For ages, we’ve heard salt is one of the deadly sins. I have been guilty of being heavy handed with it in the past. Recently, I’ve discovered one of my cravings have been something salty. I’ve also noticed, sometimes food to me isn’t salty and friends that I’m with think it’s too salty. So, I decided to go on a Saltisson (salt mission). My mother was the queen of salt. I’m not talking about this new profound seasoning salt or sea salt. I’m talking about good old table/idonized salt. My mother, bless her good heart would salt every thing. Recently, I’ve been noticing folks around me shaking the shaker as well which has me believing I’m not the only one. My normal lunch routine is to eat a frozen food. Today was nothing different. People always chant they can’t eat or find pleasure in frozen meals because of the salt and the taste (different topic). I always thought they were losing it because when I eat mine, damn right I add more salt. But…should I be?!?
Studies show, women should eat one teaspoon a day in salt. One teaspoon is equivalent to 2300mg. That is also the USDA’s recommended amount. Today, women alone exceed that by 20%. The USDA is considering lowering the teaspoon a day consumption. Jennifer Nelson, R.D. Who is the chief of clinical dietetics at the Mayo clinic good & nutrition of Rochester, MN says “often people don’t realize they’re consuming too much.” Clearly, I’m in that boat.
Sodium is needed for nerve and muscle function but too much of it increases our risk of osteoporosis, kidney stones, ulcers, and of course high blood pressure. Studies from the New England Journal show that by just cutting our salt intake down by half may benefit us in shrinking our BMI by 5%.
Seems like it’s so easy to get addicted to the white stuff (not that kind of stuff) LOL. Just like our other friendly silent killer Sugar, salt may be a habit. Yes, no wonder our (I mean mine) LOL lemon drops and margarita taste so good with that pre-treat. And unfortunately like any other addiction, the more we get used to eating/having it, the more we need it to satisfy our craving.
No need to fear ladies and gentlemen!!! It’s easy to kick the salt habit to the curb. Reading the nutrition labels is the first step!!! Reaching for reduced sodium foods may also be a trick so reach for low sodium. They have as little as 25% fewer milligrams. Also keep in mind, food that have low calories and low fat have added sodium to make up for the taste :(
One of the beat ways to cut back on your sodium intake to cut back on the processed food. The golden rule is, if you make it, you know what’s in it. Follow that golden rule and watch how fast you can control your salt levels.
To help you out a bit, I found an article with some great salt alternatives.
*On greens and other veggies use olive oil & balsamic vinegar. The richness of the balsamic vinegar pairs nicely with the bitter greens
*Potatoes or pasta used roasted garlic. Garlic soothes the tanginess and makes a sweet flavour that brings carbs to life
*Eggs use low sodium salsa. Why do you think people adore huevos rancheros
*Chicken/other meats use curry. The bold flavors of indian and thai (my favorite) seasoning can add a kick to your meat
*Fish/seafood use dill or old bay. This classic seafood seasoning brings out flavor without overpowering them.
So there you have it!!! My sodium cut back has begun!!!
A couple of days ago, I had this fabulous papaya that I bought from the supermarket. The size (of course) totally caught my eye and made it into my cart and on the kitchen table. Thinking to myself “this big thing is probably not even ripe yet, let me leave it on the table for a few days” didn’t have me tearing right into it. So as I patiently waited for this humungous thing to rip, one late night my cravings kicked in and at one o’clock in the morning I found myself on the kitchen floor with a knife and boy shorts on, in front of the refrigerator with the door open for light and a watering mouth, I did it!!! I cut that bad boy open. And to my surprise, it was as if I were in a tropical heaven and now completely satisfied to eat. The next morning, still with the sweet juices on my lips all I could think of is I wonder how good papayas are for you and decided to do a little research. Here’s what I found :)
Papaya’s (as so many other fruits) seem to have a numerous amounts of benefits and in my book that means I’ve hit the jackpot!!!
Did you know???
***Their great for you skin
***They help get rid of bloating
***They help with sinus problems
***Can help with digestive problems
***One cup only has 55 calories
***Great to use as hair conditioner
***Unripe papayas may cause miscarriages due to the amounts of latex that cause contractions :(
Papaya is a native fruit of South America and is grown all over tropical and sub-tropical climates. When ripe, they have a sweet and juicy taste and has a texture and remind me of a mango. Hmm…I wonder if they are related??? They grow on a tree and their leaves are very large. Papaya plants come in three different genders: males, females, and bisexuals…NICE :) and have different flowers depending on the gender. This is how you can tell them apart. They have an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and E. Once cut open, papaya’s have black seeds inside that are edible and have a sharp and spicy taste. In some parts of Asia, the seeds are grounded up and used as pepper.
Papaya’s are also great for your healthy. They’ve been known as a flat belly food which mean they ward off bloating. They have an enzyme in them that helps break down fiber. Their bone strengtheners as well and help with improving your bones.
I encourage you to tantalize your taste buds and try a ripe Papaya :)
I found this interesting article in the July 2010 Shape Magazine and thought hmmm this can help us all :)
***I waited tables all through college and graduated school and, as a nutrition science major, never minded one bit when customers asked for substitutions. In fact, I thought it was smart! I frequently make special requests when I eat out – and encourage my clients to do the same – because even small changes can makes a huge difference in how healthy your meal is. These swaps will help you curb calories and feel just as satisfied at any quick-service or sit-down restaurant.***
1. Substitute a side of black beans for that mashed potatoes that come with your BBQ chicken – SAVE: 290 calories
2. Hold the mayo-based sauce in a sandwich or wrap, and ask for a drizzle of light balsamic vinaigrette instead – SAVE: 130 calories
3. Choose a spicy pomodoro sauce over bolognese (meat sauce) on your fettuccine – SAVE: 160 calories
4. Replace a cup of macaroni salad with a green salad with 2 tablespoons of light vinaigrette – SAVE: 322 calories
5. Trade the flour tortilla on your burrito for a bed of lettuce – SAVE: 280 calories
6. Order your scrambled eggs and cheese on a whole-grain bread instead of a roll – SAVE: 200 calories
7. Ditch the waffle cone and sprinkles on your soft-serve ice cream, opting instead for a cup and no toppings – SAVE: 185 calories
8. Top an entree salad with grilled shrimp rather than grilled chicken – SAVE: 138 calories
9. Instead of slices of standard pepperoni pizza, switch to a thin crust and top with chicken breast, peppers, onions and mushrooms – SAVE: 160 calories
10. Bag the bun and request that your burger or chicken sandwich be served on a toasted English muffin instead – SAVE: 230 calories
11. Replace the butter and syrup on your pancakes with sliced fruit – SAVE: 367 calories
12. In a chopped salad, exchange the blue cheese for feta and skip the dried cranberries and candied walnuts – SAVE: 275 calories
Thanks Shape Magazine!!!!
CF: Tell me a little bit about your outlook on having a healthy life and why is it important to you?
Claudia: Having a healthy life is important to me now. It wasn’t always. I come from a family that is not so healthy, and now that we are all getting older, I see my parents struggling with health issues. Both my parents have type 2 diabetes and I’m terrified of going down that same path. I also want to make sure I am around to see my baby nephews grow up.
CF: Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle if so why?
Claudia: I absolutely struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating balanced meals and exercising regularly were not values I was raised with. I am Latina, and food is a big part of our culture. A lot of that food is fried and rich (and delicious!), but not that good for you. It has taken a lot for me to realize that you have to decide to make new habits, and that just because you aren’t used to doing something doesn’t mean that you can’t grown to like it.
CF: What has motivated you to stay healthy?
Claudia: I am not quite healthy yet, but I am motivated to keep trying. Lots of things motivate me. Seeing the progress of my co-worker Sandra motivates me – it’s true! :) Seeing my clothes fit better and better motivates me. I am motivated by not huffing and puffing os when I walk up a hill in San Francisco, or when I carry groceries upstairs to my apartment. I am also becoming more and more addicted to the exercise “high”…that feeling you get when you are done at the gym is the best!
CF: What is your favorite cardio / strength training routine?
Claudia: I never thought I would say this, but I have fallen in love with yoga! It amazes me that something so slow and calm can make my heart beast so fast and make me sweat like I just ran a marathon! And I can feel it in my abs and arms the next day. It’s really amazing! I am also starting to like running more, though I can’t do it for very long, so I walk for 3 minutes, run for 2, walk for 3, run for 2 and so on. I keep trying to get to a point where I run for longer without having to walk in between.
CF: What’s your number one work-out song?
Claudia: Tiga – “You Gonna Want Me” (the chorus is “I know you gonna want , but when you want, it might be a different story”. Ha! take that!)
CF: How do you stay fit on days you don’t feel like crawling out of bed?
Claudia: This is the piece that I struggle with the most and am still working on figuring out. Most of the time I tell myself I will feel better if I get up and workout/eat right, and that works. Some days I honor myself and skip the workout – but I have to be careful with that because one too many times I have said “I’ll go back tomorrow” and totally fall off the wagon. LOL
CF: What makes exercising fun to you?
Claudia: I’ve recently realized that other people make exercise fun for me. I’ve tried working out on my own at home, and going for runs and stuff alone and the motivation just doesn’t last. I get energized by taking a class with people or having a trainer. Maybe it’s the accountability factor, but it also makes it feel like I am learning and not just running in place.
CF: If tomorrow was the end of the world what would you eat without feeling guilty?
Claudia: Chicken fingers with BBQ and ranch, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and a ridiculous amount of chocolate!!!
CF: What advice do you have for people who struggle with finding motivation for staying fit?
Claudia: It sounds cliche, but just keep doing it!! I had trouble with exercising for a long time because I’m usually good at most things I try, but I was NOT good at exercise, and I REALLY didn’t like sucking at something! It’s like it pained me, so I just didn’t even want to try and I found every excuse I could to give up. Then my fitness instructor said something really great to me. He said “of all the things in this world, exercising is the one thing that you can get better at really fast, and you can easily measure progress”. And it’s true! the more you do it, the easier the routines get, and where one week you could only do 10 reps, this week your’re doing 15 or 20. So I guess my advice is stick with it and it will naturally get easier.
CF: Can you share some before and after pictures with us?
Claudia: I’m still kinda stuck in the ‘before’ phase. Ha. I haven’t really lost so much weight yet to make a visible difference, but I will gladly share some pics after I start moving closer to it :)
I’ve grown to totally love SPINNING!!!!!!!!! I define spinning as this: Some exercises can be dreadful and torture and some exercises can be addictive. Spinning is my addiction. And I must say, I have it bad!!!! I spin four times a week and don’t know where I would be without it. Honestly, there are two reasons why I love it. #1 – It’s a calorie chomper – I can burn approximately 1200-1500 calories from one hour of spinning. WOW!!! #2 – It’s a class that constantly challenges me. Whenever I feel like I’m so over the treadmill, elliptical, and stair masters, I remember my spin classes are super fun and just what I need. As with everything, don’t believe the myths of spin classes. No, you don’t have to keep up with the teacher and the class, no it won’t affect your knees (unless you’re doing it wrong), and no it’s not hard. In fact, it’s the total opposite. My first time experiencing spin classes I went in with an open and positive mainframe. I was always one of those folks that checked out the participants and thought “wow…I wish I could do that.” Well one day, I mustered up the strength of being the newbie who didn’t have a clue and I went right on in. Fortunately enough, the instructor at my gym was great!!! She helped me with the key things (**see below for the key things**) and she totally made me feel like it was my world and my workout :)
Spinning is a great cardiovascular exercise. I can totally vouch for spinning and is grateful to all the pounds and leg muscles I’ve gained and lost :) Unlike the stationary bikes, which seem like dinosaurs these days, Spinning tests your endurance and your strength. If that isn’t motivation, please know spinning is great to relieve stress :)
So for anyone out there who is scared here are some key things to know about spinning:
1. Learn the proper usage of the bike! This will determine your longevity of this great activity. Please know, if the bike is not used properly you will cause harm upon yourself.
2. PACE yourself!!! Go at the pace that you’re most comfortable with. If the instructor says raise the level and you’re not ready, don’t do it.
3. Don’t be afraid to SWEAT!!! CAUTION…this will cause major sweat and it’s good for you.
4. Your workout, have fun! Spinning should be about you, your endurance and your strength. Don’t worry about the folks around you. Do your best and you’ll do great!
Top Ten Reasons To Love Spinning
1. BURN BURN BURN – The number of calories you burn will be infinite per class
2. Great cardio workout
3. Progress at your own pace
4. Time Flies
5. Low impact
6. Great legs
7. Lower your body’s workout breaking point
8. Ab workout while you spin
9. Ride together
10. Mental strength
In addition to spinning, I recommend doing strength training. Remember, the goal is to make sure we don’t encounter any saggy skin :)