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Prioritizing Employee Health while Transitioning Back into the Office

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As we experience lifting of government mandated restrictions related to COVID-19, businesses are beginning to reopen. This means employees are starting to transition from their home office back to the work environment. Employees have been out of this environment and routine for months now. This disruption to the life we had known will take time to adjust to. And we must consider how our employees have been impacted by quarantine. Ultimately, we need to consider how employee health has changed.

 

We have all been more isolated than ever before. We have been facing higher stress, anxiety and mental health and well-being challenges. As we begin moving back to an in-person work setting, these health challenges will not simply disappear. So as this transition occurs from our at-home offices back to the work office, employers must consider how they can make returning to work easier and safer for employees.  

 

Ask yourself:

What can be done as your workforce transitions out of quarantine and back into the work environment?

And how can you prioritize your employee health?

Rethink the Office to Protect Employee Health

Make changes to your workspace that allow for social distancing. Organize your space to limit employees’ exposure to health hazards. Review the CDC’s recommendations for developing hazard controls. `

  • Use methods to physically separate employees in areas where groups are possible. 
  • Replace high-touch communal items with single-serve items.
  • Improve the ventilation in the work area.
  • Prohibit any close contact and limit occupancy in elevators.
  • And enforce social distancing and outdoor seating.

Practice Proper Hygiene and Sanitation to Protect Employee Health

Think about how you can provide a cleaner and safer work environment for employees. Now ask, what can you do to optimize cleaning and sanitation practices? 

  • Everyone should be washing hands for 20 seconds throughout the day. If handwashing is not available, sanitize with effective solutions. 
  • Provide employees with general preventative recommendations. This may include:
    • Routine cleaning for frequently touched surfaces
    • Wearing PPE when cleaning
    • Drying surfaces thoroughly
    • Using house-hold cleaners, correctly

Provide Flexibility with Employees

Maintaining a flexible approach is necessary in helping employees navigate the transition back to the office. Employees may have difficulty finding child care. Or they simply may not feel safe or comfortable returning to the office just yet. Employees may be struggling to cope with returning to an environment where they feel they are at risk. Therefore, a flexible work approach should be considered.  This can be achieved by offering flexible work hours or extended ability to work from home (if possible).

Provide Wellness-Based Incentives and Wellness Programs

Employee health and wellness is more important now than ever before. And managing stress and promoting overall wellness is key to maintaining a strong immune system. 

 

A wellness program is the perfect way to promote employee health and wellness. And the benefits of wellness programs are numerous. While this is true, cuts to these programs may seem like an easy way to save your business money in the immediate future. However, investing in employee health and wellness is more important now than ever. Not only does workplace wellness help reduce employee stress and  improve productivity, it ultimately saves companies money in the long run. Wellness programs can help employees:

  • Reduce COVID-19 risk factors
  • Promote health, strengthen the immune system, and avoid illness
  • Reduce stress, lessening distraction on the job
  • Cultivate strong mental health, allowing employees to focus more fully on their work responsibilities
  • Improve eating habits, helping employees gain natural energy and focus
  • Improve your employee benefit package and make your workplace more attractive to new hires
 

Contact info@bkomplete.com to schedule your complimentary wellness consultation. And learn how you can offer wellness strategies to your employees.

 

Offer Individual Support and Counseling to Support Employee Health

Make mental health a priority for employees. Studies have shown that  there have been significant psychological impacts as a result of the pandemic. These impacts include increased fear and anxiety, among others.

 

So be there for your employees. Offer individual counseling for all employees to be able to get the help they need. Do you have an EAP in place? Contact us to learn about our counseling options.

Offer Financial Wellness Education

While employees may have been able to work virtually, they may have faced financial hardship from a spouse that has lost a job. Or they may have faced large medical expenses. Consider offering financial wellness education to empower employees to improve their financial strategies and overall wellness. Show employees that you will be there for them in any way you can. Evolution Financial Group provides individuals, families, and businesses with  insurance, financial planning, investment management and retirement income strategies that align with each client’s unique needs, goals and vision. They provide financial wellness for groups and individuals.  Visit their website to learn more. Email us at info@bkomplete.com and we can introduce you to one of their financial professionals.

Effectively Communicate with Employees

Now that you have safe guards and precautions in place to protect your employees, communicate your efforts. Outline the steps of reopening for your employees. Highlight the changes that have been made, so employees can feel a sense of security and know what to expect upon returning to work. Additionally, outline expectations for social distancing and protective gear such as face masks/coverings. Help ease employee stress and uncertainty by keeping them informed and remaining open to questions and suggestions regarding reopening. 

 

Transitioning back to the office can be scary and stressful for employees, but you can help make it easier. ADP has put together return-to-work checklist that you can review for more tips. For additional ideas on how to prioritize employee health as you return to the office – or to book a wellness event – contact us at info@bkomplete.com

 

Remember, as employees return to work, the top priority should be focused on their health and wellness.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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Why Laughter Works in Wellness

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Laughter is just what the doctor ordered

We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. Now let’s talk about why this is the prescription we could all use. 

Think about how you feel when you watch a funny show or movie, or you’re told a funny story. You can’t help but to smile and feel good. Well, when this sensation happens, a similar positive response happens internally to your body systems. Laughter benefits us in many ways. These benefits can be physical, emotional, spiritual and can help us to heal.

So, how does this work and how can you take advantage of these benefits?

Short-term Benefits of Laughter

Laughing has the ability to benefit our short- and long-term health. In the short-term, it can be an immediate relief for us.

 

Laughing can… 

  • Relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. By laughing, you can increase circulation and help relax your muscles.
  • Stimulate organs. When you laugh, more oxygen enters circulation in the body, helping to stimulate body systems.
  • Stabilize blood pressure. Laughter has been shown to relax blood vessels, helping to decrease blood pressure.
  • Aid digestion. The act of laughing stimulates activity of the digestive tract and can aid in digestion. 
  • Reduce stress. Laughing decreases stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, in your blood. In other words, it demonstrates a reversal of the body’s stress response

Long-term Benefits of Laughter

When we fill our life with laughter, there’s more than just an immediate feeling of joy and catharsis. We  can experience benefits way beyond that immediate moment. For instance, laughter can profoundly impact our health overtime.

Overtime, laughter has the ability to …

  • Improve your immune system and mood. When you experience negative thoughts, these trigger a stress response in the brain and suppress the immune system. But when you experience the positive emotions that laughter brings, endorphins– the “feel good” hormones, are released.  Then your immune cells and antibody activity are strengthened. This all helps to support your immune system.
  • Relieve pain. Studies have shown that when you experience laughter, your brain releases endorphins.  This response enables you to better tolerate pain. 
  • Help with coping. By finding humor in stressful or difficult situations, you can turn a negative perspective to a positive one.  As a result, you may be better able to cope with stress.
  • Benefit mental health. Laughter has the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase your resilience.  Therefore, you may bounce back faster from life challenges and see the positive in hard situations.  
  • Improve relationships and social connectivity. Laughter has the power to unite and connect people. It also increase perceptions of others as likable. 

How Can You Fill Your Life With More Laughter?

  • Make it a habit to be around people who make you laugh and improve your mood
  • Watch a funny show, video, or movie to relax and unwind
  • Call a friend who you can laugh and joke with 
  • Tell a story of something funny that happened to you 
  • Do fun activities that spark joy and laughter (games, sports, goat yoga, reading, etc.)

Along with these laughter-eliciting activities, there are scientifically studied therapies that include laughter as a form of healing.

Laughter Therapies

  • Laughter yoga is a technique that combines simulated laughter and breathing exercises for physiological and psychological benefits.
  • Laughter meditation is the practice of focused laughter to release emotional and physical stress.
  • Humor/Laughter therapy includes a range of laughter-eliciting activities. And it has been used in healthcare for its physical and psychological benefits.

Humor for Wellness Marketing

Humor and laughter don’t just have a direct contribution to our body health. They also contribute to the effectiveness of health interventions for a broader population. For example, humor is a great tool for marketing wellness. It engages us and makes us laugh and tune in. As a result, humorous messaging is shared more often and passed along, broadening the reach of a message. And when the message is something that can help individuals improve their health and wellness, it is even more important that we pass it along. 

If you are looking to spread the message of wellness to your employees, contact us at info@bkomplete.com to sign up for our wellness newsletter. 

Humor to Empower Health

When we talk about our health, it can be an intimidating or overwhelming discussion. But when we use humor, we have the power to eliminate some of the stress associated with confronting one’s health. That’s why there is nothing wrong with using a funny meme or video to initiate a discussion on health. Otherwise this topic may be too difficult for some to address.

 

By empowering people to talk about their health, goals, and needs, we can help them take steps to improving their health and being the best version of themselves. 

Humor is empowering, healing, and therapeutic. So take advantage of the power of a good laugh and enjoy the benefits that follow. To learn more about how you can reduce stress and bring positivity to your life, contact B.Komplete.

And for a quick laugh and wellness tip, check out our video below!

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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How to Help Employees Cope with Crisis and Prioritize Mental Health

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We are all in crisis (COVID-19) and the challenge to our mental health is overwhelming. In a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. This is a problem because when our stress increases, so does risk of physical and psychological issues. These issues include digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional distress, and triggers to mental health disorders. Under these conditions no one can perform their best.  And when you relate this to your employee population, the challenges to employee well-being are significant.  Poor mental health affects employee productivity, performance, and health. By helping your employees cope with stress and crisis, your business will see more productive, safer, well-adjusted and happier employees.

As a result of the ongoing global health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented surge of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If these mental health issues are not addressed now, this can lead to prolonged suffering with long-lasting impacts. The question is, how can you help your employees cope with crises now and avoid these negative health outcomes in the future?

Encourage your employees

Be there for your employees. Providing guidance for employees during times of crisis is imperative. Focusing on employee wellness will allow you to help employees better cope with crises. Encourage the right behaviors that will lead employees toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. Help your employees with some of the tips below. 

Social Connectivity for Mental Health

Studies show that people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of anxiety and depression. During times of social distancing, employees may feel more isolated and may struggle to remain social.


If working from home, add virtual group meetings and check-ins. This will keep social ties between coworkers and instill a support system. Encourage video chat lunch breaks or a walking club to remain connected as a work team.  Healthy competition is a great way to keep employees connected – schedule a B.Komplete Online Wellness Challenge to engage your employees across the Country (and the World).

Physical Activity for Mental Health

Now more than ever, it is important to encourage physical activity. Regular physical activity positively impacts the mind and body. The problem is, people are participating in less physical activity as a result of mandated quarantines. Getting active and adding physical activity into your day will bring better energy – better sleep – sharper memory – and more positive feelings. 

Encourage employees to get outdoors on days when the weather is nice.  If working from home, take the time that would be spent on commuting to do something physical, no matter how big or small.

Start an exercise group for employees to share home workouts and tips. This will provide employees a support system to help them stay motivated in their fitness goals. If employees need a little extra support and accountability, video chat walks are the perfect solution. It’s as easy as calling a friend or co-worker during your lunch break or at the end of the work day and getting moving. This is a great way to get active while staying social.

Healthy Eating for Mental Health

When employees eat better and focus on nourishing their bodies, they are better prepared with the energy to take on stressful situations. The nutrients in our food affects how well our mind and body are able to function. It is important to choose a healthy balance of foods to be able to take on the day and cope with stress. One recommendation to aim for is to consume 2, 4-oz servings of oily fish a week for DHA benefits. 

Encourage employees to take lunch breaks and prep meals ahead of time as would normally be done for an in-person work week.  We can help make cooking simple (and delicious)!  Contact us to learn more.

Self Care for Mental Health

Practicing self-care means finding ways to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. This can include physical activity, meditation, sleep/rest, journaling, engaging with friends and family, or taking on a new hobby. 

Self-care can be anything really- it just depends on the person and what makes them feel good.  Encourage employees to find the activities they enjoy that benefit them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Seeking Professional Guidance

Normalize the practice of reaching out for help and seeking professional help when needed. Talk about the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help.

Encourage employees to seek professional counseling or assistance if their mental health is not well. Some resources to turn to for further help include the disaster distress helpline, crisis textline, national suicide prevention lifeline, and resource hotline for substance abuse disorders. Visit mentalhealth.gov for crisis numbers and resources.

Finding Positive Hobbies for Mental Health

With many of us experiencing increased stress, it’s so important to add positive activities into the day.  This can help as a distraction from any negativity and can act as an outlet to release stress. 

These positive activities can include any of the previously mentioned behaviors such as exercise, self-care practices, and socializing. Creative activities can also be incorporated to reduce stress and relax. 

Work-Life Balance for Mental Health

Navigating a work-life balance is a difficult feat in and of itself, but adding the element of working from home, possibly with family in the mix, is a whole new challenge. Consider a more lenient approach to the workday.  Discuss work plans with employees to understand their availability and needs.

Utilize these tips and find an approach that works best for you and your employees. Coping with a crisis is not easy, but you can offer encouragement and be there for your employees so that they can continue to be there for you and your clients.  B.Komplete is here to help.  We are offering all of our wellness services virtually.  Contact us to learn how we can engage your population, reduce employee stress, and ensure connectivity and positivity with your workforce.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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New Year – Even Better Me… Setting Resolutions that Work

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A brand-new decade, an even better me?  New Years is usually a time for reflection and optimism for the next year, or even for the next decade – it’s going to be better this time around! Are you someone who takes the opportunity of this proverbial “blank slate” to set one, two, ten… resolutions?  According to Statista, the most common resolution for 2019 was to diet or to eat healthier – not too surprising, right?! A close second place resolution was to exercise more. These were tied for first in 2018 with saving money.  

The focus for a healthier year remains on people’s minds. So why does the same thing happen year after year?  January hits and gym are packed!  The diet industry is advertising at a fever pitch.  You see more green juice, detox teas and celebrity-endorsed cleanses.  And what about the exercise equipment/device/gadget that you just MUST buy – immediately?!  By March all of these resolution habits had dissipated, as well as your motivation.  What gives? 

Three words for you: unrealistic goal setting.

Let's Get S.M.A.R.T.

When surveyed at the end of 2018, only 4% of individuals said they kept all their resolutions. The other 96% of us can attribute our failed resolutions to not having a S.M.A.R.T. goal from the beginning of the year. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is holistic and can “see into your future” to hedge for life challenges and obstacles. For example: “After 4 weeks from today, I want to weigh 6 pounds lighter”. Now let’s break down this resolution using the acronym S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific: Both 4 weeks and 6 pounds are exact.
  • Measurable: The weight on day one compared to the last day is objective.
  • Attainable: It is recommended to lose between 1-2 pounds a week for sustained loss.
  • Relevant: Starting to lose weight will help me achieve my final health goal
  • Time-bound: Four weeks is a set deadline that can be marked on the calendar.

Micro-Changes

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And whatever you are working on probably didn’t start yesterday. Instead, it is likely something you have been working on/dealing with for quite some time.  Setting small, realistic goals a few weeks at a time will set you up for long-lasting change, just like taking a major project one step at a time. Once you have finalized your S.M.A.R.T. goal it’s time to prepare for the inevitable falling off the horse. 

This could come in the form of eating a diet of strictly donuts and champagne for a week . Or it could be a week of skipping your workouts. But do NOT beat yourself up over this. We all go through loss of motivation!  And those donuts probably tasted really good.  So let it go, because it is in the past and you are living in the present.  Now is the time to get right back to your goal and focus on micro-changes. Whether it is going for a 10-minute walk during lunch, or simply always eating 1 green vegetable at dinner, or adding 3 extra glasses of water per day. Start super small and slowly build back up.  The faster you get back to what you are working on, the better you will feel, and easier it will be to stay on track.. 

Who’s Got Your Back?

Asking for support is an underestimated resource.  Our support system can help to motivate us. Not to mention, asking for help also builds stronger relationships. Having nights when you cook healthful meals with your family or friends or recruit a gym buddy can greatly improve your chances of sticking to a goal. Because when you have accountability to someone else, this can change your mindset from wanting to do something to needing to do something. Tracking your development on social media can be a way to find support in others, even if they are not local.  This can also help you to visualize progress along the way. In the case of the S.M.A.R.T. goal mentioned before, taking pictures each week could eventually be compiled into a year’s worth of change!

Live in the Now

What better time to change than now?  Because the truth is, all we have is right now. Motivation comes in waves; change can start in a moment. This means, we can make our resolutions, our S.M.A.R.T. goals, any day.  Change takes work but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just think, you can be a part of the 4% who follow through on making a lifelong change. 

In the words of Confucius, “the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.''

Let us know what your S.M.A.R.T. goal is in the comments below.  And for more health and wellness tips follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Intermittent Fasting- The Power to Help Prevent Cancer?

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We all know someone who has experienced hearing the words, “You have cancer.” According to the CDC, for every 100,000 people, there are 436 new cancer cases and 156 died due to cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. One of every four deaths in the US is due to cancer. What is one of the potential solutions to this growing disease? Let’s discuss – Intermittent Fasting.

Can intermittent fasting be a new way to help prevent this disease? Most of us already know that a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the first step to help prevent cancer.  Activities include frequent exercise, nutritious food choices, keeping a healthy weight, alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco. New research suggests that what has been a religious practice, and a very restrictive dieting program, can potentially help prevent and treat this deadly disease.

Continuous research is being done supporting the role of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention. Calorie restriction is able to reduce and delay cancer incidence, and inhibits tumor progression and metastasis. Fasting can kill cancer cells, boost the immune system, and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

What is Fasting?

It is voluntarily going without food  for varying lengths of time. Specifically, intermittent fasting is a complete avoidance of calorie intake for 16-18 hours daily or alternating a fasting day with a normal energy intake day. The theory is that it will slow your metabolism.

Pro's of Intermittent Fasting

Con's of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves biometric markers
  • Can aid in the growth of new nerve cells
  • Slow aging
  • High dropout rate
  • Overeating typically occurs following fasting days
  • Expensive meal plans
  • Limited research to support
  • Promotes a restrictive mentality

Intermittent Fasting... and Cancer?

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting means not eating for lengths of time, right? When there is more food available in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. So, you are probably thinking “what does that mean?” Insulin resistance means that cells do not respond to insulin signals, leading to more glucose in the blood and a higher fat storage. When our body is fasting, it tries to conserve as much energy as possible so the cells become more sensitive to insulin, can remove glucose from blood and there is less fat stored. Simple answer: when there is more sensitivity to insulin, cancer cells have a harder time developing or growing.

Reverses Effects of Chronic Conditions

Certain conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for cancer. When affected by these conditions, the risk for multiple times of cancers is higher, and there is a lower chance of survival. Fasting has been proven to increase weight loss. This reduces obesity rates and diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Can Improve Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

Fasting improves people’s responses to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration; protects blood against harmful effects of chemotherapy; reduces side effects from chemotherapy. Patients who were fasting during chemotherapy also reported higher energy levels and a higher tolerance.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on nutrient density by selecting wholesome foods that provide you energy, nutrients and fill your belly. Mix up your veggie choices to get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s not forget about the importance of protein! Foods with protein will keep you full, which is important for the days where you are fasting. Pay close attention to low calorie foods that create high volume- on both your plate and in your belly!

More Information

Do you want more information on this type of diet or an example of what a fasting meal plan looks like? We provide counseling and you may qualify for free sessions.  Email B.Komplete at admin@bkomplete.com for more information and to see if you quality for our free in-network counseling. 

Resources:

  1. I Tried Intermittent Fasting. Here’s What Happened
  2. Fasting- What You Should Know
  3. What To Eat On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
  4. Intermittent Fasting
  5. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

Researched and written by Alexa Clark, Dietetic Intern

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Eat like a Dietitian and Exercise like a Trainer

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Living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult for all of us . Even for someone like a registered dietitian or personal trainer. But when you choose to take the steps to overcome barriers, you’ll be surprised to find out how rewarding living healthfully can be. Today we will be introducing you to just a few of the health and wellness professionals on the B.Komplete team.  You will learn how they have succeeded in overcoming their personal barriers and living a healthy lifestyle.

Meet Art, Registered Dietitian

Art is a Registered Dietitian and Life Coach on the B.Komplete Team.  Art has a unique background in social work that allows him to make long lasting relationships with those he counsels. While he loves what he does, his favorite job is being a father to his two daughters. 

He is motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to live up to his own expectations of being able to keep up with his 4-year old now and as she grows up.  While his life can be very busy, and health has to be a conscious decision, Art finds easy ways to make it fit.  

Art finds ways to intertwine nutrition with family time. This is made simple at dinner with house favorites like taco night. Art’s family’s taco night incorporates healthier ingredients. These are ingredients like lean ground turkey, an abundance of vegetables and low-fat cheese to make them more nutritious without missing out on flavor. Educating his family through cooking is something Art really enjoys. 

Indulging and mindfulness

 Even though Art is a wellness professional, he still allows himself to indulge at times as long as he is mindful. Whether it be with a piece of chocolate for dessert or a glass of wine at dinner. He takes the time to enjoy these small treats when he craves them. This is helpful so that he doesn’t feel the need to overdo it later on.

Identifying Motivators and Habits that Work

As a health professional, Art understands the importance of tapping into his internal motivators and challenging himself to strive for better, not perfect. When he can fit in a workout, he gives it his all to make the most of his time. He goes to the grocery store when he knows it will be less busy to save time. He drinks flavored seltzer water because plain water isn’t so exciting to him. Art uses his family as his “why” and plans to grow older without aches and pains as a result of his conscious healthy lifestyle. Art wants you to ask yourself: What is your internal motivator?

Schedule a 1:1 counseling session with a Registered Dietitian.

Meet Johari, Exercise Professional

Johari is an exercise professional on the B.Komplete Team.  Johari has an extensive background in dance. It was when she became injured that her doctor told her it was time to move her career in a new direction. Johari became a wellness professional when she became a personal trainer. She still loves incorporating dance into her exercise regimen and enjoys weight training. In addition, Johari is interested in learning more about parkour and powerlifting.

 For Johari, health has been a major priority in helping her to cope with and overcome substance abuse. She sees a Registered Dietitian to learn about what foods to incorporate into her lifestyle to make her feel like her best self. Never losing her love of dance, Johari has found a way to incorporate it into her life. With her own unique routines, she dances through her kitchen to make preparing food more satisfying.

Prioritizing Health and Nutrition

Johari puts on her Prince T-shirt and “blueberry beret” to prepare one of her favorite smoothies-which you can try for yourself! This smoothie contains blueberries, almond milk, chia seeds and banana. An alternative favorite is her “Moonwalker” special made with banana, unsweetened low-fat yogurt, pineapple, mango, and honey.

While cooking is not her favorite hobby, Johari has found ways to make it a priority in her life. Her health and nutrition regimen contributes to recovery while an unhealthy lifestyle makes relapse more possible. She has found her journey as a wellness professional to be both healing and rewarding. Johari has found reward in counseling other women struggling with recovery from substance abuse. Along with meditation, prayer and artwork, listening to others through counseling has been incredibly effective for stress management.

Advice

 If Johari could give one piece of advice toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it would be to “become your own hero.” Don’t be afraid to seek advice and utilize a health or wellness professional for guidance. Talk to people who have worked with different populations and use their expertise to your advantage.

Meet Liz, Registered Dietitian

Liz is a Registered Dietitian on the B.Komplete team. As a wellness professional, she loves leading by example. Liz loves seeing other people take what she teaches them and make it work for their lifestyle. 

One of the techniques Liz has found most beneficial to alleviate stress has been doing a 10-minute meditation of complete silence every morning when she wakes up. This allows her to start with a clean slate before starting her day. Her meditation is typically followed by a sweat session at the gym. 

As a former fitness instructor, Liz often switches up her routine between cardio, strength training and circuit training. This keeps her muscles working hard and boosts her metabolism. Meditation and exercise are two things that are non-negotiable in the start to her day. She stays consistent by  scheduling them to be a priority.

Meal Prepping

Meal preparation not for you? Liz takes an interesting approach to planning her meals. She starts by picking 2 to 3 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week. Next, she makes a grocery list of all the ingredients she will need. As a fan of fresh-cooked food, Liz doesn’t make it a point to pick which meals she’ll eat when ahead of time or cook them all on one day. She picks which meal she makes based on what she’s feeling, makes double, and sets it aside. This way, she could have that meal again for lunch or dinner the next day or 2-3 days from then if desired. Extra veggies? No problem. Pre-cut or roasted vegetables are great to keep in the fridge for incorporating into future meals or snacks. For more meal prep tips visit our Meal Prep Guide for Busy People.

Liz makes health a priority in her lifestyle because she never wants her body to be what slows her down. Living healthfully allows her to not feel so guilty about her favorite guilty pleasures, ice cream and chocolate.

Advice

If Liz could give one piece of advice as a step toward living a healthier lifestyle, it would be make your life decisions based on the person that you want to be in the future, and enjoy each moment now.

Meet Natalie, Registered Dietitian

Natalie is a Registered Dietitian in the B.Komplete community. She has a very busy lifestyle, holding multiple jobs in various settings in the field. On top of that, Natalie is currently being a superwoman through maintaining her work load and living healthfully all with a baby on the way! She finds the most beneficial way for her to make health a priority is through scheduling it on her calendar. 

Natalie schedules time every night to set up her morning coffee and make her lunch and snacks for the following day. This allows her to run out the door quickly in the morning and avoid less healthy options that she may grab out or in a cafeteria had she not planned ahead.

Family and Wellness

Being pregnant, Natalie isn’t able to work out with the same intensity as she previously has, but this doesn’t stop her from finding the time to exercise. She tries her best to incorporate walking into her workday wherever possible whether it be getting up to walk to the bathroom, refilling her water bottle or saying hello to a coworker. She finds walking on her treadmill at home once a day to not only give her an opportunity to move, but time to decompress from her workday or call her friends and family. 

Taking the time to talk to your loved ones and catch up can be a great way to boost your mood while also relieving stress. Natalie has found living healthfully to be most rewarding in allowing her body to carry her through a healthy pregnancy. Living a healthy lifestyle is one controllable factor in her life that she loves to take advantage of. It leaves her feeling great, positive and more friendly. 

Advice

When your health falls behind, your life falls behind. Prioritizing your health can allow you to prioritize what matters most to you. Natalie’s biggest piece of advice is to pick one or two areas in your life that you want to focus on whether it be an activity or a relationship and schedule them! Scheduling is the key to success.

Becoming a Healthier You

So next time you’re thinking about making a change toward a healthy lifestyle, think less about how it will impact you now and more about how it can impact you in the future. Over time, these small changes can amount into a large one. Soon you won’t be able to realize a time when these habits weren’t a part of your life. Living healthfully can have a positive impact on your body, mind and overall wellbeing. It can help to prevent and reduce your risk for chronic diseases later and help you to feel better in the now. 

To learn more about our B.Komplete team and how we can help you to crush your goals, reach out to us at info@bkomplete.com

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

Nutrition and Food

Meal Prep Guide for Busy People

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A lack of time and a busy schedule are some of the reasons why people don’t cook and instead order take-out. As a result, these habits can cost us money and health.  In comparison, people who eat home-prepared meals have a healthier diet, consume fewer calories and are less likely to gain weight! [1-3] And for those with conditions like high blood pressure, which is about ⅓ of American adults,  meal prep can help be an excellent option. This can help you to create delicious and healthy meals that are lower in sodium and higher in potassium.

What’s the solution? Well, you guessed it (hint: it’s in the title) – Meal Prep.  There are numerous benefits to meal prep and planning. These include saving time and money, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining a nutritious diet, and reducing stress that comes with rushing and having to make last minute meal decisions.  

Meal planning is the key to success
for a nutritious diet.

But if lack of time is the main reason we don’t cook, then you must be thinking, how would meal prep fit into your busy schedule? This post will discuss ways to make meal planning simple, easy and work for you!

Step 1: Set yourself up for success

Lists and Planning

Create a list of healthy recipes you and your family will like.  Use a calendar or spreadsheet to organize meals and shopping lists. “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl” is a wonderful free resource to browse recipes, save them and even add ingredients directly to a shopping list associated with your account.

Use whatever method works best for you.  Here at B.Komplete, we love our Meal Prep Formula for planning healthy, balanced meals. It’s also helpful for understanding portions.

5-day Meal Prep Chart
For 400 and 550 Calorie Options
Formula: (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
Grain/Starch Choices
400 cal = ½c cooked
550 cal = 1c cooked
Vegetable Choices
1 c cooked
Protein Choices
Fat Choices
1 Tbsp per 2-3 protein choices
Protein
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Seafood
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Vegetarian
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Black Rice
400 cal: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550 cal: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Prepare 2.5 cups each
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic + Rosemary
400 cal: Prepare 5-4 oz breasts
550 cal: Prepare 5-6 oz breasts
Wild Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Thyme Grilled Tofu with Turmeric and Smoked Paprika
400: Prepare 2.5c
550 cal: ~3.75 cups
Olive Oil (good for sauteing)
Brown Rice
400: 3/4c uncooked = 2.5c Cooked
550: 1.5 Cup Uncooked = ~ 5 Cups Cooked
Carrots and Green Peas
Prepare 2.5c each
Grilled Chicken with Ground Ginger
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Wild Salmon with McCormick Salmon Seasoning Chick peas with Olives and Basil
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Canola Oil (All Purpose)
Quinoa
400: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Asparagus
Prepare 5 Cups for Each
Baked Lemon and Parmesan Chicken
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Baked Red Snapper with Black Pepper, Garlic, and Parsley Lentils with Basil, Sun-dried Tomato and Oregano
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Avocado Oil (Good for Grilling and Roasting)

 

 

Instructions on using the Meal Prep Formula Chart: cook the amount shown under the chosen item within each food group to then have enough meals for 5 days.

Examples of 400 calorie meals using the above formula  (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
  • ½ cup Black rice, 1 cup carrots and green peas (prepared with canola oil), 4 oz grilled chicken with ground ginger
  • ½ brown rice, 1 cup asparagus (sauteed with olive oil) 4 oz wild salmon with lemon, capers and thyme
  • ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli (roasted with avocado oil), 4 oz grilled tofu with turmeric and smoked paprika

Now it’s your turn! Create your own table to breeze through your week with the magic of meal prep.  If this seems complicated, we have you covered.  Schedule a meal-prep planning session with one of our Registered Dietitians.  

Tools and Supplies

Tools and Supplies

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need for prepping, cooking, and storage.

  • Large pots and saute pans, large baking/roasting sheet pans
  • Cooking utensils, knives, measuring cups
  • Large casserole dish
  • Meal prep’s best friend is a slow-cooker: Crock-Pot or Instant Pot.
  • Food Processor
  • Food containers to maximize convenience and minimize hassle.  Glass containers are a great option. When choosing containers, consider ones that are:
    • Reusable and dishwasher safe, and microwaveable safe if planning to heat
    • Well sealed to prevent leaks if there are liquids, such as salad dressings added to your meal
    • Able to keep food odors locked in
    • Easy to use and portable
    • BPA-free

Step 2: Schedule day(s) of the week

Choose which day(s) you will 1) plan your menu and meals, 2) write out a grocery list, 3) grocery shop, and 4) cook and prepare the meals. This may be done all in the same day or broken up between a couple days. Do whatever is manageable for you!

Step 3: Plan your menu and meals for the week (or month!)  

First, take inventory of your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  Try to use up leftovers and ingredients you already have — focus on utilizing items about to expire — because you don’t waste food.

Another hassle-free (and fun!) idea is to follow themed meal days such as: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday, Stir Fry Friday, Slow Cooker Saturday, or pick your favorite meal for [insert favorite dish here] Sunday. Themed meals takes the guesswork out and you can choose any day of the week to schedule it a theme.  Need help making sure you are choosing healthy recipes? Check out the Healthy Eating Plate as a simple reference on eating nutritiously. Or schedule a counseling session with one of our B.Komplete Registered Dietitians.

Step 4: Grocery list & shopping

Plan to scale up the recipe so that it will last you a couple days of dinner and/or lunch. Or you can freeze to have another week.  Again, making sure to account for items you already have on hand, create a grocery list. And then, go grocery shopping! Another benefit of using a grocery list is that it will help save time and money and reduce impulse purchases!

You can use already formatted lists like this one to the right (which you can type directly into it, or print it out to hand-write). Another fantastic option is to use a note keeping app for your phone or computer like Google Keep.

Step 5: Meal prep time

There is no one method for meal prep. So do what works for you. You can cook and assemble the entire meal or just prep some of the ingredients (eg. chopping veggies, cooking rice and pasta).

Methods

  • Buffet-Style. Prepare ingredients separately. The protein, veggies, and grains can be mixed and matched in meals throughout the week. If you are looking for a little more guidance with this method, the meal prep formula table above is the perfect tool.
    • Ideas: Steam or roast few of your favorite veggies. Then cook some rice or quinoa. And bake chicken or salmon.  Finally, mix-and-match ingredients for a balanced and nutritious dinner.
  • No-cook assembly. This is a great option when using a slow-cooker.  Chop ingredients and throw together in a container or freezer bag to store in fridge or freezer.   Then when you are ready to prepare the meal, just empty the bag into crock-pot. Easy peasy.
    • Ideas for no-cook assembly (and batch-cooking): veggie chili, stews and soups
 
  • Batch-cooking.  Basically, this when you prepare larger quantities of food to last several meals/days. With this method, you’ll cook the entire meal. Now when 6:00 PM on Wednesday rolls around, you just heat and eat.

Step 6: Storage

Storage is the final step (before eating!) and is critical to maximizing the benefits of meal prep. Also a key factor and in food safety.  Make sure you have plenty of large containers if you plan on batch-cooking.  Additionally you will need large freezer bags, and containers in a variety of sizes.

When prepping lunches, portion meals into containers you can just grab and go during the week.  It’s a sure way to enjoy a good lunch break during a busy work day!

Written by Meghan E. Smith, Dietetic Intern

Leave us a comment below and tell us how you incorporate meal prep into your week or share your S.M.A.R.T. goal!

Nutrition and Food

Healthy Hydration Hacks

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We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do.  But how much do we need to drink?  And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us?  And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water?  We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!

Hack #1: How Much Water Do We Need?

Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live.  No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Hack #2: Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?

While water reigns supreme for hydration, and can do the trick almost every time, we all get tired of just drinking water.  There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.

  • Milk.  Whether you pick dairyalmondcashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration.  Look for varieties with no-added sugar.  Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles.  In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours.  In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for re-hydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
  • Sparkling Water.  Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting.  While sparkling water may not be ideal pre-, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking.  Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day.  There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
  • Tea.  Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals.  Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine.  There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea.  Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  
  • Coconut Water.  In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes.  Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Coconut water provides potassium and sodium.  Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico.  You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.  
  • Juice.  Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water.  Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar.  Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options.  All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you.  Email us at info@bkomplete.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. 

Hack #3: Flavor Your Water

Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do.  You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass.  For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.  

Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur Water Enhancer.  Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry.  Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color.  Your kids will like this too!  Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.  

Hack #4: Hydrate with a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet.  A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!).  Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon).  Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.  

Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below!  The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round.  If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour.  Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.

Corporate Wellness

Why a Corporate Wellness Program Will Work for Your Company

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The success of any company depends on its people. And the ability of your workforce to perform at a high level consistently is supported by a positive workplace environment.  The B.Komplete Corporate Wellness Programs drive positivity, inclusion, and solutions for each company we work with.  The introduction of our Wellness Program has been successful and our results are beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Our Wellness Program takes a holistic approach to wellness, and focuses on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the employees we service.

What is a Corporate Wellness Program?

Wellness is no longer a consideration solely for the self-funded company, but instead the solution sought out by all businesses, self-funded and fully insured.  As defined by the Center for Disease Control “workplace health programs are a coordinated and comprehensive set of health promotion and protection strategies implemented at the worksite that include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community, designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees.”  A diverse range of benefits are offered under the label “workplace wellness,” from multi-component programs to single interventions, and benefits can be offered by employers directly, through a vendor, group health plans, or a combination of both.  It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for more than the last decade. There is good reason for this concern – health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs.  Read more about on blog on “How to Select the Best Corporate Wellness Program for Your Company.”

If led and monitored correctly, a wellness program can not only save your company money, but can turn into an educational, social, and supportive addition to the workplace environment and culture.

The Top 5 Reasons Corporate Wellness Will Work For Your Company

  1. Driving Sustainable Behavior Change: Unhealthy behaviors lead to health risks and conditions, which ultimately leads to increased health care costs. A well-done, on-going corporate wellness program will identify unhealthy behaviors and help the group and individuals adopt and improve their behaviors and actions.  There will be follow-up, goal setting, customized solutions, and coaching along the way. 
  2. Reduction of Health Care Costs: One of the biggest reasons for a corporate wellness program is the reduction of health care costs. This does depend on the effectiveness of the program, and if done right, the savings from the participation in the program will be much greater than the actual cost of the program. A positive ROI (return on investment) means a far more productive and much happier workplace.
  3. Increased Worker Productivity: Poor Productivity at work, also known as “presenteeism,” means being at work physically, but not working efficiently. Interestingly, the cost of presenteeism is much higher than absenteeism. From numerous smoking breaks to distraction about health concerns, poor employee productivity has a negative impact on the business productivity and workplace culture. A well-done corporate wellness program can focus on improving this metric. 
  4. Improve Employee Retention: For businesses to thrive in today’s economy, finding and retaining the best employees is important. Benefits play a large role in employee retention, and employees want benefits personalized to their needs.  The cost of losing an employee can be high; Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.  Many employees love their corporate wellness programs and teams leading the events.  An excellent benefit to provide for your workforce are having ongoing wellness events – cooking demonstrationsoffice yogachair massagecoaching and more. 
  5. Improving Workplace Culture: Holistic wellness programs that inspire mindfulness, stress management, health and vitality in the participants yields a happy group of people – thus corporate culture will be improved.  When employers truly value their workforce, they acknowledge the importance of physical, mental and emotional health. A corporate wellness program should offer a variety of solutions to best meet the needs of each employee population, and inspire improvements in workplace culture.   

Whichever reason speaks to you – from reducing healthcare costs to improving company morale, the benefits of a wellness program are countless.  Here at B.Komplete we focus strongly on meeting and exceeding the needs of our Clients, and driving healthy and sustainable improvements in the employee population.  For more on corporate wellness please visit information about our programs. To schedule a complimentary consultation call to discuss a corporate wellness program for your group, please email us at info@bkomplete.com.

Nutrition and Food

What are Pre and Probiotics?

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Many of us have heard the word “probiotics.” In fact, many of us would even be able to associate probiotics with our gut or stomach. But what do they do? How do they help our stomach and digestion, and what the heck are prebiotics?

Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to keep our gut healthy.  Probiotics help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function.   Probiotics are found in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and kimchi.   Probiotics can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt.  One reason why we are encouraged to eat more yogurt, (how many of us have watched Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis?) and certain soft, fermented cheese. Probiotics are now being manufactured into supplement form.  

Prebiotics are fiber, that basically work as a ‘fertilizer’ for the probiotics. Meaning, while the probiotics, or “good bacteria,” is working it’s way into the gut, prebiotics are helping the probiotics multiply, grow, and improve the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Interestingly, the body doesn’t digest prebiotics. It simply utilizes them to propagate probiotics in the digestive system.

Although both pre and probiotics work together to improve gut health, they are not found in the same foods. If you’re looking to add both to your diet without utilizing food sources, both can be found in supplement form.  However, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ on the B.Komplete Team strongly recommend food first – before supplements.  Dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat.  Always tell your Physician what you are doing that may affect your health, and schedule an appointment with a RDN on our team.

Foods Rich in Probiotics

Yogurt: is the number one source of probiotics. However, this only applies if the label says “active live cultures.” Any pasteurization or sterilization can kill the bacteria and then there’s no good bacteria.

Sauerkraut: Also known as lacto-fermented cabbage. When unpasteurized, contains Lactobacillus bacteria (good bacteria). In this state, it contains more probiotics than yogurt.

Miso Soup: A very popular item on a Japanese restaurant menu, this soup is made with miso paste, an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae.  Miso is a healthy, probiotic food that helps support digestion by adding beneficial microorganisms to your digestive tract.

Kefir: Similar to yogurt, there’s kefir, a fermented and cultured beverage, with a characteristic tart taste. For those with a dairy intolerance, kefir can be a good choice. Interestingly enough, a study done by Ohio State University, found that drinking kefir can reduce gas and bloating brought on by lactose consumption by almost 70%.

Pickles: Cucumbers that have been “pickled” in a solution of salt and water, using their own lactic acid bacteria, they are left to ferment, which turns them sour and a source of probiotics. Pickles are a good source of vitamin K too, although they are high in sodium, something to watch out for.

Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Asparagus: Great source of prebiotics with roughly 5% fiber by weight.  Check out this delicious recipe for asparagus salad or this recipe for an asparagus frittata

Legumes:  A great sources of protein and iron. Common legumes include; lentils, kidneys, and chickpeas. Legumes have the right amount of fiber to boost healthy gut flora.

Jerusalem Artichoke: Interestingly, Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with artichoke, with the exception of its heart’s flavor. Jerusalem artichoke is loaded with prebiotics as well as potassium and iron.  And they are easy to prepare!

Bananas: A convenient food, that has fiber and potassium.  

Oats: Healthy grains with the added bonus of prebiotics. Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which is what increases healthy gut bacteria, as well as antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory effects.

How Much Do You Need?

At present, the verdict is out on exactly how much we need to consume, however some of the regulatory and scientific groups have put forward, per day figures of:

  • Dietary fiber: 25-38 grams

If you are not used to eating a diet that is rich in fiber, start slowly.  Try adding 1 new food each day for a week that provides a good source of fiber.  You can gradually increase each week.  

We truly hope this blog post was helpful, and inspires you to add a source of pre and/or probiotic fiber into your daily food plan.  Here at B.Komplete we believe in a healthy and balanced approach to eating.  Let us know in the comment section what you try!