Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pure Clean Water

According to a European study published in early March of this year, drinking just one can of sugar-laced soda drink a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by more than 20%.

Using data from 350,000 people in eight European countries, researchers found that drinking just a daily 12 fluid ounce (a normal size can) serving of sugar-sweetened drink raises the risk of diabetes by 22 percent compared with drinking just one can a month or less.

"Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population," said Dora Romaguera, who led the study with a team at Imperial College London.

The findings echo similar conclusions from research in the United States, where several studies have shown that intake of sugar-sweetened drinks is strongly linked with higher body weight and conditions like type 2 diabetes.

 Patrick Wolfe, a statistics expert from University College London, said the message from its results was clear."The bottom line is that sugary soft drinks are not good for you - they have no nutritional value and there is evidence that drinking them every day can increase your relative risk for type 2 diabetes," he said in an emailed comment.

But of course you don’t drink sugary sodas! You opt for diet soda instead, which is way better of course! Well, a 14-year study of 66,118 women (supported by many other previous studies) found that the opposite seems to be true. Diet drinks may be worse than sugar-sweetened drinks.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.
.    Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
.    Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda had a 33 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and women who drank one 20-ounce diet soda had a 66 percent increased risk.
.    Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
.    The average diet soda drinker consumes three diet drinks a day.
You might say that people who are overweight and just about to get diabetes just happen to drink more diet soda, but they scientifically controlled for body weight. And they found the artificial sweeteners increased diabetes independent of body weight!
This and other research shows how diet sodas make people fat and sick. And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar-sweetened sodas! How does that happen?
   1. Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our genetically-programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
   2. They trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.
   3. It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn fewer calories every day.
   4. It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
   5. In animal studies, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks -- even eating fewer calories.
   6. In population studies, there was a 200 percent increased risk of obesity in diet soda drinkers.

Bottom line: There is no free ride. Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. They increase cravings, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. And they are addictive.
I could go on and on with more info on the side affects of artificial sweeteners. And we could debate if any of them are better than the others but for this next week let’s just take a break!
For every day that you forgo regular soda, diet soda, Gatorade, lemonade, Crystal light, Mio etc. etc. and just drink plain, clear, thirst quenching rejuvenating water you can claim the 5 bonus points. Ouch this one will be tough!
And here is a recipe shared by one of my girlfriend’s just for fun. (She substitutes lime slices for the cucumber and omits the ginger- so play around with this as you like)

Sassy Water
2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium lemon thinly sliced

12 small spearmint leaves.
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Challenge for Week #3 Get some ZZZZZZzzzzzzz's

"Sleep well and stay slim." Sad but true and backed up by a U.S. study looking at sleep, metabolism and eating habits of 16 men and women.
Researchers at the University of Colorado found that when subjects came up short on sleep, they experienced almost immediate weight gain.
As reported by the The New York Times reports, the study, published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found fast weight gain among the sleep-deprived regardless of gender.
In the abstract, researchers note, "Our findings suggest that increased food intake during insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide energy needed to sustain additional wakefulness; yet when food is easily accessible, intake surpasses that needed."
Wright suggested part of those extra pounds was a product of behavioral changes.
“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep they overate carbohydrates,” he said. “They ate more food, and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”
He added that part of the change was behavioral. Staying up late and skimping on sleep led to not only more eating, but a shift in the type of foods a person consumed.
Night owls managed to consume 6 per cent more calories. But when they were allowed more sleep, carbohydrates and fats yielded to healthier foods -- and once they started sleeping more, they began eating more healthfully, consuming fewer carbohydrates and fats.
I think a lot of it can be caused when we are confused by our body signals. We are sleepy or cranky or worn out so we reach for a comfort food for a quick dose of energy. Later (feeling low energy from lack of sleep and nutritionless carbohydrates) we skip the gym and pick up takeout for dinner-- no time to cook.
Additional problems are explained by Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Arizona, “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, he says. “If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pounds, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”
Breus goes on to explain exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones.
The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”
More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.
“You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived,” Breus says.

Ackk so what does all of this news have to do with our challenge for Week #3?

For every day you do at least 3 things to contribute to getting a good night’s sleep you can claim your 5 points from the Weekly Challenge. (They can be the same 3 things each day- find what works for you) Ideas would include:

1. Clean your bedroom. Fresh linens, a tidy end table, some fresh flowers set on the dresser. Your bedroom should be a lovely and peaceful place that invites relaxation that contributes to sleep.

2. Cut out the Caffeine- Caffeine (found in tea, coffee, sodas and some over the counter medications) can stay in your system as long as 14 hours, increases the number of times you awaken at night and decreases the total amount of sleep time. This may subsequently affect daytime anxiety and performance

3. Avoid working, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed (I have a rule for my hubby that nothing stressful can be spoken of after 9:00 pm) The bed should be used for sleep and sex only. If not, we can associate the bed with other activities and it often becomes difficult to fall asleep.

4. Minimize noise, light, and temperature extremes during sleep with ear plugs, window blinds, or an electric blanket or air conditioner. Even the slightest nighttime noises or luminescent lights can disrupt the quality of your sleep. I can’t tell you how getting blackout curtains and shutters have increased the time I am able to stay asleep.

5. Try not to drink fluids after 8 p.m. This may reduce awakenings due to urination. (This one is a huge problem for me).
6. Avoid naps, but if you do nap, make it no more than about 25 minutes. But if you have problems falling asleep, then no naps for you.
7. Do not expose yourself to bright light if you do need to get up at night. Use a small night-light instead. I bought a motion activated night-light (on amazon) that comes on if I do need to walk in the bathroom at night and it is much calmer and more subtle than switching on the full overhead lights.
8. Avoid the light of televisions and computers late at night. My son has been using a program that dims the light emitted from his computer in the evening hours so as not to interfere with sleep. It’s a free program available at  and your i-pad can be read with white letters on black instead of black on white (to switch it go to preferences then general then accessibility then choose white on black)
9. Consider some natural help aids. Certain herbal teas can help you relax and fall asleep. Chamomile is a popular tea that slows the nervous system and promotes relaxation. Other liquids, such as a small glass of warm milk, may also help. Melatonin (my favorite is Source Naturals Melatonin 1 mg. peppermint flavored sublingual- also available on amazon) helps many people (though it can cause vivid and sometimes scary dreams). Essential oils can also have great power to aid your sleep. I love Lavender on my pillowcase, Doterra’s Serenity rubbed on the back of my neck and a drop of Clary Sage (Also Doterra) on my tongue. ZZZZZZZZZZ!! As always check with your health professional before trying natural remedies.
10. Take control of your worries. Most of us lead very stressful lives. Stress, surprises, and changes can take a toll on our sleep habits. I often find myself going over, over and over the same worries somehow thinking if I think about it long enough, an easy solution is going to somehow pop up. One way to decrease this endless cycle of worry before bed is to write down your concerns in a journal and close the book on the day. You might even want to note a specific time the following day that you will worry about those things you have listed.
11. Create a bedtime ritual. It is calming to do the same things each night to signal your body it's time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness. I have found great calming by listening to meditation CD’s and particularly like those guided by Stin Hansen. She shares several free ones at
12. Get comfortable. Sleeping clothes should be loose and comfortable and sheets should be fresh and clean. Your mattress and pillows should be those you find the coziest and most comfortable. Do you need any sleeping upgrades?

Add caption

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week # 2 Challenge -- READ THE FINE PRINT

I’m reading a great book right now entitled Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us. It’s fascinating and disturbing. The book highlights boatloads of studies and information about how food manufacturers are purposefully designing food that is cheap, desirable and addictive.
         For those of you that are Mormons it reminds me of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 4:4 “Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” This chapter of scripture goes on to urge us to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains (and to eat meat only sparingly).
         I believe in a past round of competition I had a weekly challenge to abstain from ALL processed foods. You’re in luck. That WILL NOT be this week’s challenge. Instead the challenge will be:
1. For every processed food you eat read and study THE ENTIRE nutrition label (this includes beverages).
2. If there are any words you do not know the definition of (as in the ingredients list) look them up and consider whether you want to take these items into your body.
3. Make an extra effort to eat more whole foods and more wholesomely prepared home made foods.

I thought the following article from Real Simple Magazine might be helpful!

How to Read Nutrition Facts Labels
Understanding food labels can help you make wise choicesif you know what to look for. Here's a rundown of the most important elements.
by Mary Desmond Pinkowish

Serving Size
This number is at the top for a reason: The nutritional information on the rest of the label applies to one serving. The FDA sets serving sizes for all foods―they are measurements, not recommendations. Total calories are calculated per serving, as are total calories from fat, so be sure to look at the servings per container. A bag of potato chips might say it has 150 calories per serving, but the entire bag might be three servings, or 450 calories.

Percent of Daily Value
This is calculated for a moderately active woman who eats 2,000 calories a day

More important than total fat are the numbers for saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans fats. You want to see that the food contains relatively little saturated fat and trans fat, and relatively more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Keep in mind that "fat-free" doesn't equal "calorie-free." Many fat-free and low-fat foods have added sugar.

This is a fatlike chemical that's an essential component of cell membranes, a covering for nerve-cell fibers, and a building block of hormones. Only animal products contain cholesterol. Adults are advised to limit their daily intake to 300 milligrams. Too much can elevate your blood cholesterol, raising your heart-disease risk.

The recommended daily limit for an average adult is 2,300 milligrams; too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. By the USDA's reckoning, a food is low in sodium if it contains no more than 140 milligrams. (A serving of Cheerios has 210 milligrams and is therefore not low in sodium.) A single serving of soup or a frozen dinner (especially diet entrees) may contain 1,000 milligrams or more of sodium, which is nearly half the daily limit.

Getting enough of this mineral―4,700 milligrams a day for adults―may help prevent high blood pressure. Low potassium can lead to an irregular heartbeat.

Total Carbohydrate
This large category includes everything from whole grains (healthy carbs) to sugar and other refined carbs (unhealthy ones). It's most helpful to look at the sugar and fiber numbers.

Dietary Fiber
The average adult should eat between 21 and 35 grams of fiber daily, but most don't reach that level. When buying bread or cereal, look for a brand with 3 grams or more per serving. Some labels describe whether the fiber is soluble or insoluble. Both are important. Soluble fiber, found in oatmeal, barley, and dried beans, can help lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber, found in whole grains and fruit and vegetable skins, protects against bowel disorders and may help digestion.

These simple carbohydrates include glucose, dextrose, fructose, and galactose, all of which provide little nutritional value. Sugar shows up in surprising places, like crackers, "healthy" cereals, and salad dressings. It's often added to foods that need a flavor boost (like low-fat products).

In general, .45 gram of protein daily per pound of body weight (that's 68 grams for a 150-pound person) is plenty of protein, even if you're breast-feeding or physically active. Most Americans get enough protein effortlessly (unless they're vegetarians). And it's rare for people eating a normal diet to get too much.

Vitamins and Minerals
This list includes the vitamins and minerals found in the food naturally, along with any added to it, and the percentage of daily value for each―again, calculated for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. The footnote (not found on all nutrition labels) provides a table listing the total daily grams of fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and fiber that the USDA recommends in a 2,000- or 2,500-calorie diet.

The product's ingredients must be listed in order of quantity, so the major ones come first. When checking a label on bread, for instance, you want to see that the first ingredient is whole wheat, oats, or some other grain. (Note that "whole wheat" means "whole grain," but not all brown-colored and "multigrain" breads are made of whole grain  (Additional note from Sandee-The following DO not denote whole grain “wheat flour, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour, stoneground, multigrain-which may describe several whole grains or several refined grains or a mix of both, enriched flour, degerminated, bran or wheat germ”. Whole grain products should contain the Whole Grain Stamp somewhere on the product)

Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals
Listed below the ingredients are supplemental nutrients that the manufacturer has added to the food.

This information, listed voluntarily by the manufacturer, is for people with diabetes. The food-exchange system categorizes foods into food groups. A nutritionist may counsel a diabetic person to eat eight exchanges of starch per day, for example. A bowl of Cheerios would take up 1½ of those exchanges in a 1,600- to 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I am wonderful, intelligent, beautiful!

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~Winston Churchill
Being positive does not come naturally for me. In fact I’m sure those that know me best would tell you I have supreme grumpiness talents. But I really do want to improve in this area. In February I went to a “silks” exercise class while visiting my youngest daughter. Beautiful cloth hung from the ceiling and was available for us to climb, entwine and do graceful moves in. The teacher was happy and positive. She announced as class began that she wouldn’t allow any negative talk in her class- not about the exercises- not about our efforts-not about ourselves. She threatened that if she heard one negative word the offender would be sentenced to 100 push ups. Well I don’t know about you but on a good day I can only pump out about 5 push ups in poor form so you better believe I was Positive Polly in class. And you know what? I had more fun and was probably even able to accomplish a bit more having to frame my words and thoughts positively.
You guessed it! We are going to start this 8 weeks of healthy living with an attitude adjustment.
Step One: Believe a Positive Attitude is a Choice
As much as we avoid it we know it’s true. While we may tend to be more positive or negative by nature- ultimately we do have great control. It’s easy to blame our negativity on all kinds of outside forces—fate, experiences, mental health, relationships—but truly we can choose to be more positive.
When we find ourselves in a less than ideal situation, it’s up to us to find the good, to be positive regardless of what’s happening around us, to find the silver lining in the cloud. Avoid the tendency to point fingers and place blame. Remember that things happen how they happen, and it’s up to us to choose how we want to feel and express those feelings. Ultimately we are in control of our attitude, and no one can take that away from us.
Step Two: Rid Your Life of Negativity
If you want to live a positive, joyful life, you cannot be surrounded by negative people who don’t encourage your happiness.
I have a new friend that is incredibly positive. Honestly she is like a ray of sunshine. And I notice that her example inspires me toward more positive thinking.
No one is perfect—and perfection isn’t the goal when it comes to positivity—but if you find some of your friends are constantly pointing out flaws, complaining about problems and moaning about life you may need to stop spending so much time with them. Or, better yet come right out and challenge them to stop it! Perhaps you can work at reminding each other of your new effort to look on the bright side.
It’s hard to live a positive life when negative people continually pull you down. Take steps to eliminate the negativity hitting you from outside.
Step Three: Look For the Positive in Life
In every person, in every situation, there is something good. Often it’s not obvious. We have to look. And sometimes we have to look hard.
Don’t just fall into the quick complaint or drift into easy negativity. Look harder until you find something good even if it is teenie tiny.
Everything—good and bad—is a learning experience so, at the very least, you can learn from bad experiences. However, there’s usually even more to it than that. If you really take the time to look, you will usually find something good, something genuinely positive, about every person or situation.
Step Four: Reinforce Positivity in Yourself
Now that we are on the path to positivity it’s important to reinforce these thoughts and behaviors so they will stick. As with any sort of training, the more you practice, the better you get—and, yes, you can practice being positive.
The best and probably most important way to do this is to be positive when it comes to yourself. Tell yourself you’re awesome. Tell yourself you look good. Tell yourself you did a great job at work or raising your kids or whatever it is you do.
Be honest with yourself, but do your best to look for the good. And, whatever you do, don’t focus on the negative. It’s okay to not like everything about yourself, but don’t focus on what you don’t like. We all have positive attributes, and it’s up to you to remind yourself of them every day.
Step Five: Share Positivity with Others
Not only do you need to be positive with yourself but you need to be positive with others.
We really can all step up our game in this area. Be nice to other people, no matter what. Greet people with a smile. Find something to sincerely compliment them about. Give voice to every positive thought you have.
Tell your parents or children (or both!) how much you love them and how great they are. When someone is feeling down, do what you can to cheer him or her up. Send an upbeat text. Send flowers. Write an encouraging e-mail. Don’t gossip. Be kind to all living things.
All of these things sound basic enough, and don’t require a huge effort but they don’t come easily. Make the extra effort.
Sometimes we can get feeling that because we don’t see the good in ourselves we don’t want to see it in others either. We can even sink to being critical or condescending. Instead let’s strive to be encouraging and supportive.
When you start feeling like the idea of being a positive person is daunting, remind yourself that all it takes is one small step in the right direction to move yourself toward a more positive attitude. Let’s all try a little harder to be a little more positive.
For those of you taking part in your first Healthy Living Challenge I encourage you to:
1. Contact your partner every day. Phone, text, go for a walk, send her a joke but do something for each other every day to keep yourself focused on the challenge and making positive progress

Our challenge for Week #1 is to:
1. Make a grand effort to avoid ALL negative thoughts and words.
2. Say AND write something positive about yourself every day (positive writing can be done on, on your facebook page, in your journal etc.)
3. Say AND write something positive about someone else every day. This can be as simple as a smiley face text or as in depth as a heartfelt letter to someone you have long admired!

For every day you seek these 4 positive experiences (1 positive writing and 1 positive comment about yourself + 1 positive writing and 1 positive comment about someone else daily) you can earn the 5 bonus points for that day.