Health Food

Say Cheese! I bet you didn’t know…

Many will immediately have warm comfort food feelings. Cheese is said to have been around for around 8,000 years. Cheese is even mentioned in the bible and is thought to likely have started with sheep and goats. A cheese’s nutritional content is largely determined by the animal it came from and what foods it ate. This week we talk all things cheese! Is it good? Is it bad? Is it healthy? What do you think?

Good or Bad?

If you’re not lactose intolerant, cheese can be a good source of calcium, fat, and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B-12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. On the flip side, cheese is typically high in saturated fat and calories, so eating too much can pose health problems in addition to weight gain.

TIP: to “have your cheese and eat it too”, opt for using higher flavor cheeses (Havarti, aged white cheddar, etc) as more of a garnish or topping vs a main component in a dish.

Is All Cheese Made Equal?

Some of the healthiest cheeses include feta, blue cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella.

TIP: Try a new healthier dessert (it sounds weird, but we promise, it’s great!)!
– ½ Cup fat free ricotta
– 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
– sweetener of choice (stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc)
– add nuts, fruit, etc to add other flavors and textures

Lactose Intolerant?

Whether cheese is deemed a “good” or “bad” food, not everyone can tolerate milk products, more specifically lactose, equally. Lactose intolerance includes symptoms of abdominal cramping, bloating, and/or diarrhea after consuming lactose.

Cheeses lower in lactose are: aged cheddar, parmesan, and swiss cheeses. Higher lactose cheeses include: cheese spreads, soft cheeses like Brie, cottage cheese, and mozzarella.

Did You Know?

90% of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese! Cheddar cheese was first manufactured in England and is hands down the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the entire world!

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state for good reason. Over 25%, and over 600 varieties, of the country’s cheese comes from Wisconsin!

TIP: Grating a softer cheese? Try sticking the cheese in the freezer for 20 minutes before grating to keep the mess at bay.

Get even more cheesy info here!

Do YOU Drink Enough Water?

Sunday, March 22nd is World Water Day, which is a dedication to explaining how water and climate change are linked (worldwaterday.org). This week we’ll talk about water and how it’s important for our bodies and life. But first, we can’t consume water if we don’t have the resources!

Conserve!

Conserve water by taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, buy a high efficiency dishwasher and laundry machine, use a rain barrel to gather water for watering plants, and stop throwing pesticides on your yard that will ultimately end up in the ground water.

There are SO many reasons to consume water regularly, it affects your health, your skin, lowers your risk of many diseases, and can even help you lose weight!

Weight Loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that has ZERO calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, and no sugar. Drink plenty to keep your goals in check.

TIP:
Not sure how much water you drink each day? Keep a little log and keep it simple.

Better Performance

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Kickboxing and other forms of exercise can help make you WANT to drink water more.

TIP: Be sure to drink water a couple hours before your workout, so that it works through your system in time, and drink during and after exercise as well.

Healthy Skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

TIP: Carry a reusable bottle. Not only is it good for the environment. It’s good for you! When it’s empty, refill and keep drinking.

Reduced Risk of Diseases

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack.

TIP: Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don’t forget to drink water.

Organic Food: The Key to Good Health

This week we have another guest blog that is accompanied by an AWESOME infographic on organic foods! Check it out here!

Organic Food:

The Key to Good Health

For every person, the quality of the food is of paramount importance, even more so for those who work out regularly. In recent years, there have been many talks about the detrimental effect of conventional food on our wellbeing. Many have begun to wonder whether organic food presents a healthier alternative.

The popularity of packaged organic food has skyrocketed in recent years. Fitness instructors and personal trainers around the world nowadays recommend fitness and healthy diet to anyone who wants to lose weight, get healthy, and see serious results, even if they have never worked out before.

Considering the tremendous benefits of organic food for the environment and our bodies, we think that it is time we learned more about organic products and their positive effect on our health.

Organic Food for Proper Baby Development

Babies are affected the most by poor nutrition. In the early stages of our lives, our immune system is still fragile and susceptible to many diseases. A poor diet can impair the immune system. For this reason, 40% of people opt to buy organic products for their young ones. Unlike conventional food, organic food does not contain any chemicals or additives that can permanently damage your baby’s health.

What Does This Have to Do with Fitness?

Most people’s eating habits and food preferences are established early in life. It is vital to encourage a healthy diet in your household to prevent a variety of diet-related diseases. If you have bad eating habits during childhood, the chances are higher that you will have weight problems later on. That means that you may have to work out twice as hard in the gym to get back on track.

What Diseases Are Lurking in Conventional Food?

According to the Environmental Working Group report, conventional food contains over 2,000 different chemicals. Eating food packed with chemicals, such as additives and pesticides, puts us at risk for developing a range of diseases, including digestive disorders (food intolerance), brain damage, gout, kidney stones, hormone disbalance, inflammation, and even cancer.

Is Organic Food Expensive?

On average, organic food is more expensive than non-organic food by $0.24. However, many who choose to consume organic products, purchase them at reasonable prices by buying directly from farmers (i.e CSAs and farmers’ markets). Find and connect with your local farmer’s produce by searching www.localharvest.org.

Organic Food Tastes Better

32% of people think that organic food tastes better than conventional food. Sometimes it may not look as appealing, but it is much more delicious. Conventional food generally does not contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins necessary for keeping our body healthy.

Live Healthier with Organic Food

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that clearly shows organic food is healthier than non-organic. Organic products contain more vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. These are all significant food ingredients, and if you work out regularly and try to lead a healthy lifestyle, eating organic products may be the better choice when considering the higher nutritional value of organic food. Higher nutrients = more energy for physical activity.

Celebrate Mardi Gras and Lent With These Recipes!

This week kicks off Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian Lenten season. Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday dating back thousands of years to pagan times. Around the world, Mardi Gras is also known as Carnival and is largely celebrated by Roman Catholic populations on the day before Lent begins. But let’s break it down…

Fat Tuesday

Today many celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday”. “Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.”
Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season which consists of the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Did you know the ashes used in the Christian celebration are palm leaves burned up from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration? For many, this is a day of an abstinence from all meat and foods made with meat, along with each Friday during lent.

Meatless Days

Wednesday started the Lenten season and so we’re talking fish and meatless meals! Many meals that are complete and tasty that don’t include meat! From a non-religious standpoint, many people choose to practice Meatless Mondays, or just choose one day a week to abstain from meat consumption for health or environmental reasons.

Fish Fry Alternative

Keep your fitness goals in check by skipping the fried fish and opting for the terms grilled, baked, poached, steamed or broiled when searching for recipes or eating out.

Want to try something new? Try grilling your fish on different types of planks for a new flavor! https://www.allrecipes.com/article/plank-grilling/

Meatless Chili

Meatless doesn’t have to mean you are confined to fish, if you don’t want to. Quinoa, lentils and sweet potatoes offer great meat alternatives without sacrificing taste. It’s still cold outside, so warm up with a Quinoa Chili recipe that combines your basics of various beans plus corn and quinoa for a nutrient packed dish.

Tacos!

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Cream Chipotle Sauce combines roasted cauliflower with familiar taco seasonings and lentils for a nutrient and protein packed dish! Want to skip the tortilla? Serve warm over lettuce greens!
https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-lentil-tacos/

Different Fish

Try a simple Tuna Burger! Combine a can of drained tuna, 2 T chopped onions, 2 egg whites, ½ C panko and ½ t pepper. Form 2 patties and pan fry for about 4 minutes per side. Eat as is or serve on sprouted grain bun. Looking for something even lighter? Have you tried Smart Baking Company Smart Buns? Smart buns are gluten-free, 63 calories, high in fiber and have 10 grams of protein! Check them out here!

Use Nature’s Bounty to Fuel Good Health

This week we proud to present another guest blog from MedAlertHelp.Org. They are providing excellent information in helpful, easy-to-read infographics! Follow the link to see the infographic for this post!

It is strange to think of our bodies as finely tuned machines, but that is what they are. They require the right fuel and a fair amount of maintenance to keep them running. Fortunately for us, we live on a planet where the right fuel exists in abundance.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the main vitamins that our bodies need to function optimally. We will go over some interesting facts you have not heard of before.

BASICS

There are two broad classifications of vitamins.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. If you consume too many of those, your body will flush them out. You will notice that your urine is different. Beta carotene, for example, can change the color of your urine to a dark yellow or even light orange. You would have to take large quantities to overdose on it.

The vitamins in this category are:

● Vitamin B1: Is necessary for proper nerve and muscle function and energy production. It will help you recover from a workout. So, make sunflower seeds or macadamia nuts part of your post-workout snack to get your share of B1.

● Vitamin B2: This vitamin powers the muscles. Make sure to get your dose half an hour before a workout. Eggs, salmon, and almonds are all excellent sources.

● Vitamin B3: This vitamin helps clear out bad cholesterol. Without it, the body cannot metabolize fat or glucose. You will feel sluggish and be more prone to so-called lifestyle diseases. Get it from peanuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, or peas.

● Vitamin B5: Feeling stressed out, and you cannot relax? You might be short of vitamin B5. It regulates the adrenal glands. It is also necessary for the formation of new red blood cells and metabolizing fatty acids. Get if from sunflower seeds, mushrooms, eggs, and avocado.

● Vitamin B6: Is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Get it from tuna, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and dried prunes.

● Vitamin B7: Without B7, your body would not be able to metabolize any of the macronutrients. Get it from sweet potato, broccoli, salmon, and eggs.

● Vitamin B9: If you have a weak immune system, and feel fatigued often, you are probably low on B9. Find it in spinach, black-eyed peas, lentils, and asparagus.

● Vitamin B12: B12 helps us metabolize macronutrients and produce new blood cells. You can find it in mackerel, trout, eggs, and tofu.

● Vitamin C: Helps boost immunity and fight infections. Find it in kale, citrus fruits, guavas, and bell peppers. If you feel exhausted and have a weak immune system, or need to recover from a workout, do include more vitamin Bs and vitamin C.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are a different matter altogether. The body will store them in its fatty tissues. If you take more than the body needs, they build up to toxic levels, which can lead to a fatal outcome.

The vitamins in this category are:

● Vitamin A: Is essential for healthy teeth, skin, and skeletal system. Get it from carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, or cod liver oil.

● Vitamin D: Helps boost the immune system and combat fatigue. It is also necessary for healthy bones. Get it from eggs, tofu, mushrooms, and salmon. Your very best source, though, is the sun. Try to get at least 15 minutes of exposure when the sun is at its peak. Expose as much skin as possible and ditch the sunscreen for this session.

● Vitamin E: Is essential for good immunity and regulating cholesterol. Find it in sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ oil.

● Vitamin K: Helps the blood clot and keeps your bones strong. Find it in cooked kale and broccoli or raw spinach.

Do We Need to Take Supplements?

Ideally speaking, no. However, if we want to get the right mix of vitamins, we have to eat a well-rounded diet that includes fresh ingredients. We can chemically recreate the compounds, but if it were that simple, all we would have to do for good health is to pop the right pill.

In reality, the foods that we eat contain hundreds of compounds that work together. We are nowhere near the point of recreating the full nutrient profile of even a simple apple.

Still, if there is no alternative, choosing a high-quality supplement can fill in the gaps. However, always try to get the vitamins you need from food sources first.

As you can see from the list above, some food sources are superfoods in their own right. The lowly sunflower seed, for example, has nutrients that help boost the immune system, fight fatigue, repair muscles, and provide energy. Now that is the kind of supplement we all need.

Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, is a practicing physician who is the Co-Founder and Project Manager of MedAlertHelp.org, a site dedicated to improving your knowledge about health, nutrition, fitness, aging, retirement, and much more. He leads a remarkable team of medical writers, medical alert reviewers, and experts in the realms of life insurance, retirement, and marketing devoted to saving your time and simplifying the process of finding the perfect solutions for everyone.

What a Decade of Studies Tells Us About Men’s and Women’s Nutrition

Our friends at Precision Nutrition have worked with over 100,000 clients in the past decade. Over the past year, they created a report on the top health nutritional challenges and how to work with them. Here are some things they found…

Women

70.2%
Said their top challenge was emotional/stress eating

52%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

18%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

60.2%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

Men

59.9%
Said their top challenge was eating too quickly

69%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

30%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

61.4%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

While there are some slight differences between men and women, it is clear they struggle over many of the same issues. Most people want to not just lose weight, but also be consistent and have changes that last. Let’s look at our challenges and figure out how to work toward our GOALS and snowball good habits.

What is ONE thing you can focus on improving NOW, in January. On trouble with “New Year’s Resolutions” is that you have too long to put it off! Set a GOAL of January 31 st to form it into a regular habit.

Need Some Help?

Here are some easy-to-handle goals to start with.

1. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning before you even eat breakfast.

2. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.

3. Get out of bed the FIRST time your alarm goes off.

4. Book your workouts at least 1 week prior and keep your appointment.

5. Eat an extra serving of vegetables every day.

6. Eat more whole foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein) to prevent hunger and reduce over-consumption. If you catch yourself mindlessly eating/snacking, get a change of scenery. Go for a walk, go fill your water, make a phone call, get outside, etc.

7. Cook More! Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or take forever. Learn to make 8-10 basic, yet tasty, healthy meals that you can rotate or rely on.

8. Focus on progress, not perfection. Coming late to a workout is better than not attending at all. Eating right 5 days a week is better than 3 days. We’re all human! If you fail, resolve yourself to try again!

9. Create a bedtime routine that will help you “zone out” and bring stress levels down before bedtime. Try to keep the same bedtime and wake times, even on the weekends, to help solidify your routine. This assists with the circadian rhythm and keep hormone levels balanced, which will ultimately assist with hunger and satiation cues.

It’s Time for Celebration! Recipes and Fun Facts About The Holidays

Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Years…family in town, travelling, parties, and more! We’ve got you covered this holiday season.

Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is the Jewish festival of lights and commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Army. The celebration which begins today and lasts 8 days is in honor of the one-day supply of oil that miraculously lasted 8 days to light the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Also in commemoration of the oil is eating many foods cooked in oil, but! You can still celebrate with a healthy twist to the traditional latkes (laat-kuhz) with

Cauliflower Latkes: Pulse 2 cups of cauliflower in a food processor to turn it into “rice” (or just buy riced cauliflower). Microwave the “rice” for 2 minutes and squeeze out the extra moisture. Saute onion in a skillet until golden brown. Form patties of the “rice”, onions, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings and pan fry in light oil. Serve with Greek yogurt and applesauce.

Get the complete recipe here!

Christmas!

Frankly, we have given you lots of Christmas recipes, tips and tricks about surviving the holiday, and more. But if you missed your Christmas Day workout, we’ve got you covered with a classic Ellipse at-home workout right here!

Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa starts today and goes through January 1. Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of culture, started in 1966 during the civil rights movement. Each day focuses on a different theme: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The holiday is celebrated with food, candle-lighting, symbols placed around the home, singing, dancing and a traditional meal.

Fun fact: Kwanzaa has two a’s. One is kwanza – a monetary unit.

New Years!

New Year’s Eve and Day are just around the corner. New Year’s is often about the party and celebration of the new year coming in. What does 2020 mean for you? What is your goal for 2020? Muddle through the year just like 2019? Or is there something bigger?

Not sure? How about some of these?

• Commit to learn something new every day/week.
• Have an extra serving of vegetables each day.
• Commit to x number of days at the gym.
• Volunteer at least once a month.

Find a goal that resonates with you but is also achievable with where your life is at. Make 2020 a year to remember!

No matter your reason for celebrating, we hope you are sharing with the ones you love! Have family staying with you this holiday week or just looking to get back to some “normal” eating?

Try this SLOW ROASTED Parfait!

Combine black and red grapes with Stevia, or sweetener of choice and spread on a baking sheet to bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Remove and cool. Then layer grapes on top of some plain Greek yogurt and top with some walnuts and honey. Serving guests? Make it fancy by adding as layers in a glass serving cup. Full recipe is on today’s blog and searchable with the words “breakfast parfait” – or follow this link!

6 Marvelous “Dishes to Pass” this Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a great time with family and traditions, but for many it brings some fear of falling off the fitness and nutrition wagon. Play it safe by bringing a healthy dish to pass that you know is okay to dig into!

Healthier Strawberry Cheesecake

Need to bring a dessert? Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy presentation.healthier strawberry cheesecake! Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy!

Spinach Dip

Going with Greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese over mayonnaise or sour cream adds even more protein punch PLUS nutrients from the spinach! Here’s the rundown: Toss cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, pressed/drained cooked spinach, water chestnuts, plain Greek yogurt, a package of dry veg soup mix, onions, and lemon. Chill for a few hours and serve with vegetables!

The full recipe can be found on the blog by searching Spinach Dip – or follow this link!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Add some nutrients to your dessert! Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit? And a nutrient packed one at that! Add some vitamin A and potassium to your next dessert to pass. Whisk 2 cups pumpkin puree, 2 cup milk (almond milk, etc), 1.5 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, and 1/4 t ginger. Add 1 package (5.1oz) sugar free vanilla pudding. Chill. Top with crumbled graham cracker crumbs and a few sprays of whipped cream to make it beautiful!

Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip

A twist on that classic 7-layer dip adds a healthy flare with plain Greek yogurt, hummus, veggies, and healthy fats!

First, create your yogurt mixture: yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, in an 8×8 dish, layer hummus, yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives. Serve with whole grain pita chips, celery, or cut fresh veggies.

Get this classic Ellipse recipe here!

Healthier Brushetta

Try a healthier twist on bruschetta! Start by using toasted Ezekial Bread, cut in half, as your base.

Combine 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 T fresh chopped basil (or use fresh you may have frozen in cubes from the summer!), 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (tons of great ones at local olive oil shops!), and 1 clove minced garlic. Top your toast with the mixture and top with some mozzarella.

TIPS: Have extra time? Let your tomato mixture marinate in the fridge for a couple hours. Need more protein? Add cooked, cubed chicken, to your tomato mixture.

3-Layer Mexican Dip

Layer 1: Mashed black beans with seasoning and Greek yogurt
Layer 2: Avocado mixed with yogurt and seasoning
Layer 3: Round it out with salsa!

Protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs ready to serve with vegetables or chips. Find the full recipe on the blog by searching 3-Layer Mexican Dip – or follow this link!