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National Nutrition Month: Eat the Rainbow

Have you ever wondered why fruits and vegetables are all different shades of beautiful and vibrant colors? Well if you have, the answer is: phytonutrients, which are active compounds found in all you favorite plant-based foods. Why does that matter? Each phytonutrient has different health benefits, such as disease prevention. So to celebrate National Nutrition Month, we want to challenge you to not only increase your fruit and vegetable intake, but explore the produce section for at least one new item. Get out of your fruit and veggie comfort zone! Variety is key! Here is the breakdown of each color:

Red: The compounds that give these delicious foods their color are flavonoids and carotenoids, both of which are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals in the body. One of the most talked about antioxidant in this group is lycopene, which is found in tomatoes and has been shown to protect against heart disease. This group has also been found to be most helpful with memory function, decreased cancer risk, and urinary tract health.

  • What to eat: beets, red cabbage, red peppers, tomatoes, apples, cherries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and watermelon

Orange/Yellow: This bright group is found to be high in carotenoids like beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is needed for healthy skin, immune function, and good eye health. This is why your eye doctor told you to eat all your carrots!

  • What to eat: sweet potato, corn, bell peppers, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkins, oranges, pineapple, and cantaloupe

Green: This group is packed with leafy and cruciferous vegetables that contain zeaxanthin, lutein, sulforaphane and glucosinolate. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce those words – all you need to know is they help keep your vision, heart, blood vessels, bones, and teeth healthy! The darker the green, the richer the nutrient content.

  • What to eat: spinach, kale, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, avocados, peas, celery, grapes, honeydew, and kiwi.

White: The color (or should we say lack of color) from this group comes from the antioxidant anthoxanthins, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Garlic is found in this group, which has allicin and this compound has antifungal and antibacterial properties, but make sure to take your breath mints!

  • What to eat: cauliflower, garlic, onion, potatoes, turnips, jicama, and bananas.

Blue/purple: The antioxidant found in this group is anthocyanins, which has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer. Resveratrol has received a lot of press for its anti-aging benefits; it can be found in wine and grapes!

  • What to eat: eggplant, purple cabbage, blackberries, blueberries, plums, figs, and grapes.

Now it’s time to hit the grocery store and stock up of all the fruits and vegetables you can! As a general rule of thumb, the more vibrant the color, the more antioxidants are packed inside.Eat_the_rainbow (1)

 

Trending: Nutrition Books to Read

Celebrate National Nutrition Month by picking up one of these books. Even in the age of unlimited cooking blogs, beautiful, delicious cookbooks are still a favorite. 

1. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan’s books are classics in health and nutrition literature. “In Defense of Food” helps us refocus on food instead of nutrients, and return back to basic eating principles to simplify dinner time

2. Run Fast. Eat Slow. By Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopeckyrunfast eat slow

While focused on athletes (specifically runners), this cookbook will give you ideas on how to make indulgent, nourishing foods that will please any palate.

3. Better Than Before by Gretchen RubinBetter than before

Not a nutrition book specifically, but definitely a huge favorite! Gretchen Rubin covers the four tendencies and ways to help us make healthy behavior change stick. If you end up liking this book, we recommend picking up her other book “The Happiness Project.”

4. Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by Gina HomolkaSkinnytaste

Gina Homolka is the woman behind the brand Skinnytaste and her newest cookbook was an instant hit. Need a recipe that you can cook in 30 minutes or more ideas with how to use your slow cooker? This book has you covered!

 

Easy White Bean and Basil Hummus

By Lee Crosby

Ready for a fresh new twist on your lunch or snack routine? Then you’ll love this delicious white bean and basil hummus with a hint of lemon. As tasty as it is healthy, you can make it in 15 minutes flat! Better yet, it’s amazingly versatile. Here are just a few ways to enjoy it:

  • Spread over thick slices of tomato
  • Rolled into a Mediterranean wrap with sun-dried tomatoes and baby spinach
  • As a dip for whole-grain crackers or pita chips
  • Slathered on a hearty slice of bread, topped with sprouts and avocado as an open-face sandwich

Ingredients

  • 3½ cups (2 15-oz cans) cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (you’ll need 2 lemons, with some juice left over)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Water, as needed
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves (packed)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Combine beans, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor until smooth, at least 3 minutes.
  2. Add olive oil to food processor and blend again until velvety smooth, another 2-3 minutes. (See note.)
  3. If needed, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, blending between each tablespoon, until desired thickness is reached.
  4. Add basil, chives, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse food processor until ingredients are mixed, but herbs are still visible.

Note: Add olive oil after blending the beans for fluffy, restaurant-style hummus!

Photo and recipe from www.Veggie-Quest.com

Stay at Home: Workouts for Your Space

By: Melissa McDonough RD, CSSD

In most parts of the country, it’s winter.  Hibernation mode is in full force and most of the time we’d rather stay at home than layer up and head outside.  Unless you’re lucky enough to have access to abundant land (and snow) for snow-shoeing or find yourself loving the slopes, exercise during the winter can prove difficult at times. 

Whether you want to save money by not paying for a gym membership or you’d just rather work out in the privacy of your home, technology is allowing us to bring the trainer home for less money per month than one training session!  Check out our favorite websites, apps, and pieces of equipment (for all budgets!)

APPS:

Nike Training Club:  For men and women alike.  Select your fitness level, what you’d like to work on, and how much time you have.  The app is free and new workouts are added frequently. Also try: Nike+ Run Club for guidance on running a 5K all the way up to a marathon.

Aaptiv:  This app features on-demand fitness classes through audio cues. Whether you want to get on your home treadmill and be guided through a workout or you’d prefer to have a body weight training workout, this app is for you. Costs up to $9.99 per month.

Jillian Michaels App:  You will receive a 5 minute (that’s right, just 5 minutes) daily workout, interactive customized workouts, and even workout programs that will guide you for up to 90 days!  The paid version even has meal plans. Costs $3.99 per month.

WEBSITES:

YogaGlo:  Yoga studios can be expensive – wonderful – but expensive.  Bring the yoga studio home with YogaGlo.  $18 per month with a free trial period.

FitFusion:  Featuring your favorite trainers, this on-demand fitness class site has classes that range from yoga to boot camp.  Available for $9.99 per month with a 2 week free trial.

Daily Burn: On-demand fitness classes featuring trainers like Bob Harper.  Stream on your tablet, computer, or TV.  They offer a 30 day free trial and monthly memberships are currently $14.95 per month.

EQUIPMENT:

Peloton:  If you love indoor cycling but the class times never work for you, Peloton might be a great fit.  When you purchase the stationary bike, you also have access the on-demand and live cycling classes.  Already have a bike at home?  Then try the app for classes!

TRX:  You won’t need a bunch of weights lying around with a TRX suspension system.  Also, download their app for guided workouts.

Do You Have Asthenopia?

By Rachel Rosenthal, MS, RD

Do you spend a majority of your day staring at a computer or another electronic device (think cellphones and tablets)? Do your eyes ever feel tired, sore, dry, watery, or itchy? Then you may be suffering from asthenopia or more commonly known as eye strain. But not to worry, we have some easy fixes that will help you keep your eyes fresh and focused all day long!

  1. Take breaks (often). The easiest thing you can do for your eyes is take a break. Many eye doctors suggest following the 20-20-20 rule, which is every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. Taking a break from your computer and focusing on blinking will help keep your eyes lubricated. Tip: set reminder alerts on your computer or phone to take breaks throughout the day! During a few of your breaks you can also try massaging the area around your eyes to help relieve some tension and relax the muscles.
  1. Lighting is everything. The lighting in your office area can be a major contributing factor to your eye strain. While this may be out of your control, if possible, minimize exterior light from outside by closing drapes or blinds to reduce brightness. Or try to move your computer monitor so the windows are on the side of you instead of in front or behind your screen. Lastly, if you can turn off overhead lights and use floor lamps for light this can help with the overall brightness of the room.
  1. Customize your computer settings. If you cannot control the lighting in your office, you should be able to personalize your computer settings. For brightness, you want it to match your surroundings. Not too bright or too dark. A good rule of thumb is to look at a white screen on your computer and if it looks like a light source it’s too bright, but if it’s dull in comparison it may not be bright enough, so adjust accordingly. If you find yourself constantly squinting, you may want to increase the text size to a comfortable level. The last aspect to adjust is the amount of blue light your computer is emitting. Of all the colors, blue light is the most problematic due to its short wavelength. How do you reduce blue light? Glad you asked! By reducing the color temperature of your display, you can greatly reduce this problematic feature.

While trying the tips above have been shown to help the symptoms of eye strain, it is still important to get a comprehensive eye exam once year. Undergoing your annual eye exam is the best way to prevent and correct any vision problems that may be contributing to your eye strain. Be sure to explain to your eye doctor how often you spend looking at electronic devices, since this may change their approach!

Establishing a Weekly Rhythm

A new year is a fresh start, a blank slate. It’s the perfect opportunity to set new goals and achieve new heights. You probably have a lot of responsibilities right now and need help getting organized. We like the idea of creating a weekly rhythm or flow, so you can keep track of your tasks while also making progress toward your goals. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Write Down Your Happenings

This is the time to write down everything that’s important to you: your work hours, morning routine, gym, meal time, relaxation, grocery shopping, family time, and anything else that matters to you. Try to approximate how many hours per week you would spend doing these activities.

  1. Establish Fixed Points

Your fixed points are going to help you set boundaries for your day. Think wake and sleep time, meal times, or occurrences you know happen at about the same time each day. You will write these down in a permanent ink that’s very clear. If getting 8 hours of sleep each night is a priority to you, you’ll have to establish your wake and sleep times as fixed and make adjustments to your other tasks to make it work.

  1. Ebb and Flow

Use your new fixed points and weekly happenings to create your daily ebb and flow. It’s often helpful to put a really intense activity such as exercise close to a more relaxing task like eating or reading so you’re not constantly overexerting yourself, which can lead to burnout.

  1. Adjust Your Rhythm

Your rhythm isn’t always going to go as planned and that’s okay! Making adjustments when necessary will be valuable for you as you try to stay on track with tasks despite the circumstances that are out of your control. Understand that the rhythm for the week won’t be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s ruined!

Newsletter Weekly Rhythms Pic.jpg

Establishing a weekly rhythm will allow you to stay organized and prioritized for the busy year ahead! Implementing these four tips will help you create a weekly flow that is customized to your schedule and should reduce stress levels while increasing productivity!

On-the-Go Recipe: Fruit & Nut Bar

 

On-The-Go Recipe: Fruit & Nut Bar

The start of the New Year comes with new responsibilities and goals. Your schedule is busy, but you still want to stay on track. When pressed for time, it’s easy to buy the most convenient food item. Unfortunately, convenience items may not always be as nutritious. To save you both time and money, we’ve created a quick and healthy breakfast or snack recipe that you can make in advance and take with you on those busy mornings! No more last-minute, overpriced muffins (or should we call them cupcakes?) from the gas station. Meet your new BFF, the on-the-go Fruit & Nut Bar.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flourNewsletter dried-fruits (1).jpg
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried dates
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried mangos
  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted nuts (such as pecans and almonds), chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, dried fruit, and nuts, and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg with vanilla until frothy and thick, about 2 minutes. Stir egg into flour mixture until evenly mixed. Spread mixture into prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth out the top.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Adapted from: http://greatist.com/eat/recipes/fruit-and-nut-bars

Top 4 Food Trends of 2017

The New Year means new food trends! We’ve scoured through predictions made by RD’s, popular food bloggers (big difference between the two!), and everything in between to give you what we think will be the top 5 food trends of 2017. Check it out, so you can be in the know!

1. Bone Broth

With temperatures dropping, this is the perfect trend to try ASAP. Bone broth is essentially soup that provides added health benefits, such as, reducing intestinal inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. Bone broth contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline that aid in healing your gut! You can either make your own with leftover bones from dinner or buy pre-made bone broth, we suggest buying high quality bone broth for the most benefit. Key words: pasture-raised and grass-fed. Be sure to find one with minimal added ingredients as well.

2. Fermented FoodsNewsletter Yogurt

Think yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Fermentation is not a new process, but it’s recently been getting a lot of attention due to its amazing health benefits. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which support a healthy digestive system and are very tasty! Try making a kefir and fruit smoothie in the morning or having kimchi as a side dish for dinner.


3. Food from the Philippines

This trend is taking the world by storm with its combination of Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish and American influences. Expect to see its unique flavors like turmeric, coconut milk, adobo spices and banana ketchup in restaurants around town. If you haven’t tried it before, definitely give it a chance!

4. Grain bowls

Grain bowls will be popular this year, partly because of their appeaPerson Holding White Ceramic Coffee Cup Leaning on Brown Wooden Tablerance, but also because of their function. Bowls are just easier than plates, you can put so many different foods in and mix it all up and it works! You can also have a grain bowl for any meal of the day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Some grains to try are quinoa, millet, wheat berries, and amaranth.

 

2017 looks like it’s going to be filled with opportunities to try some new and exciting foods. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, you never know what you might like!

Stretches for Stress

Stretches for Stress

While the holidays can be a really fun and exciting time of year, they also have the ability to raise stress levels.  Our calendars Person in White Shirt Standing in Front of Windowbecome more full, we’re out shopping in crazy crowds, and things that challenge our health and wellness goals are in front of us consistently.  Stretching is one way to reduce the stress response in the body.  It also helps to loosen up areas that tend to get tense from the extra stress.  Try these stretches this season to help target tight areas and find a little zen in the middle of the festive chaos.

Hip Opening

We tend to hold a lot of stress and anxiety in our hips.  A gentle stretch to open up this area of the body will benefit your entire well-being.

Bound Angle Pose/Butterfly

Start with feet together and knees out to the side.  You can place blocks under your knees if that feels good.  Sit up tall, back straight, then lean forward.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Double Pigeon

Stack the legs ankle-to-knee, ankle-to-knee. Sit on a block, or place blocks/a rolled blanket/towels under the thighs for if your hips feel too tight to comfortably sit in this pose. Once you are in the seated position, fold your upper body forward, reaching with a straight back.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Happy Baby Pose

Lie on your back and bend your knees in towards you stomach, soles of your feet reaching to the ceiling.  Inhale and grip the outsides of your feet with your hands (if you have difficulty holding your feet directly with your hands, hold onto a belt looped over each sole.) Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.  Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands (or the belts) as you pull your hands down to create a resistance.

Inversions

Gentle inversions, especially when held comfortably, are calming to the body and help reduce the feelings of anxiety.

Forward Fold

With your feet hip-width apart, bend forward until your fingers or hands reach the floor.  You can have a slight bend in your knees for comfort.  Then bring opposite hand to opposite elbow, creating a box with your arms.  Allow your head and neck to hang and release so your arms create a frame around your face.  Your entire upper body should feel loose.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Legs Up a Wall

Lying on your back, sit your hips as close to where the floor meets the wall.  Bring your legs up so they extend up the wall.  Your body should be in an L shape.  You can use a towel or blanket under your lower back for comfort.  Allow your arms to rest to your side.  Hold for 5 to 10 minutes and breathe deeply.  This is also a great opportunity to practice mindfulness.

A common thread with these postures and stretches in the need to focus on your breath.  It helps you deepen the stretch and re-connect with your body.  Breathing also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to counteract our natural stress response. Practicing breathing on its own is also extremely powerful in combating the effects of stress on the body.

If you’re looking for a different approach to mindful breathing, try Alternate Nostril Breathing.

  • Sit comfortably and let yourself breathe naturally for a few months.
  • Rest your left hand on your lap.
  • Make a “peace sign” with your right hand. Fold the two extended fingers toward the palm or rest them lightly on the bridge of your nose. Place your thumb gently onto your right nostril. Place your ring and little fingers gently onto your left nostril.
  • Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril (using your ring and little fingers) and release closure of your right. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
  • Close your right nostril and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
  • Try this for a few rounds.  When you’re done, sit comfortably and allow yourself to breathe naturally before ending your mindful breathing practice.

Namaste!

Fit Gifts

Maybe you still have a few people to find the perfect gift for or your entire list may still need checked off, either way, we’d like to give you a few ideas to help those you love stay fit throughout the year.

Image result for fitbit alta

For HerFitbit Alta

A slim wristband that will help her track her steps, sleep, and remind her to meditate during the day.  It comes in a variety of colors and looks fashionable too.

Image result for Fossil Q

For Him: Fossil Q

With a variety of options, these fitness trackers look like a real watch while also measuring steps and acting as a smartwatch.

 

Image result for resistance bandsFor the Traveler: Resistance Bands

These are light and easily make it through security.  They make a perfect stocking stuffer or a nice gift for a co-worker.

 

 

Image result for swell bottleFor the Yogi: Swell Bottle

If they’re spending a lot of time in a hot yoga studio, they will want a water bottle that will keep their water cold.

 

Image result for grid miniFor the Runner: Grid Mini

A mini foam roller they can keep in the car, at their desk, or easily travel to races with is a perfect present!

 

Image result for oster mini blenderFor the Gym-GoerPersonal Blender

After a tough workout, they will want to get home and whip up a quick smoothie to help them rebuild muscle.

 

Image result for day pack for hikingFor the Hiker: Day Pack

A small backpack that will help them carry the essentials for a long hike is the perfect fit for the outdoorsy person on your list.