Dr. Phil Shares: The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies
 

Everywhere you turn, there are bowls of Halloween candy that are full of spooky ingredients like sugar, fat, chocolate, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, sodium metabisulfate, resinous glaze, and carnauba wax — yum!

OK, let’s be honest — a list of sketchy ingredients isn’t going to stop anyone from hoovering a handful of [insert favorite Halloween candy here]. We’re not here to rain on your candy parade; you can still enjoy the scary good sweet stuff — if you eat them in moderation and if you know which ones you really should avoid (or eat less of).

Use this guide to tally up your sugary treats and don’t let the “fun-size” options fool you: They may be smaller, but the calories, fat, and sugar content still pack a significant punch.

For reference, when it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) for women and kids aged 2 to 18, and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Per day.

 

The Worst Chocolate Halloween Candies

Whether they’re stuffed with caramel, nuts or coating delicious crispy wafers, chocolate candies are hard to resist. Chocolate taps into our deep-seated love for both sweets and fats. Sadly, it’s not the good kind of fat since most chocolate candies are made with partially hydrogenated fat or palm oil. Beware of these top 10 offenders:

1. Whoppers (1 tube): calories 32, fat 1.2 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm oil, whey (milk), cocoa; malted milk (barley malt; wheat flour; milk; salt; sodium bicarbonate), resinous glaze, sorbitan tristearate, lecithin, salt, natural & artificial flavors, calcium carbonate, tapioca dextrin.

2. Milky Way (1 mini-bar): calories 38, fat 1.6 g, sugar 1 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, chocolate, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, skim milk, less than 2 percent milkfat, cocoa powder processed w/alkali, malted barley, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

3. M&Ms (1 fun-size pack): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, less than 1 percent: corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (includes blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2), gum acacia.

4. Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme (1 mini bar): calories 67, fat 4 g, sugar 1.6 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, corn syrup solids, enriched wheat flour, lactose, 2 percent or less of cocoa, whey high fructose corn syrup, chocolate, lecithin, baking soda, salt, natural flavor and artificial flavor, tocopherols, PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a compound that reduces viscosity).

5. Kit Kat (1 fun size bar): calories 70, fat 3.7 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, palm kernel oil, lactose, milk fat, contains 2 percent or less of: soy lecithin, PGPR, yeast, vanillin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate.

6. Snickers (1 fun size bar): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, milkfat, skim milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, chocolate, artificial flavor.

7. Twix (1 cookie): calories 80, fat 4 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, PGPR, artificial flavors), sugar, enriched wheat flour, palm oil, corn syrup, skim milk, dextrose, less than 2 percent of food starch-modified, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, soy lecithin, artificial flavor.

8. Almond Joy (1 snack size): calories 80, fat 4.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: corn syrup, milk chocolate, coconut, sugar, almonds, 2 percent or less of vegetable oil, cocoa, whey, salt, hydrolyzed milk protein, lecithin, sodium metabisulfite.

9. Butterfingers (1 fun-size bar): calories 85, fat 3.5 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses, and less than 1 percent of dairy product solids, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, salt, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, natural flavors, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative) and citric acid (to preserve freshness), annatto color.

10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 cup): calories 67, fat 2.3 g, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

 

The Worst Straight Sugar Halloween Candies

Straight sugar candies are mostly made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and dressed up with artificial flavors and dyes. These types of candy provide a quick sugar rush since they’re uninhibited by fat or protein, which can slow down their digestion.

11. Smarties (1 roll): calories 25, sugar 1.5 tsp
Ingredients: Dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, natural and artificial flavor, color (red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake).

12. WarHeads Extreme Sour Hard Candy (4 pieces): calories 50, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Corn syrup sugar, microencapsulated malic acid (malic acid, hydrogenated palm oil), citric acid, gum acacia, deproteinized soybean oil, ascorbic acid, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, corn starch, blue 1, red 40, yellow 5.

13. Sour Patch Kids (1 treat-size bag): calories 55, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1.

14. Airheads (1 bar): calories 60, sugar 2 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, modified food starch (corn), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, water, artificial flavors, artificial colors, red 40, blue 1, yellow 6, yellow 5.

15. Apple Pops (1 pop): calories 60, sugar 2.5 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial color (includes FD&C blue 1, FD&C red 40), turmeric coloring.

16. Skittles (1 small pack): calories 67, sugar 3 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2 percent of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, titanium dioxide, red 40, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, blue 2 lake, blue 1, sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

17. Candy corn (19 pieces): calories 140, sugar 7 tsp
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze (shellac), salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3.

The 17 Scariest Halloween Candies

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: How Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking for weight loss

But that convenience can come with a high-caloric cost. One simple — and usually less expensive —way to block those extra calories heading for your waistline? Cook at home.

Science backs it up, too: A 2014 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who eat more meals at home consume 200 fewer calories at meals than those who eat out on the regular. And when these home cooks do eat out, they pick healthier options.

Find why firing up the stove can help you lose weight, and tips to make cooking at home easy and doable.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

 Why Cooking at Home Can Help You Lose Weight

It’s not good enough to just eat at home, though — you have to make those meals, too. And remember: Just because you cooked something at home doesn’t automatically make it healthy. (Sorry, but those “homemade” double-chocolate fudge brownies don’t count.)

But if you stick with healthy recipes, then you’re definitely giving yourself the home advantage. “The bottom line is that eating at home is healthier for you because it gives you so much more control,” says Meg Hagar, M.S., R.D., and author of Little Book of Kitchen Wonders. You know exactly how much salt or fat or sugar is going into your dish; you also have the power to swap ingredients in (and out) to fit your nutritional and caloric goals.

And eating healthy at home doesn’t have to cost more: A study from researchers at the University of Washington found that home-cooked dinners were lower in fat, calories, and sugar — but not higher grocery bills. The study also found that people who eat at home are more likely to meet U.S. government guidelines for a healthy diet.

The control you get with cooking at home extends to other facets of your health as well: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans get sick from food-borne illness each year. Of course, food poisoning can happen anywhere, but when you’re preparing meals at home, you know exactly how food is being handled — and how clean the kitchen is.

Lose weight at home, weight loss, cooking to lose weight

Master the Art of Meal Prep

 One of the biggest reasons people eat out is for convenience. But that convenience comes at a hefty price: According to data from the USDA, Americans spend almost $3,000 a year eating out.

We get it: It’s easier to just pick something from a menu versus shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning, especially if you’re crazy busy. But if you arm yourself with some smart shopping tips and time-saving meal plans, you can lose pounds and gain some cold, hard cash.

“I’m a huge believer in batch cooking, or preparing multiple servings of a meal all at once,” says Hagar. “The best part is that I only have to cook a few times a week and I get to eat my own homemade meals all week!”

Sounds easy, but the reality of it can be overwhelming. Start slow, like cooking three dinners at home one week. Then, the following week, add two home-cooked breakfasts. Keep building on each subsequent week until it becomes a habit to cook at home, instead of eating out.

Pro tip: If you need a kick in the pants to get your healthy habits started, a fitness and nutrition program like 21 Day Fix can get you going.

How to Eat Healthy at Home

Restaurants use everything from color to music to influence what you eat — and how much you spend — at their establishments. Follow their lead by creating an environment at home that supports healthy eating and habits:

  • Put your meal on a plate before you sit down to eat; no eating out of bags or boxes of food.
  • Keep healthy foods like fruits and nuts easily accessible and tuck the less-healthy temptations in the pantry or cupboards.
  • Put away all electronics — be mindful of what you’re eating and how much. “At home, you can turn off distractions while eating, allowing you to really tune into our hunger signals and avoid overeating, ” says Hagar.
  • Use portion-control containers to make sure you’re eating a balanced meal. “Load up on veggies and lean proteins plus a small amount of complex carbohydrates to make your plate look more full of food,” she advises.

How to Eat Healthy While Eating Out

While we’re definitely fans of eating at home, that doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit who never enjoys a meal out. With a few tips and tricks in your back pocket, you can stay on track and eat out with friends and family with zero guilt:

  • Scope out the menu online beforehand to see which meals will fit your goals. Chain restaurants are required to list calorie counts and other nutritional info, making the search for the right dish a lot easier.
  • Read the fine print on the menu: Stay away from foods that are described as “crispy,” “pan-fried,” “buttered,” or “stuffed,” and stick with healthier preparations like “broiled,” “baked,” or “steamed.”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions, or for dressings and sauces on the side — or not at all.

And don’t beat yourself up if you eat out more than you plan to. Just roll with the punches and know that making the switch to healthy cooking and eating, like with any new habit, takes time to master.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Dr. Phil Shares: 12 Food Storage Tips to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

 

12-Grocery-Storage-Tips-to-Make-Food-Last-Longer

We’ve all been there before — tossing fuzzy raspberries, wilted parsley, and mushy apples into the trash bin with a heavy heart thanks to subpar food storage.

It’s all too easy to forget about your groceries until they start stinking up your kitchen, but here’s the good news: knowing how to store them properly isn’t rocket science.

Not only does proper food storage prevent unnecessary waste (and sudden bouts of frustration), but it also lessens your grocery bill and minimizes the risk of a contracting a food-borne illness.

12 Food Storage Tips to Help Your Food Last Longer

These 12 simple food storage tips will help ensure your food stays fresh as long as possible.

Store dairy products at the back of the fridge
Take your jug of two-percent out of the fridge door. That location might make it easy to grab quickly for your bowl of cereal, but it might make it spoil faster because of the temperature. Ani Aratounians, R.D., says it’s crucial to keep your dairy products at the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.

Put meat on the bottom shelf
Nothing ruins a container of broccoli faster than a soak in pork juice. “Meats should be on the bottom shelf so juices don’t drip on other foods,” Aratounians says. If you’re out of precious lower shelf space, put the meat in a tray with a raised lip to catch any liquid that might try to escape. She also advises keeping cold cuts separate from other raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.

Treat herbs like flowers
Fresh herbs, asparagus, and green onions can all be stored upright in a tall glass of fresh water. Just trim the stems, cover them with a bit of plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge.

Know where to store fruits and vegetables
Not all fruits and veggies need to live in the fridge. Avocados, citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes can all be stored at room temperature or in a cool pantry. But don’t store onions and potatoes together. Because of ethylene gas that some kinds of produce release, they cause each other to spoil faster.

Wrap your greens in paper towels
To prevent slimy residue from accumulating in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens, stick paper towels inside to soak up excess moisture. You can do the same with leftover salad greens in food storage containers.

Use plastic wrap on bananas
Cover the crown of a bunch of bananas in plastic wrap to slow the release of ethylene gas. This will prevent them from ripening too quickly if you’re not going to use the whole bunch right away. But even if you find yourself with some bananas that are past their prime, that doesn’t mean you have to toss them into the trash. There are a number of tasty recipes that call for overripe bananas.

Wrap celery in foil
Wrapping the entire bunch of celery in foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to four weeks in your crisper drawer. The foil helps to keep just the right amount of moisture in, and the ethylene gas out.

Wash produce as you go
If washing fruits and veggies is the first thing you do when you come home from the grocery store, you might want to switch up your routine. Unless you plan on freezing your food, Aratounians advises only washing things you’re ready to eat right away or soon after. That lessens the chance of mold growing on damp produce. And if you’re going to chop up your food in advance to save time, just wait to wash it right before you eat it.

Soak berries in vinegar
If you don’t eat all the berri quick soak in a three-parts water, one-part vinegar solution will kill bacteria and prevent molding. Rinse the berries thoroughly then pat dry once you’re done.

Roast veggies
Nutritionist Jodi Geigle recommends roasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower to extend their shelf life. “It’s also a great meal prep tip to have cooked veggies on hand that you can quickly throw in as an addition to any meal,” Geigle says.

Store grains in air-tight containers
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, but you want to store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. “If you buy grains in bulk, be sure to transfer them to an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep bugs away,” says Aratounians.

Go a step further and label your containers with the purchase dates so you know how long you’ve had your grains.

Double-check your fridge’s temperature
Finally, after you’ve wrapped and placed all your perishables in the refrigerator, be sure that it’s set at the right temperature. “Make sure your fridge thermometer is working correctly to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food-borne illness,” says Geigle. The temperature should be set to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit (five degrees Celsius), or a few degrees lower.

Food Storage Tips to Help Your Groceries Last Longer

Dr. Phil Shares:5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Shed The Pounds

 

"Home made loaf of white bread, sliced.Similar:"

Losing weight can seem like an uphill slog at times. It doesn’t help that food companies use targeted marketing and packaging to make unhealthy foods enticing to us from the minute we start eating solids.

As an adult trying to lead a healthy (-ish) lifestyle, you may be able to resist the flashy cereal boxes and giant bags of chips. And probably know your way around basic nutrition facts.

But what other foods, besides the obvious culprits, should take a back seat? Read on to learn what you should keep out of your pantry and refrigerator if you want to lose weight.

A Calorie Is a Calorie (or Is It?)

First things first: Cutting back on calories can result in weight loss, says Katy MacQueen, a senior bariatric dietitian who specializes in weight management. But that doesn’t mean all calories are the same.

“100 calories of potato chips and 100 calories of almonds have very different effects once they hit your digestive system,” Alissa Rumsey, RD, says. The almonds have protein, fat, and fiber — all of which help keep you fuller longer than a handful of potato chips.

It’s best to choose nutrient-dense foods — meaning they have plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy nutrients for their calories. A smart, healthy way to cut calories — and shed some pounds — is to cool it on foods that have little nutritional value associated with them, such as added sugars, fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and alcohol, MacQueen says. And it all starts with your grocery cart.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Shop Smart to Lose Weight

For most people, the food in your refrigerator and pantry dictates what you’ll be eating for most of your meals. While a little treat (hi, Nutella!) here and there isn’t going to completely sabotage your weight-loss efforts, having a shelf full of unhealthy foods can.

“Seeing junk food is a cue to your brain to eat it,” MacQueen says. Her suggestion? Keep less healthy foods out of the house (or hidden) and putting healthy foods at the front of the pantry or fridge so they’re the first foods you see.

Rumsey says this is especially important if certain foods are “triggers” for you, meaning you tend to lose control and overeat them. Moral of the story: When it comes to junk food, practice the adage “out of sight, out of mind.”

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Tips to keep healthy food top of mind:

  • Keep a stocked fruit bowl on your counter.
  • Wash and prep some fruits and veggies so they are ready to eat.
  • Prep snack boxes that you can grab and go.
  • Keep refrigerated produce front and center.
  • If you live with someone who doesn’t eat that healthy — or has a year’s supply of Girl Scout cookies on hand — ask if it’s okay to store your healthy food at eye level and the junk food out of immediate sight.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

Foods to Keep Out of Your Kitchen

1. Refined Grains

This category includes: White bread, white rice, many baked goods

For many people, white pasta, rice, cookies, cereal, and bagels make the world go ’round. But refined grains have been processed in a way that removes fiber and important nutrients, and taking the fiber out means you’ll feel less full, making it easier to overeat.

Since there’s no fiber, refined grains are digested much more quickly than unrefined ones. This can result in a spike in your blood sugar, which can then cause the body to over-secrete the hormone insulin. “A surge of insulin can then result in low blood sugar, which makes you hungry again,” she says. “Insulin is a storage hormone, so when a lot is released, we end up storing most of those calories as fat [if not used for energy],” Rumsey adds.

Whole grains, on the other hand, aren’t stripped of fiber and key nutrients. They’re digested much more slowly, which leads to more stable blood sugar levels and less “I WANT MORE PASTA!”

The good news: Plenty of refined grain favorites have healthier unrefined versions. Try swaps like brown rice for white rice, and nutty, whole-grain wheat bread for white bread.

2. Foods and Drinks With Added Sugar

This category includes: Pasta sauce, fruit juice, yogurt, condiments

Sugar can sneak into your daily diet in some of the most unlikely foods. Manufacturers often add sugar (in the form of cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, and more) to foods and drinks like yogurt, fruit juice, sports drinks, pasta sauce, granola, and condiments.

Research suggest that a diet high in excess sugar can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Don’t overlook drinks, either: Sugary drinks — whether soda or happy hour margaritas — also play a role in obesity and obesity-related health issues.

Even the natural sugars in fruit may lead to weight gain if you go overboard — depending on how you consume it. Fruit juice no longer contains the filling fiber and pulp of the whole fruit.

But if you’re eating whole, fresh fruit, then you’re also consuming water and fiber, which helps slow your body’s absorption of the sugar. “The benefit to having natural sugars versus added sugars is that with natural sugars, you get other beneficial nutrients at the same time,” MacQueen says. Take fruit, for instance: One large apple contains 23 grams of natural sugar, but you’re also eating fiber, as well as vitamins A and C.

Milk is another good example: One cup of 2% milk has 13 grams of natural sugar. But each cup also has almost 10 grams of protein, and important vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, D, and calcium and potassium.

3. Processed Foods

This category includes: Processed meats, packaged snacks, canned foods packed in syrup

“Some foods undergo a low level of processing that doesn’t affect their nutrition, like freezing fruits and vegetables. Other foods are more highly processed and have sugar, salt and/or fat added,” Rumsey says.

Ultra processed foods” can include sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives, colors, and flavors, many of which are artificial. The unnecessary salt, sugar, fat, and artificial additives in this type of processed foods can promote weight gain. Even worse? “Highly processed foods appeal to our taste buds and make it hard to eat just one serving,” adds Rumsey.

5 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight

4. Greasy and Fried Foods

This category includes: Burgers, fried chicken, pizza — namely fried foods made outside of your own kitchen where the oils are lower quality and potentially less healthy

Research suggests that eating fatty fried foods on a regular basis could raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But while we do suggest ditching greasy fried food, don’t forget that healthy fat is an essential part of a balanced diet. Just aim to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna, Rumsey says.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s a good idea to avoid many low-fat or nonfat foods. Manufacturers often add more sugar or refined grains to reduced-fat foods to make them tastier.

5. Alcohol

This category includes: Beer, wine, liquor

“People often overlook the role that caloric beverages — especially alcohol — have on weight, as many dieters solely focus on food choices,” MacQueen says. While moderate alcohol intake doesn’t appear to be linked to obesity, “heavy drinking and binge drinking” are associated with increased body weight.

We’re not saying you can’t ever have a glass of wine or a celebratory mojito, but a drink — or more — each night can make it harder to lose weight, both because of the extra calories and because getting boozy can lower your inhibitions.

After a few drinks, you may lose the drive to stay on the healthy eating track and eat more (and maybe less healthfully) than you intended.

But Don’t Eliminate Entire Food Groups

Now that we just spent the bulk of this article telling you why you should keep bagels, cookies, packaged snacks, and booze out of your home, it’s time to play devil’s advocate. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to eliminate an entire food group.

Here’s why: Completely restricting certain foods or entire food groups can increase temptation or lead you to miss out on important minerals and vitamins.

“Each type of food, or food group, provides certain nutrients that the body needs to carry out specific functions,” MacQueen says. “If you eliminate an entire type of food, you jeopardize your health in various ways depending on the nutrient you avoid.”

In addition, an overly restrictive diet — let’s say super low carb, for instance — can leave you feeling deprived. “Making something off limits increases the chance you want to eat it, which can lead to restriction followed by a binge,” Rumsey adds.

Focusing on healthy habits that are sustainable and realistic, on the other hand, will likely be more successful over the long haul.

The Bottom Line

You don’t necessarily need a long, detailed list of specific foods to ban from your kitchen. By prioritizing healthy, whole foods when you’re stocking your fridge and pantry, the foods that you should avoid will naturally disappear from your shelves.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

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Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Tips To Avoid Muscle Soreness

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Nothing derails your fitness goals like feeling sore. Yet getting sore is almost unavoidable—it’s a rite of passage, if you will. But it doesn’t have to wipe you out. Follow these tips and, if you’re lucky, you’ll avoid the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) monster altogether.

 

1. Start SLOW
It’s very tempting to begin an exercise program with a lot of enthusiasm, but try your best to go at a reasonable pace. If you’ve never exercised, or it’s been a long time since you have, go much easier than you feel you are capable of on Day 1 and ramp things up at a pace that is based on how you feel. If you’re not sore, go a little harder the next day. If you’re a little sore, take it down a notch. If you’re very sore, scroll down to the next section of this article to mitigate the soreness.

If you’ve been exercising, but it’s been more than a week since you last worked out, follow the same pattern but go harder, based—again—on how fit you are. A good example to use here would be to start with about half of the workout scheduled—something like the warm-up, cooldown, and one round of exercises. Because you have a better fitness base, you can advance a little bit further each day than if you were out of shape. In general, take about a week to get back to full-bore 100% effort. This is also the example you want to use if you’ve been training and taken some time off.

If you’ve been exercising, but are starting a new program, base how hard you push yourself on how much advancement there is in your program. For example, if you’ve been doing INSANITY and you’re moving into INSANITY: THE ASYLUM or P90X, you can probably give it 100%—though you might not want to lift too much weight. But if you’re coming into one of those from FOCUS T25, you’ll want to back off a bit from what you could achieve on those first few days. Whenever your program makes a big jump, in time, intensity, or style of training (from all cardio to weight training, for instance), you’ll always want to hold a bit back in the beginning.

The reason is that your body has two types of muscle fibers: fast and slow (there are actually increments of these but this is enough for our scope). Fast-twitch fibers are very strong but break down easily and take a long time to repair. This translates into soreness. By easing into a program, you rely on your slow-twitch fibers which aren’t as strong but recovery very quickly. Going full bore on Day 1 activates your fast-twitch fibers, and leads to extensive breakdown and soreness. The harder you go, the sorer you are likely to get because there is something called emergency fibers, the fastest of the fast, which can take two weeks to repair.

 

2. Minimize Eccentric Motion
Concentric contraction is the shortening of the muscle, while eccentric contraction is the lengthening part of the movement. DOMS is almost entirely related to the eccentric part of the movement. You might be asking yourself, can I do one without the other? Good question.

If you’re doing a biceps curl, the concentric part of the movement is when you move the weight up, while the eccentric part is the way down. In order to avoid the eccentric part, you need to drop your weight. This won’t make you very popular in a gym and might ruin your floor at home, so probably not a very helpful suggestion.

In other cases, avoiding eccentric motion can be impossible. Jumping, for instance, uses concentric force to get you elevated, at which point you need to land, which is eccentric. The only way to do concentric-only jumps is to jump onto a platform and then lightly step down. Again, not too practical.

You can, however, limit the amount of time you’re lengthening your muscles. Slowing down your concentric motions and returning to the start position very quickly, or eliminating the airborne portion of jump training, are good ways to mostly avoid eccentric motion with only slight modifications.

You may have noticed that a lot of very popular exercise programs actually target jumping and eccentric movements. That’s because training them is highly effective, just not until your body is in shape to handle it. Which it never will be unless you proceed slowly and carefully.

 

3. Hydrate
Dehydration can also make you sore. In fact, once you’re used to your workout program, nearly all excessive soreness is due to dehydration or nutritional deficiencies.

Most people are chronically dehydrated. In fact, you can actually get sore by simply being dehydrated, even without the exercise. Adding exercise increases your water needs. A lot. Hydration is your body’s first defense against, not only soreness, but also most illnesses and other maladies.

How much water you need varies depending on your activity level, lifestyle, where you live, etc., but an easy gauge to use is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. That’s before you account for exercise. For each hour you work out, you should add another 32 ounces (on average). This, too, varies based on the individual, heat, humidity, exercise intensity, and so forth, but you probably get the idea. You need a lot of water for optimal performance.

Water isn’t the only factor in hydration. Electrolytes, or body salts, are also sweated out when you exercise and must be replaced. If you’re training an hour per day or less, you probably don’t need to worry about them unless your diet is very low in sodium.

It’s also possible to drink too much water, a condition called hyponatremia. While this is a deadly condition, it’s irrelevant for most of the population for most conditions. Hyponatremia is an imbalance of water and electrolytes. However, it’s very hard for normal humans to get hyponatremia in everyday circumstances because you have to drink a lot of water, have very little salt, and sweat profusely for a long time. So while it’s a very real danger for those doing Ironman triathlons or people stranded in deserts, it’s not a relevant concern for most of us. If you’ve been eating regularly, your foods contain some salt (most do), and you’re not exercising over an hour or two per day, it’s not something to worry about unless you’re drinking multiple gallons of water a day.

 

4. Get Postworkout Fuel
The hour after you finish exercising is your nutrition sweet spot. The quicker your muscles recover, the less sore you get, so you never want to skip your postworkout snack unless you’ve reached a point when you know you’re not going to get sore.

What this snack should consist of has been debated for ages but countless modern studies show that glycogen depletion (replenished quickest with simple carbohydrates), should be your primary concern. Glycogen is a fuel that your muscles store in limited amounts. When you run out of it during exercise, your workout goes south very quickly. When it’s gone, muscle damage increases until it’s been restored.

Protein, which repairs muscle tissue but is very slow to digest, replenishing body salts, and targeted micronutrients (aka vitamins), all come next.

Left out of this puzzle is fat, but not in all forms. Some studies show promise using medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) postexercise, though it’s probably too techie to bother with in this article because most consumable fat slows digestion of all nutrients, which should also be your first priority when excessive muscle tissue damage has been done.

What is debated, however, is what that ideal carb to protein ratio should be. It basically comes down to how depleted your glycogen stores are. The more depleted, the more important carbohydrates become in your replenishment strategy.

While you will learn to tell when your glycogen is gone (or low) through experience, keep this in mind for now: the body can store enough glycogen for about an hour of hard training. If your workouts are 30 minutes or less, you may not need any carbohydrates. Approach an hour and you probably need at least some.

It also matters what you’ve eaten during the day, prior to the workout. If you’re hungry at the start, it could be an indication that your glycogen is low. If you start low, you may run out quickly.

Glycogen depletion is characterized by feeling empty. If you hit a point in your workout where you feel like you can’t go on, or you’re performing worse than you had been, you’re likely out of glycogen. Known as bonking in sports circles, when this happens you’ll want to shut down a workout and fuel up ASAP.

When you’re out of glycogen, it’s most effectively replaced by a targeted recovery supplement, like Results and Recovery Formula. These are formulated using every nutrient your body can use for recovery. In lieu of that, almost anything carb heavy can be effective. Something like a small bowl of cereal, perhaps with a banana, is a decent substitute. Aim to consume between 100 and 250 calories, depending on your size and how difficult your workout was. More than that probably can’t be digested within an hour.

If your workout was short or didn’t seem to tax you too much, opting for a protein-based snack is a better choice. Whey protein, due to the quickness your body absorbs it, is the best option here, and it’s also where you might consider MCTs if you’re intrigued by them.

 

5. Pick the Correct Workout Program
It’s worth noting that the more you stretch yourself with your choice of workout, program, or even each individual workout, the more you increase your chances of getting sore. The right program—or a trainer/coach—should ease you into exercise at a pace your body can handle, which is always the better choice. But, you know, whatever works for your psyche is probably what you’re going to choose. And that’s okay. Just be honest with yourself, and follow the rules above if you know you’re biting off a little more than you can chew.

 

What Happens If You Do Get Sore?

No matter how diligent we are, we all seem to mess this up, somehow, sometimes. Depending upon how much you skewed it, you can be back at full strength within a few days. Occasionally—at least if you’re like me—you’ll go way beyond what you should have done. In such cases, you can be out up to a couple of weeks. Either way, these tips will help you get back on the fast track.

 

1. Move
The last thing you want to do, when everything hurts is to move. But that’s exactly what you need to do. While you won’t want to continue with your gung ho workouts, you’ll still want to exercise daily. How much you do depends upon how sore you are.

If you really overcooked it, and things like walking down stairs feel like a torture test (I’ve been there), you won’t want to do much beyond moving as much as you can. All movement promotes blood circulation, and the more blood you circulate around your body, the quicker you’ll heal.

If you have a more sensible soreness, you can do your workout at a modified pace or, better yet, choose a recovery workout. If you’re using a Beachbody program, it probably came with a recovery workout or two. These workouts are designed to help your body work out kinks and soreness better than doing nothing could ever hope to. They can be used anytime you need them, can’t be done too often, and always leave you feeling much better than before you started.

 

2. Use Circulation Techniques
You can also induce circulation with some other techniques, all of which will help. In extreme cases, physical therapists are loaded with various devices to aid recovery, but here are three you can do at home. While none of these will rid you of soreness alone, each one you can put into practice improves your chances of relief.

Ice and heat – Though ice slows circulation over time, it’s a fantastic circulation tool when used strategically. Your body is almost a hundred degrees. Rubbing ice on (or submerging for short periods of time) affected areas causes blood to rush from that area. Applying a little heat brings it back. It’s a bit like moving, without the movement.

Hot/cold showers – On the same theme, alternately turning your shower on hot, then cold, and pointing it at sore muscles causes a similar effect. The greater contrast between hot and cold you can stand, the greater the recovery effect.

Restoration poses – Also known as taking a load off, yoga restoration poses are a bit more targeted than just kicking it on the couch with your feet up, though some of the poses are very similar. These are movement-free poses designed to circulate blood in and out of targeted areas.

Nutrition – The better you eat, the better your body works, period. When you have excessive breakdown, which you do when you’re sore, every nutrient helps. It’s a common tendency to drown injuries (and soreness is a small injury) with alcohol and desserts. And while that may help your mental state, it will slow down your recovery.

 

What Not To Do If You’re Sore: Take NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
In the “what doesn’t work” section, see vitamin I (street name for ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin). While they are a common tool for recovery and pain relief, especially for recreational athletes, studies have repeatedly shown that they don’t aid in muscle recovery and, in fact, may exacerbate muscle breakdown. Plus, they come with a slew of other side effects.

Therefore, they should be avoided as much as possible. Understandably, you may want to use them to mask the pain in the most acute stages. Just know that it’s masking, and not solving, the recovery process. There’s too much on this topic to go into here, so I’ve provided some studies (below) for the curious.

 

Resources:
Donnelly AE, Maughan RJ, Whiting PH. Effects of ibuprofen on exercise-induced muscle soreness and indices of muscle damage.

Gorsline RT1, Kaeding CC. The use of NSAIDs and nutritional supplements in athletes with osteoarthritis: prevalence, benefits, and consequences.Clin Sports Med. 2005 Jan;24(1):71-82.

Rahnama N, Rahmani-Nia F, Ebrahim K. The isolated and combined effects of selected physical activity and ibuprofen on delayed-onset muscle soreness. Journal of Sports Science. 2005 Aug; 23(8): 843-50.

Trelle S1, Reichenbach S, Wandel S, Hildebrand P, Tschannen B, Villiger PM, Egger M, Jüni P. Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis.BMJ. 2011 Jan 11;342:c7086. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c7086.

Warden SJ. Prophylactic use of NSAIDs by athletes: a risk/benefit assessment. Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Apr;38(1):132-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.04.1770.

Wharam PC, Speedy DB, Noakes TD, Thompson JM, Reid SA, Holtzhausen LM. NSAID use increases the risk of developing hyponatremia during an Ironman triathlon. Medicine and Science Sports and Exercise. 2006 Apr; 38(4): 618-22

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

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Dr. Phil Shares: Make These 15 Small Changes to See Big Results

 

turkey sandwich

Whether you’re just getting started or just want to lose those last 10 pounds, scroll through these little changes that can have a big impact!

  • Swap Mayo for Avocado
    Making a sandwich? Avocado > butter or mayo. It’s full of healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber and contains more nutrients than those other two.
  • Refined Carbs
    Replace refined carbs (like white rice or enriched pasta) with whole grain versions. Whole grains have more fiber and more nutrients and absorb slower. The result is they won’t spike your blood sugar and will provide you with longer-lasting energy.
  • Rotate Playlist
    Rotate your playlist to keep your workout feeling fresh. And, while we love our trainers, if you need an extra push, don’t hesitate to put on your own soundtrack.
  • Swap Soda for Tea
    Swap soda with unsweetened, preferably fresh-brewed, iced tea. You’ll save hundreds of calories and won’t be drinking nasty chemicals. Just make sure not to drink “diet” tea or tea with weird preservatives or other chemicals.
  • television
    Watching TV? Do push-ups, crunches, squats, or stretch during commercials. You’ll burn extra calories, keep your brain active, and spend less time sitting (which is really bad for you in long stretches).
  • Reward Yourself
    Reward yourself with clothing or new fitness gear when you hit a milestone to give yourself something to look forward to and to train your brain to stop rewarding your body with food.
  • Divide Your Plate
    Dedicate 75% of your plate to vegetables and the remainder to whole grains and lean proteins. It will help you feel more full and will provide your body with necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Pedometer
    Wear a pedometer. You likely spend a lot of the day sitting. Blast belly fat by moving 10,000 steps per day, or approximately five miles
  • Olive Oil
    Cooking? Use light olive oil instead of butter. Why not extra virgin? When cooking over high heat, extra virgin’s lower smoke point can cause it to break down into dangerous byproducts.
  • Sign up for a competition
    Sign up for an athletic competition to keep yourself motivated. If your goal is “getting in shape,” it’s easy to lose steam! But, if you know you have to get—or stay—fit for an upcoming race, you’re more likely to stick with your workouts.
  • Ketchup
    Reach for mustard, hot sauce, and salsa instead of ketchup, mayo, or sour cream. Why? The former have fewer calories, more nutrients, and usually less sugar.
  • Plan Activity date
    Plan a fun activity date, like a snowball fight, a hike, or a game of tennis. Why? Novel activities and laughter are two proven ways to strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
  • Eat Slowly
    Eat slowly. It takes your body 20 minutes to realize it’s full. By eating slower, you’re less likely to overeat.
  • Sleep
    Get some Zs! Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep helps muscles recover faster, the brain work better, and makes you less likely to overeat.
  • Take the Stairs
    Take the stairs! Park farther from the entrance! The less time you spend sitting, the better it is for your body. And, if you’re trying to lose weight, every little bit counts!
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Dr. Phil Shares: How to Cope with Emotional Eating

 

How to Cope with Emotional Eating

How many times have you eaten not because you were physically hungry, but because you were stressed, tired, bored, anxious, angry, or (insert appropriate emotion here)?

Many of us have been taught that food can “soothe a mood,” that shoveling scoops of Ben & Jerry’s straight out of the pint can help dull the ache of a breakup. Comfort food — those warm, salty, melty bites of mac and cheese, for instance — preys upon our inability to say “no thanks” when we seek a reward or feel stressed.

When we use food to appease our moods, it sets us up for a vicious cycle of possible weight gain, followed by self-recrimination, followed by more emotional eating. But, I want to assure you that you can and you will stop this cycle if you learn a few simple tools.

Are You An Emotional Eater?

How do you know if you’re eating for emotional reasons? Try this self-test. For the following Answer each of the following five questions with a simple “yes” or “no.”

  • Do you eat between meals even when you’re not physically hungry?
  • If you eat between meals, are you eating on auto-pilot — i.e., mindlessly and without complete awareness and attention to what you’re actually doing?
  • When something upsetting happens, do you reach for the nearest bag of cookies to make yourself feel better?
  • Do you fantasize about foods that are your special “treats” such as chocolate cake or kettle chips?
  • When you eat these treats, do you hide out and eat them by yourself because you’re embarrassed to eat them in front of others?

If you answered “yes” to more than two of the above, you may be an emotional eater. When you want to eat when you’re not physically hungry, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling and why?
  • What do I really need besides food right now? (Hint: It’s often rest or a break from what you’re doing)

The healthy alternatives offered below may help you begin to escape the cycle.

Three of the Emotional States That Lead to Emotional Eating

Sadness, anxiety, and anger are the three emotional states I see most often among my patients that can lead to bouts of emotional eating. Some people eat to celebrate (hello, birthday cake), to quell boredom (think mindless snacking while watching TV), to reward themselves (“I just ran 7 miles, so I can eat a fully-loaded cheeseburger and fries”), but when it comes to patterns of emotional eating, I see them stem most from sadness, anxiety, or anger.

Sad Eating

Let’s face it: When heartbreak or loneliness hits, eating that tub of ice cream seems like a good idea. A bit of sweetness to drown out the sorrow… Before you know it, you’re caught in a self-perpetuating negative cycle that can be very difficult to escape. You eat because you’re sad, then you feel even more blue because you’ve eaten so much. This can lead to a “what-the-heck” attitude, increasing the likelihood of overeating when the next bout of the blues strikes.

Healthy alternatives to sad eating:

1. Express yourself: Your melancholy mood was probably caused by an upsetting incident. Get it off your chest by talking about it with someone you trust. If nobody is available to talk, try writing down your feelings.

2. Move: Battle the blues by moving your body and getting your heart pumping. Even doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise can boost the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain.

3. Give yourself permission to let it out: Light some candles, take a hot bath, listen to sad music, cry until you run out of tears. Allowing yourself to feel sad will help you process. Or, put on headphones, turn up the music, and dance, or punch pillows… pick a constructive way to emote that’s not eating.

Anxious/Stress Eating

Many of us eat to relieve our stress or anxiety. Research points out that emotional distress increases the intake of specific foods — in particular, those that are high in fat, sugar, or both. An excessive intake of these types of highly palatable foods shares similarities with the effects on brain and behavior that are seen with some drugs of abuse, according to research published in the journal Nutrition.

Healthy alternatives to anxiety/stress eating:

1. Stick to a regular, healthy sleep routine. If you’re not sleeping well because you’re stressed, the lack of sleep can result in poor food choices. Research shows that people who got insufficient sleep for several consecutive nights increased food intake to keep them going. When they returned to getting adequate rest, they stopped eating as much — particularly carbs and fats.

2. Do something relaxing and calming. We all have different ways of relaxing. The next time you feel stressed and anxious and instinctively turn to food, resist the urge to run to the cupboard or fridge, and instead practice a relaxing activity. Consider trying meditation, yoga, or even just pause for a moment to take some deep breaths.

Angry Eating

Unfortunately when we stuff our anger down with food this doesn’t get rid of our anger. It simply buries it. If we don’t deal with the emotion, it will keep popping up.

Healthy alternatives to angry eating

One way to get out of the angry eating trap is to delay eating — even 10 minutes will do — and to sit down, take a deep breath, and tune into what you’re really feeling. Ask yourself the following questions and patiently work your way through the answers.

  • What happened today that may have made me angry?
  • Why did that event stir up angry feelings?
  • What do I need to do in order to let go of this anger and feel peaceful?

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks for sharing Beachbody.com

Ditch Depression: 8 factors that chew at your mood

Root Cause Medicine

This isn’t to discount the neurotransmitter deficiencies that may exist in some people. As I learned in my extended pharmaceutical training, research shows that only 50% of the people may be helped with anti-depression meds about 50% of the time. So what about the rest of people the rest of the time? And in any case, doesn’t it make sense to try to support your body’s own natural mechanisms of healing and feeling better?

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will help you understand the scientific evidence behind the natural remedies used in defying depression in her free session at Goodness Me! on Wednesday November 16th. Register Here.

8 factors that chew at your mood

  1. sleep
  2. food sensitivity
  3. exercise
  4. nutritional deficiencies
  5. inflammation
  6. light exposure
  7. toxin build up
  8. hormonal imbalance
registernow

 

Dr. Phil Shares: How Do We Eat These Spooky Fruits?

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7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

If you’ve been hanging around the produce section at your grocery store lately, you may have noticed there are more and more downright weird-looking fruits or veggies. Don’t worry, it’s not the zombie apocalypse. Grocery stores are starting to get the memo that shoppers want a wider variety of healthier choices, and even small supermarkets are bringing in more exotic produce.

The good news is that these strange-looking fruits and vegetables don’t require a lot of fancy cooking skills. Many can even be swapped in for the produce you eat regularly. We chatted with Chef Shawn Harrison, whose seasonal creations feature some of the most “out-there” plants we’ve ever seen, for tips on how to integrate seven weird-looking fruits and veggies into your weekly meal plan.

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

1. Black Radish

This charcoal-skinned variety of radishes is quite pungent. They can be eaten raw, but slice them thin because the skin is tough. If they’re too pungent for you, cook them to tone down the flavor.

Nutritional benefits: Like other cruciferous vegetables, they contain glucosinolates, which can support healthy cholesterol levels and the gallbladder.

How to Eat Them: These are potent, so a little goes a long way. I quick-pickle them: Toss thinly sliced black radishes with rice vinegar, tamari, ginger, a bit of sugar and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Let sit overnight.

Chef Shawn boils them in salted water, then chills, sears in a cast-iron skillet and roasts them. This is a great tip for those who are new to their pungent flavor.

Storing: Refrigerate as you would regular radishes. Discard the green tops if you don’t plan to eat them.

Sourcing: A cool-weather crop, they’re available at farmers’ markets or specialty grocers. Choose radishes that are heavy and firm, with crisp greens. Avoid ones that feel squishy or have blackened stems.

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

2. Jackfruit

Native to Southeast Asia, these giant fruit have a neutral taste and stringy texture when eaten young. Jackfruit is becoming a favorite meat substitute (seriously) for vegetarians.

Nutritional benefits: This unique fruit contains vitamins B6 and C, plus potassium.

Storing: Whole jackfruit should be stored on the counter.

How to Eat Them: Chef Shawn likes it slow-roasted and pulled with BBQ sauce to mimic pork.

I turn it into avocado “chicken” salad: Mash an avocado, then add about two cups of (cooked and cooled) jackfruit, minced red onion, raisins and chopped walnuts, plus Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and dried tarragon to taste. Serve in lettuce cups.

Sourcing: Find whole jackfruit as well as canned varieties (packed in brine) at Asian markets, or buy the flesh prepackaged at health-food stores. Jackfruit smells sweet when ripe, so choose those without a scent if you’re planning to turn it into a meat substitute. Confession: I almost always buy the prepackaged refrigerated versions because it’s so much easier!

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

3. Kohlrabi

These bulbous root vegetables are in the cruciferous family, and they taste a little like broccoli stems, radishes or cabbage. When young, there’s no need to peel them, but larger, older kohlrabi has tough skin that should be removed. They can be eaten raw or cooked.

Nutritional benefits: Kohlrabi shares the same benefits as other cruciferous vegetables, and it traditionally has been used to support healthy blood sugar levels.

How to Eat Them: Chef Shawn turns kohlrabi into a slaw with oil, vinegar and herbs. (Try it with his jackfruit “pulled pork” tip above!)

I like to peel and cube kohlrabi, toss it with olive oil and plenty of spices like paprika and cumin, then roast it with sweeter root vegetables like parsnips and sweet potatoes. You can also spiralize it and steam it for a lower-carb pasta swap.

Storing: Refrigerate roots for up to two weeks. Remove leaves if you don’t intend to cook them or use them within a few days.

Sourcing: Find them with the other root veggies at your supermarket, usually in summer and fall. Kohlrabi should be heavy and firm, without any brown spots. If the greens are attached, they shouldn’t be wilted.

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

4. Kumquats

Kumquats look like baby oranges, but they’re actually their own variety of citrus. They can be eaten whole, though you’ll want to discard the seeds. Warning: The peel is sweet and fragrant, while the flesh is sour!

Nutritional benefits: Like the rest of the citrus family, they’re full of vitamin C, plus dietary fiber.

How to Eat Them: Chef Shawn slices them and adds to salads with a bitter green such as arugula.

I like to dice them and add to a mango or pineapple salsa for additional texture and a sweet-and-sour contrast. You could also add them to guacamole or, on the sweeter side, sprinkle a few slices atop vanilla fro-yo.

Storing: On the countertop as you would oranges.

Sourcing: Find them fresh in winter (citrus season) at grocery stores or preserved as marmalade at gourmet food shops. Like oranges, they’ll be fragrant when ripe with firm, blemish-free skin.

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

5. Persimmons

While the Japanese variety of these sweet fall fruit are more commonly known, they’re also native to the United States. When ripe, their flesh is sweet and pulpy, and they resemble an orange tomato. They can be eaten raw or cooked into a pudding or other sweet treats.

Nutritional benefits: They contain vitamin C as well as fiber.

How to Eat Them: Chef Shawn eats them raw or sliced in a salad with other fruits. I like that option, but I also like to mix the ripe flesh into chia pudding, oatmeal and smoothies. Dice dried persimmons, and add to oatmeal or trail mix.

Storing: Let ripen on the counter, then use the flesh immediately or purée and freeze.

Sourcing: Find persimmons fresh in the fall at supermarkets or at Asian markets, where you can also find them dried year-round. You likely won’t find them ripe in markets, as they get quite soft. Buy them when firm, and let them ripen on your countertop.

7 Weird Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

6. Romanesco

This cruciferous veggie looks like an alien version of cauliflower. It’s nearly neon green in color, with a mesmerizing fractal pattern. Though it looks too beautiful to eat, you can use it raw or cooked, exactly as you would cauliflower. Instead of slicing it, break it into florets to preserve the beautiful natural clusters.

Nutritional benefits: Similar to green cauliflower, nutritionally speaking, it contains plenty of vitamins C and K.

How to Eat It: Chef Shawn likes to roast romanesco to get a nice brown color. Roasting sweetens any vegetable, so this preparation can appeal to picky palates.

I often steam it lightly to preserve as much of that gorgeous color as possible, then serve drizzled with pesto or a bright lemony vinaigrette. It also makes a lovely addition to a veggie platter.

Storing: Refrigerate for a few days in the crisper.

Sourcing: Find romesco at farmers’ markets, or if you’ve got the space, you can grow it yourself if you live in a region with long, cool summers. Pick heads with tight clusters and no brown spots, and avoid those that feel soft or with greens that are starting to wilt.

7 Weird-Looking Fruits and Veggies and How to Eat Them

7. Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes)

These root veggies are actually a variety of sunflowers. There’s no need to peel their knobby skin before boiling or roasting (though you can if you prefer), and their flesh is sweet and nutty when cooked.

Nutritional benefits: Rich in the prebiotic fiber inulin, which may support healthy gut bacteria. (Word of warning: Start slow with sunchokes, as inulin is indigestible and can lead to gas and bloating if eaten in excess.)

How to Eat It: I am among those who have GI issues with these, so I tend to use them sparingly though I love the flavor. Like kohlrabi, they’re a delicious contrast to other root veggies when puréed or roasted. Purée steamed sunchokes and cauliflower with olive oil, lemon zest and a sprinkle of nutmeg for a light yet decadent side dish.

Storing: In a cool, dry place, as you would potatoes.

Sourcing: Find them at farmers’ markets or with the root veggies at larger supermarkets. When fresh, they should be firm and smooth yet knobby. Pass over those that are soft, dark or wrinkled. Tip: Sunchokes are definitely knobby by nature, but choose those with fewer knobs if you plan to peel them.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

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Dr. Phil Shares: Why Naps Are Good For Us

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6 Reasons Why You Need to Take a Nap

Take a moment to ponder the following question (after you stop ROFL, of course): When was the last time you got seven to nine hours of good, deep sleep?

Now, ask yourself this: When was the last time you took a nap? You know, that amazing thing we used to do as children every single day?

Guilt. Shame. Peer pressure. These are just some of the reasons adults ignore their bodies’ plea for nap time and push through the day with caffeine and sheer force of will.

The thing is, a slew of scientific evidence suggests that if we could get past our societal hang-ups about napping and make it a part of our daily routine, a cornucopia of benefits may await us. And of course, we realize that depending on where you work, office naps are generally frowned upon, but hey — this may help you make the case for turning the break room into a nap room.

Read on for six of the most game-changing consequences of snooze your body can use.

1. Napping Is Better Than Coffee
When you hit the afternoon slump, you make a beeline for the coffeemaker, thinking that a jolt of caffeine will give you a much-needed boost.

But according to a 2008 study, you’d be better off finding a quiet spot and putting your head down. The study compared the effectiveness of a nap with caffeine in three areas: the improvement of declarative verbal memory, procedural motor skills, and perceptual learning. Researchers found that naps enhanced the recall of words compared to the placebo and caffeine groups, while caffeine actually impaired motor learning when compared to getting a short snooze in.

2. Napping May Help You Lose Weight
Here’s another reason why some choice shut eye may be a better option than a strategic cup of joe and it has to with something called cortisol.

Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and we produce it naturally when life is throwing you curveballs. Repeatedly. Drinking coffee can create an excess of cortisol to speed around your body. That’s less than ideal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that extra cortisol may lead to increased glucose intolerance, which plays a role in packing on pounds.

In addition to a nice nap being better at boosting cognitive performance than coffee, a 2007 study suggests that napping does the opposite of coffee and actually decreases the amount of fat-storing cortisol in the body.

3. Napping Can Help Reduce Mindless Food Cravings
The next time you get less than your normal amount of shuteye, keep tabs on how much you eat the following day. If it’s more than usual, the culprit could be an imbalance of the “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin triggers appetite while leptin signals that your body has a sufficient amount of food energy to work with.

A Stanford study suggets that lack of sleep can lead ghrelin to increase and leptin to decrease — ideal conditions for overeating and over time, weight gain. A solid 20 to 30-minute nap can help to restore a balance of ghrelin and leptin, resulting in fewer zombie-like trudges to the fridge.

4. Napping Is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
For “optimal health,” the American Academy of Sleep Science and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults get at least seven hours or more of sleep a night. Every night. Not just the weekends. A 2016 CDC study showed that 1 in 3 American adults aren’t getting their seven or more hours of sleep in. And the consequences aren’t limited to an afternoon slump and habitual yawning: A 2006 study by the Institute of Medicine called sleep deprivation among Americans an “unmet public health problem,” linking the chronic lack of sleep to a “deleterious health consequences.”

5. Napping Can Reduce Stress
Researchers at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny College investigated whether or not a 45 to 60-minute nap in the middle of the day can help the cardiovascular system recover in the wake of stressful events. They subjected nappers and non-nappers to psychological stress and found that while both groups’ pulse rates and blood pressure rose during the stimulus, the nappers’ blood pressure was significantly lower in the recovery phase. So, if you know you have a stressful week ahead, pencil in some nap time to give your brain a rest.

via GIPHY

6. Cat Naps Count, Too
By now, you may be persuaded that there’s a lot to be gained from a nap. But the fact remains that most people don’t have the time or opportunity to fit in a 20 to 30-minute snooze in the middle of the day. Well, it turns out all you need to do is follow the example set by our feline friends: A 2008 study showed that even a mere six minutes of shut-eye is enough to enhance your memory.

So, grab a pillow, find a quiet corner/chair/couch/bed and dream about all the ways you’ll benefit from a few more zzzzs

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks To Beachbody.com for sharing