Wellness Wednesday…8 Reasons Baby Boomers NEED Carbs


When you’re trying to drop a few pounds or you just want to eat healthier, it’s tempting to try to cut the carbs from your diet. Afterall, we’ve all lived through the Atkins diet-loving era, and this carb-free philosophy still runs strong today. Here’s the thing: You NEED carbs! We’re talking about the good, healthy ones (not cake, ice cream, and potato chips.)   Your body depends on them to function properly and at its highest level. Let’s look at 8 reasons why whole grains, fruits, and veggies are so important to include in your eating plan.


  1. They Help Your Brain Work Betterbrain-food

This one is huge, especially as you age. Your brain needs carbs to function properly. Your brain runs on glucose, and you get glucose from carbs. If you don’t have enough of them, your ability to think, learn, and remember stuff will decrease because the neurotransmitters in your brain will not have enough glucose to synthesize properly.


  1. They Help Reduce Bloating

As we discussed a few weeks ago in the “Fiber-Up for Fall” article, good carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and veggies, contain a lot of fiber. This is great for many reasons, which includes helping to keep your bowel movements regular. That means that you’re less likely to feel puffy because your body will naturally eliminate waste more efficiently.


  1. They Speed Up Your Metabolism

fast-metabolism1My guess is your metabolism isn’t quite as fast as it used to be. That’s why it’s so important to do everything you can to keep it revved up. Eating the right amount of carbs will keep your metabolism fired up and burning fat as efficiently as possible. As my dietetics professor repeatedly said, “Fat burns in the light of a carbohydrate.”


  1. They Make You Happier

Do you feel like pasta can make anything better? Believe it or not, there’s actually some truth behind it. Most carbs contain tryptophan, which helps to produce the “feel-good” hormone, serotonin, in your brain. Without enough tryptophan, and therefore serotonin, you’re more likely to get depressed and have sleeping difficulties.


  1. They Give You Energyoriginal

Think about trying to run your car without gasoline. It probably would work so great, right? That’s basically what happens when you try to run your body without carbs. Carbs are fuel for your body because they contain glucose, which is your body’s number one source of energy. Protein and fat can work too, but they aren’t as efficient. Carbs are definitely your best source of energy, which is particularly important if you’re exercising.


  1. They Contain Good-For-You Vitamins

Whole grains contain lots of B vitamins, which help your body make energy from food and help you make red blood cells. And, fruits and veggies are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins B and C. They contain antioxidants that keep your immune system strong and your skin looking healthy.


  1. They Help Prevent Heart Diseaseheart

Healthy carbs can make for a healthy heart! Research shows that whole-grain carbs, like breads, pasta, and rice, help reduce your chance of heart disease and lower your cholesterol. The fiber in these foods plays a role in making this happen.


  1. They Just Taste Good

Face it: Most of us love carbs because they’re delicious. And, if you banish anything from your diet, you’re more tempted to binge on it later. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about creating an all-or-nothing approach. It’s about creating healthy habits that you can picture yourself doing 10 years from now. Keep carbs in those plans. Enjoy healthy ones most of the time and have your favorite treat on special occasions.


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!





Wellness Wednesday…Healthy Kids


Whether you’re 30 or 90, there’s a good chance you have kids in your family. So, who are the kids in your life? Whether you have grandkids, your own kids, or nieces and nephews, my guess is you would do anything for them. All you really care about is their health and happiness. So, what are you doing for your kid’s health from a nutritional stand point?


If you’re like a lot of grandparents, you like to shower your grandkids with homemade cookies and special treats. I remember my grandma always had a full candy drawer when we went to visit, and she always had lots of pies prepared for dessert. My favorite was banana cream. Grandmas (and mothers) often show their love through food.   It’s a wonderful thing, but what if it’s actually hurting more than helping?



I’m not suggesting that you never give the kids you love so dearly a special treat. But, I know a lot of grandparents who are playing a very pivotal role in the lives of their grandkids. If you spend a lot of time caring for them, you have the opportunity to create healthy habits that can last a lifetime. You have the power to influence them in a healthy manner. What an awesome gift!



childhood-obesity-56a6fdc15f9b58b7d0e5dfc3Here’s a sobering fact: for the first time in history, children may not survive their parents because of overeating disorders. It has been suggested that at the same time baby boomers are experiencing their first heart attack, around the age of 64, their children will be having their first heart attacks too. Heart attack is directly related to being overweight and being overweight most often comes from … you got it, unhealthy junk food!


More children than ever are overweight and even obese, with numbers reaching epidemic proportions. Globally, 22 million of the world’s children under five years of age are overweight or obese. Add to this the number of fat-related illnesses becoming more prevalent, and it’s clear that our kids face enormous health risks. Poor nutritional habits lead to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.


On the other hand, not all unhealthy eating practices in kids involve overeating. Many teenage girls feel the need to be “skinny,” and they take drastic measures to make it happen. One study found that more than 50 percent of teenage girls think they should be on a diet. And, 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia – or 1 in every 100 young women between the ages of 10 and 20 are starving themselves. Don’t be confused, though, these eating behaviors can be seen in young men too. Anorexia and other unhealthy eating habits are not gender specific.



All of the facts above are not meant to scare you, but they are meant to show the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle for your kids at an early age. If you’ve ever struggled with your own weight or body image, wouldn’t you do anything to prevent that from happening in your loved ones? Here are some tips on how you can create a healthier attitude towards food in your kids and grandkids.


  • Set structured meal times. If you set firm meal and snack times, then the goal is to stay with these times, within reason, over the long term.


  • Keep healthy snack foods visible and within reach. Your kids are more likely to grab what’s in the front of the cupboard or fridge, so make sure those options are healthy.


  • Offer varied choices of healthy foods. Allow your children to decide what they want to eat , but make the offerings healthy and nutritious. Eliminate junk right at the grocery store.


  • Tell your children their bodies are terrific and healthy. That doesn’t mean you have to lie. Find their best features and flatter them. Teach them to be strong within themselves.


  • Teach your children that young bodies are constantly growing and developing and that change is normal. Stress that all bodies are different and there is beauty in each difference.



  • Use scales once a week at most. No one needs to weigh themself everyday.


  • Choose your battles. Say yes occasionally to unhealthy treats. Grandparents, did you hear that…..occasionally! A treat means an indulgence eaten once in a while, not every day.


  • Place a heavy emphasis on physical activity, including unstructured play. Make it a family activity and have fun playing with your kids and grandkids. They’ll keep you young!


  • Take your children grocery shopping. Teach them how to make healthy choices and let them help you fill your cart with nutritious foods.


  • Set the example yourself, every day. Your kids automatically look to you for guidance, and they trust that you will lead them in the right direction….this includes your food choices.


Let’s build healthy habits in our families now and watch our young ones grow into beautiful adults!


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!



Wellness Wednesday…Set Up YOUR Surroundings for Success!

Fork, brain, knife.

“It’s easier to change your eating environment than to change your mind.” That is, according to Brian Wansink, PhD who is a leading expert in eating behavior. He believes the solution to mindless (and over-) eating is to tweak our homes, workplaces, restaurant dining, and grocery shopping so we mindlessly eat less instead of more. Willpower is hard but rearranging your life to be “slim by design” is easy. If you want to automatically eat better, all you have to do is make a few changes to your home and how you behave there. Here are some tips how:


The color of your plate can make you fat. If it’s the SAME color as your food, you’ll serve yourself 18% more.


The take-away: When you’re eating at home, choose plates that contrast with the color of your food. For example, if you’re eating white starches – pasta, rice, or potatoes – use a dark plate.


Your Kitchen Counter

A study revealed that what’s on your kitchen counter may impact your weight. The study found that women who left snacks and breakfast cereals on the kitchen counter weighed more than their neighbors who didn’t. Those who put fruit on the counter, however, weighed less.  Here’s a list of the foods found on the counter and how they impacted weight:


  • Breakfast cereal +21 lb
  • Crackers or chips +8 lb
  • Cookies +9 lb
  • Fizz cola +29 lb
  • Diet fizz +24 lb
  • Any fruit -7 lb


The take-away: Clear ALL food from your kitchen counter EXCEPT fruit.


Your Cupboards, Pantry, and Refrigerator

3-kitchen-pantry-tips-for-healthy-eatingOne study showed you’re three times more likely to eat the first food you see in the cupboard than the fifth one. Rearrange your cupboards, pantry, and fridge so the first foods you see are the best for you.


The take-away: We eat what we see, not what we don’t. Organize your shelves and make sure your healthiest food items are the first thing you see. And, if someone in your household likes to eat junk food, give them their own drawer or cupboard that is off limits to you.


Buying in Bulk

ziploc-nutsWhile you can find great bargains at wholesale clubs like Sam’s, be careful when you get it all home. One study found that if you buy in bulk, you’ll eat the food faster and in greater quantities than you otherwise would. That doesn’t mean you must forgo those stores altogether. Just take a few steps when you get home to set yourself up for success.


Tips for success: One solution is to repackage any supersized boxes into single-serve baggie sizes.   A second solution is to store it as far away from reach as possible – in a basement or distant cupboard or closet.


Drinking Wine

If wine is your weakness, here are some tips to automatically drink 10% less.

  • A study found that we tend to focus on the height of what we pour and not the width, so you pour 12% less wine into taller white-wineglasses that hold 10 ounces than into those wider red wineglasses that hold the same.



  • When we look down at a glass, it looks fuller than when we look at it from the same level as the liquid. As a result, you’ll pour 12% less in a glass when it’s sitting on the table compared to when you hold it.


  • Because red wine is easier to see than white wine, we pour about 9% less white wine into a glass.



The take-away: Use a tall, skinny glass for your wine.  And, when you pour it, keep the glass on the counter while you stand.


Family-Style Dining

Crowding all your serving bowls onto the table for dinner could make you eat more. A study found that people who served themselves directly from the stove or counter ate 19% less total food compared with those who served themselves right off the table.


The take-away: Save the fancy serving dishes and serve your food directly from the kitchen. Having to get up and walk 6 feet for a second serving may stop you from doing it. If eating family-style is a nonnegotiable at your house, try serving out of bowls with lids.


Restaurant Seating

While further research is needed on this, where you sit in a restaurant may influence what you order. The preliminary findings show some interesting results:

  • People ordered healthier foods if they sat by a window or well-lit part of the restaurant, but they ate heavier food and ordered more of it if they sat at a dark table or booth.


  • People sitting farthest from the front door ate the fewest salads and were 73% more likely to order dessert.


  • People sitting within two tables of the bar drank an average of three more beers or mixed drinks.


  • The closer a table was to a TV screen, the more fried food a person bought.


  • People sitting at a high-top table ordered more salads and fewer desserts.



The take-away: When dining out, sit at a well-light, high-top table if possible.


Quiz: How Slim is YOUR Home?


This scorecard, created by Brian Wansink, can help you determine if your kitchen is helping you or hurting you. Each check counts as 1 point. If you score more than 7, congratulations! If you get less than 7, try to bump it up to 7 by the end of the month.


☐       1. Salad and vegetables are served first before the entrée and starches are brought to the table.

☐          2. The main dish is pre-plated and served from the stove or counter.

☐          3. Your dinner plates are 9-10 inches wide.

☐          4. You eat sitting at a table with the TV turned off?

☐          5. There are two or fewer cans of soft drinks in your refrigerator at any one time.

☐          6. Your kitchen counters are organized (not messy).

☐          7. Precut fruits and veggies are now on your middle refrigerator shelf?

☐          8. At least 6 single servings of protein are in your fridge – eggs, yogurt, string cheese, tofu, etc.

☐          9. Your snacks are kept in one inconveniently placed cupboard.

☐          10. The only food on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl.


Looking for more suggestions on how to set up your surroundings for success? Check out the book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, by Brian Wansink. He’s discovered more than 100 effective home-related weight loss tips.


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!



Wellness Wednesday…How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

healthy-travel-food1Now that summer is behind us, are you planning a fall get-away, or are you already looking forward to your holiday travel plans? If so, how are you going to tackle that healthy eating plan you’ve been trying so hard to master? Trying to eat healthy while traveling can be challenging. The good news is there are some simple, yet effective strategies that will help you continue to eat healthy while traveling. Doing this can help you maintain balance, reduce stress, and make you feel GREAT throughout your entire trip.


Before you leave, make a decision about which foods are a big “no-no” for you and which foods you’re willing to “slide” on. When you do that, you’ll spare yourself the stressful decision-making when the opportunity arises. Try to limit your “slides” to once a day as the combination of these can add up to digestive distress over your trip.

My “No-No” Foods:


My “Slide” Foods:



The Hotel

Try to find a hotel that offers a mini-fridge and microwave in the room. When you arrive at your destination, find a grocery store or fresh foods market close by. This will allow you to stock your fridge full of quick, healthy options.

breakfast-buffetIf your hotel offers breakfast or a breakfast buffet, make smart choices. Watch out for the sweet rolls, pancakes, and bacon. Instead, stock up on hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal*, and fresh fruit. And, if your room has a mini-fridge, take a few extras for snacks during the day.

Before you dive into the oatmeal, check the nutrition label. A lot of the pre-packaged oatmeal packets are full of sugar, so make the best choice you can. Instead of using what they have at the hotel, plan ahead. You can always pack your own oats (regular or steel cut) in a zip-lock bag and dump them into a cup of hot water. Give it a few minutes to set up, and you’re all set. (Yes, I’ve actually done this many times.)


Food & Drink

You can easily take a variety of perishable and nonperishable items with you depending on the length of your trip and how much room you have to pack food. Make sure to pack your food in an airtight (and spill-proof) stainless steel or BPA-free plastic container that can pack tightly into the space you have available. And, don’t forget to stay hydrated with lots of water. This is especially important as you travel to different climates and/or altitudes.


At the Airport:

bottle-filling-drinking-fountainWater – You can buy bottled water at any of the stores in the terminal, but why not take your own? Make sure your water bottle is empty when you go through security. As soon as you get to your terminal, though, you can fill up your bottle at any fountain.   Most airports have them all over the place. And, if you decide to make a protein or meal-replacement shake, you’ll be glad you have it with you.


Cooler Bags – If you take any perishable foods, you’ll want to take a small cooler bag. Depending on the airline your flying and the size of your cooler bag, you can use it as your carry-on or personal item on board. You’ll want to keep it close, so you can eat at the airport before you take off and on the plane when the munchies attack.

people-in-line-at-airport-security-check_4ylqzzezv__s0000You’ll want to know a few things about getting through security with your cooler. You can take food through. It’s not a problem, and I’ve done it many times. Be mindful of your ice packs. If they are frozen solid, they should be fine. If, however, they have thawed out a bit and are now liquid on the inside, security will through them away. (It’s that 4 oz. liquid rule.) Another option is to forgo the ice packs altogether and take a few empty zip lock bags instead. Once you get through security, you can stop at the Starbucks in the terminal and ask for a couple glasses of ice. You can fill your zip lock baggies with ice and put them in your cooler then.


On the Road:

17ee0f3ea5c45ae46ed373e03d2de1d8Water – While you might not want to drink a lot because it’ll cause you to visit more rest stops, drinking water while you’re on the road is super important. Take a large water bottle and try to keep it close to you in the car. If it’s easy to reach, you’re more likely to use it. When you run out, buy a gallon of water from the gas station and refill your bottle. It’s usually cheaper than buying individual bottles at each stop.


Coolers – Depending how long you’ll be gone, you’ll probably want to take a cooler with you. To keep your foods fresh, you’ll want to keep some sort of ice or ice packs on your food. Or, if you’re a frequent traveler, you might want to consider purchasing a cooler that plugs into both your car and wall electrical outlet. This turns the cooler into a “fridge on demand” when needed and doesn’t require ice packs at all.


Travel-Friendly Foods

  • 78d200692f85aa9d8acf09692533875dRaw veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli
  • Hard boiled eggs (pre-peeled)
  • Babybel cheese – Individual serving size
  • Greek yogurt – individual cups
  • Pre-cooked chicken cut into strips
  • Turkey sandwich made with Ezekial bread, deli turkey, and cheese
  • Jerky like Epic Bars, Tanka Bars, or Grass Run Farms Beef Sticks
  • Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • Peanut butter or almond butter – Individual packets
  • Tuna or salmon packets (in a pouch, not a can!)
  • Meal replacement or protein powder – Individual packets
  • Fruits like apples, bananas, or oranges (pre-peeled)
  • Homemade protein granola bars (recipe included)
  • Dark chocolate squares


The Accessories

plastic-240Try to keep it easy and simple while you travel. If you’re like me, disposable products are the way to go when traveling. Depending on what food you take, remember things like plastic silver wear, paper towels, and zip lock bags. I do, however, recommend taking your own reusable water bottle.

And, don’t be shy about taking any other small conveniences that help you stay on track. If you have a vitamin or supplement routine, keep it up while you travel. Or, if you like to drink your favorite tea in the evening before bed, take some tea bags with you. Staying on a semi-normal routine will help more than you know. 



While traveling, experiencing new, local cuisine can be the highlight of any trip. Luckily, you can enjoy the food at a majority of the restaurants you’ll visit by following a few “tricks” of the trade:

  • If picking your own restaurant, search on Google, Yelp, or Trip Advisor for keywords like “healthy” or “grass-fed” along with “restaurant” and the name of the city you’re visiting. Then check out the menu online before going.holiday_alternatives_appetizers
  • When you arrive at the restaurant, tell the server what you are trying to do; for example, eat a low carb meal or eat lots of veggies. Let the server know that you would appreciate their help in making substitutions. Most of the time, they’ll make immediate recommendations and let the chef know your sensitivities.
  • When ordering salads, simply ask to sub the dressing for a side of olive oil and vinegar. Ask them to hold the croutons or cheese.
  • You can order any burger dish by simply asking them to hold the bun and leave any sauces on the side.
  • Try to avoid the items fried in vegetable oils. Sub out the fries for other sides they offer like grilled vegetables or rice.
  • You can order just about any entrée dish that includes meats like steak, fish, or chicken by asking them to double the veggies as your side instead of any high-carb or high-fat side item.


Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

While all of these tips can help you eat healthy food while traveling, the most important thing you can do throughout your trip is to NOT STRESS about food imperfection. In fact, one of the number one causes of digestive distress is stress. This means you could be eating the most nutritious, pristine diet there is, but if you’re stressed, you’re not only impairing the breakdown and absorption of your food, you’re also suppressing your immune system. This will increase your likelihood of experiencing a reaction to a gut pathogen or food toxin. That does not sound like fun on any type of a trip, so remember to relax a little bit too!



Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!