How to Avoid a Food Coma after Lunch

November 20, 2017
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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big: A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

Tip: Pack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex: One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate.   Tip: Try to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals: A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  Tip: Keep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

 

Get a good night’s sleep: The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  Tip: Set an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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What Foods to Eat in the Summer

June 30, 2017
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Warm days means fresh summer foods. Wondering what foods can help you stay in shape all summer long?  Eating well and keeping yourself hydrated is important to keep yourself ready and energized for summer activities.  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you learn more about these foods for when you’re having fun in the sun!

 

 

Watermelon: The perfect fruit to keep you hydrated without a whole lot of calories. Click here for a watermelon feta mint salad! 

 

 

 

 

Berries: Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Jam packed with fiber and antioxidants. Toss them in your plain yogurt or oatmeal for some added natural sweetness. Want to try berries in a delicious savory dish? Try this recipe for grilled salmon and blueberry sauce!

 

 

 

Tomatoes: Rich in an antioxidant called, lycopene and perfect tossed in a salad or to simply enjoy alone (especially grape tomatoes).

 

 

 

Avocados: Yes, you should eat fat! Especially the heart-healthy fats in avocados to keep you satisfied as well as add some creaminess to your dishes.  Try swapping out butter or cream cheese for ¼ of a mashed avocado on your toast/bagel. How about making a delicious creamy avocado sauce for your pasta or “zoodles”? 

 

 

 

 

Corn: Get the local grown corn and throw it on the grill for some sweet BBQ crunch! You gain 4 grams of fiber in just ½ cup of kernels.  Click here to learn more about your local farms.  Learn more about eating organic and fresh foods here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini: This vitamin C-rich veggie is perfect for grilling or making “zoodles”. The Food Network has wonderful recipe ideas.  Love Pad Thai?  Try this lighter version that uses “zoodles.”  Click here to purchase for a budget-friendly spiralizer to make your “zoodles”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts: A good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try a small handful of dry-roasted unsalted almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachio as an on-the go or pre-workout snack.

 

 

Want to try multiple summer-friendly foods all in one dish? Try this grilled corn, watermelon and avocado salad!  Try substituting apple or celery for jicama if you are having trouble finding it.

 

 

 Interested to learn more about seasonal foods and how to enjoy summer food? Below are links to help guide you:

https//snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

May 23, 2017
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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

We all know the cycle – as the weather heats up, our motivation increases to get or maintain a toned physique.  Often times this means giving up some of the foods we really enjoy to eat.  However, these desires don’t need to be mutually exclusive – you can get or maintain a toned physique AND eat food that you enjoy!  Try one of our favorite creamy, dreamy recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.  

B.Komplete Ranch Dip

Makes 8 – 2 Tablespoon Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • 2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Consume immediately or refrigerate (will keep covered, in refrigeration up to 3 days).  Perfect for a vegetable dip, and used on sandwiches, fish, meat, baked potatoes and whole grain pasta.  Thin it out with a splash of water and you have made your own salad dressing!

 B.Komplete Cheesecake Pudding

Makes 6 – ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) Packages of Low-Fat Cream Cheese   
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Fat-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Allow the cream cheese to soften in room temperature (about 30 – 60 minutes).  When the cream cheese has softened, combine in a medium bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Consume immediately for a creamy treat, or refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours for a more firm texture.  Enjoy with fresh fruit, or add a pinch of lemon zest. 

If you haven’t tried siggis yet – get up and immediately go buy it!  The Icelandic “Skyr” is a thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and has a great flavor.  siggis is B.Komplete Approved because the flavored varieties are still lower in added sugar.  Its the perfect breakfast or snack to take with you during the summer!  The B.Komplete Dietitian Team uses siggis in a variety of our Corporate Wellness Cooking Demonstrations.  We love siggis, and we know that you will too. 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

April 19, 2017
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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly, works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Put Your Best Fork Forward – International Cuisine

March 13, 2017
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With the 2017 National Nutrition Month in full swing, there is no better time than now to learn how to enjoy International Cuisine.  Below are a list of cuisines where “putting your best fork forward” does not require a fork! 


Japanese:  A cuisine rich in fish, vegetables and rice, with many delicious and nutritious options.  Chopsticks are used to eat most Japanese Cuisine.  While traditional Japanese cuisine is prepared steamed, boiled or raw – be mindful of added sodium and fried preparation methods. 

Healthy Japanese Choices:

Steamed Edamame: Perfect as an appetizer – these crisp green beans have a slightly nutty flavor and provide protein and fiber.

Seaweed Salad: Try a different type of green salad that is packed with flavor and includes a good source of many vitamins including B12.

Hiyayakko: Cool tofu topped with daikon, grated ginger or mustard delivers a delectable flavor and gives you the benefit of protein and healthy fat.

Sashimi: Naturally high in protein and satisfying. Select from ikura (salmon), ahi (tuna), ika (squid), kani (crab), ebi (shrimp) and unagi (eel). 

Teriyaki: Chicken, salmon, shrimp or tofu with vegetables make a well-balanced meal.  Select your choice with brown rice.  Ask for your dish to be steamed, and for the sauce to come on the side.  This way you can control how much of the teriyaki sauce you use, and save yourself unnecessary calories, fat, sugar and sodium.   

Toppings: Apply wasabi and ginger liberally – both rich in spice and antioxidants.


Thai:  Traditional Thai dishes require a fork, and a spoon.  The spoon is used to move the food you are eating to your mouth, and the fork is used to help push food into the spoon. 

Healthy Thai Choices: 

Tom Yum Soup: Spicy and sour with ample herbs and spices, this soup will satisfy an adventurous palate. Please note, the soup may be high in sodium. 

Summer Rolls: Also known as “fresh spring rolls” this healthy appetizer is typically made with shrimp and vegetables and wrapped in rice paper.  Use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Satay: Grilled meat or tofu laced onto bamboo skewers – packed with protein and sure to satisfy.  When preparing at home, flavor with lime, turmeric, garlic and red chili.  If enjoying out, use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Broth Based Curry: The two most common curries, red and green curry, have fresh herbal flavor and pair well with seafood. Jungle curry (gkaeng bpah) and sour curry (gkaeng som) are popular broth-based soups, without the addition of heavy cream. These curries can be spooned over rice for a fulfilling meal. 

Pik Pow (Nam Prik Pao): Also known as “thai vegetarian chili paste” is a flavor-packed paste that is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy. It can be used in stir-fry’s, as a rub, and used to dip vegetables. And the best part – the paste is extremely flavorful and a little goes a long way.

Pad Thai (without egg, and peanut topping on the side): A fresh, light-bodied dish and truly delicious with the variety of flavors and textures. Substitute egg for firm tofu and use soybean spread to replace the peanuts or peanut butter commonly used in traditional pad thai. This results in a healthy dish packed with plenty of protein and healthy fats.  Check out an egg-free recipe here.


Ethiopian:  Injera is a flatbread made from teff, a grass (not a grain, like wheat) that’s fermented with water for several days and then baked into large, airy pancakes that have the texture of crepes and the flavor of sourdough bread. Teff flour is incredibly nutritious – high in fiber, iron, calcium, and complete amino acid profile and gluten-free.  To eat Ethiopian food, tear off a piece of injera, scoop your food in it, roll it up, pop the whole thing into your mouth – and repeat until satisfied. 

Healthy Ethiopian Choices:

Split Pea Stew: Also known as “kik alicha” is a comforting stew made with savory ingredients such as ginger, garlic, red onions, split peas, and green chili. Choose to eat in a bowl or dip with injera. 

Lentils: Lentils are a great source of fiber, protein and iron. Season with berbere spice or simmer with herbs and vegetables as a healthful side dish.

Yetsom Beyaynetu: A vegetarian combination platter consisting of injera (flatbread) served with several vegan curries and vegetables–a light and healthy appetizer choice that gives you the ability to try a variety of curry.

Shiro Wat: A spicy chickpea-based dish seasoned with onions, garlic, and other spices. Use this as a dip for vegetables or injera. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein.

Misir Wat: This red lentil curry made with garlic, olive oil, ginger, and onion–this is a great option if you are looking for a spicy, warm stew. 

Shiro Alecha: A mild stew of seasoned ground lentils, chickpeas and/or peas. This is a terrific option to be served with injera if you are looking for a dish with a milder flavor profile.

Gomen: Ethiopian style collard greens – perfect for your little leafy green lover. Pairs perfectly with fresh lemon juice! When preparing at home add paprika, ginger root, turmeric and all spice for flavor and a boost of antioxidants. 

Chicken Doro Wat: A flavorful chicken dish served in a slightly spicy sauce containing ginger and berbere over injera. The key: slowly simmer the chicken for enhanced flavor.


Mexican:  Eating tacos with a fork and knife is unacceptable in the Mexican culture. Therefore, be polite: use your hands to enjoy tacos.  Mexican cuisine is filled with flavors and ingredients such as cilantro, garlic, avocado, beans, onion, chili’s, and more. Maize, also known as corn, is a staple grain that is commonly used in this cuisine. Maize is the main ingredient in tortillas: used for burritos, quesadillas, and tacos.

Healthy Mexican Choices:

Salsa de Pina Picante: A sweet and fresh salsa option made with pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice. Enjoy with multi grain tortillas for a light, tropical appetizer.  Want to make at home – try this recipe.

Guacamole: Made from mashed avocados, guacamole is packed with healthy fats. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, jalapenos, and cilantro–these ingredients can give a kick of flavor to your traditional guacamole

Turkey Tacos: Great if you’re looking for a quick, easy taco dinner. Use lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, and wheat tortillas over traditional white tortilla. Add avocado, tomato, lettuce, and as much cilantro and chili as you like – for full flavor. 

Sopa de Habas: This fava bean soup is filled with a flavorful aromatic base of tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Not to mention, fava beans are very nutrient-dense, containing folate and iron.

Chicken Carnitas Tacos: Crispy, tender chicken with hints of lime, cumin, garlic, and– orange juice! These ingredients give your chicken carnitas a unique, pleasant taste and allows you to top it with your choice of veggies and herbs. The last step: stuff it all in a wheat tortilla.

We would love to hear what International Cuisine you try and enjoy – no fork required!  And in the meantime…

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


 

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Stress Management… and Potatoes

April 18, 2016
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How Do Potatoes Relate to Stress Management?

Stress impacts us all.  And the one thing that is always true about stress – it never goes away.   At B.Komplete we are passionate about teaching consumers how to manage the stress we all face, in simple ways.  Food impacts our mood, and we can choose what we eat to impact how we feel.  In times of acute stress our levels of cortisol are UP, which increases are cravings for fat and sugar.  However, in that stressful time, the worst things we can eat are fat and sugar.  The best things to eat are foods that help to promote the release of serotonin, the hormone that relates to our good mood; feelings of wellness and calm.  Complex carbohydrates help to promote the release of serotonin.  Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  

Come with us, as we explore the store in the potato aisle!

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Supermarket Series

February 7, 2016
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How to Use Herbs & Spices for Heart Health

We are back for our second edition of our ‘explore the store’ series in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in February is on Herbs & Spices for Heart Health.  Did you know…

  • Garlic helps keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  Fresh is the best, however if you don’t have fresh use dried garlic to season your meals.  Garlic pairs well with numerous cuisines.  
  • Oregano is an antioxidant super-power providing more than apples, potato, oranges, and even blueberries!  Season your fish, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, and salad dressings with this herb.  
  • Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation.  Use this savory spice with poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables and event tea.  
  • Chipotle spice is your go-to when you want a smoky and spicy flavor.  Providing health benefit and awesome flavor, use chipotle with fish, poultry, meat, eggs, potato, whole grains and in dips and rubs.  
  • To flavor simple white fish combine lemon with thyme, parley, ground pepper and a dash of sea salt OR combine garlic, onion and chipotle powders.  

We will be back next month exploring the Snack Aisle.

B. Educated, B. Inspired, B. Komplete

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

July 9, 2015
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PART TWO

Lets continue the conversation on some of the main factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the food store. If you didn’t read Part 1 of the series addressing the safety and cost of organic and conventional foods, you can view it here.

 Nutrition

Working to improve your health through the food that you eat? Then you want to eat the MOST nutritious versions available, right? It’s more bang for your buck!  The food & nutrition industry has been testing both organic and conventional foods for many years. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a definitive answer of which type is nutritiously superior.  In the early 2000’s, you could find articles that were claiming a significant nutritional disparity between select organic and conventional foods. Only a few years later, there had been new research saying the exact opposite. In 2009, the American Society of Nutrition posted an article  concluding there is no significant difference between organic and conventional foods. Again in 2012, a hotly debated report from Stanford University stated that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods.

 Today’s research deviates from those studies, showing that there IS a nutritional difference in some organic foods. Reports are showing up to 40% higher in antioxidant activity  in organic fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are comprised of nutrients like Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and minerals like selenium and the health benefits of antioxidants are evident.

 What does this mean? It’s apparent that there is more research needed.

 If good health is important to you, then we suggest continuing to choose your favorites until further solid evidence is discovered. Want better nutrition now? Remember VARIETY! Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat meats and dairy will give you a wide spectrum of your daily needed nutrients.

anti-oxidants

Environmental Impact

Soil erosion, decline in crop production, fertilizer runoff, and pesticide resistance are concerns that some take into account when deciding between organic or conventional foods. The USDA has many resources on how farmers can protect and enhance the environment but there are still problems that worry shoppers.

 Scary reports of lake and river “dead zones” occasionally surface after finding considerable deterioration of wildlife and vegetation. This fuels new environmental studies to identify the true offender and will often include testing of new farming techniques and products that can help protect instead of harm.

Consider this: all types of farming impacts the surrounding environment. Organic farms can use natural fertilizers and pesticides that can cause runoff problems. However, the USDA says that organic farming differs from conventional farming because they strive to preserve natural resources and biodiversity with their farming techniques. There also are organizations like the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania that dedicate themselves to researching and testing better ways for American farmers to grow organic foods without harming the environment.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then you may want to consider choosing organic foods. Environment-friendly tip: buy local! As we mentioned in Part 1, think about supporting smaller farms that are local to your home or workplace. This reduces the need to truck food products all over the country, which can produce a considerable amount of fossil fuel emissions.

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 

FreshProduce at a local farm stand

So, what should YOU choose?

The bottom line is that, as a consumer, you have to decide what’s important to you. Whether you’re concerned with safety, cost, nutrition, environmental impact or something else that wasn’t mentioned, you should always choose what’s best for you and your family. Watch for new research on the areas that are important to you. And in the meantime, purchase and eat healthy food that you love!

Your Resources

For the Organic 101 series provided by the USDA – http://blogs.usda.gov/tag/organic-101/

Antioxidant Health Benefits – http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/

Market Search: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

Farmstand App: https://www.farmstandapp.com

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

 Photo Credit:

http://abcn.ca/category/diet-exercise/

http://farmersmarketannex.com/fmablog/?p=271

 

 

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The Best Stress Management Ideas

April 1, 2015
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Stress. All of us experience some kind of stress throughout our daily lives and stress is unavoidable. Some stress can be good; provide motivation, encourage collaboration, or even push you to try new things. However, excessive stress that isn’t managed can be quite damaging to your health. Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with weight gain, inflammation, decreased immunity, and even heart conditions over time. These health issues make stress reduction crucial for achieving ideal health.

 You can’t eliminate stress, but you can manage it! The following stress reduction practices are proven to work:

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective and beneficial stress reduction methods. How does exercise reduce stress? One of the ways exercise reduces stress is by reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that cause stress, while increasing levels of endorphins, which are mood elevators. This causes the aptly named “runner’s high” that you may have heard of before.  Another way that exercise can reduce stress is through the benefits that you gain. Exercise allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit your fitness goals and can also reduce stress by reducing your waist-line and improving self image. Tasks, such as heavy lifting, become easier as you become fit making those stressful tasks look a little more manageable. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking and running, as well as others are great stress relievers. Click here to learn about 8 great stress relieving exercises

Yoga in park

Breathing exercises. Rapid, shallow breathing is commonly associated with stress while relaxed, deep breathing is associated with relaxation. Breath yourself into a state of relaxation with these easy steps:

  1. Breath in slowly and deeply using your diaphragm fully.
  2. Hold your breath briefly
  3. Release your breath slowly, thinking “relax”
  4. Repeat these steps, 5 to 10 times

This is a great relaxation technique because it can be used at any time and any place, as needed. To learn more, Dr. Weil offers some wonderful breathing exercises

Meditation. With elevated stress also comes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. You can relieve your stress and its physiological effects using meditation techniques. Studies of Indian yoga masters have shown that meditation can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood adrenaline levels.   Meditation is a useful and effective way to relieve your stress in the comfort of your own home.

Harvard physician, Dr. Herbert Benson gives this quick guide to mediation

  1. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption. A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
  2. Get comfortable. Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations.
  3. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude. Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries.
  4. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion. You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It’s the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word “one” will do nicely. Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations.

o-MINDFULNESS-MEDITATION-facebook

Acupuncture. Acupuncture may sound a little scary when you think of needles being placed in your face and back, however individuals and research have found it is truly a safe and an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works through placement of a needle about half a millimeter from a nerve. Depending on where the needle is placed, it can cause the release of pain killing chemicals from the nervous system, stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, or excite the part of the brain controlling emotion (leading to decreased anxiety and stress). Those who have received acupuncture, often see results after just one session with improved results upon continuous treatment. I can personally vouch for the benefits of Acupuncture, and look forward to my ongoing sessions with Aaron Cashman, L.OM

What to expect at your first appointment

B. educated, B. inspired, B.Komplete!

 

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Does the Paleo Diet Work?

March 24, 2015
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What is the diet?

The Paleo diet theory is based on citing the errors in current Western eating patterns, and how different these consumption patterns are from the eating design of the Paleolithic period. The Paleo diet advises us to eat similarly to how our Paleolithic ancestors once did; consume foods as close to a natural state as possible, which includes meat and produce. Avoid foods that would not have been available during that time period; grains, dairy products and sugar. The Paleo diet claims that “this is how humans were designed to eat.”

What is good about the diet?

  • Focus on whole foods and eating foods in a natural state. Our Paleolithic ancestors consumed foods as close to fresh as possible. This is sound advice, as the nutrients in foods are typically highest when the food is the most fresh. To find out what produce is in season, check here  
  • Eating grass-fed meat.  100% grass-fed beef comes from cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet. Grass feeding improves the nutrition of meat making the beef richer in omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and healthy fats.  For more information on grass-fed meat visit world’s healthiest foods 
  • Recommends eggs, nuts, and healthy oils. Some of the recommended fat sources in the Paleo diet are rich in nutrients, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants.
  • Limits alcohol and diet soda.  Limiting alcohol consumption (< 1 drink/day for women and < 2 drinks/day for men) is recommended for heart health . While the health verdict is still out on diet soda, consuming less of it may be a good idea.
  • Recommends cooking for yourself. Learning how to prepare meals for yourself and your family is tremendously beneficial; it enables you to control the additives in your food, to season food without adding salt, and generally eat less total calories.

Paleo meat

What isn’t good about the diet?

  • Elimination of major food groups. A Paleo dieter can be categorized by what they have removed from their diet; Paleo dieters generally do not eat dairy or grains of any kind, peanuts, lentils, beans, peas and other legumes are eliminated, and added sugars are prohibited.
  • Whole grains.  Whole grains are associated with healthy digestion and metabolism, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Removal of whole grains makes it harder to get your daily recommendation of fiber. 
  • Dairy.  Consumption of dairy products (low fat and fat free) is associated with satiety, bone health, reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension in adults. Removal of this entire food group makes it hard (if not impossible) to get some of the health benefits that dairy provides.
  • Legumes. Beans are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat found in some animal proteins. Eating beans may reduce blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Adding beans to your diet may help keep you feeling full longer. Removal of legumes will make it harder to get the recommended daily fiber intake, as well as providing a vegetarian protein option.
  • Starchy vegetables.  No more crunchy carrots for a snack. No more corn on the cob at a cook-out. No more baked potato, soup with potato, or even baked potato chips! Reducing the amount of starchy vegetables may be OK for weight loss, BUT to eliminate completely is hard (if not impossible) over the long-term.
  • Diet can be hard to follow, hard to maintain over time, and very expensive. Imagine a life without a sandwich, ever. No more cereal, rice, bagels, or whole grains. Say goodbye to peanut butter. No more milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice-cream. If you enjoy chili, you are out of luck. And like any eating plan, it can indeed be expensive – especially since Paleo relies so heavily on the produce section and meat counter.
  • Not highly researched/without long term studies /making unsubstantiated health claims. “Loren Cordain, PhD, who literally wrote the book on The Paleo Diet, claims that by eating like our prehistoric ancestors, we’ll be leaner and less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems” . Many of the health claims made in the Paleo diet books are either not supported by research or have not been studied (1, 2).
  • Hard if not impossible to meet RDA of micronutrients.  Research has shown that micronutrient deficiency is high in individuals who are overweight or obese (2/3 of the U.S. population), and it is unlikely (if not impossible) to correct any micronutrient deficit following any food based diet (3).
  • Can have very high consumption of saturated fat with high meat consumption. Meat is consumed in large quantities, often cooked in animal fat of some kind which is very high in saturated fat. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke (4).

Bean salad

Overall advice

U.S. News ranks Paleo low for overall diet credibility; not guaranteed weight loss or weight loss maintenance, health claims are unsubstantiated, higher than recommended levels of fat and protein, not adequate in fiber, micronutrients (5).

Any diet plan that is very restrictive, hard to follow, expensive, unbalanced in nutrients and even unpalatable doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle choice… My advice is: take the good ideas from Paleo, and modify to fit into a well-balanced, healthy, happy, and enjoyable eating plan!

B. inspired, B. educated, B. Komplete!

Works Cited:

  1. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v68/n3/full/ejcn2013290a.html
  2. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol7/iss2/4/
  3. www.jissn.com/content/7/1/24
  4. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp
  5. http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/paleo-diet
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