Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wellness Wednesday: All About Caffeine

Caffeine is a substance found in coffee, tea, chocolate and soda.  Caffeine is frequently an additive in energy drinks, candles, and even some medications.  Research indicates caffeine can have both negative short term effects and long term benefits, so - it should be consumed in moderation and never abused. 

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant which also acts as a diuretic, increasing urine output.  Excess caffeine can cause rapid breathing, increased heart beat, dizziness, muscle twitching, sleep disruption, and changes in alertness. 

In most adults, recommended caffeine intake ranges from 200-300mg per day equal to 2 to 4 cups of coffee; however, quantifying excess caffeine is challenging; there are a variety of factors that determine how much is too much:

If you drink excess caffeine --  500 -600mg/daily, can cause insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.  Slowly swap out each cup for a cup of water. 

If you have the jitters -- some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine then others.  This could be due to body mass, or medications or a history of anxiety. 

If you can't sleep --  adults need 6 to 8 hours sleep nightly and excess caffeine can cause disruptions in sleep pattern; sleep deprivation can cause decreases in daytime alertness and productivity;  too much caffeine can be cyclic -- drinking caffeine to stay alert, you loose sleep, and then your productivity is affected.  Control what you can -- get proper sleep!

There are health benefits.  When you consume caffeine it gets absorbed in the stomach and small intestines.  From there it is distributed throughout the body circulating to the brain.  Neurological benefits include alertness, improved cognition and improved mood.

Addicted?  As with any substance, an addiction to caffeine is a possibility, but dependency is more likely.  If you can't make it through the morning without your caffeine, test yourself.  Take one day off and drink water only.  If you experience a headache, fatigue or irritability, take it as a sign you need to cut back. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wellnes Wednesday: Flavoring without Salt

The average American consumes 6 to 18 grams of salt daily.  That's roughly one to three teaspoonful.  Our bodies actually only need 0.5grams of salt (0.2grams / 200mg / sodium) daily.  Salt should be limited to 2300mg daily.  This is about 1 teaspoon of table salt.  (More on salt later)

For now, here  are ways to make foods tasty without using salt. 
Try these flavorings, spices and herbs:

   For Meat, Poultry and Fish

Beef:   Bay Leaf, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Onion, Pepper, Sage, Thyme

Lamb:   Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint

Pork:    Garlic, Onion, Sage, Pepper, Oregano

Veal:   Bay Leaf, Curry  Powder, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano

Chicken:   Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Paprika, Poultry Seasoning, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme

Fish:   Curry Powder, Dill, Dry Mustard Lemon Juice, Marjoram. Paprika, Pepper

For Vegetables

Carrots:   Cinnamon, Cloves, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sage

Corn:   Cumin, Curry Powder,  Onion, Paprika, Parsley

Green Beans:  Dill, Curry Powder, Lemon Juice, Marjoram Oregano, Tarragon, Thyme

Greens:  Onion, Pepper

Peas:  Ginger, Marjoram, Onion, Parsley, Sage

Potatoes:  Dill, Garlic, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Sage

Summer Squash:    Cloves, Curry Powder, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sage

Winter Squash:  Cinnamon, Ginger Nutmeg, Onion

Wednesday, August 17, 2016



The fact is: we all need fats. Fats helps nutrient absorption, nerve transmission, maintaining cell membrane integrity etc. However, when consumed in excess amount, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Fats are not created equal. Some fats promote our health positively while some increase our risks of heart disease. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet.
Saturated fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. Some plant foods are also high in saturated fats such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Trans fats are invented as scientists began to "hydrogenate" liquid oils so that they can withstand better in food production process and provide a better shelf life. As a result of hydrogenation, trans fatty acids are formed. Trans fatty acids are found in many commercially packaged foods, commercially fried food such as French Fries from some fast food chains, other packaged snacks such as microwaved popcorn as well as in vegetable shortening and hard stick margarine.
Monounsaturated fats lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Nut, canola and olive oils are high in monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Seafood like salmon and fish oil, as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.
  • avoid using cooking oils that are high in saturated fats and/or trans fats such as coconut oil, palm oil or vegetable shortening. Instead, use oils that are low in saturated fats and high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil, olive oil and flax seed oil.
  • minimize using commercially packaged foods which are high in trans fats. Always read labels to look for trans-fat free alternatives.
  • as saturated fats are found in animals products, use lower-fat version dairy such as 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk. Trim visible fats and skins from meat products.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wellness Wednesday: Basic Calorie Requirements Calculation Based on Activity Level

I'm often asked what the daily calorie intake should be.  
An average woman needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. 
An average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week.

However, there are also numerous factors, including age, height, current weight and activity levels that need to be considered.  Below is a safe formula for determining how many daily calories you should consume based on activity level.  .  

Sedentary : 13 X Weight = Avg. cal/day
Sedentary is not exercising at all

Moderately Active: 16 X Weight = Avg. cal/day
Moderately Active is exercising approximately 3-4 times per week

Very Active: 19 X Weight = Avg. cal/day
Very Active is 5-7 strenuous exercise sessions per week.

If you weigh over 200 pounds now, and you'd like to weigh closer to 150, here is a calculation you could use to get started:

(Assuming you are going to be adding enough exercise to qualify as Moderately Active, we'll use 16 as our modifier):

150 pounds X 16 calories per pound = 2400 calories
Less 500, gives us a total of 1900 average calories per day
(Using the common 500 calories per day reduction for weight loss)

Use the FREE smart phone AP (which is also available online) ~>  MyFitnessPal,
to help you track your nutrition and exercise.  Share your ideas, successes and/or failures with weight management.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Time to prepare for the 2016 Walk to END Alzheimer's.
Please visit our page and donate $$$ (No amount is too small) and sign up to walk with PCC's team.
November 5th
Registration at 8am
Ceremony at 9am
Walk at 9:30am...
Wrightsville Beach
1 Bob Sawyer Dr.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Healthy Diet to Maintain Weight

Sunday, the beginning of a new week and with it, anew opportunity to begin a healthy lifestyle.  Healthy eating is the cornerstone of healthy weight management. For example, without certain vitamins and minerals our metabolism cannot function efficiently, which often leads to weight gain.
One pound of fat -- is equal to 3,500 calories.  By shaving 500 calories a day through dietary and exercise modifications, you can lose about a pound a week. If you only need to maintain your current weight, shaving 100 calories a day is enough to avoid the extra 1-2 pounds most adults gain each year.
Adopt one or more of these simple, painless strategies to help maintain weight without going on a "diet":

  1. Eat Breakfast Every Day. One habit that's common to many people who have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day.  "Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the boardroom." Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
  2. Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else.
  3. Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do.  Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly.  If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Exercise: A Healthy Habit

A good goal for many people is to work up to exercising 3 to 6 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Start slowly and remember that any amount of exercise is better than no exercise.

You can begin by performing light exercise for 10 minutes or a light walk every day and gradually increase how hard you exercise and for the length of time you exercise.  Or maybe,  exercise for 10 minutes three times a day.  

Start every work out with a warm up. That makes your muscles and joints more flexible. Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing light calisthenics and stretching exercises. Do the same thing when you are done working out allowing your heart to return to normal rate. Listen to your body. Stop exercising if you feel out of breath, dizzy, faint, and nauseated or have pain.

To make exercise a habit:
  • Choose something you enjoy doing. Make sure it suits you physically.
  • Get a partner. Exercising with someone else can make it more enjoyable.
  • Vary your routine. This prevents you from getting bored. Walk one day, bicycle the next.
  • Choose a comfortable time of day. Do not work out right after eating. Do not work out when it is too hot or too cold outside.
  • Do not get discouraged. It may take weeks or months before you notice change from your exercise.
  • Forget “no pain, no gain”. A little soreness is normal after you first begin exercising, pain is not. Stop if you hurt.
  • Make exercise fun. Read, listen to music or watch the television while riding a stationary bicycle or walk at the park, go dancing, learn to play tennis.
Make exercise a habit:
  • Stick to the same time every day.
  • Contract with yourself to exercise.
  • Write your exercise appointments on your calendar.
  • Keep a daily log of your activity.
  • Monitor your progress.
Let us hear how your exercise program is going!