All posts by Hilda Lawson

Hilda was a resident fitness expert for various organizations and now is a personal trainer, blogger, and life coach residing in sunny LA. She hopes to help you navigate through all the myths all over the internet and help create sustainable fitness solutions.

Health And Nutrition Tips To Make This Quarantine Easier

As COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing down, countries are being forced to take stricter measures to ensure that they contain the spread of the disease. The self-quarantine coupled with the closing of a large number of businesses has severely affected our general food-related habits. There are certain places where takeaway offers are available but in a limited capacity. In other places, fresh items are getting hard to come by. 

Good nutrition is just one aspect of great health. Especially right now, when your immune system needs to fight back. The limited resources all around are creating big issues toward the path to maintaining a healthy and varied diet. But we don’t have to fret. Even in the midst of the pandemic, there are ways you can maintain optimal health.

For starters try and remain physically active. A healthy mind resides inside a healthy body and it is important for one to find a balance to remain healthy during this pandemic. 

Follow Safe Food Handling Practices

Food safety is essential for maintaining yourself during the pandemic. When you are preparing food yourself or others ensure you follow the rules of good hygiene practices and avoid contamination and any other foodborne diseases. Some things to be careful about are;

  • Ensure that your hands, utensils, and kitchen are clean at all times.
  • Keep the raw and cooked food separately, especially all raw produce like fish and meat.
  • Take care that your food is cooked all the way through. 
  • Keep the food at safe temperatures, ie. either above 60°c or below 5°c, you are doing this to avoid breeding of any harmful bacteria in the food.

Lower Your Salt Intake

As fresh foods become increasingly unavailable in the vicinity, it is natural that you will move towards canned, processed, or frozen foods. The problem with these foods is the amount of salt that is added to increase their shelf life. To avoid consuming too much salt, first, prioritize foods with reduced or no visible added salt. Rinse canned foods before you consume them to remove the excess sodium.

 In most countries, it is the added salt that is too much but rather the already existing salt that is too much. This is why you are better off using fresh and dried herbs and spices for added flavor instead of salt. 

Limit The Sugar Intake 

Your total energy intake for the day should be less than 5% from sugar. Prioritize fruits above all else when you want to eat something sweet. If fresh fruits are not available then you should buy canned fruits in juice rather than syrup. Even frozen fruits are a better option than canned fruits. When you are picking out desserts ensure that they are low in sugar and you consume small portions. Don’t fall for the low-fat options as they have added sugars to get the same taste. Severely limit the amount of added sugar or syrups in your drinks. 

Avoid Fats

Saturated fats have always been a nuisance to the people who want to remain healthy. To avoid adding too much fat in your food, opt for the cooking methods that do not require fat. This includes steaming, sauteing, and grilling instead of frying. If you need to use fats, then use small amounts of oils like rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil, these are unsaturated oils and thus comparatively healthy. 

Other things you can do to limit saturated fats include trimming the excess fat from meat and other poultry. Pick up the skinless variety wherever you can. Cut back on foods like red and fatty meats, palm oil, lard, and full-fat dairy products. 

Also, stay away from trans fats. This is the apt time to read nutrition packets before you buy products.  That does not mean you cannot snack. You can still do that. Just be careful it does not have hydrogenated fat.

Keep Yourself Occupied

This is non-food based advice, but it is just as important. It is important that you keep yourself occupied when it comes to the quarantine period. Even if you are spending time in front of the screen, it is better than sitting ideally. Play a video game. If you run into too much trouble check out valorant boosting. Anything to be occupied. If you remain ideal, chances are you will just get anxious and that will be bad for both your physical as well as mental health. 

Avoid over-purchasing anything at the market as you may end up putting the vulnerable demographic at a disadvantage like the elderly. The biggest problem here becomes that they cannot venture too far from home for resources. Take a look at what you already have and accordingly stock food in your house. Avoid food waste for you as well as other people’s betterment.

COVID-19 Wellness: How to Maintain Healthy Snacking Habits while Working from Home?

Working from home comes with a lot of eating temptations. You are looking at a packet of chips, a container of candies, and a drawer filled with chocolates. And also with the COVID-19 pandemic escalating in most US states, most of you will be working from home for quite some time now. So, how can you stay productive and resist the temptation of eating packets of chips? Or else how can you work from home while keeping your health in mind? Here are tips that will help you avoid gaining on pounds while you sit inside your home and work. 

Stick to a Planned Schedule 

Working from home gives you the freedom to change lunch schedules. If you were at the office at the moment, I am sure you would eat at the time decided by the management. But working from home means that you can adjust your eating hours. However, delaying your breakfast and lunch for regular intervals of time will eventually lead to you eating late-night dinners. As per experts, late-night dinners means that you can gain weight easily. This means that whatever time in the day you usually eat in the office, stick to the same routine and eat early in the evening. 

Prepare Healthy Snacks in Advance

Work priorities can force you to eat readily available snacks. In your mind, you might think that staying healthy is also important but still some of you can give in to mindless snacking. So, try to mitigate the option of unhealthy snacking by preparing healthy snacks in advance. And most vitally, ensure that you keep the snacks where you can see them. In my personal opinion, replace the junk-containing containers with healthy snacking food. This way each time you reach out for the drawer you will only lay hands on healthy snacks. 

Also, try to make your snacks unique and tasty at the same time. For instance, you can place fruits such as guava, pineapple, and strawberries on skewers. Healthy snacking also means that you can eat low-fat plain yogurt, or use cottage cheese for dips to keep you fuller and satisfied. 

Keep a Container of Dry Fruits Handy

Let’s face it, working from home will allow us the freedom to eat at our own convenience. So, the chances of eating junk food and ready-made snacks are quite high. This is why it is important to keep a jar of dry fruits handy. You can fill the container with your favorite dry fruits and snack on them when you feel like eating a bar of chocolate. Also, ensure that you keep the jar right next to your working table or else on the table. So that you are reminded of healthy snacking habits every time you reach out for a packet of chips or a bar of chocolate. 

Exercise Early in The Morning

I don’t know if you know, but regular exercising motivates an individual to stay away from junk food. According to experts, regular exercising will change your body and your mind will automatically help you make healthier choices. Consider it a psychological change or a change that we consciously take because our body is changing for the better. Whatever the reason, early morning exercises will keep you healthy. 

You can do a ten-minute cardio on your best recumbent bike or pace up and down your building stairs. Whatever mode of exercise you choose, at the end of the day, your eating habits will include more unhealthy snacks. In fact, you will consciously make an effort to eat healthy food. Be it snacks, lunch or even dinner. So, make sure you exercise every morning before starting your work. Because not only will exercise keep you away from bad eating habits but your work productivity will also increase. 

Change Your Working Environment

If you are addicted to junk food or you stress eat when at work, you have to be extra cautious. Experts suggest that distracting your mind can help you better manage your work stress. So, how will you distract your mind? First things first, change your workstation if required. Take your laptop and move to a quieter place with a perfect view staring back at you from the window. If this doesn’t work for you then take a break for 15 minutes and do something that makes you happy. This way you will not be forced to eat junk food and you can bounce back at work with a positive set of mind. 

Working From Home? Check This Guide to Get Started!

The spread of the coronavirus has shifted your office to your home. Thanks to all the technologies that made it more convenient. Work from Home can be a gift for some while some may feel trapped. However, in either of the situations, every Home Office needs!

Whether you know or not, but how you treat your home-work space defines how productive and efficient your output will be! Like if you have a mess around your workspace, then you will not have good vibes or energy to work with efficiency.

So, how to make a little confined space assigned for your work productive? Here are simple and easy ways to make your home feel conducive for eight hours of work.

A Dedicated Space

Are you working sitting on your bed or a couch? Say for yourself, don’t you feel lazy after a while or even start slouching and give yourself a backache? So, get yourself a desk with a comfortable chair in a corner. You do not have to take up your entire room for your office! Just add a desk with a chair and a desktop set up at a corner, it will suffice.

Organized Desk

Have an organized desk to keep your documents safe and organized. You need to make sure that there is no clutter on the desk. It will only distract you from the work you are assigned to complete. Your workspace is not your leisure space. So, do not treat it like your laundry room or a kitchen or even gym (for people who love to work out). Generally, people have separate computers for their work and play. However, this is not realistic! So, it is best if you devote some peripherals to use only for work. For instance- if you have a laptop on the desk with a keyboard, then it is your work time. While you have your laptop on your lap, it is your recreation time.

Clothes But Not Pajamas

Now, do you go to your office in your comfortable pajamas and t-shirt? No, right? So, whenever you sit up to work, get yourself in proper clothes. You cannot sit in your pajamas and start working. You will be lethargic and in homesickness. However, this doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit as you wear it to your office. Just draw out some comfortable yet formal, something has nothing to do with leisure. You should know that pajamas will make you sleepy and decrease your productivity. Therefore, just change your clothes during your working hours and put on your favorite pajamas later.

A Proper Routine

Every task requires discipline! So doing this work from home needs you to be more in order. Have a dedicated time and hours of working and stick to it. When you are at home, it becomes confusing to differentiate to give time to your work or home. However, making a routine for you with the necessary work hours and proper scheduling of breaks will do the job. With a good schedule for breaks and your meals, you will revitalize yourself enough to keep the creativity bar high! People often prefer 9 to 5 as their working hours. But, if you are not that kind of person, find your own working hours to get your work done.

Set up Ground Rules

Do you get interrupted during your work from home working hours? There are other reasons that can distract you from your work. So, you need to set up ground rules with your homies. Ask your children to respect your working hours and not disturb you while you are onto something important. Also, let them know that you working from home doesn’t mean that you are always available to service them. If you want to do that, you can. But, it has a higher probability of jeopardizing your productivity.

Stay Positive

Moreover, this whole work from home scenario can seem draining to you! But, you need to be positive. For freelancers, it is easier to keep up but for the newbie entering this, it can be really stressful. You might feel slowed down and not prolific enough. Also, try to stay positive with every little change advancing to you. However, do not be too hard on yourself.

The best thing to do is to enjoy every little perk you have with work from home as an option in your hand. You can see your children whenever you want. Have your munchies to soothe your cravings. And, you will finally be able to have good heated food. When you are at the office, you cannot eat whatever and whenever you want. You have got decorum to maintain! So, as far as your work from home lasts, just enjoy the little perks of it. Take its advantage. You deserve it!

A Basic Dietary Guide For You to Follow Post a Heart Attack

We all know the importance of good food in keeping our heart healthy, right? But do you know how important it exactly is? 

A lot of experts argue that your diet is, in fact, the most important factor determining your cardiovascular health. They believe that a good diet can significantly reduce your risk of developing any serious heart condition. And thus, they recommend that you eat only the healthiest food that you can.

But what if you already have been through a heart attack? Well, that’s a tricky one.

Experts believe that if you have been through one heart attack, there is a very high chance you may have it again. And thus, in such conditions, it becomes even more important for you to keep your dietary habits healthy.

But what exactly should you do?

To make things simple for you, we’ve made this basic dietary guide for you to follow after a heart attack. Just follow this carefully and maintain a good lifestyle, and I’m sure you can easily lead a very happy and healthy life post a heart attack too.

Best Foods for a Healthy Heart

If you wanna keep your heart healthy for a long time, here are a few foods

you must have in your diet:

  • Lots of veggies and fruits
  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Dairy products with low fat
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and beans

All these items have a very low amount of saturated fat and empty calories. And this will help you keep your heart in a healthy shape for a very long time.

Also, make sure a large part of your diet contains vegetables and fruits. But keep the salt and sugar at a minimum. You should also note that a fish is a really amazing food for your heart, given you choose the right type. Oily fish contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you a lot in controlling your cholesterol levels and maintaining a good overall cardiovascular health. And thus, try having fish in your diet at least two times a week.

Now, if we talk about liquids, water is definitely your best friend. However, if you want a different flavor, you may add cucumber, berries or lemon to it.

Special Diet Plans Post a Heart Attack

While the above foods can help you a lot in keeping your heart in a good shape, some people may prefer a more structured approach. And for them, we have a few good options. However, we recommend you talk to your doctor also if you plan on starting a new diet.

The Mediterranean Diet

This particular diet structure has attracted a lot of attention in the past few years. And why not? Various studies have shown the potential of the Mediterranean diet in reducing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

The diet particularly focuses on legumes, grains, beans, fish and a lot of fruits and vegetables. You can also include some dairy and meat, but only occasionally. And in place of butter, the diet recommends the use of some plant-based oils, such as olive oil.

Also, make sure if you are taking any dairy products, the fat content doesn’t exceed 1 percent. 

DASH

DASH, or dietary approaches to stopping hypertension, is also an amazing dietary plan to help people keep their heart healthy by keeping their blood pressure in control.

The plan, just like the previous one, also promotes people to eat plant-based foods and lean meat more. However, there is a slight difference between the two. This particular approach tries to reduce your sodium intake too. The DASH plan targets on keeping your sodium intake between 1500mg and 2300mg in a single day. And this, in turn, can naturally keep your blood pressure in control and your heart in a healthy condition.

Plant-Based Eating

This particular approach, a.k.a. Plant-forward eating, focuses only on plant-based foods with almost no meat. The diet includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and many other healthy foods that are not from any animal sources.

Research has shown that this approach can be very effective in promoting good heart health. Plus, it is also associated with reducing the risk of development of cancer and type-2 diabetes.

Foods You Must Avoid

If you have been through a heart attack, you should clearly understand one thing- excessive salt, sugar or any unhealthy fats are your grave enemies. And thus, you must avoid them at any cost. 

Other than that, here is a small list of food items you should avoid post a heart attack.

  • Candies
  • Biscuits
  • Fried food
  • Fast food
  • Chips
  • Frozen meal
  • Ice-cream
  • Red Meat
  • Alcohol
  • Mayonnaise or Ketchup
  • Cakes

The list is just a partial one. There are many other things you should avoid to keep your heart healthy. You should stay away from any foods containing saturated or trans fat. Plus keep your sodium intake at a minimum.

You may enjoy coffee or tea occasionally. But avoid adding any excessive milk, cream or sugar in it.

Final Words

You must understand that keeping your diet healthy is a very important thing for you to keep your heart healthy. And I hope the above tips gave you some idea of how to do that. However, if you are thinking of making any significant changes in your diet, we recommend you talk to your doctor first. Your doctor knows about your body and your condition. And therefore, only he can give you the best advice here.

3 Sustainable Food Trends That Will Change What You Eat

As we are moving forward, each year witnesses a new food or wellness trend. From big hair to new music to low-rise jeans trends, we have seen so much. And in 2020, you will find new food trends coming up. Our world has seen so many successful innovations and creations with food. Food trends cycle in and out of popularity.

Earlier, no one was aware of organic food or plant-based food. But now all people seek are organic foods and plant-based food. No doubt that these foods are rich in nutrition, gut health and overall health.

Some foods do get popular, but it is not necessary that everything on your dinner plate is healthy and nutritious. So, make sure of the nutritional value before you follow any new trend. So, see for yourself what three sustainable food trends 2020 has to offer!

Plant-based Foods

Are you on a diet with leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc? These are plant-based foods. People are more fond of plant-based food because of its healthy and nutritional properties. And 2020 has seen an invigorated shift to plant-based eating.

People are determined to skip on highly processed foods. Foods with preservatives but good aroma and flavor are no more favorites. A boom in any food trend does not justify the nutritional value.

A plant-based diet has a different meaning for every individual. Some strictly focus on plants and plant-derived food, while some do include some animal derivatives like meat, milk, etc. A plant-based diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, etc.

Forget not, these plant-based food are highly rich in natural nutrition value. And they have huge health benefits like weight management, lower heart-risk, diabetes prevention, etc. This is a tasty and healthy way for a balanced diet and long-term health sustenance.

Nature has so much to offer to eat. Have a bowl of cucumber, olives, tomato and lettuce dressed with olive oil, pepper and oregano. Cooking such food is easier, quicker and tastier!

Lab-grown Proteins

We see new inventions now and then! And scientists have also found a way to experiment with food and produce healthy and protein-rich food from the lab itself. It is believed that lab-grown proteins will be more sought after around 2030. However, it is popular this year too, but not to such an extent.

Scientists have already created eggs, fish and meat in a lab merely from stem cells. It is a futuristic concept. They have not found themselves a place in market. Even if these lab-based proteins do get commercially available, they will out-trend these plant-based foods.

As they are lab prepared, so only problem standing in the way is “customer acceptance”. Many have tasted the lab prepared meat. No chicken was raised or slaughter to harvest meat. Hence, there is no damage to the environment done and you get your favorite meat on your plate.

Insect Foods

Red meat has undoubtedly a better hold in the market and among the customers. It has brought an optimistic impact on the environments. Insect food is not far behind. The year, 2020, might also see a rise in insect foods. Insects are a part of the diet of many people in the world. The insect foods trend is about a thousand years old.

For instance, a popular insect product is cricket based product. Not many people know the better use of it. Hence, it is not very popular or not very common. But, once people are aptly educated on how these cricket products can be used. We will see people trying out such products and accept them.

Edible insects are considered a sustainable food alternative. They are cheap, nutritious, and some even say they are delicious. The insects consist of high-quality proteins, zinc, vitamins, amino acids, calcium, and iron; all enough for humans. To top it off, this insect-eating trend will not even disturb a balance in nature. Therefore, there will be no damage or harm to the environment.

With daily harm done to our mother nature, scientists and researchers are finding out new ways to not destruct nature or imbalance it. Modern diets include plant-based foods and insect foods without hesitation. We are yet to see how people will adapt to such food trends in 2020.