Tag Archives: whole foods

The Top 10 Healthiest Supermarkets

Unless you live off the land, your health and well being is in the hands of your local supermarkets. Not all grocery stores are created equal. So it behooves you to know which offer you the healthiest foods, and thus the best choices.

The folks at Health.com asked six health experts to help choose the top 10 healthiest grocery stores out of the nation’s largest chains. Many of these I’ve heard of, since I’ve had the benefit of living on both coasts of the country. But like everyone, there are a couple in here I’ve never been to. Here are the top 10, and the regions of the U.S. that they service. For details on each, head over to MSN.com:

1. Whole Foods (279 stores in 38 states and Washington, D.C.)

2. Safeway (1,700-plus stores nationwide) (more…)

Guest Blog: Agave the Natural Sweetener

Melissa Spiesman, CHHC, AADP, will be the Featured Guest Blogger at DietsInReview.com for September. She is the director of Nutrition for Your Life, a nutrition program that focuses on health and wellness through whole foods. Melissa develops individual integrative nutrition plans that focus on the total health of her clients. In her private practice, she regularly counsels individuals and groups on a variety of health/nutrition issues, including: cravings, weight loss and management, healthy food preparation, coping with stress, and having more energy.

Melissa received her professional training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition which is affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. She is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

Melissa is a featured contributor of girlawhirl.com. Girlawhirl.com is an online magazine for busy women. It’s updated every weekday with the latest fashion and beauty news, home decorating, nutrition, fitness advice and more.

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After hearing about the health concerns associated with highly processed foods, we began to read food labels more closely. Some of the most significant changes we made were to replace partially hydrogenated vegetable oil with trans fat free foods as well as to buy only 100% whole grains and look for ways to upgrade refined foods with natural whole foods. It is now time to upgrade our sweetener.

We are what we eat and what we eat affects how we feel – and of course, we all want to feel our best.

Everyone has dealt with a 3PM slump by grabbing a cookie, a piece of candy, or something packaged from the vending machine, only to find themselves feeling worse than before, just 1 hour later. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy your favorite sweetened foods without feeling the ups and downs of the sugar rollercoaster? Wouldn’t you love a sweetener that is natural plant-based, organic, gluten and allergen free, kosher, and shelf stable? Of course you would; AGAVE NECTAR is the answer.

Agave

The Agave plant grows wild in Mexico. The juice of the plant is cleaned and filtered with no chemical processing to produce deliciously sweet Agave Nectar. As with most of the whole foods we are learning about and enjoying today, the sweetness of Agave has been enjoyed for a very long time by Native Americans.

You can include this sweetener as part of your overall health and wellness plan, as Agave rates low on the glycemic index (ranking of how quickly a food is processed and turned into glucose), and therefore does not result in the roller coaster effects of simple sugar. Agave Nectar is sweeter than sugar, so less is needed and fewer calories are consumed.

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important in managing many health concerns and this sweetener is a great alternative for weight management, diabetics and those at risk for heart disease and high cholesterol.

The versatile and easy-to-use sweetener will blend and dissolve quickly in all of your recipes. You can chose your favorite of Agave’s 3 varieties which each have their own individual flavor; light-mild, neutral flavor, amber-medium intensity flavor, most similar to maple syrup, with a dark-strong, distinct flavor. They are a great substitute for all other sugar alternatives.

Over 150 new products sweetened with Agave Nectar were introduced this past year including waters and juices, sauces and salad dressings, and granola and rice cakes.

My favorites are Wholemato, Agave sweetened ketchup and Purely Decadent Coconut Milk frozen dessert, sweetened with Agave and Baking with Agave Nectar: 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener, a cookbook using only Agave as the sweetener.

Girlawhirl enjoys the benefits of this alternative sweetener and has found that she can carry it in her purse and keep it in her desk to ensure that she always has it on hand.

Using Agave Nectar, I can enjoy my favorite sweetened treats without the palpitations, sweats, and shakes associated with hypoglycemia. Agave Nectar is a great tasting, healthier alternative to other refined and artificial sweeteners, but sugar is sugar and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Guest Blog: Super Foods

Melissa Spiesman, CHHC, AADP, will be the Featured Guest Blogger at DietsInReview.com for September. She is the director of Nutrition for Your Life, a nutrition program that focuses on health and wellness through whole foods. Melissa develops individual integrative nutrition plans that focus on the total health of her clients. In her private practice, she regularly counsels individuals and groups on a variety of health/nutrition issues, including: cravings, weight loss and management, healthy food preparation, coping with stress, and having more energy.

Melissa received her professional training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition which is affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. She is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

Melissa is a featured contributor of girlawhirl.com. Girlawhirl.com is an online magazine for busy women. It’s updated every weekday with the latest fashion and beauty news, home decorating, nutrition, fitness advice and more.

girlawhirl.com

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to snack on blueberries (the whole pint), my favorite breakfast and comfort food is thick and creamy, very hot oatmeal and my side dish of choice is sweet potatoes-roasted, fried, hot or cold. There were no classifications of super foods or conversations about their health benefits, but I do believe in the power of food, good food is necessary for good health and what you eat significantly impacts how you feel.

Can eating the right foods actually help prevent disease?  Scientists have identified chemicals in many nutrient dense foods that can prevent or reduce the risk of disease and many of these foods may be lacking in the standard American diet. Whole foods contain a unique combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals which make them a better source for these compounds than supplements.

While there is a long list of SUPER FOODS, the one thing they all have in common is that they are all WHOLE FOODS. These nutritional power houses can be used as the foundation for healthy eating.  Eating a diet rich in whole foods is a diet rich in super foods.  These are MY 3 super foods:

Blueberries:blueberries and oats
Mixed into plain yogurt, blueberries offer a sweet alternative to the over sugared commercial products available. Blueberries contain the antioxidant compound anthocyanins which reduce free radicals, improve memory and cognition and can lower cholesterol.  This colorful sweet fruit is also low in calories and full of fiber.
The frozen variety is delicious blended into smoothies or in your favorite muffin mix.

Oats:
Not just for breakfast anymore, oatmeal can be enjoyed as an addition to cookies, muffins and cake batter, in your own homemade granola or to add texture to a savory loaf.  Known for its cholesterol lowering effects due to its high level of soluble fiber, oatmeal is also low in fat, contains more healthy oils than any other grain and is high in protein. Oats are also low on the glycemic index, so diabetics and those with insulin resistance will benefit from their ability to stabilize blood sugar.

sweet potatoesSweet Potatoes/Squash:
Pumpkins and sweet potatoes have drifted beyond their traditional place as autumn holiday staples.   These hearty vegetables are an excellent source of beta carotene the antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A in the body and gives these super foods their bright color.  They are rich in calcium and support healthy skin. The lutein and lycopene found in orange colored produce can also reduce the risk for macular degeneration.  The sweet satisfying flavor of these rich vegetables will help curb sugar cravings.  For a change in texture and color, puree these vegetables into soups or as an addition to oatmeal cookie dough for an extra boost of sweetness.

Using simple whole food nutrition you can ensure a healthy life, and by eating well you can reduce the risk of disease.

Guest Blog Series: Look for the following badge on your favorite health sites to see if they have been a featured guest blogger on DietsInReview.com.

Diets in Review - Weight Loss and Health Blog

See other posts in the Guest Blog series. If you would like to apply to be featured as a guest blogger, please contact us.

Top 10 Diet Tips

Eat a diet full of color

Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are very low in calories. They help keep you satisfied longer, and are a great snack and can be eaten with every meal.

Eat regular meals

Eating meals throughout the day will help keep your metabolism stable as well as burn-ing calories all day long. When we don’t eat for an extended amount of time it actually inhibits calorie burning. Take mom’s advice to heart and be sure to have breakfast in the morning! Make sure and eat your 3 meals a day, but also sneak in some healthy snacks to keep your body going!

Give your stomach time to catch up

Many of us grew up being told not to snack before dinner as we would ruin our appe-tite. In actuality, having snacks can help prevent you from overeating. It takes our bod-ies 10-15 minutes to realize we’ve had enough to eat. Because of this delay, it is very easy to eat more than what our bodies actually need, leaving us feeling overstuffed. When eating at home watch your portions. When eating out at restaurants share your entrees as they typically serve larger portions. Go ahead, spoil your dinner with some snacks.

Eat whole fresh foods

In order for foods to last on our shelves in the grocery store they are filled with preservatives, which in turn deplete the nutrients and vitamins originally found in those foods. When possible, purchase fresh foods and avoid pre-packaged and convenient fast food, as these types of food are typically higher in calories, fat, and sodium.

Get moving

Our bodies were not meant to sit behind a desk all day long. We need daily exercise to benefit our overall health and especially to strengthen all our muscles including our heart. Exercise can also help you sleep better and improve your mood, so whether a high impact workout at the gym or a stroll through the neighborhood, hit the pavement and give yourself the optimal reward. (more…)