Saturday, May 6, 2017

31 Ways to Snack into Wellness

                             Snack into Wellness

31 Great Snack Ideas for Each Day of The Month

     As a busy mom who has raised two girls by herself, I get what busy looks and feels like. We went from my not working outside the home, to working part-time to my working full-time while also juggling, my girl's homework, travel swim and travel soccer schedules, church commitments that included my teaching adult Sunday school and being on different church committees. I was also maintaining a home with yardwork, a constant flow of laundry to do, dirty dishes, meal preps, and training for 1/2 marathons, etc. Unfortunately, with all of that my dedication to my family's wellness did not always take a first place. I knew enough to apply some of what I knew was just common sense but I did not fully grasp the importance of it until I left bedside nursing and got into the business side of our "disease management" system cleverly coined "healthcare" and began to follow the money. It was only then that I  began to understand that our government and its good buddies, the multinational corporations, who it is in bed with, are all in the business of using people for profit which is why we continue to get sicker with more chronic diseases that they are merely treating to make more money. Since the early 1990s Americans have been increasingly acquiring more chronic illnesses to the point where on average Americans now have at least 3 chronic diseases at any given time that they are taking prescription drugs to treat (not cure).
     I finally came to realize the good news is that we don't have to play their game and that the secret to each of us attaining true wellness exist within each one of us and not a doctor who has been trained in a medical school to work for a system that uses its citizens for profit. We have a lot more power within ourselves than we give ourselves credit. Due to our busy lifestyles we have turned our health issues over to white coats, biotech firms and a government that is not for us.  
     When we choose to eat sugar laden, processed, refined, enriched, unhealthy fatty foods that are all chemical laden we are making the decision to be sick. Once we make ourselves sick we then run to doctors who are all obedient workers for the system they work for and they diagnose and prescribe and so the cycle goes. In order to break the cycle we have to choose foods that are nutrient dense and provide a basic purpose for our bodily functions which is to sustain us and promote a state of wellness. We have become so mindlessly socially engineered and through our subconscious minds we don't even realize what is happening when we enter into a grocery store. Through clever marketing and branding we are purposefully, as consumers, driven to all the foods that are bad for our bodies but good for big agriculture, big pharma, and the government's pockets.
     Did you know that our weight, second only to tobacco use, is the single most powerful predictor of our health? So if you are a non smoker, that amount of excess fat you carry is the closest thing to a  crystal ball in determining your health.  So how to get the fat off and prevent the fat from packing on is the million dollar question. It all starts with what you put into your mouth. What you eat can either aid you in creating a well life or cause you harm. Being over a BMI > 25 INCREASES your risk of premature death and premature disease. The evidence is CONVINCING.

There are 3 fundamental principles that must be followed to begin getting off and or preventing fat accumulation.  I am a visual person and so it helps to see what we are talking about and in all my nursing geekiness to show what us nurses and doctors are seeing when we cut into a body with excess fat and it is this yellow gelatinous like substance.  I will always remember the first overweight  patient that I ever saw cut open down the middle and how I felt when I realized the picture shown is what fat looks like. You can imagine why this excess fat can start to cause harm to the body and its ability to function the way God created it to function. It decreases blood flow and therefore makes wound healing harder, lowers our immunity thereby decreasing our ability to fight off infections, it is detrimental to cardiac and other organ health, etc.

The 3 Fundamental Principles to Help You Eat Less & Prevent Weight Gain:
1.) Eat foods that increase appetite control and decrease hunger (satiety).

2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success).

3.) Adhere to common sense eating through what should be common sense behavior.

So breaking this down to nuts and bolts
 means: 1.) Eat foods that are harder for the gut to break down and to send food components into blood stream for energy (unless you are running a marathon). This promotes a nice steady stream of energy throughout the day and helps in avoiding the sugar high, sugar low roller coasters known as the glycemic index spikes and declines. Oh how happy we are when we get up in the morning and are scarfing down our Kispy Kreme Doughnuts, or Bojangles biscuits, or bagels with cream cheese but when that wears off by 10 am and we are left jittery, irritable, tired feeling and wondering why, no one questions what they have eaten but instead runs to the coke machine which is cleverly placed next to the coke snack machine. Why? Diet sodas are satiety increasing agents and the CEO of coke knows this hence the snack machines placed next to the coke machines. This makes  a lot of money for this multinational company while destroying your health because these foods promote weight gain which leads to diseases like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation in the body which in turn drives all diseases. So what are we to do?  2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success). How? By eating foods listed below as a good first step and incorporating them into your daily routine so that these foods are foods that are conditioned into your subconscious.
3.) Adhere to the behavior changes. Why? To tell yourself, " I love you self" by promoting a state of wellness.

                                               31 WELLNESS SNACKS:

Keep them on hand in your car, in your purse, in your desk drawer, etc. Have them ready to grab at a moment's notice.

1.) Always Nuts! You should consume at least 1 ounce per day. The health benefits of nuts are endless and help with everything from decreasing inflammation, decreasing satiety, helping fight cancer to combatting heart disease as they are loaded with minerals and vitamins.
2.) Dark Chocolate - Must be at least 60% are cocoa. It enhances blood flow, decreases satiety, lowers blood pressure, enhances cognitive function and a host of other healthy benefits. Note: 2 squares of dark chocolate barely makes a dent in your daily sugar quota. Even diabetics can safely consume this portion of dark chocolate.
3.) Apples - If you are worried about them browning then add a little fresh lemon juice to your bag and shake.
4.) Homemade Trail Mix - Nuts, dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, multigrain cereal (with limited sugar and ingredients - Kashi is a good brand) try to avoid dried fruits as all the nutrients has been processed out and you are left with just a lot of sugar.
5.) Whole Grain Crackers - Takes longer to break down in the gut adding a nice steady stream of energy which thwarts off hunger. Remember quality over quantity. When you are eating quality foods, you don't need a lot to get rid of hunger and get nutrients for the body.
6.) Almond butter, & Sunflower butter - Can add to the crackers and I like these choices better because they are less acidic than peanut butter.
7.) Chickpeas - Put in baggies and sprinkle with cayenne pepper (boast of its own nutrition facts). Loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients like manganese, selenium, and folate. Helps with hunger control and promotes strong bones due to the manganese.  Chickpeas are often eaten as a substitute for meat, which can be great for those hoping to watch their dietary fat or cholesterol. Even apart from chickpeas’ ability to be a substitute, they may help boost heart health and reduce cholesterol. The selenium works as an antioxidant, which means that it may help neutralize free radicals in the body, helping to prevent cancer and plays a role in liver enzyme function.
8.) Cucumbers - One of my favorites. I carry a skin peeler with me and peel them Sometimes if I don't have a peeler I just eat them skin and all. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper (helps aid digestion). They are low in calories, helps with hydration, aids in weight loss, flushes out toxins, etc. They sell the bags of mini organic ones at Aldi and I love these.
9.) Pumpkin Seeds - Nutrient dense with  a great and bountiful source of manganese, copper, zinc, and loaded with protein. These beauties come in a small package but are wellness promoting powerhouses. It is like the saying goes, the best gifts are found in small packages.
10.) Sunflower Seeds - Promotes cardiovascular health, a potent source of magnesium, selenium, a powerful antioxidant and great for Thyroid health.
11.) Bananas - In moderation as they do have more sugar but contain several essential nutrients and have benefits to aid in digestion, heart health, contain a fair amount of fiber. (Sugars found in natural fruits are always a better choice than processed sugars but you still have to watch consumption of this.)
12.) Oranges - Apart from its delightful taste, oranges are also contain many essential nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, and C. One orange supplies nearly 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C.
13.) Cherries -The health benefits of cherries include heart disease and cancer prevention and prevention of gout attacks. Cherry Nutrition. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. The bright red colour of cherries is due to their high concentration of anthocyanins. Cherries also have a very low Glycemic Index 
14.) Mini Bell Peppers - Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight-loss efforts. Research has shown that capsaicin-the substance that gives hot red peppers (or chilies) their kick, and boosts our metabolism-keeps immature fat cells from developing into full-fledged ones. And a study presented in April found that a compound in some sweet peppers (called CH-19 Sweet), which resembles capsaicin, provides similar positive metabolic effects-minus the burning mouth and lips
15. ) Chick Pea Hummus - Chickpeas are a natural food from pre-biblical times and is not a hybrid food. They boast of awesome health benefits such as promoting bone health, DM (Diabetes Mellitus) control and DM 2 prevention, cardiac health, aids in fighting cancer, decreases inflammation, aids in digestion, etc.
16.) Homemade Granola Bars - See previous blog post for recipe.
17.) Mixed Berries - Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, rasberries, etc. I love to pre-prepare these in small baggies for grab and go.
18.) PeachesYou can eat them whole, skin and all and the skin is the most nutritious part.  Wonderfully delicious peaches are low in calories (100 g just provide 39 calories) and contain no saturated fats. Nonetheless, they are packed with numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh peaches are a moderate source of antioxidant, vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has antioxidant effects and is required for connective tissue synthesis inside the human body. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, and help scavenges harmful free radicals.
19.) Cherry Tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes - These varieties are not as acidic.  
20.) Hard Boiled Eggs - Great to take with you on the go and especially in the shell. They boast benefits of folate, vitamins: A,B5, B12, D, E, K, and B6. They also offer minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and are only 77 calories with 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of healthy fats. They are definitely a nutrient dense snack.
21.) Fresh Salsa - Homemade is always a better choice when time allows. I make mine on the weekends and keep in fridge in airtight container.
22.) Fresh Vegies - I like to cut mine ahead of time and put in baggies for on the go and to keep in fridge at work.
23.)  Artichokes - They have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.  They may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct. They aid in digestion, decrease cholesterol, are high in fiber, increase bile flow, prevent cancer and are high in antioxidants.
24.) Guacamole - I prefer homemade when time allows and even a whole avocado with seed scooped out and salsa poured in center in place of the seed makes a great and nutritious snake with multigrain all natural chips with few ingredients or multigrain crackers.
25.) Snyder's Oat Bran or Honey Oat Sticks -  Multigrain is always a better choice as it promotes decreased satiety and better blood sugar control again because it takes the gut longer to break it down and send it into the blood stream for energy.
26.) Multigrain Pita Chips - Dipped in an almond butter or sunflower butter is even better or a chickpea hummus. I always try to avoid soy whenever possible as it is being produced for massive sales for the biotech's and is all genetically modified along with our corn and wheat.
27.) Cheeses - Make sure that you are buying from  a known Rbgh free manufacturer and buy part skim mozzarella or other reduced fat 2%. Always moderation with cheese.
28.) Kashi Granola Bars
29.) Celery with some kind of Butter i.e. Almond butter or Sunflower butter - Celery contains coumarins which have been shown to be effective in the prevention of cancer. Celery contains pthalides, which have been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around the arteries and allowing vessels to dilate. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in celery also helps regulate blood pressure. The pthalides in celery may also lower cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as the fact that it is low in calories and is high in fiber.
30.) Kalamata Olives - Olives are very rich in monounsaturated fats which are exceptionally healthy for the heart. The only other fruit that is rich in monounsaturated fats in its raw form is avocado. These fats, especially oleic acid are very beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Olives also contain alpha-linolenic acid which is very important in promoting a healthy heart, reducing the risk of cancers, reducing hypertension, reducing the risk of auto immune diseases, improving depression and preventing the formation of clots in the circulatory system. This substance can also act as a blood thinner and can be of great help in preventing gallstones. They are also a great source of Vit E  and vitamin A which gives them very potent antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Olives are very efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases and numerous inflammatory conditions and relieving asthma and arthritis
31.) Fermented Vegies - I love the Okra but you can buy cucumbers, etc. When we ate more fermented foods, took less antibiotics and ate less fast foods we were much healthier. Fermented foods are great for the gut. It is why God gave us seasons and in the winter we relied on eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Remember - Always buy foods in season and buy organic as much as humanly possible. If the store doesn't have organic buy what they do have as organic because generally that means it is in season and has not been shipped from as far away which means more in tact nutrients. As an example I would not buy grapes right now as they are out of season until August and therefore all of them are currently imported from Chile which is the second largest exporter of GMO foods only second to the USA.

Click the link to see what foods are in season in your area.

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