Blog

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

Holiday Orthorexia Interrupting Your Weight Loss?

December 15, 2019

"Orthorexia is defined as an eating disorder characterized by having an unsafe obsession with healthy food."  Yes, most of us may chuckle that we have the opposite problem but I want to make sure that over the holidays, we don't fall into this trap and end up gaining weight. 

I'd like to describe both true orthorexia and for the vast majority of us, the mentality of orthorexia that leads us down a self-sabotaging weight gain cycle.  

Orthorexia is an eating disorder where one has an OBSESSION with eating only pure and clean food to the point that this interferes with daily life.  This can lead to severe health problems such as malnutrition, protein deficiency, kidney malfunction, etc.  If this is you, please get help right away.

For the rest of us who have the perfection eating mentality (especially during a diet) but don't have a disorder, let's change the way we view food so that we CAN lose weight.  For some, the holidays is a time they completely let go and for others, they have a lot of anxiety around food.  Let's find peace with food.  Accept that the holiday is a time of joy, foods that remind us of traditions, and people.  Let go of your "perfect" eating enough to enjoy all foods.   But...don't let go so much that you don't listen to your body.  Here are some quick tips to help you enjoy all the foods yet lose weight:

  • Put everything on a plate.  Eating involves the eyes too.  Our brain/body gauges "enough" through all senses.
  • Slow it down.  Give yourself permission to eat your favorite foods.  It's funny how having permission allows us to eat just the right amount and not stuff ourselves fearing someone (including ourselves) is judging. 
  • Mingle more.  Be the photographer, the greeter, the social butterfly.  Don't plant yourself at the food table.
  • Daily movement.  You can always make time for daily exercise.  Don't plan your calendar so there's no time to smell the flowers. 
  • Mindful choices.  Fill your plate up with food that makes you feel good and leave room for less healthy options.  Not the other way around.
  • Alternate between water and alcohol. 
Mostly importantly, enjoy this time.  Food is medicine but perfection is impossible (and toxic).  I wish you the happiest of holidays and a very Happy New Year.  Please stay away from the holiday weight gain followed by the New Year's Resolution cycle.  Treat your body well now.  You don't have to do it all alone.  Get support!  Change isn't easy but you can acquire the growth mindset for success.
 
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

Emotions Linked to Heart Health?

December 1, 2019


During the holidays, for some, it's a glorious time to spend with loved ones. For others, it's a trying time. For those going through some emotions, I hope this will provide you with some action steps.


The heart is a universal symbol of emotions. We hear expressions like "my broken heart"or "with a heavy heart" or "my heart can't bear it," etc. Studies have, in fact, linked grief, depression, job loss and the like with heart attacks. Stress leads to high blood pressure. Unfortunately, there are also behavioral decisions that propagate poor health such as smoking, overeating, alcohol, and inactivity.


Negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, frustration, depression, fear and so on, prompts the body to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones make the heart beat faster, blood vessels narrow, blood pressure rise, and blood sugar elevate. In our hunter/gatherer days, stress hormones turn off once we escaped the predator and our blood pressure and heart rate goes back to normal. In modern society, this elevated stress could continue for hours, days, weeks, months, years, and even decades. Yikes!!! You see how the body fails and we become susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Here are some simple actions to take as we mindful shift away from unnecessary stress:

  • Exercise. Aim for 3.5 hours every week if not more. This is huge for me because I can literally feel my stress dissipate.
  • Breathe. We, as a society, are terrible breathers. Try yoga and/or meditation. Studies show permanent changes with meditation.
  • Break. Step away. For you, what does it mean to live. Definitely not to stress all the time, drown in work, and not have time for breaks, joy, etc. Focusing on gratitude has really helped me.
  • Friends. Science show that people with frequent social connections are better able to protect their body against high blood pressure. Friends are important but choose them wisely.
  • Diet. Food is medicine, and it also helps dodge mental illnesses. "Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need."

I wish you the joyous of holidays. And if others (including yourself) get in the way, I hope you'll find next steps for living a happier, freer life within your control. Please reach out if you need support.


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

 

Mental Shift for Successful Diet & Weight Loss

November 15, 2019

My clients who lose weight and maintain it understand the mental shift and recognize how much easier it is, almost effortless.  They chuckle about decades of dieting, feeling so frustrated and defeated while reporting that "this way is so easy and natural." 

This might sound crazy to you but I hear it all the time.  In order to maintain weight loss, we have to live a healthy lifestyle which means we cannot go on a diet.  Dieting works, but it is short term and the consequences are detrimental such as slowing down metabolism, creating eating disorders, and deteriorating self-esteem. 

If you want a healthy lifestyle, you have to change your relationship with food.  First, it has to be enjoyable.  If your actions are not enjoyable, you will quit.  Eat things that tastes good, exercises that feel good, etc.  Don't just push your body.  Find self-compassion, self-love. 

You have to also change your mindset.  Learn to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset.  This means that you stop believing you are the problem, that you cannot lose weight, that you are innately a certain way.  Instead, you can overcome obstacles with perseverance, baby step changes, and acknowledging that setbacks are OK.  It's a part of growing.  What can you do differently next time?  What factors need to change? You are flexible, not rigid.   (Recommendation on the side:  read "Mindset - The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck.)

Awareness is also important.  Be aware of your mental state.  If you're tired, cranky, and hungry before a meal, convenience always wins.  How do you set up your day and your environment so that you want to choose to shop, prep, and cook that healthy meal that will make you want to repeat this?  And repeating over time, with joy, becomes a habit.

So stop torturing yourself.  Stop the daily dieting struggle of counting calories.  Stop dieting!  Please, find the joy in life, find the habits you will sustain.  Your life is waiting for you to thrive (not sit back in defeat).  If you would like support, call me.  

 
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 & Holisitc Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Diet for Work Burnout

November 1, 2019

Do you feel drained, unfocused, irritable or experience frequent stomachaches, headaches, or bowel issues? Are you burned out at work?  This can leave one depleted and physically/mentally exhausted.  Let's break this cycle!  Put yourself on this diet to bring back vitality and energy into your life.  You'll notice that at Happy Food, "diet" is all aspects of our lives because they are all integrated and affect one another.  We have to address the whole person.

  1. Boundaries.  This is a leading problem in my office - lack of boundaries.  Learn to say "no" and be realistic about what you can actually accomplish.  Being an overachiever without boundaries will leave you sick and under-performing.
  2. Sleep.  This is another major issue I see.  Americans don't get enough sleep.  Have a sleep hygiene routine that is consistent regardless if it's a weekend or weekday.  Get at least 7 - 8 hours.
  3. Move.  I can't go one day without some sort of exercise even if it's quick and simple.  This is an easy way to release stress, balance hormones.  Make time for movement daily even if it's just 15 - 20 minutes of brisk walk.
  4. Goodbye phone.  I guess most of us can't put our phones/computers away for too long but at least turn off all those notifications.  The screen light lowers our melatonin levels, putting our deep sleep in jeopardy.
  5. Veggies.  I tell my 4 year old that vegetables give her super powers.  Well, they do.  They give us lots of energy, vitamins, antioxidants, and regulates our bowels.  Eat up!
  6. Meditate/Yoga/Passion.  Find peace, calm, and recharge however you do it.  Some do it by changing a career and seeking their passion.  Others change their perspective and make meditation or yoga their spiritual release.  Find your way to relax and recharge.
  7. Vacation & Connection.  I can't believe the average American gets less than 2 weeks of vacation and many don't even use that.  We need to reset, turn on our parasympathetic system so that we can properly relax and digest.  All the great food and exercise won't do you any good if you're a big ball of stress.  And don't just wait for vacation to reset either.  Make plans with people, find time for fun and play.  What does living really mean to you? 
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

Holiday Weight Loss: 3 Mistakes

October 15, 2019


I was in the store the other day and saw Christmas decorations.  It's barely October!  It comes earlier every year but it reminds me that it might not be a bad idea to start helping people prep for the holidays where we won't gain weight but maybe even lose weight.  Let's make that shift now before it's too late.   Halloween parties are around the corner.

I want to help you get away from those self-sabotaging behaviors.  If you've ever used willpower or commitment as your diet plan, you've already lost.  You have set yourself up for deprivation and you feel like you're suffering.  Your body does not like to suffer so it's a consistent tug-of-war in the brain.  You inevitably break down, break your resistance to "bad" food, and plummet your self-esteem in the process.   Feeling self-defeated, you focus even harder on your New Year's resolution to resume this vicious cycle of yo-yo diets. I

If you do this then you associate deprivation and misery with what it takes to loss weight.  This has not, will not, and does not work.  It will come back to bite you and you'll gain the weight all back plus more.  Misery is NOT the answer to a healthy lifestyle.  Let's start by making some minor changes and follow up with me for deeper lifestyle transformation.

  • Starving before a holiday party.  Why do we automatically assume that holiday parties equal pigging out?  Maybe it's because we impose guilt, anticipate our actions to over-eat, starve ourselves in anticipation, then play out what we envisioned since we are starving before a huge display of fatty and sweet foods.  The holidays are about food and people and joy.  Don't make it about misery and torture.  If you're eating a well-balanced meal throughout the day, you won't pig out, and your metabolism won't slow down due to starvation. Don't robe yourself of joy.  Make joy the focus this holiday (and every day).
  • Stress.  So many people say the holidays are stressful.  Why?  Isn't it about joy, fun?  Why does the party have to be perfect, why so many gifts, why do all the things you hate?  The problem with stress is the body responds by excreting cortisol hormone.  So even if you eat right and exercise, cortisol prompts your body to store fat, especially belly fat.  This year, shop a little less and engage a little more with those you enjoy.
  • Relaxing.  Yes, relaxing is so important to release stress and improve metabolism but many people interpret this as laying around all day.  This makes us more tired because calcium builds up in our blood stream instead of our bones, and this makes us feel lethargic.  How many times have you sat around watching TV all day and eating just to find that you are exhausted.  This holiday, go out and plan lots of fun things.  Do the things you love and move your body.  You'll find that you will brighten up with so much more energy, efficient metabolism, and a healthier lifestyle that you CAN sustain because it's actually fun and not torture.
To be healthy forever and to lose weight, we have to change the way we associate with food.  Food is good.  Play is good.  Loving your body is good.  No more misery, deprivation, and self-control.  NO more dieting, please.  Don't forget to get support.  You don't need to do everything alone.  Get support from friends, family, community, or a professional.
 
If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, 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