Nutrition 101: How To Read and Understand Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels allow you to make educated choices about what you eat.

They include: 

  • Serving size
  • Calories
  • Percentage of daily value
  • 13 core nutrients

The serving size is at the top.

All of this information is based on this amount.

So you need to make sure that you compare this to the amount of food that you actually eat. 

For example- eating a whole bag of chips when the serving size is only for 10 chips.

SPOILER ALERT!

The serving size on the label is usually a much smaller amount than most people would eat.

Moving on to calories.

The number of calories listed is based on the serving size.

If you have more than the suggested serving size the calories will be higher, if you have less the calories will be lower. 

Remember…

Not all calories are created equal.

Empty calories void of nutrition and full of chemicals and preservatives wear down the body and add up quick.

Clean, whole foods are lower in calories and much higher in nutrients and fiber.

We need to take other things into consideration when choosing foods like the percentage of daily value.

This tells us how much of a nutrient a food contains.

5% of less is considered a little amount of a nutrient.

And 15% or more is considered a lot.

Nutrients to look for include:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

On the flip side, nutrients to consume in moderation include:

  • Trans fats
  • Sodium
  • Sugars

Let’s take a look at nutrition labels for two similar products and see how they stack up.

By comparing these two cereal labels, let’s figure out which option is the healthier choice.

First, check the serving size.

Is it the same for both products?

Moving on to calories…

Product 1 has 110 calories per serving while product 2 has 120.

Now look at the percentage of daily value and see which nutrients each product is high or low in.

Product 1 has:

  • 16g Sugar per serving
  • 1g Fiber
  • 2g Protein

Product 2 has:

  • 7g Sugar
  • 3g Fiber
  • 10g Protein

Even tho Product 1 has ten less calories, Product 2 is the healthier option.

It has 5x the protein (10g vs 2g)

It also has triple the fibre which will aid in digestion and help you feel full longer.

Product 2 also has less than half the amount of sugar.

There are some foods that don’t require a label including:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Raw meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Foods made in stores like bakery items or store made salads.
  • Foods that contain few nutrients like tea, coffee and alcohol.

Ultimately, the information on a nutrition label is there to help us make informed decisions about what we eat.

Making Healthy Food Choices In Our Busy Lives

Making Healthy Food Choices In Our Busy Lives

You already know how important it is to make healthy food choices for you and your family. But how can you fit the best choices into your busy life?

You’ll be pleased to discover that a hectic life doesn’t mean that every meal has to be fast food on the run! Sometimes it’s difficult to make healthy changes, but with a little planning and know-how, it can be done.

Here are some strategies to help you and your family make healthy choices:

  1. Avoid temptation. It’s so easy to walk into the store with good intent, but walk out with bags full of unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, our wills are weak, especially if we’ve trained ourselves over the years to buy junk foods.
  • Never shop when you’re hungry. This way you won’t pick out unhealthy choices because they look good at the moment.
  • Get rid of the unhealthy foods in your home. If they aren’t around, you won’t be tempted to eat them. 
  • Think of healthier alternatives to your family’s favorite unhealthy foods. Rather than high calorie chips, try trail mixes or rice cakes. Low calorie puddings or frozen yogurts are better alternatives to higher fat ice creams.
  1. Eat fast and healthy meals at home. When you’re tired at the end of the day and you realize you still have to feed the family, it’s easy to go to a fast food chain and throw fast food on the table. It may save some time, but it won’t save your health – or your pocket book!
  • The great thing is that there are many easy, fast, and healthy foods you can make at home. This takes some planning, but you’ll be more satisfied, save money, and be healthier as well.
  • Look online for quick and easy recipes made with all natural ingredients. Many recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less and only have 5 ingredients. Taking the time to research recipes will save your sanity in the long run. Then once you find a “hit” with the family, store the recipe in a book or on your computer.
  1. When you cook, make large batches and freeze the leftovers. This way, you’ll already have meals in the freezer that you can just thaw, heat, and serve. This is the opportune way to enjoy “fast” food at home.
  2. Eat Slower. Since the brain takes about 20 minutes to get the signal that the stomach is full, if you eat too fast you’ll pack in a lot more food than you need. When you’re still thinking you’re hungry, it’s easy to make the wrong choices about food. If you slow down while you’re eating, you’ll eat less and you’ll still feel full.
  • Set a calming mood before sitting down for a meal. Avoid having the television on or eating as you’re rushing the kids out the door to another activity. Sitting calmly at the table will allow everyone to relax and enjoy their meal.
  1. Make dinner time a social experience. Dinner should be about enjoying your company and taking pleasure in the foods you’re eating.

When you begin to look at mealtime as a social experience, it becomes easier to make the right choices about healthy foods. Suddenly you aren’t so worried about rushing through and making it quick.

Dinner becomes a great experience when you’re able to enjoy healthy foods together. Take time to eat as a family and enjoy a real conversation with each other. Talking will naturally slow down your eating pace, while also reconnecting you with your family members.

Using these techniques will bring all kinds of healthy benefits to your family and teach your children a healthy lifestyle. Healthy food choices are a possibility in your busy life if you take the time to plan ahead and make dinner time a priority in your home.

Natural Health Benefits Of Drinking Hot Lemon Water

Natural lemon tea is so easy to make and has great health benefits! If you want to improve your immune system or boost your metabolism just follow these simple steps!

  1. Boil some hot water.
  2. Add some squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Enjoy your natural tea!

It’s that simple!

Hot lemon water helps stimulate the body’s immune system and prevents illness in the most natural way possible. This is because lemons are rich with Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that plays an important role in causing resistance against many diseases. The hot temperature of the water, along with the Vitamin C will help in reducing coughs and loosening the thickness of mucus forming bacteria.

Another benefit to drinking hot lemon water is that it can be a natural aid to helping you regulate, or even lose some weight, if that is a goal of yours. 

This is a more strategic approach, as the timing of your intake can help boost your results. Drinking hot lemon water in the morning is the best time for losing weight.

Why? 

This is because warm water raises your body temperature, which increases your metabolism. Your metabolism is naturally higher in the morning as opposed to later in the evening. So it’s best to begin your day with an extra boost and start burning more calories early.

I hope you found this information helpful. Enjoy!

Sources

Kumbhakar S, Verma R, Biju B, (2016) “Effect of warm lemon water drink on selected parameters among the overweight female nursing students of RIMS & R, UP”. International Journal of Nursing Research & Practice, Vol 3 (1)

Al-Juhaimi F, Ghafoor K, (2013) “Bioactive compounds, antioxidant and  physio-chemical properties of juice from lemon, mandarin, and orange fruits cultivated in Saudi Arabia” Pak. J. Bot., 45 (4): 1193-1196

Dhuique-Mayer, C., C.C. Veyrat, P. Ollitrault, F. Curk and M.J. Amiot. (2005). Varietal and inter specific influence on micronutrient contents in citrus from the Mediterranean area. J. Agric. Food Chem., 53: 2140-2145.

Lee’s Fitness Unlimited Podcast Episode 2: Dat Man Dooley Interview

Check out this interview with my friend Abdul Iscandari aka Dat Man Dooley. It is also available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and all other podcasting platforms.

Listen here

How To Heal Muscle Strains

What Is A Muscle Strain?

Have you ever felt like you pulled a muscle and wondered what the heck just happened? Well, it was most likely a muscle strain. A muscle strain is the over stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. They are classified in three different grades of severity. A Grade I strain is a mild strain where only a few muscle fibers are damaged. Grade I strains most likely will feel tender and painful, but the muscle will still have normal strength.

A Grade II muscle strain is a little worse and there usually is a loss of strength. You would be able to tell if the injury was a Grade II strain if there was swelling or a bruise on the area that’s hurt.

A Grade III muscle strain is the absolute worse. This is when the muscles tears all the way through. When this happens you feel a “pop” sensation as the muscle rips away from the tendon. These type of injuries require immediate medical attention because there is usually a loss of muscle function. The Grade III muscle strain usually causes the muscle to look deformed where there is a “dent” in the muscle where the muscle fibers have detached from the tendon. 

How To Heal Muscle Strains

Grade I and Grade II muscle strains can be treated with the R.I.C.E. healing method. R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest is very important because most muscle strains are caused by over working or over stretching the muscle. Your body is telling you to “chill out!”. While resting you should be applying ice to the injured area frequently.

Ice will help the inflammation and swelling go down. I personally recommend icing for about 20 minutes every few hours. Compression is also necessary to reduce the swelling. Keep it wrapped up with compression clothing or sleeves (you could even use an ACE bandage). You want the compression to be tight but not too tight to the point where you aren’t getting blood circulation to the area.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that the injured area should be elevated above the heart. This will keep the swelling down. It is pretty evident that the overall goal for allowing the muscle to heal is by reducing inflammation and swelling. This can all be done at home, but keep in mind this is only for Grade I and Grade II muscle strains. As mentioned before, Grade III muscle strains require immediate medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury surgery may be needed. The length of recovery depends on the individual and the grade of muscle strain.

Conclusion 

Muscle strains are caused by over stretching or over working a muscle. There are three different grades of muscle strains. Grade I and Grade II muscle strains can be healed at home with the R.I.C.E. method of healing. It is recommended that Grade III muscle strains receive immediate medical attention. 

Resources

Push Ups Workout With Mike Lee

In this video Mike Lee is giving a demonstration of several different ways to do push ups to increase your upper body strength and overall fitness. Try to add this exercise to your personal workout at the gym or your home.

“If you put the work in results will come!”

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Importance Of Sleep In A Healthy Lifestyle

Sleep is a naturally reoccurring state of mind and body, known by relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of most voluntary muscles, as well as reduced interactions with surroundings. Without any form of doubt, we all know that sleep is of vital importance in having a healthy lifestyle.

It is different from being awake, by a decreased reaction to stimuli, but is, however, more reactive than being in a coma or conscious disorders. During sleep, most of the body’s systems are in an anabolic state (buildup of tissues), in order to restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems to their top state; this process helps to maintain memory, mood, as well as cognitive function, and also to play a large role in functioning of the endocrine and immune systems.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, occurs when an individual gets less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert. When a person does not get enough sleep to feel awake and alert, they begin to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation. The main symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness, but other symptoms include:

  • Yawning 
  • irritability 
  • fatigue 
  • depressed mood 
  • reduced sex drive
  • moodiness 
  • difficulty learning new concepts 
  • forgetfulness inability to concentrate 
  • lack of motivation clumsiness 
  • increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings 

Sleep deprivation can negatively affect a range of systems in the body, causing the following impact or effects on a healthy lifestyle:

  • Sleep deprivation can result in an increased risk of respiratory diseases.
  • A lack of sleep can affect body weight. The two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are responsible for hunger and satiety (fullness) and the levels of these hormones are affected by sleep. It also causes the release of insulin, which leads to increased fat storage and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleep helps the heart vessels to heal and rebuild as well as influences the processes that maintain blood pressure and even sugar levels.
  • Insufficient sleep can affect hormone production, which includes growth hormones and testosterone in men. Also, it also prevents the body from strengthening the immune system by producing more cytokines to fight infection. This can mean a person can take longer to recover from illness as well as having an increased risk of chronic illness.

The benefits of good sleep to a healthy lifestyle, are particularly obvious for people that are usually involved in intense physical activities such as athletes. Studies have shown that after-exercise recovery with extra sleep improves the buildup of muscle, strength, as well as increase in endurance. On the other hand, sleep deprivation causes athletes to suffer from poorer reaction times, longer recovery times, and terrible performances. Humans may suffer from various sleep disorders, including dyssomnias such as insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea; parasomnias such as sleepwalking and REM behavior disorder; bruxism; and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

In general, it is without doubt to say that sleep is essential for the general wellbeing of the body and even the mind. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you sleep well.

Reference:

https://www.tuck.com/Sleep-And-Athletes/