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31 Days of Health. Day 27: Be B-Vitamin Smart

Today’s healthy action is about understanding the B-vitamins. B-vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins, meaning they must be in the presence of water for your body to absorb them. Altogether, there are eight different B-vitamins. You may recognize the term, “B-complex” which collectively refers to these eight micronutrients:

  1. Thiamin (B1)
  2. Riboflavin (B2)
  3. Niacin (B3)
  4. Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  5. Pyridoxine (B6)
  6. Biotin (B7)
  7. Folate (B9)
  8. Cobalamin; or more commonly known as “vitamin B12”

Without any one of these vitamins in your diet, essential functions and processes within your body would not take place. The B-vitamins are involved greatly in the metabolism of the macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each vitamin certainly has a role of its own. Some additional functions this class of vitamins provide aside from metabolism include antioxidant protection, cardiovascular support, production of red blood cells, prevention of birth defects, blood sugar control, skin health, nervous system support, DNA production, and liver detoxification.

What is unique about water-soluble vitamins, is that whatever the body does not need, it will excrete out through the urine or feces (with the exception of B12 which can be stored in your liver). Have you ever noticed that when taking a B-complex supplement your urine is bright yellow?? There’s all your riboflavin! This does, however, demonstrate the importance of getting enough each day…

I think the simplest message to take away in regards to getting enough B-vitamins is to eat a varietal diet. These vitamins are widely distributed in most foods. Some are found predominantly in plants, whereas others are found more in animal foods. For example, folate is found in great quantities in green leafy vegetables, whereas vitamin B12 is not present in most plant foods (only fungi and fermented vegetables as the exceptions), but is high in animal foods including fish, poultry, beef, yogurt and cow’s milk.

So, while the headline reads “Be B-vitamin Smart,” what I truly suggest is to include an assortment of foods in your daily eating patterns. Refer back to Day 17 – Get Adventurous! If you are used to eating the same things every day, be courageous and try something new. I even recommend re-visiting Day 12 – Meditate. I feel that I run into many people who are concerned they are not getting enough nutrition, and so they supplement with pills. Supplementation has its place, but I definitely recommend that if you are concerned you’re not getting enough, first give yourself a few deep breaths and reconnect with your body. Sometimes that little reminder that you are alive and well is all you need. Then, talk it over with a dietitian-nutritionist, or other healthcare professional you trust (I’m trying not to be biased).

Send me a message if you’ve got any questions. It’s my mission to help you feel less-confused and confidently healthy!

Have the most fabulous Sunday ever!!!

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 26: Forgive

For today’s healthy action, I absolutely recommend you set aside anywhere from ten to thirty minutes of time for you to peacefully explore this exercise. I will give you a heads up: this has the potential to bring up some pretty sour feelings, hence why you need to give yourself some undistracted time alone. If at any time it becomes too intense, take a look at yourself in the mirror and affirm: “I am safe.” Feel the breath you take in and know that you are alive, and that, my friend, is all you need to give yourself a boost of strength when the thoughts you are bringing to the forefront of your mind are making you feel as though they are your current reality. Take as much time as you need, and feel free to give it up if it’s too much to take on at this time.
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Step one: Close your eyes and visualize the life you desire. Imagine every detail: the home you live in, the relationships you have, what types of clothes you wear, what your fitness level is, what type of person you aspire to be, what car you drive, your financial state, the career you lead, what hobbies you partake in…Go on and allow yourself to have some fun fantasizing!!
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Forgiveness can bring you closer to that life. What, or whom, can you forgive? Consider that everything, and naturally everyone, you come into contact with, you hold some type of relationship with. If something doesn’t work out in your favor, what or whom are you likely to blame? Your mother, or father? Brother, or sister? A friend, a spouse, an ex? Your children? God, the world, or life? Your finances? Your boss, or your coworkers? Yourself – your past choices, your level of intelligence, weaknesses or failures, your body??

Step two: Explore whom, or what, you are harboring resentment towards. This should be relatively easy. Often the things that bother us most, especially when asked, can pop into our head in an instant. What part of your dream life is not yet a reality? Why isn’t that a reality? Don’t stress it if nothing comes too quickly. Maybe that’s a good sign you’re not harboring much resentment. Give yourself as much time as you need to think through.
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Step 3: Choose just one thing to forgive. If you don’t know what that means, or how to do it, that is perfectly alright. You can simply choose to be open to forgiveness. Say the words: “I am willing to forgive (insert who or what you are forgiving).” You may not feel anything as a result of saying this just once, but over time as you practice being open to forgiving that person or experience or thing, then is when you will begin to feel something.

The best way I can describe that feeling is freedom. The negative thoughts you once had no longer keep you stuck in your not-ideal life. You feel love, appreciation, and acceptance for all that has been and is in your life – yes, the good, the bad and the down-right disgusting. You are meant to love and enjoy life. You can grow from those awful things; it is 1000% your choice.
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Step 4: Take a deep breath, and let this exercise go. Take another look at yourself in the mirror, if you need to, and give yourself a smile. Say the words, “I’m Okay.”

Sending you all the love, strength, and energy you need today to make today fabulous, regardless of how good or bad it is.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 25: Indulge in Salmon

You need salmon in your life. If you’re not eating it regularly now, today is the day to start. Including other types of fish is smart too!

Salmon is a fatty, cold-water fish containing a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a rather unique food in this regard, where not many other foods can quite compare. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in walnuts and flaxseeds, however, these fatty acids come from alpha-linoleic acid (ALA, for short). The omega-3’s found in salmon come from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The general difference between the three is that they all offer different health benefits. What is fabulous about all of them, collectively, is that they are anti-inflammatory compounds…less inflammation means reduced risk for chronic disease, meaning higher quality of life!!! Particularly from salmon: the heart, brain, eyes and joints reap those anti-inflammatory benefits thanks to EPA and DHA.

With regular salmon consumption comes healthier cholesterol levels, along with reduced risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Additionally, salmon can lead to improved thinking and concentration, decreased depression, and may even reduce the risk for cognitive decline in older age!

In addition to the omega-3’s in salmon, just 4oz will supply you with approximately 125% your daily recommended intake for vitamin D! And because salmon is a fatty fish, it is certain your body will do a good job absorbing the fat-soluble vitamin, which promotes strong bones, a strengthened immune system and even controlled blood sugars.

I love grating some lemon and lime zest, sprinkling a little salt and freshly ground pepper, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon and lime juice over a raw fillet of salmon and broiling it for about 10-15 minutes. I typically purchase wild-caught fish. I prefer, and appreciate eating food that has lived life uncontrolled – the fish ate what it naturally eats, it swam where it naturally swims, and contributed to other life sources in the ocean, river or lake in which it lived. I find I enjoy the flavor – and color – of wild-caught fish more than farm-raised.

However, after some research, it is apparent there isn’t a whole lot of black-and-white when it comes to which is better: wild-caught or farm-raised. Therefore, rather than promoting one over the other, I leave that decision to you for now. You will find that farm-raised is much more affordable, likely due to the ease of mass-producing a population of fish. Currently, it seems to be more of a personal decision, and clearly a topic we must discuss in greater detail another day! In the meantime, include whatever type of salmon that makes you happy – or other fish that pleases your palette! – in your diet at least a couple times a week.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 24: Turn of Distractions

Are you loving these daily health challenges!? Let me know! I’m going all the way to the end of January unless you beg me to stop. I promise, so I hope these are doing some good for ya!

Challenge yourself today to turn off your distractions. You’ve got to say No to the things that don’t matter so much. Are you checking your phone the second you wake up? Are you spending too much time watching TV or looking at social media? Do you allow people or new tasks get in your way of accomplishing an important project at work? Hey, even cleaning your house a bit more than is necessary or working out too much can become distractions. I don’t know what your distractions are, but you totally do.

Today’s healthy action may not immediately strike you as health-related. Turning off distractions, however, does influence your growth in so many areas of your health. Why else would we call them distractions if they were, in fact, contributing to our overall success?? By saying No to the stuff that truly doesn’t matter, we make time for everything else that does.

For all the times each of us have said: I wish I had the time to do this, or, I wish I had the time to do that….we do have time!! We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and…we are all human!! Which means we are all capable of great things just as much as the next person!!!

You can avoid watching hours of TV to incorporate some exercise or create a meal from scratch, getting your physical health into shape. Alternately, you could avoid working out excessively to invest some time in building a business and your financial health.  You might say no to watching the news if it tends to worry you, causing you feel stress in your own life, thereby enhancing your emotional health. Keeping your phone out of reach while with your family or out to dinner with friends is an excellent way to build your relationships and enrich your social health. By saying No to all those low priority things, you open up all the doors to having the richest life you desire! Dream, dream, dream…and get to making those dreams your reality by closing all the useless doors. With that said, I’ll check back with you tomorrow as I enjoy my distraction-free day as well.

alyssa

Hey, I want to thank all of you for following me! I just reached 50 followers and I’m absolutely grateful for that. It means a lot to me that you actually want to receive updates of the content I’m creating. If what I’m sharing with you moves you in an awesome way, please share with your inner circle! You can share to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest or WordPress! Let’s work together in making our world a healthy place. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

31 Days of Health. Day 23: Eat Some Kale

I am extending a bit from yesterday’s healthy action. Yesterday I talked about ensuring you are including vitamin K in your diet; and vitamin K is found in all sorts of green vegetables, especially the leafy types. Kale is one of those green, leafy vegetables with the most amount of vitamin K per volume… that’s an average of 1,400% of your daily requirement in 1 cup cooked!

Not only do I want you to add some delicious kale to your life today because it is high in vitamin K, but it is a generous source for so many other nutrients including vitamin A (100% DV), and vitamin C (about 70%); and together with vitamin K, these vitamins deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, along with a healthy immune system and beautiful skin! You can also get a good dose of manganese, copper, iron, and vitamin B6 from kale. Collectively, these are supportive in bone health, energy production, prevention of free radical damage, blood sugar control, lowering cholesterol, metabolizing carbohydrates, detoxifying the liver, and promoting a positive mood!

The nutrient richness doesn’t stop there either! Kale also contains fiber, B-vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid; vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, and even omega-3 fatty acids!! Additionally, kale has over 45 flavonoids that fight against cancer, and a high concentration of lutein – a type of carotenoid that protects the eyes from damage caused by light and oxygen. Other carotenoids present in kale protect your body from oxidative stress and problems related to it such as cataracts, glaucoma, atherosclerosis, COPD and cancer.

Would it have been more convenient for me to say what kale does not have and what it can’t do?? All the hype kale had gotten in the past few years was definitely warranted. This is one of those foods I have to say, you’re crazy if you don’t even try to like it!!!

One of my favorite ways to cook kale is to roughly chop it after a thorough wash, keep the leaves wet and toss them into a pan over medium heat gently tossing and steaming them for a few minutes. I then toss in some garlic – crushed or minced – with olive oil, and sauté until the leaves are tender. Sprinkle with some sea or kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sometimes I’ll squeeze a touch of fresh lemon juice in there too. I also love adding cubed baked sweet potato tossed with a little butter (yup), cinnamon, and sea salt. Now THAT. Is feel-good food!

Bon Appetit!
Alyssa

BTW – you can follow along the shorter versions of these posts on Instagram @fabulous_nutrition. AND if you’re looking for some one-on-one work with me to propel your life forward in health and success, head over to the Fabulous Nutrition page or Contact Me directly. Thanks for being here!

31 Days of Health. Day 22: Kick in the Vitamin K

Kick in some vitamin K today!

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient, meaning, in order for your body to absorb it, it needs to be in the presence of fat. So grab a quick refresher from Day 15 to tie these two together and maximize your nutrition!

Vitamin K was named after what it is known best for: koagulation (German for….. coagulation 😊 Gott ich liebe die deutsche Sprache!). This nutrient plays a big role in the process of blood clotting, an important mechanism in the occurrence of bleeding – in case your first thought went to clots in blood vessels: one cause for strokes. Vitamin K is still present in that process too, however.

An exciting role research is finding out about vitamin K is that it may play a significant role in supporting bone health. Its involvement is believed to be in preventing osetoclasts from pulling minerals out of bones, and in another process that increases bone strength by means of increasing bone density. Consuming enough vitamin K may decrease the risk of fracture, even for women who have gone through menopause and have begun to experience decreased bone density. This certainly can give hope to all who have placed exclusive focus on calcium!

Vitamin K may also reduce the risk for arthritis, and bestow antioxidant effects upon our cells!

Here are some of the best sources for vitamin K – the percent daily recommended intakes (%DRI) are in reference to 1 cup cooked:

  • Kale (1,400% DRI)
  • Baby Spinach (1,200%; 1 cup raw: 360%)
  • Collard Greens (1,000%)
  • Beet Greens (over 900%)
  • Swiss Chard (760%)
  • Turnip Greens (700%)
  • Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts (300%)
  • Asparagus (120%)

Pretty incredible, right!? And the vitamin is present in just about every other green plant; herbs included. Not in as large quantities though. By comparison, 2½ stalks of celery contain 40% the DRI, 1 cup sliced cucumber ­– with the skins ­– contain 20%, and just 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (my absolute fave) contain 30%! Vitamin K’s presence is so common in green vegetables because it is required in green plants to carry out photosynthesis! Science is so much fun.

Eat up!

31 Days of Health. Day 21: “Reduce” Smoking and Alcohol

Before we dive in today: we are at three weeks in this fabulous 31 Days of Health!! Congratulations!!!

You have heard more than a million times before how harmful smoking is to your health. You’ve seen plenty of informative commercials about it. You may have heard before, that some alcohol is good for you, therefore you allow yourself to indulge, even though deep down you know that it’s not. So it doesn’t make sense for me to charge you to STOP! You are probably so desensitized by “Stop!” that it literally sounds like white noise.

Instead of commanding you to stop, I ask: can you just reduce your intake? Instead of half a pack of cigarettes today, can you take it down by three? Even one less is progress! Instead of losing control and downing as many drinks as you feel like, can you have a plan going in, and decide how many drinks you’ll limit yourself to? Are you the go-big-or-go-home type, like me, and want a harder challenge? Instead of reaching for a drink or a smoke after a long day, get active! Relieve stress through movement! Avoid, avoid, avoid for as long as you can – push your limits!!! Discover just how incredible you are!

Know that YOU choose your emotions. You choose to be stressed, happy, or angry. Sure, outside experiences can influence your emotions, but ultimately you make the choice of how to deal with those experiences. We’re talking about serious habit changes today that can be accomplished by making slight shifts in your thinking patterns and responses.

Let me be absolutely clear: both alcohol and smoking (notice I’m being generic with *smoking*) are toxic to your body. I don’t care what studies have researched the health benefits behind drinking wine, beer, or whiskey. While the results may have some valid points, it is likely the intake of alcohol was limited to one drink. To give you a visual of one drink: one glass of wine is equal to 5 ounces; a beer is 12oz, and liquor is 1oz. More than that is where things go south. So unless you can exercise excellent control, it’s useless to allow yourself to believe that drinking is good for you. Smoke of any kind does not belong in your lungs; and I don’t expect you hold a special place for carcinogens in your heart either.

Truly healthy foods and beverages don’t pose risks to your health.

In your efforts today, focus on progress, not on failure. Failure happens, so what!? Get back up and keep going. You’re not dead yet.

Sometimes, having someone there to tell you to get tough and fight through the struggle is what you need. So…

Get tough!!!
Love, Alyssa