Posts Tagged 'healthy eating'

The season of eating

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Hi everyone! We’re almost to that time of year again. The time of year when there is delicious food everywhere in sight. The time of year where it is next to impossible to resist eating tons of extra unhealthy food. I am here just as a simple reminder that it is possible to keep to a healthy diet, even during the season of social eating.

Although it is extremely difficult, it can be done! And maybe it doesn’t need to be that difficult. Now, I do like to promote healthy eating and balanced diets, but I also like to add on: everything in moderation. One of the most difficult parts about eating healthy during huge Thanksgiving feasts and holiday parties that would give any buffet a run for their money, is simply just the volume of food there is. It seems next to impossible to not load up your plate full of everything in sight. I would like to offer some advice to make conquering your cravings easier. This past weekend, my mother and I were discussing what we wanted to do for Thanksgiving dinner. Since we try to eat healthy, we decided the easiest way to do that during the season of eating would be to just cut back on the amount of food we’re making to begin with. If you’re throwing a get together, just simplify your menu. Pick out just a few items for your menu, maybe you decide you need your turkey and mashed potatoes because they are staples to any Thanksgiving dinner! But maybe you decide instead of stuffing, cranberry sauces, green beans filled with fattening ingredients, and three different kind of pies, you opt to make a side salad. Suddenly, you only have a few options to choose from, making eating healthy and choosing good portions a much easier feat, and you have a new found sense of willpower.

Let’s say you’re not hosting, then what? There is food everywhere! And I’m sure we all feel like we have to try at least some of everything. I want to propose that the same advice works here. Simplify your personal menu, choose just a few dishes to put on your plate. I repeat again, everything in moderation. Go ahead and have a piece of pie if you want it, but then make sure you skip on the thousands of other desserts that are there. Eating healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be depressing. In the end, when you make a healthy choice about your eating habits, you’ll feel better physically and mentally. I don’t know about you, but when I eat too much in one sitting and your stomach hurts from all the food, you end up regretting it almost immediately .

So, although it may seem incredibly difficult to eat healthier during the holidays, I want to assure you it’s easier than we make it out to be. Give yourself some credit and realize that you have the power and the option to overcome your cravings and to make good decisions for your body. In the end, you will be happier and healthier. I will leave you this week with a challenge for us all, to take control of our bodies and test out that willpower that we all have deep within us. Have a great week Marquette, I’ll talk to you next week!

Alicia Diedrich

Art and nutrition? Everything pumpkin

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Hello again, Marquette! Fall weather seems to finally be upon us. I hope you are all enjoying the cool, crisp weather by staying active outside, but also by curling up will a blanket and some hot apple cider, because we should always find some time for relaxation and rejuvenation as well. I may have mentioned before that fall is my favorite season, but I don’t think I mentioned that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. And with halloween comes so many spooky and fun activities, decorations, and food – many of them revolving around pumpkins! And no, this is not your typical crazed, pumpkin spice everything post. This is a dedication to the wonderful super food and exciting activities that come with pumpkins.

Whether you are pumpkin carving, painting, growing, cooking, smashing, or whatever it is you do with pumpkins, there is a great potential for some awesome stress relief and bonding with friends or family. Many of these pumpkin-related activities are like a form of art in themselves. And the science between art and reduced stress is pretty cool! The best part is, you don’t have to be good at art for it to work its magic. As the great Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows.” That being said, I think we should all get out there and try to reach our inner child. Have some fun, let loose, and just let your creative mind take over for a while. Let the pumpkins inspire you.

Another art form with pumpkins that we should all try out is cooking! Pumpkins are actually really healthy for us, and if we are carving them anyways, then we might as well take any opportunity we can get. One of the greatest parts about cooking with pumpkin is its endless possibilities. Pumpkin is perfect for both sweet and savory palettes. There are so many options from pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, breads, soups, curry, and of course don’t forget the guilty pleasure: pumpkin pie. There are tons of great, healthy pumpkin recipes out there to give you a health boost when we all need it the most. And there’s always pumpkin seeds: a classic and a favorite. You can never go wrong with pumpkin seeds. They are just as healthy as the pumpkin itself. So make sure that when you carve your pumpkins and make delicious recipes with the pumpkins that you keep those seeds and bake them for a great mid-day snack.

Halloween is a week away, so take advantage of this healthy treat now and make some art while doing so. I wish you wonderful, exciting pumpkin adventures.

Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing biography: Kristin Kipp – Whole 30

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I’ve never liked the word diet. I think it’s because, more often than not, the word “diet” is used to describe a way of eating to lose weight, and in this sense, Garfield said it right, “DIET is DIE with a T.” There are many different definitions of the word diet, but one definition that puts diet in a positive light comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it’s defined simply as “habitual nourishment.” I love thinking of food this way. I grew up on a farm with an abundance of fresh produce. We canned a lot of fruits and veggies for the winter and made our own jam. We even raised a pig every year to eat. From a young age, I loved good nutrition and physical activity, and my passion brought me to what I do today, so I am thankful for that.

Now I have a family of my own, and we are trying our best to instill good habits for our little girl. Thankfully my husband loves to garden and eat good food. He devotes much of his time to cooking good meals for us. We are a “whole foods” family – we drink whole milk, eat real butter, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We buy our pork from a local farmer and make sure that there are no nitrates or MSG added at the butcher. We participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), go to local farmer’s markets, and try to buy organic, grass-fed, cage free etc. when possible. We rarely go out to eat, cooking most of our meals at home, but we’re definitely not perfect when it comes to food. No one should be. And although we try following all the good things I listed above, it doesn’t always happen, and we tend to follow the “everything in moderation” rule. Besides…Who can pass up those hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes?

I really had no desire to look into the Whole30 when it came out. I hate all the fads that come and go, and I try to promote lifestyle changes for the people I work with. I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly physically active, so besides enjoying some sugary treats and having a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, I thought I was doing pretty good with my overall nutrition and health. A few years ago, though, I started having some health issues that took me almost 2 years to work through. During this time, I became really attuned to my body, and although the issues I was having didn’t stem from my diet, I became curious after I started feeling better. Was I feeling the best that I possibly could be? Could the Whole30 help me identify foods that aren’t working for me? Would elimination of these foods help me to run again without pain? Having felt really good for the last 6 months before I decided to try the Whole30, I really didn’t believe that I was going to feel much of a difference, but it turns out, I was wrong.

The first couple of days of the Whole30 were the worst…I’m not sure if everyone feels that way, but I was miserable. I felt like I was detoxing. I hated restricting myself from foods that I really wanted to eat, and not having my morning cup of coffee with whole milk and Organic Valley’s French vanilla half and half creamer was the worst. I also had a headache for the first four or five days, which could have been attributed to not drinking enough water, but nonetheless…I felt crappy. What I do know is that after about that first week, I started to feel good. Actually, I felt great. I had so much energy. I wasn’t experiencing that afternoon sluggishness around 2pm that makes you want to go to the nearest candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I felt well rested and ready for my morning swim. When I worked out, I felt amazing. I feel like I could go on and on about how great I felt, but then something really crazy happened after about two weeks….. I was able to run for the first time in 2 1/2 years without pain or stiffness.

Having completed the Whole30, I have a deeper appreciation of what eating healthy means to me, and to really eat well, feel good, and enjoy our food, I believe it takes a true conscious effort to eat mindfully. I’ve always told people to pay attention to how food makes them feel, and it’s not that I don’t pay attention to this myself, but the Whole30 required me to practice mindfulness as it relates to food every day for 30 days. Many people may do the Whole30 just to lose weight. They treat it as another fad diet that they are going to try and hope for results. Don’t get me wrong…you will lose weight, but if that’s all you are doing it for, you are missing the point, and as soon as you go back to your normal habits the weight will come back on. Eating mindfully – understanding what and why you are eating, taking the time to enjoy food, listening to whether you’re hungry or not, and understanding the effects food has on your body – is important for weight loss as well. Your body can’t do what it’s supposed to do if you are not fueling it correctly. This means that if you aren’t eating enough calories, or too many calories, or just not the right combination of foods, you’re not going to lose weight. This also means that if are fueling your body with foods that are causing inflammatory responses, you may just be sabotaging all your efforts to be healthy and lose weight as well.

Doing this 30-day challenge isn’t easy (or inexpensive). It takes a lot of preparation/cooking, time reading labels, space in your refrigerator, and self-discipline to do it. I’ve kept a lot of great habits from this process and found out what foods really impact the inflammation in my body. It hasn’t completely stopped me from eating these foods, but I do pay the price. I don’t know if there is anything else wrong in my body that is keeping me from running like I’d like, but now I know how food affects this already present inflammation. If you are thinking about trying it, I would ask you to the approach the Whole30 differently. Think of it as an experiment in helping you to take a mindful approach to your eating that will help you create new healthy habits that you’d like to continue once you’ve finished, and as a way to identify how food truly affects your body so you can try to limit these foods and avoid the ill effects.

Written by Kristin Kipp

Kristin is the Director of Employee Wellness at Marquette University and is a Registered Dietitian.

Healthy you, happy 4th

Happy 4th of July to everyone! I hope you are all planning to spend some quality time with loved ones today. As we spend today celebrating our independence day, we must keep wellness in mind, just like any other day. It’s a great day to get in some exercise or spend some time cooking a delicious, healthy meal for the holiday. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all day today here in Milwaukee, so make sure to enjoy it!

When it comes to holidays, it’s normally a lot harder to keep ourselves active and well since there always seems to be tons of unhealthy food around and plenty of excuses to put off exercise until later. But I encourage you to instead use those very reasons as motivators to get up, get in some exercise, and take pride in eating something healthy. Do something for the wellness of your mind and body. If you have some extra free time on your hands, that’s exactly why you should do something good for you.

Since you may already be spending time with family and friends, you can easily make it into a fun group activity. If you want to do something fun and active, get in a bike ride or a swim, or pick up a ball and toss it around for a game of catch. If you just want to relax, do some yoga and mindful meditation. You’ll feel more relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards. Cooking or putting together a healthy snack can even be a relaxing activity, and you get to fuel your body with plenty of vitamins and nutrients at the same time. Berries are a healthy, delicious, and easy snack to make into a 4th of July themed appetizer, but there are an endless amount of options for eating something healthy. 

Most of all, it’s good to keep a positive attitude and know that just because it’s a holiday, that’s no reason to forget about taking care of your health and well-being. 

Wishing you a safe and healthy 4th of July!

Alicia Diedrich

Eggs aren’t just for Easter

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We all know that eggs are good for us because they are a great source for protein. And with Easter coming up this weekend, I have had eggs (and bunnies) on my mind. Besides their protein, there are plenty of other reasons to make sure eggs are a part of your diet on a regular basis. Since I am leaving for vacation today, I have spent the last few days trying to use up all of food at my apartment. All I have been eating is fruit, vegetables, and eggs. I even referred to myself as a rabbit the other day because I have been eating so many plants. So there’s the bunny rabbit thing again!

While trying to use up all of my food has seemed kind of like a chore, at least I know I am getting some crazy good health benefits from all of these ridiculously healthy foods. I always try to eat somewhat healthy, but it is not always easy. I have found that buying a bunch of healthy food that will go bad if I don’t eat it really helps. Anyways, the real reason I’m here is to share the other amazing health benefits that you will get from including eggs as a part of your regular diet.

Not only will eggs give you an awesome protein boost, but they will also provide you with vitamins a, b5, b12, b2, folate, phosphorus, selenium, and a handful of other nutrients. Long story short, eggs contain a little bit of all of your essential nutrients and vitamins. And despite common beliefs, eggs will not actually raise your blood cholesterol. It will actually work to raise your good cholesterol though. Having an elevated level of good cholesterol will decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, along with other health conditions. One of these health benefits that surprised me is that eggs will actually help to maintain your eye health. This is because the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which build protein in the retina of the eye are found in eggs. These are only a few of the health benefits eggs have, and you can find more information about it here.

Bottom line is, eating eggs on a regular basis will provide you with a myriad of health benefits. Another awesome thing about eggs is there seems to be an endless amount of ways to prepare them, so you can’t really get bored from eating too many eggs.

 

Alicia Diedrich

 

Spring recipe: Stuffed avocados

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Over my spring break, I spent a couple nights making deliciously healthy recipes with my family. Along with what seems like everyone, we have had a slight avocado obsession in the past few months. We went from eating avocado toast, to turkey lettuce wraps with avocado, and even to stuffed avocados. Since they were so healthy and delicious I decided to share the recipe! I want to make this recipe again soon (because I may or may not have eaten five chocolate chip cookies while writing this).

 

To make these beautiful stuffed avocados, you need:

1 avocado, halved and pitted

1 (4.5 ounce) can oil packed albacore tuna, drained

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon of lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

 

When I made this at home with my family, we doubled the recipe because there was three of us eating, it worked out perfectly, so you can make this as a meal for your family, or stick to the original proportions above to make a healthy lunch just for yourself.

First, scoop the avocado out into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Then, add the tuna, red bell pepper, and jalapeno to the mixing bowl. (Pro tip: I added about twice as much jalapeno as I was supposed to and still did not find it spicy, so if you like some spice, do not be afraid to add more, a lot more.) Next, pour the lime juice over the top, and mix all of the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper (just like with the jalapeno, I was not shy with the salt and pepper. Then all you have to do is put your avocado and tuna concoction back into the avocado bowls and garnish with cilantro!

The best part about this recipe was that it was easy, fun, healthy and tasty! It was also filling, so there was no desire to munch on unhealthy snacks the rest of the night. You can easily customize the recipe by adding tons of jalapenos like I did, or substituting the jalapenos and red peppers for different kinds of peppers, onions, or whatever else you happen to have sitting around. One of my favorite parts of cooking and putting recipes together is experimenting with them and having some fun! I hope you enjoy the stuffed avocados as much as I did!
Alicia Diedrich

Fall Recipe: Lemon Crab Linguine

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So crab might not be what you had in mind when it comes to delicious fall foods, but if you haven’t tried to mix it in some of your everyday dishes, you might be missing out. Crab brings so many interesting tastes and options to the table. It’s super healthy, offers a bunch of protein with little to no fat. The sweet taste also compliments spicy dishes, flavorful dishes and light dishes. Here is a favorite crab recipe of mine, to get you started on the crab kick this fall. Before you know it, this seafood could become an everyday dish, too.

Ingredients

  • 13 ounces of spinach linguini
  • 13 ounces of  white crab meat
  • 1 long red chili, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Grated zest (lemon peel) of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of torn basil leaves
  • Juice of half of a lemon

Make it!

  1. Boil a large saucepan of salted water. Add the pasta to the pan, stir well and boil on high for around 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the crabmeat, chili, crushed garlic and lemon zest in a bowl. Stir the extra virgin olive oil into the mixture, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well with a fork to make the crab meet flaky.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and put it back into the saucepan. Add the crab mixture, basil leaves and lemon juice, and stir well!
  4. Drizzle with a little more extra olive oil, if desired in order to keep moisture. Taste and add extra lemon juice if you want a more lemony taste. Dig in!

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