Am I Cheap?

After a hiking date with some good friends, we stopped by one of my favorite farmer’s markets. We needed some eggs and veggies and it was on the home, so my friends said they’d be happy to stop and check it out. After that trek in the woods and in the heat of the day, one of my friends was ready for something nice and cool. He saw an artisan flavored-ice stand, so he wandered over for a look. He returned empty handed and said, “They want $3 – for a popsicle (that’s the common brand name in my part of the world). That’s crazy! I can buy a whole box of them at the grocery store for that. Am I cheap?”

I replied quickly and out of character for me – “Yes.”  Oops! I felt bad at that knee-jerk response. Being “cheap” really depends on what you value. He lives in a beautiful home, has two upscale vehicles, takes amazing vacations, belongs to a prestigious tennis club, and wears top-quality clothes. So he’s clearly not cheap. And valuing those things is great - he can and should enjoy all the finer things that life brings.

My gut response was just frustration and sadness that he doesn’t place more value on what he puts in his body. It’s interesting, and frankly a bit scary to me that some people don’t even look at the ingredient labels on the foods they buy. 

Just for contrast, here’s a comparison from the artisan vendor and that box at the store:
 

  • The artisan product: fresh fruit and herbs, local and organic ingredients whenever possible and no chemical additives.
  • The supermarket product: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: beet juice concentrate, malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, locust bean gum, red 3, blue 1, yellow 6

 
To me, these products can't even be compared - one is made with food and the other - well, you tell me. I truly believe that we are what we eat. At a simplistic level, our food is digested and provides the nutrients that become our cells. The chemicals in these manufactured “food-like” substances not only don’t nourish us – they can cause harm, everything from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. If you want the science, I’d be happy to send you the data.

So I value the quality of the food that goes into my body, my friends’ bodies andYOURS.  And I understand that these REAL whole foods can be more expensive, but they aren't always. In fact, some of the organically-grown produce at my farmers market is less expensive than conventional produce at the supermarket. It’s all about tradeoffs and choices.

Please do value and appreciate the finer things in life, and as you do so, I ask you to start with valuing and appreciating yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!  
 
 
Wishing you much self-value!
Karen

Unjunk Yourself!

I'm really excited about the mission of the The Turn the Tide Foundation, " To develop, evaluate, and disseminate creative, yet practical programs to empower individuals and families to achieve sustainable weight control and robust good health."  While the language might sound a little dry, the videos they are producing are anything but!  Here's one of the first - I think the message they are sending to our kids is strong and hopefully resonates.  It would be great if our kids can see through the marketing that's (nearly literally) being stuffed down them, so they take back control of their health and their future.  

I'd love to see the message go viral.  If you have kids, do you think they'd connect with this? Please share your thoughts...

 

There's WHAT in My Snack?!

 

 

Don't you just hate it when you think you're making a relatively healthy snack choice and find out - No, not so much?!   

 

 

Don't you just hate it when you think you're making a relatively healthy snack choice and find out - No, not so much?!  While SunChips have never claimed to be a "health" food, their positioning has always been geared around being a relatively better choice (versus other bagged snack foods).  I even know of people who didn't really enjoy the chips, but chose them over potato chips or other bagged options thinking it was "at least a little healthier."  (Those clever Marketers, once again - even the name sounds happy and healthy!) If you are one of these people, here's another reason to skip the snack chips altogether and reach for the apple or carrot sticks (preferable organic, of course).   

A post in Rodale shares that this popular item is actually full of some pretty disturbing ingredients.

"GMO Free USA, a national advocacy group, recently announced that Frito Lay's SunChips tested positive for glyphosate, a popular weed-killing chemical and the active ingredient in Roundup. The testing also revealed the chips contained genetically engineered ingredients. (GE technology often relies on heavy applications of glyphosate on food crops, and the chemical winds up in the food you eat.)

The public advocacy group, whose mission is to harness independent science and agroecological concepts to advocate for sustainable food and ecological systems, found that a quantitative test verified by DNA analysis discovered that 100 percent of the corn in the SunChips came from GMO sources, containing DNA sequences known to be present in insecticide-producing Bt and Roundup Ready corn."

Why should you be concerned?  Because this chemical "has been linked to certain cancers, including lymphoma, and to DNA damage, premature births, birth defects, and ADHD, according to previous research."  Studies continue to be published linking GMOs to obesity, diabetes, heart problems and circulatory disorders. 

So what should you choose instead?  As a health coach, of course I'm going to encourage you to choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds make great choices too. Make them an easy grab and go option by:

  1. Buying them!
  2. Prepping them as soon as you get home. Cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers or whichever veggies you prefer and store them in easy to grab containers or plastic bags.  
  3. Keeping them visible so you remember to take them with you.  Place apples, oranges and those prepared veggies at eye level in the fridge.  Tip:  Put your car keys in the fridge on top of them so you can't leave the house without seeing them!  (Yes, I'm kidding!)
  4. Packing nuts and seeds in "To Go" containers or snack bags and put them in your purse, messenger bag or on by your cell phone - you certainly won't forget that!

And remember that by definition, GMOs are not allowed in organic food.  So you can limit exposure to these chemicals by choosing organic - whether you're choosing fresh fruits and veggies or packaged snack foods. 

For the full Rodale post, click here 

Is Soda Really That Bad?

 Photo courtesy of fit.webmd.com

Photo courtesy of fit.webmd.com

 

Would you eat 16 teaspoons of sugar?  Probably not - but you are with every 20 oz regular soda.....

And the diet stuff is just as bad - if not worse.

 

 

Several clients have asked me, "is drinking soda really all that bad?"  Studies continue to surface about the impacts - of both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas (if you missed my blog on artificial sweeteners, read it here).  I've explored the topic quite a bit lately, and the evidence to date is rather straightforward. Sadly for you soda lovers, the answer is a resounding "YES - It really is bad."  I'm pretty rational, and not prone to much extreme opinions about foods, but the studies about this are compelling.  This infographic from Rodale provides a good summary of the many negative impacts soda may have.  While I'm not saying you'll end up with each of these ailments if you drink soda, it does provide a strong visual of why perhaps, at a minimum, you should think twice before popping the top on that pop.

final-how-soda-destroys-your-body_2.jpg

Artificial Sweeteners May Make You Fat, or Worse!

 

Think saving calories with artificial sweeteners is a good idea?  Think again!

I had a really nice lunch with a friend at our favorite sushi place - great food and conversation.  As usual, the subject of weight came up (it's a menopausal girl thing!), and while we talked about it a lot, a piece of our conversation that really struck me was around sugar, artificial sweeteners and yogurt.

My friend mentioned that while she hasn't made the change to eating plain yogurt, the vanilla yogurt that she does eat "at least doesn't have sugar."  She thought she was doing her body a favor by choosing one with artificial, calorie-free sweeteners instead.  Sadly, she's not doing her body a favor at all, and a number of scientific studies are really proving the point.  I could name several here, but one study that I really like was reported by the Huffington Post.  Bottom-line - it found that artificial sweeteners mess with gut bacteria in a way that causes glucose intolerance, which leads to weight gain.

"People who drink diet sodas over regular sodas are more likely to be overweight or obese, but scientists weren't sure why. The theories fell into two camps: one, something inherent to artificial sweeteners causes weight gain or two, diet sodas imply a diet and heavy people are more likely to be on one.

While we can't discount either quite yet, put down one more point for the first theory. A new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel reveals that artificial sweeteners may have a deleterious effect on our gut bacteria.

Researchers found that artificial sweeteners changed the composition of gut bacteria over time, which could explain why subjects became more glucose intolerant over time. Prolonged glucose intolerance leads to conditions like obesity and diabetes -- the very things that people drinking diet sodas are trying to avoid."

In the study, they found  that those who reported eating more artificial sweeteners were more likely to be heavier, have larger waists and higher blood glucose levels when fasting.

"Artificial sweeteners were extensively introduced into our diets with the intention of reducing caloric intake and normalizing blood glucose levels without compromising the human 'sweet tooth,'" write the study authors. "Our findings suggest that [artificial sweeteners] may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic that they themselves were intended to fight."

A solution - look for and choose natural sweeteners. For my friend, a great choice would be fresh fruit (berries are my personal choice) and a touch of vanilla extract.  More information on other safe sweeteners coming soon........ 

For the full Huffington Post article, click here