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Healthy Living

32 Posts authored by: communitymanager

Healthy living advice usually contains the phrase “Everything in moderation,” but what does it really mean? It sounds simple, but it can actually be very difficult to follow and implement in your everyday life. Moderation is relative. What moderation means to you may be completely different to someone else.

 

The key to moderation is to not become fixated on one part of life. Look at your life in a big-picture view so that you can find a balance of your priorities instead of depriving yourself of something or going overboard. A single indulgence may not matter in a month or a year, so having a moderate perspective would allow for special occasion desserts, taking a break from your regular routine or having a drink with a friend.

 

How do you know what to moderate from? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

 

• What behavior do I want to change?
• What am I doing that is affecting me negatively? Positively?
• Is there something I am doing too much? Not enough?
• Where do I want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?

 

Changing behaviors or habits that aren’t serving you well is a good start to moderation. Decide what you want to change, respect your own limitations and understand your goals. Start with small changes and work up to bigger changes. Moderation comes with unique challenges, but also presents unique opportunities for wellness.


An appetite for moderation


A preoccupation or obsessiveness about the food you eat can cause more harm than good if you’re not careful. What you eat and drink is not completely dependent on your overall health and everyone’s body has different needs. Exercise, lifestyle habits, stress, sleep and family history are equally as important as what you eat every day. A varied diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and even a sweet treat once in a while will provide you with the energy you need while also allowing yourself to eat what you want. Restrictive diets can cause junk-food cravings to soar, ultimately resulting in an over-indulgence of sugary or salty foods to curb the hankering. Find the level of moderation that works best for you and your body, and don’t be afraid to have an extra cookie sometimes.


How to achieve balance


How long we’re on the clock, the number of projects and the number of emails received daily can put a huge amount of stress on anyone with a career. Creating a balance of work and life will help ease everyday stress and help increase overall productivity. Building flexibility and leisure time into your schedule can help you boost your productivity. Eat lunch away from your desk. Take a coffee break. Write in a journal before bed. Walk outside of the office for a few minutes. Even when you have mountains of work to do, it is important to take mental breaks from work to focus on yourself. You can still get the job done while giving yourself a few minutes to pause and refresh.


The habit of moderation


Changing bad habits into good habits takes planning and requires effort. There are ways to change your habits without completely depriving yourself of something. If you feel like you’re on your devices too much, leave them at home when you go out with friends. Have carbs like rice, bread or pasta with dinner once or twice a week instead of every day. Limit yourself to an hour or two of television instead of binge-watching all night. Remember that everyone’s definition of moderation is different, so what works for you may not work for someone else. Find the definition of “moderation” that works best for you, your lifestyle and your goals.


Here are some daily reminders you can use as motivation:

 

• Take one small dose at a time. Instead of an entire carton of ice cream, take one scoop.
• Challenge yourself! If your usual workout is 20 minutes, try bumping it to 30 minutes.
• Reach for your goals. Small steps everyday will help you get even closer to your goals. 
• Celebrate small victories. Small victories lead to big achievements! 
• Don’t get discouraged. Moderation means taking things little by little, so you don’t need to finish a goal right away.

 

Move forward and continue to reach for your goals.

 

Living moderately requires constant adjustment. Recognizing small steps in your wellness journey will help keep you inspired and motivated to continue to reach for your goals.

 

 

Sources

Carlin Flora, “Moderation is the key to life,” Psychology Today. Accessed September 2019. 
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201707/moderation-is-the-key-life

Toby Amidor, “What does ‘Eating in moderation’ really mean?” U.S.News. Accessed September 2019. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/09/21/what-does-eating-in-moderation-really-mean

Hilary Achauer, “What is moderation? How to define it for yourself,” Whole Life Challenge. Accessed September 2019. https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/what-is-moderation-how-to-define-it-for-yourself/

Tamara Lechner, “All things in moderation: When to moderate and when to abstain?” The Chopra Center. Accessed September 2019. https://chopra.com/articles/all-things-in-moderation-when-to-moderate-and-when-to-abstain

We know that to manage your weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the amount of physical activity you exert. News flash – the quality of your eating and exercise habits matter too.

 

Eating habits. Healthy weight management for life means a diet focused on whole foods, mostly plants. What are whole foods? They include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains such as oatmeal or brown rice, and most any food that doesn’t come in a package.  Focus your whole food diet on plants, cutting back on meat and other foods high in sugar or unhealthy fats such as fried foods, desserts, and high-fat snacks such as chips.

 

Change doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s OK to start small. For an afternoon snack, swap out chips or a candy bar for some plain Greek yogurt topped with fruit, or apple slices with unsweetened peanut butter. Strawberries or pineapple make a delicious dessert.  And start out the day right with an egg and some melon or oatmeal sweetened with berries instead of boxed cereal or an over-sized bagel.

 

Exercise. Regular exercise not only helps you get to your goal weight, it helps you stay there too.  Guidelines suggest that to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, people should do 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity weekly. Additionally, muscle burns more calories than fat, so building up your muscles will allow you to eat more while maintaining your weight.

 

If you are not currently physically active, now is a great time to get started. Take a 10-minute walk and add more time as that becomes too easy. Walk up stairs instead of taking an elevator. Best of all, head out for a workout with a buddy. Or want to go solo? Try catching up on a podcast or listening to your favorite music. Whatever you choose, make sure you talk with your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program.

 

You’ll find all these little changes add up to a new you. 

 

References:

2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/guidelines/default.aspx
Accessed January 20, 2016.

Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Updated December 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017.

Diets for weight loss. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed…. Updated February 7, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017

A good night’s sleep doesn’t begin when you get in bed. Follow this countdown to bedtime in order to rest your best.

 

Hours before bed:

 

  • Six:        End the caffeine
  • Three:   Wrap up dinner and stop alcohol intake
  • Two:      No more exercise, except for maybe some gentle stretching
  • One:      Stop working and turn off electronics

 

 

Make the hour before bed calming and relaxing by trying one of these. Listen to soothing music. Take a warm bath or shower. Meditate and breathe. Read a book (not an electronic reader). Use soothing essential oils such as lavender.

And a few last tips:

  • Stay on a schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
  • Stomach grumbling before bed? Try a cup of herbal tea or, if you’re truly hungry, perhaps some turkey roll ups, nut butter on toast, or a slice of cheese.
  • Keep it cool. Ideal bedroom temperatures are between 65 and 72 degrees.
  • Darker rooms will help you sleep better. Try blackout curtains or a sleep mask.

 

When you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes, perhaps you are not ready for sleep. Switch to another relaxing activity for a while, then try again.

 

Try it out – make over your sleep routine! Feel overwhelmed by all the tips? Talk to your coach about one or two things to change right now and gradually shift your sleep routine.

 

References

https://sleep.org/tag/bedtime-routine/

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/follow-sleep-routine

Monitoring the intensity of your activity is important for several reasons, but most importantly because it lets you know whether you are working too hard or not hard enough. Working too hard can lead to over-training resulting in injuries, decline in performance, lack of sleep and even mood changes. Not working hard enough, on the other hand, makes it harder for you to improve your fitness and achieve your health goals.

 

  
   
    
     

How do you measure intensity? There are several ways, including the talk test, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale, and heart rate monitoring. While all can be useful, today we’re focusing on the RPE scale which is a free, easy, and effective way to measure your intensity.

     

 

     

The RPE scale asks you to rate how hard you’re working, on a scale from 0 to 10, using the categories below.

     

 

     

RPE

     

 

     

Perceived Exertion

     

10:  Max Effort: Feels almost  impossible to keep going. Completely out of breath and unable to talk. Cannot  maintain for more than a very short time.

     

9: Very Hard Effort: Very  difficult to maintain exercise intensity. Can barely breath and speak only a  few words

     

7-8: Vigorous Effort:  Borderline uncomfortable. Short of breath, can speak a sentence.

     

4-6: Moderate Effort: Breathing  heavily but can hold a short conversation. Still somewhat comfortable but  becoming noticeably more challenging.

     

2-3: Light Effort: Feels like  you can continue for hours. Easy to breathe and carry on a conversation

     

1: Very Light Effort: Hardly any  exertion, but more than sleeping, watching TV, etc.

     

 

     

By becoming familiar with the RPE scale, you can continually assess your exercise intensity and find a level of exertion that is comfortable for you.  For most people staying around 4-6 on the scale (moderate effort) is a safe and effective zone. During high intensity workouts such as interval training, short bursts of very hard or vigorous effort can be interspersed with light effort.

     

 

     

In short, the benefits of using the RPE scale are that it’s free and easier than wearing a heart rate monitor.  You can even assess RPE without stopping to check your heart rate. Yet it still gives you an accurate representation of the intensity of your activity.

     

 

     

Still have questions about intensity, or want to learn more about other methods of measuring the intensity of activity? 

     

 

     

References:

     

https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/6351/exercises-to-improve-your-basketball-game/>

     

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/-/scassets/files/org/heart/hard-activity-chart.ashx?la=en

    
   
  

Successful weight management is about creating a lifestyle with healthy habits that last a lifetime.  The goal then is to find ways to include healthy choices into your daily routines to help establish long-lasting habits for long-term success.

 

What does a healthy lifestyle look like?

  • Eat Smart.  Substitute healthy choices for unhealthy ones. Choose whole, non-processed foods the majority of the time.  Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, choosing all colors of the rainbow.
  • It’s not deprivation.  Having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean your favorite foods are completely off limits.  You can still occasionally enjoy a slice of chocolate cake in moderation.  The key is to limit the frequency and portion sizes.   
  • Move more.  Schedule time for physical activity most days so you’re getting at least 150 minutes of activity a week. In addition, look for ways to make physical activity a part of your day. Park farther away, use the stairs rather than the elevator, walk around the building during your breaks, do some jumping jacks, or stretch while watching TV. 
  • Do what’s fun!  Find ways to keep your routine fun and engaging.  Maybe you’re ready to try a new workout class, challenge yourself to increase your walking speed, or include a workout buddy. We’re more likely to keep doing things we enjoy, so be sure to mix it up! 
  • Get enough sleep.  Sleep is essential for the body to function well, including regulating our hunger hormones.  Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. 
  • Practice acceptance. Accept each day – or even each moment of each day – as it is. Remember that no person or situation is perfect and respond with kindness and understanding. Letting go of judgment and focusing on the good in you and others is the path to well-being and fulfillment.

Remember, it takes time to establish new habits.  Stay consistent and these new habits will start to become a regular part of your life. 

 

References

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/tc/healthy-weight-what-affects-your-weight#1

communitymanager

Why water?

Posted by communitymanager Oct 17, 2019

Drink up! Water is essential for health. It helps you maintain normal body temperature, assists your organs in working properly, cushions your joints, keeps your skin healthy, and helps rid your body of waste.

 

How much do you need? Water needs vary from person to person – your environment, activity level, and any health conditions all influence how much water your body needs.  A general guideline is approximately eight (8-ounce) glasses per day.  In addition to water itself, fluid intake from fruits and vegetables, broth-based soups, and beverages such as coffee and tea (no sugar added!) also counts toward your daily intake.

 

Water isn’t just good for you – it helps weight management as well.  Studies have shown that drinking enough water increases the amount of calories you burn throughout the day.  Also, when drank prior to meals, water also helps reduce appetite and increases feelings of satiety. 

 

Being naturally calorie free, water is a great way to reduce overall caloric intake.  An easy way to get enough water is to carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. However, beware of sports drinks, juices, soft drinks, sweetened teas, and sweetened coffee drinks, which contain mostly empty calories that quickly add up.  Instead, try adding fruit to your water to give it a subtle flavor – limes, lemons, berries, and even veggies like cucumbers are all delicious options.

 

Our try-it-out tip: drink a glass of water 5–10 minutes before each meal.  Notice how it aids in satiety and curbs your appetite!

 

References

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss#section1

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Research has shown that active people are much less likely to suffer chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and joint problems, and they are likely to have better mental health than their sedentary counterparts.[1] This means the more active you are, the less you have to devote to the health care system, leaving you with more to spend on things you actually want to do.

 

It is impossible to put a price tag on the value of good health, but we know that poor health takes a toll on our work lives in terms of lost wages, reduced productivity, time away from work, and medical costs.

 

Ways to start moving and start saving today!

  • Yard work and gardening: digging, raking, mowing the lawn, hauling and pruning are all activities that raise your heart-rate, keep you moving, and strengthen muscles.
  • Vacuum the carpet, wash the walls, and scrub the tub to work up a sweat.
  • Instead of driving, try active transportation, like biking to work, or taking a brisk walk. You’ll save on gas, parking, car insurance and maintenance, and you save time as your active commute will also be your workout.
  • Ways to save in the long-term

Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and osteoporosis. In the big picture this saves money for the health care system as well as individual costs like medications.

Regular exercise also contributes to making you feel good. If you’re psychologically healthy, you’re less likely to feel sick and better able to perform. This could mean spending less on things like medications and counselling.[2]

Walking is a great way to get started slowly and is easy for most people to fit in. Shoot for about 15 minutes per day, progress little by little. Your wallet and your heart will benefit.

 

 

[1] Davis, Jennifer “J. J.” “Delaware’s Wellness Program: Motivating Employees Improves Health and Saves Money.” American Health & Drug Benefits 1.7 (2008): 9–16. Print.

[1] Montes, Felipe et al. “Do Health Benefits Outweigh the Costs of Mass Recreational Programs? An Economic Analysis of Four Ciclovía Programs.” Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 89.1 (2012): 153–170. PMC. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

References

Lia Sestric, “9 Ways Being Healthy Can Save You Money”, gobankingrates.com, accessed November 2016. https://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/ways-being-healthy-can-save-money/

Gina Calvert, “4 Financial Benefits of a Recreation Management Solution”, activenetwork.com, accessed November 2016. http://www.activenetwork.com/solutions/active-net/lets-get-active/4-financial-benefits-of-a-recreation-management-solution/

Lemon Chicken and Vegetables with Brown RiceCategory: Lunch/dinnerDietary Notes: Gluten free, Dairy freeServes: 2Chicken, veggies, and brown rice make a great combination for a filling yet nutritious meal for two.Ingredients:• 2 boneless...

 

Category: Lunch/dinner

Dietary Notes: Gluten free, Dairy free

Serves: 2

Chicken, veggies, and brown rice make a great combination for a filling yet nutritious meal for two.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into chunks (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 1 small white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley

Directions:

  1. To cook chicken, slice lemon and place slices on a large piece of aluminum foil.  
  2. Add sliced vegetables and olive oil to a large bowl. 
  3. Season with spices and toss to coat evenly. 
  4. Add vegetables and chicken to foil. 
  5. Fold the aluminum foil over and around the chicken to create a pouch.
  6. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes (depending on thickness) or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F and the juices from the chicken run clear.
  7. Cook rice to package instructions. 
  8. Serve chicken and vegetables with brown rice and garnish with fresh herbs

Did you know the average plate size is 20 percent larger than it was 50 years ago? And, not surprisingly, when people have larger plates, they eat more calories.  Portion sizes have grown over the years, which can make us eat more without even realizing it. No wonder so many Americans find it hard to manage their weight!

An important key to weight management is to understand portion sizes and watch how much you eat. The good news is that measuring portions doesn’t have to include intricate weighing. You can use your hand or other everyday objects to estimate portion sizes.  Here are some options:

 

Food (1 portion)

Approximate Size

3 oz  Meat/Poultry

Palm of  your hand or a deck of cards

1.5 oz  cheese

3 stacked  dice or your index finger (string cheese)

½ cup  cooked rice, pasta

A handful or  a tennis ball

1 cup  milk/yogurt

One fist or  a baseball

1 cup  vegetables

Baseball  or one fist

1 Tbsp fats  and oils

Poker Chip  

On the go?  Check out this printable wallet-sized portion control guide:  http://connect.humana.com/sites/CSO/hcswb/WellBeing%20Materials/Misc%20Well-Being%20Dimension%20Tools/Health%20Pillar/PocketPortionControlCard.pdf

 

And here are some portion control tips for you:

·         Use a small dinner plate or salad plate

·         Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies such as carrots, green beans, broccoli, or asparagus

·         Avoid eating out of the package. Instead, opt for a portion size amount in a bowl or plate

·         Split meals at restaurants, or take half home for another meal

 

Try it out!  Measure your portions for two or three days and see what you notice. How do your portions compare? Where might you reduce portion sizes? Discuss your findings with your coach! 

 

Reference

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000337.htm

News flash – you can eat healthy while keeping your grocery bill low. Below are some of our favorite tips and tricks for helping you eat delicious and nutritious meals without breaking the bank.

 

First, the shopping tips:

·         Buy fresh produce in season and freeze it. Food is much cheaper in peak season. Check out this list of seasonal fruits and vegetables: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-fruits-and-vegetables-are-in-season. When produce is not in season, choose frozen alternatives.

·         Make the majority of your meals from budget-friendly items such as beans and rice, peas and lentils, or pasta. Be sure to choose brown rice and whole grain pastas, which are less processed and healthier than the white versions.

·         Meat is often the most expensive part of the meal. Stock up on lean meats, chicken, and fish when on sale and freeze them. Also, bigger cuts of meat are usually cheaper and go further – try making a roast with lots of vegetables. And canned salmon and canned tuna can also be great affordable seafood options.

·         Plan weekly meals around sales and coupons. When sales and coupons are not an option, buy store brands and in bulk whenever possible. Both can be significantly cheaper than branded or packaged versions.

·         Choose food in its most natural form.  Pre-cut or pre-washed produce will be more expensive than whole, unprocessed fruit or vegetables.

 

Next, the cooking tips:

·         Cook large batches of foods such as soups, casseroles, and meats so you can freeze leftovers into right-size portions for you. 

·         Repurpose leftovers into other meals. Leftover chicken and veggies can be turned into a soup. Fruit becomes a delicious smoothie. Pasta and rice combine with a few other ingredients for a filling casserole.  

·         Try ethnic cooking. Since they often focus more heavily on beans, veggies, and grains, Mexican and Asian dishes are among the best value for your budget while packing in lots of flavor. Just remember to use brown rice or other whole food options to maximize the nutritional benefits of your grains.

 

Check out these healthy and budget-friendly recipes:  

https://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov/CategoryList.aspx?linkId=1

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/19339/cooking-methods-styles/budget/

 

And ask your coach about ways you can incorporate budget-friendly and nutritious meals into your weight management plan.

 

References:

 

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/smart-shopping/5-ways-to-stretch-your-dollar-at-the-grocery-store

Is being excessively competitive or too self-critical stopping you from reaching your goals?

Recent research shows that self-criticism actually makes us less resilient and less likely to learn important lessons from failure. Instead, in the face of adversity, self-criticism can make us more anxious and defensive, and can lead to isolation or unhealthy competition. The better alternative to self-criticism is self-compassion.

We’re learning that self-compassion is a way to improve your emotional well-being and help you achieve your goals. Self-compassion involves being as kind to yourself as you would to a friend or loved one, understanding that mistakes are a normal part of everyday life, and not getting stuck in the downward spiral of negative emotions that can come along with failure.

What if self-compassion does not come naturally to you? You’re not alone and you can learn it! The first step is to recognize how you respond to life’s challenges and failures. For example, how do you respond when you’ve overindulged at a special event?

Instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge your mistakes and any feelings of self-doubt or failure. Then let it all go. Recognize that any failures or perceived weaknesses from overindulging do not reflect your worth as a person, but are just a moment in time to be overcome. Ask yourself what you would tell a friend in your situation. Perhaps you’d tell her we all have those moments. Maybe you’d help him figure out what he’d do differently in the future. You’d let your friend know that one night of overeating does not make him or her a failure.

With self-compassion, you reach just as high for your goals. And, in the face of adversity, you’re better able to stay focused and work toward your goals. Be your own best friend.

Not sure how to practice self-compassion in your life? Your coach is always there for you.  

Reference

http://ccare.stanford.edu/uncategorized/the-scientific-benefits-of-self-compassion-infographic/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/self-compassion-fosters-mental-health/

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Congratulations! You’re eating better, exercising more – you’ve lost the weight and you’re feeling great. It’s time to shift your focus from eating to lose, to maintaining for the win. As tempting as it might be to take time off from the gym, celebrate with food, and slip back into your old habits – don’t! When it comes to maintaining lost weight, the odds are stacked against you if you return to the habits that led to weight gain in the first place.

Despite the often-quoted statistic that 95 percent of people regain lost weight, findings from the National Weight Control Registry, a study on long-term successful weight loss maintenance, say otherwise. The program has followed over 10,000 “successful losers” for years, and researchers have found that registry members have lost an average of 66 pounds, and maintained that for more than five years.[1]  It takes some work, but losers have many of the same strategies in common.

Secrets of “successful losers”[2],[3]

  • They have a realistic weight goal, which is most often, not an ideal body weight, but a more realistic and attainable healthy body weight

  • They have a support network, and surround themselves with people who value healthy eating, physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle.

  • They eat breakfast every day, and never let themselves get overly hungry.

  • They check in with their scale daily, or at least once each week. Managing a two-pound weight gain is fairly easy. Waiting until you realize it’s a ten-pound problem is much harder.

  • They get regular exercise. 90 percent of those who maintain their weight loss exercise for an average of one hour each day.

  • They sit less and watch less than 10 hours of television each week – probably because they’re out exercising!

  • They eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and they drink more water and fewer sweetened beverages.

  • They are accountable, track their diet, and activity, and check in with a coach or dietitian regularly.

 

[1] National Weight Control Registry, “WCR facts,” Accessed November 8, 2016, http://nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm

[2] Thomas, J. G., Bond, D. S., Phelan, S., Hill, J. O., & Wing, R. R. (2014). Weight-loss maintenance for 10 years in the National Weight Control Registry. American journal of preventive medicine, 46(1), 17-23.

[3] Akers, J. D., Cornett, R. A., Savla, J. S., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2012). Daily self-monitoring of body weight, step count, fruit/vegetable intake, and water consumption: a feasible and effective long-term weight loss maintenance approach. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(5), 685-692.

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Information from other websites or sources is provided for your convenience only and does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humana Wellness or its parent, subsidiaries or affiliates.

This site is only updated periodically; therefore, any information presented may be out of date.

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communitymanager

Adopt a seasonal menu

Posted by communitymanager Apr 26, 2019

image

by Shannon Spence

Buy organic. Go raw. Shop local. We’re constantly inundated with messages surrounding the food we buy, from the grocery store to the vegan restaurant down the street. So how do we really know that what we’re buying (and eventually eating) is actually good for us?

A good rule of thumb - according to all grandmas, hippies and health experts out there - is to eat what’s in season. Seasons provide natural guidelines and encourage diversity for healthy eating. By following the natural growth patterns of fruits, vegetables and spices, it’s likely we’ll consume tastier, more nutrient-rich foods and save money in the meantime.

Out-of-season foods often translate to produce that’s short on nutritional content and bad news for the environment, mainly because it’s been shipped or driven from a location far from you or grown in a greenhouse. To enjoy the full nourishment of food – and save the planet while you’re at it – make your menu a seasonal one. Here are a few ways to go about it.

Know what you’re buying

The tricky part with buying in season is that it differs depending on where you’re located geographically. A seasonal ingredient map will tell you what produce to buy right now. Just click on your state, and voila, a list of what’s growing in your region pops up. Even better – you get cooking tips and recipe ideas for each fruit and veggie.

Grow your own garden

Once you’ve studied up on what’s in season, why not plant your own garden? Keep in mind there is a learning curve to getting the light and soil conditions right, which can be tricky. Ask the experts at your local nursery or garden center for tips and tricks. They’re usually more than happy to help.

Join a CSA

Community Supported Agriculture programs, or CSAs, are another great way to eat with the seasons. In addition to helping you eat a well-rounded diet, being part of a CSA supports local farmers who grow produce organically. That means no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)! When you buy into a CSA, you receive a supply of whatever produce is growing at that time. Expect to get some unusual items you may not be used to preparing, which is part of the fun.

Not ready to grow your own garden?

Start with herbs. They’re easy to manage and help you get in the habit of plant maintenance. House plants work too (and they’re hard to kill!).

 

Source

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28

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Dried fruits and nuts are a great combo if you want to increase your intake of fiber – why not try it with this dessert recipe?

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of golden raisins, dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins, or currants
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ oats
  • 1 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: For chocolate fans, try adding chocolate chips (½ cup should be plenty!)

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9" loaf pan with non-stick pan spray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Place the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl and combine well with either your hands or a wooden spoon.
  4. In a large bowl or your mixer place the sugar and melted butter and mix well, add the eggs one at a time, then add the mashed bananas.
  5. With your wooden spoon mix in the raisins, oats, nuts and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture a third at a time mixing well each time.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with the raw sugar. This is optional and can be left out. The raw sugar adds a nice touch to the cake but will not detract from the recipe if you don’t have any on hand.
  8. When the bread is ready a toothpick or knife inserted into the center should come out clean. There may be a little clinging to it, just not gooey batter.
  9. Place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes and then pop it out of the pan and its ready to enjoy.

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When it comes to selecting a pair of shades, we tend to side with fashion over form. But how much good can looking like Audrey Hepburn or James Dean do if we’re risking vision loss in the meantime?

Vanity aside, sunglasses should be viewed as a tool to help safeguard the health of our eyes. Studies have shown that unprotected eye exposure to the sun’s rays increases the likelihood of developing eye problems later in life. These include cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye) and macular degeneration (an incurable disease of the retina). As if that weren’t enough motivation, a good pair of sunglasses will protect the eyes against the formation of wrinkles, including crow’s feet, and the thickening of the skin that can be caused by some UV exposure.

Don’t get stuck purchasing a pair of shades that don’t get the job done – expensive or not. Here’s what to look for the next time you’re in the market.

Get the full monty

Look for UV 400 protection, which will shield your eyes from even the tiniest of UV rays. Lenses need to block 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays and should meet the ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements set by the American National Standards Institute.

Hue matters

Darker doesn’t always mean better. Hue, on the other hand, can make a huge difference when it comes to visibility. Opt for gray, green or brown lenses to lessen the possibility of color distortions, which may be present in yellow- and rose-tinted sunglasses.

What works on water

If you’re recreating in the water, polarized lenses are your best bet. They filter out sunlight reflected off the surface of the water and reduce glare. Polarized lenses have nothing to do with UV protection so make sure you also check for that.

Opt for a snug fit

Your sunglasses should feel somewhat tight on your nose and ears while not pinching or rubbing. Because light can hit your eyes from above, find ones that are snug around the brow area but not so tight that your eyelashes rub against the lenses.

Keep in mind

Contact lenses alone aren’t enough to protect your eyes from the sun. Even if your lenses have UV protection, remember to wear your sunglasses, too.

Make it a habit to sport your shades every time you step outside. Whether you choose a higher-end pair or opt for cheaper ones from the drugstore, you won’t have a hard time finding sunglasses that are both fashionable and functional.

With Go365®, you can earn 200 Points (which translate to Bucks you can spend in the Go365 Mall) per program year just for getting your routine vision exam. Any children under the age of 18 on your Go365 account can earn 100 Points per program year for their routine vision exam, too. Points will automatically award within 48 hours of a vision exam claim processing for anyone who is a Humana vision member. If you don’t have Humana vision, submit documentation to Go365 within 90 days of the exam in one of two ways:

  1. Visit Go365.com, navigate to Activities > Prevention and click on the tile “Get a vision exam.” Fill in the required fields and click “Submit.”
  2. Open the Go365 App, navigate to Activities, scroll through the activities to find “Get a vision exam” and follow the prompts.

Sources
http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/index.cfm
http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/how-to-pick-good-sunglasses

 

 

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. Consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.