Metabolism.com is pleased to share the following article provided by our guest contributor, Tom Hines.
In some ways, your body is like a machine — it works best when itâ€™s properly maintained and tuned up. Food is your fuel and when you fill your tank with lousy fuel, your engine sputters and stalls. If your bodyâ€™s engine is sluggish and needs a jumpstart, spirulina and other green superfoods can help deliver the energy necessary to keep the machine running smoothly, avoiding a breakdown.
Spirulina is a â€˜green superfood,â€™ a term used to describe various nutrient-rich natural supplements, which include Chlorella, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa and Kelp. Unlike most store-bought supplements, the concentrated vitamins and minerals they provide are not synthetic. Green superfoods are whole foods harvested directly from nature and are exactly what your body needs to offset stress and to clear away toxins.
SAD is very sad indeed
S.A.D. stands for Standard American Diet â€“ there was never a more apt acronym. The majority of U.S. citizens today subsist on processed fast food laden with refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Meats are frequently tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics and pathogens. For people who manage to work the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruit and vegetables into their diet, modern agricultural techniques have stripped crops of many vitamins and minerals.
Processed and cooked foods, which are the cornerstones of the S.A.D, and beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol create an acidic blood pH, encouraging the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold. In an overly acidic environment, the body literally begins to compost. Illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are often the result of the composting process. Green superfoods have an alkalizing effect, counteracting the acidity caused by poor diet, stress and toxic overload and setting the stage for a return to good health.
Spirulina and Chlorella, the most super of the green superfoods
Spirulina is a blue-green algae whose name comes from its spiral coil shape. High quality spirulina thrives in both salt and fresh water in tropical climates and it is known to have nourished the Aztecs, who harvested the algae from Lake Texcoco. Some of the benefits of Spirulina are:
- Contains all of the essential amino acids vital to human health
- An excellent protein source for all vegetarians, including vegans
- Balances blood sugar by boosting glycogen, which offsets insulin
- Rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and other essential fatty acids Delivers an array of vitamins, including the all-important folic acid
- High in potassium and a dozen other minerals
- Improves focus and mental clarity
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae whose name is derived from Greek and Latin words that translate to â€œlittle green.â€ In the 1940â€™s and 1950â€™s, intensive research was done on little green algaeâ€™s potential role in solving world hunger, due to its high protein content and its bounty of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The natural health community, meanwhile, has always touted Chlorellaâ€™s health-imparting properties, particularly in the area of detoxification. In addition to being the very best source of chlorophyll, here are some more of Chlorella supplement benefits:
- Rids the body of toxins and stored waste
- Tones and cleanses the blood
- Reduces body odor, acting as an internal deodorant
- Improves bowel health and reduces flatulence
- Naturally freshens the breath
- Clears the skin
Cereal grasses and seaweed
Wheat grass is a popular juicing ingredient due to its superior nutrition, which it delivers without raising blood sugar. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Barley grass alkalizes the blood and strengthens the digestive system.
Alfalfa helps reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, without affecting levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol and studies are underway to determine its effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels and its ability to invigorate the immune system.
Kelp is a brown-algae seaweed, which grows in abundant kelp forests in shallow oceans all around the world. Kelp is rich in iodine and therefore beneficial to overall thyroid health. Its high vitamin and mineral content promotes pituitary and adrenal gland health as well. Itâ€™s renowned for its contribution to lustrous hair and skin. Taken shortly after exposure, it can also mitigate the negative ramifications of heavy metals and irradiation.
Making the most of green superfoods
Incorporating Spirulina, Chlorella and other green superfoods into the diet is easy, since they are all available in powdered form. Simply mix the desired amount into salad dressing, or add it to soup, juice or water. The taste is fresh and green and the active enzymes of living food add a healthy dimension even to a less than healthy meal. Of course, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people taking medications should consult with their doctors before incorporating any new food into their diets.
Many people who regularly incorporate green superfoods into their daily regimen have reported increased energy, mental clarity and an overall healthy glow. When stress, toxic thoughts and an imperfect diet have left your bodyâ€™s engine sluggish, green superfoods are a quick and easy way to put yourself back on the road to health. Long may you run!
About the Author
Tom Hines, co-owner of NutritionGeeks.com (MN #1 Now Foods herbal provider), has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997, is a competitive powerlifter, lives with his wife Netti and three boys TJ, Grady and Brock on the prairie in west central Minnesota, spends his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses and being play toy #1 for his boys.
What exactly is a Nutrition Consultation? That is Question Number One from the public! Well, a nutrition consultation is something that takes into account someone’s medical and weight history; blood work/laboratory values; activity; habits; Calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluid needs; nutrition support needs and personal goals. A good nutrition assessment will take all of this into account in order to get a full picture of a client and what their specific needs and recommendations are.
A very common issue is that people think they are eating way too much at night and want to cut down on their intake a night. Most of the time, these folks aren’t eating enough during the day and find themselves so hungry at night that they make up for missed meals and more! In this case, I teach that food is the best appetite suppressant around! If you eat good, solid, healthy meals and snacks, you won’t feel so hungry later on in the night.
Of course, sometimes people experience “emotional eating” where they are counting on food to meet an emotional need that they have. At first it may feel like the need is fulfilled. Food is comforting, nurturing, it can seem like a “companion”. HOWEVER, food is fuel, not emotional support. When we mistake food for emotional support, we stop looking for the real, underlying emotional issues that need our attention. That is when food becomes a distraction, a past time, even an addiction. I urge clients to look at food as food and not an emotional crutch or distraction.
On the other end of the spectrum are the folks who need to gain weight and can’t seem to gain no matter what they do. A nutrition consultation will provide an assessment of exactly how many Calories they need to maintain and to gain weight. It will provide guidance for consuming healthy foods and not empty Calories, as well as recommendations for maintaining lean body mass.
Some folks need nutrition support, especially if they are on medications that deplete nutrients. My professional opinion is that the majority of people in this country do not even meet the RDA’s for many nutrients and I believe that the RDA’s need to be updated to reflect current knowledge and research in the science of nutrition.
A Nutrition Consultation will also help dispel the numerous misleading concept about nutrition that are out there floating around on the internet and in the media. I teach people some very basic concepts so that when they look at the latest headlines or listen to what other people have to say about nutrition, they will be armed with knowledge that will help them to judge what it truly best for themselves. So that is a Nutrition Consultation in a NUTshell.
And as always,
Consider having an individualized consultation!
Beth Ellen DiLuglio
Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RD, CNSD, CCN, LD/N
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Action Guide to Weight-Loss Barriers
By the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H.
Authors of The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight.
Long term success with a weight program sometimes follows a bumpy, uneven path. Many obstacles can keep you from achieving a more healthy weight.
Learning to identify potential roadblocks and confront personal temptations is an important part of being successful in losing weight. To make it past the rough spots, it’s important to have strategies ready to guide your response as problems arise.
This easy-to-use action guide identifies common weight-loss barriers and practical strategies for overcoming them. If you find a strategy that helps you, include it with your weight-loss program.
The barriers are grouped into three categories: nutrition, physical activity and behaviors. To lose weight — and to maintain that weight loss — it’s important that you address all of these components.
I’ve tried to lose weight before, but it didn’t work. Now, I don’t have confidence that it’ll work this time.
For many people, losing weight will be one of life’s most difficult challenges. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried losing weight in the past and you weren’t able to — or you lost weight but gained it all back. Many people experiment with several different weight-loss plans before they find an approach that works.
Following these tips may help you succeed this time around.
* Think of losing weight as a positive experience, not a negative one. Approaching weight loss with a positive attitude will help you succeed.
* Set realistic expectations for yourself. Focus on behavioral changes and don’t focus too much on weight changes.
* Use problem-solving techniques. Write down the obstacles that you experienced in previous attempts to lose weight, and come up with strategies for dealing with those obstacles.
* Make small, not drastic, changes to your lifestyle. Adjustments that are too intense or vigorous can make you uncomfortable and cause you to give up.
* Accept the fact that you’ll have setbacks. Believe in yourself. Instead of giving up entirely, simply start fresh the next day.
I eat when I’m stressed, depressed or bored.
Sometimes your most intense longings for food happen right when you’re at your weakest emotional points. Many people turn to food for comfort — be it consciously or unconsciously — when they’re dealing with difficult problems or looking for something to distract their minds.
To help keep food out of your mood, try these suggestions.
* Try to distract yourself from eating by calling a friend, running an errand or going for a walk. When you can focus your mind on something else, the food cravings quickly go away.
* Don’t keep comfort foods in the house. If you turn to high-fat, high-calorie foods whenever you’re upset or depressed, make an effort to get rid of them.
* Identify your mood. Often the urge to eat can be attributed to a specific mood and not to physical hunger.
* When you feel down, make an attempt to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, write down all of the positive qualities about yourself and what you plan to achieve by losing weight.
I have a hard time not eating when I’m watching television, a movie or a live sporting event.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating while watching a show, film or live event, but when you’re distracted, you tend to eat mindlessly — which typically translates into eating more than you intended to eat. If you’re unable to break this habit, at least make sure you’re munching on something low in calories.
Here are suggestions you might consider.
* If you’re at a theater or stadium, order a small bag of popcorn with no butter and work on it slowly.
* Eat something healthy before you leave home so that you’re not extremely hungry when you arrive.
* Drink water or a calorie-free beverage instead of having a snack.
* Try to reduce the amount of time that you spend watching television each day. Studies show that TV watching contributes to increased weight.
When I go to parties, I can’t resist all of the snacks and hors d’oeuvres.
In most social situations where food is involved, the key is to treat yourself to a few of your favorite hors d’oeuvres, in moderation. If you try to resist the food, your craving will only get stronger and harder to control. By following a few simple strategies, you can enjoy yourself without overeating.
Next time you step up to the hors d’oeuvre table, try these strategies.
* Make only one trip and be selective. Decide ahead of time how much you’ll eat and choose foods you really want.
* Treat yourself to one or two samples of high-calorie or fatty foods. Fill up on vegetables and fruits, if you can.
* Take only small portions. A taste may be all that you need to satisfy your craving.
* Nibble. If you eat slowly, you’ll likely eat less — but don’t nibble all night long.
* Don’t stand next to or sit near the hors d’oeuvre table. As the old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
* Eat something healthy before you arrive. If you arrive hungry, you’ll be more inclined to overeat.
I’m a late-night snacker.
Avoid eating late at night because loading up on calories right before bed only intensifies the challenge of not overeating. There’s less chance for you to be active and burn off those calories until next morning. It’s better to eat during the day so that your body has plenty of time to digest the food before you go to bed.
Here are suggestions if you often find yourself battling the late-night munchies.
* Make sure you eat three good meals during the day, including a good breakfast. This will help reduce the urge to snack late at night, simply because you won’t be so hungry.
* Don’t keep snack foods around the house that may tempt you. If you get late-night munchies, eat fruits, vegetables or other healthy snacks.
* Find something else to keep you busy in the hours before bedtime, such as listening to music or exercising. Your snacking may be more of a mindless habit than actual hunger.
When I lapse from my eating plan, it’s hard for me to get back on track.
Lapses happen. Many times a minor slip — a busy day when you couldn’t find the time to eat right or get exercise — leads to more slips. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’ve failed and all is lost. Instead of beating yourself up over a lapse, accept that you’re going to experience bumps along the way and put the incident behind you. Everyone has lapses. Think back to the initial steps you took when you first began your weight program and put them to use again to help you get back on track.
Here are suggestions to prevent a lapse from turning into a full-blown collapse.
* Convince yourself that lapses happen and that every day is a fresh opportunity to start over again.
* Guilt from the initial lapse often leads to more lapses. Being prepared for them and having a plan to deal with them is important to your success.
* Keep your response simple. Focus on the things that you know you can do and stick with them. Gradually add more healthy changes until you’re back on track.
* Open up an old food record and follow it. Use those meals like a menu to help get you back to a healthy eating routine.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight., by the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Reprinted from The Mayo Clinic Diet, Â© 2010 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Good Books (www.GoodBooks.com). Used by permission. All rights reserved.
About Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine and a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He is also an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. A specialist in nutrition and weight management, Dr. Hensrud advises individuals on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. He conducts research in weight management, and he writes and lectures widely on nutrition-related topics. He helped publish two award-winning Mayo Clinic cookbooks.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,600 physicians and scientists and 50,000 allied staff work at Mayo, which has sites in Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients a year.
For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network provider for millions of people.
For more information, please visit www.goodbooks.com/mayoclinicdiet.