Energy Boosters or Energy Zappers?

by Paula | April 13, 2017 8:00 am

Schedules are crazy for many between family, sports, work and volunteering.  Fatigue is one of the most common reasons people go see the doctor.  Many times the tiredness they feel does stem from a medical origin such as anemia, hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular issues and cancer, but sometimes changes in lifestyle issues can increase energy.

First thing, have a general physical to rule out health issues.

Understand the power of food!  

Ask yourself if you are filling your tank with high-powered foods or energy reducing, nutrient-void filler food?

Sugar and carbs often become a quick-fix-filler. But blood sugar balance can create a diabolical star roller coaster.  Simple carbs may make you feel full in the short term, but they leave you wanting, and quickly become fat pads.  

Quality protein, healthy fats, fiber and whole, unprocessed foods provide fuel for the long haul.  

Also eating smaller meals with snacks in between keeps your blood sugar levels even throughout the day.  

You’ve heard it since you were young, but a well balanced breakfast that includes protein, fiber and possibly vegetables starts your day off with fuel for the rest of your day, your memory and emotional health.

Give up the sugary drinks and drink flavored water or tea.

This is a key lesson to teach your children from a young age.  Role model that adding herbs, fruit or lemon/lime to water can be refreshing g and provides your body with the water it needs to function at top capacity.

Sleep & Energy

Getting enough sleep seems to be that unattainable goal we all reach for, but it’s so important to body function, memory and emotional stability.

Alcohol doesn’t help.  Creating a schedule that becomes a priority, and removing social media and TV from your room creates a den that is comforting and encouraging for sleep.  To many it may be surprising that regular exercise (not close in time proximity to bedtime) encourages better sleep.

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Sugar! Could You Do A Month Without Sugar?

by Paula | March 29, 2017 11:46 am

Could You Do A Month Without Sugar?.png[1]I became more aware of the dangers of high sugar intake in American diets when I began blogging 6 years ago, and made diabetes a platform issue for my website,[2]. Our nation’s sugar habit is a driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemic in the US and it’s believed to be a contributing factor to cancer and Alzheimer’s according to The New York Times (January 1, 2017).

The questions is, if it takes three weeks to change a habit, could you go four weeks without added sweeteners?

I challenged myself with this concept after a doctor asked me to remove maladextrin, a sugar substitute, to help with stomach issues I was experiencing.  It’s a daunting task, but it could help you reset your sugar taste buds.

Sugar comes with many different names:

If you begin looking at ingredient lists, you may be shocked how frequently you will see these names within the first 3-4 names on ingredients lists. The higher they are on the lists, the more there is in the product.  See the level of sugar in commonly consumed drinks and products across the nation.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of sugar per day for women, and 36 grams per day for men.

A single 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams.

Could You Do A Month Without Sugar?[3]You may find yourself reevaluating a lot of the ‘healthy’ foods you regularly consumed previously like

One effort to assist in this challenge would be cooking, and therefore, controlling your own food.  

If you buy it from outside aisles of the grocery, instead of the inside aisles, it more likely to help you in your quest.

What you will find at the end of the experiment is the pure taste in things such as

I’m not an advocate of all-or-nothing diet plans, and a bit of 80% cocoa dark chocolate makes my heart sing in the afternoon sometimes, but you will realize a renewed, sensitive set of taste buds that have been dulled by processed foods.

It’s an awakening to the beauty and amazing nature of natural food items and improved health is a bonus!

Paul Maier, Contributing Editor for Indian Hill Connection Magazine

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Don’t Be Intimidated By Cooking!

by Paula | March 23, 2017 8:00 am

Having grown up in a restaurant family, cooking meals was a significant part of our ‘family-community’.  We ate at home often because my Father didn’t enjoy eating dinner out after a long day.

Cooking Hacks

Here are some cooking-hacks that can speed up your cook time and make your cooking experience more enjoyable.

Once you make the decision to change the way you view food as an energizing, flavor powerhouse, and how those choices effect your long term health, these changes add up to more energy, less binge eating and a fresh way of looking at yourself in the mirror.  Take that step. You deserve it!

  1. my Pinterest boards:

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Utilize these Health Hacks To Meet Your Weight Goals

by Paula | March 2, 2017 8:00 am

Making healthy lifestyle and food-choice changes to achieve weight, fitness, or health changes can be paralyzing for many people.  Look for small changes that you can make on a weekly basis, that can move you close to those goals.

Practical Goals

Most people do not succeed with weight changes because they create unattainable goals.  Here are practical ideas that are reachable and can make a difference:

Always eat breakfast. Strive for one part protein, one part fruit and one part complex carbs.  That could be egg whites with Ezekiel toast and berries, oatmeal with ground flax and berries, or whole wheat English muffin with goat cheese, smoked salmon and ½ a banana.  Add cinnamon & turmeric to oatmeal and in complex carbs for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Drink water or homemade iced green tea during your day instead of soda. Sugar and fake sweeteners zap your energy and make you sluggish all the while making you crave more sweet things.

Pack a lunch with lots of vegetables adding 2tbsp. sunflower seeds, almonds or walnuts to salads to boost nutrition, protein and healthy fats. + a piece of whole fruit.  If sandwiches work better for you, use whole grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber. Now add low-sodium, low-nitrate lean meat or meaty portobello mushrooms with a slice of avocado, spinach or kale leaves and fresh basil instead of mayo or fatty cheese.  Add a piece of fresh fruit or cut veggies with that.

Pack a healthy mid-afternoon snack such as hard boiled eggs, hummus and vegetables, Greek yogurt (plain with added fruit), or almonds(in moderate portions), and string cheese.

Eat red meat once or less per week.

Eat fish at least twice per week.

Try non meat proteins like black beans, soy protein or quinoa as well.

Try a vegetable that you’ve never tried.  Retry Brussels sprouts, kale or eggplant even if previously you thought you didn’t like them.

Use flavored vinegar or spices vs. butter and salt when cooking protein or vegetables to add flavor. Measure oils when adding them to your cooking pan. You are probably over pouring more often than you realize.

Make meals a balance of 40-50% carbs, 25-35% protein and 20-30% fat

Utilize quinoa, farro, & brown rice in salads, side dishes and as base of meatless meals.

Place cut fruits and vegetable on an eye-level-shelf in your fridge or the counter.

Use 0% Greek yogurt or cottage cheese vs. regular cheese and sour cream in cooking.

Eat whole fruits vs. fruit juices for reduced sugar intake.

Eat whole wheat bread with at least 3g of fiber. Don’t eat white bread.

Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer screen.  Eat mindfully.

Stop eating if your full.

Don’t bring serving bowls with extra food to the table.  Pack extras up and put into fridge before serving dinner.

Portion cooked meats, fish, complex carbs in well marked, sealed, 3 oz. bags and freeze so food is available in a pinch.

Use a digital food scale as a a portion-manager to visually understand portion controls.

Use a food diary to track your eating and recognize your food triggers. 

Have treats in moderate portions now and again.

Reduce the levels of processed foods you eat.

Most importantly, enjoy your life, but make healthy changes that can help you feel more energetic and promote long-term improvements to your body’s.

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Can Eating Healthy Help Protect My Eyes?

by Paula | February 9, 2017 8:00 am

I am 51 years old. Up to the time I was 40, I had 20/20 vision and took that blessing for granted.  Now, I can not read any small print with out glasses and have had 4 bouts with an unusual eye virus called Anterior Corneal Dystrophies.  What I can do to protect my eyes has become a higher priority for me.

Nutrients that Help Support Eyes

There are proven nutrients that help support eye health:

It’s proven time and time again that healthy, seasonal whole foods help promote better overall health. The nutrients sited are a part of these foods and help protect your eyes as well.


**CleanEating-September, 2015

  1. American Optometric Association:

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Can You Slow Your Aging Process? Yes!

by Paula | February 3, 2017 10:06 pm

Stephen is a guest blogger for Paula’s Healthy Living:

Stephen C Schimpff, MD is a quasi-retired internist, professor of medicine and public policy, former CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientific advisor to Sanovas, senior advisor to Sage Growth Partners and is the author of Fixing the Primary Care Crisis: Reclaiming Relationship Medicine and Returning Healthcare Decisions To You And Your Doctor[1] |[2] |[3]

Let’s start with the bad news. If you are in your 20s or 30s you’re not thinking about aging. But the process will start in your 40’s nevertheless. Every organ and function begins a slow but steady 1% decline each year. You will not notice it, probably, until you are in your 60’s or 70’s. Besides the facial wrinkles, you will notice less muscle strength, some memory lapses, balance issues, hearing loss and your doctor will tell you that your bones are getting thinner. Just like a car, “old parts wear out.” Welcome to the “golden years.” Older age is also the time when various chronic illnesses occur, like heart disease, cancer or chronic lung disease. Aging is universal, it affects everyone, and there’s no “fountain of youth”. Some think it would be great if there was a pill to slow the process but there is not – at least not yet.

Now let’s move on to the good news. There is a way that you can slow the aging process and it’s quite effective. It all has to do with your lifestyles and behaviors.

There are four critical lifestyle changes most need to make.

Good sleep patterns are an added value. For this post, I will address only nutrition and exercise.

David Katz, MD, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center said recently, “A Very Short List Of Lifestyle Practices Has A More Massive Influence On Our Medical Destinies Than Anything Else In All Of Medicine.”

By attending to these lifestyle practices, it’s possible to slow that 1% aging process to perhaps 0.75%. This may not seem like so much but it is really a 25% reduction and it adds up over time. If you start when you are a young adult, it will compound like a retirement investment. It makes a huge difference many years down the road to older age with slower aging and fewer age prevalent chronic illnesses. It can mean the difference from the later years being beset with illnesses or having a healthy life right up to the end – an end that comes later.

Paulas Healthy Living

The Figure shows a 1% decline (middle line, blue) beginning at age forty and continuing out to age 100.  The top line (red) shows the impact of slowing the decline to 0.75%. The bottom line (green) demonstrates how being a “couch potato” will speed up the aging process. The cumulative changes are substantial as the years progress.

The exact biological mechanisms that lead to aging or not well understood but as the biology of aging is better understood, it may be possible to take some other approaches to slow the aging process. For now it’s lifestyles, lifestyles, lifestyles. If you would like to learn more about the aging process, take a look at my new series[4] of short videos.

So what exactly should you do?

The first step is to eat a highly nutritious diet. The details of that you can find here on Paula’s blog. But in essence think about eating real food, mostly plant-based, mostly from fresh ingredients, made from scratch at home. The Mediterranean diet[5] is a good reference. Go heavy on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Moderate amounts of fish and limit meats. Use olive oil and have some dark chocolate; alcohol in moderation. Avoid processed foods, avoid heavily prepared foods and avoid fast food. All of these have substantial amounts of added sugar, fat and salt. Read labels very carefully. If there are items on the label that you don’t understand, skip it. If there are more than about five ingredients, skip it. But actually the best thing to do is avoid processed foods altogether. They are “nutrient light” whereas fresh foods like spinach, kale, sweet potato, berries, beans and lentils are “nutrient dense.” It’s good to remember that nutrient dense foods are generally lower in calories whereas nutrient light are high in calories. Cooking from scratch isn’t difficult; it really doesn’t take much time. Unfortunately we Americans have gotten away from doing this but it makes a big difference. It is also a good idea to eat together and make meals an event.

You need about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. This can be as simple as walking or perhaps bicycling or swimming; it need not be really aggressive like jogging. It just needs to be regular. Add in weight-bearing exercises at least three days a week. Some of these you can do at home with push-ups, sit ups, deep knee bends, the plank, etc.  You might want to consider going to a fitness center where there are specific machines and some instruction in good form. Read Paula’s post on functional fitness[6]. As you get older it’s also important to do balance exercises. It is also very important that you have a physician that offers you truly comprehensive primary care[7]. A recent editorial in the Baltimore Sun explains the importance of primary care[8].

Here is 2400 year old advice from Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. “If We Could Give Every Individual The Right Amount Of Nourishment And Exercise – Not Too Much And Not Too Little – We Would Have Found The Safest Way To Health.”

Adjusting lifestyles can be difficult, no question about it. But the long-term impact can be extremely beneficial as can the short-term impact. It requires attention, perseverance and frankly downright doggedness. But you can do it and you will be proud of yourself while feeling a lot better. And you will thank yourself many years from now when you are enjoying a healthy, productive, enjoyable long life.

  1. Fixing the Primary Care Crisis: Reclaiming Relationship Medicine and Returning Healthcare Decisions To You And Your Doctor:
  4. new series:
  5. The Mediterranean diet:
  6. functional fitness:
  7. comprehensive primary care:
  8. importance of primary care:

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Turmeric Can Be A Powerful Natural Medicine

by Paula | January 19, 2017 8:00 am

Depending on the types of foods you choose such as processed vs. whole, fried vs. baked and sugar and salt laden vs. naturally spiced; food can be the best medicine, like turmeric, or a health hazard.

Turmeric A Potent Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric is a spice that falls into the ‘healthy-for-you’ category.  Well known for delivering a distinctive flavor to Indian foods, it is believed that Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and has traditionally been included for arthritis holistic therapies. Although acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial to your bodies systems, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term). At that point it actually turns against the body’s own tissues?  

It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in many diseases.  This includes

Reduce Inflammation

If adding spices and foods that are known to reduce inflammation helps in addition to a medical regime, why wouldn’t you?

The medicinal compounds in Turmeric are called curcuminoids. The most important of compounds is curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.  Unfortunately, it is difficult for the body to absorb.  

It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperin, a natural substance that increases the absorption of curcumin.


According to WebMD[1], “Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain,diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, liver problems and gallbladder disorder.”

It is also used for

Other uses include

Basil Might Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Healthline[2] suggests basil is a delicious herb that might help lower your blood pressure. Extract of basil has been shown to reduce blood pressure, although only briefly.

Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.

If you are thinking of trying herbs for medical reasons, whether that means using the whole herb or a supplements, speak to your doctor first. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, it may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications.

  1. WebMD:
  2. Healthline:

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Self Reflection Exercise That Will Change Your Life

by Paula | December 29, 2016 8:00 am

Self reflection is a powerful tool to creating a healthy, happy life.  Some personalities find this exercise easier than others, but all will get something from it.

Steve Gutzler[1], a leadership and performance coach that I met on Twitter, encouraged me to take a self-inventory while I was on vacation and had some time to reflect.  He called it a Code of Honor. It should be 10-12 promises you make and keep for yourself.  Ones that describe personal promises, values or important feelings on family, and health. Here is my list.

Paula’s Code of Honor:

  1. Respect yourself and others
  2. Treat your body like an expensive car; give consistent maintenance and use quality ingredients and products
  3. Maintain a zeal for learning
  4. Have laughter in your life
  5. Find, cultivate and empower your passions in life
  6. Maintain relationships that raise your spirits
  7. Learn from past mistakes.  Forgive, but never forget
  8. Help others when you are able either through donations or your time
  9. Parenting is a gift
  10. Give back to your community
  11. Cultivate your creativity
  12. Cooking & eating should be an ‘experience’ worthy of a feeling of being special
  13. Exercise and stay active for all of your life

The key to the success of this inventory is the time spent,  your belief in your answers as to their honest reflection of who you are, and whether you can keep them in your mind, heart and soul.  I highly recommend this exercise as a reflection but it also energizes your direction and path taken. 

What are the 10-12 you can make and keep for yourself that can create more meaning and purpose in your life?

  1. Steve Gutzler:

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The Food Group That Help You Lose Weight Are…Pulses?!

by Paula | November 3, 2016 10:31 am

Not exactly a food group you hear dripping off people’s tongues when sharing weight-loss tips, but pulses get the job done!

What are Pulses?

Pulses are a sub-set within the legume family.

They include:

Why does it help?  

Protein leaves you feeling full and pulses boast a healthy amount!  Most have 6-9 grams of protein per serving for a 1/2 cup.  In addition they have fiber and vitamin B12.  They don’t require a lot of chemical fertilizer to grow strong so they can be grown more naturally.

Studies have shown adding more pulses to your diet also helps to reduce cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar (which is why you don’t experience the energy crash after eating like you do from sugar).

Fat Burners

These belly fat burners include:

The list also includes:

If I open a can of organic beans and don’t intend to use it all, I’ll freeze the unused portion in a well marked container for future meals.  

How to Cook

I cook split peas and lentils in low-salt chicken broth with fresh herbs on the al-denté side. I prefer a bit of bite to them when adding them to salads or with sautéed spinach or kale.  Sometimes I’ll cook the raw pulses after washing and draining in the pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil and fresh garlic at medium to high heat for fruit & smokey added flavor before I add the cooking liquid.

For a quick sauce for pasta or to make brown rice more creamy, you can cook lentils as packages direct and add to a blender with 2 tablespoons olive oil (even also add 1/2 of an avocado).  Blend well and add salt and pepper to taste. Then fold into your complex carbs.

Finding opportunities to add more fiber and protein to your food choices will always leave you feeling more full, which allows you to manage your portions while adding health benefits. Explore, and enjoy!

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Are Calories Themselves The Only Issue That’s Important?

by Paula | October 3, 2016 6:38 am

We’ve all heard that weight-loss mantra ‘Calories In, Calories out.’ It certainly makes sense if weight loss is your primary goal, rather then counting the calorie values for every morsel you eat or drink that enters your lips.  Calories out includes every mile you run, or weight you lift. Is that the way it has to be? 

When is a calorie not just a calorie?  

“Calories are just a measure of energy in food”, informs Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD.  The ‘less is more’; ‘calories in, calories out’; ‘all calories are equal’ myths just don’t hold water.  The metabolism-burning ability of calories from protein such as nuts that are loaded with minerals and vitamins and a low fat processed snack just can’t be considered equal.  

Vegetables are lower in calories but they also provide nutrients and they can lower the overall calorie-density totals for an entree by allowing you to modify how much protein or complex carbs, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice,  that is included, while still feeling satiated in the end.

Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables will always be a healthier choice versus processed foods whether they are labeled ‘low-calorie’, ‘heart healthy’ or ‘low-fat’.  Those are often just marketing catch phrases, and the ingredients list shows the real nutrition truth.

Eating regular meals plus a snack, portion control, choosing high energy-burning foods and drinking plenty of water, as well as exercising regularly is the best plan for long-term weight loss.

Many people find using food tracking apps or diaries helpful in understanding food-triggers, and places where positive food changes can be made,  but don’t let them rule your life. It’s a tool, as well as many other options such as being mindful as you eat by not eating meals in front of a TV or computer screen,  group meetings such as Weight Watchers, utilizing workout trainers or different types of fitness classes, or contacting a nutritionist to look at the bigger picture of your age, family history, eating habits, and nutritional needs all benefits your goals.

I hope that you enjoy your food and know that it fuels your body, mind and spirit!

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