Do you want to get smarter?

Ugh … Ufff .. Forgot the keys, Forgot to call , Forgot the appointment, Forgot the meeting…
Does this happen with you ? Do you feel that your tired brain is not responding properly?
You don’t feel enough smart because there is so much to do? Balancing every front isn’t easy.

I hear you, I can completely understand. I am here to help you. You can feed your brain proper nutrition and get smart. Side effects are, you will lose weight, eat and be healthy.

kale5ingredient

I have started KISS nutrition smoothie series… don’t get excited, KISS is “Keep It Simple,Stupid”

Ingredients – Kale, Banana, Orange Juice and Walnuts.

Why Kale?
Kale is known to be one of the most healthiest, nutrient dense vegetables of all. Kale is rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber. Kale is also an excellent source of protein and a good source of dietary fiber. Each serving of kale has 1g of dietary fiber. We don’t usually think of our greens as sources of healthful fats. But kale is actually a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Kale is perfect brain food with combinations of nutrients needed for brain health.
For more details, https://sonamotivates.com/2015/07/05/kale-nutrition-powerhouse/

Why Banana?
Bananas are well known for their potassium content, the potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps after exercise. Banana contains vitamin C, vitamin B-6, manganese and fiberA banana provides some iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus as well as vitamins A and E, folate, carotene and choline. Bananas also contain trace amounts of many amino acids.

Most importantly, a banana in morning will start your day off right and will give you the energy to make it through to lunch without snacking.

Why orange Juice?
Orange juice is quickest easy way to get your daily dose of Vitamic C and it tastes awesome. Green, leafy vegetables like Kale are best eaten in combination with fruits or veggie having Vitamin C because iron absorption in the body is improved by Vitamin C.superfoodsmoothie

Why Walnuts?
To remember why are walnuts so special, face the fact that they literally look like brain. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or improve age-related cognitive decline. They are exceptionally rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Now why Ginger ???
I love ginger … its smell and its taste… but not sure about you, so kept it optional.
But if you are nutrition crazy like me, you will love it anyway.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant properties. Ginger is always a goto for any kind of indigestion problems like nausea, stomachache, vomiting. Gingerol, from ginger has powerful medicinal properties. It is used as remedy for cold and cough paired with honey.

Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improves various heart disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. Ginger may lower cholesterol levels. Ginger contains a substance that may helps prevent Cancer and it may improve brain function.

How to make?
Check the video below.

Vow!!! Getting all this goodness in just one glass…. Such a morning routine will set You for Winning everyday. …

For more such helpful, healthy and hassle-free tips, subscribe to our blog and join us on Facebook.

 

 

Stop Eating Breakfast ! Start Drinking…

New Years party invitation… You were so ready to have Blassssstttt and eat, drink and get drunk. You have this strapless black, body hugging, silky, elegant dress studded with a diamond lace ready for you to ROCK. You have been, wanting to wear this on such a special ocassion… Only to find out YOU don’t fit in it any more…. somehow you managed to kick the thought out of your mind and still went ahead to the party with another dress ….
But You couldn’t rock the party and You couldn’t ignore the fact that you have put on….

Has this ever happened with You? It has happened with me before till I found out this one true solution.

First you have to understand there is no MAGIC PILL…. The answer lies with ONLY and ONLY real

Fresh produce
BEST wayto incorporate abundant fresh produce in your daily diet is SMOOTHING….

I have started this 4 ingredient smoothie recipe regime..
It’s easy, simple, extra fast and yummy…
Spinana Smoothie – Spinach, Banana, Orange Juice and Almonds.

Why Spinach?

Spinach is high in nutritional value. It is rich in antioxidants and iron. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid. It is good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach.
I can keep going on and on with its nutrition but I am sure you are already convinced about the goodness of this Popeye’s Super green juice….spinanan smoothie nutrition

Why Banana?
Bananas are well known for their potassium content, The potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps after exercise. Banana contains vitamin C, vitamin B-6, manganese and fiber. A banana provides some iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus as well as vitamins A and E, folate, carotene and choline. Bananas also contain trace amounts of many amino acids.

Most importantly, a banana in morning will start your day off right and will give you the energy to make it through to lunch without snacking.

Why orange Juice?
There’s a compound in spinach called oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. An easy way to solve this problem is to pair spinach with a food high in vitamin C. Needless to say Orange juice is quickest easy way to get your daily dose of Vitamic C and it tastes awesome.

Why Almonds?
Almonds are extremely good for your heart. Almonds are rich in the vitamins and minerals that help build a healthy heart, especially vitamin E. It contains many protective nutrients – calcium and magnesium – for strong bones. Almond contains phytochemicals, which may help protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated, also known as the “good” fat. This little nut is also loaded with minerals like phosphorus and zinc, as well as lots of healthy fiber.

For, instructions on How to make … check the video below

Vow!!! Getting all this goodness in just one glass…. Such a morning routine will set You Winning everyday. …

For more such helpful, healthy and hassle-free tips, subscribe to our blog and join us on Facebook.

 

Do you want to eat pizza and not screw your diet????

Sunday Late evening, I was finishing up my weekend chores. Kids were busy with their schoolwork. Suddenly, my husband announced, “I am taking you guys out for early dinner.” As usual guessing, we will have big fuss over choosing the restaurant, I ignored him. But to my surprise …… He declared I am taking you guys to a new Pizza place…

blazePizza1We reached the place. Being a health conscious mom and professional I started the inspection of venue and menu. The place impressed me. It was decent place with decent ambience.  It was trendy with black and brown color theme. Small wooden tables and black tables for seating. Enthusiastic, charming teenager boy greeted us. Kids were happy to see the modern décor and young crowd.

We stood in line. Soon line moved forward and it was our turn. We landed in front of assembly table. It contained red and white sauces compartments. The cheese bins included Parmesan, goat cheese, Gorgonzola and mozzarella. Meat section had all toppings of grilled chicken, meatballs, pepperoni etc. Viola!!! Un-limited vegetable toppings. Leafy greens, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, artichokes, and zucchini.
The thin crust slices and many vegetable toppings options help you eat healthy. It doesn’t ruin your diet if you are calorie conscious like me. 

We placed our order. Our order was processed in front of us. We took our pizza plates and sat on outside seating. It was drizzling and weather felt a bit chilly.  The yummy, cheesy, crispy, colorful, warm pizza slice started melting in my mouth. .

They serve gluten free and vegan pizza options. 
Isn’t it great!!!
They have gluten free crust option, made daily from European non-GMO gluten-free ingredients.
They offer a vegan cheese option (soy-free), and none of their vegetable toppings contain any meat, egg or dairy products.

Comparison of Nutrition Facts of vegetable pizza per slice of popular pizza places:

Pizza Place Calories Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium
(mg)
Total Carbohydrate (g) Protein
(g)
Blaze Pizza (6“) 130 5 2.5 310 15 6
Pizza Hut (6”) 140 5 2 320 18 6
Papa Johns
(8 “) no option of 6”
215 7 2.5 490 27 6
Dominos
(10”) no option of 6”
230 12.5 5.5 450 18 10

For this calorie test, I have selected vegetarian pizza slices.
In detail,
Pizza Hut’s “Vegie lover’s personal pan pizza” is competitive with Blaze pizza. Pizza Hut’s online Nutritional calculator was user friendly.
“Dominos Pacific Coast Veggie” is the vegetarian pizza.  There is smallest is 10”.
“Papa John’s Garden Fresh and Mediterranean vegetable” are vegetarian. They come only in size 14” and thin crust was not available in 8” … so u have to buy more and eat more…
Blaze has many possibilities with vegetarian options. You can play with different flavors of sauces and cheeses and mix and match according to your palate.

 Blaze team is committed to be eco-friendly.
Their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled and/or sustainable materials.
Forks, knives, cups, straws, lids – even those cute little containers of salad dressing – have are chosen to reduce the waste.
How Thoughtful!!!!

Now Remember, these are options for 1 slice of simple vegetable 6” sized pizza.
Lets admit we can’t stop on 1 slice… We eat at least 2 slices …right !!!
And some might eat more depending on appetite and liking.
So you will be consuming twice or thrice of above mentioned nutrients….

As a nutrition expert, I would suggest to have 2 to 3 slices maximum. Choosing healthier food rest of the time.
I agree, Life should be fun!!! We should enjoy pizza and donut once in a while….
But everything should be in moderation!!!
After all, to be fit and healthy isn’t a punishment….

 

 

Fresh Vs. Frozen produce

Is frozen produce as good as fresh???? 

You Had a loooong exuasting day at work. Its already dark and biting cold out……
You want to reach home, get cozy and have a hot piping soup for dinner.
And what??? you remember… no grocery shopping over weekend because of harsh weather conditions…. so  no vegetables to add to soup … You decide to drive to the supermarket on your way back but in vain…. they hardly had anything left. Just the worn out, wilted leafy greens…. Now what???

Winter months in up North and Summer months down south make us struggle to get our fresh produce at reasonable rates. Most of the seasonal farmers’ market close during these peak winter and summer months, living us with hardly any options.

It is not unusual to prefer fresh produce over frozen.
Frozen foods are considered most unhealthy, chemically treated and flavorless and do not promote healthy eating habit.Until recently, I was very skeptic about frozen produce. Little research convinced me that frozen produce is not bad either rather it might be a great option.

In March 1998, Food and drug administration (FDA) indicated that frozen fruits and vegetables are equivalent to fresh product and may exceed the fresh product under certain circumstances.

Scientists have used flash freezing technique to freeze vegetables and fruits.
Clarence Birdseye invented flash freezing technique. He found out that preserving vegetable by rapidly freezing them at extremely cold temperatures retains its taste and turgor.This concept inspired massive frozen produce business.

In commercial processing, foods are flash frozen to maximize nutrient retention.
It also helps in keeping the food fresh and flavorful. Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen at peak of their ripeness retaining their nutrients and flavor. Before flash freezing, vegetables are blanched with hot water to kill bacteria. On the other hand fresh produce loses its nutritional value and flavor if not used quickly.

Frozen vegetables are good for cooking but not recommended for salads or raw eating. Frozen fruits can be used in baking. Frozen berries serve the purpose of quick and nutritious dessert and great addition for smoothies/ juices.

In conclusion, frozen produce is better option for off season and definitely serves the purpose of adding recommended 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Undoubtedly fresh produce is best in ideal situation but frozen vegetables and fruits are not bad either.

 

Next time when you grab the frozen slob of spinach instead of those fresh green beautiful looking leaves, be assured you are still doing the right thing. Eating vegetables and fruits is very important for good health and there is undeniable way to it…..

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes are the changes in diet and lifestyle that can help you lower cholesterol. They are precisely based on diet, exercise, weight reduction and cessation of smoking. 
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) is the National Cholesterol Education developed by a division of National Institute of Health.

Dietary Strategies:

  • Saturated fats < 7% of total calories
  • Dietary cholesterol < 200 mg /day
  • Fat intake of 25 to 35% of total calories
  • Replace saturated fats with carbohydrates from whole grains, legumes and fruits.
  • Replace unsaturated fats from fish, vegetables oils and nuts.
  • Avoid food products with trans fatty acids.
  • Choose foods high in soluble fibers like oats, barley, beans and fruits.
  • Consume food products containing added plant sterols or stanols regularly.
  • To reduce Blood pressure chooses diet high in fruits and vegetables, low fat milk products and nuts and whole grains.
  • Limit sodium to 2400 mg/day.
  • Fish can be consumed regularly.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be 1 drink daily by women and 2 drinks daily by men.

Lifestyle Choices:

  • Smoking Cessation
  • Physical activity: At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity endurance activity should be undertaken on most days f the week.

Weight Reduction: Goal of Weight management should be to prevent weight gain, reduce body weight and maintain lower body weight for long time.

Implementing a Heart Healthy Diet:

Making few changes in normal diet can be enough in implementing heart healthy diet. Focusing on ‘What can be eaten’ instead of ‘what cannot be eaten’ would be correct and beneficial approach.
Bread, Cereals and Pasta:

  • Choosing whole grains and pasta. Reading nutrition label will help. Choosing the product, whose first ingredient is labeled as “whole wheat” and not as “enriched wheat flour.”
  • Avoiding food products with trans fatty.

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Stocking lots of fruits and vegetables at home will make it easier to make healthful choices
  • Incorporate at least one or two servings of fruits and vegetables in each meal.
  • Choose canned products carefully, they may be high in sodium.
  • Restricting high sodium food such as pickles, olives, sauerkraut and kimchi.
  • Avoiding French fries and fast food restaurants.

Lunch and Dinner Entrees:

  • Limit meat, fish and poultry servings to a maximum intake of 5 ounces per day.
  • Select lean cuts of beef such as sirloin tip, round streak, and arm roast and lean cuts of pork such as center cut ham, loin chops and tenderloin. Trim visible fats.
  • Select extra lean ground meat. Use lean ground turkey without skin added instead of ground beef.
  • Limit cholesterol rich organs meats (liver, brain, sweetbreads) and shrimp.
  • Limit egg yolks to no more than 2 per week as yolks are very high in cholesterol.
  • Include more vegetarian entrees or legumes dishes to boost soluble fiber and lower saturated fat intakes.
  • Restrict following high sodium foods: Cured or smoked meats such as beef jerky, bologna, corned or chipped beef, frankfurters, ham, luncheon meats, alt pork and sausage. Salty or smokes fish like anchovies, caviar, salted or dried cod, herring sardines and smoked salmon. Packaged canned or frozen soups, sauces and entrees.

Milk Products:

  • Including fat free or low fat milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese in each meal.
  • Using yogurt or fat free sour cream to make dips or salad dressings.

Fat and Oils:

  • Add nuts and avocados to meals to increase mono saturated fat intake.
  • Include vegetable oils in salad dressings and recipe such as canola, corn, olive, peanut oil, safflower, soybean, sesame and sunflower oil.
  • Avoid stick margarine and solid vegetable shortenings.
  • Avoid products that contain tropical oil like coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil.

Spices and Seasonings:

  • Use salt only at the end of cooking.
  • Spices and seasonings improve the flavor of foods without adding sodium. Use of garlic, basil, ginger, cumin, curry powder, chili powder, lemon, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme enhances flavor cutting down on salt.
  • Check sodium content on labels.

Snacks and Desserts:

  • Select low sodium and low saturated fat choices like unsalted pretzels and nuts, plain popcorn, and unsalted chips and crackers.
  • Choose fruits as dessert.
  • Enjoy Angel food cake, which is made with egg yolks and added fats.
  • Select low sodium frozen desserts such as sherbet, sorbet, fruit bars and some low fat ice creams.

 

Cardiovascular Diseases

On a beautiful morning while I was almost ready to get out of bed….. Suddenly, I was interrupted by the disturbing noise of ambulance in my neighborhood … I rolled down the window, just to notice that my new neighbor, who is almost in late thirties was carried away by paramedics…. Later that day got the news that he had suffered from cardiac arrest… but by God’s grace he has survived.

 

heartbeat

 

How many of us can get lucky this way….

February is American Heart Month. With so much love and hearty messages floating around what can be more important then to take good care of our hearts physically and emotionally.

What exactly are Cardiovascular Diseases???

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD): General term describing diseases of heart and blood vessels.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD): a condition characterized by reduced blood flow in coronary arteries that can eventually cause damage to heart tissue also called Coronary artery disease.

Myocardial Infarction or MI: Death of heart muscle caused by a sudden reduction in coronary blood flow also called a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

Stroke: A sudden injury to brain tissue resulting from distributed blood flow through an artery that supplies blood to the brain, also called cerebrovascular accident.

Metabolic syndrome: A cluster of interrelated clinical symptoms which together increase cardiovascular disease risk: the symptoms are obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and abnormal blood lipids.

Atherosclerosis: is characterized by build of plaque (fatty material) on an artery’s wall. Rupture of plaque can lead to thrombosis and obstruction of blood flow. Factors that cause plaque formation and progression include inflammation, hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidemias and diabetes.

CHD: Coronary heart disease is the most common and leading cause of death in United States.

Risk Factors for CHD:

Major Risk Factors For CHD (not modifiable)

  • Increased age
  • Male Gender
  • Family History of Premature Heart disease.

Major Risk Factors For CHD (modifiable)

  • High Blood LDL cholesterol
  • Low Blood HDL cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity (specially abdominal obesity)
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Atherogenic Diet (High in Saturated Fats and low in Fruits, vegetables and whole grains)

Studies have shown that about 90% of people with CHD have at least one of the classic modifiable factors: smoking, high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Standards for CHD risk assessments:

Desirable Border Line High Risk
Total Blood Cholesterol (mg/dL) < 200 200-239 >=240
LDL cholesterol(mg/dL) <100 130-159 160-189
HDL cholesterol(mg/dL) >=60 59-40 <40
Triglycerides(mg/dL) <150 159-199 200-499
Body mass Index(BMI) 18.5-24.9 (healthy) 25-29.9 (overweight) >= 30 (obese)
Blood Pressure (systolic and/or diastolic) pressure <120/<80 120-139/80-89 >=140/>=90

 

Abdominal obesity is suggested by a waist circumference, greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

Hypertriglyceridemia:
Hypertriglyceridemia is elevated blood triglycerides. Overweight, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and cigarette smoking may increase triglyceride levels. Dietary factors that may raise triglycerides includes high intake of alcohol, or carbohydrate (sucrose and fructose) have strongest effect. Controlling body weight, being physically active, quitting smoking, restricting alcohol and avoiding high carbohydrate intakes are basic treatments.

Hypertension:
Hypertension affects nearly one-third of adults in the United States. Blood pressure is measured both when heart muscles contract (systolic blood pressure) and when it releases (diastolic blood pressure).

Contributing factors for Hypertension:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Salt sensitivity
  • Diet

Life style modification for blood pressure reduction:

  • Maintaining healthy body weight (BMI<25)
  • Adopt DASH eating plan – adopting diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat milk products and reduced saturated fat intake.
  • Reducing dietary sodium intake to less than 2400 mg/day.
  • Performing aerobic activities for at least 30 mins/day for most days of the week.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption for men –2 drinks/day and women 1 drink/day.

Cognitive Heart Failure (CHF): is a condition in which heart is unable to pump adequate blood resulting in fluid congestion in tissues and in the veins leading to the heart.

Treatment of CHF includes drug therapies that reduce congestion and strengthen heart function. The main Dietary recommendation is moderate sodium restriction.

Cardiac Cachexia: the severe muscle wasting and weight loss that accompany congestive heart failure.

Stroke: Stroke is fourth leading cause of death in the United Sates after heart and cancer. The two major types of strokes are ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke are strokes that result from the obstruction of blood flow to brain tissue.

Hemorrhagic strokes are strokes that result from bleeding within the brain, which destroys or compresses brain tissue.

Transient Ischemic attacks brief ischemic episodes that cause short-term neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, slurred speech, numbness, paralysis or difficulty speaking. They are short-lived “mini strokes” and are warning signs that a more severe stroke may occur.

Strokes are largely preventable by reversing modifiable risk factors, which include hypertension, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and elevated LDL cholesterol.

Treatment includes the use of anticlotting drugs such as aspirin, antiplatelet drugs, and anticoagulants. A patient who has had a major stroke may have problems eating normally due to lack of coordination and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

Source: Nutrition and Diet Therapy by DeBruyne, Pinna and Whitney.

Now that we have known the conditions and their symptoms, follow up next blog for the exclusive diet program known as ‘ Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) designed for these health issues….’

 

 

Zucchini

Recently my 9 year old shared this with me….

Q. Where Did the Zucchini go to have few drinks ?
A. The Salad BAR
Ha ! Ha ! Ha …. Wasn’t very funny ….  Still Glad you smiled 🙂

What is so special about this Zucchini ?
Zucchini (courgette) have high water content about 95% water, which makes them one of the lowest calorie vegetables. Zucchini is good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and folate.

Zuchhini - Courgette - Summer SquashOne-cup raw sliced zucchini contains less than 20 calories and provides 28 mcg of folate about 7%of adult Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), 12 mg of vitamin C and 250 mg of potassium. Though Zucchini is not as high in beta-carotene as winter Squash it is still a considerable source of this very important antioxidant.

According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in beta-carotene may lower thee risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus and lungs. There is no similar benefit from beta-carotene supplements.

Skin Intact ….
The beta-carotene is lost, if the skin is discarded. Thus, when preparing zucchini do not peel, but include the skin, where the majority of the nutrients are retained.

Choosing Zucchini…
There are many varieties of zucchini, ranging in color from bright yellow to dark green.
While buying zucchini choose dark green slender with pale yellow or white stripping. Choose smaller (therefore more tender) ones, the best zucchini are 4 to 9 inches long. Beauty of using zucchini is its unobtrusive flavor, which complements other ingredients in variety of dishes.

Raw zucchini is a pleasant to a vegetable platter or salad and dieters can sometimes keep bags of sliced zucchini in the refrigerator for easy snacking. It can be used in soup. They are delicious when grated and added into cakes, other baked goods.