Clean Eating Has Health Benefits, But Can It Help Me Lose Weight?

by Paula | January 4, 2018 8:00 am

Clean eating is a health-based, lifestyle approach to eating food as close to the way Nature created it.  It recommends enjoying seasonal veggies and fruit, minimally processed whole grains, dairy and lean protein with legumes, lentils, healthy oils and herbs.  This nutrient-dense way of eating can help reduce blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but can it help you lose weight?!

When you include whole foods, that are minimally processed,  you embrace the natural fiber in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds as well as the healthy fats in omega-3 rich seafood and oils to work in your favor.  

These benefits help to leave you feel more full, and adding more vegetables to every meal allows you to lower the over all calorie density of any meal.  These recommended foods are also inflammation reducing versus processed foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugar, that increase inflammation.

According to[1], this way of eating will, “shift your hormones from fat-storage mode into fat-burning mode which increases your metabolism.”  

In combination with cardio and weight-based training, you can light the fat-burning furnace inside of you! Studies have shown the metabolism boosting benefits of weight bearing exercise continues long after you’ve left the gym.

There is no magic-bullet panacea for fast weight loss.  It needs to be a life style change! That includes healthier choices in the kitchen and consistent fitness.  The energy and improved mood that you will realize may surprise you!


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Chocolate Chia Pudding

by Paula | December 23, 2017 6:00 am

I love chia seeds! They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to raise HDL cholesterol. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium.  I add them to pancakes and baked goods, I sprinkle over cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.  Sprinkle over salads for a slight crunch and make pudding!

The chia seed is nutrient dense and packs a punch of energy boosting power!  The reason Chia seeds are so beneficial is due to them being rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals such as:

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe:

This recipe is sugar free, but if you prefer you can sub real maple syrup or honey for Walden Farm Maple Syrup.

* add stevia to taste, if not sweet enough.

How to Make:

  1. Blend milk base with cinnamon in a blender.
  2. Stir in chia seeds with milk mixture and allow to soak for at least 2 hours.  For best plumpness, soak overnight.  I enjoy the flavor more when it’s cool.
  3. Fold in fresh pineapple chunks and top with desired amount of berries.  Add a sprig of mint if desired.

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8 Principles of A Healthy Lifestyle

by Paula | December 15, 2017 8:00 am

Here’s a great read by Mark Occhipinti, Ph.D.[1]

The benefits of a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle can save your life. There are so many positive reasons to change the way you eat. You will lose body fat, increase your energy, lower your risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, have more energy, have a better sex life-all true and attainable by following 8 simple principles:

Eating Whole Unprocessed Foods

1. Eating whole unprocessed foods provides an abundance of nutrients that strengthens our body’s immune system and protect us from chemicals in the environment. Reducing the risks of degenerative diseases, will save us money, now and in the long run. Just think –if you are not sick you do not need medications, frequent doctor visits, hospital stays, etc.

Fresh Foods

2. Vitamin supplements are not the answer for good health-eating good food is! Vitamins can be beneficial in certain instances, but they can never take the place of eating , fresh organic whole foods that contain not only the vitamin/mineral of the specific supplement in the bottle, but hundreds to thousands of nutrients that work together synergistically to support the human body.

Plant Foods

3. There are virtually no nutrients in animal foods that are not supplied more healthfully in plant based foods. Plant foods contain fiber for healthy colon, animal products do not. Plant foods contain dramatically more anti-oxidants than animal foods. Plant foods are either absent or very low in cholesterol and for the most part fat. Animal foods cannot make that claim. There are those who state that plant based foods contain little if any vitamin B12, versus animal foods that contain much higher levels. According to Dr. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study” states that American’s contain a 3 year supply of vitamin B12. It is very easy to add a supplement of vitamin B12 to assure yourself of maintaining healthy levels of this important vitamin.


4. Genes alone do not determine whether or not you will develop disease-especially cancer! One in three Americans according to the American Cancer Society will develop cancer in their lifetime. According to current projections by the National Institute of Health, cancer will soon surpass heart disease as the number one killer in the United States. The “war” on cancer has it had been coined by President Richard Nixon in 1971 has for the most part been an abject failure. There is great news however-instead of trying to find a specific gene to “shut it off”, as many cancer researchers are doing today, we could just never turn it on. The research from The China Study clearly demonstrates cancer genes that are not expressed [not actually cancer cells], can remain biochemically dormant in the absence of animal proteins-specifically casein [from dairy products]. And in the case where the cancer genes have developed into cancer-the cancer can be reversed with a chance to a plant based diet.

There are several excellent books to help individuals in understanding cancer and taking ownership of the disease instead of putting their lives in the hands of oncologists –who will use the standard treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and then expensive drugs with many side-effects.

Nutrition Can Substantially Control Adverse Effects of Chemicals

5. We are all exposed to noxious chemicals-in the workplace and there is the potential to face them daily in our homes. Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of these chemicals. We may not be able to avoid exposure to chemicals that can damage the normal genes in our body turning them into cancer genes, however through a diet rich in anti-oxidants derived from a plant-based diet we can keep these damaged “cancer” genes dormant for our entire lives by eating whole foods [fruits, vegetables, whole unprocessed grains, beans, seeds, nuts, legumes].

Chronic Disease

6. Chronic disease does not happen over-night. Quite simply one hamburger or batch of chicken wings will not cause a heart attack. However daily doses of artery clogging animal fat over time will cause the dreaded diseases that cut short millions of Americans lives pre-maturely. In The China Study, Dr. Campbell has demonstrated that the same good plant-based nutrition that can prevent disease in its early stages [before diagnosis] can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages [after diagnosis] by switching to a plant-based diet. One of the most profound discoveries associated with a change in diet is in the area of auto-immune diseases.

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis were and are by many in the health field to be irreversible, and that the best that can be down is slow the progression with drugs.

The evidence of a change in diet from an animal based to plant-based diet has been demonstrated by Dr. Roy Swank at John Hopkins University, Dr. Neil Bernard, at Physicians for Responsible Medicine is exciting, and gives great hope for those American’s suffering from these and other debilitating diseases.


7. There is no specific magic bullet single nutrient that will cure, or prevent diseases. However, there are many books on diet or taking specific supplements without addressing over-all eating habits for sale today. Instead of seeking out a specific diet for a specific disease, switching to a plant-based diet will benefit the body and reduce all chronic disease developments across the board. The Campbell is quoted; +Quite simply, you can maximize health and reduce disease across the board with one simple diet.+

Everything is Connected

8. Good Nutrition creates good health, and everything is connected. Disease knows no barriers, the rich, poor, highly educated, famous all suffer needlessly from diseases caused by the choice made when it comes to diet. Instead of worrying about identifying a single gene among the hundreds of thousands in the human body, we could all +collectively relax, take a deep breath+ as Dr. Campbell states and realize that good health and avoidance is at the end of our fork.
It sounds so simplistic-preventing and reversing disease by changing our diet. It IS! The science is there to prove a change to a plant-based diet will change our lives. The only groups that will not be happy will be drug companies, and those industries that push animal products. We as Americans can take control of our lives and our health by simply eating a healthy whole foods plant-based diet. What do you have to lose?


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A Cup Of Tea Warms Your Heart And More!

by Paula | December 7, 2017 6:00 am

I get up early to workout most mornings, before my kids get up.  Then my day often feels like its pace is a dead-run.  Around 4:00 PM, my energy begins to wane.  Coincidently, that’s usually the time my children complete their homework.  What I enjoy at that time, is a cup of hot tea, and to just ‘be’ for a few moments.  Decompress.  Hear about the stories of the day, and recharge my batteries.  

An added bonus is the health benefits tea provides:

Sample Teas

I recently tried several varieties from[1] through their sampling offerings. The Peach Oolong and fragrant and satisfying.  I love that they provide info on the levels of caffeine and the temperature and steep times for optimal enjoyment for each kind.

Tea is Good for the Heart & Reduces Cancer

American Dietetic Association Spokeswoman, Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, LD boldly says, “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea. It has less caffeine than coffee, and the compounds in tea-their flavonoids- are good for the heart and reduce cancer.”  For me though, it’s not just about the tea, but the life-experience of enjoying a quiet moment with my family.



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Could Biodynamic Farming Be Better For You & Your Community?!

by Paula | November 30, 2017 8:00 am

Just when you thought you were well versed in healthy eating terms, they throw another food label into the mix to keep things interesting!  

Biodynamic describes a sustainable farming method that looks at the farm itself as a ‘living organism’.  This means that the growing site is self-sustaining, self-contained and follows the cycles of nature, explains Elizabeth Candelario, managing director of Demeter, the global certification program for biodynamic farms and products.  She explains that biodynamics builds on the organic protocols, but then takes the measuring bar a bit further.  It guides how the farms are managed, based on the natural rhythms of each plot of land.

Another critical element to this healthy growing style is that 10% of the total acreage must be set aside for biodiversity including sustaining and improving pollination health. (Bees blog).  It considers protection of endangered species, wildlife and diverse life forms to be a priority ([1]- Jan/Feb 2017).  

The drive behind this style of farming is protection of the land, and growing more flavorful produce and fruits while protecting the environment. Caldelario explains that ” the healthier the soil, the healthier the food, the healthier the person, the healthier the planet.”

This is the seal that denotes farming this way, and you can find farmers who are certified at[2].  Ask your grocer to carry their products for the better health of your family and your community.


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Kale and Chorizo Soup

by Paula | November 9, 2017 8:00 am

Food and soup should ignite a flavor opportunity for soul, while promoting good health for your body!

A health concern that many people have is to reduce inflammation, which can lead to disease and oxidative damage (which is why we seek out antioxidants).  One system-boosting food is dark, leafy greens as in the Kale and Chorizo Soup. They promote better brain health and are packed with folate and phytochemicals.  

This recipe includes other health boosting ingredients like olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Flavor and all that?!

Kale and Chorizo Soup – Cooking Light:

Serves 8 (serving size about 1 1/3 cup)


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium.
  2. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  
  3. Add stock, salt, pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes; increase heat to high.  
  4. Bring to a boil.  Partially cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in kale; simmer until potatoes are tender and kale softens, about 5 minutes.


Sugar 5g

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All Or Nothing Behavior with Weight

by Paula | October 19, 2017 8:00 am

When people feel frustrated with their weight or are faced with health issues that are worsen by their weight, they tend to make goals that are ‘all or nothing’.  Typically, this avenue of pursuit doesn’t end with you achieving your weight goal.

If you were making decisions involving a business, you would never decide to set goals that could not be attained; why do it with your weight?  

A more realistic, doable course of action for your weight is better.  

There are a lot of changes that can be made to improve your weight and health:

Ditch soda for quenching and refreshing choices

such as fruit/herb infused water, or brewed and chilled green tea.  I use lemon green tea, apple spice tea and dandelion tea (to soothe tummy troubles). I brew all three in a mug. Cool and add to 32 ounces of water. A squeeze of fresh lemon is wonderful as well.

Eat the foods you like, but tweak them over time toward lower salt, fat and sugar.  

This mindset allows you not to feel deprived and forced to eat foods you don’t like.  Portion control and frequency of consumption are important if you want to see your weight drop.  Over time, you will see your attraction to fried, over salted and sugary items reduce along with your weight.  

Eat at home more than you eat out.

Between the dreaded (but delicious) bread basket and not being in control of the ingredients or process of cooking, eating in restaurants can hinder your weight goals.  Cooking at home gives you the opportunity to try new recipes and to be in control of fats and ingredients.  

Take a cooking class, watch healthy cooking ideas on FoodNetwork, or visit my healthy food boards on Pinterest

Ignite a passion for flavorful, energizing foods. Many find using a healthy meal delivery service such as Hello Fresh delivers diet-conscious dinners for $11.50 per portion to your door for you to cook.

Make sure your plate is 1/2 full of veggies, 1/4 protein (non meat varieties work well), and 1/4 full of complex carbs (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, etc.) at meals.  

Fresh fruit versus fruit juice is an easy change.

Snacking mid afternoon helps you avoid vending machines and drive thru windows.

I enjoy cottage cheese, 15 almonds with a string cheese, apples and a slice of sharp cheddar, Greek yogurt, or 2 hard boiled eggs and find them very satisfying.

Get your rest.

A lack of sleep can raise your cortisol levels (fight or flight hormone), which can lead to belly fat.  Evaluate your bedtime rituals if you have trouble falling asleep.

Laughing and Gratitude

It may seem irrelevant, but laughing and being grateful can effect your weight. A constant state of stress and depression can keep you stuck at your weight. Look at what improves your mood, or ask for help if needed.

Being unhappy with your weight can be a vicious cycle of binge eating, rollercoaster weight loss and general unhappiness. Let’s work together to find a more permanent, health-oriented way.

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Can The MIND Diet Help My Brain?

by Paula | September 28, 2017 8:00 am

Eating healthy and exercise has been proven to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many forms of cancer. It’s also key to memory, focus and preventing disease as we age,  to remember that your brain is a muscle.

The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.” -Carl Sagan


Focus on the brain as a muscle demands maintenance through healthy fuel and fitness. This healthy attitude requires you to integrate its’ maintenance with the focus you attend to your body.  Rebecca Katz, the author  of The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big Flavor Recipes To Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity attributes brain fog and depression as proof of the brain-body connection. She believes “the kitchen and the gym may hold the keys to clear thinking.

An emerging study has been investigating the connection of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet with its blend of olive oils, whole grains, vegetables and lean meats and brain health.[2] reports, The MIND diet, which stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015.

Morris’ team followed the food intake of 923 Chicago-area seniors. Over 4.5 years, 144 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease. The longer people had followed the MIND diet patterns, the less risk they appeared to have. Even people who made “modest” changes to their diets – who wouldn’t have fit the criteria for DASH or Mediterranean – had less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.

The brain connection with exercise is not completely understood, but it’s accepted that exercise changes your brain chemistry 

Also, that “exercise helps the brain factor that helps new brain cells to form, while keeping existing neurons young.” ([3]).

The research on the MIND diet continues and there is support for its healthy diet recommendations for brain health.


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The Astonishing Impact School Lunches Have on Childhood Obesity Rates

by Paula | September 7, 2017 8:00 am

Issues surrounding the nutritional value in school lunches is a significant issue impacting childhood obesity rates in the United States. states that kids who buy lunch at school had a 30% greater risk of obesity than those who brown bag theirs.

The stats revealed were a part of a University of Michigan study of over 1000 sixth graders, and results were published in the American Heart Journal.

The study found that in addition to the nutritional quality of the food as a factor in the statistics, was a lack of activity for those children.

Two or more hours of sedentary activity in front of a TV or video games increased the risk of obesity by 19%.

These two factors can lead to an unbalanced, dysfunctional metabolic profile (see my blog on Metabolic Syndrome from Feb. 28, 2013).

The solution involves

Previously, the theory on childhood obesity centered around behavioral factors and hereditary or genetics factors.

According to the study, obese children had three common markers.  They were:

1.       Less likely to have consumed milk with in the previous 24 hours to being involved in the study 983% VS, 90%)

2.       More likely to consume school lunches on most school days (45% vs. 34% that home-pack)

3.       More likely to consume regular soda’s and soft drinks daily (40% vs. 30% who don’t consume daily)

4.       Had significantly less exercise.  Less than 20 minutes a day in the week before the study and less likely to participate in school or after-school organized sports.

Making positive changes to the growing problem of childhood obesity impacts everyone in the US, even if they don’t have children themselves.  If the upcoming generation is plagued with health issues due to an increase in metabolic profile issues, it burdens the healthcare system, doesn’t allow for the children to reach their potential in education, and creates mental health issues for them as a group. Let’s all get involved in some way to create positive change.

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A Healthier Lifestyle Might Be The Best Medicine

by Paula | August 17, 2017 8:00 am

Our fast-paced society has lengthened our 8 hour work day to what is literally or figuratively becomes a 12 hour day.  We hope to get more work done, and if it didn’t get completed then we bring our work and electronics home to ‘finish’.  Seems that we are trying to eek out the most productivity we can out of every day in hopes of succeeding in

1) finishing our work

2) getting noticed by the boss

3) closing the sale

4) getting more accomplished.  

But do we really? Is the best way to get more done, to spend more time doing it?  More and more studies say, NO!

Strategic Renewal of Energy

More research is showing that strategic renewal of energy through forms such as

make for a more efficient and productive employee.  

Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012.

According to an article in the New York Times[1] (2/10/13), “Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do more work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable”.

It seems counter-intuitive that if we take more time off, we would be more productive.  But just like a child’s toy that uses batteries, if the batteries run low, the toy doesn’t work as well.

Systems Need a Break

Our bodies communicate to us that the systems need a break; fatigue and even illness are often a body’s way of demanding that we take a break.  We often override those signals by ignoring them, squashing them with caffeine, OTC stimulants and power drinks, or with prescription or illegal drugs.  These options may resolve the problems temporarily but for long-lasting resolve, a healthier choice must be made.

More major companies comprehend this connection.  They are providing workout/yoga classes and facilities, on-site child care that allows their employees to have lunch with their children, and require that employees honor at least part of their given vacation benefits for time off. 

“Using dirty energy today for faster results” as the article describes, will not achieve the long-lasting goal of creative, positive, efficient work results.  Taking care of yourself allows you to provide the best service or results for your work community.

  1. New York Times:

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