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The Saturday Smoothie: Fall Tips to Achieve Better Health

Creating an Active Lifestyle

Who says that staying fit has to be be a pain?  Guess what, IT DOESN’T!  One of the great things about living a healthy and active lifestyle is you can choose any activities you like.  Enjoy riding a bike?  Great!  Love going on long runs in the mornings before the world wakes up?  Fantastic!  Find something that actually excites you.  Something that puts a smile on your face, rather than something you dread even thinking about.  Use these practical tips for incorporating fitness into your daily routine.  In no time, you’ll learn to love it.

Learn How To Create an Active Lifestyle (click)

Healthy Lifestyle

Practical Ways to be More Present

When we’re so in our own heads, and with our own thoughts, it prevents us from actually contributing much to the world.  In fact, it’s a great way to let life slip you by.  Instead, focus on being present.  Well, what does that even mean?  I hear the term thrown around a lot, but how is it actually applicable to me?  When you’re present, that little voice inside of your head is silenced.  You’re one with your surroundings, and your attention is completely focused and receptive to everything around you.  Sound enjoyable?  It is.  It’s such a great way to live.

Learn How to Be More Present

Be Present

Being Healthy and Satisfied with Less

 Just how much food do we really need?  When you see some people that constantly are eating, taking in 3,000, 4k, or even 5k calories per day, do you ever stop and think, is that really necessary to eat as much as you can get away with?  Well, what if we looked at it from the other side of the coin.  What if we ate as little as possible in order to remain healthy, fit, and productive?  Learn all about Mark Sisson’s approach to diet and health.  He has plenty of great reasons, as well as some tips and tricks, for how to stay lean and fit with a healthy diet.

Learn How to Be Content With Less

Satisfied with Less

When Was Your Last Fitness Event?

Think back to the last time that you set a physical goal and trained for it consistently.  Was it this year?  Was it 5 years ago?  Has it really been more than a decade?  Well, there’s still some time left in 2016 to finish the year healthier than you started, and what better way to do so than to sign up for an event.  It may sound a little daunting at first, but like anything in life, it’s well within the realm of possibility if you take things step by step.  Give it a shot, and you’ll be well on your way to newfound youth and vigor.

Learn How Easy it is to Run (or walk!) a 5k

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The Saturday Smoothie – Tips for Better Health Today

fitnessDo you feel like you just might need to lose a few pounds?  That’s ok!  Many of us feel like we’re not as fit as we once were, and we want to help you do something about it!  But what’s the best way to get started?  Sometimes it feels as if it’s tougher to lose the extra flab in your fifty’s than it did a decade ago (is it my metabolism?).  Use these 7 proven strategies for getting back into shape and helping you lean down.

Just Tell Me What Foods I Need to Eat!

There’s so much information out there for what you should eat, what you shouldn’t, why gluten is bad, and why we need to cut our sugar consumption.  Do you ever wish that someone would just tell you which foods to add into your diet to promote better health?  Well now you can! Learn what foods you should eat, why you should eat them, and how they’ll help support long term health and longevity.
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I Swear I Used to Touch My Toes, What Happened!?

Does it take you a while to get started in the morning, or do you find that you’re not quite as flexible as you were a few years ago?  Well to get started on increasing your flexibility, take the easy self assessments to figure out which body parts need the most help.  We think you’ll love these because they’re simple and can be done at home.  You can gain more flexibility with as little as 5 minutes of practice per day!
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Take a Deep Dive Into Nutrition

Have you ever wanted to go a a little bit deeper on the nutritional side?  Are you someone who likes to understand exactly what’s in the food you’re eating?  But fruit and vegetables doesn’t have nutrition facts!  Well guess what, now they do.  Use this tool and it will tell you exactly what’s in the food you eat.  We love it because it will even give you recommendations on which foods to eat based on your diet and lifestyle.
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Brain Fog?  That Can’t Actually Be Real, Right?

Have you ever parked the car, gone shopping, and then couldn’t remember at all where it was parked? How about forgetting where you put your keys, or taking out the trash on trash day.  Our brains and our diets are intimately connected, find out what may be causing the cloudiness and lack of mental alertness so you can address it head-on.

[button link=”http://fitafterfifty.com/brain-fog/” size=”xl” text=”grey”]Read All About Brain Fog[/button]

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Fabulous Fall Recipes for Fitness

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed with a lovely, long fall harvest season with our temperate climate. Many veggies are readily available locally and organic and it is a great opportunity to stock up, try new recipes, and enjoy the bounty.

Here are some fantastic fall recipes that are friendly to your fitness regimen, as well!

Nothing says fall faster than soups. This simple, yet hearty Autumn Chicken Stew features some of fall’s top offerings: carrots, apples and parsnips. This one is easy to prep the ingredients the night before so that it is all ready to put together the following evening ready for dinner. In addition to its high vitamin A count, this soup is low calorie, low in cholesterol, and appropriate for diabetics. Serve with cheese sandwiches on the side for a full meal.

One of the healthiest squash you can try is pumpkin. It is action packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and lots of antioxidants. So start those brisk fall mornings off right with Spiced Pumpkin Maple Baked Oatmeal, it is high fiber, gluten free, good for your cholesterol, easy on the budget, preps really well the night before, allowing you to spoil your family and yourself with the yummy scents and flavors of spices and pumpkin with a hearty, warm morning meal.

This oh-so-easy-to make Roasted Fall Vegetables recipe takes full advantage of the abundance of organic squash and root vegetables available. The red potatoes are a great source of iron and vitamin C. Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, the butternut squash makes this a winning side dish to any entrée.

The abundance of apples each fall is a great opportunity for cooks everywhere. Put your fall apples to good use with this Apple Sangria recipe for your fall gatherings. Lower sugar content in white wine keeps this one a bit more in the “healthy” category than most drink recipes. Everything in moderation, right? 😉

 

In the comments section below, share some of your favorite fall recipes and how they are helping you in your healthy and fit lifestyle.

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A Balanced Nutritional Approach that Supports Your Exercise Plan

You are staying faithful to your commitment to an active and healthy life in your fifties and beyond. It takes work and discipline, but too often, it is more fun to choose an activity and pay less attention to the foods you are consuming since you have “earned it”.

Studies have shown that what we eat and how much of it will have a more direct effect to weight loss than exercise alone.  Human nature tends to give more thought and energy to one healthy habit over another.  We are not suggesting that people should diet only and forget your workouts or exercise plan.  Just make sure you don’t buy into thinking that one is more important than the other.

What should your balanced nutritional approach include for food choices when you are exercising and staying faithful to your fitness plan? There is no one particular diet for workouts, but when you remember the Pilates approach to mind and body balance, that will help you choose the foods that result in feeling better and more balanced. Strike balance with the major food groups and learn to listen to your body, it will make it clear what it needs.

Photo credit: Sweet on Veg

Photo credit: Sweet on Veg

Have you been counting calories and restricting yourself? Instead, look around at all the healthy choices available to you. Nutritionist Lily Nichols, has written an information-packed post discussing the negative calorie track and how to get off of it with 11 tips to a healthier approach to food and nutrition. It is about finding balance nutritionally when you listen to your body and pay attention to the flavors of the foods you eat. Take time to educate yourself on healthier choices and also allow for indulgence in your favorite delights so you are not in depriving yourself all the time.

Here is guide for some great options that support your commitment to a fit and healthy lifestyle and nutritional balance.

  • Oatmeal: Start your day with this power-packed slow release gold mine and you will burn more fat since slow release carbohydrates don’t spike your blood sugar
  • Almonds: A 2-ounce serving of almonds requires chewing and leaves you feeling satisfied. Chewing more causes a greater fat release from the almonds, triggering the hormones that curb hunger.
  • Apples: With only 95 calories, this gem is packed with fiber and phytonutrients to regulate your blood sugar as well as having a positive impact on digestive bacteria.
  • Soup: People who start a meal with vegetable soup tend to keep the rest of the meal in balance in regards to caloric intake, nutrients, and fiber.
  • Mushrooms: These guys served as an entrée leave you feeling just as satisfied as if you had beef, but are packed with important nutrients such as niacin, selenium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and potassium.
  • Hot Chile Peppers: consuming one of these 30 minutes before a meal leaves people less hungry and cutting down on unnecessary intake.
  • Eggs: not only high in protein, but eggs leave you feeling fuller longer and support muscle gain

You certainly will not maintain balance if you run out of energy in mid-workout, so plan to have a small meal or snack of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. There are also some great recipes out there for healthy pre-workout protein shakes. It is best to begin your workout with glycogen-rich muscle and a stable blood sugar. Make sure to start with filtered water for your liquid:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons of omega-3 sport oil such as chia, flax, or fish
  • 1-2 servings of whey, hemps or soy protein isolate
  • ½ to 1 cup of low glycemic, organic fresh fruit

At the end of the day, opt for approach that emphasizes the great choices you have for flavorful and healthy options instead of one that focuses on restrictions. This results in a balanced approach supporting your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Please share with us tips and tricks that you have adopted to improve your nutritional approach.

Carbs, Schmarbs, What’s a Person to DO??

Understanding carbohydrates and glycemic index can seem like a boring journey in to science and nutrition that few of us have time to take. However, a basic understanding of how our bodies process and metabolize these macronutrients can make a huge difference in our understanding and motivation of nutritional choices.

It is not enough to just “Avoid Carbs”. What are the different types of carbs and how do they affect the body?

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Simple Carbohydrates are classified as simple sugars whose chemical structure has only one or two sugars. Examples of these are processed table sugar, products with white flour, honey, milk, yogurt, candy, chocolate, fruit, fruit juice, cake, jam, biscuits, molasses, soda and packaged cereals. Some of these foods such as fruit may still be good for you for the fiber and other nutrients they contain.

Complex Carbohydrates are those with a chemical structure made up of three or more sugars. These types of sugars are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They take longer to digest and don’t elevate blood sugar levels as quickly as simple carbs do; thereby leaving you satisfied longer and less likely to overeat.

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Diets with complex carbs over simple carbs are less likely to experience blood sugar surge and crashes which contribute to cell damage. This article is filled with nutritional-speak, but I urge you to read through it and glean what you can about the subject.

Typically, complex carbs are found in whole grain breads & cereals, vegetables, and many legumes.  Nutritional values in complex carbs tend to be much higher than those in simple carbs.

What is Glycemic Index and how does it affect your health as you make certain food and nutritional choices in your lifestyle of good fitness? This article on the American Diabetes Association site does a good job of explaining the Glycemic Index and provides short lists of examples of foods that have high, medium and low GI ratings (under 55).

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In a nutshell the GI ranks carbohydrates in relationship to the immediate effect they have on blood sugar levels. Don’t assume this information is only important to those with diabetes. When carbs have a high GI (over 70 on the GI scale) and convert to sugar in your blood stream quickly, they are metabolized fast and leave you hungrier more quickly than low glycemic foods. Even for people with no issues with diabetes, this cycle plays a significant role in healthy eating and weight management.

Simply counting carbs without an understanding of “good” versus “bad” carbs can leave holes in your nutritional plan. Learn to choose low GI foods for more success in your fit lifestyle.

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5 Ways to Fortify Your 50’s (60’s and 70’s) with Food!

By Mary Purdy, MS, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
www.NourishingBalance.com

Mary Purdy HeadshotYou can still be fabulously fit after fifty, but there are some physiological realities that take place in our golden years which are important to consider. Things do slow down somewhat. This means our digestion isn’t quite as snappy, our immune system  is not as zippy and our brains aren’t always quite as speedy. But, fear not! Nutrition can play a significant  role in all of these processes. There is  huge amount we can do to support our bodies and even thrive as we age. Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Bolster your immune system with herbs and spices. As we age, we can often become more susceptible to infection. You likely already know that herbs and spices help to flavor foods,  tickle your taste buds, and add life to bland dishes. But they offer a great deal more. Many herbs are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that actually help prevent damage to our cells. These include things like basil, cilantro and parsley, which you can easily throw in any salad, soup or sauce. Additionally, many herbs and spices offer antibacterial properties like rosemary, oregano, garlic and onions which can be added to roasted veggies or tossed into stews. Lastly, more and more studies are coming out demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects  of things like ginger, turmeric, and spicy peppers helping to reduce risk for chronic diseases like cancer. Sprinkle on a new spice today!
  2. Boost your brain and muscle with the power of protein. If you are currently active and engaging in workouts that have you doing weight bearing exercise, sufficient protein is integral to your health and your muscle recovery. These can be vegetarian or animal based (I always advocate for organic as much as possible) but are important especially  the hour after a workout when your muscles need the building blocks for repair. Whether it’s eggs, bean salad, lentil soup, a protein smoothie, or a piece of fish, be sure you are getting about .8-1 gram of protein per Kg of body weight per day (Your weight in pounds  divided by 2.2 = your weight in kgs). Needs do vary from person to person. Consulting a dietitian can be helpful. Protein is also used to create the neurotransmitters that help your brain to think clearly and your mood to stabilize. A little protein at each meal is helpful for keeping you balanced.
  3. Stimulate digestion with fermented foods. You may have noticed a resurgence in the sauerkraut on the shelves of your supermarket. This is because we are learning more and more about the benefits of fermented foods for our health. These foods (miso, sauerkraut, kim chee, tempeh, kombucha, a beverage) provide the body with beneficial bacteria that take up residence in our gut and support digestive function and immunity. This can be supremely helpful for anyone dealing with sluggish digestion or indigestion. Try a miso soup, some sauerkraut with your fried eggs, or sautee some slices of tempeh (fermented soy bean patty) in your next stir fry.
  4. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Speaking of sluggish digestion, fluids are essential to keeping things “moving”. Our thirst mechanism slows down somewhat in our later years, so we often need to be reminded to keep up our intake of water and other beverages. This is especially true if we are sweating as the water loss can often be substantial. Water is always a wonderful way to rehydrate, but I often recommend trying out some other nutritive beverages like herbal teas, green teas, and coconut water which offer additional nutrients that can help to nourish our systems.
  5. Open yourself to Omega 3’s. You’ve likely heard some information about these essential fatty acids. We know that they support heart, skin and brain health among other things. Including them in your diet is a terrific way to maintain healthy cognitive function and memory. Whether you take a fish oil supplement (I recommend about 1000mgs-2000mgs/day) or eat fish a couple times a week, it’s important that your body gets a daily if not weekly dosage of these important fats. Other sources include walnuts, flax, chia and hemp seeds. You also might find it surprising that animals that are grass fed or chickens that are pasture raised have a much higher level of omega 3‘s in their meat and eggs respectively that those fed a grain based diet. Greens and sea vegetables provide a small amount as well. Another grand excuse to get more greens in!

No matter what, keeping a diet that is varied and bursting with many different colors and flavors, is a great way to support your body and health as you become your fittest and most fabulous self.

 

Mary Purdy, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Bastyr University. She provides medical nutrition therapy and nutritional counseling at her Private Practice at the Seattle Healing Arts Center and is a Clinical Supervisor at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. She also offers an online detox program and regular corporate wellness presentations. She has been featured on KUOW and KIRO News, is on the board of Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is the Past President of the Greater Seattle Dietetic Association. Her website is www.NourishingBalance.com  Her Group detox begins January 29th. ‘Like’ Mary Purdy’s page on Facebook!