How does Ronald McDonald look nowaday?

This is a huge truth!

L-Jay Health

I was doing some research and came across an article on McDonalds and thought to myself “When was the last time I ate there”? Thankfully I could not remember the last time I ate fast food at all. It seems like everywhere you go there is a McDonalds restaurant on the corner. Now they are in hospitals, colleges, airports, and even churches.

I remember watching a documentary Super Size Me and it was very interesting but sad of all the negative health effects that Morgan Spurlock developed just by eating fast food all those times, not to mention all the weight he gained as well. He put his health on the line just to educate and demonstrate how our bodies react to these foods. If you haven’t seen the documentary I highly recommend it.

Fast food costs are inexpensive and tastes very good, but the negative effects on physical health last much…

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Forget the Facial: 5 Foods to Make Your Skin Glow

Salad #2
You don’t need bi-monthly facials to have great skin (though they sure are fun) – all you need is the right nutrition in your diet to look ten years younger. Stock your refrigerator with these five nutrients and you’re already on your way to a fresh, youthful complexion!

1 Brazil Nut a Day Keeps the Wrinkles Away
Brazil nuts are one of the best sources for Magnesium – a nutrient that slows the aging process of skin by maintaining elasticity and moisture at normal levels.

Relax with Flax
Flax seeds, walnuts and salmon all are high in Omega 3 Alpha-linolenic acids that encourage skin cell renewal and reduces the inflammation of acne and puffiness. Flax seeds are easy to incorporate into your morning oatmeal!

Sexy Sundried Tomatoes
Sun-Dried tomatoes, peanuts, chicken, and veal are high in Niacin, which promotes healthy skin, improves moisture, lightens hyperpigmentation, and decreases acne. Oh, and it also helps produce sex hormones, dilates blood vessels, and revs up your heart. You’ll look good and feel, well, really good!

More Broccoli, Less Dry Skin & Wrinkles
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, guava, papayas, strawberries and oranges are terrific sources of Vitamin C – which has been shown to slow free radicals responsible for dry skin and wrinkles.

Nip Zits with Zinc
Eggs, oysters, peanut butter, beans, whole grains, dairy products and red meat are where you find Zinc – possibly the most important mineral to your skincare. Zinc prevents and alleviates inflammation and scarring from acne and helps heal skin damaged from zits. Some research indicates acne might actually be because of too little zinc in your diet!

A WanderFood Wednesday Post

Four Fab Foods for Weight Management

Intelligent Gourmet Chicken Dinner

Weight management really is a mathematical equation. For woman it’s about 1200 to 1500 calories per day; for men 1800 to 2200 calories, depending on height, age, and activity level. While you can’t ever throw out calorie counting if you really want to see pounds drop, there are some foods you can have as much as you want without keeping track.

  • Non – Starchy Vegetables: Eat as many as you want in unlimited quantities (unless you are a brittle diabetic), as long as the preparation method is “clean”. No one ever got fat from a carrot or beet.
  • Boneless Skinless Poultry: One of the most versatile of all foods, chicken eaten plain, grilled, with salad and parmesan, or stir fried with fabulous red bell peppers, is a sure way to keep your energy up and lose weight.
  • Eggs, yolks and all: I am not afraid of yolks; they have great Vitamin D and Iron. Take 2 egg whites and whip with a whole egg and spinach (or other vegetables), top with 1 ounce of great natural whole cheese, and you’ve made a huge breakfast for yourself.
  • If you can’t drink enough plain water, slice up a cucumber and half a lemon and put the slices in a big pitcher with water, ice, and a few mint leaves. It’s natural flavored water that is far more refreshing, and fun!

Keep Your Memory Sharp the Mediterranean Way

Cold Spaguetti & Avocado salad
If I told you I had a pill that had no downside whatsoever and it helped reduce age related memory loss, would you take it? Guess what, it’s exercise! Open your door and walk 15 minutes in one direction and 15 minutes back.

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet and entertained visions of mounds of pasta drizzled in olive oil. Make that whole-grain pasta, and you’ve got yourself a deal. But the fresh fish, in-season produce, olive oil, wine, and yes, pasta, of the Mediterranean isn’t the whole story. Europeans walk. Everywhere.

It’s this balance of healthy whole foods (no Mediterranean mama would serve you out of a box or can) and exercise that is the real key to a healthy lifestyle – and long memory.

Let’s break down the diet first. Seafood and olive oil are everywhere and are both sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that help your brain function better. In Mediterranean cuisine, fresh green olive oil is often drizzled lightly over vine-ripened tomatoes from the morning market, with basil leaves picked minutes before from the terra cotta pot in the garden. The concentration is on eating whole fresh foods, and walking to and from that morning market!

  • Try grilling white fish lightly brushed with oil and served with a squeeze of lemon on top of fresh asparagus, or serve on top of zucchini “pasta” with cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
  • Diets rich in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and chard also help memory function. Try Greek Spanikopita (cooked spinach wrapped in phyllo) or Turkish Cacik – a spinach yogurt dip with garlic, lemon juice, dill, parsley, mint and EVOO.
  • And let’s not forget coffee. Greek coffee, Italian espresso, or French café latte – caffeine has been shown to slow memory loss (black tea works just as well). Unfiltered coffee can raise your HDL cholesterol though, so if that is a concern, stay away from espresso and French Press methods. Check with your doctor before adding caffeine to your diet if you have high blood pressure, IBS, or Crohn’s disease.

But most importantly – remember to walk every day. Remember that, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember for the rest of your life.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Joint health

Perfectly delightful summer salad, avocado, celery, romaine lettuce, olives, feta cheese, almonds, tomato, tamari sauce, olive oil, served on a square maroon zen plate, silver fork, second floor loft, Seattle, Washington, USA
When it comes to osteo or rheumatoid arthritis pain, remember that every pound of weight you lose relieves four pounds of pressure from your joints. And, while you’re dieting, you can do even more to help your joints by incorporating foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties into your meal plan.

  • Pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes contain Carotenoids – ie. they’re orange. When your body eats orange, it converts the plant pigment into Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that fights joint discomfort (and cancer!).
  • Avocado, nuts, and wild salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Omega-3s reduce swelling and discomfort in the joints, while vitamin E helps with healing.
  • Grapefruit, papaya, oranges, and mangoes are rich in Vitamin C. A study from Duke University shows that the right amount of Vitamin C reduces risk of rheumatoid arthritis. However, too much vitamin C accelerates joint damage from osteoarthritis. The USDA recommends 75mg per day for women and 90mg per day for men as the happy medium between the two extremes.
  • Brazil nuts, salmon, oatmeal and brown rice all contain selenium, a trace mineral that we don’t need a lot of, but deficiencies can lead to major problems. Surveys indicate that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers tend to have lower selenium levels in their blood. Selenium may reduce arthritis symptoms by controlling levels of free radicals. Skip the pricey supplement and eat one Brazil nut a day. It’s that easy.
  • Turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry powder its color, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that Ayurvedic healers have used for centuries to relieve arthritis pain. Other curry spices, like ginger, work well with turmeric to further reduce inflammation, so try out that new Indian restaurant around the corner!

Inflammatory Foods

Just like there are foods that reduce inflammation, there are foods that increase it. Refined carbohydrates, like those in breads, muffins, and packaged cereals – anything using white flour and/or sugar – will increase your inflammation. This includes sweetened fruit juice, beer, wine, soda, and sweet tea!

Six Good Mood Foods to Chase Away Everyday Crankiness

Good Mood Foods!

When we were little, we were cranky when we were tired, or hungry. And extra cranky if we were tired AND hungry! As adults, we may be better at masking our crankiness, but it’s still there. But, until workplaces add adult naptime into their policies, most of us will have to regulate our mood with food.

  • Eat every 4 to 5 hours to keep your blood sugar level, unless you have hypoglycemia. If you eat every 2 hours, you end up with too many calories from  grazing all day.
  • Limit foods that spike your blood sugar, like refined sugars, corn syrup, white flour, white rice & white pasta. In other words, walk past the snack machine and eat an apple! What you need to know is that the white stuff (white rice, bagels, many breakfast cereals, english muffins, etc) is that even though it doesn’t say it contains sugar, your body treats it just like sugar because it is metabolized very very quickly. Look for 100% whole grains, and if you see the words “enriched” or “bleached,” stay away! Better yet, eat whole foods. Fruit has sugar too, but in the form of complex carbs that metabolize slowly – you’ll feel satisfied longer and have an even flow of energy to burn.
  • Exercise does more than improve your mood by increasing endorphins – it’s been shown put people in a positive healthy mindset. Most people will follow through with good food choices after having exercised.
  • Combining high quality protein with a high quality carbohydrate will slow the absorption of the carb in your blood stream, keeping your blood sugar from spiking. Spiked blood sugar makes you hungrier, and causes energy-crash, but by eating carbs and protein (the best choice in your vending machine is the Snickers bar), you’ll maintain your energy and your sense of humor.

Best Choices for Feel-Good Food

  • Omelet and fresh fruit – This has that protein and carb balance for even energy.
  • Grilled chicken salad or salad with nuts – A power-packed lunch to keep you awake during afternoon meetings.
  • Beans and lentils – these are high in protein and good carbs, with the added benefit of fiber which slows carb absorption and controls blood sugar.
  • Non-fat Greek Yogurt – has twice the amount of protein as any other yogurt. Mix it with your favorite extracts – try cinnamon and honey, or fresh blueberries.
  • Oranges – are rich in folic acid, and filled with fiber and pectin. These help lower homocysteine levels which support mood and brain health.
  • Dark Chocolate or Cacao (70% or more) is sure to improve the mood of chocoholics!

BMI Doesn’t Have All The Answers

BMI measurements

Measuring your Body Mass Index does not actually measure your percentage of body fat – it’s actually a system developed in the mid 1800s as a unit of measurement for body fat. Your weight is divided by the square of your height, in an equation that looks something like this:

BMI = Mass in pounds / Height in inches squared X 703

If this gives you nightmares of high school algebra, I’m right there with you. For all intents and purposes, BMI is the best estimation for body fat percentage and a good indication of health. But it misses one vital component: Where you put on weight.

Recent studies show that where you put in weight is just as important as how much weight you put on. If you’re putting on weight around your middle, you’re at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

As we get older, our BMI may stay the same, but our waistlines expand as our estrogen decreases and body fat shifts from the arms, legs and hips to the stomach. But, we can fight these re-positioning fat cells by lifting weights to gain muscle mass, cutting back on calories, and eating the right kinds of foods. It all comes back to diet and exercise.

We ♥ Heart Healthy Eating

Heart Healthy Salad from Intelligent Gourmet

Ancient Egyptians believed the heart contained the soul, and before entry into heaven, a person’s heart would be weighed against a feather. Today, we talk about people having heavy hearts or light hearts, but right now, let’s talk about healthy hearts.

From American Heart Association Research

  • For every hour of walking you can add 2 hours to your lifespan (Bonus! Exercise also increases brain size and memory)
  • For every pound lost you alleviate 4 lb. of pressure from your joints
  • Eating 2 servings of fish a week decreases your risk for heart disease by 23%

My rule of thumb is that if it’s from a box, it’s bad for your heart. Pre-packaged, mass-produced foods are created in labs to produce two outcomes:
1) They’ll last forever, packed with hydrogenated oils, trans fats, saturated fats and preservatives. They have to keep crunchy on store shelves, right?
2) To make you want more. They do this by pumping up the salt content.

Please hold the salt

Up to 75% of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed foods – and Americans are eating far too much. Most restaurants also over-salt their food to appeal to the typical American palate. What does all this salt do?

A healthy level of salt is vital. It helps regulate body fluids and blood pressure, and is necessary for muscle function and nerve impulse transmission. Active people who sweat a lot need more sodium.

Too much sodium (and the ADA says Americans typically eat over twice the daily recommended amount) contributes to high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Five Favorite Heart Healthy Foods

  1. Salmon & Sardines are loaded with Omega 3: good fats that help brain function and keep your LDL low and your HDL high. Wild Salmon and sardines are both low contaminate fish, meaning they don’t have PCB or dioxins (which can be found in farm raised fish). An inexpensive way to get Wild Salmon is to buy it canned. Look for Wild on the label, and if it says Alaskan, it is automatically wild.
  2. Oatmeal is a soluble fiber which attaches to cholesterol and escorts it out of the body. Don’t muck it up with too much sugar! Add chopped nuts for more Omega 3’s, berries for cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, and cinnamon – studies show that cinnamon also lowers LDL.
  3. Sweet potatoes help manage your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Sweet potato also contains soluble fiber but with the added benefit of Potassium. The trick to lowering blood pressure is to decrease sodium and increase potassium in your diet – and sweet potatoes are the perfect vehicle.
  4. Nuts are another great source of Omega 3s, but don’t overdo them. They’re calorie-dense, so a few will go a long way. Have a handful of almonds, walnuts, or cashews for a quick healthy snack that won’t spike your insulin (and make you crave more food). And, if you get a can of mixed nuts, know that eating just one of those giant Brazil Nuts fulfills your daily selenium requirement. Research suggests that selenium reduces risk for breast and prostate cancers.
  5. Wine! My favorite way to wash down a heart-healthy meal is with a glass of red wine. Antioxidants in red wine (such as resveratrol) protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Not a big drinker? Search online for wine flour made from red grape skins (they make terrific brownies).