exercise bands and barbells

Losing Muscle Mass as You Age

I am pleased to share this guest post written by Jani H. Leuschel, MS, NDTR. She has spent many years working with individuals and groups as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Her blog, Food Hall by Jani, serves up tasty, nutritious recipes to enhance wellbeing. Jani aims to keep recipes simple and frugal.

Jani has degrees in kinesiology, nutrition, communications, and English. She began her professional life as a copy editor and food writer while growing her fitness side hustle into a personal training business.

Losing muscle mass is a gradual process that begins in the third decade of life. Unless you are an athlete, you may not notice the slow decline until you have telltale signs of losing muscle mass such as poor grip strength and unsteady gait or difficult balance.

Sometime after we turn 30, we lose 3-8% per decade or about 0.4 lb per year. This diminishment of muscles is often called sarcopenia and can lead to frailty, increased risk of falls, and the inability to perform daily activities.

Sarcopenia, however, is not just a consequence of aging. Losing muscle mass can be a complex condition influenced by hormones, inflammation, nutrition, and of course, physical activity.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT LOSING MUSCLE MASS

No one wants to worry about losing the ability to manage basic personal tasks like bathing, dressing, and walking. In extreme cases, loss of muscle mass can lead to poor daily function and eventually, the loss of independence.

These are the outward/concrete results of sarcopenia or muscle wasting. Simultaneously, inside the body, many inflammatory processes are occurring, such as loss of bone mass and downregulation of metabolism.

When muscle loss is accompanied by fat gain –as it often is – inflammatory processes kick into high gear. The result is insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and vascular damage.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE METABOLIC EFFECTS OF LOSING MUSCLE MASS

As we age, metabolism drops by about 10% due to losing muscle mass. This translates into a reduction in the body’s need for energy. Calorie-burning capacity is lowered.

This drop in energy requirements is influenced by a decline in the volume and activity of mitochondria, the energy factories of your body’s cells. Your muscle cells are less able to store and use high energy phosphate compounds like ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and creatine phosphate, which are important for endurance exercise and for powerful activities that require bursts of energy.

Sluggish metabolism is directly related to low muscle mass. Lean tissue burns more calories than fat mass. Less muscle means less need for calories even if you are obese or overweight. This makes it very easy to put on fat mass as the years go by. The role that lean body mass plays in healthy metabolism is why you need to maintain and even, increase, your muscles.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO AVOID LOSING MUSCLE MASS AS YOU AGE?

The short answer is “yes.” A research effort that examined 49 studies and included 1328 men and women with a mean age of 50 found that a gain of 2.4 pounds of muscle is possible as you age if you pursue resistance exercise, aka strength training.

girl exercising
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The authors of this study did mention that the oldest individuals had more trouble with hypertrophy, the enlargement of muscles. The age range was 50 to 83 but most subjects were between the ages of 60 and 75.

They also noted that those who had a higher volume of training got better results.

There is truth in the old saying, “Use it or lose it.” An inactive or sedentary lifestyle will cause loss of muscle mass without regard to age.

Anyone on bed rest will experience atrophy. A young, healthy adult might lose 2% of their muscle mass in about a month, while a healthy older person can lose 10% in just 10 days. An infirm elderly person confined to a hospital bed may lose 10% of their mass in just 3 days!

Astronauts – healthy individuals in the prime of their life – spend 2.5 hours each day exercising in space to hang onto as much of their lean body mass as possible. They utilize resistance exercise so they can avoid losing large amounts of muscle tissue in the weightless environment of space.

BENEFITS OF RETAINING LEAN BODY MASS

Reductions in blood sugar

You’ll gain more than muscle by building and preserving your lean tissue. One study of resistance training in type 2 diabetics showed better glycemic control with increases in lean body mass.

Participants who engaged in strength training were able to lower their HbA1c, a measure of average blood sugar over a three-month period.

Study subjects who engaged in both aerobic exercise and strength training had the largest drop in their HbA1c. Researchers said that this group spent more total time exercising and this may have contributed to their positive results.

Less inflammation

Another study that examined the effects of a year of resistance training in subjects with type 2 diabetes found that inflammation was reduced by a whole-body strength program. Levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, were lowered in response to increases in muscle. (Inflammation is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.)

Lowered insulin resistance

Until recently, it was thought that people with type 2 diabetes could not build muscles because their cells are resistant to insulin. It turns out, though, that the muscular contractions necessary to build lean tissue and the resulting improvements in body composition (decreased fat mass and improved lean mass) enhance insulin sensitivity.

Even without weight loss or changes in BMI, research subjects in both studies had favorable outcomes when they increased their muscle mass.

Appetite control, increased energy usage

A contracting muscle does more than get stronger and bigger. According to recent research on the metabolic effects of exercise, contracting muscles release anti-inflammatory myokines into circulation that help with appetite control and increase the body’s energy usage. (This is in addition to improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing systemic inflammation.)

Exercise helps in these ways and with mood improvement so that you can find happiness and peace in your day.

For nutritious recipes and wellness tips, read Jani’s blog, Food Hall by Jani.

*NOTE: Always consult your doctor or health care provider before beginning an exercise program.

canned fruit

Packaged Fruit and Veggies are Healthy for You

Packaged fruit and veggies are healthy for you. Many think that only the fresh versions provide nutrition, but that is not the case. In some situations, the packaged fruit or veggie may be a better choice.

How can that be? Let’s start from the time the fruit or veggie is picked. Once produce is picked it is no longer being fed by the parent tree or vine and the nutrients begin to decline.

Why consider packaged fruit and veggies?

Packaged fruit and veggies are a nutritious choice. Consider where the produce was grown and how long did it take to reach you? Once you had it on hand, how long was it before you ate it? If grown in your backyard and picked with you eating it now or in a day or two, you have a nutrient-filled food.

If that same produce was grown a thousand miles away, it may be a week before it reaches the grocer and put on a shelf. Then you purchase it, take it home and either eat it immediately or store it. In the meantime, the stored fruit that sits in your refrigerator or on your counter is losing some of its nutrient content. Is it still nutritious? Yes, but the canned or frozen item will keep longer and due to the canning process, the nutrients are mostly preserved.

You may buy fresh broccoli thinking you will cook it to have with dinner tonight, but if your plans don’t work out  the next thing you know, you have a food that is ruining in your frig. This is where frozen can help. Another time that packaged fruit or veggies can help is when you don’t have time to go to the store several times a week.

Main differences in types of packaged produce

The main difference in the types of packaged produce is the texture. They all provide valuable nutrition. Many grocerers now offer cut-up produce for your convenience. These are fresh so be sure to use them in a timely manner. Packaged produce with long shelf lives such as canned, frozen and dried, can help with cost and help to decrease food waste.

What to look for in canned produce

Remember that the texture of canned fruit or veggies will be different from fresh produce. In fruits, look for it in its own juice or water. Any syrup will only add sugar and not any nutritional value.

In veggies, look for no salt added and check the label for sodium. Comparing a no salt added product to the regular version can help you see the differences.

What to look for in frozen produce packages

Checking the ingredient list on a package, is a quick way to find out what is inside. Using strawberries as an example, the ingredient listed will read: strawberries. Nothing else. If sugar has been added, it will read: strawberries, sugar. Ingredients in food products are listed in order of quantity from the most to the least.

For veggies, look for the veggie inside the package to be the only ingredient. Salt or butter sauce may have been added, which would contribute unwanted sodium.

What to look for in fresh produce

Produce that is in season could have a better flavor, texture, and price. To help avoid food waste, buy only what you know you will eat. If you only want to eat fresh produce, check out your local Farmer’s Market or check into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA.) The foods from both options will have not traveled as far to reach you.

Produce is filled with fiber and high antioxidant nutrients to help keep us healthy. If you don’t care for one fruit or veggie, try another because they all have their own distinct flavor and texture. Also, different cultures eat different produce, so be curious and venture out. All fruits and veggies, whether canned, frozen, fresh, dried or in a plastic container are nutrient-packed and can help you keep your immune system strong. Choosing products without added sugar and salt are the better choices for optimal health.

woman holding picture of a smile

Help Beat Tooth Issues with Diet!

You can help beat tooth decay and prevent other dental issues with the foods you include and exclude from your diet. The foods we eat impact our health, including our our dental health.

Common dental issues

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis and periodontal disease is an infection of our gums, having several causes. Two causes of gum disease are smoking and high blood sugar levels. Aim to have blood sugar levels in the 70-180 mg/dL range 70% of the time, as noted on a continuous glucose monitoring system. If using fingersticks, then aim for 70-180mg/dL most of the time.

Dental erosion is the wearing away of the outside surface of your teeth (the enamel) caused by acid from foods and beverages. Dental decay is cavities or dental caries, that can come from bacteria in plaque buildup on your teeth. Both conditions eat away at the enamel.

Seeing a dentist for regular checkups can help prevent these issues and treat them to help prevent further issues.

Foods to eat to help beat tooth issues

Eating healthy foods helps you beat tooth issues and fight off other diseases. Nutrients from the foods we eat enter our bloodstreams and are carried to all parts of our bodies, including the gums which supply the teeth with nutrition.

Of particular importance for the mouth, are vitamin C and calcium. Some foods rich in vitamin C are fruits and veggies. Examples are melons, broccoli, potatoes, citrus fruit, and peppers. Foods rich in calcium are dark green veggies, cheese, dairy milk, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods. 

Other foods important for overall health are legumes, veggies, fruits, whole grains, seafood, seeds, and nuts, and dairy for calcium. For those who avoid dairy, include foods rich in calcium.

What about sugar?

Cut down or stop using beverages with sugar, including energy and sports drinks. Eating excessive sugar causes more harmful bacteria that can lead to decay. Sugarcoating our teeth can couple with bacteria and begin to decay our teeth. In the current 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a decrease in sugary foods and beverages was recommended because of the result of eating excessive sugary foods on dental caries. The 2020 Guidelines are to surface by the end of this year and are being reviewed this August. The recommendation to decrease sugar will continue, and the amount is expected to be lower.

For persons with diabetes, excessive sugar can result in high blood sugar levels, making diabetes challenging to manage. The excess sugar from food is coating the tooth exterior and simultaneously leading to high blood sugar levels, which fuel the gums that are feeding our teeth.

Other tips to beat tooth issues including sensitivity

Drink water after a meal to clear your mouth of food and drinks

To help neutralize some acidic foods such as coffee, wine, and citrus fruits, eat cheese or drink milk.

Cheese may also help with remineralization of dental enamel.

Use a straw when drinking acidic drinks, including fruit juice. Aim the straw so that the liquid does not bathe your teeth.

Avoid sticky sugary foods

Our diets are important for our overall health, and making regular visits to your dentist can help you to keep a healthy mouth.

glass of melting ice with lemon slice garnish

Water and Wellness: Eight Glasses a Day Does Not Apply

Water and wellness go together, but how much water we need is a frequent question. If you have long heard that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, you are not alone. Even though many have listened to this, there is not any documentation that supports the statement. If this were correct, this would mean that the same amount is recommended for everyone, regardless of gender, age, or body weight.

Our bodies are more than 50% water for adult men and women. Our organs contain 70-85% water, while our brains have 80-85% and our muscles, 70-75%.

Our needs increase if we exercise, have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, and if we are in hot temperatures. We lose water through urine, feces, sweat and breathing, daily.

Adequate Intake for water and wellness

The Adequate Intake level from the Institute of Medicine for water is 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men. Going from liters to ounces, this translates to roughly 91 ounces or 11 eight-ounce glasses for women and 125 ounces or 16 eight-ounce glasses for men.

Sources of water

We can get water into our diets from the foods we eat and all beverages, whether caffeinated or not. It does not have to be plain water. The water content in foods varies. Fruits and veggies range from 79-96% (dried fruit 31%), with protein sources ranging from 60-73% (beef jerky is lower at 23%).

Ways to include beverages with water  

Make flavored water with unsweetened liquid drops or unsweetened powdered drink mixes

Soda stream machines will carbonate your water for you

Ready to drink carbonated beverages (non-caloric recommended for weight management)

Water infused with fruit or veggies

Coffee or tea (plain, unsweetened recommended for weight management).

What does water do for us?

Other than being soothing as we drink it and quenching our thirst, water can:

Cushion or joints

Regulate our body temperature

Help with digestion

Keep our mouth, ears, nose, and throat moist.

Signs and symptoms of not drinking enough water

You may feel a dry, thirsty feel in the back of your throat, which is a symptom of about 2% dehydration. In one study, the lack of adequate water showed signs of cognitive impairment. Even as little as 2% dehydration can decrease the performance level of someone who is exercising.

Always have water on hand. Signs and symptoms of dehydration vary with the degree. Some symptoms can be thirst, tiredness, lightheadedness, muscle cramping, headaches, and an increase in heart rate.

As the degree of dehydration becomes more severe, there could be a small amount, or a lack of urine or urine could be extremely dark yellow.

Tips to help you drink more water

Always have drinking water on hand, especially in hot climates, whether indoors or out. Reusable containers can be helpful for you as you stay hydrated and help protect our environment.

couple walking in park by huge tree

Walking Works to Improve Your Health!

Walking works to improve your health in many ways. If you are currently inactive, get a doctor’s approval before beginning an exercise program. Walking is a low impact aerobic exercise that can be done by just about anyone.

What are the benefits of walking for exercise?

When we walk for exercise, our entire body benefits from all the actions that occur. Walking works to improve our mood, and stress can be decreased. Exercise walking can help alleviate depression. Bone and muscles are strengthened, and blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can be lowered. And we burn calories from walking while keeping our bodies healthy to prevent and manage disease.

Walking works by using many muscles

More than leg muscles participate when we are in a walking motion. The mind can relax as our eyes take in the surroundings, whether on a treadmill or outside. As your feet and legs are moving you along, the arms swing, and the trunk is involved. Your lungs are filling with an abundance of air and exhaling carbon dioxide, and your heart rate is increasing.

What you should eat before walking

Eat a light snack and be well hydrated depending on the distance you are planning to walk and if it has been several hours since you have eaten. Notice the temperature and the humidity. We can become dehydrated under any conditions if we don’t consume enough water. The hotter, the more likely you are to sweat, but in the cold air, we lose water vapor, so be sure you are well prepared before going out.

Walking tips for beginners

Just starting? On day one, step out for 5 minutes and return to the starting point for a total of ten minutes. Add a total of five minutes each day until you reach thirty minutes. If you do not reach 30 minutes on day five, that is ok; notice where you are, and consider adding a minute or two at a time and continue from there as you desire.

Equipment needed

The gear needed for walking is minimal. Shoes that fit well and provide support are a priority. Socks that wick sweat can keep you more comfortable and keep your feet from feeling yucky as you walk. Clothing should be loose-fitting and a lightweight fabric that wicks sweat, since this can help you feel cooler and the sweat off your skin. Waistbands should fit comfortably, not tight. If you sweat a lot, a headband or wristband can come in handy.

One more especially important note: apply sunscreen!

Walking recommendations

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, Second Addition, 2018 recommend less sitting and moving more for adults. A range of 150-300 minutes a week is advised for optimal health benefits. You can reach this by walking 30-60 minutes a day for five days a week. Strength exercises will provide additional benefits.

If you do not have 30 minutes at one time, walk 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

Endorphins

As we exercise, endorphins, which are hormones in our brains and nervous systems, are released, giving us a feeling of well-being. They make us feel good! Exercising produces endorphins, and when we exercise in a group, this may be even more beneficial. If you do not have a group, then walk and take in the scenery. Have fun!

It is time to move

When you might feel like all these thoughts are rolling around in your head, and you want a little tranquility, walking works to help you calm those thoughts.

When I am feeling stressed, I have heard myself say (out loud), “I have to go get some endorphins!” Walking works to help clear my thinking and takes the edge off the stress. Then, I can make decisions. I invite you to explore the pleasant act of walking.

Mediterranean fish meal

The Mediterranean Diet: Why Change and How

The Mediterranean Diet rates the as the best diet of 2020 in U.S. News & World Report magazine.

To make it to the top, it had to have many redeeming features.  It offers flavor and variety, can be easy to follow and provides many health benefits.

What is a Mediterranean diet?

An easy to follow way of eating that includes a wide variety of foods that are a part of life for countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

The core of the Mediterranean diet revolves around fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, seeds, whole grains, herbs and spices, and, of course, olive oil.  Seafood and fish are also included, along with eggs, poultry, cheese and yogurt. Wine is in moderation and red meats and sweets are limited. 

The variety of foods supply a multitude of nutrients that provide sustenance and satisfaction. And for the carbohydrate deprived keto followers, you can have whole grains without feeling guilty.  You can even have bread, fruit and legumes! Yum!

Following a diet always has foods to stay away from, which can leave the person who strayed, with feelings of guilt because it was too hard to stay away from the restricted foods.  Since the Mediterranean diet offers plenty to choose from, adherence is more likely.

Some of the benefits to be gained

Many health benefits surround those who follow this diet and lifestyle. 

Overall cancer rates are lower. Colorectal and breast are two of several that are impacted by the Mediterranean diet.

Some of the other benefits are related to diabetes and cardiovascular disease such as a lowering of insulin resistance, improvement of blood sugar levels, a decrease in blood pressure and incidence of stroke.  The LDL (lousy) levels can decrease while the HDL (healthy) can increase.  Triglyceride levels can also decrease.

How to change to a Mediterranean diet

For someone already eating a plant-based diet, adding a few ingredients to the current food intake can be quite simple. In some cases, broadening one food group and decreasing another will move you towards the Mediterranean diet.

Ways to accomplish this:

Add veggies or beans to whole-grain pasta

Substitute olive oil in place of the oil in use

 Use herbs and spices, such as garlic or oregano and decrease salt

Add nuts to a meal or snack for a little crunch

Legumes, such as beans and lentils are an easy addition 

Potatoes can be an easy addition and a great way to add anthoxanthins

Try some Mediterranean cheese, such as ricotta salata or a goat’s milk cheese. Cheese is a lesser part of the Mediterranean diet that provides protein and some additional fat, but it is included. 

The variety of filling foods leaves little room for sugary foods and by branching out and using additional types of spices and herbs to flavor foods, you can relish in the flavor of ethnic cuisine at home.

Steps to take now

Small frequent changes can help you as you work towards changing to a Mediterranean diet.  Remember to s-l-o-w down, savor your food and reap the benefits.

The foods in the Mediterranean diet are everyday foods that can be seasoned to your preference. Fruits and veggies of some sort are always in style no matter the season of the year. Along with these, add your favorite bean variety, whole grain, and a small serving of poultry or fish and you will be on your way.

The word "diabetes" all caps

CGM Systems: Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring for You?

A continuous glucose monitoring system can help a person with diabetes (PWD) and the health care provider identify the causes of varying glucose levels that fingersticks alone are unable to accomplish. A fingerstick alone is unable to capture all of the factors that can interfere  with blood glucose levels. The monitoring system serves as a tool to help reach a solution for healthier ranges of glucose levels.

What is a continuous glucose monitor?

A continuous monitor is a small device that can be worn to constantly capture glucose levels without having to perform a fingerstick. CGM systems can read glucose levels every one to five minutes.

Benefits of a continuous monitor

Wearing a monitor can help decrease hypoglycemia episodes. It can alert the PWD of rising or decreasing glucose levels and show the effects of food, activity, stress, illness, and medications, as well as help the provider in making medication adjustments and help solve an unmatched A1c with non-corresponding glucose levels.

Different types of monitors

There are two major differences in monitors, one is the professional that is owned by a licensed healthcare provider and the other is a personal monitor that is owned by the patient.

Professional and personal monitors

There are three professional continuous glucose monitors:

DexCom G4

FreeStyle Libre Pro

Medtronic IPro2.

These are owned by a healthcare provider for a patient to wear for monitoring glucose patterns for a 3-14-day time frame. While the patient is wearing these, they may or may not be aware of the results depending on the monitor used; this is considered blinded and unblinded. To receive the most benefit the patient is asked to keep food and blood sugar records and to continue with their normal routine. In some of the CGM systems an alarm can be set. To interpret the data with the patient an appointment is made for a return visit. It is possible to have a virtual visit, depending on the device and insurance coverage.

A personal continuous glucose monitor is chosen by the patient from among four brands:

DexCom G6 can be integrated with Tandem T:slim X2 insulin pump.

FreeStyle Libre Flash 14-Day

Medtronic Guardian Connect and the Guardian 3 that can be integrated with the insulin pump

Eversense implantable CGM.

The monitors can be worn for 7 to 14-days except for the Eversense which can be worn for up to a 3-month timeframe. Personal CGM’s can be used long term. The personal monitors may or may not have an alarm depending on the brand. Insulin dosing is approved for some CGM systems that are read in real-time. Also, some have data sharing capability with a mobile app for a friend or family member.

How do CGM systems work?

CGM systems have three main components for most brands:

  • Sensor
  • Transmitter
  • Receiver

Once attached, the sensor is almost unnoticed by the user. The data from the sensor is read from the receiver which in some cases can be a smart phone that is using the brand’s app. Once the sensor is in place and calibrated, it can begin to monitor glucose levels. When viewing, the user can see if the glucose is stable or if the level is trending up or down slowly or quickly; therefore, the user has time to respond to prevent a hypo or hyperglycemic event. They can also learn what may have lead to possible fluctuations to help make diabetes self-management decisions.

Where is a CGM worn?

Depending on the brand, the CGM sensor can be worn on the abdomen or the back of the arm. Some brands have an auto-injector for easy insertion.

Insurance coverage

Checking with your insurance company is recommended for professional and personal monitors. Commercial insurance companies and Medicare cover for the service by the professional and for the personal device depending on the individual plan. Type 1 and 2 are covered depending on guidelines for number of finger sticks and multiple daily injections. In some cases, if a personal CGM isn’t covered, the service for professional monitor usage, may be.

Eating For Diabetes Made Simple

Eating for Diabetes Made Simple

Living with diabetes can be a pain sometimes but eating for diabetes can be made simple by following a few steps. The quality and quantity of the foods being eaten are important and food intake that is colorful, and fiber filled, is high quality and can help with the management of blood sugars and overall health.   Focusing on eating these foods is better than dwelling on what not to eat. Including beans and healthy fats along with whole grains, fruits and veggies, in controlled amounts, allows for an optimal intake of powerful antioxidants which helps to keep a strong immune system. Here are a few tips to help:

Include legumes
Include beans, peas or lentils. These are high in fiber and provide protein, magnesium and potassium to name a few. Beans may also help improve gut health.

Add a healthy fat
For a healthier heart, add avocado slices, nuts, or olives.

Decrease saturated fats
If meat or poultry is covering half of the plate, consider making that a quarter of the plate and increase the veggies to help fill your tummy.

Include whole grains
Bulgur or farro are both whole grains which help when eating for diabetes.  Both are wheat products, and if you need gluten free, amaranth, quinoa, sorghum or brown rice can help you add whole grains to your food intake.

Know your portions
If you don’t know the amount that a portion of a food should be, consider a smaller plate for the meal.  Also, look at the size of the utensil you are eating with because these are larger than they used to be, which means each fork or spoonful will hold more food with each bite you take, resulting in a faster intake and possibly a larger intake.  Taking longer to eat a meal can help with digestion and smaller bites can help with weight control.

Make sure to add color
Add a fruit or veggie so that you have color on your plate. These foods can help provide a stronger immune system.

To be successful in making changes with eating for diabetes, work on one of these at a time, such as including beans in a meal 3-4 times a week, until a new habit is formed.  You will soon see how eating for diabetes can be simple.


Eat an Avocado for National Heart Month

You know avocados taste good, but did you know there are many ways to eat them other than guacamole?  This nutritious, always available fruit, does not contain sugar and provides healthy fat, almost 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, folate and fiber, which all help to keep a strong immune system.  This is National Heart Month and, as always, a good time to eat a tasty, smooth and creamy avocado. 

Avocado University invited me to learn about Avocados from Mexico recently.  This was an all day event that I was not paid for. A registered dietitian is on staff to provide valued and trusted evidence based nutriton information. Because of this, I am excited to share the benefits of eating an avocado.

Ways to eat an avocado:

Spread a serving of ripe avocado on toasted whole grain bread and, if you like, add your choice of topping such as sunflower seeds. Scrumptious! A serving is 1/3 of a medium or 2.5 Tablespoons of an avocado.

Added to a side dish, such as with a grain or veggie.   There was a nice spread for lunch, but the dish that I remember the most was the farro with brussels sprouts and diced avocado.  Dreamy. That was a definite go back for seconds.

Eat a serving of yummy avocado in place of butter, mayo or margarine. A simple shift to help keep a healthy heart.

How about take your favorite guacamole recipe and add it to a veggie burger? 

Consider adding avocado to the filling for a deviled egg.  For more ideas and flavorful recipes go to https://avocadosfrommexico.com/

Heart disease is a number one killer of men and women and being kind to yourself nutritiously is an excellent step to take to fight back.  Avocados offer an abundance of flavor along with heart protecting benefits.  Treat yourself to good health, eat an avocado during National Heart Month and throughout the year.

Feasting on Holiday Goodies without Weight Gain!

Knowing how to handle the holiday goodies will help you bring in your new year feeling ahead, and not feeling you have further to go.  These goodies will be appearing in many places such as the office, school parties, church gatherings, family gatherings, and checkout counters to name a few.  

Feasting on holiday goodies can go on all season and get out of control, if you let it. Thanksgiving and Christmas may each only be for one day each year, but it is the time between these two holidays when it becomes easy to get off track with all the seasonal goodies around. This is a whole month of foods to navigate.  Doing things to enhance our health can really be put on the back burner.

As you bite into a holiday goodie, notice the size.  No matter the size, make it more than one bite.  If putting a food on your plate, consider if it could be cut into smaller sizes. This would be such as a brownie. An inch by one inch can be plenty as you indulge in all the holiday goodies this season.

Savor it. It’s not a race to finish.  Having a second or third serving will not make the first one taste any better than it already does, so slow down. A lot.  While indulging in holiday goodies, remember that you are in control of the foods you put into your mouth. This can help you get through the moment. 

Without guilt, you can enjoy holiday goodies.   A small bite will satisfy you and you can enjoy other goodies as well and not feel any guilt afterwards.

Holiday goodies can be enticing, delightful and relished.  Come January, instead of working to lose any additional weight gained and feeling guilty, savor the holiday goodies and you can continue on your journey of enhancing your health.