The Pros & Cons of Juicing

Pros and Cons of Juicing

Juicing has recently gained increased popularity amongst the media and health/fitness communities. I personally have come across multiple juicing brands over the past few months such as BluePrintCleanse, Pressed Juicery and Project Juice (one of my favorites) that have been promoting their various types of cleanses. Being health conscious myself, I naturally felt the need to jump on the bandwagon try one of these juice bars out to see what all the buzz was about! It was not until I stepped into one of these juicing locations and saw the price tag of these juices, that I really had to step back and research the pros and cons of a juice cleanse.

Juicing Pros:

  1. Depending on the juice recipe, you can consume your recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables in one bottle! Sounds enticing..
  2. Promises such as glowing skin, bright eyes, colon health by giving your body a break from solid foods and even increased energy! What’s not to love?!
  3. Last but not least, weight loss which seems like the #1 pro for most people who decide to tackle a juice cleanse.

Juicing Cons:

  1. Exorbitant pricing. One bottle of juice averages out to about $9-$10, where as juice cleanses will cost you about $75 a day! Eek!
  2. Bye bye to fiber, hello tummy grumbles. While some juice recipes may taste great, juicing extracts the fiber from your fruits and vegetables which is what helps keep us feeling full and satisfied.
  3. By relying on only food that can be juiced you are missing out on other vital food groups such as fish, meat and eggs (aka protein) which are important to your overall health and also help keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.

After evaluating the pro’s and con’s I have formed my own personal opinion on the juicing craze. I think juicing does have its benefits as long as it is supplemented with some solid healthy foods. I think a juice cleanse may do the trick if you are trying to drop a couple pounds for an event, but it is not a good idea for weight maintenance. However, I am not totally against juicing. In fact, I am a huge fan, but I do tend to complement my juice with some solid food.  For example, I think a piece of grilled chicken and quinoa along with a healthy green juice would be a great idea for a well balanced lunch that will help keep you full until dinner. You could even grab a juice from a juice bar or make your own and consume it as a snack between lunch and dinner to help hold you over.

Because money does not grow on trees in my world (I wish), to combat the exorbitant juice bar pricing, I went ahead and invested in a juicer so I can make my own juice whenever I want! Juicers tend to range in price anywhere from $30-$500 dollars, depending on how serious you want to get and what kind of things you plan on juicing. I bought my juicer from Costco for about $100 and love it (http://amzn.to/LXzDrQ).  Below I have listed one of my favorite juicer recipes that is totally affordable and might I add delicious! 🙂

 Easy Homemade Juicing Recipe

My Favorite Juice Recipe:

1/2 Cucumber

3-4 Carrots

4 Celery Stalks

1 Apple

1 Pear

1/2 Lemon

Pour and enjoy!

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The Bar Method Workout

The new year has finally arrived! This means new opportunities, new goals, and, of course, a new years resolution. For many of you this also means it is time to put down the eggnog and get back into shape. Besides being aware of your nutrition, an important part of getting back into shape is varying your workouts. This will not only keep you interested and entertained, but it will also prevent muscle memory and  keep your muscles guessing. If you are looking for a way to vary your workout and challenge yourself, The Bar Method is the perfect workout for you to try. This workout has not only been found to improve posture, but also tighten abs and elongate muscles. The secret? Free weights, mat exercises, and a ballet bar. Sound interesting? Check out this video and visit http://www.barmethod.com for more information.

How to Live Healthy Abroad

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With a new year arriving we all know what everyone’s new years resolution will be. It usually is something along the lines of “I need to tone up” or “I need to lose weight”. However, the mistake that most people make when making these promises to themselves is that they set their expectations too high and end up only being able to stick to their goal for about a month or so. It is very difficult to stay true to new years resolutions when there are so many situations and temptations that can set us off track. For example, I am now living in Rome, Italy for a semester and staying fit and eating healthy here has become even more difficult then I had imagined it to be. The amazing gelato, pizza, pasta and wine are everywhere and trying to resist the temptation to indulge is harder than I thought it would be as you can see from my pictures above( especially since food and wine are essential parts of the Italian culture). The hardest part is that a lot of the food either a) does not come with nutrition facts or b) the nutrition facts are hard to understand. So, what I have managed to do in order to stay healthy  here is to use common sense. So, a few tips:

1. Always try to eat whole grains. Believe it or not Italy as well as many other countries do eat whole grains. So, if you are going to eat bread and pasta ask if they have whole grain. Don’t know how to ask for it? Look up the word online. Not only will the host country appreciate you trying to speak their language, but you will be educating yourself as well. For example, in Italian say “integrale” when asking for whole grains.

2. Use common sense. If you can’t read the package and are unable to decipher how much fat or sodium is in the food you are about to consume, play it safe and opt for an apple or orange instead of the mystery chips. We all know that no matter where you eat an apple it is always going to be healthy and good for your body.

3. If you are living abroad, cook for yourself. I have had many nights where I have been out all day and running into the nearest restaurant seems very tempting, but I also realize that eating out constantly will not keep me fit. By eating at home you will know exactly what is going into your food and you can substitute ingredients to make a healthier dish.

4. Walk, walk, walk. If you are traveling or living abroad, you are obviously going to that country for a reason: to explore. So, instead of taking a ride on the touristy buses, walk around on foot yourself. Not only will you feel more immersed into the culture, but you will be burning calories without even knowing it!

5. Always pack a snack. If you are constantly walking everywhere, you are bound to get hungry and that tasty pizzeria may start calling your name. But, if you pack a healthy snack, like dried fruit and nuts or a granola bar, you will be able to kick your hunger pangs and hold off for a healthier dinner option.

Is Truvia Safe?

There has been an on-going controversy about the safeness of artificial sweeteners. While some say they are safe and wont cause health issues, others believe they may have some long term damaging effects such as cancer. But what about the safeness of a “natural sweetener?”  Truvia is a new replacement for sugar that claims to be a kosher certified natural sweetner dervied from the stevia plant. One packet of Truvia sweetener  provides the same sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar.

However, don’t be fooled by its claims to be a “natural sweetener”. In my book, the only true natural sweetener is real sugar itself. Yes, sugar in large doses is not particularly good for your overall health, but using calorie-free sugar substitutes is not a much healthier option. For example, Truvia was just put on the market this year and has already been banned by Austrailia, New Zealand, and the European Union due to its possible cancer causing effects. So you be the judge, is cutting a few extra calories really worth the potential health risks in the long run?

For more information, visit the Truvia site:

http://www.truvia.com/

Holiday Drinks to Avoid

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When you think about the holiday season, what comes to mind? To me, holidays mean family, friends, shopping, good food, and of course Starbuck’s holiday cups. However, it is also in this season that we tend to put our health on the back burner while we indulge in various holiday drinks and desserts. Though, I encourage you all to enjoy and take part in the holiday festivities and meals, I also encourage you to become aware of what you are putting into your body during these times.

During the holiday season, various drinks such as eggnog can contain enough fat and calories to make up for an entire meal! To make your life a little easier, and to save you the trouble of looking it up for yourself, I have gathered a list of Starbucks’s holiday drinks that you should try to avoid this season.

1. Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte with Whip: 300 calories, 11 grams of fat

2. Tall Caramel Brulee Latte: 270 calories, 5 grams of fat

3.Tall Eggnog Latte: 370 calories, 17 grams of fat

Surprised at all by any of these? I sure was. Keep in mind that these are all Talls, imagine what the Venti contains (ah!). But don’t worry, I have also come up with a list of holiday drinks that won’t give you a heart attack:

1. Tall Skinny Hazelnut Latte: 90 calories, no fat (this is one of my personal favorites!)

2. Tall Steamed Apple Juice: 170 calories, no fat

3. Iced Tall Nonfat Gingerbread Latte: 120 calories, no fat

4. Tall Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino Light: 120 calories, .5 grams of fat

You can check out the rest of the Starbucks Nutrition facts on their site: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/catalog/nutrition?drink=all#drink=all&page=3

Photo Credit:

Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/66208256@N00/2092989435/’>Esparta Palma</a> via <a href=”http://stockpholio.com/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.com</a>

How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

 

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As the weather turns colder, the common cold (and flu) seem to spread like wildfire. Being a college student myself, it seems like more and more of my classmates become absent every day as we enter flu season.  Although there is no way to completely avoid the common cold or flu, there are ways to reduce your chances of becoming sick.

For example, before flu season begins, you should start taking vitamin C daily. Studies have shown that those who took vitamin C daily, shortened cold duration by 8% in adults and 14% in children. There are many ways to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin C. A single orange contains about 75% of average daily requirement of vitamin C for adults. Another great source of vitamin C is through Emergen-C packets. I personally swear by these guys. All you have to do is pour the packet into a glass or bottle of water and you have 1,000 mg of vitamin C as well as other beneficial antioxidants, electrolytes, and nutrients that can help boost your immunity. I encourage you to check out their website.

Another way to avoid getting sick is to make sure to wash your hands multiple times a day. Most colds and flus are spread from direct contact, so the desk you touch in school or door knobs in bathrooms are key places where these germs are often spread. An easy way to kill these germs is to carry a pocket, alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill germs on the go. Also, after you go to the bathroom, try to avoid touching the door handle if you can and use a paper towel instead.

Lastly, another easy place to pick up germs is the gym. To avoid these nasty germs, make sure to wipe down equipment both before and after use. If you are using a mat, I would suggest bringing your own towel to put down on top of the mat.

Getting sick is never fun, but if you follow these suggestions, you should be able to significantly lower your risk of getting cold or flu symptoms. Also don’t forget to sleep for at least eight hours a night. When your body is worn down or stressed,your immune system is weakened, making you more prone to cold and flu symptoms.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/vitamin-c-for-common-cold

http://www.emergenc.com/

Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress

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When life gets tough, stress and anxiety may feel unavoidable. Whether you are overwhelmed at work or swamped with tests, it is important to know that you are not alone and that everyone feels stressed at some time in their life. However, there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with life’s curve balls. Binge drinking to forget that you just bombed your final exam will not relieve your stress long term and will probably cause you to feel worse in the morning. For this post, I will share with you some of my stress-relieving techniques:

1. Sleep. I cannot stress how important those 8 hours of sleep are. You will feel well-rested in the morning and have an easier time focusing on the tasks at hand. Sleep will also allow you to skip that morning cup of caffeinated coffee that can be harmful to your overall health.

2. Go for a run. Whenever I am having a rough day, running allows me to shake the anxiety and think in peace. The happy endorphins aren’t half bad either.

3. Take a break.  When you get frustrated, trying to power through the task at hand is useless and you will not be able to perform to your potential. Taking a 10 minute break will allow your brain to rest and give it time to generate more (and hopefully better) ideas.

4. Call a friend. Sometimes bottling up your feelings can just leave you feeling even more stressed out. Talking about your issues with a friend can help lift that weight off your shoulders. He/She might even give you some great advice that you had not thought of before.

5. Organize. When you begin to feel like your life is absolute chaos, sometimes it helps to organize. Whether it be organizing research, forming to do lists, or even just cleaning your room, feeling organized will help you feel less stressed and provide at least some order in your life.

Photo Credit:

Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/30549390@N06/4097009340/’>anna gutermuth</a> via <a href=”http://stockpholio.com/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.com</a>

Be Stylish at the Gym

Sure, the gym is a place where most of us go to do intense cardio and/or weightlifting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be stylish while doing it. Purchasing stylish gym clothes can even be an incentive to go to the gym. The reason why we buy stylish clothes in the first place is to show them off, right? So, for this post I will share with you my personal favorite brand of gym clothes: lululemon athletica. Lululemon sells “yoga-inspired apparel for healthy living.”  Though their clothes fit nicely for yoga workouts, they are also great for running, dancing, or any other physical activity. Here are a few links to my favorite items that have become staples in my workout routine:

1.  Power Y Tank – http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/tanks-light-support/Power-Y-Tank-Luon?cc=7842&skuId=3517557&catId=ustankslight

2. Scoop Neck Tank: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/tanks-light-support/Scoop-Neck-Tank?cc=10064&skuId=3527676&catId=tanks-light-support

3.  Cool Racerback: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/tanks-no-support/Cool-Racerback-30193?cc=4249&skuId=3521741&catId=tanks-no-support

4. Wunder Under Crops: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/crops-yoga/Wunder-Under-Crop-31428?cc=5091&skuId=3525251&catId=crops-yoga

5. Run Inspire Crop II: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/crops-run/Run-Inpire-Crop-II-55554?cc=12926&skuId=3521191&catId=crops-run

6.  Free to Be Bra: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/bras-light-support/Free-To-Be-Bra-32213?cc=12609&skuId=3528676&catId=bras-light-support

If you like these items as well, visit their website:

http://www.lululemon.com/

Enriched vs. Fortified: There IS a Difference

Walking through the grocery store, people often see labels that say enriched with this or fortified with that, and they automatically think the product is healthy. But it is important to know the difference between fortified and enriched foods.

So, what does “enriched” really mean? Enriched foods mean the vitamins and minerals that were lost in the refining process are added back after the fact. For example, if you see a product that says enriched with iron, the iron originally found in the food was lost during the refining process and has now been added back. However, this also means that the food has gone through a refining process in the first place (stripping much of its original nutritional value), which should make you think twice about its health benefits now.

Fortified means that vitamins and/or minerals have been added to the food in addition to the level of vitamins or minerals that were naturally in the food before it went through the refining process.

Many of us get a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals through fortification or enrichment of foods. However, be careful of the foods you buy with these labels.  For example,  sugary cereals are now being fortified with different vitamins and minerals, but this does not make the mass amounts of sugar just go away.  Watch this video to find out more about fortified cereals and other natural foods that are beneficial to your health and help boost  immunity:

Don’t Forget to Stretch!

We are constantly told that exercise is important to our health, but people often neglect to stress the importance of stretching both before AND after a workout. Stretching not only prevents injury and muscle soreness, but also improves flexibility and coordination.

Why stretch before you exercise? :

Stretching pre-workout should only take you about 5-10 minutes. In these minutes, your body will pump more blood into the area you are stretching,  allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles. This both helps prevent injury during the workout and  helps loosen up tight muscles. It can also promote ligament strength as well.

Why stretch post-workout?:

After an intense workout such as a long run, your muscles tend to tighten up. Stretching right after you exercise will help loosen up your muscles and prevent lactic acid build up that could potentially make your muscles very sore the next day. However, stretching cannot always prevent soreness. If your muscles feel very sore the next day it is important to give them a day or two of recovery to heal.

Source:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1222418/the_importance_of_stretching_before.html?cat=5