Win a box of the new Vega One Nutrition Bars, a Vega T-shirt, and Tote Bag. The team at Vega has done it again! They have created a new, incredible nutrition product to fuel your whole wellness. Just launched, the Vega One Nutrition Bar takes the super goodness of the Vega One Shake into a chocolate covered portable snack.
Posts tagged ‘nutrition’
Kombucha has become all the rage with the yoga community becoming the side-kick to the yogi's mat - and for good reason. I was invited to a new flavours launch party by Rise Kombucha (based out of Montreal). They hosted a great event celebrating 2 new flavours, Mint Chlorophyll and Rose Schizandra.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
I have a great number of people asking me how to enhance their yoga and wellness practices with nutrition, and often, with inquiries about vegetarian/vegan diet plans. I frequently receive questions about how to get adequate protein, having variety in foods, how to cook, and simply just how to get started. I am excited to see the new Thrive Forward program to which I now refer everyone who is looking for guidance, tips, and inspiration in developing a plant-based diet and enhancing their whole wellness. I am also excited to be able to give away two Thrive Forward Starter Kits containing Vega products.
Mid-summer means tomatoes are coming into full harvest. Tomatoes offer an abundance of health benefits and nutritional value. The pigment in tomatoes that gives them their bright red color is called lycopene. As a powerful antioxidant, lycopene eliminates free radicals that can damage cells in the body. The consumption of tomatoes has shown to reduce the incidence of cancers including breast, lung, endometrial, prostate, colon, and stomach cancers.
Sourcing out high quality, vegan protein has become a mission of mine. I was delighted to discover organic, raw hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest. Hemp is quickly becoming known as a highly sustainable plant for nutrition and consumer products (like clothing). After reviewing the overall health benefits of hemp, I am now hooked and look forward to integrating hemp hearts, hemp protein, and hemp oil into my regular nutrition plan.
Food companies go out of their way to repackage and market their processed food items as nutritious and 'healthy'. These marketing strategies are rarely followed by improvements in the actual food quality. Therefore, we need to be diligent in knowing exactly what we are buying and putting into our bodies. Just by carefully reading and understanding food labels, you can empower your nutritional decisions. Here is simple list of food items we should avoid and replace as these common ingredients offer little to no health benefits and, in fact, may produce chronic health problems with regular consumption.
Part of an overall healthy lifestyle is maintaining an appropriate body composition. When attempting to decrease body fat percentages, many people make some common mistakes that greatly hinder success in achieving effective weight loss.
An important part of a balanced health and wellness program is managing your body composition and understanding what is a healthy body weight for your body type. A consistent Yoga practice, a clean Yoga diet, and observance of Yoga principles and lifestyle habits can help you find this balance in managing your body weight.
Vega’s Whole Health Food Optimizer has changed! It is now Vega One (all-in-one nutritional shake). I had the opportunity to try out the updated formula and I am happy to see that their vegan goodness continues. I am a huge fan of the Vega products and in particular, the Vega One product. I am a food label junkie and I avoid anything and everything that looks like junk for the body. With Vega One, there are no preservatives, no added sugar, no artificial flavours, no soy, no dairy – just great tasting alkaline-forming, whole foods to boost one’s daily nutrition plan.
Most people view nutrition and body weight management primarily from the point of quantity. How much am I eating? How does the caloric input balance with the caloric output? Having our focus solely on the ‘how much’ of eating grossly limits one’s capacity to effectively nourish the body without generating a positive caloric balance and weight gain. Many people unnecessarily over-restrict the amount of food they eat instead of taking advantage of the ‘when and how’ strategies of nutritional plans.
Understanding the timing of when we eat along with how we eat can greatly improve our ability to management body weight and to sustain optimal energy levels throughout the day. With these strategies, we often find that we can consume more food without enduring sudden or gradual weight gain.
Looking first at the ‘when’ strategy of eating, we want to acknowledge the function of food. Food has a basic purpose of providing nutrients and acting as energy sources for cellular maintenance and function. We want to consume food just prior to or during periods when cells are requiring more fuel. When the cells shift into a lower state of energy consumption, our nutritional intake should be reduced.
Our society has grown accustomed to eating the largest meal (dinner) at the end of day which is also when most people begin to decrease physical activity. By flooding the body with a large meal (and a series of late night snacks), our cellular systems become overly saturated with nutrients and calories. This overflow of calories remains in the blood stream as broken down blood sugars and results in a cascade of hormonal releases. To bring the blood sugar levels back into a more balance state, the pancreas releases insulin that shunts these sugars into fat cells. An enzyme-lead chemical reaction occurs that converts these unused sugars into stored fat.
From the ‘when’ perspective, we want to consume our more calorie-dense meals at the beginning and middle of the day to take advantage of daily physical activities that will consume these blood sugars and reduce the conversion of excess calories into stored fat.
Many people do a major disservice to themselves by skipping or not eating enough breakfast. One’s day starts off with improper fueling of the systems and limits one’s energetic capacity to perform, interact and enjoy life. Make a point of nourishing your body first thing in the day and continue to fuel the body throughout the midday.
As the late afternoon and evening approaches, consumption should taper off with the last meal (and any snacks) ending well before bedtime. This can prove to being challenging at first as cravings and habits tend to tempt one. You can curb these cravings with herbal teas and by changing lifestyle patterns. One common factor in generating late night cravings is television. Television ads bombard us with nonstop food commercials. It becomes very easy to shift into unnecessary eating patterns when relaxing in front of the television. If your body weight management needs extra addition, consider reducing or replacing television watching with other more productive activities like reading, crafts, walking, or meditation.
Take note that certain individuals (ie athletes) need to maximize caloric consumption for tissue recover and they may employ nutrition strategies that purposefully manipulate late night food consumption. These types of strategies should be done so with the guidance of a trained professional in order to tap into the desired training routine and athletic performance benefits.
As you modify the timing of eating schedules, also consider the ‘how’ factor of your diet. By modifying your food combinations, you can also dramatically reduce the occurance of blood sugars being turned into fat. So now, you are eating a dense breakfast every morning consisting of oatmeal, fresh fruit, and whole grain toast. This meal appears to offer an abundance of nutrients and fiber, but is it acting as the most effective strategy of energy management? The answer is ‘no’!
Even though this new pattern of eating breakfast provides a great source of energy, nutrients, and fiber, it is imbalanced by offering a very high proportion of carbohydrates and little protein or fat. Yes, these carbohydrates are considered ‘complex’ and are received better by the body (compared to simple sugars), but they are still readily absorbed into the blood stream. A meal that is predominantly carbohydrates (complex or simple) passes relatively quick through the disgetive system and does not keep one feeling ‘full’ for long.
Therefore, consider adding a ‘slowing agent’ to your meals. This ‘slowing agent’ should be in the form of clean proteins like raw nuts, seeds (ie sunflower), beans, legumes, and quinoa. Proteins are initially digested in the stomach. When we add a modest amount of clean proteins to our meals, the food is held a little longer in the stomach for processing. This increased processing slows down the passage of food into the small intestines and therefore the absorption into the blood stream. The overall effect is that our complex carbohydrates are received by the body more slowly resulting in less climbs in blood sugar levels and insulin releases. By holding food longer in the stomach, our appetite is more effectively satiated and we can enjoy more time between meals.
Some additional nutrition strategies:
*Break tradition and eat more meals. Instead of the classic 3 large meals a day, plan to eat 4 to 5 smaller nutrient-balanced meals and a few light snacks. Keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day. Having large periods of time between meals causes blood sugar and hormone levels to roller coaster.
*Always bring food with you. Avoid getting trapped without food by carrying a healthy snack like raw nuts, fresh fruit, or a salad. Just as we know that thirst is a sign of dehydration, hunger is a sign that we are passing into low blood sugar levels. Preventing hunger from setting in will insure that you are maintaining energy levels.
*Prepare meals in advance. When you prepare a meal, make enough to freeze extra for those busy days in the future. Plan ahead to avoid eating fast food or commercially processed meals .
*Appreciate your food. Make eating an event. Turn off the TV and computer, and eat mindfully. Taste all the sensations. Be aware of satiety. Respect your food and what goes into your body. With this awareness, we develop greater discipline in making proper eating choices and patterns.
*Dieting does not work. Starving your body of food, starves your body of nutrients. The body reacts by holding in calories and shuts down metabolic processes. This collapse of metabolism results in future body weight management problems.
As the winter season sets in, people tend to hibernate more and find it more challenging to engage in activities that assist with healthy weight management. By the end of winter, many discover that they have packed on a few (or many) extra pounds. To add to the issues of reduced physical activity, the winter brings on holiday festivities that surrounds one with calorie-rich meals and treats. With a little planning and discipline, you can avoid the onset of the winter weight gain.
1) Keep the calorie output flowing.
The simple rule to weight management is your calorie output (exercise and activities) must equal or be greater than your input (food). As the weather gets cold, avoid the trap of settling in at home watching TV. Make an effort to go for daily walks with family or friends. Take up a winter sport like cross country skiing. Make exercise a priority – put it in your day timer.
2) Find ways to toss in extra calorie burning activities.
Every little bit counts. Use the stairs when at work and when in a shopping center. If watching TV, every commercial break, get up and do a set of exercise repetitions until the program returns (ie. simple squats/lunges, situps, plank on the elbows, cat/cow pose). Do some winter re-organizing and cleaning – clean out the basement or garage. Cleaning can shed a good amount of calories and is good for the soul. Use work breaks to get in a quick workout or brisk walk (especially if your occupation has you sitting all day).
3) Create a home workout that is motivating.
Winter weather makes traveling to the gym or yoga studio less motivating. Have a back up plan where you can easily exercise from home. Even a small set of weights, bands and a yoga mat can provide a complete workout regimen. Not sure what to do with your equipment or how to make an effective program? Hire a personal trainer / private teacher for a few private sessions and make sure they provide you with a tailored program that is easy to do on your own.
4) Substitute calorie-rich food for nutrient dense items.
Replace the empty carbohydrates and calorie rich coffees with foods that promote health and help lower total calorie input. Switch to more fruits and vegetables for snacks. Shift to broth-based soups and hearty stews. Curb cravings with healthy snacks like raw nuts and seeds. Keep hydrated with tasty herbal teas. Eat a nutritious breakfast (like oatmeal) and keep your meals and snacks well placed throughout the day.
5) Avoid the common food traps.
Always keep a healthy snack on hand when leaving the house and avoid getting to a point where you feel overly hungry. Take healthy treats to the movies. Eat before going grocery shopping so hunger doesn’t tempt you to buy unhealthy items (and avoid those food sample stations – they are often dishing out calorie packed samples). And avoid taking your children with you on grocery trips (you can say ‘no’ only so many times!). Find yourself eating while watching TV? Then make a point to stop watching TV close to bed time– try reading or meditating instead to prevent unnecessary eating.
6) Some final food tips.
Control food portions by using smaller dishes to eat out of and eat with no distractions. Take time to be aware of your eating including chewing food slowly and pausing to enjoy what you are eating. Bring your own meals and snacks to work. Plan meals in advance and make extra portions while cooking that you can freeze. When eating out, split your appetizer and entree with your spouse or friend to reduce your portion sizes. Eat before going over to family and friends for dinner parties – and try to skip the pre-meal cocktails (wine and cocktails are deceptive as they can contain hundreds of extra calories).
7) Reduce your stress and enjoy the season.
Chronic stress negatively affects your hormones that management healthy weight. Enjoy stress reduction activities like yoga and meditation. Allocate more time to spend with people that make you laugh and relax. Take in a few good movies or books that will make you chuckle. Enjoy regular mutual foot massages with your spouse. Take time to pause and breath. Create a list of enjoyable activities that you would like to pursue in the coming months and set a plan with your family or friends.
Weight gain is often attributed to a number of factors. Explore modifying even just a handful of habits and try changing the easier life patterns first that present issues with causing weight gain. Most important,bring your family, friends and co-workers on board so you have a supportive environment on your path to sustaining healthy body weight and wellness.