Healthier Habits for a Healthier Life and a Healthier YOU!

Out of Bounds
December 6, 2014

Here’s a link to an article on my mental fitness blog, Out of Bounds. The article was written by Ron McDiarmid, founder of Healthy Living Coach.com. The article lays out the healthy habits we should all strive to incorporate into our lives… if, that is, we want to be as healthy as we possibly can be! See Healthy Habits for a Healthy Life for a great read.

The Truth About Smoothies

Healthy Smoothies vs Unhealthy Smoothies

How Healthy are Smoothies?
The following article was written by Ron McDiarmid from MyHelathyLivingCoach.com.  As we near the closing of one year and the beginning of a new year, I hope healthy eating is at the forefront of your mind. Articles such as this one  – as well as the many other articles you’ll find on the My Healthy Living Coach website – will help you get where you want to be by this time next year!

It can be a challenge to create healthy, easy meals, especially when we are on the go. The smoothie is one of the more popular health foods to emerge in recent years. And these days, you can find them anywhere, from your neighborhood new age restaurant to famous fast food joints. There’s a reason that the smoothie is so ubiquitous; they are a fast, easy and convenient way to get a lot of nutrition into your body in a short amount of time. But although smoothies have many benefits to our health, they can also cause health challenges, depending on how they are made.

What’s In a Smoothie?

Blended fruit is the most basic ingredient in a smoothie. Unlike in a juice, a smoothie can contain the entire fruit including the skin and seeds. Fruit is simply cut up and blended until it’s a liquid, instead of having its liquid extracted, as is the case with juice.

But the smoothie has much more potential than just the addition of fruit. Beyond that basic element, smoothies can include just about anything. A large number of smoothies have some sort of fat component, often a protein-rich food like yogurt or nut butter. They also tend to include a variety of fruit. Some people add supplements like protein powder, digestive supports like fresh ginger and powdered cinnamon to their smoothie. Super foods like spirulina, maca, or raw cacao can also be added.

The green smoothie is a definite favorite. This includes green leafy vegetables such kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, arugula, and lettuce. These leafy veggies can be blended with sweet fruit like bananas, or a raw vegan fat like avocado or soaked almonds can be used.

Beware the Unhealthy Smoothie

The level of a smoothie’s healthfulness depends on what has been put into it. But it’s important to understand that in a smoothie; relatively large amounts of food have been broken into tiny bits. This means that far more calories can be consumed than we realize. Making a smoothie that has over 800 calories is very easy to do. And because smoothies are liquid, we can ingest a high volume without necessarily feeling full, and then feel hungry again shortly after.

Fruit contains a lot of calories as well as naturally occurring sugar. If a smoothie is largely fruit-based, and a sweetener like agave nectar or honey is added, the sugar calories skyrocket which can spike our blood sugar levels.

Weight gain is triggered by eating too much sugar. Many think that increased fat consumption causes weight gain, but in a smoothie, healthy fats like avocados and nuts are usually added. Eating a lot of sugar places a lot of stress on the bloodstream. Whatever the body doesn’t immediately use for energy is converted into fat. And this is what makes smoothies potentially fattening; the potentially large amount of sugar that’s ingested in a relatively short period of time.

Healthy Smoothie Versions

Of course, there are incredibly healthy versions of the smoothie. One example is the vegan smoothie which contains primarily leafy green vegetables with some healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and a small amount of fruit. The vegan smoothie is a great way to boost your health. You can enjoy a large serving of nutritious greens and camouflage their taste in the fruits you add. This is a great idea for those who find salads challenging to enjoy. You can even make a sugar-free smoothie with greens, lemon, avocado, and assorted seeds.

The secret to a smoothie that supports weight loss and overall health is the careful choice of ingredients. Include only those ingredients that you would feel good about eating in a single meal. For example, if you would not eat 4 ounces of nut butter or 3 bananas in one meal, you may wish to reconsider adding them to your smoothie, because you will be consuming a high amount of calories at once.

It’s always a good idea to include a bit of fat in your smoothie to make the vitamins in the vegetables more accessible by your body. Doing this will also increase the level of satiation so that you feel full for longer, but it won’t be so much fat that your smoothie becomes a dessert. Adding just enough fruit to make the greens palatable is preferable to turning your smoothie into a fruit salad. Avoid the addition of sugar and calorie-laden ingredients like fruit juice. Do not add sweeteners unless it is stevia, which provides the sugary flavor without blood sugar spike. Ensure your smoothies are high in fiber, as this will help to slow the absorption rate of any sugar that may be present.

It also makes sense to think of your smoothie as a meal instead of a drink. Use smoothies as a main meal replacement. Enjoy your smoothie as you would any other meal, by sitting at your dining table. Drink slowly, and chew it a bit. This will help to further break down the greens and help your body to absorb it more slowly and thoroughly. If you intend to lose weight or maintain your current weight, the calories in your smoothie can be counted as a part of your daily total.

Smoothies remain one of the most versatile, healthy and convenient meal options available today. With the push of a button, we can create elaborate and delicious concoctions of fruity and green goodness. But just as with anything else, smoothies are only as healthy as their individual ingredients, amounts, and serving sizes. Choose to include mostly green veggies in your creation, along with a little healthy fat, plant-based protein, and minimal fruit, and your body will reap the many benefits.

This post is contributed by Ron McDiarmid, who is the founder of My Healthy Living Coach. Having had health challenges along the way Ron was keen to share the research and learning he gathered. Through MHLC this continued into a current presentation of healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Check out his website at www.myhealthylivingcoach.com.

Getting “Couch Tots” Up Off Their Perch

Couch Tots Grow Into Couch Potatoes...

Michael
If you’re in the vicinity of my age, then… like me… you probably marvel at the lack of outdoor activity kids get these days.

Seriously, we practically LIVED outdoors when we were kids, didn’t we?!  I don’t think I could have told you ANY television shows that were on during the day… not counting Saturday morning cartoons, of course.

Of course, parents have the extra hurdle of getting their kids away from, not just television, but also computers, iPads, iPhones, etc.

Experts recommend that kids get no more than two hours per day of “screen time” (tv, computer, and/or video games).  Most kids, however, average more than 4 hours a day.

Below are tips from the American Heart Association to get your kid(s) up and moving.  Couch tots grow up to be couch potatoes, and neither are particularly healthy as a result.

  1. Suggest and Offer alternative activities.  Have a “Family Game Night,” shoot some hoops, go for walks, or visit a nearby park.
  2. Become active with your kids.  Play with them rather than just watch them!
  3. Don’t position your furniture so that the TV is the main focus of the room.
  4. Remove TVs from bedrooms.
  5. Plan TV watching in advance. Go through the TV guide ahead of time and pick the shows you’ll watch. When the show’s off, turn the TV off.

I love the one about playing with your kids.  I’ve had some of my best times in trees, on swings, and inside blanket tents with my girls. You haven’t lived until you’ve played Barbies or paper dolls beneath a tent that spans the entire space of your living room or den.  My daughter Brittany was a MASTER tent builder!

One thing I would suggest is this:  If your child already has a certain number of shows that he/she watches faithfully – it may not be what the experts suggest, but I’d suggest not rocking the boat. Instead, how about buying a stationary bike or treadmill and tell them that (in an effort to make the family healthier) you want everyone to exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. Place it right in front of the television!  Then you can suggest that they do it during a favorite show.  Before you know it, they’ll be hopping on and working out throughout the day – and getting more and more all important exercise.

If you try to take a show away from someone who watches it and enjoys it, I think you’d just be asking for a battle.  Tensions will arise and what you’re trying to suggest (exercise/activity) will suddenly become the enemy.

You want the activity to be fun and positive, you don’t want it (or yourself!) to be the enemy.  Just think how you’d feel if someone told you, even if it were for your own good, that you couldn’t watch your favorite television shows or sports again.

I believe if anyone told me I had to give up watching Animal Planet, the History Channel, or baseball I’d throw a pillow at them.

Probably two pillows.

If a treadmill or stationary bike is out of reach (I understand the whole out of reach thing as much as anyone.) – an exercise mat, a few dumbbells, and/or an exercise ball can also do wonders.

Zoos are another fun way to get your kids, and yourself, out and about.  If you’re lucky enough to live near one, you should become a familiar face to the monkeys, tigers, lions, bears, and even the reptiles.

The best way to get your kids to become more active is to lead by example. If they see your life revolving around “screen time,” they’ll assume that’s the cool thing to do. Get moving and get grooving – your entire family will be better off.

Get those bodies moving!
~ Joi

Are Your Past Behaviors Affecting Your Health?

Are Your Past Behaviors Affecting Your Health

When it comes to health and wellness, the choices we make today are extremely important. From starting an exercise regimen to eating healthier foods, making the effort to improve health and quality of life is both noble and critical. However, our past behaviors and lifestyle choices are significant, as well. Keep reading to discover how your past is affecting your present and future health.

Smoking Cigarettes

With risks that include the development of lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a host of other illnesses, smoking is a bad habit with life-threatening effects. What’s more, the longer you smoke, the greater risk. And while these complications can be devastating, quitting now will significantly reduce risks to physical health. If you have trouble quitting, talk to a doctor about medications and other therapies that may help.

Substance Abuse

The effects of heavy drug use can be both immediate and delayed. The use of illicit substances can result in complications like overdose and reckless behaviors, as well as long-term effects like organ damage and the transmission of infectious disease. For example, individuals who used addictive substances for long periods of time are more likely to experience complications like cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, heart disease and even certain types of cancer. If you have a history with drug or alcohol abuse, talk to your doctor about the ways it may be affecting your health.

Work History

You work history can play a very important role in your health, both now and in the future. In fact, due to unsafe working conditions, exposure to harmful substances and other factors, some occupations can be extremely hazardous and, in some cases, life-threatening. For example, jobs that involve exposure to asbestos are often linked with the development of mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. Common questions surrounding mesothelioma and asbestos include the following:

  • Who is at risk? Individuals who have worked in construction, shipbuilding, the automotive industry, the military and firefighting may have been exposed to asbestos. What’s more, since asbestos is easily transferred and inhaled, the family members and loved ones of these individuals are at risk, as well.
  • What are the symptoms? Coughing, shortness of breath, pain and swelling in the chest or abdomen, and unexplained weight loss are common symptoms of mesothelioma.
  • How is it treated? Like other cancers, mesothelioma is typically addressed through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Who is at fault? In cases of workplace exposure, employers can be held accountable for the development of mesothelioma among employers. When this happens, employers can be sued for damages, including the cost of medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
  • I was exposed to asbestos; what should I do? If you were exposed to asbestos at any point in your past, ask your doctor about tests that diagnose mesothelioma and other diseases. Early detection is imperative, so even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, making an appointment as soon as possible is highly recommended.

Inactive Lifestyles

Sedentary lifestyles can lead to lifelong complications to health and wellness. Illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity often occur as a result of long-term inactivity. The good news is, that while some complications may need to be addressed with medications and other therapies, getting active now can significantly enhance health and quality of life. To treat and prevent the effects of an inactive lifestyle, speak to a doctor today to find out how regular exercise can help.

If your past behaviors and lifestyle choices are affecting your health, remember that hope is not lost. By taking the proper steps toward a healthier lifestyle, you can repair some of the damage, and prevent future complications to health and wellness.

McDonald’s Trivia: Things You Didn’t Know About the Fast Food Giant (Infographic)

Figures, Facts, and Controversies

I thought the infographic below was pretty interesting -hopefully you’ll think so, too. I have to admit, since I had to start eating gluten free, I never go to McDonald’s anymore. Since Wendy’s has chili and baked potatoes, it’s now my “personal fast food giant!” ~ Joi

Created by: comparecamp Author: Robin Renford See our: Tumblr

Are Grains Harming Our Brains?

A Renowned Neurologist Says, "YES!"

Grain Brain
I often like to remind Self Help Daily readers that I am not a doctor, nurse, or any other variety of medical expert.  I’m like most of you – I gather my information from experts, then come to my own conclusions, based on their years of expertise and research.

I thought this would be an appropriate time to remind you of this very fact as I introduce you to one such expert and his fascinating studies with grain’s effects on the brain.

Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, has a very popular book that you may have heard of:  Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers.

If you’ve read much on the subject of wheat and other forms of gluten, you probably realize that the wheat we have today is not the wheat our great grandparents enjoyed. As William Davis, MD points out in Wheat Belly, “…  today’s wheat has been genetically altered to provide processed-food manufacturers the greatest yield at the lowest cost.”

Grain Brain  and Wheat Belly are filled with information about the negative effects this “genetically altered” wheat has on our bodies and minds.

Here’s a scary statistic: More than 5 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s. That doesn’t even count the numbers who are living with other forms of dementia – If we knew the numbers for those, combined with the Alzheimer’s numbers, I’m certain we’d lose sleep.

For weeks.

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Board Certified neurologist, and author of the book Grain Brain believes we can do a GREAT deal to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by our diet alone.

Perlmutter says we should focus on eating lots of nuts, veggies, olive oil, eggs, wild fish, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, avocados and some dairy, but to always choose whole milk.

As for what we should avoid, he says to stay away from trans fats, sugars, processed foods and carbs.

He gives the green light for eating fruits sparingly but says we should completely eliminate gluten.

From Amazon:

David Perlmutter, MD, blows the lid off a topic that’s been buried in medical literature for far too long: carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthyones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. Dr. Perlmutter explains what happens when the brain encounters common ingredients in your daily bread and fruit bowls, why your brain thrives on fat and cholesterol, and how you can spur the growth of new brain cells at any age. He offers an in-depth look at how we can take control of our “smart genes” through specific dietary choices and lifestyle habits, demonstrating how to remedy our most feared maladies without drugs. With a revolutionary 4-week plan, GRAIN BRAIN teaches us how we can reprogram our genetic destiny for the better.

GRAIN BRAIN is a #1 New York Times bestseller and a finalist for a 2013 Books for a Better Life award.

Reviews for Grain Brain:

“Dr. Perlmutter takes us on a detailed tour of the destructive effects that ‘healthy whole grains’ have on our brains. Modern wheat, in particular, is responsible for destroying more brains in this country than all the strokes, car accidents, and head trauma combined. Dr. Perlmutter makes a persuasive case for this wheat-free approach to preserve brain health and functioning, or to begin the process of reversal.” –William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly

“If you want to boost your brain power, keep your memory, and lift your mood and energy, as well as heal from a host of other common complaints, Dr. Perlmutter is your guide. This is the definitive instruction book for the care and feeding of your brain!” –Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution

“Dementia and many other brain diseases are not inevitable, nor are they genetic. They are directly and powerfully linked to a diet high in sugar and grains. Grain Brain not only proves this, it also gives you everything you need to know to protect your brain–or a loved one’s–now.”–Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

If  you’re interested in learning more about Grain Brain, click through one of the links or the picture at the top.

~ Joi

Coming Next Week: My review of Wheat Belly!

Review: Bend Your Brain (From the Minds Behind “Marbles” The Brain Store)

151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (And Grow) Your Mind

Bend Your Brain
Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind has a few questions for you: Want to get your frontal lobe breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

If you’re as interested in mental fitness and brain health as I am, you’ll answer this question with a question of your own: How soon can we begin?!

Fortunately, you can begin the second you get your hands on this outstanding book. Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind is actually more than a book, if we’re being honest here. It’s more of a workout program for the part of our body that is probably taken more for granted than any other part.  Which is perfectly ridiculous when you consider that it runs the whole shebang.

Bend Your Brain
From the Back Cover:

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.
Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they’ve sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they’ve learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of BrainCoaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they’ve designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.
Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):

·  Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
·  Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
·  Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
·  Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
·  Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.

Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin! –  Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind

Bend Your Brain
I have to say, I love everything about “Bend Your Brain.”  I know the STELLAR reputation Marbles: The Brain Store has in the mental fitness world.  When it comes to brain fitness, Marbles is “all in.”  They invest their hearts, bodies, and souls into discovering how the brain works, what it needs to keep working at an optimum level, where problems can arise, and what steps can be taken to avoid these problems.  I’d have as much confidence in their teachings on brain health as I would Rachael Ray’s teachings on cooking, Jillian Michael’s teachings on physical fitness, Albert Pujols’ teachings on swinging a baseball bat…

Well, you get the idea. We’re talking about experts in their chosen field.

MARBLES: THE BRAIN STORE is in malls across the country. They’ve been featured in Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, USA Today, and Wired, as well as on the Today show and Martha Stewart Living.  Like I said… experts.

While the book is flexible, the cover is made of a very sturdy material – it isn’t the type of “romance novel” paper covers that dog-ear or tear. It’s ideal for curling up in a comfy chair with a pencil and a hot Chai Tea Latte as you treat your mind to a FUN and STIMULATING workout.  I’m, perhaps, more familiar with brain games and brain puzzles than the average person. Another one of my blogs (“Out of Bounds“) involves mental fitness and brain health.  While doing research for the articles on “Out of Bounds,” I’ve bought and used countless books with “brain stimulating” puzzles.

Frankly, there are quite a few on the market that are outstanding. However, the puzzles throughout Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind are different from other puzzles I’ve seen in other books. Bend Your Brain does a much better job of letting you know WHY you need each type of puzzle.  I also love the fact that the puzzles address the five key brain categories (visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory).

What good would it be to focus on just one or two?!?!

If I were to recommend one book for the individual who is interested in protecting and strengthening their mind, this would be the book.  The puzzles are a PERFECT blend of challenging, very challenging, and OMG challenging.  What’s more, they’re a lot of fun!

If you’re looking to strengthen your mind and memory, increase self-confidence, and even improve your problem-solving skills, Bend Your Brain shouldn’t just be the next book you buy… it has to be the next book you buy.

Click through and learn more about Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind. Trust me, this is one you and your brain are going to love.

Never stop learning!
~ Joi

Bend Your Brain Book Review
Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

The Blender Girl (Review on “Get Cooking”)

Get Cooking's Review of The Blender Girl
July 31, 2014

Vegetable Smoothie

Here’s a link to a review I wrote on my food blog – it’s for a visually beautiful and nutritionally bountiful cookbook, The Blender Girl by Tess Masters. This cookbook is currently the #1 Bestseller on Amazon for Blender Recipes and it’s little wonder. The recipes are excellent and the advice is priceless.

See: The Blender Girl Review on Get Cooking!

Get blending!
~ Joi

Why The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman Should be the Next Book You Buy (Review)

Ten Reasons Why You're Going to Love this Book

The VB6 Cookbook Collage

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore

If you’re looking for fun, simple ways to eat healthier, here’s a book that’ll prove to be a dream come true for you. The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night doesn’t just provide you with delicious, easy to make recipes that won’t break the bank, it makes eating healthier fun and.. yes… tastier.

Okay. Before you accuse me of getting my Self Help Blog mixed up with my Food Blog (Get Cooking) let me assure you I’m posting a cookbook review on Self Help Daily for an excellent reason. You see, this isn’t just a cookbook. This book is actually part of a life improving program, The VB6 plan by Mark Bittman.  Anything that can improve someone’s health and life is a perfect fit for a self help and self improvement blog.

Have you ever heard the term “flexitarian?” Flexitarian refers to a relationship with food that isn’t 100 percent strictly vegan.  It’s a way of eating that is flexible, meaning more people will actually STICK with it. Mark Bittman’s VB6 program is simplistically beautiful: You simply eat vegan before 6:00 pm.  The program has helped a great number of people improve their health, lose weight, and feel better than they’d felt in years.

See? I told you this book was a perfect fit for a Self Improvement blog!

Below are the Top 10 Reasons you shouldn’t wait another day before you buy The VB6 Cookbook:

  1. Gorgeous Book. Whenever I review a book on Self Help Daily or Get Cooking, I always pay close attention to my first impression of the book. Is it well-made (meaning it’ll stand up to years of use and enjoyment)? Is it attractive? Does it look like the publishers were serious about impressing the readers or was their heart only halfway into it? The VB6 Cookbook is a real looker. The beautiful, hardback, 250+ page book is everything, visually, I’d want a book to be.
  2. Mark Bittman. Period. To say I cook a lot is a ridiculous understatement. I’m in my kitchen more often than a Priest is in church.  I’m seldom happier than I am when I’m cooking meals for my family and I LOVE trying out new recipes as much as I LOVE using and re-using favorite recipes.  Mark Bittman is the author of many of my favorite recipes. When I want to try out a new recipe for something in particular, I’ll turn to Mark Bittman’s recipes before I turn to a lot of household name celebrity chefs.  His recipes never fail, it’s as simple as that.
  3. Healthy Eating = Healthy Living. Not long ago, I spent a few days in the waiting room of a cardiology surgical center.  I was with a family member who was WAY too young to find themselves in a hospital gown in such a place. Sad thing was, as I looked around, I saw A LOT of people who were WAY too young to be where they were. Heart disease isn’t just frightening, it’s striking more and more people and it’s striking them at younger ages.  Plain and simple, it’s the American diet and something has got to be done about it.  We’re creating our own plague of Biblical proportions and if people don’t wake up and start eating healthier, they’ll find themselves in hospitals, cardiology departments, and worse.
  4. KISS.  No, not the rock group.  KISS as in Keep It Simple, Stupid.  This book – or more to the point, this program – makes it painless and incredibly simple to start eating healthier. If you don’t know why that’s important, you must have skipped number 3.
  5. Delicious Food! Even if, somehow, you didn’t associate these recipes with healthier eating, you’d still love the delicious flavors.
  6. Fun Food.  Whether you’re one of those people who live to cook (like me) or you’d rather do just about anything BUT cook, you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook.  The recipes are fun, creative, and mix things up a bit in the kitchen.  You’ll find recipes you’ll be so excited about you’ll want to try them the very day you get the book.  I actually made my first recipe (Chipotle “Mayo”) from The VB6 Cookbook within 2 hours of getting the book in the mail. That’s a new record, even for me.
  7. Your Family. While this one may somewhat tie in with number 3, it’s important enough to get it’s very own number.  The more healthy meals you’re able to feed your family, the better their health will be. Not only are you giving them wholesome, healthy food at one particular meal, you’re introducing them to a whole new relationship with food. They’ll soon realize that healthier eating is actually more flavorful than unhealthy eating.  When you get right down to it, most unhealthy food tastes pretty much the same.  Fried. Fatty. Salty.  The VB6 way of eating will introduce your loved ones to a world of wonderful flavors that’ll make them fall in love with healthier eating.  Here’s a little secret about eating healthy – you can keep this between you and me, the kids and spouses don’t have to know: Healthy eating becomes addictive.  When you get rid of the bad stuff, you’ll find yourself craving the good stuff.  Where you once said, “I need a big fat cheeseburger with a farmer’s wealth of bacon,” you’ll find yourself thinking, “I have to have a Cherry Vanilla Smoothie and Vegetable Pot Pie or maybe Schezuan Beef and Celery..” (3 of the recipes in the book).  I don’t know why – but it’s my experience that the healthier you eat, the healthier you want to eat. Sadly the same is true about unhealthy eating.
  8. Motivation and Inspiration.  The first pages of the book include Mark Bittman’s “My Story.”  The motivational intro makes you even more committed to eating right. Basically, you jump right in the boat with the author and agree to go on a healthier journey with him.  He’s one of those authors who write in a manner that makes you feel like he’s talking to you, personally.  Reading his books (and even his recipes) feels like you’re having a nice little visit with him.  This type of writing cannot be taught, it’s a gift and when he was gifted, he was gifted generously.
  9. Information and Advice Beyond the Recipes.   After the wonderful Introduction, pages 12 through 45 lay out the VB6 plan beautifully. There are charts, information, meal plans, ideas, suggestions, and more.   There are also personalized tips and ideas with each recipe in the book – including “variations” and “more ideas.”
  10. You’re the Boss of You.  While The VB6 program is best (as in you’ll see the most results) if you follow it as designed, when all’s said and done, You’re the boss of you!  If you want to approach the program strictly and eat Vegan before 6:00 on most, if not all, days – go for it!  If you want to simply add MORE vegetarian meals to your diet, then approach the cookbook in that way.  If you’re simply looking for fresh new healthy recipes to serve your family… the cookbook is still a must have.

 Some of the recipes you’ll love:

  • Chipotle “Mayo” (the first recipe I made from the book – delicious! This “mayo” is a great dip for vegetables and is excellent as a condiment for burgers or protein patties)
  • Scrambled Sweet and Hot Peppers
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Nut Butters
  • Everyday Salad Bowl
  • Blueberry Spoon Bread
  • Schezuan Beef and Celery
  • Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
  • Avocado Banana Smoothie
  • Morning Milkshake
  • Pork Chop Pan Roast
  • Raspberry Sorbet on a Stick
  • Green Toast
  • Fruit Candy
  • Frozen Tropical Truffles
  • Red Paella with Scallops
  • Beans, Shrimp, and Fennel
  • Southwestern Bean Dip with Peppers (black beans, cloves,cilantro…)
  • Red Soup
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Big Batch Cooked Beans
  • Rice Pudding with Slow-Roasted Fruit
  • MANY MANY MANY more.

From the Back Cover:

Mark Bittman’s breakthrough diet plan, first introduced in the #1 New York Times bestselling VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good (click through for the hard back version of this bestseller  – a Kindle edition is also available), has been hailed as “compelling” (Publisher’s Weekly), “commonsense” (Washington Post), “sustainable” (TheKitchn.com), and a “small painless change” that can have a “huge impact” (Salon.com). Now he expands on his appealing, simple, reasonable approach to flexitarian cooking with a companion cookbook, featuring hundreds of delicious new ways to make VB6 your permanent style of eating. It’s never been easier to eat vegan before 6:00 – and deliciously all of the time.

I hope you’ll click through and take a closer look at The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night – I’m really excited about this particular approach to eating and I’m having a ball with the wonderful recipes.

I know you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook just as much as I do.

~ Joi

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Allergy Sufferers Survival Kit

Everyday Health

Everyday Health proves, again and again, to be a goldmine of great health-related information. If they offered 205 newsletters, I’d subscribe to them all. A recent slideshow was especially helpful (and timely). Portable Items to Stop Allergies in Their Tracks, by Madeline Vann, MPH, includes a lot of “Allergy Hacks” that aren’t just useful, they may very well be life-saving.

I found a few ideas in the slideshow that I’d never thought of – and I’ve lived with allergies all my life. Sometimes it almost feels like I’m allergic to more things than I’m NOT allergic to!

If you suffer from allergies, you’ll want to check out this awesome list of things you need to put together for your very own Allergy Survival Kit. You’ll see a few that you probably already keep on you at all times, but I’m sure (like me) you’ll find some you hadn’t even thought of.

Like why you should take vinegar with you to the beach or the common sense of always having a change of clothing with you. Great stuff, trust me.

~ Joi