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  • Foods that Lower Blood Pressure: Healthy Alternatives This Holiday Season Foods that Lower Blood Pressure: Healthy Alternatives This Holiday Season 12/13/2019 Unhealthy food choices, especially during the holidays, can wreck any diet and play havoc on your blood pressure.

    It's that time of year again. The holidays are here. Stores have begun creating festive window displays, holiday music is on the radio, and children rush to meet Santa in malls all across the country. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both joyous times of the year when families gather together, gifts are exchanged, and rooms are filled with laughter. And then, there's the food. It can be easy to overindulge this time of year. But those who suffer from hypertension should avoid such temptations and look for healthy alternatives to foods made with whole milk, salt, and excessive amounts of butter.

    Leafy Greens
    Leafy greens are a healthy food choice in general, but they're exceptionally beneficial to those with hypertension due to their potassium content. Potassium works within the kidneys to help the body rid itself of excess sodium. Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, and turnip greens all contain high levels of potassium and are excellent choices for a holiday meal. It's best to buy fresh or frozen when shopping for leafy greens since canned vegetables like turnip greens and spinach contain added sodium.

    For people that have a sweet tooth, berries make a healthy alternative to desserts that were made with milk and butter. Blueberries are the best choice for seniors with hypertension, due to their high levels of anthocyanins. While all berries contain anthocyanins, blueberries offer the highest amount of it, and recent studies have shown that consuming blueberries daily can help reduce blood pressure. Still, raspberries and strawberries are also great alternatives to traditional desserts at a Thanksgiving table.

    Dark Chocolate
    Dark chocolate is another excellent alternative to desserts, such as pumpkin pie, which has around 317 mg of sodium per slice. To benefit from dark chocolate, you should consume high-quality chocolates that contain a minimum of 70 percent cocoa. It's important to choose chocolate with high cocoa content since cocoa-rich chocolate can help to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

    Instead of indulging in red meats, people with hypertension should choose fish as their source of protein. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids which can lower blood pressure and help reduce inflammation. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is a rare find in food and can also benefit someone with hypertension. Salmon can be prepared in a variety of ways, so it can easily find its place on the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.

    A great way to snack during the holidays is to munch on unsalted seeds. Sunflower, pumpkin, and squash seeds are all high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals known to reduce blood pressure, making them the perfect way to stay healthy between meals.

    Sweet Potatoes
    Sweet potatoes are a common sight on the Thanksgiving table and can be prepared in a variety of ways. While those who suffer from hypertension should avoid digging into the sweet potato casserole, which is prepared with butter and covered in tons of gooey marshmallows, they can indulge in regularly prepared sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are an excellent holiday choice because they are a potassium-rich food. Potassium works within the body to reduce the effects of sodium and alleviate tension in the walls of blood vessels. Other potassium-rich foods are avocados, bananas, beans, tuna, and mushrooms. It's important to note that those who also suffer from kidney disease should speak to their doctors about potassium before indulging since too much potassium could be harmful to them.

    In 2015, researchers reported that those who drink one cup of red beet juice every day for four weeks saw reduced blood pressure, and some positive effects were noticed in as little as 24 hours. While beets might not be the most popular of foods, they can be extremely beneficial for people with hypertension this holiday season. In addition to juice, beets can be consumed in salads or prepared as a healthy side dish.

    Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that can be enjoyed raw or as a juice. According to a study, conducted in 2012, drinking one cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days can lower blood pressure in the short term. This is because the fruit contains high levels of antioxidants. If you or a loved one decides to enjoy this fruit as a pre-bought juice, make sure to check that there is no added sugar content.

    Garlic provides many health benefits, making it an excellent addition to anyone's diet. Not only is it a natural antibiotic and antifungal, but research suggests that garlic increases a person's natural production of nitric oxide, which helps smooth muscles and promote relaxation. This causes blood vessels to dilate and can reduce hypertension. Garlic can easily be used to add flavor to a variety of holiday dishes this year and is a great way to cut back on the use of salt.

    Pistachios are another great food to snack on between meals. Not only are they tasty, but one study suggests that eating a serving of pistachios a day can help reduce blood pressure. In addition to snacking, pistachios can be added to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads.

    Olive Oil
    Cooking with olive oil is a great idea for everyday meals as well as holiday dishes. It's a perfect example of healthy fat and can be very beneficial to heart health. Olive oil makes the list of healthy food because it contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure. Those preparing Thanksgiving or Christmas meals for loved ones with hypertension this year should use olive oil instead of butter whenever they're able.

    Keep in mind that these tips can be used throughout the year – not just during the holidays. Be sure to incorporate healthy foods into your everyday life.


  • 5 Strategies to Avoid Gaining Weight between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve 5 Strategies to Avoid Gaining Weight between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve 11/19/2019 With these 5 tips, you can enjoy this holiday season without worrying about gaining weight. As the winter holidays approach, many people attempt to lose weight to look their best for social
    gatherings. Whether you have a lofty goal of losing twenty pounds or a simple one of dropping
    only three or four pounds, you may find it difficult to achieve this task between Thanksgiving
    Day and New Year's Eve. Here are five easy strategies to encourage weight loss during this time
    frame without discouraging your motivation.
    1. Drink Lots of Water. Drinking lots of water is a critical component of any weight-loss strategy. Here is a list of some of the many benefits of drinking lots of water:
      • Water has no calories.
      • Drinking water helps your body eliminate toxic elements, salt, and waste.
      • Drinking water throughout the day encourages your body to release excess water rather than retain it.
      • Drinking plenty of water boosts your body's metabolism.
      • When you drink sufficient amounts of water regularly, you won't feel hungry.
      • Drinking water keeps you energized by avoiding the tiredness that comes with dehydration.
    2. Don't Skip Meals. When you skip a meal, you are more likely to overindulge at the next one. It is also more common for dieters to reach for an unhealthy snack when they are hungry, rather than a nutritious one. If you want to reduce your calories, eat a small meal rather than skipping it. You won't be as tempted to indulge in a high-calorie snack just because you are hungry.
    3. Get Someone Else to be the Taste Tester. Holiday meals usually include tasty dishes containing lots of calories. If you are the hostess for a party or simply making a special dessert to share, ask someone you trust to sample the recipe or finished item for you. Avoiding even a few calories each time you prepare a meal can help you to lose weight or at least to keep from gaining more.
    4. Eat Your Dessert Slowly. Desserts typically contain ingredients high in calories. Overindulging in them can not only lead to weight gain but it can also put your health at risk. Eating your dessert slowly is an easy way to discourage overindulgence while also allowing you to enjoy a few bites of sweetness. Take small bites and chew each one thoroughly to get the most enjoyment out of your dessert.
    5. Ask for Leftovers instead of Taking Seconds. Taking second helpings during Thanksgiving Day dinner is an action repeated in numerous households throughout the country. It is also the reason why so many people begin their winter weight gain during this time of year. From gravy-covered mashed potatoes to brown-sugar laced sweet potatoes, the choices for second helpings are numerous and calorie-laden. Avoiding the temptation of reaching for a second helping may be easier if you ask for a small container of leftovers instead.

    If you struggle to maintain or lose weight between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve, you certainly aren't alone. Holiday celebrations ranging from office parties to family gatherings provide tasty temptations that are often too yummy to resist. Try to stay focused on your goals and use as many strategies as you can to limit your calorie intake during the holiday season for successful results.


  • Find Your Pasture-Raised Thanksgiving Turkey from a Local Farm Find Your Pasture-Raised Thanksgiving Turkey from a Local Farm Carolina Farm Stewardship Association | 11/08/2019 Support local farmers on Thanksgiving by buying a locally-sourced turkey.

    It’s that time of the year where we share where you can locally source the centerpiece for most people’s Thanksgiving dinners: the turkey!

    A local, pasture-raised Thanksgiving turkey is a wonderful way to honor the tradition of the season – celebrating bounty, harvest, friends, and family. And furthermore, it’s also an easy way to support your local economy, have greater transparency with where your food comes from, and the taste—oh the taste!

    In addition to being given lives on pasture, the turkeys you’ll find from CFSA member-farms in this list are also nutritionally better for you. According to the Rodale Institute, “Pastured birds eat grasses and legumes that contain vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that are known to reduce cholesterol. Pastured birds also have more access to adequate space, fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, and thus maintain better physical health than confined birds. With more exercise, birds maintain a lower fat content, which is healthier for the bird and the consumer.”

    Use your Thanksgiving feast as an affirmation of your commitment to sustainable agriculture or as a good excuse to start a new tradition! Check out this list we’ve put together of CFSA member-farms raising turkeys for the holidays. You’ll find:
    • Contact Information
    • Details on how to order
    • A description of their turkey production practices.
    If you don’t see a farm close to you, you can expand your search by talking to farmers at your local market or asking your favorite farm-to-table restaurant where they source poultry. A quick chat with the farmer or perusal of their website should inform you that their production practices align with your values.
    Gobble, gobble!
    Midlands – South Carolina
    Up On Cedar Knoll Farm, Jackie Cavallin & Steve Acuff
    • Location: Blythewood, SC
    • Contact Info:
    • Preferred contact: uponcedarknoll@aol.com or (803) 240-6512
    • How to order: All reservations are sealed by receipt of a $20 deposit. The deposit can be sent as a check or via Paypal using our email address above. Please include the desired weight range when making a deposit/reservation. Average weights for our Bourbon Reds, after processing, are 6-11 pounds for young hens, 11-18 pounds for young Toms, both at $8.00/lb. Smaller to mid-range weight birds reserve out quickly! This year’s birds will be fresh, not frozen, and come with roasting instructions. We will harvest on-farm Saturday, Nov. 23. Pickups will be on-farm on Sunday, Nov. 24 through Wednesday, Nov. 27. We do not ship. Balance due at pick up: cash, check, Paypal, Square for debit/credit card.
    • Farming practices: We raise heritage Bourbon Reds, which are laid, hatched, and raised free-range (cage-free) on our property. These turkeys forage naturally on our wooded pastures and are supplemented with herbs, various plants & trees, acorns and also vegetables grown in our garden. No added hormones or antibiotics. SCDOA Meat/Poultry Handlers License: H-00-218, National Poultry Improvement Plan: 56-519, SC Small Flock Certified, CFSA & Livestock Conservancy Members.


    Five Forks Sustainable Farm, Lisa and Taylor Rees
    • Location: Pageland, SC
    • Contact Info:
    • Preferred contact: fiveforksfarmer@gmail.com or Facebook (above)
    • How to order: We prefer email, a personal message on Facebook or ordering through our online store. Please let us know the approximate desired weight. Price is $5/lb, with pickup at Union County Farmers’ Market or at the farm. A deposit of $20 is required and can be made online. We can deliver with small delivery charge.
    • Farming practices: We are raising a small flock of 30 Broad-Breasted Bronze turkeys on pasture with supplemental feed. Turkeys range from 10-30 lbs. Order early for the best selection of desired weight.
    Coastal – South Carolina
    Vital Mission Farm, Jeff Siewicki
    • Location: Wadmalaw Island, SC
    • Contact Info:
    • Preferred contact: Vitalmissionfarm@gmail.com or (843) 405-7227
    • How to order: All of our products can be picked up at the farm (just call or email us in advance to be sure we will be there). We also deliver to your door in the Charleston area for a flat $5 fee regardless of order size. Just choose “Pickup” or “Delivery” during checkout. We deliver on Monday afternoons for purchases made the previous week, and we ask that if you will not be home to leave a cooler with ice on your porch to keep your turkey cold.
    • Farming practices: All of our turkeys are pasture raised and obtain around 50 percent of their diet from grass and bugs they forage for. Due to this diet the birds stay healthy and we never have to use any medications or chemicals on our farm. They also act as our natural lawn mowers and fertilizers. Our mission is to grow food that is healthy for people, animals, land, and environment.

    To see a list of North Carolina turkey farmers, click here.

  • A Squash for Every Season: 12 Powerhouse Gourds to Gorge On Through the Year A Squash for Every Season: 12 Powerhouse Gourds to Gorge On Through the Year 11/07/2019 Whether you prefer spring, summer, winter, or fall squash, one thing's for certain: you can't go wrong adding gourds to your diet.

    If you like pumpkins and other squash, chew on this unsavory thought: you may not have been able to eat these delectable gourds had they gone into extinction thousands of years ago. Once a mainstay of mastodons and giant ground sloths, squash almost disappeared with their predators when the landscape changed. A few remaining seeds kept them around, allowing the crop to be domesticated by humans.

    Today, squash is marked more by its season than its intriguing past. Although it can be eaten all year long, squash is planted, harvested, and picked during certain seasons and classified by when it's best to consume. But whether you prefer spring, summer, winter, or fall squash, one thing's
    for certain: you can't go wrong adding gourds to your diet. And with so much variety and nourishment in this versatile fruit-used-as-a-vegetable, you'll get to spread out the goodness yearlong.

    Here are 12 squash worth your attention--and appetite. Gorge on these and see how, no matter what time of year, you can get heaps of tasty nutrition from a historic, ordinary food staple.

    Winter Squash
    Winter squash refers to gourds that are planted in warm weather but harvested before the first frost. You can store them in a cool, dry place and enjoy them for months. What's especially notable about winter squash is their colorful appearance--from bright oranges to deep yellows and greens--and rich, nutritious flesh, which has powerful anti-cancer benefits, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The seeds have something to tout too: chock-full of protein, soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they can be roasted for a healthful snack. The versatility of winter squash dates back to the Native Americans, who ate the flesh, flowers, and seeds and used the outer shell for utensils and containers. Nowadays, winter gourds are typically baked or roasted to bring out their flavor and texture.
    Here are four top-ranked winter squash not to miss:
    1. Butternut squash. The brilliant orange flesh and sweet flavor of this popular gourd may be its claim to fame, but butternut squash has a host of health benefits too. It's abundant in beta-carotene, cancer-fighting alpha-carotene, and vitamin C and no slouch when it comes to fiber, with more than six grams per cup. Its mild flavor goes well in any number of dishes, from stews to smoothies.
    2. Hubbard squash. Hubbard squash is easy to spot. It's the large gourd--reaching up to 20 pounds in weight--with the dark green, orange, or blue rind. But don't be intimidated by its size; hubbard squash contains a pleasantly sweet, grainy flesh that's perfect for everything from pureed side dishes to filling for a pie. A fan favorite? Sauté diced hubbard in olive oil with onions, garlic, and rosemary for some savory hubbard hash.
    3. Acorn squash. Probably the healthiest winter squash of all, the acorn variety offers ample doses of folate, calcium, magnesium, and fiber, not to mention more potassium in a cooked cup than two bananas. You can't mistake this gourd, as it's shaped just like its name. Choose a squash that's heavy for its size with a good balance of dark green and orange coloring.
    4. Banana squash. Considered a superior gourd, banana squash can be used in place of other winter squashes, including butternut and kabocha squash. Resembling a banana in shape, this gourd can measure as long as three feet. Its nutrient-rich flesh has an earthy, sweet flavor. As large as this gourd gets, the seeds inside are few and far between, making it convenient to eat, whether sliced and roasted, baked, or grilled.
    Spring and Summer Squash
    Claims the National Gardening Association, summer squash are "prolific, reliable producers" that grow fast--often maturing within two months of planting. They are harvested when immature and tender. While they continue to produce through the summer months, they don't store well, so you'll want to consume them soon after you buy them.

    Summer squash, many of them available in late spring too, come in an array of shapes and colors. They deliver when it comes to nutrients and antioxidants, which make them a standout for fighting disease. They're also low in calories, carbs, and sugars. If you're heading to the farmer's market this spring and summer, you won't want to bypass these varieties of squash:

    1. Zucchini. By far the most common summer squash, zucchini boasts a range of important nutrients, including vitamins C and A, manganese, and potassium. Zucchini also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help fight heart disease and carotenoid antioxidants to maintain good eye health. Resembling a cucumber, zucchini can be used in many dishes or eaten alone. Its high-water content makes zucchini a great weight-loss food and digestive aid, too.
    2. Yellow squash. Another common summer squash, yellow squash comes in crookneck and straightneck varieties, both with similar textures and flavors. Packed with vitamins A and C, fiber, and bone-strengthening manganese, yellow squash is a nutritional powerhouse with versatile uses. Fry it, grill it, or slice it and toss into spaghetti, chili, salads, soups, or a vegetable medley.
    3. Chayote squash. Pear-shaped and pale lime green, chayote squash is nearly 95 percent water--which, along with plenty of folate and vitamins C and K, makes this gourd excellent as a diuretic for gas and bloating as well as heart-protective. It can be eaten raw, like an apple, or sliced, boiled, and seasoned as a vegetable.
    4. Pattypan squash.With a strange name and an even stranger shape--resembling a disc-shaped UFO--pattypan squash has many of the same nutrients as other summer squash, with more vitamin A and cell-dividing folates than zucchini. Also known as scallop squash, pattypan can be sliced for salads, stuffed with mushrooms and herbs, or used in pies. Choose small pattypans, since they cook more easily and can be eaten whole.
    Fall Squash
    Though many squashes available during autumn get categorized as winter squash, they pop up at the market late summer through early fall. These gourds pack a punch when it comes to nutrients and don't lack in looks or versatility, either. You might pick up a squash or two to adorn your
    home and kitchen counters and tabletops for some festive fall decor.

    While pumpkins may be the favorite and most well-known gourd of autumn, there are several other varieties that deserve recognition--and a place at your dinner table during the fall months:

    1. Carnival squash. Its colorful, speckled rind makes the carnival squash look as fun as its name. But inside, you'll find a wealth of nutrition and rich, buttery flavor. Carnival squash is actually a hybrid of the sweet dumpling and acorn squashes and tastes similar to a sweet potato when roasted. Another notable perk? It's one of the cheapest gourds you'll find.
    2. Delicata squash. Cylindrical with green stripes, you can't mistake the delicata gourd--and you won't want to. This easy-to-cut, clean, and cook squash make it convenient to eat, plus its creamy texture rivals no other. Either roast these gourds or stuff them with savory fillings, including herbs, nuts, and cheese, for a delicious meal or side dish.
    3. Sweet Dumpling squash. They say the best things come in small packages, and this may be true for sweet dumpling squash. It's petite in size, at less than two pounds, but has a tender rind that's edible along with a satisfyingly sweet flesh. You can do just about anything with this gourd--bake, steam, mash, or stuff it. Or, put it on display; the tiny, green-striped gourd makes an attractive fall decoration.
    4. Kabocha squash. Shaped like a small pumpkin, kabocha squash comes in green and red varieties. This Japanese gourd has a distinct chestnut-like texture and a honey sweet flavor. It cooks up like custard, which makes it ideal for pie filling. Because of its small size, kabocha squash is especially useful for single servings or to feed a small family.
    Squash is a versatile, year-round food that can boost your health, inspire your taste buds, and keep your kitchen colorful, festive, and nutrition-filled. Enjoy these gourds of goodness through the seasons and make eating squash a health habit you won't regret.
  • Making nutritious choices Making nutritious choices Dr. Imtiaz Khan | 04/30/2019 Did you know that fruit juice isn't the healthiest choice? Learn how to make healthier food and beverage choices that help you ...

    Get the nutrition your body needs each day. Aim for eating from each of these food groups:

    • Vegetables and fruits — Eat a rainbow of colors!
      Benefit: Helps reduce risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer and obesity
    • Whole grains
      Benefit: Helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and can help maintain or lower body weight
    • Dairy products
      Benefit: Helps reduce risk of osteoporosis and can lower blood pressure
    • Lean proteins like fish, poultry, beans and nuts
      Benefit: Helps with the formation of red blood cells and builds muscle

    To get a better idea of how much you should eat, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.* They have online tools to help you plan affordable meals and learn about the best foods from each food group. Remember — balance is important when it comes to healthy eating.

    Shopping tips

    Don’t shop when hungry, because it’s too tempting to make poor food choices. Check out these shopping tips:

    • Some of the healthiest foods don’t have labels.
    • The perimeter of the store is where you’ll find less processed foods — try to avoid the middle of the grocery store, if possible.
    • If you buy produce that’s in season, you’ll get the best flavor and price.
    • Think healthy swaps, like hummus instead of dressing for dipping vegetables, or veggie wraps instead of bread for lunches.
    • Consider choosing a different food if “sugar” is listed as one of the first three ingredients.

    True or false

    True   False Some ingredients can go by many names.

    True. You might be surprised just how many names one ingredient can have.

    True   False A healthy eating plan limits foods high in added sugar and sodium and ones that contain trans fats.

    True. Some examples of foods to limit are:

    • Soda and candy. They contain added sugar.
    • Lunch meats, breads, canned soups. They have added sodium.
    • Trans fats. They can be hiding in microwave popcorn, crackers and biscuits.

    True   False Fruit juice is a great way to get a serving of fruit.

    False. While you can get nutrients from fruit juice, it’s better to eat the whole fruit. The whole fruit contains fiber, which is good for your heart and will help you feel full. Adults should drink no more than 1 cup of juice per day, and kids age 4-6 should drink no more than half a cup per day.

    Making just one better choice each day will help you feel empowered to live a healthier life. We’re here to support you all the way!


    *Choose My Plate is an independent organization that offers health information you may find helpful. This link leads to a third-party website. Those companies are solely responsible for the privacy policies and content on their sites.


  • Turn Your Kids into Cooks for a Healthier Adulthood Turn Your Kids into Cooks for a Healthier Adulthood 03/13/2019 Getting your kids interested in cooking can turn them into healthy adults.

    Want your kids to be healthy eaters for life? Teaching them to cook when they're young may be the answer, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Not only will learning to cook help them maintain healthy eating habits well into adulthood; they'll be more likely to avoid fast-food trips, eat nutritiously at home, and sit down with family to dine. The best part? It's easy to instill the love of cooking early on. Try these ideas and whip up some culinary fun with your kids:

    Show by Example
    If you don't do much cooking, your kids probably won't have the inclination either. Children learn from adults and adopt habits and interests through example. Be a role model for them to follow. Spend time in the kitchen making meals and snacks for the family. Most importantly, have a positive and enthusiastic attitude while you cook and create healthy, flavorful recipes that everyone can enjoy.

    Make Recipes Kid-Friendly
    Kids need time to become culinary experts. Make sure you adjust recipes to fit your children's interests and level of understanding. Use cooking terms that are simple, along with ingredients that are familiar yet wholesome. There are many places to look for youth-friendly recipes. Check online, invest in a cookbook for kids, or get recommendations from cooking-savvy friends and family members.

    Begin with Baking
    Baking is a good segue to cooking because it's easy to learn, fun for kids, and satisfying to their sweet tooth. Once they master how to bake their favorite treats, they're apt to try more challenging endeavors in the kitchen. If you're worried about the nutritional downfalls of baking, keep this in mind: homemade baked goods are healthier than their store-bought counterparts, which can be loaded with sugar and processed ingredients.
    Take Them Grocery Shopping
    Grocery shopping is productive entertainment for youngsters, especially when they have a part in selecting items. Help your kids write up a grocery list with foods they'll use to cook with. Research has shown that involvement in the entire process of cooking, including shopping for food, leads to better dietary habits long term. Plus, your kids will learn about the cost and nutritional value of different foods.
    Host Cooking Days with Friends
    Kids love spending time with other kids, so why not invite their friends over for a day of cooking? A group cooking activity is a great way to learn new culinary skills, socialize, and engage in teamwork as they prepare food with their peers. Have your children help decide what to make, gather the necessary cooking supplies and ingredients, and put together a cooking-day agenda.

    It's never too soon to get your kids interested in cooking. You won't just engage them in a fun and useful activity; you'll help them improve their eating habits--and health--for life.

  • 5 Ways to Get in Shape for the New Year 5 Ways to Get in Shape for the New Year 12/20/2018 Have you vowed to take care of your health and lose weight for the New Year?

    Have you vowed to take care of your health and lose weight for the New Year? If so, you aren't alone. Losing weight is one of the most common New Year's goals out there. The good news is that it doesn't need to be difficult to drop pounds and get in shape. Here is some advice that will not only help you reach your goal of losing weight, but also improve your health.

    Get Moving
    Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't go outside! If you live near hiking trails, don't let the fact that there might be snow on the ground (or cold outside) deter you. Winter hiking is athletic and it has been shown that you burn calories at a faster rate than if it were warmer outside. If you don't have hiking trails, walking or running on a track or the road can also help you get in shape.
    However, you don't need to go hiking, walking, or running in order to get moving. You can easily get a great workout indoors, too. Options include joining a class at your gym, going out dancing, and walking or running on an indoor track or at the mall. You can also work with a personal trainer and even lift weights in order to move more.
    Eat Healthy
    Many of us gain weight simply because our diet isn't healthy enough. It is so important to eat healthy foods when desiring to lose weight. To make matters worse, we seem to eat more when the weather is cold for a variety of reasons. For example, the cold temperatures can cause our serotonin levels to drop, which means that we may start craving starchy foods to make up for it.
    To get rid of the weight, eat a healthy diet filled with healthy carbohydrates, beneficial fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Make sure you balance your food choices so that you can make sure that you get the right mix of vitamins and minerals from your diet.
    Get in Shape with Friends
    Getting in shape doesn't need to be boring. Exercising with your friends can really help pass the time! Meeting some friends at the gym, taking a fitness class together, going for a run or a walk, or taking dance classes are all great activities to do with another person. Besides, chances are pretty good that your friend may even have the same goal of losing weight during the New Year.
    Drink Plenty of Water
    It's so important to stay hydrated in order to lose weight! Did you know that many people mistake feelings of hunger for simple dehydration? By staying hydrated, you can prevent this from happening. It would be a shame to eat extra calories if you're not even hungry.
    If you have trouble staying hydrated, consider carrying around a water bottle wherever you go so that you can take sips whenever you feel thirsty. You'll also want to make sure that you drink plenty of water when you exercise since people are especially susceptible to dehydration as they exercise.
    Once you have been diligent about hydrating, you may find that your energy levels are improving, your skin clears up, and you feel a lot more clear-headed.
    Try Something New
    Are you stuck in a rut? When it comes to exercising and eating healthfully, doing the same things each day can get boring. When people get bored, they tend to abandon their weight loss goals. Don't let this happen to you! Make it a point to try something new on a regular basis so that you can keep things fun and exciting.
    Is there a dish you've always wanted to make but haven't tried it yet? Are you looking to challenge yourself in the gym or maybe even run a race? This is the perfect time to do these things, not only because it is fun to try new things, but also because it can help you get into better shape.
    Getting healthy is about more than just losing weight and hitting the gym. It's about developing good habits that will help you achieve better health. These tips can help with that.


  • 7 Holiday Foods You Should Avoid 7 Holiday Foods You Should Avoid 12/11/2018 If you can avoid the wrong foods during the holidays, you can still eat healthy, or at least healthy-ish.

    The holidays are a minefield of calorie-rich meals and treats. If you are on a diet, or simply concerned about eating healthy, this season might stress you out a little. But if you can avoid the wrong foods, you can still eat healthy, or at least healthy-ish, during the holidays. Here are the foods you should avoid:

    1. Eggnog
      At a staggering 223 calories per cup, eggnog should be at the top of your list of foods to avoid during the holiday season. Like other sugary drinks, eggnog is not very filling and is far too easy to have too much of. Instead, try to have light drinks like tea, coffee, or even a bit of hot cocoa.
    2. Tamales 
      A single tamale is nearly 300 calories, and as such, you should do your best to avoid it. Tortillas are surprisingly high in calories, and not exactly rich in nutrients. For a replacement, try to have seasoned chicken or lean beef. Paired with a low-calorie veggie wrap, you can have a tamale-like experience for a fraction of the calories.
    3. Alcohol 
      For many, alcohol is everywhere during the holiday season. Most drinks are high-calorie and sugary, while often being mixed with sodas. On top of that, alcohol's intoxicating effects can increase your urge to eat while reducing your ability to refuse food. Try to avoid drinking as much as you can, and when you do drink, try to mix your liquor with diet sodas or soda water. 
    4. Frosting 
      During the holidays, you'll come across countless frosted cakes and cookies. While cakes and cupcakes alone are already high in calories, frosting dwarfs them both. A half cup (100 grams) of frosting contains over 400 calories (about 20% of your suggested daily caloric intake), and that's not counting what it's paired with. Try to keep your frosting consumption low. 
    5. Chocolate 
      Chocolate is even worse than frosting. A half cup of milk chocolate can contain over 530 calories! What's worse, chocolate is not very filling and is everywhere during the holidays. Keep this in mind this holiday season, and if you do end up having chocolate, try to keep track of how much you're eating. 
    6. Pie 
      Who doesn't like pie during the holidays? Unfortunately, pies are some of the richest foods you can consume during the season. With a calorie dense crust and exceptionally sweet filling, pies can very quickly sabotage your healthy eating. Try to keep your pie consumption low, limiting yourself to a single, moderate slice. 
    7. Mashed Potatoes 
      A cup of mashed potatoes is nearly as rich as a cup of eggnog. Now, while it may be more filling than eggnog, it is still very easy to overeat. Also, consider that homemade mashed potatoes might contain even more calories than typical store-bought brands, as people can add in extra butter and cream cheese. Limit your mashed potatoes to a single scoop, or try to substitute mashed potatoes with coleslaw. 

    Do your best to avoid these foods, and you can preserve your diet throughout the season. Now, it's okay to have a few sweets or rich foods during celebrations but remember to keep track of what you're eating. A balanced diet during the holidays can help you feel better and start the new year as a healthier you.


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