Breakfast: The First and Best Meal of the Day

Eating breakfast everyday is one of the top diet tips recommended by scientists and nutritionists. Eating a balanced meal every day, within the first hour of getting out of bed poses a huge challenge to many Americans. Unfortunately, the nation’s failure to attend to the importance of breakfast has led to the overwhelming amount of obese people, heart attack patients, and diabetics. By putting a spotlight on breakfast as the most important meal of the day, we may one day see a more healthy, youthful, and energized population. There are three tips that are predominantly important when considering how to start your day off right. Buying healthy and easy foods, consuming nutrient-packed foods, and keeping this pattern consistent every day will energize you throughout your day and will help you to achieve your long-term health goals.

Read More

Lightened Liquids

It seems that the mindfulness we use when considering the caloric value of the foods we eat is completely forgotten when it comes to consuming liquids. Despite their seemingly harmless nature and the tendency to feel as though drinks “don’t really count” in your daily calorie count, liquid calories can add up dangerously fast if you are not aware of exactly what they contain. The surplus of calories from liquid intake sneaks up on you and can derail your health and fitness efforts packing unnecessary calories, sugars and carbs into your diet. The good news is small changes can yield a great deal of health benefits and even the most indulgent of drinks can be traded for a lighter alternative. The key to smart sipping is to be knowledgeable of what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is power and when armed with the proper knowledge, you have the power to make wiser decisions that will benefit your body inside and out. We will examine some great low calorie drink options as well as some unhealthy but popular picks and easy ways to lighten them up!

Read More

The Bitter Truth About Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

You’re midway through your workday, and you start to crash. Water won’t cut it, so you reach for a soda at the nearest vending machine. The sugary drink will put the pep back in your step, but do you know how it will affect your body in the long-term? Studies show that these drinks can lead to increased risk of obesity and other serious health issues.

There have been countless studies on the topic of sugary drinks, and lately with the addition of the new My Plate food pyramid, awareness has increased about the health risks of sugar consumption, resulting in a push for the avoidance of sugary beverages.  This issue is so prevalent that the first tip on My Plate’s “Tips For Healthy Eating When Eating Out” page reads: “As a beverage choice, ask for water…or other drinks without added sugars.”  With diagnoses of diabetes and obesity increasing exponentially–especially in children–the war on sugar seems to be stronger than ever.

Read More

Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Whether it is the media, doctors, friends or family, it seems we are continually bombarded with “new and improved” ways to get fit or new nutrition fads to follow. These latest and greatest fads tend to come and go, yet even as other nutritional trends are abandoned the importance of eating a well-balanced breakfast is a nutritional encouragement that has consistently maintained its status as an essential eating habit over the years. While many often assume that forgoing breakfast may be an easy way to cut out calories, multiple studies have shown that skipping breakfast is linked to the development of obesity and can actually make controlling your weight more difficult. Those who consume a vitamin-filled breakfast are less likely to over-indulge throughout the rest of the day and are more likely to fulfill their daily-recommended value of fruits and vegetables.

One of the most common excuses alleged by those who tend to skip their morning meal is that they don’t have time in the morning to prepare anything and because of this lack of time end up skipping the meal altogether. A nutritious breakfast fuels your body and brain and sets you up for success for the day ahead. Even if you find yourself pressed for time in the morning, it is crucial that you set aside a few extra minutes to whip up a quick meal, or think ahead and make something in advance that you can take to go and just grab on your way out the door. Read on for four delicious breakfast recipes that are packed with essential vitamins and can be made in minutes!

Read More

Healthy Snack Foods

Everyone strives to find those healthy snack foods to hold them over for their next meal without turning to the typical junk food choices that fill you up fast and leave you hungry soon after. The trick is to find meals that are high in both fiber and protein, which allows for a slower digestion. As a result, it leaves you feeling fuller longer.

Snacking is all a part of following a healthy balanced diet, however it is important to stick to low-calorie snacks and to plan them accordingly between meals. It is logical to believe that cutting calories will often leave you still feeling hungry, but with the right choices it is possible to pick foods that substitute the lack of caloric value with higher protein content. When you choose baked snacks such as potato chips, you are adding empty calories to your daily requirement instead of gaining any nutritional value. You are fooling your body that you are filling up when in reality you are eating snacks that will leave you feeling even hungrier afterwards. Oftentimes these poor chosen snacks may even have more calories than a full healthy meal.

Read More

Caffeine: A Blessing or a Curse?

There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning and many of us will be the first to admit that we need our daily dose of caffeine to get our day started. Given that about 68% of Americans in 2006 claimed to be addicted to coffee, according to the National Coffee Association, an important question we should all ask is, “How is caffeine affecting our health?” The truth is, there are many pros and cons to which each person should weigh in determining their own answer to this question. In honor of the widespread love for the cup o’ Joe we are so fond of, let us begin with the positive effects that caffeine has on our health.

Benefits of Caffeine

Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant. In addition to giving us an energy kick and a decrease in fatigue, it temporarily increases our mental processes. As a result, it can help boost our short-term memory and reduce the risk for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other memory loss related health problems. Many caffeinated drinks such as green tea also contain anti-oxidants that reduce inflammation throughout our bodies and may reduce the risks for cancer and heart disease. Additionally, nutritionist Rania Batayneh attests that caffeine releases the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which increases productivity and alertness.

Read More

Brighter Bites

We’re a month past those new year promises and Dr. Lira’s article in the last issue on how to eat better—so how’s it going? Remember, this is an excellent opportunity to rest your body by eating lighter and healthier. Doing so is similar to a gentle detox in that we eliminate heavy foods, foods that we might be allergic to, or processed foods that have little nutritional value. Here are some familiar reminders as well as guidelines to follow in staying the course after your fresh start. 

Read More

Seasonal Sensations

What better place to find the freshest and most trustworthy selection of produce than at your local farmers market? The Santa Barbara County is blessed with a reliable, rotating schedule of farmers markets that are held every day of the week between Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Goleta.

This dependable market system is the pride and livelihood of many generations of farming families and friends, many of whose farms are in your very own city. A few questions and an earnest look around the booths unearth a prime selection of winter crops.

“Santa Barbara’s gentle climate allows some fruits to be produced almost year round, like strawberries,” explains Donna Tamai of Tamai Farms, a fourth generation family legacy based in Oxnard. “But crops that are in season are fresh and much more price competitive.”

Winter in California typically boosts citrus fruits (navel oranges, pomelos, and mandarins), hardy cabbages (like kale, brussel sprouts, and radicchio), some root vegetables (including horseradish and turnips), and winter squashes (acorn squash and butternut squash).

Read More

Sweet by Nature

It seems everywhere you go during the holidays, someone is offering you holiday candy, fruitcakes, pies, or anything they want to get out of their house and away from their lips. Ah, sweet temptation! Although it’s pretty challenging to avoid sweets altogether during this time, you can make healthier choices. Avoid all desserts and confections that contain high fructose corn syrup—which is made from genetically modified corn—and any desserts using artificial sweeteners, all of which are poison to our bodies.

Read More

Vegan Variety

Santa Barbara’s dining scene for health-conscious cuisine has long been a temptation for enlightened epicureans. But many remain vague about eating vegan and where to find it. Fortunately, downtown is now graced with two sensational new vegan venues that will astound and delight even the most carnivorous of customers.

Read More