals come with large, easy to follow instruction sheets, and are also available on their app. They have a video instruction on preparation techniques and also a store where you can purchase cookware, spices.

There are many meal delivery companies out there, give them a try. They can easily fit into any eating plan, they can fit most budgets, and they can make you feel like a chef.

Order your copy of my book Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating .

Bon Apetit!

 

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Smoking and Fitness After 40

Smoking and tobacco can negatively affect your health and your fitness. Hitting 40 can hit you in face, or it can creep up on you…depending on your personality. Facing the big 4-0 will often have you looking in the reflection in the mirror and wondering…”Am I OK with who I am?” .

Heading into your 40’s can result in an appraisal of your health, something that was not at the forefront of your thinking up until now. Aches and pains you never had, the realization that your father had his first heart attack in his late 40’s can all trigger this reevaluation of your habits and of your state of health. You can regain your health and I show you how in my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

This is often the time that smokers may feel or be told that the tobacco they are using is actually affecting their bodies in a negative way. No longer is the nicotine fix an entirely positive experience because it is negatively affecting their bodies.

Is Smoking Making You Sick?

They have now been told that they have high blood pressure, or they notice that they are experiencing increased bouts of bronchitis and even pneumonia! If a health care provider has been honest with them, they were told that their smoking is a contributing factor to these things.

It is difficult to stop something that you enjoy doing…unless one can see that it is doing harm. It is amazing to me that humans are so capable of harming their physical bodies with habits/compulsions.

This blog is not going to address the genetic component to any human behaviors (over eating, smoking or drinking). That is beyond the scope or the intent of the blog. What I do want to do is give you specific actions. Actions  that you can take today if you are ready to or even thinking about stopping your tobacco use.

The first and most important step is to determine your readiness to stop smoking. Notice I did not stay QUIT. One smoker friend of mine told me he IS a smoker, he just STOPPED smoking. He did not stop being a smoker.

Often your medical insurance carrier has a tobacco cessation program that you can sign up for. These programs are often free. So explore that option.

There are medications that can assist with tobacco cessation. Your personal doctor may be willing to prescribe them for you. Certain companies have limitations on the medications used for this, so check with employer to ensure that you are in compliance with their policy.

Tips to STOP Smoking

Here are my suggestions to my patients:

  1. Choose a stop date
  2. Choose a nicotine replacement if you are not going to stop “cold turkey”
  3. Use water bottles that have pop up tabs that you need to “suck” on to drink
    • I recommend this because of the hand to mouth-> suck action that has occurred thousands and thousands of times while you have been smoking. This action needs to be addressed early on or it will cause anxiety to increase. I found that this helps with flushing the system with water, and the hand->mouth->suck action is maintained.
  4. Use tooth picks to manage the mouth activity
  5. Decide to stopping smoking in one smoking area a week
  6. Remove one cigarette from a pack a day
  7. Consider carrying an empty pack with one cigarette only
  8. Choose a support/accountability buddy
  9. Check in with that buddy weekly or more often
  10. Expect some anxiety and irritability
  11. Be KIND to yourself if you use tobacco after your quit date

If you restart smoking, don’t worry. Just stop again. Don’t stop stopping.

Regaining your fitness after 40 is not impossible. It will take work but the benefits are amazing.

If you would like assistance in learning to incorporate activity and improved diet into your life, I can help.

To learn more click on the book. To purchase use the link below.

Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating to begin your journey.

You don’t have to do this alone!