Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Health Benefits of Growing Your Own Produce

Health Benefits of Growing Your Own Fresh Produce

As I was writing a GMO-Free Shopping Guide for you, I thought it would be great to talk about the many great benefits of growing fresh produce to get your interest going.

There are many reasons people choose to grow their own fruits and vegetables at home, from saving money to having access to produce without chemicals. There also happen to be quite a few health benefits to choosing fresh produce, especially when you grow it yourself. Here are some health benefits to keep in mind.

It is Loaded With Nutrients

Fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, and herbs, have tons of nutrients. Many of these are considered superfoods, which have a higher amount of vitamins and minerals. Some good superfoods are blueberries, kale, spinach, and strawberries. All fruits and veggies have a lot of nutrients you want, which are a higher amount with fresh produce. This includes vitamins C and A, vitamin D, folate, potassium, fiber, and lots of antioxidants.

You Can Prepare Well Balanced Meals

Thanks to the nutritious fresh produce and the convenience of having them at home, you can also use them to prepare healthier, more balanced meals. This is an excellent health benefit as your family might be struggling with malnutrition without even realizing it. Sure, you might be eating enough food, but not the right foods. Having fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard encourages you to prepare more of these balanced meals for the good of your family’s health. I share healthy recipes in my upcoming Clean Eating Plan guide.

Gardening is Good Exercise

Growing fresh produce in your backyard is great exercise and good for your health. It helps you burn calories, be more active, and can even get your kids involved. Plus, don’t forget that when you are outside more often by planting your veggies and herbs, you are going to get more vitamin D from the sunlight. This helps to prevent vitamin D deficiency, which is common for many people. Try to get everyone in the family involved in growing your own food and you will all benefit from it.

You Won’t Have Nasty Chemicals

Growing your own produce means you have full control of what is added to it. You can avoid harsh fertilizers in the soil and use pest control methods that are completely natural without chemicals in them. This is the same thing you get from buying organic produce, but when you grow it on your own, you have the convenience factor and save money at the same time. Less chemicals is always a good thing when you are feeding your family more fruits and veggies.

My next article will go over tips for beginners and those starting their first produce garden!

Dangers of Emotional Eating

Dangers of Emotional Eating

There a number of unhealthy habits that can develop over time if you are not mindful of your eating habits. One very easy unhealthy habit to fall into is emotional eating. This can go unnoticed because it’s not widely thought of as dangerous compared to other life threatening habits such as illegal drug use, and many can easily find excuses for it like saying they can simply “exercise more later.” How serious is this issue? Can eating habits really be a danger to you? We’ll be exploring some of these that in the following article.

Awareness is Key

Emotional eating usually hits very suddenly out of nowhere and seeks out specific cravings to be filled. Often times these powerful cravings are for sugar and fat filled snacks because of the powerful rush of dopamine that turns on the reward and pleasure centers of the brain after consumption. Eating like this repeatedly eventually overrides the signals of hunger and satiety. Seeking out comfort food and this kind of gratification leads to overeating and morbid obesity. Children can also develop early obesity when they learn this type of self-soothing. Many snack foods (especially candy and baked goods) are marketed to children. Some other snacks are associated with memories of fun times, childhood, or loved ones. Unfortunately, the methods that are used to produce foods of these foods typically contain high levels of salt, sugars, fats, artificial colors and preservative agents.

It is an Unhealthy Way to Cope with Emotions

Emotional eating is often used as a way to avoid dealing with complex or negative emotions. Not every trigger will be the same for each person, but these could include a range of emotions and feelings including anxiety, boredom, loneliness, disgust, sadness, and even joy. The emotional danger is the continued neglect of the real reasons behind these emotions. A feeling of shame or guilt might follow binges. This is especially true when the behavior is hidden from friends or family. Seek professional help, or tell a trusted friend or relative if you feel isolated or lonely and are forming unhealthy eating habits.

There are Health Risks

If a person uses eating as a way to escape or distract their emotions, a vicious cycle can develop. For example, a person who seeks food to cope with stress will create a paradox where weight-related health issues arise like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and back or joint pain. Beyond the difficulties surrounding obesity,  other health issues such as insomnia, anxiety, malnutrition, digestive problems, menstrual problems, and depression can develop.

Tips to overcome Emotional Eating

If you are overeating and appear to be experiencing any of these symptoms or health problems, it is never too late to make a new choice. After tapping into your support system, here are a few other ways to get back on track:

  • Keep a food diary – even if you use an online one like https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
  • Tame your stress – be intentional about your stress relieving activities. Find some ideas for creating a stress-free environment here
  • Remove temptation – Don’t have a cupboard full of junk food and do not go grocery shopping until your emotions are in check
  • Have healthy options on hand – When you feel the urge to snack in between meals, have something good and healthy like fruit, nuts, vegetables, or lower calorie versions of your favorite snacks
  • Give yourself a break – Don’t punish or deprive yourself. Even if you make a mistake—forgive yourself and recommit to start fresh again. Learn from your experience and plan to do better. Let your support system know that you are serious about changing it and ask for their assistance when needed.
  • Resources:
    Mood, food and obesity. Frontiers in Psychology. September 1, 2014.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150387/
  • Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047342?pg=2