31 Days of Health. Day 28: Prep Fruits & Veggies

You know what I love and hate all at the same time? Being prepared.

Being prepared is SO fricken fabulous. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have felt nervous about not having this or that ready for when I need it, then to my surprise, I actually had exactly what I needed! I fascinate myself most often. And here’s why…

Being prepared is one of my biggest weaknesses. Seriously. If I’m on my way to your birthday party, I’m picking up your card and gift on the way. Sorry :-/

Wednesdays tend to be very busy for me. I don’t start my work day until about 1:00. I actually don’t eat breakfast until 8 or 9 AM, even though I’ve been up since 5:00 – going through a more relaxed morning routine. Depending on how early I did eat, I might eat a little snack around 10:30. So my belly is content at 11:00, around the time when I am leaving the house with my daughter. Food is not on my mind. Often, once 1:00 hits, I have no time and limited options to grab food until roughly 6 or 7:00. So, yeah… about nine hours without food. Not good!

You might ask, “Why not just get something ready that morning?” Please, do not ask. I haven’t even begun to try to understand why preparing for Wednesdays is so complicated. (Perhaps it would help if I explain that my schedule on the other four weekdays are way more flexible, and that this business on Wednesdays is new for me. It’s a transition?)

Hopefully by gaining a little insight into my crazy life, you can rest, assured, that perfection is unattainable. The blessing of being human!! 😃🙄

So today’s healthy challenge is totally a team effort!! Let’s take some time today to prepare some fruits and veggies for ourselves. I’ve got five simple suggestions:

  1. Wash fresh, whole fruit so it’s ready to bite or cut into.

  2. Wash fresh vegetables so they’re ready for slicing and dicing.

  3. Cut fresh fruit or vegetables to have ready for snacking, cooking, or slapping on a sandwich. Store in ready-to-go containers or baggies. *Cut only as much as you will consume within two days*

  4. Roast, broil, bake, steam, poach, braise, or sauté veggies. Then store to reheat later or throw cold onto a salad.

  5. If part of the issue is just getting the produce into your house and you can afford any one of these conveniences: try a grocery delivery service, like Instacart; meal kit service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh; or a trusted local store that offers *healthy* prepared foods. Here in Buffalo, Wegmans offers perfect vegetable and fruit options.

We got this!!!

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 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 10: Give Some Thought for Food

Hello there, and welcome to Day 10!

Today is relatively simple. I just want you to do some thinking. Think about the food you eat! Where did it come from? How was it made? What nutrients are present in that food? Read a package’s nutrition facts and ingredients label to get your mind reeling!

Food for Thought #1. I recommend looking at the ingredients first. The nutrition facts give an estimate of how many macronutrients are present, along with a few select micronutrients such as sodium, calcium and iron. But that is only a teeny-tiny snapshot! Reading through the ingredients can be very eye-opening concerning what you are putting into your body, and what the nutrition facts aren’t telling you! For example: the FDA does not require manufacturers to indicate Trans Fat on the nutrition facts label if it is less than 0.5g. Unfortunately, you then think you’re making a healthier choice because Trans Fat says 0g, meanwhile there is actually 0.4g and you choose to eat 3 servings, taking in 1.2g of Trans Fat. How the hell are you supposed to know if there is trans fat?? Here’s your keyword: partially hydrogenated oil.

Similarly, added sugars may be hiding in your food, as they will not be indicated on the nutrition facts label when less than 1g. Again, you will have to look to the ingredients label and look for *sugar* *corn syrup solids* *high fructose corn syrup* *honey* *dextrose* *glucose syrup* just to name “a few.”

Food for Thought #2. I’m going to bring this back to something I noted on Day 7. Stick with food that is closest to nature. The simpler your food, the better it is for your body. Or in other words, the less processing a food must go through, the better. Packaged food needs to be preserved so that it can last a long time. Some preserving ingredients can include salt, sugar, and nitrates or nitrites. You can also find fillers and dyes in highly processed foods. Altogether, the more processed a food, the more sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, or possibly carcinogenic ingredients you will find.

Give your body some much needed love, and keep your intake of jarred, boxed, bagged, and frozen foods to a minimum! Sure, this might threaten your available time if you typically like the convenience of these foods, but remember that all things are temporary, embrace the adventure, and explore what other benefits are available to you on the other side!!

Let me know in the comments what chain-reaction thoughts you had with today’s health challenge!

Happy Thursday,
Alyssa

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