Bite Into Health for National Nutrition Month

I'm Blogging National Nutrition MonthHappy National Nutrition Month!

March has been deemed “National Nutrition Month,” with this year’s theme being “Bite into a healthy lifestyle.”  We will circle around that theme over the next month.  And I see two ways I’d like to tackle this trending topic (not counting tweeting digital “bytes” of nutrition tidbits, since I don’t Twit.)

1. HEALTH BITES!

As in, sometimes trying to be healthy just plain sucks!  Let’s talk about the common barriers, struggles, and frustrations of diverging from your dangerous, unhealthy lifestyle, and “chew the fat” on ways to change that around.

Let’s hash out our horror stories, laugh at our lapses, tell our tales of fails, and then bring in the Saipan Support to find ways to overcome our obstacles. Need a Facebook support group?  Looking for recipe ideas?  Confused about how to prepare that crazy new exotic food you found at the market?  We can do this together!

2. ONE ELEPHANT BITE AT A TIME

There’s an old proverb that goes, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”

Often trying to make healthy changes is incredibly overwhelming.  While you may see more dramatic results more quickly – which can be rewarding – it can also be difficult to maintain over time.  Baby steps – or “little bites” – will get you to the same destination, and perhaps with a little more time to stop and smell the roses, enjoying the journey.

One bite at a time steps
modified from Academy Gakuin

These are just a few examples of habits you may be interested in changing.  And if you try to do them all at once…. yikes!  That’s an elephant of change you’re trying to swallow!

Little bites.  Small goals.  Tiny tweaks to your routine.

Thinking you want to start working out?  How about before you even lace up your sneakers, you just start with calling gyms for pricing and classes, or looking up local parks and walking paths?  Need to increase your water to 6-8 cups per day?  Before you even take a sip, why don’t you just write down how much you drink normally each day so you can see where you’re starting?

Share your Bites!

Let’s hear it!  Leave a comment below to share your struggles, laughable stories, what you’d need, or what your goals are.  I’d be happy to create a Facebook page for daily support and tips if there is an interest.

See what bite-sized change you can make today to begin the ripple effect that can change your life.

Flying and Frying

Many people on Saipan and the neighboring islands comment that one of the things they love about living out here is the ability to travel quickly to other countries and explore.  I myself just returned from a long flight to the states for a nutrition conference.

I love travel, and have found ways to be quite content on these 28-hour trips, but whenever you fly, you are being bombarded by microbes, dehydration, and dangerous radiation!, dehydration, and dangerous radiation! No, this isn’t some SciFi plot or crazy takeover. This is something everyone faces during their flights.

Airplane Exposure to Dangers

When one gets on a plane, one is preparing to assault the body with many dangers. I’m not talking about potential dangers of malfunctions; I’m talking about the constant dangers of germs, dehydration, and radiation.

Most of us are already aware that plane flights can be a breeding ground for disease – many people crammed close together for long periods of time, limited air circulation, and not the healthiest of snack options! So I often plan about a week ahead to start boosting my immune systems with extra sleep, water, and vitamin C. (Lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to start!)

Dehydration was an issue for me on previous plane rides. First off, they swipe your water at the check in, so you have to try to find new water on the other side.  Take bottles that you can refill, and always ask for water from the stewards.  Delta tweetedDrink water. Then drink more. You can lose nearly 1.5 liters of water during a 3-hour flight.”  That’s about 6 cups every 3 hours!  So if you’re one of my Saipan compatriates, and you’re making a trip back to the states… you do the math.  Drink up!

And the one danger that most people are NOT aware of – when you hop on a plane, you are going to be flying at heights that are affected by various forms of radiation.

Eh?

from nasa.gov

 

While we are constantly getting a “steady drizzle of rain” of radiation from space, the Environmental Protection Agency states “The atmosphere shields us from cosmic radiation, and the more air that is between us and outer space, the more shielding we have. The closer we get to outer space, the more we are exposed to cosmic radiation. This holds true when we live at high altitudes or fly.”

The Federal Aviation Administration put out this report for Aircrews, entitled “What Aircrews Should Know About Their Occupational Exposure to Ionizing Radiation.” In it, they state “Ionizing radiation consists of subatomic particles that, on interacting with an atom, can cause the atom to lose one or more orbital electrons or even break apart its nucleus. Such events occurring in body tissues may lead to health problems. For aircrews, and their children irradiated in utero, the principal health concern is a small increase in the lifetime risk of fatal cancer. For both of these groups, exposure to ionizing radiation also leads to a risk of genetic defects in future generations. The FAA recommends limits for aircrews in their occupational exposure to ionizing radiation and provides computer software for estimating the amount of galactic cosmic radiation received on a flight.”

Now, I’m not saying one long flight is going to necessarily have fatal effects, but low doses over time can add up. And we’re exposed to these forms of radiation on a daily basis already, it is just increased during a flight. If they have to warn crew to limit their exposure, maybe it’s something to take seriously.

Looking out the plane window, over the Pacific
 

So what can you do? The EPA’s opinion is, “There are no practical ways to shield yourself from cosmic radiation during a flight. You can reduce your exposure while flying by taking shorter flights at lower altitudes. This is often not practical, and the risks from cosmic radiation do not warrant changing your travel plans to reduce your exposure.”

But for those of us who fly more often, on long trips?  Eat naturally, and keep yourself healthy! Load up on antioxidants that help stabilize those molecules in your body and prevent dangerous oxidation from radiation.

How to Handle These Damaging Assaults

Start your morning with a big glass of lemon water to get a last little kick of vitamin C, then get some good antioxidants in, to help protect your cells (berries, leafy greens, produce, ect.)

Keep foods light and easily digestible – don’t bog down your body with digestive needs when you want to reserve some energy for fighting off germs and damage.  Processed, heavy meals that do little to help keep your system running at its ideal level.  Ideas: raw pecans or almonds; trail mix; apples travel well; baby carrots and celery sticks or bell peppers; a treat of dark chocolate with over 70% cacao.

Boost your immune system early; keep water on hand; eat antioxidant-rich foods but eat light. And make sure you get up and stretch to keep your blood flowing and moving all those nutrients around!

Tapochau Tonic

Happy weekend!  I hope yours is going as well as mine.

My Saturday was full of fun relaxation, and I finally got some time to focus on yoga, meditation, and studying my books for yoga school.

And Sunday has been a wonderful day, so far, as well!  I got up early and hiked all the way up Mt Tapochau with the dog, Kodama.  She was a trooper.

Coming back down the mountain, I could tell my joints were getting tired, as walking downhill on loose gravel was quite trying for my knees.  So I whipped up this omega-rich, joint-soothing, re-hydrating, healing PUFA-fat filled, 110% manganese smoothie after I got back:

DSCN1914

Tapochau Tonic

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsDSCN1914

  • 1 young coconut (water and meat)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 Tbs hemp seed
  • cinnamon for garnish
  • Ice optional

Directions

  1. Put it all in a blender, and blend away!
Recipe from http://www.DublinDietitian.com

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Acid, Gout, and Joint Pain

There are a lot of health problems that are beginning to be linked to an overly-acidic diet, and sadly, the standard American diet is very acid producing (as is the Standard Island Diet.) However backwards as it may sound, an acidic body is NOT caused by eating acidic foods, like lemons and pineapple. Oddly enough, fruits are very alkaline-forming in the body as your body digests it. On the contrary, an acidic body is the result of a high meat, high refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, sugars, pop, etc), high dairy diet.  It can sound somewhat confusing, but a food’s acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. There is a difference between a food being acidic, and being acid-forming.

 

So, whether you’re trying to battle arthritis, gout, bone weakening, or fatigue (all of which are linked to an overly acidic body) we could all use a little more alkaline-forming foods.

 

And what are the best alkaline foods? Fresh fruits and veggies!

 

Some of the most alkaline-forming vegetables include:

  • asparagus
  • spinach (raw)
  • broccoli
  • parsley
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • beets
  • carrots
  • tomatoes

 

Some of the best fruits include:

  • all citrus
  • watermelon
  • cherries
  • papaya
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • pears
  • blueberries
  • peaches

 

Try to eat some of these foods every day, while cutting back on your processed meats, fats, and sugars.

 

Start your morning off with a glass of water and squeeze in some lemon – cool, or warmed is fine, just not boiling. Too much heat will begin to degrade the nutrition of your lemon. Start small, if you find lemon an overpowering flavor and tartness.  Just a little squeeze, and gradually see if you can work you way up to half of a lemon, fully squeezed in to a glass of 8-12 ounces of water.  It’s a wonderful enzyme-full, vitamin C-rich way to kick off the day!