Eating for Energy

Through the holiday season, we tend to eat on the run because of our busy schedules and added holiday festivities. Instead of feeling dragged down, how would you like to feel full of energy?

Holiday shopping, dinners out, parties to attend and family members traveling can add up to eating less than healthy food every day. The result may be feeling sluggish and lethargic. How can you keep up with all of the festivities when all you want to do is climb into your nice comfy bed and sleep?

If you fuel your body most of the time with the food that gives you peak energy, you will be able to enjoy this holiday season without feeling like a party pooper. So now is the time to stock up your pantry and fridge with the following foods to keep you feeling energetic and ready to party.
  1. Instead of sweets and simple processed carbs, focus on whole grains like whole wheat, millet, quinoa and brown rice. Save the sweets for occasional treats and slowly savor them. Sweets and refined carbs spike your blood sugar and then cause it to plummet, leave you feeling wiped out. Complex carbs are absorbed more slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable and keeping your energy up.
  2. Protein found in lean cuts of beef, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken or turkey provide your body the essential amino acids and vitamin B12. Protein also helps transport nutrients in your body and maintain your electrolyte levels.
  3. Salmon and other fatty fish, nuts and leafy, dark green veggies provide omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s improve blood flow in the brain.
  4. Water is absolutely essential. Even very mild dehydration slows down metabolism, causes headaches and zaps your energy. If you dislike plain water, add citrus slices or cucumber slices.
  5. Fiber foods like veggies, fruits and beans keep your blood sugar stable and your energy up. Pairing protein and fiber is the perfect union.
  6. Skipping meals or going too long between meals drops your blood sugar and energy. Eat small meals more frequently and energy-packed snacks in between meals like peanut butter on whole grain crackers, Greek yogurt and fruit or veggies and hummus.
  7. Eat dark chocolate. Yes, it’s healthy! especially 70% cocoa. It boosts your energy due to the caffeine and theobromine, another stimulant, but keep it to 1 oz. per day.
If you replace your on-the-run eating habits with these suggestions, you’ll boost your energy not only this holiday season but throughout the year. Enjoy each other’s company and savor each bite.active family jumping
© michaeljung – Fotolia.com

Give BackJoy

I bet you think the title is a typo. It’s not though. I had the opportunity to trial BackJoy products this past week. BackJoy makes products to sit, stand, sleep and move more comfortably. I’ll tell you about that experience next. But remember #Give BackJoy for later.

They sent me several products to try and I was excited since I live with chronic pain from my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. My joints dislocate daily, so having something to support my body is a big plus. First I tried the SitSmart Posture Plus. It took a little adjusting but it really kept my back and pelvis in alignment. I’ve been using it for the past three days on my office chair. I have the best posture ever! No slouching. As they say, improve posture to prevent back pain. I’m all for that!sitsmart

I could have put it in my car too but I love in in my office chair. Maybe I’ll try that next.sitsmart car

They also sent a pair of shoes or as as BackJoy calls them, Stand Right. Now I have the Worse. Feet. Ever. I have had 19 foot surgeries. My right foot has bone removed, wires and screws placed and bones fused. It’s not pretty and NO shoes fit it or feel comfortable. I skeptically tried the shoes on. It was a little tough getting the right one on because of my swelling (always) but here’s the weird thing… they were comfortable! I mean really comfortable. When I went to bed, I told my husband that I didn’t want to take them off. He said, “What? What did you say?” He was shocked. They are cushiony and have a great arch, but not a hard, uncomfortable one. The interesting part is the sizing comes in a feature called Dynamic Fit. The upper fabric is a technically engineered textile that adjusts to your unique foot, so there is a range of sizes. I have particularly difficult to fit feet and they did adjust to my feet.

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The last product I got to trial was one of their BackJoy Gear- Roller Balls. It’s a portable self-massager. It works very similar to the two tennis balls in a sock technique that my physical therapist showed me for myofascial release. It felt great. I tried it on my back, my IT (iliotibial) band and the bottom of my feet. I had been working at my computer for several hours and had discomfort between my shoulder blades. I used the roller balls for a few minutes and it felt so much better. image (5)

Now back to the #Give BackJoy. As part of BackJoy’s Give Back, Spread Joy Campaign, $100 worth of their pain-relief products will be donated, in my name, to chronic pain and rehabilitation centers (such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the UC Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center) just for reviewing their products.

I often have the opportunity to review products and only agree if 1) I like the products and 2) the company has a positive mission.  BackJoy has both.

Take a look at not only the ones I tried but the other BackJoy products. These are great holiday gifts. And you will also have the chance to be entered to win a nice prize pack of self-care products if you use the #GiveBackJoy hashtag and share how you are giving back this holiday season.

Eating Out

We almost always eat home, but occasionally, eating out with friends is a fun treat. This past week, I had the opportunity to get together with 8 other friends (missing one who couldn’t make it) for an enjoyable time at a local restaurant,

Eating out does not have to be an all or nothing experience. If you think that since you don’t eat often, you’re going to really enjoy the treat by eating whatever and as much as you want, this will only leave you feeling overfull.

I totally recommend to choose the foods you like. Don’t choose a meal because it’s low-calorie if you’d rather have the lasagna. One of the most important parts of Mindful Eating is choosing foods you really enjoy.

Starting your meal with a broth-based soup or salad is another good strategy because it fills you up with nutritious food. Splitting your dessert with someone is another good idea. No deprivation!

So I ordered chicken piccata with roasted potatoes and spinach. I started out with a delicious salad of field of greens, tomatoes, dried berries, carrots, cucumbers and homemade balsamic vinaigrette. My main meal was huge, so I ate about half and had it wrapped right away. Less chance of picking at it if it’s already wrapped.

I split dessert with one of my friends. I ate the decadent white chocolate mousse. It came with raspberry and chocolate mousse too. It was delicious and I savored every bite. I drank plenty of water throughout my meal. I did not feel full and certainly not uncomfortable. I followed hara hachi bu, or as the Okinawan’s say, 80% full… just perfect.

The holidays are here and eating out may be more frequent. Rather than stuffing yourself, savor your favorite foods. What are your favorite restaurants? This is a photo of our group last week.Eating Out with friends

Skoop Protein Shake With a Twist

Occasionally I’m contacted by companies asking me to try out their healthy products since my readers clearly are interested in good nutrition. Recently, a company called Skoop contacted me to try one of their products and I chose the protein shake.

Opening Skoop package

 

But this is not just any protein shake. I’ll give all the good things about the shake next but the cool twist about this company is that for every serving of Skoop sold, they donate one serving of free fresh fruits and veggies to a school lunch program in America! A company that cares!!

Okay, now about the important nutrition. The Skoop B [strong] protein shake is a 100% plant-based protein. It’s dairy, soy and gluten-free with no artificial anything. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, omegas and Mediterranean fruits.

Ingredients

It came with a special shaker container with a metal spiral ball that did effectively mix all of the powder. You can mix either with water, milk, or non-dairy milk. I used unsweetened almond milk since I’m dairy free. It didn’t have a strong vanilla taste but decent flavor.Skoop shakerWith Almond Milk

 

 

 

 

 

I decided I’m spoiled by always making my shakes with frozen fruit. So next, I tried the same almond milk, Skoop B [strong] protein powder and frozen strawberries. A couple of minutes in the blender and now I have a “milkshake” consistency. Good stuff. Strawberry Skoop

Whether you’re dairy, soy and gluten-free or not, if you’re looking for a high-quality, nutritious and tasty protein shake, give Skoop B [strong] a try. And help feed kids fruits and veggies for school lunches. Also, check out their website for other products- Skoop A and Skoop B [lovely]. SkoopB