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Stress Reduction through Nutrition

We lead incredibly busy, and often stressful lives, and it’s important every single day to take time out to manage and reduce your stress. There are ways you can do that through your nutrition. Stress has a negative effect on your body’s resistance to disease, and also chips away at your immune system. Increasing your intake of antioxidants and other immune system boosters can counteract that effect. 

Stress and Your Waistline

One of the most annoying signs of stress is an expanding waistline. Your body wants to store body fat in that area when you’re under stress, like a flight or fight response. When we’re stressed, the body releases hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol increases abdominal fat storage, which increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  

When you’re stressed it absolutely impacts your food choices.

Tips to Manage and Reduce Stress.

#1: Sleep

Lack of sleep (7-9 hours is optimal) increases your appetite hormones. When ghrelin increases, you'll feel hungrier and will be more drawn to eat. Inadequate sleep will increase ghrelin in your stomach by about 22%. Here's more about the connection between your hunger hormones, your appetite and your weight

#2: Remove “Comfort Foods” From Your House

People tend to crave carbohydrates, aka: "comfort foods," when they’re stressed and there’s a reason for this. Carbs (starch and sugar) actually prompt the brain to produce more serotonin, which gives you a release—a sense of calmness. Someone who’s stressed may consume a lot of food, or eat the wrong food, or both. Common comfort foods include pizza, cheese, chocolates, ice cream, candy, and chips, so get them out of the house so they won't tempt you when you're stressed out. 

#3: Increase Fruits and Vegetables

Make fruits and vegetables your new comfort foods. They contain antioxidants that work to neutralize harmful molecules produced when your body is under stress.

#4: Include Avocados

Avocados may keep the stress away. They’re loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats and potassium, both which help stabilize stress levels and support a healthy blood pressure.

#5: Increase Omega-3 Rich Foods

They help prevent those stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, from peaking which keeps stress levels at bay. Good sources of omega-3 rich foods include fish and walnuts. 

#6: Eliminate Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Foods (aka: trans fatty acids)

These fats lead to free radical damage to cells. A high-fat diet suppresses the immune system. The wrong kinds of fat also have a negative effect on your circulatory system and increase your risk of developing heart disease.

#7: Eat Your Vitamin C

Chronic stress depletes vitamin C. Vitamin C manages stress levels by returning the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, to normal after a stressful situation. This includes helping to return your blood pressure back to a normal level after a stressful situation.

#8: Decrease Caffeine

Caffeine exacerbate your stress. Swap your morning cup of Joe for a cup of decaf green tea. It’s high in antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals that cause stress to our body and contribute to disease. If you’re somebody who suffers from stress related insomnia, decreasing caffeine may allow for better sleep and that can reduce your stress levels as well.

#9: Avoid Sugar

It has a rebound effect, which causes your energy levels to crash after that initial sugar rush.  

#10: Include High-Fiber Foods Throughout The Day

Carbohydrates increase serotonin production in our bodies, so we get that feel good mood enhancer, but the type of carbohydrate is extremely important. Stick to high-fiber whole grains because the fiber slows down digestion. By slowing down digestion, your blood sugar levels remain stable which keeps our energy levels from plummeting. 

#11: Be Prepared

Carry a snack at all times. Eating something every 3-4 hours manages our blood sugar levels. We know when our blood sugar levels drop we can get irritable and fatigued, which makes you more stressed and aggravated and ultimately raises your stress levels.    

#12: Eat Organic 

Eating organic decreases the synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers in food., and therefore the amount you ingest. Choosing organic foods also reduces your intake of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Bottom Line: Stress management and weight management go hand in hand so when you can manage your stress you’ll be much more effective at managing your weight, and by the way, your mood will improve as well!

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

References:

1. Takeda E, et al. Stress control and human nutrition. J Med Invest. 2004 Aug;51(3-4): 139-45.

2. Sapolsky R: Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-related Diseases, and Coping. Freeman and Co, New York, 1998, p. 76-79.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly’s Top 10 Ways To Grow Happy Kids

If you offered advice to a new mother, what nutrition and physical activity related things would you tell her are important for “growing” a healthy child?

A parents actions have such a great impact on their child’s life and well-being.  How well do you practice what you preach with your own children?

Small, everyday actions can have a big return in terms of a child’s health and happiness.

 Kelly’s top 10 ways to grow

happy

kids

1.  Let them decide how much to eat.

2.  Offer water instead of juice.

3.  Include an organic fruit and/or vegetable at each meal.

4.  Present healthy foods as "treats."

5.  Serve fat-free, organic milk to children over two.

6.  Use mealtime to strengthen family ties.

7.  Lead by example -- "walk the talk."

8.  Create activities -- for you and them -- everyday.

9.  Provide attention instead of food or the bottle.

10.  Encourage and praise their efforts.

What will you do this week to help your child grow happy?  Leave a comment about how you grow a happy kid! 

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

Resource:

AZ Department of Health Services

Bureau of USDA Nutrition Programs

AZ WIC Program

 

 

 

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Ten Reasons to Visit Your Local Farmer's Market

What does summer bring?  FARMER'S MARKETS!!!

10 reasons to visit your local Farmer’s Market:

1.  Community Support--Support your local economy by supporting your local farmers.

2.  Freshness--fruits and vegetables are very fresh and often picked that same morning!

3.  Yummy--Far superior tasting fruits and vegetables.  Why?  See #2!

4.  Health--The fruits and vegetables are often organic.  Organic means you aren’t ingesting harmful pesticides. 

5.  More Environmentally Friendly--less shipping costs and pollution, less fuel usage, reduced packaging costs

6.  Save Money--the prices are often cheaper than the grocery store because the cost of the middleman and pricey shipping are eliminated.

7.  Get The Scoop--A great opportunity to talk to the farmer directly about where your food comes from and how it’s produced.  

8.  Cooking Help--If you see a vegetable you are unfamiliar with and want to give it a try, you can ask the farmer how to prepare it or for recipe ideas.

9.  Involve Your Kids--shopping at a farmer’s market is a great way to get your kids involved in cooking and trying new foods.  Let them pick out something new to try, then they can help prepare a meal or snack.

10.  Discover Variety--farmer’s markets are full of interesting, unusual fruits and vegetables you don’t see in the grocery store. 

When perusing your market, remember to consider the

2013 Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.

  The list gives you a good idea about what to spend a little more money on by purchasing organic and what to save your money on by skipping the organic varieties.

Happy Shopping!

Kelly Harrington, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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Great News About Our Almond Butter and Tahini

LSF Almond Butter and Tahini

We've got great news....Live Superfoods has a new supplier for our Almond Butter, and now we have Tahini, too!

Our supplier buys

small, very fresh batches

of almonds and hulled sesame seeds that are:

  • USDA-certified organic
  • Raw (dried at temps under 118 degrees F)
  • Unpasteurized 

Ultra-smooth texture

is achieved by our supplier

stone-grinding

the nuts and seeds. Stone-grinding nearly liquifies the ingredients, so you'll notice that our almond butter and tahini are a more honey-like consistency. 

Tahini suggestions

- Excellent in hummus (chickpea, eggplant or edamame come to mind), as a base for salad dressings, pasta, and deliciously rich sauces for vegetables like cauilflower, carrots or sugar snap peas.

Almond Butter suggestions

 

- Excellent on apple slices, celery, a slice of raisin bread, or added to a smoothie or your favorite curry. Perfect for homemade energy bars by adding cacao nibs, chopped dates, quinoa (cooked, cooled and dried) or raw oats.

Both are a generous 16 fl oz, packaged in glass jars with metal (not plastic) lids.

The only drawback is we often sell out before the next batch arrives. So get 'em while you can!

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