Elpis the Spirit of Hope

thumb_dandilionI was doing my early morning reading and came across this passage.  I found that sometimes things come to you at meaningful and needed times. This may offer a little ……hope.

In Greek mythology Hope was a spirit known as Elpis.  She and other gods and spirits were kept in a jar by Zeus and entrusted into the care of the first woman, Pandora.  Overcome by curiosity, Pandora opened the vessel.  She lifted the lid, and out rushed the gods and spirits.  The gods soared into the sky, abandoned the mortals and went back to Mount Olympus.  But the evil spirits remained on earth.  Envy , toil, hate, disease and or all their cranky and cruel cohort flew to the four corners of the world.  Realizing what was happening, Pandora hastened to close the container.  Too late! All had escaped , except for one.  Hiding in the vessel was Elpis….hope.  It is said that Elpis remained in the jar to help human beings now that evil had been unleashed.  Whenever the world seemed too much to bear, we humans could open the lid and call on Elpis for faith and optimism.

( from the book, Marrow  by Elizabeth Lesser)

It seems to me, with all that is going on in our community, nation and world, it is time to open the lid and call on Elpis for some heartfelt faith and optimism.  Share it with others and remain hopeful.

Be Well, Stay focused,

 Mary

Nutrition: Snacking Your Way Through the Day

Snacks are not only okay, they are an opportunity to obtain more nutrients into your diet throughout the day. They can be a wiStock_000015487653XSmallise move when you make conscious and planned decisions.  Snacks give you energy when you need it and help to keep your blood sugars level.  In doing this you avoid slumps and fatigue associated with low blood sugar.  Snacks keep you satisfied, mentally and physically, as long as you pick foods that will serve you well. Snacks can help with emotional cravings.  Try to notice if you snack because you are stressed, tired, angry or bored.  If you can identify your emotion you may tend to choose a healthier snack rather than snacks with empty calories.

When snacking try to eat as many ‘real’ foods as possible.  Having an apple with some almonds may not sound as exciting as a doughnut, but you will be rewarded with more energy and satiety (thanks to chewing and fiber).  Some other good suggestions for snacks:

  • yogurt with fresh fruit, granola or chopped nuts
  • raw veggies and hummus, try a red pepper or lemon variety for a little change
  • whole grain crackers and cottage cheese
  • flavored pumpkin or sunflower seeds and raisins
  • whole grain crackers and a ‘mini’ cheese
  • crunchy chick peas or edamame
  • there are many great snack bars- look for 8-12 grams of protein, low sugar and high fiber, under 200 calories

These are just some of the options you can try to get more vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber into your diet. Have a treat once in a while- but a snack is meant to be helpful, not hurtful. Treat a treat as a treat- like on a friday afternoon after a long workweek, you will enjoy it more since you really deserve it. Keep in mind, you could lose, or gain up to 20 pounds in a year just by avoiding, or using,  the vending machine!

If you could use  some guidance in optimizing your eating plan, contact me for a complimentary talk.

Be Well,

       Mary

wellbychoice@comcast.net


 

Holistic Nutriton: Aging and Digestion- part 1

Many people don’t realize that digestion slows down as we age, causing discomforts  that you may not have had at an earlier age.  I often hear common complaints about burping, heartburn, indigestion, bloating and gas.  Many times, the eating patterns haven’t changed , however, the digestive juices have.  Take for example, GERD,acid reflux or heartburn, basically all the same, the little purple pill is meant to take care of it, right? Not necessarily.  That little purple pill is to reduce gastric acid.  What is most likely happening is that you have too little stomach acid. A lack of gastric acid excretion is actually a more common cause of indigestion and heartburn.  If that is the case for you, you could be making the situation worse.  You need gastric acid to break down your foods to get the nutrients from the food  and assimilate them into your system.  If you are not breaking down your foods the results will be burping, heartburn, indigestion, bloating and gas etc. Foods will sit in your gut and ferment, and cause irritation and inflammation.  Beyond the above mentioned,  impaired gastric acid secretion may include, food allergies, diarrhea, constipation, cracked or peeling fingernails and iron deficiency. There are other diseases that have been linked with insufficient gastric acid output including asthma, celiac disease, diabetes, chronic autoimmune disorder, lupus, osteoporosis and more- but don’t jump to conclusion.

One way to discern if you have decreased gastric acid is with a detailed gastric acid analysis, provided by your doctor. Many insurances don’t cover this service.  A more cost effective and simple way is to determine your need for acid is to use  hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplements.  This may take a few days to figure out what the correct dose may be, but you would find relief in a relatively short period of time IF you have insufficient gastric acid.

Process: start by purchasing HCL at a reputable store or via my website ( Metgest from Metagenics)take one tabletop capsule containing 500-600 mg of HCL with a large meal. If it doesn’t aggravate your symptoms, try upping the dosage- one tablet with your first meal, two with the meal after that and three with the next meal and so on.

Continure to increase the dose until you reach seven tablets or until you feel warmth in your stomach, whichever occurs first.  A feeling of warmth in the stomach means that you have taken too many tablets with that meal and you need to take one less for a meal of that size.  You may want to repeat the same dose a couple of times in order to feel the ‘warmth’. After you have determined the dose, stick with that for the larger meals and then reduce the dose for smaller meals.

As your stomach start to producing enough HCL on its own, you will notice that warm sensation again, when this happens reduce your dosage accordingly.

This may seem a bit tedious, but it works and will help you to get on a healthier path of digestion.

Do NOT stop taking any medication without the approval of your medical practitioner.  If you want off the little purple pill (it is only meant to be used for a short time- not forever, get to the root cause of the issue!) discuss it with your doctor and possible more natural solutions.

My next blog will be other ways to address ways digestive complaints. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Be Well, Mary

Nutrition News: Hearts and Chocolate

When we think of February and Valentines day- what comes to mind? For many it is hearts, chocolate and flowers and that is a good thing. More and more studies are showing that moderate amounts of chocolate are actually good for your heart. You may have already heard this and recent studies are supporting it to greater lengths.

From the Harvard Health Publications, recent results from a study out of England were published in the medical journal of Heart. Some of the findings are showing a link between eating chocolate and a lower risk of heart disease. Chocolate which comes from cacao beans, is abundant in flavonoids, which is an antioxidant produced by plants. Flavonoids are also found in other foods you may enjoy such as tea, red wine, blueberries, apples pears, cherries and nuts. Flavonoids in cocoa have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots and fight cell damage. Studies are also showing that they also help with thinking skills.

Beware; there can be a few drawbacks with any good thing. Most of the studies are indicating choosing dark chocolate (70%), and avoiding the extra saturated fats and calories from additives: marshmallow, caramel or candy bits. The more processed the chocolate is through fermentation, alkalizing ,roasting etc., the more flavonoids are lost. Most commercial chocolates are highly processed. The good news is that major chocolate manufactures are looking for ways to keep the flavanols in their processed chocolates.

What about the fat? The fat in chocolate is from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (heart healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), steric and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fats. Yet, research shows that stearic acid appears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, neither raising it nor lowering it. Although, palmitic acid does affect cholesterol levels, the good news is that it makes up only a third of the calories found in chocolate. This should make you realize that you cannot consume all the chocolate your heart desires.

Some thoughts to consider while optimizing your healthy chocolate indulgence:

  • Limit yourself to 1-2 oz. of chocolate a few times a week
  • Go for dark, minimally processed 70% cacao
  • Avoid cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing which changes the natural acidity
  • Avoid milk chocolate that has added fats and sugars
  • Indulge in a variety of foods that contain flavonoid antioxidants such as apples, pears, red wine, tea, onions, peanuts, cherries and cranberries.

It might be a great choice to have a piece of dark chocolate with cranberry and peanuts, along with a bouquet of your favorite flowers.

Enjoy with your heart and soul.

Happy Healthy heart Month!

Be Well,

Mary

 

Visit my updated Metagenics store, www.yourchoice4wellness.com,  and get 20% off you first order at the new store with FREE shipping.  Recurring orders always receive 10% discount. Great deal! Check it out! For questions, contact me, wellbychoice@comcast.net

Mindfulness; Lifestyle Changes: Finding the Lighter Side

I am trying to find the lighter side of the past two days of forced shut down. I have just been dealing with a bout of vertigo for the past few days. Today and I am better, but not totally out of the woods. ( I had this about 7 years ago). My head was all a jumble and my body was fine- except I needed a bit of assistance from the walls and furniture to get to where I was going. It takes a lot for the brain to keep the body upright!! It is exhausting. It was a total shutdown and forced STOP!. Did I get the Christmas things down? no. Did I put the gardens to bed? no. Did I go to the two planned parties? no. Was I frustrated? yes. I did laugh thinking that the body has a way of taking care of itself. Maybe it was a time to notice that I have not totally put my feet back steadily on the ground since my whirlwind trip to SEAsia. I traveled by plane, train, bus, boat, tuk tuk, elephant and a water buffalo cart, time to just walk about my own yard. Don’t wait until your body says to stop, take a moment now and be mindful about your needs and what is important. Enjoy the season and do it in a mindful way- I think you will find it more enjoyable.

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Be Well,

      Mary

Nutrition News: Protein powders – which one?

I am often asked about why type of protein powders are the best to use for smoothies.  There are a few different one’s to consider, and more and more are being introduced to the nutrition scene.  While we still prefer getting protein from real food, there are times to look at these as powders as ‘tools’ to keep you focused and provide a convenient way to obtain a healthier option. Here are some of the top protein sources for smoothies, and baked goods. Keep in mind that many protein powders are just that- protein, no carbohydrates or fats. In order to have a balanced meal or snack you will need to add to the mix – a liquid, fruits, veggies, nut butter, flax seed, avocado or other foods of choice.  Keep it simple – avoid too many fruits or fruit juices, add celery, cucumber or spinach for a nutritional punch without adding in a lot of sugars and calories.

Soy – soy protein isolate,, soy protein powder, hydrolyzed soy protein – from soybeans.

This is a powerful plant protein and research has shown that it increases muscle mass and improves strength during and after exercise. Soy contains naturally occurring isoflavones which are antioxidants which can help reduce muscle damage during and after exercise.

Choose non-GMO sources and beware of soy sensitivities which may cause gas or digestive upset

Bonus:  helps muscles and boosts iron

Whey- whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein- from cow’s milk.

Whey protein is composed mostly of an amino acid call leucine, which is the most potent for building muscle. It is also a good choice for whittling your waistline .  Many people tend to decrease inches and pounds using a whey protein drink rather than a carbohydrate shake- over a consistent use over at least 6 months .

Bonus: helps muscles, calcium boost, slims you down.

Pea– pea protein powder, pea protein isolate- from yellow peas.

Unlike soy and whey, pea protein is free of common allergens. This plant protein is high in the amino acid arginine, a precursor to creatine, which delivers energy to muscles. Some research suggests that it may have more appetite curbing power than whey protein.

Bonus: helps muscles, iron boost, keeps you satiated.

Rice– brown, white or whole grain rice isolate- from rice.

Rice protein is hypoallergenic.  This makes it easier to digest and will not irritate the stomach. Individuals who suffer from IBS, food allergies, or who are lactose intolerant find it difficult to digest meat, dairy and other sources of protein.  Rice is a good alternative.

Bonus:  helps muscles, good for vegans or vegetarians, easy to digest.

Some products I recommend  from Metagenics are: UltraMeal Rice, Soy or Whey, UltraMeal Daily ( pea and rice).  These are considered balance ‘medical foods’, they also contain carbohydrates and fats for a complete meal or snack. (you can find a link to Metagenics on my home page of my website www.yourchoice4wellness.com)

The Institute of Medicine recommends about 46 grams of protein a day for women and 56 grams of protein for men.  One tablespoon of protein powder is about 4 grams. I suggest no more that one shake a day.  Enjoy your other meals and snacks in real food form.

If you are interested in changing your lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating habits along with balanced activity and stress management, contact me for a complimentary phone consult to discus your goals.

Be Well,

Mary

 

 

 

Nutrition News: New! UltraMeal Daily

Looking to support your active lifestyle?  Start your day or kick the afternoon slump with this delicious pea and rice protein daily support shake.  It is filled with Phytonutrients and essential vitamins for a complete meal or snack.  Add your favorite beverage, fruit or veggie to suit your needs.  This is a perfect solution to get more hydration and energy for the warmer summer months. Lower in calories and high in nutrition. Try it now with a 15% savings.**

UltraMeal® Daily Support

Mixed Berry Flavor with Other Natural Flavors

“Live Healthier on the Mediterranean Diet” at Savour

Dear Friends-  There is a very special program being offered this winter/spring at Savour Wines and Cheese in Gloucester, Mass.  This is a time for you to enjoy and learn cooking techniques, insights to healthier food choices, fitness and mindfulness.  You will also be receiving some healthy and delicious prepared foods for your busy week that include salads, soups and entrees.  Along with a 10% discount from items in the store.  If you have any questions  contact Kathleen, owner and presenter.  I will assist with some of the classes as well as offer some special discounts for those who want to take their health/lifestyle to the next step. Take a peek and come to a complimentary class on Tues January 20th. Hope to see you then. This may be exactly what you are looking for!  Please read the attached form.

Be Well, Let 2015 begin with Health First!

Mary

Live Healthier on the Mediterranean Diet

Holiday Savings on Metagenics Products.

 

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Enjoy your favorite  Metagenics products now for the month of Dec. at a discount of 15%. This is my gift to you for health and wellbeing. ( I have heard from the main office that some of the products will be having a slight increase, but most will remain the same.)

To order : go to the Metagenics Store on my website, register, and order using  this Coupon Code  when checking out-   “SeasonsGreeting2014 ” –  to receive your 15% off!  If you have any questions, contact me at : wellbychoice@comcast.net ,

website :  www.yourchoice4wellness.com

Happy and Healthy Holidays,  Mary

Lifestyle Changes: A Tribute to Phil

It started with a hard slide into first base. A bad bruise and strained muscle, they said. Days, weeks and time later the pain was still there. Cancer. A rare form in the hip for a late 20 year old. A happy, care free, hard working, hard playing typical young man. One of my daughters closest friends. I get a call, ‘Mom, can you help? ” Who am I to say no to such a request.
Phil and I met, we went over nutrition, I gave him some books to read, suggestions on what to eat, drink,how to prepare foods. I suggested he give up the processed junk stuff he ate as his daily diet, and why. Eat real food, get fresh air, find time for relaxation and meditation, incorporate gentle exercise and get some rest. Phil did all of this and more. He fought off the cancer with standard treatment and healed. To look at him, he became the picture of health. His body responded to the real food and better lifestyle choices. However, round two of the same cancer returned , he fought it again with a stronger immune system and pulled out. More ideas of eating optimally adding in more nutrients, tweaking combinations looking at more options.  He was vibrant, feeling good. Months later the tumors returned again. Phil was  still being strong and having hope, being supported by family and friends  and having an attitude of ‘what’s the big deal’, I’ll be fine. It was a tough round this time, more chemo, new drugs. It has been a hard few years since this all came about, but Phil keeps his spirits up and sticks to his path.

I got a text from my daughter last night. “The tumors are shrinking and he’s on the mend.” He will be taking part in our home town fiesta- walking the greasy pole this weekend, this isn’t for sissies! That’s our Phil, never one to miss a party. I will be there front and center cheering him on along with many many others.

I want to believe that his attitude, hope, social support, improved nutrition and lifestyle were the foundation to his healing.  And I want to believe that I may have had a tiny part in that and I want to thank Phil for the opportunity to have served him. He was the one to do the work, he listened and he made the choice to want no other choice but to conquer this demon and really live life.

I hope you get the flag , Phil!!  Go for it!

Be Well,

Mary