Tips For Changing Your Diet

It’s time to face facts. You’ve outgrown your diet- in more ways than one. Your waistline has matured and its time for your tastes to do the same. It’s come down to saying goodbye to your Oreos or your skinny jeans, and nothing comes between you and your Calvins. You need to revamp your diet or restock your closet, and you’ve made your choice. The only thing is, you’ve gotten so comfortable eating junk food, you don’t know where to start. Hold on to your cutoffs; here are some tips for changing your diet.

It’s Hard
We’ve all heard the expression, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that doesn’t mean there are no exceptions. John Foreyt, PhD, says, “Many people are skeptical about changing their diets because they have grown accustomed to eating or drinking the same foods, and there is fear of the unknown or trying something new.”

He also notes the tendency to lapse into old habits during times of stress. “Everything can be going along just fine until you hit a rough patch.” To combat these feelings, Foreyt advises that you acknowledge the habits you want to fix, figure out why you have these habits, and make a plan to slowly change your bad habits into healthy ones.

Steps to Fixing Bad Eating Habits

Go slowly
Make changes slowly. Experts recommend starting each day with a good breakfast and getting 8 hours of sleep a night to avoid stress eating.

Work on structuring your meal habits. Eat seated at a table without distractions and try to eat more frequently with family. Try to learn to eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

Make dietary changes. Aim to reduce portion sizes by 20% and no second helpings. Use whole grain bread for sandwiches and swap mayo for mustard. Flavor coffee with skim milk instead of cream and eat a healthy meal or snack every few hours.

Mother and daughter making salad

Change your cooking methods. Use cooking spray and nonstick pans instead of oil to reduce fat and experiment with more nutritional ways of cooking, like roasting, baking, grilling, or poaching.

Drink more water and cut down on sugary sodas and juices. Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day. Try to eat large portions of foods with high water content, like salads and veggies, instead of calorie dense foods, and flavor foods with herbs, vinegar, lemon, or mustard instead of fattening sauces.

Pay Attention
Become more aware of what you’re eating. Keri Gans, MS, RD, advises, “Read food labels. Become familiar with lists of ingredients and start to take notice of everything you put into your mouth.” Once you begin to assess your diet, you will probably realize the need for improvement.

New Week New Goal
Maybe one week your goal will be to try a new vegetable, or a new exercise. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at one time. Take it slow and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Be a Realist
Don’t expect to see results right away and keep in mind that it usually takes about a month to adapt to new habits.

Diet planning

Have a Plan
Be specific. “To say ‘I am going to work our more,’ won’t help you,” says Gans, “what will help is thinking about when and how you can fit it into your lifestyle.” Plan certain days on which you will go to the gym and stock up on healthy food.

Manage Stress
Change can be stressful. To handle it, Foreyt advises, “Focus on dealing with stress through exercise, meditation, or whatever works for you, so you don’t fall back into those bad habits during periods of stress or use food to help you cope with the situation.”

Are you working on changing your eating habits? Let us know how its going and add your comments and suggestions!

woman stretching hands after waking up

Wake Up Without That Puffy Feeling

What does the term “Fat Monday” mean to you? In the New Orleans Mardis Gras, it is known as the Monday before Ash Wednesday marking the tradition of the New Orleans carnival king’s arrival. However, to those of us who devote our weekend to gluttony, Fat Monday has a very different, not so celebratory meaning. Is Saturday your cake and cookie night? Do you spend your Sunday afternoons trolling social media with a melting pint of Haagen Dazs? If so, you are probably all too familiar with Fat Mondays. However, Fat Mondays are ok; it’s when Fat Mondays become Fat Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when you have to start to worry. When you start feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, there may be some simple mistakes you’re making.

1. You eat a late night dinner heavy on carbs and sugar
While a big dinner and dessert may feel like the perfect ending to a perfect day, it might not mean such a great morning after. Meals right before bed time force your body to concentrate on digesting food instead of getting a good night’s sleep. If you want some quality shut-eye, you’re better off eating a small serving of protein and swapping the mashed potatoes and fries for sweet potatoes. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in sweet potatoes will keep you fuller and reduce sugar cravings.

2. You’re eating too many sweets
If you’re getting a sugar high at night, you can expect a crash in the morning. Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician, says, ” Refined, processed and sugary carbs are empty calories.” They require a lot of energy to digest, but leave you depleted of nutrients, Whole grain toast with almond butter can be a better way to fix the sugar craving while getting some nutritional value.

3. You’re eating lean meats and proteins late at night
Blatner says, “Protein takes the longest of any food group to digest, so too much of it will make your body work too hard and not be relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep. To avoid this, try to get your protein by eating smaller portions of protein rich meals throughout the course of the day, rather than late at night

woman eating fruits at night from fridge
4. You eat too much fruit
Although fruit contains loads of vitamins, it also contains a lot of natural sugar, which can be harmful if you have diabetes and can also lead to a stomach ache. If you want to get your fruit fix, your best off with a handful of cherries, which contain phytochemicals like melatonin, to enhance sleep. Bananas are another great choice.because they contain muscle relaxants like potassium and magnesium to ensure a better sleep.

5. O.J., Coffee, or “Nightcap”
O.J. and coffee are traditional breakfast beverages and should probably remain that way. If you’re prone to acid reflux, orange juice is not the best pre- slumber choice and neither is coffee. Drinking java anytime after 2 p.m. can be enough to impede sleep and even decaf can contain some caffeine. Although alcohol can help to bring on sleep, the quality of the sleep may not be the good, According to Blatner, “Instead of getting a good night’s sleep, your body has to work to metabolize the alcohol. Chamomile or mint teas are both better nighttime options.” If you want a snack before sleep, try to keep it around 150 calories with a little protein so it doesn’t disrupt the sleep cycle and leaves you feeling energized in the morning.

If you’re a pre-bedtime snacker, we’d love to know how you keep the puffiness away? Drop us a line! We love to hear from you!

Pomegranate salad

Winter Salads That Make A Meal

In 1904, New Castle Pennsylvania resident, Mrs. John E. Cook took third place in a recipe contest for her “Perfection Salad.” The Jello- encased salad contained a suspension of almost anything that was vaguely identifiable as produce, including cabbage, carrots, and olives to name a few and was characterized by its vinegary flavor. The original recipe suggested serving the molded salad sliced and with mayonnaise in cases made of green or red peppers alongside grilled fish or salmon. The dish earned Mrs. Cook a sewing machine and became a favorite of homemaking magazines for decades.  Although the “Perfection Salad” would probably make a great centerpiece for your holiday table, it might be best off left just there, in the center of the table. If you are looking for some winter salads that might actually end up on someone’ s plate, here are a few ideas.

Orange Pomegranate Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
If you want a salad pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds, this is it. Brimming with the colors of citrus, pomegranate, and spinach, the salad is perfectly complemented by a light dressing with hints of orange zest, rosemary, mustards and shallots.

Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Clementines and Pomegranates
What do you call scared broccoli? Cauliflower! Shaving the cauliflower can be a bit challenging, if you want them sliced as thinly as the recipe suggests, but the results will be with it. Let the cauliflower soak in lemon juice and sea salt beforehand, allowing the tangy taste to work its way in. Add celery, clementines, pomegranate, with tahini and honey for the dressing. Bonus points for this one: it can be made a day ahead of time, just leave off the dressing until you are ready to serve.

Warm Buckwheat Salad with Roasted Kabocha and Caper Berries
Buckwheat is a complete vegetable protein and a great source of amino acids. Also, because, despite its name , it is not a wheat, it is also gluten-free, making it perfect for those with sensitivities to wheat and gluten. Mix up some toasted buckwheat groats or kasha with hearty beans and kabocha squash. Top with pea shoots, raisins, almonds sunflower seeds and caper berries in oil and vinegar. Heat and serve. Yum!

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hazelnuts and Cranberries
The name almost says it all, but the three slices of thick cut bacon and the Pecorino Romano cheese may be the real selling points for this lovely warm salad. It gets its flavor from maple syrup and its crunch from chopped hazelnuts.

Cranberry, Glazed Walnut, Orange, Avocado and Blue Cheese Salad
Get a mouthful of this mouthful! Hard to say, but easy to prepare, all you need are some dried cranberries, glazed walnuts, mandarin oranges, blue cheese, and avocado. Drizzle with cranberry vinaigrette and prepare for a healthy feast.

Note that all of these recipes can be encased in gelatin. Let us know if any of these made it to your holiday table! We’d love to hear what you thought!

Woman with vegetables

Reduce Your Risk Of Illness By Eating Cruciferous Vegetables

If you are a fan of “The Big Bang Theory,” you may have seen the episode called “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification.” In this episode, Sheldon calculates his life expectancy only to find that he will not live long enough to witness the point at which man will be able to transfer his consciousness into machinery, or put simply, turn into robots. In an effort to prolong his life so he can witness the realization of this phenomena, Sheldon decides to adapt to healthier lifestyle habits, including the transformation of Thursday Pizza Night into Thursday Cruciferous Vegetable Night, beginning with Brussels Sprouts. If you have seen this episode, you will know that things don’t go well for Sheldon. Cruciferous Vegetable Night is made a thing of the past and everyone ends up at the Cheesecake Factory meeting Steve Wozniak.

Ok, so cruciferous veggies were not the way to go for Sheldon, but that is not to say that they are not without their benefits. Cruciferous vegetables are part of a healthy diet and are proven to be effective in cancer prevention because of their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification properties.

Cruciferous Veggies
The cross-shaped four petal flowers on these veggies are what give them their name (crucifer-cross.) While broccoli is probably the most common of the crucifers, others include the heads: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, rapini (green), turnips and cauliflower (white) and the headless: dark leafy greens like kale. Cruciferous vegetables contain carotenoids and dietary fiber which have been found to lower the risk of several cancers.

Glucosinolates
These compounds, found in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to decrease inflammation, a known cancer risk factor. They can also block the enzymes that stimulate carcinogens and activate enzymes that inhibit them. According to some studies, glucosinolates can also slow cancer growth by beginning a process called apoptosis, or self-destruction of cancer cells.

Carotenoids
Carotenoids act as antioxidants in cruciferous vegetables. Beta-carotene, specifically helps to control the abnormal growth of cells, keeping you healthy and glowing.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, supports the immune system and has great skin benefits as well.

Kampferol, Quercetic and Anthocyanins
With their antioxidant and inflammatory effects, kampferol, quercetin and anthocyanins have all been shown to be crucial in the slowing of cancer development and boosting overall health.

Folate
Folate aids in the maintenance of healthy DNA and inhibits genes known to promote certain cancers.

Detoxification and Digestive Support
Exposure to toxins is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancer. Support of detoxification activity by cruciferous vegetables may be higher any other foods. The high fiber content found in these vegetables can also help protect the stomach lining by preventing the growth of bacteria and supporting the digestive system.

Cardiovascular Health
Decreased risk of strokes and heart attacks may be linked to the anti- inflammatory compounds in cruciferous vegetables. The folate and B-complex vitamins found in cruciferous veggies can lower the risk cardiovascular disease and may also prevent or reverse damage to blood vessels caused by blood sugar problems.

Ok, so maybe it was too much too soon for Sheldon. After all, replacing pizza with Brussels sprouts can be a pretty daunting task for anyone. But maybe you could try and work them into your diet 2 to 3 times a week, and let us know how that goes for you. We want to hear all about it!

Pre-Wedding Weight Loss Tips

It’s easy to get caught up in all the glamor, perfectionism, and stress tied to a wedding ceremony, and it’s easy to fixate on how many eyes will be on you, how there will be no way to prevent them from seeing your “bad” side, etc, etc, etc.

Try not to focus on all that too much. There are better reasons to want to revamp your diet and exercise, like staying healthy and starting positive life habits now that can last the rest of your life, and make your marriage happier and healthier too.

So let’s talk about pre-wedding health ideas, including but not limited to weight loss.

Reconsider Your Diet
No, we don’t mean that kind of diet, but rather the literal meaning of the word “diet,” which is quite simply, what you eat. Strict diets are very rarely a good idea. Instead, just try to eat plenty of dark, leafy greens and some fruits, and make sure you get complex carbohydrates, not just simple ones. Lean protein is also desirable in moderation, and limit your high-fat, high-sodium, high-carb snacks. Don’t cut them out entirely, just indulge sparingly, maybe a small portion a couple times a day at most. And that bag of potato chips? Don’t take the whole bag with you to the bedroom to snack, pour a small amount into a bowl to regulate yourself.

Further, keep water handy all the time and sip whenever thirsty. Monitoring how much you drink isn’t actually necessary as long as you keep it close by at all times, meaning when you feel the need to take a sip, you can. That makes a huge difference in preventing dehydration.

Cardio

Start a Cardio Routine
It’s recommended you get 20 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day, or at least several times a week. We recommend aiming for 20 minutes a day for three days a week, with the eventual goal of reaching a half-hour of exercise five times a week (though it is worthy of note, cardio, unlike weight training, is safe to do seven days a week if you want to). Every week, add a day, or five minutes, or both, until you hit the target of 30 minutes five days a week.

The possibilities here are nearly endless. Jog around the block, use a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or other cardio machine, go for a bike ride, swim laps, take up a martial art, there’s so many ways to go about it. Pick the one that suits you best and stick with it!

Remember to Love Yourself
Last, but most definitely not least, don’t forget to love yourself. This is more important than anything else, to be perfectly honest, because if you love yourself and cultivate your inner beauty, it can take a huge load of stress away from the need for everything to be “perfect.” You WILL look great in that dress no matter your shape, size, or weight, and anyone who disagrees can shove it, so focus less on meeting a socially imposed standard of beauty and perfection, and focus instead on loving yourself. With your wedding day coming up, it’s important to realize that loving yourself is just as important as loving others, and while you and your spouse may love each other to death, loving yourself is equally necessary.

fruits and vegetables isolated on white background

Resveralife Eat Well Guide: Healthy Eats in 2015 According to Seasons

Eating healthy in the New Year is something many people resolve to do, but few stick with it for any number of reasons. Regardless of the reason why people tend to fall off of their healthy eating habits, and resort back to an unhealthy lifestyle, we know it’s because many people would rather eat the things they’re used to, rather than educate themselves on the things they need to implement in their lives. Resveralife has taken some of the guess work out of the deal for you and we have created this handy guide on healthy, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other things that are seasonal and fresh at a farmers market near you.

Winter Veggie

Winter Fresh Foods

Nuts

Nuts are always in season in the winter time. Whether you love peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts or almonds, nuts are generally harvested in the fall and are fresh and ready to go in the winter. You can opt for buying them in cans, jars, or fresh from a farmers market or supermarket. There are so many different things you can do with them to use in food preparation and recipes that the possibilities are virtually endless. For instance, you can make nut butters, salads with slivered nuts, stuffing recipes, and baked good recipes, just to name a few. They are loaded with protein and magnesium, as well as Vitamin E.

Oranges

Oranges are one of nature’s sweetest delights, and they pack a mean punch in terms of anti-oxidant fighting power and Vitamin C. One of nature’s purest forms to ward off sickness and keep it away, oranges are an incredible addition to any diet. Eat them peeled and separated, throw them in a salad, add them to a smoothie or create a delicious fruit salad. There are many varieties available during the winter months. Many of the oranges produced and sold in the United States come from Florida, California, and South Africa.

Turnips

While it may take an acquired taste for many to enjoy the bitterness of a turnip, they are certainly worth incorporating into one’s diet. They are loaded with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties, and may even ward off certain forms of cancer due to their glucosinolates, which are a sulfur based compound known to fight certain types of cancer. You can sautee them, boil and mash them, cube them up and roast them, or even put them in a soup. There are many different uses for this amazing root vegetable – try them for yourself, and we’re sure you’ll agree they’re quite tasty!

Spring produce

Spring Fresh Foods

Swiss Chard

While the name may be off putting to some, swiss chard can be likened to kale – one of nature’s super foods – and Spinach – another super food. Swiss chard is extremely versatile and is best served heated either by steaming, boiling, in a soup, or even in a quiche. It’s a leafy green vegetable worthy of all the praise in terms of health benefits, because it provides high doses of Vitamins K, A and C and is an essential part of any healthy diet.

Spinach

Spinach was made famous by the loveable character in the television show, Popeye. This powerhouse food is also extremely versatile, and you can eat it raw in a salad, which is the most healthful, or opt for incorporating it into an omelet, soup, lasagna, or steamed. One of our favorite ways to serve spinach is steamed under a piece of delicate white fish with a small amount of herb finishing butter. Yum! This amazing super food is chock-full of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. Eat up to your heart’s delight!

Basil

If you’ve never tried the amazing herb that is basil, you are most certainly missing out! Basil is an aromatic fresh herb which is perfect for incorporating into many different types of dishes, or even eaten raw. Try it in spaghetti sauce, or chopped with fresh roma tomatoes, whole mozzarella cheese, diced with a drizzle of olive oil on toasted Italian bread for a delicious bruschetta. Basil has plenty of magnesium which has been shown to alleviate and ward off certain types of migraine headaches, and is also fantastic for the heart and its vascular function.

fruits and vegetables isolated on white background

Summer Fresh Foods

 Strawberries

Strawberries are beautiful, ripe and juicy during the summer months. Many varieties are grown and harvested in Florida, and ship to locations all throughout the United States. Whether you opt for fresh or frozen strawberries, you will be doing yourself a favor by finding ways to include them in your daily diet. We love them because they pack a punch in the anti-aging process – and we of course love that fact – as well as promote healthy eyes and memory support. They even offer support to the heart and bone health. Some simple ways to include them in your daily diet are to slice them in half and add to your breakfast cereal, in a smoothie, in yogurt, or eat them on their own for a healthful snack.

Broccoli

Broccoli is known to be one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there, and also boasts some fantastic antioxidant benefits as well. It’s loaded with Vitamin C which is essential to skin, hair and overall health. You can do a variety of things with fresh broccoli, such as serve it rinsed and raw with a low fat dressing as a snack, in a salad, or even in a no-cook soup. You could sautee’ it in olive oil with garlic and serve it as a side dish, or throw it into your favorite healthy stir fry.

Summer Squash

Summer squash, much like zucchini, thrive on the warm summer air and sunlight. They are a great addition to any summer meal! It’s loaded with manganese, but also has plenty to boast in the carotenoid department – which is essential for good and healthy vision. There is also a potent dose of Vitamin C to keep you healthy or fight illness. You can cook summer squash by steaming, boiling, or incorporate it into your favorite healthy starches, such as cous cous or wild rice dishes.

Fresh fall produce

Fall Fresh Foods

Carrots

Carrots are a fabulous addition to almost any dish – and are also an important part to any healthy diet. These root vegetables are harvested in the fall and winter months, and store well in a refrigerator. They can be diced for cooking, cut into thin shreds and eaten raw in a salad, or even mashed once steamed and used in recipes such as muffins or cake recipes. Carrots are packed with Vitamin C and carotenoids, which play an important role in preventing oxidative damage to the body – and they also help promote good, healthy vision! There was actually some truth to the question when the eye doctor would ask you as a child, “Are you eating your carrots?”

Onions

Onions provide loads of flavor and essential vitamins to your daily diet. They are a favorite among chefs as they add the perfect flavor accompaniment to any recipe. You could slice them thin and serve them in a salad, or even use them in your favorite soup. Why not try a great onion soup recipe? You could even do something fun and make an onion and cheese bread or use them in your favorite rice dish. They pair well with just about anything! Onions provide protection to the heart and blood. There are old wives tales surrounding this miraculous vegetable, stating claim that if you cut an onion in half and place them on the windowsill or counter in your kitchen, they will absorb germs and fight infection. Also, another old wives tale surrounding onions states that if you cut an onion in half and place the cut side against the feet of someone who is sick, and then place a sock over their feet, by morning, the onions will have turned black with the infection removed from the sick individuals body. We aren’t sure how much truth there is to this, but it sure is fun to think about trying it!

Ginger

Ginger has long been adored by those in Asian cultures for its natural medicinal properties such as soothing a stomachache, heartburn, or even a sore throat. Ginger is a root which is essential to the Asian way of cooking, and has become quite popular in Western civilization as well. You can make a simple ginger tea by boiling water and allowing slices of fresh ginger to steep in the water. You can discard the ginger or eat it for health benefits. You could also use it in your favorite rice, fish, or chicken dishes for some interesting flavor. Ginger provides sulfur containing properties which help fight infection and may possibly fight certain forms of cancer.

Eating fresh and seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs promotes overall health and well-being, and is great for the economy. The fresher your food is, the more health benefits it has been able to hang onto. When you buy foods which aren’t local, you are essentially wasting money on foods which would be better spent on those that are locally sourced and still have their beneficial health properties.

We at Vine Vera hope this guide has helped you learn more about the different foods available to you seasonally, and wish you the best of luck in making good, healthy food choices in 2015!