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Boost Your Immune System With Simple Ways to Add Nutrients

May 1, 2020

Nutritionist, Healthy EatingDo you love vegetables?  If you do, I bet you're still not eating enough.  If you don't like them, let's start changing your palate.  Adding vegetables every day is such a simple way to boost our immune system, fight viruses/bacteria, inflammation, and lose weight.  Here are some simple ways to eat lots of vegetables with ease and enjoy it.  That's right!  It still needs to taste good and can't be too cumbersome, but cumbersome is relative and a matter of putting systems in place.
  • Subscribe to a CSA box weekly or every other week.  It's a great way to eat your fruits and vegetables and try new ones too.  I use Be Wise Ranch and love them.  Try other ones that have pick up stations near you.
  • Use raw vegetables instead of chips, pita, bread, and crackers.  I love Persian cucumbers with hummus or baba ghanoush, for example.  Use greens as a wrap instead of tortilla or sandwiches.  I don't believe in zero carbs but I do believe that processed carbs can lead to weight gain, feeling bloated, and potentially eating too much.  Vegetable snacks help us feel much lighter and we reap lots more nutritional reward. This shift is much better than dieting.
  • Have a side salad with every meal.  Prep it in advance in jars.  I also love arugula, cucumber, peppers on the side with my eggs.  Figure out what sounds good to you.
  • Add vegetables to everything and even double the recipe.  You can top any dish with kale, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, peas, etc.  Add double the vegetables to eggs, pasta, rice, or even pizza.
  • Nothing wrong with frozen vegetables.  Add a bunch to soups, scrambles, pastas, rice dishes, etc.  I don't love all frozen vegetables but I do like peas, carrots, corn, spinach, artichoke hearts, edamame.  Again, the trick is to figure out what YOU like and the textures that work for YOU.
  • What vegetable dishes sound super yummy to you?  Are you the cream of broccoli type or the roasted brussel sprouts type?  That's a nice clue into where you can expand.  Maybe you love roasting your vegetables.  Maybe you love throwing everything into a broth or creamy soup.
  •  Prep for the week.  Yes, it's best to have fresh vegetables daily but I'd rather see you eat them and use any method that works for your busy schedule.  Wash, chop, roast, or even freeze vegetables for the week.  Pre-chopping and having it all ready has really helped some of my clients.  Others will actually have them all roasted, cooked, and ready to go for the week.
  • Add veggies for breakfast.  Add spinach, kale, etc. to omelets, frittatas, or have them on the side.
  • Drink your veggies.  Add lots of greens and some fruit to your smoothies.  This isn't something we do often in our home because I believe we are better off chewing our food.  It helps regulate how much we eat and the chewing process helps with digestion, however, I understand that it's a good breakfast in a pinch. Subscribe more to an eating diet versus a drinking diet when you can for weight loss and wellness.
  • Store veggies on the top shelf in plain sight.  If it's in front of us, we are more likely to eat them.
Happy eating!  Enjoy your nutrition and find the attitude that will sustain this practice in the long run.
If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food.
~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Storage Tips: Waste Less Food

April 15, 2020

We waste so much food and so many of use DO feel bad about it.  Plus, it hurts our wallets too. Here are some tricks:

What can you freeze? (Label & Date)
Store nuts, bread, butter, meat, fish, poultry, and blocks of hard cheese in the freezer.
Freeze milk.  Shake thawed milk if the fat separated. 
Freeze chicken/vegetable stock in ice cubes, then store in zip lock bags. 
Blanch vegetables before freezing to preserve their flavor.
Peel ripe bananas before freezing.  Toss frozen chunks in smoothies, or thaw for cooking/baking.
Freeze berries on a tray so they don't stick together.  Transfer them to airtight container.
Chop peaches, melon, mangoes, pineapple, and other fruits before freezing.
Freeze lightly beaten eggs in airtight container and thaw in fridge to use as scrambled eggs or cooking.
Pack ice cube trays half full with fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basic, etc) then top with olive oil.  Transfer frozen cubes to airtight container/bag.

Reduce Restaurant Wastes & Calories:
Don't eat more to waste less. Most entrees are over 1,000 calories.  Bring your own to-go box for leftovers or split an entree with a friend but definitely pass on the buffets. 

Reduce Shopping Waste:
3 avocados for $5?  You probably don't need to buy them all to get the promotional price.  Plan meals ahead to avoid overbuying.  Buy frozen fruit for smoothies.

Waste-Free Kitchen Tips
Greens (kale, spinach, beet greens, etc.) on the verge of going bad?  Saute or steam them to give them new life.
Revive wilted greens by putting them in ice water for 5 minutes
Soft apples/pears?  Peel, core and place in a pot with a little water, then heat and mash for apple sauce.
Leftover herbs.  Add to salads, sandwiches, garnish in soups or make pesto.
Need to clean out your vegetables?  Create a stir-fry.
Eat up the pantry and use up grains and canned goods quarterly.
Before traveling, eat up your perishables, give them to friends or take them along.
Keep container in freezer for scraps (carrots, onions, celery, herbs, garlic, poultry bones, etc.) and make stock. 

Storage Tips
"Eat First" area in your fridge where you're most likely to see leftovers
Store fresh herbs (parsley/cilantro) in a glass of water like cut flowers.
Store mushrooms in paper bag or in open container
Onions can make potatoes sprout.  Keep them apart.
Bananas and apples can make other fruits ripen.  Separate them.
Store oils you use often (olive) in cool, dark place.
Keep oils you use infrequently (sesame or walnut) in the fridge.
Store leftovers in clear containers o you can see what they are.
"Best by" dates are for food quality not safety. Judge by look/smell before tossing. 

Compost
You can compost fruit, vegetable scraps, pasta, bread, cereal, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper plates, and more.  Go to EPA link for more help:  https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

(Above information shared from Nutrition Action, Center for Science in the Public Interest)

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Calculate Your Plant Protein Needs

April 1, 2020

Protein is the buzz word for weight loss and diets. Everyone pushes protein shakes and fear of not getting enough. No doubt it is important because protein builds and repairs tissues. It's in every cell, but we actually don't need that much. A healthy woman needs 45 grams of protein, while a healthy man needs 52 grams. Yet surveys show that our average intake is 75 grams for woman and 100 grams for men. One note is that protein can't be stored for later use unlike carbs and other nutrients so we want to consume protein throughout the day. Extra protein, however, won't lead to building muscle but rather potential weight gain because of excess calorie consumption.

It's best to resort to eating more plant: good for your health, the planet and animals. A cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein and green peas have 9 grams. Vegetables, whole grains, and nuts also have lots of protein. Here's a list of examples. Mix and match them for delicious meals and snacks. Use Calculator to figure out your protein needs: https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/index.php

Nuts/Seeds (1/4 cups) - Protein (grams)

Chia Seed 12

Hemp Seed 10

Flax Seed 8

Sunflower Seed 8

Salba 7.4

Almond 7

Pumpkin Seed 7

Sesame Seed 7

Pistachio 6

Walnut 5

Brazil Nut 5

Hazelnut 5

Pine Nut 4

Cashew 4

Cooked beans (1 cup) - Protein (g)

Lentil 18

Adzuki 17

Cannellini (white beans) 17

Cranberry bean 17

Navy Bean 16

Split Peas 16

Anasazi 15

Black Bean 15

Garbanzos 15

Kidney Bean 15

Great Northern 15

Lima Beans 15

Pink Beans 15

Black-eyed Peas 14

Mung Beans 14

Pinto Beans 14

Green Peas 9

Cooked Grains (1 cup) - Protein (g)

Triticale 25

Millet 8.4

Quinoa 8

Amaranth 7

Oat, bran 7

Wild Rice 7

Rye Berries 7

Whole Wheat Couscous 6

Bulgar Wheat 6

Buckwheat 6

Teff 6

Oat Groats 6

Barley 5

Brown Rice 5

Spelt 5

Cooked Vegetables - Protein (g)

Corn (1 large cob) 5

Potato (with skin) 5

Mushroom, Oyster (1 cup) 5

Collard Greens (1 cup) 4

Peas (1/2 cup) 4

Artichoke (medium) 4

Broccoli (1 cup) 4

Brussel Sprouts (1 cup) 4

Mushroom,Shitake (1 cup) 3.5

Fennel (1 medium bulb) 3

Swiss Chard (1 cup) 3

Kale (1 cup) 2.5

Asparagus (5 spears) 2

String Beans (1 cup) 2

Beets (1 cup) 2

Sweet Potato (1 cup) 3

Cabbage (1 cup) 2

Carrot (1 cup) 2

Cauliflower (1 cup) 2

Rutabaga 2

Squash 2

Celery (1 cup) 1

Spinach (1 cup) 1

Bell Peppers (1 cup) 1

Cucumber (1 cup) 1

Eggplant (1 cup) 1

Leeks (1 cup) 1

Lettuce (1 cup) 1

Okra (1/2 cup) 1

Onion (1/2 cup) 1

Avocado medium 4

Passion fruit (1 cup) 5

Pomegranate 5

Dates (1 cup) 3.6

Cantaloupe (1 cup) 1.5

Nectarine 1.5

Orange 1.2

Firm tofu (1/2 cup) 10

Tempeh (1/2 cup) 15

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Nutritional Fads or Facts?

March 15, 2020

Every year there's a new fad, new research, and the latest trend for healthy eating or weight loss.  Some say it's good, then others say it's bad.  Which diet should I follow?  It's confusing so let's break it down.  My answer, however, is always moderation; enjoy it and nothing in the extreme.

Meatless Meats
I love the idea of eating less meat for our health, the environment, and reducing animal cruelty.  Please eat more plants!  As for our health, meatless meats are actually 4X higher in salt than regular beef and has the same amount of saturated fat.  It's also highly processed food and requires chemicals to extract the protein.  Plus, they've extracted the fiber too so just stick to eating more plant-based whole foods.  (See next month's newsletter for more ideas.)

Intermittent Fasting
The idea is to eat in an 8-hour period and fast the remainder 16 hours.  No solid evidence show this is the best weight loss method but my problem with these fads is that people don't listen to their own bodies.  No one diet is perfect for everyone.   I met a guy who does this fast but doesn't start eating until 4pm.  We don't want our body digesting into the late hours because those organs are slowing down and getting our body ready for bed, not digestion.  Another woman I met is trying so hard to do this but she gets hungry so she skips breakfast and craves all sorts of food and resorts to sugary, fatty foods to compensate when she does eat. 

Many cultures have used fasting as a spiritual ritual and we can certainly use it to jump start our system.  I fear this is yet another calorie restriction for weight loss that doesn't sustain and leads to more weight gain.  Learn to listen to your body. 

Eggs:  Good or Bad?
It seems like there's dueling research on eggs.  I believe moderation is your answer.  Of course, if you smoke, don't exercise, and eat lots of red meat, those eggs will put you on cholesterol overload.

Other Hyped Foods
Acai is claimed to have tons of antioxidants.  They are expensive.  Enjoy them but there isn't conclusive data on their magic.  Well, I don't believe in magical foods; just eat a nice variety.  Blueberries, kelp, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, etc. all have lots of antioxidants.

Coconut water is a great electrolyte high in potassium.  It can add a lot of calories if you drink too much of it in place of water and hurt the wallet too.  A banana is equally great.  I love coconut water.  What a treat, but I don't consume it after every workout.  You get my point.  Enjoy it but don't fall for the fad and overdo it while killing your pocket book unnecessarily.

Agave is very high in fructose.  Use small amounts and limit your daily added sweeteners in general.

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food.

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Unmotivated to Exercise? Try This.

March 1, 2020
If you're not used to exercise, it can feel overwhelming to start.  But even if you're an avid exerciser, you're still at risk of heart disease if you sit for a living so listen up.  For every hour of sitting, we increase our coronary artery calcification by 14%.  Over time, this narrows the artery and leads to heart disease.  So hitting the gym hard doesn't offset 9 hours of sitting for work yet just 2 minutes per hour of movement can really reduce the risk of death by 33%.
Here are some ideas to start moving throughout the day:
  • Wear a pedometer
  • Schedule walking meetings
  • Pace when you're on the phone
  • Set reminders to walk
  • Speak to a co-worker in person instead of sending an email.
  • Be mindful of what you do after work.  Don't do more sitting (and watching TV).  Plan for fun, moving activities.
With these small, necessary movements throughout the day, we still need some exercise that elevates our heart rate.  Do you struggle to get or stay motivated?  Well, focus on fun!  What's fun to you?  We are all different so don't do what's right for someone else.  I love team sports, I love the outdoors, I love being with people who make me happy.  What about you?  Focus your exercise on what makes you happy.  Here are some tips:
  • Find a buddy.  Funny how we can let ourselves down but it's harder to let someone else down.  Plus, it's more fun with someone else.
  • Find a routine.  Schedule it in your calendar.  You are worth self-care!
  • Music is key.  Music helps me work a little harder and a little longer too.  Find what you like.  I also like listening to my audible books or podcast.  Learn to understand YOU and your needs/wants/desires.  No need to be like everyone else.
  • Shake it up.  Don't do the same things.  For example, sometimes I play beach volleyball.  Other days, I swim, run, Zumba, hike, kayak, etc.  You get the message.  Make it fun and you won't call it exercise.
  • Where, What, When, How. Who.  Know what to expect.  Find the "where" that jives with you.  I love the outdoors but if it's dark and cold, I might opt for the gym in the winter.  Figure out "what" you're doing, "when" you're doing it, and "how" long, and with "whom."
Good luck!!  Make it fun!!  Let me know how it goes and you must absolutely plan the exact time otherwise something else will always take over.  You are the most important and you can do this! If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. ~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition Coach & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

9 Climate-Friendly Food Tips

February 15, 2020
Completely derived from centerforfoodsafety.org
This earth is amazing so we have to take care of mother earth for us and future generations.  Often time we watch the news and feel helpless but there are lots of things within our control.  Focus on things you can control.  If we all did a little, it would add up to so much, plus you would reap the health benefits too.
 
PDF Link if you'd like to post it at home or work kitchen.
If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food.
~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

8 Habits of People Who Stay Lean Easily

February 1, 2020

Has weight loss been a struggle for you?  Do you look at some thin people and wonder how they make it look so easy while you have tried numerous diets just to gain back all the weight plus more? 

First let's start with the story you tell yourself.  Are you guilty of saying "it's just my body type" or "I can't lose weight because of my genes?"  Our thoughts are everything.  Change your words, and your life will change. Take that control and empowerment back!  It's easier said than done but we have to start lovingly feeding ourselves more productive, compassionate words.  As we adjust our words to prevent self-sabotage, we also focus on our habits.  These are habits that make weight loss and being lean/fit so natural and one day, even easy.  Try them and get support.

  1. Give up dieting.  I tell my clients, the best way to gain weight is to go on a diet.  It does NOT work so just give it up.  A strict diet leads us to eat more and we can't sustain it for life.
  2. Home-cooked.  It's nearly impossible to be healthy when we rely on corporations and restaurants to cook for us.  Whole, real food allows our body to self-regulate.  Collect your top 5 - 10 recipes and change up the protein, vegetables, and whole grains.  Find EASY meals that you enjoy.  I love simple.
  3. Movement.  We have to move DAILY.  We are too sedentary.  Focus on 10,000 steps and doing things you enjoy so that you'll keep doing them.  Don't hit workouts that you hate.  It won't last; you'll just quit and where does that lead you?  Plus, if you over-exercise, you end up burning muscle instead of fat. Stay within your optimal fat-burning range.
  4. Grocery shopping.  Get into the habit of making this regular.  When there's good food at home, we will eat it.  When we aren't prepared, then we hit the fast food or convenience.  Everyone blames discipline but I don't focus on discipline at all.  It's all about the mind, habits, and planning.  You do NOT lack discipline so stop telling yourself that.  Demand fresh food for yourself; you are worth it.
  5. Chew & mindful.  Sounds so easy but oh so hard to do.  Chew your food and eat mindfully (not multi-tasking).  You'll see that you eat far less without even trying.  You'll be full with less and walk away satisfied.  Why not taste it, enjoy it, and slow down enough to live life...maybe with a smile and a light heart while eating.
  6. Smaller plates.  It's that simple.  We fill our plates.  Use a smaller plate and our visual perception tricks us to think we have plenty of food on the plate to satisfy us.  Use a large plate of the same serving and you'll feel deprived.
  7. Don't be fooled by health claims.  Food manufacturers will say anything on the label to get you to buy.  Not only will you buy the product but it has a halo effect that gives you license to cheat because you've been good.  It happens to the best of us.  It's just human nature (research proven). 
  8. Keep the junk away.  Don't have it around and you won't be tempted.  Why do we torture ourselves by having our favorite treats around expecting we won't eat them.  If they are my weakness, I will eat them. So simple.  Have lots of fruits and vegetables readily available at all times.

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach

Type 2 Diabetes Is Reversible

January 15, 2020

1 in 8 adults have diabetes and another 1 in 3 have pre-diabetes. In some people, both are reversible. You want to prevent this because diabetics have twice the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as higher risk of blindness, kidney failure, and losing toe, foot, or leg. Bottom line, it's worth taking care of your health.

A study was done with those who have been diagnosed with diabetes within 6 years and one group was offered the usual diet control advice while the other group ate a very low calorie diet (850 calories/day). In this study, they gave them 600 calories from a packet and the rest (250 calories) from salads. The second group also stopped diabetes medication on day one. After 12 - 20 weeks on the low calorie diet followed by 2 - 8 weeks of added solid foods and weight maintenance for 2 years, 46% of participants had no diabetes compared to only 3% of the control (first) group. Please talk to your doctor before getting off medication.

The key is weight loss. Just 1/2 hour of brisk walking DAILY can lower your risk. And if you have diabetes, get up and move every 1/2 hour.

Prioritize your health to prevent/reverse this epidemic disease. Interestingly after 3 years, the risk of diabetes was 58% lower in the group who changed their lifestyle (low-calorie weight loss diet and 150 minutes/week of exercise). And...71% lower for the group that's over 60 years old. Taking Metformin cut the risk of diabetes by only 31%, all of which was compared to a placebo group.

Good luck with your 2020 journey to not just better health but a thriving life.

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

How to Prevent the Flu Once Exposed to the Virus?

January 1, 2020

Did you know that when people are exposed to the cold or flu virus, only some will get infected?  Wouldn't you want to be in the category of those uninfected?  Being sick sucks!  Sign me up to not get sick.

The cold/flu is an upper respiratory infection caused when someone coughs or sneezes by you or you touch a contaminated area then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.  The most important tips are to stay away from sick people, wash your hands with soap and water (not antibacterial soap), and get the flu shot.

In a study where they put the cold virus in people's nose, 75% of them became infected but only 30% actually got sick.  Why? 

  • Stress. Those who reported high stress before being exposed to the virus experienced worse cold symptoms.  Beyond self-rated high stress, those going through unemployment, marital problems, and other stressful events also got sick.  Plus, those who meditate regularly report 20% fewer respiratory infections.
  • Sleep.  Those who got 6 or less hours of sleep were 4 times more likely to get sick than those who got 7 or more hours. 
  • Exercise. Data shows that people who exercise regularly get fewer respiratory infections.  The regular exercisers also experience 23% shorter illness.  They got sick for less days.

If you do get sick though, stay home, rest, let the body heal, hydrate, and eat home-cooked whole foods full of nutrients.  No drugs will help since colds/flu are caused by a virus so taking antibiotics will only breed resistant bugs.  Be careful with other over the counter drugs as antihistamines and cough suppressants can cause dizziness and drowsiness.  Decongestants can cause insomnia.  Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin can cause stomach ulcers or kidney problems.  Mucus and runny nose is your body's way of fighting the germs.  Rest and treat it well, so the body can do it's job in healing.  As a matter of fact, the immune system excretes cytokines to make you feel tired so the it has more energy to fight off viruses.  So just rest.     

 

It's not a coincidence that the same strategies prevent sickness, heals sickness, and also help us lose weight.  It's nice that being healthy is all the same and doesn't contradict itself.   

 

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, diet, exercise, cravings, emotional eating and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego