Category Archives: CLEAN EATING

8 FOODS THAT ACCELERATE AGING

Eating is such a pain – especially when you live alone.

It’s too much trouble to cook; McDonald’s or Taco Bell and quicker and easier.

You are a little concerned about your choices, but millions of people eat fast food.  It can’t really be that bad. 

Does It Really Matter?

According to Timothy Harlan, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, “Aging is basically a chronic inflammatory state. Can you look older because you’re eating crap? Absolutely.”

You are living in a time of unprecedented medical advances and healthy food options. You are  aware of how diet impacts your quality of life and the aging process. Yet, you continue to eat “crap” as Dr. Harlan calls it. WHY????

It’s Hard to Resist

Part of the problem is the heavy marketing by food manufacturers that bombard you with “pretend” healthy foods, when in fact they are not healthy and accelerate aging.   

To protect yourself from this ever-present danger and to control the aging process, you must do the following:

  • Be a conscious consumer
  • Educate yourself
  • Pay attention to your food choices
  • Always read labels
  • Buy and consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  

What if you are already old?

I have friends who say,  “I’m so old, I have earned the right to eat whatever I want.” That may be true but, age is also supposed to bring wisdom. Eating crap is not wise!

Today, I am offering a list of eight foods types you should not eat if you want to age well.

I’m guessing with almost 100% certainty that many of you are consuming something on this list without realizing how bad it is for you.  

Processed Meats

Any meats that are not fresh are processed.

This includes many of your favorites such as hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat, meat sauces, and most packaged lunch meats. (Read labels carefully)

Processed meats are usually high in saturated fats and filled with nitrates. The preservatives promote the formation of free radicals, which damage DNA and accelerate aging.

Also, avoid smoked meats which contain pro-carcinogenics that can cause cancer.

Trans Fats

This is the worst type of fats for your health.

Trans fat, is a type of unsaturated fat that occurs in small amounts in nature. They are found in animal-based foods, such as steak and milk. The quantities are small and not dangerous to your health.  

Artificial trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, are very dangerous to your health.

We first saw them in the 1950s when food manufacturers started converting vegetable oils into solids.

They are still used regularly in many processed foods.  For example, margarine and other artificial spreads, snack foods, packaged baked goods (pies, cakes, cookies), and for frying fast foods (French fries, Churros, doughnuts, etc.)  

Partially hydrogenated oils are a common source of trans fats. It can be found in the list of ingredients on many food labels. Always read labels carefully.

Be aware that labels can list the trans-fat content as 0, even when there are 0.5 grams per serving. Because of the unreliability of that system, it is better to look for partially hydrogenated oils on the list of ingredients.

Trans fats raise your bad LDL cholesterol levels while lowering the good cholesterol, HDL. These fats increase risks for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Fatty Meats

These are also high in saturated fats. You can eat them occasionally, but it would be smart to limit your consumption. 

The best practice is to buy only leaner meats such as tenderloin cuts. Use 95% lean ground beef, or go with either ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast as healthier options.

Processed White Flour 

Refined white flour has been stripped of its nutrient value with virtually no vitamins, minerals, or fats.

It is used for commercial baked goods because it is light, airy, and cheap, but it is harmful to your health.

  • Most of your favorite junk foods are made from white flour.  Examples – white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, pretzels, chips, muffins, crackers, pizza crust, pie crust, and breakfast cereals.
Eat Whole Grains Instead

There are many rich and delicious whole grains available that curb inflammation – and slow down aging. You can choose from oatmeal, whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, and quinoa. 

These grains are also filled with B vitamins like thiamine and riboflavin that are particularly good for your skin – an important element in controlling signs of aging.

Vegetable Oils

These are advertised as healthy. But, corn and un-pure canola oils, have undergone thorough processing and refinement, using many toxic chemicals such as hexane in the process. The result is polyunsaturated fats that are heavily prone to oxidation when eaten.

The result? Increased inflammation in the body that speeds up aging and creates a sharper decline in health.

The best alternatives are extra virgin olive oil, avocado, flaxseed and grapeseed oils. (Again, be sure to read the labels to check for purity and additives)

Pastries, Sweets, Cookies, etc.

Pastries are often consumed for breakfast or snacks because they are easy to eat on the go and easy to carry. But, pastries are the perfect storm of health-sapping nutrients, containing both high quantities of saturated fats, trans fats, and sugars. All of which speed up your body’s natural oxidative processes, making you look older, more prone to illness, and susceptible to weigh gain.

Don’t forget that extra weight accelerates aging.

If you want to be healthy and slow down the aging process, you must eliminate sugar and sweets from your diet. At the very least, they should be limited to an occasional treat or for holidays and special occasions.

This is a tough one to control, but critical to your health.

Salty Foods

Yes, salt is necessary to make foods tastier and  more appetizing. Unfortunately, the amount of sodium the average American consumes is extremely high and far beyond safety levels for the body. 

The FDA recommends adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams daily. The average consumption is 3400 milligrams.

Sodium dehydrates the body and increases urination as a way to normalize electrolyte levels. This leaves you thirsty and craving more and more wate – not the way the body was meant to function.

Excess sodium intake can also compromise kidney health. It causes the accumulation of toxic waste material, and may even interfere with normal bone metabolic processes.

And . . . let’s not forget the one you probably already know. High sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Is it worth the extra salt added to your meals – or the excessive amount of sodium in fast foods and salty snacks? Again – the choice is yours.

Alcohol

With the rise in popularity of the Mediterranean Diet, the possible health benefits of a single glass of red wine daily have been making the rounds. Sadly, the suggestion has not been kept in perspective, at least when it comes to quantity.

Many people do not have one glass per day. Instead, they opt for 3, 5 or 10. This is where things get bad. Alcohol taxes the liver more than any other substance. When the liver  is overwhelmed by processing the aldehydes from excessive amounts of  alcohol, it is unable to process real toxins and the body suffers.

Alcohol also has a pronounced effect on elastin and collagen in the skin, making it appear listless and saggy – indications of aging that no one wants.

When alcohol is not moderated, it causes a variety of chronic conditions that not only affects aging but also can result in premature death.

No Excuse for a Bad Diet

With the availability of healthy foods today, there is no excuse for a bad diet. It is the result of not caring, too lazy to change, or denial that how you eat affects how you look and feel.

Foods that accelerate aging
Image by Lightsource@Stockfresh

However, the “truth is out there” and you know the difference. 

Making a change in your eating patterns may be challenging, but it is worth the effort.  It leads to longer, healthier, happier lives. 

Choosing a healthy diet is a choice to protect yourself and your family from premature aging, susceptibility to health problems and not feeling your best.  

My challenge for you is to eliminate foods that accelerate aging – and start today!

I know you can do it. 

Related Article:  5 Simple Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

 

Healthy Living is Back Online

Hope you missed me? I missed you!

I missed posting on “Healthy LIving.”

Couldn’t write because of a health issue – a cracked vertebrae. It was a long, slow healing process, but I have finally returned, fully recovered.

Promise to stay with you this time. Thank you for joining me. I appreciate every person who reads my blog.

Healthy Foods
Image by fo2Trends

Healthy living and a healthy diet are important topics for all of us – regardless of age. And….there is so much to learn.

If you are in weight-loss mode, or want to maintain a healthy weight, you will be interested in my new short series of articles – starting Monday.

“How to Choose the Best Drinks for a Successful Diet.” 

These articles have been Adapted with permission from the original article published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal

It is a well-researched and includes a long list of references. I will include it at the end of first posting in the series – just in case you want to learn more.

Would love your comments and thoughts.

It’s good to be back!

All my best – Hope you are well and living healthy.

Nancy

 

Are You Sabotaging Your Diet?

Drinks killing your diet
Credit – alpaksoy@iStock

Do you think before you drink? Or – are you sabotaging your diet?

Do you make that quick stop every morning on your way to work for your favorite Starbucks Frappuccino? 

Do you look forward to that afternoon coffee break when you can relax with a cold brew filled with sugar and cream?

How about after work when you join friends for a couple of cold beers before heading home?

The calories are easy to ignore when you are drinking them; but they could be the reason you aren’t losing the pounds you want to lose.

To prevent sabotaging your diet, limit your consumption of the following (or avoid them althogther).                                                                           

Sweetened Sodas

  • One 12-ounce regular soda will contain a minimum of 140 calories.
  • High-levels of sugar place stress on your pancreas, potentially leaving it unable to keep up with the body’s need for insulin. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • They are dehydrating, making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients. They can also cause constipation.
  • Caramel coloring in sodas has been linked to several cancers including leukemia and vascular/heart issues.

Diet Sodas

  • Even though the negative health effects of diet drinks and artificial sweeteners are controversial, you should be aware of them. In my opinion, they as bad (or worse) than regular sodas.
  • There is little nutritional value, if any. They are a mixture of carbonated water, artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose), colors, flavors, acids, preservatives and often caffeine, plus other food additives.
  • Harvard Medical School study of 3,318 women, found that diet cola is linked with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline.

Healthline reports:

“Several observational studies have found that using artificial sweeteners and drinking high amounts of diet soda is associated with an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. 78,  910).

Energy Drinks

  • The popular brands of energy drinks contain high amounts of added sugars plus questionable ingredients such as taurine, tyrosine, and beta alanine.
  • They deliver on promised benefits by increasing brain function and

    drinks killing your diet
    Credit – robtek@iStock

    helping you function when you’re tired or sleep-deprived. However, the health concerns outweigh the benefits. They contain excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar, which many believe can cause serious delayed heart problems.

  • They are even more dangerous when mixed with alcohol.

Healthline reports:

“The stimulating effects of caffeine in energy drinks can override the depressive effects of alcohol. This can leave you feeling less intoxicated while still experiencing alcohol-related impairments (1617).

This combination can be very troubling. People who ingest energy drinks with alcohol tend to report heavier alcohol consumption. They’re also more likely to drink and drive, and suffer from alcohol-related injuries (181920).”

Bottled Fruit Juice

Juice was considered a healthy drink choice for years; but, most fruit juices today contain high amounts of added sugars.

These processed drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water and lack the fiber and nutrition associated with real fruit. They also can trigger a blood sugar spike that does not happen with freshly-squeezed juices.

If you want a healthy glass of fruit juice, squeeze it yourself.

Alcohol

Alcohol is not diet friendly. A full-flavored beer or small size glass of wine will contain 140 – 200 calories.

Bourbon, scotch, vodka, etc. are lower in calories than beer or wine, but as mixed drinks, the calorie count can be significant. If you do choose to drink hard liquor, drink it straight or mixed with seltzer water to minimize calories.

Coffee Flavorings

Black coffee has minimal calories, but added creamers, syrups, or sugar will add calories – especially the large sweet drinks from Starbucks. The answer is – learn to drink it black or with a dollop of heavy cream to limit the calorie intake.

Or, you can add HVMN’s MCT Oil Powder for healthy, filling fats that provide all-day energy.

Are you sabotaging your diet by drinking without thinking?

How many extra calories are you mindlessly consuming that may be the culprit in stalling your effort to lose weight?

Adapted with permission from the original article published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal.

Note:  This was a long article originally that I am posting in segments for easier reading. If you want more information on the research, click on the numbered links in the posting. They will take you to the references in the original article. 

Related Articles:

How to Choose the Best Drinks for a Successful Diet 

Nine Healthy Drinks for a Successful Diet

Nine Healthy Drinks for a Successful Diet

There are plenty of lower calorie, healthy drinks that can satisfy your taste buds and battle the bulge.

Losing weight doesn’t mean you must sacrifice all beverage-based enjoyment. Even an occasional not-so-healthy favorite is acceptable, as long as it isn’t a frequent occurrence.

Low Calorie Drinks That Are Good for You

Green Tea

Green tea contains valuable antioxidants that supercharge weight loss benefits. Extract from green tea is one of the most common ingredients added to fat burning supplements. Tea leaves contain many antioxidants such as catechins, which may help decrease body weight.4

Matcha is a Japanese green tea with higher concentrations of catechins.6

Caffeine, also in many green teas, may help support weight loss, as well.7 In one study, people who consumed extra caffeine were able to more effectively maintain their weight loss.8

If you’re feeling “hangry,” brew yourself a cup of healthy green tea to keep you on track.

Black Tea

Black tea contains polyphenols, micronutrients from plant-based foods, which may help prevent obesity. The polyphenols in black tea promote weight loss through calorie reduction, increased fat breakdown, and increasing friendly gut bacteria.9

Who would have thought the humble cup of tea could be a health drink?

Coffee

When we think “coffee” we think “caffeine” – the most widely-used nootropic in the world. There are millions who use coffee to increase energy and productivity.

Perks of Drinking Coffee

Healthy drink - cup of coffee
Credit: amenic181@iStock

It was widely accepted for many years that coffee was a contributor to heart disease and high blood pressure. Today, there is some disagreement with that conclusion. Recent studies suggest that coffee may actually help prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and liver disease.10

Coffee help with weight loss because it can work as an appetite suppressant; plus, caffeine users are more successful at weight maintenance.8

Water

The body is 60% water and 71% of the Earth’s surface is water. Our lives depend on it.  And, yet, most people do not drink enough water to ensure a long, healthy life.

Staying well-hydrated is critical to your well-being . . . and it helps with weight loss.  While it seems counterintuitive, the body can retain water if not properly hydrated. The water weight can add extra pounds on the scale.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an average adequate daily fluid intake [for daily life (not on a diet)] is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Specific water requirements for your body depend on many factors – body weight, activity level, health condition, age, climate in which you live, etc.

As a general rule – eight glasses of water daily is the minimum you should be drinking while dieting.

People often mistake thirst for hunger and eat when they should drink Healthy Drink - Bottled Waterwater.

A glass of water before each meal can help control the appetite. It was found that overweight adults who drank 17 ounces of water before a meal lost 44% more weight than the control group.13

Drinking water can also increase resting energy expenditure (REE) the amount of calories consumed at rest. A study of children showed an increase of REE up to 25% for 40 minutes after consumption.14  This seems to hold true for adults, as well.

I’ve heard people say, water is boring – although personally, I love it. There is nothing more refreshing. If you don’t enjoy water, maybe you should spice it up a bit. Add a slice of lemon to a glass of ice water. Or, add lemon juice or mint leaves to hot water for your morning wake-up drink.

Drinking water, especially warm water, first thing in the morning can flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body? Try it – it’s good for your health, and your diet.

Vegetable and Fruit Juices

Consuming whole vegetables maximizes nutrient intake; plus, they have a heavy water content. But, preparing vegetables takes time, which is a limited resource for many.

Eating enough greens can be challenging. You would have to be a rabbit to eat several cups of spinach, broccoli, carrots, and kale in one sitting. An easier option is to make green smoothies –or fruit and/or vegetable smoothies with added greens. All you need is a good blender or juicer.

Packaged fruit juice is not a good option. It is almost like flavored sugar-water – high in calories (because of the sugar content) and low in nutrients. Freshly-made fruit juice is the only option – or eat the whole fruit, which may be easier. The water content still counts.

Healthy Drink - Veg/Fruit Juice
Credit: pilipphoto@iStock

People tend to overcomplicate juicing recipes by requiring unusual ingredients. Use simple combinations like the following:

  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • Handful of kale
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • Lemon juice to taste

To make it easy on yourself, get my book, JUICING for LIFE on Amazon.  It will make healthy juicing a breeze.

You may also want to check out this excellent article 25 Green Smoothie Benefits You Can Never Ignore.  

Out of the Box Options

There are a few less common healthy drinks you can try that may help with weight loss. Water should be first on your list, but we wanted to be sure you were well-informed.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people have apple cider vinegar in their pantry, but should you drink it?  Recently there has been hype about it being helpful in weight loss.

It contains acetic acid, a compound linked to decreased belly fat and reduced accumulation of fat in the liver.

In a study performed on rats, apple cider vinegar helped prevent obesity in those with type 2 diabetes.15 In another animal study, it also reduced body weight in obese mice.16

The research on apple cider vinegar performed in humans is limited, but some research suggests it may improve metabolic health in humans.17,18 Consuming two tablespoons of ACV per day resulted in decreased body weight, waist circumference, and body fat compared to a control group.19

Some articles suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach may help improve digestion; consuming it after meals may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.20  Does it work? There is no solid evidence that it does.

Electrolyte Drinks

Electrolytes are often referenced in connection with athletes, but everyone needs them to function properly. They are important for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body.

Electrolytes are lost in sweat during workouts. Sports drinks have added electrolytes to counteract the loss. The drinks may also have a high calorie count because of the sugar content.

Remember – every calorie counts on a diet. Be sure to read labels. Low-calorie electrolyte drinks can help maintain a proper electrolyte balance without the extra sugar.

Liquid Meal Replacements

These have been popular in America for decades. People like the convenience.

Meal replacements remove the hassle of meal preparation. You simply drink your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These products usually have a well-rounded macronutrient profile and fewer calories than a normal meal.They may also be fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.

Word of cautionread the label. They may contain additives.

Meal replacements can keep the calorie-count low; but, they may not satisfy your hunger like solid food would. The average “shake” has ~200 calories and 20 grams of protein. A small chicken breast with a side of veggies would have a similar calorie count and be more filling.

We don’t recommend using meal replacements as substitutes for solid meals. Use them for emergencies.

Liquid Cleanses or Detox Diets

These are popular because of the promises of fast weight loss.

They deliver on the promise for two reasons.

  1. During the cleanse, your calorie intake is minimal – far below the daily recommended allowance, even for dieting. It is an extreme form of crash dieting and should never be used more than a few days. Follow the instructions carefully and let your physician know you are doing it.
  2. A cleanse diet has laxative powers, as the name implies. They are designed to make people lose water weight and gut fiber weight as opposed to true fat loss. The weight loss is short-term. The only time a cleanse diet should be used is to “kick-start” a healthier weight-loss diet.

Check out my book titled, DETOX, on Amazon. It will help you make an informed decision regarding a cleanse diet. Be sure to check with your physician, as well.

What kinds of beverages are you consuming each day? Are they helping you lose weight? Or, are they causing you to plateau, or even gain weight?

Answer the questions honestly and make the necessary adjustments. Choosing low-calorie, healthy drinks can make a significant difference in your diet results.

See you next time for Segment #3 – “Drinks You Should Avoid for a Successful Diet.”

Adapted with permission from the original article published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal.

Note:  This was a long article originally that I am posting in segments for easier reading. If you want more information on the research, click on the numbered links in the posting. They will take you to the references in the original article. 

Mediterranean Food Pyramid

Since grade school we have known about the food pyramid, but the food pyramid I want to discuss today is quite different: The Mediterranean Food Pyramid.

Mediterranean Food Pyramid

The pyramid is used by countless health organizations, clinics, doctors and many others to guide people to eat in a healthy manner. It is the standard to live by and health professionals unanimously agree that by following this diet pyramid, your health will benefit tremendously.

The pyramid is a wonderful synopsis of what the Mediterranean Diet entails. It shows four different food groups and the optimal number of servings of each group that should be consumed.

The pyramid was created based on research of the diet that the people in the Mediterranean countries consume. The area was selected as the model because of the low incidence of heart disease and high life expectancy found in the region.

One of the primary reasons for the healthy results of the diet is that the people not only use fresh, unadulterated ingredients, they also cook their meals in very healthy ways.

They are among the minority of the world’s population that have not embraced the fast food culture that dominates the US and Australia. It should be noted that both countries are battling an obesity epidemic.

You Will Eat Fresh, Healthy Foods

There are no processed foods, colas, white flour products, pizzas or any unhealthy food in the food pyramid. There are only categories of fresh, healthy foods: fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, beans, fish and seafood, and healthy oils (primarily olive oil) – plus a little red wine.

Your fat consumption should be moderate along with consumption of dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. Eggs can be consumed daily.

Fish (seafood) is preferred over meat and should be consumed twice a week. Poultry is also preferred over red meat and should be consumed once a week. Red meat should only be consumed 3 to 4 times a month. The rest of the time, vegetables, legumes, and/or pasta should be the focal point of your meals.

Fruit and vegetables (7 servings) should be consumed daily.

Get rid of your salt shaker and start seasoning with fresh herbs and spices. Don’t forget the garlic and onions.

Cook primarily with olive oil. Butter should be used minimally, if at all.  NEVER use margarine or hydrogenated oil products.

The use of unhealthy hydrogenated oils is very rare in Mediterranean cooking – and they rarely eat red meat or sweets (other than fresh fruit)

Avoid all foods that contain processed sugar. That means chocolate, candies, and most rich desserts are to be consumed minimally.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the Mediterranean diet is red wine. This is not an open invitation to include all alcoholic beverages such as beer, vodka or bourbon in your diet. The Mediterranean diet advocates ONLY wine. About 1 glass for women and no more than 2 glasses a day for men and usually, consumption is after dinner.

The food pyramid is just a guideline to help you eat in a healthy way. You do not need to be overly strict and get upset if you do not follow it exactly. As long as you eat the foods on the pyramid and stop eating the healthy damaging junk/processed foods that are typical on the American diet, you will be doing well. If you make those changes, you will be giving yourself one of the greatest gifts possible: Good Health!

Photo from: https://www.unitypoint.org/madison/filesimages/News%20Article%20Images/mediterranean-diet-pyramid.jpg

From the same site, check out the 7-day Mediterranean Menu (Autumn/Winter).  Not only does it suggest full menus for all meals, it includes recipes and calorie count for the day.  ENJOY!