Monthly Archives: January 2012

Snotty-nosed nutrition

Sunday night I couldn’t stop sneezing – and Monday I woke up and felt like my head was a balloon attached to the leaking faucet that was my nose.  Attractive?  Absolutely!

But while I am recuperating I thought I’d do a little research – what are foods that help you when you’re sick, and how can you eat to avoid feeling like this (i.e. like poop).  D adds – and talking like a martian.

So what do you eat if you’re already sick??

If you’re like me and can’t taste much – this may be a struggle, but first and foremost – WATER WATER WATER.  Lemon and hot water is a particular fave – with a dash of honey if your throat hurts (the perfect trifecta if you ask me!).  Honey has antioxidant properties – basically it battle mean little free radicals in your body that damage your cells.  Tea is also great – and contains antibacterial properties that help fight viruses.  Garlic doesn’t just ward off vampires (see clip for evidence) – it can help battle your cold as well.  It’s phytochemicals fight bacteria and have anti-cancer properties to boot!  Try throwing some garlic into homemade chicken soup – the ultimate cold comfort food.  Finally, mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which can strengthen your body’s immune system to fight the cold.

Ok so you’re not sick…but this is the season, so what do you eat to avoid the sniffles?

You know I love the stuff – so it makes me quite pleased to say that yogurt can fight off disease – the active cultures in yogurt protect your gut from germs that cause colds!  Some studies have found that eating a serving of yogurt a day is better than taking immunity-boosting pills.  Grab your sushi – Fish contains selenium, a compound that helps your body produce proteins that flush out flu bacterias from the body.  Oats and barley don’t just make a totally satisfying breakfast on a cold morning, they also contain beta-glucans (the same compound found in mushrooms), compounds that have antibacterial properties.  Our final immunity boosting food is beef!  Beef provides a hearty source of zinc – a vitamin that is crucial to forming white blood cells, cells that fight off bacterial invaders.  If you’re not a red meat fan(like me), other great sources are oysters, poultry, milk and yogurt.

Needless to say, the ultimate best way to stay healthy is to get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy, colorful diet.  Now back to blowing my nose…..

Ditch your new year’s resolution

January at the gym sucks.  Every year around this time, the gym gets packed with newly-minted gymrats, each trying to fulfill their respective New Year’s resolutions to lighten up and get back in shape.  Suddenly, there’s a line to get on a treadmill…  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that more people are getting in shape and getting exercise, but in my experience, come February, the gym is back to its usual capacity.

As I see it, the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that 9 times out of 10, they just don’t stick.  In fact, some researchers have found that 80% of New Years Resolutions fail.  And what’s worse, that sense of failure at achieving health goals may be more harmful than the initial resolution, causing people to slip back even further into behaviors that are damaging to your health.

So what’s a motivated gal to do this time of year?  I say don’t “resolve” to get healthy, as Nike famously put it…JUST DO IT!  Set reasonable, achievable goals for yourself with these simple pieces of advice:

  1. Get specific.  The perfect goal isn’t “I’m going to workout more” or “I’m going to stop eating chocolate cake”.  Those aren’t achievable or realistic (and a little chocolate cake every once in a while isn’t a bad thing!).  Instead, set a goal like ” I will workout for 30 minutes, 4 times a week” and schedule it in your planner like a date or a doctor’s appointment.  Instead of setting a negative resolution like not eating a fattening food, make a positive goal such as ” I will eat three servings of green or veggies a day”.
  2. Track your progress.  Whether your goal is weight loss or running a 5k, tracking your progress as you go along helps you keep your eye on the prize while celebrating how far you’ve come.  When I was training for the marathon, I kept track of the miles I ran each week – and can honestly say that it was an awesome feeling seeing those numbers go up every week!
  3. BUDDY UP.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – enlisting a likeminded healthy buddy is one of the best ways to get more accountable and get some much needed support.  Whether it’s someone to go to spinning class with instead of happy hour, or a bring-your-lunch to work date, enlisting a friend is a great way to stick to your goals and have a little fun while doing it!
  4. PREPARE TO FAIL (a little).  So this may seem a little counterintuitive – the whole point of having a goal is that you don’t want to fail at it!  But the truth is that we are all human, and we aren’t perfect.  The people who really stick to their goals aren’t the ones that have steely discipline, but are those that know how to dust themselves off and get back on the horse they’ve fallen off.  This may be as simple as having a plan if you go overboard in the pizza/beer department one night (drink plenty of water, workout an extra twenty minutes the next day, etc..) or just not letting it get to you and  jumping right back into the swing of being healthy!

So here’s to 2012 – may this be the year that you relish in your gorgeous, healthy, balanced, Gothamskinny selves!