Your (eating) Game Plan for Super Bowl 50

It’s game day! The Super Bowl is tonight- the biggest night in sports and for many a big night in eating as well but that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your healthy lifestyle for an all-or-nothing approach. I’m going to capitalize on the fact this is a Super Bowl post and throw in some corny sports associations so bear with me…

peyton you love itI want you to prep for the game like an athlete… you think Peyton or Cam are just walking into Levi’s Stadium willy-nilly? Heck no, that’d be stupid- just like you walking into a Super Bowl party without an eating plan would be silly. Below are tips to set you up for success so you’re not feeling like a complete dietary trash pile come half-time… or Monday morning. I know I need to be in tip-top shape catch each time Cam dabs, Peyton calling “Omaha”, to see Coldplay and Beyoncé perform and make it through the hundreds of new commercials- very serious business!

clear eyes full heart cant loseHere’s your Super Bowl party (eating) game plan

  • Prep your mind and body
    • What do you need to do today to make yourself feel good tonight? Workout? Get some fresh air? Take a nap? Whatever it may be, do it- if you’re feeling at peace you’re going to be less likely to binge eat as a result of angst, being overtired or stressed.
    • Be conscious of your eats during the day if you know you’re going to be indulging later on. This does not mean starve yourself. Eat a sensible breakfast. Try to get in some extra vegetables and fruits, maybe cut out some fattier choices such as cheese today and definitely keep all your grains whole- there are sure to be enough refined carbs at this party tonight. Don’t go to the party famished- eat a healthy snack … you don’t want to be the person who inhales the appetizer table upon walking in and going into a situation where there are lots food choices is going to set you up to make poorer choices and it’s also going to be harder for your body to give you hunger and fullness cues is you’re hungry… hello overeating.
  • Bring your gear
    • As always, bring a dish you want to eat. Obviously I’d suggest you bring something healthy but if your specialty food/dip happens to be a fat bomb yet everyone loves and requests it, bring it… but maybe find ways to lighten in up… sub Greek yogurt for sour cream, use low-fat cream cheese versus full fat, etc. That being said, don’t ruin the integrity of the dish, sometimes a little bit of the real thing is much better than a low-fat healthified version.
  • Scope out the competition
    • What’s looking good and what’s not? Are there foods you eat all the time, or available year round? I’m sure there are going to be some goodies that are a once-in-a-blue-moon-type foods. When I’m in situations with lots of indulgent choices I choose strategically… I’m going for my friend’s amazing buffalo chicken dip, but I’m not going for ho-hum French fries that are nothing special and available anywhere.
  • Eye on the prize
    • As I said above, choose what you want to indulge in consciously. Also find ways to incorporate healthy options without depriving yourself. My favorite way to do this is to use vegetables as scoops for indulgent dips… rather than chips or bread as the vehicle I love using celery, carrots, peppers, etc. in hot dips- the cold crunchy texture is a great compliment to the rich, warm, creaminess … In addition the veggies provide nutrients and FIBER to fill you up and help you feel satiated.
    • Put your eats on a plate. Seeing everything on a plate helps your mind register the quantity of what you’re eating. It’s easy to graze from the table eating things here and there and not realizing what you’ve actually consumed.
    • Yeah, I’m guessing you’re drinking beer. Fine, but make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well. Drinking water is not just to avoid a hangover but hydration affects your satiety; being dehydrated sometimes comes through as feeling hungry… not to mention being properly hydrated with water is going to help your system flush the excess sodium and junk you’re bound to be consuming.
  • Listen to the official (your brain)
    • How’s the game going? Need to back off? Still hungry and need to go in for more? Keep checking with yourself and reassess the situation as the game goes on. Honor your hunger and fullness.
  • Enjoy!
    • Win or lose, tomorrow is a new day. Make some good choices and don’t feel like you need to unbutton your pants at the end of the night? WIN! Have a serious case of heartburn, eat and drink too much and suffering a food coma? LOSS. Either way, tomorrow is a fresh start, move on. Just like no successful athlete ever quit playing because they lost a game, no person should ever abandon their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle just because they ate too many chicken wings one night.

cam ok got itREADY?! BREAK. (or whatever they say). Have a great night and enjoy the game!

peyton thumbs up

February is Heart Health Month & today is National Wear Red Day!

February is here and so are hearts and pink and red decorations in anticipation of Valentine’s day. Going along with the holiday of hearts and love it only makes sense that February is National Heart Health Month and today is National Wear Red Day! What’s National Wear Red Day you ask? It’s the day to get the word out about heart health to raise awareness and motivate people to incorporate heart healthy practices into their lives in order to avoid becoming a statistic

    • Did you know Cardiovascular Disease is the #1 cause of death in America? …It’s the #1 cause of death for both men and women
    • 1 in 3 people will die of cardiovascular disease
    • Cardiovascular Disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined
  • 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke

beyonce surprisedAwful right?!
So what’s Heart Disease & Cardiovascular Disease? Are they different?
These terms are often used interchangeably which can be super confusing but simply put…

  • Heart disease includes any condition that affects the heart such as arrhythmia’s (irregular rhythm), valve or muscle problems, and any congenital defect(s) you may have been born with.
  • Cardiovascular Disease is an umbrella term for any disease that affects the blood vessels such as stroke, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis the #1 cause of heart disease and is the hardening of the arteries* due to a buildup of plaque*. Plaque hardens and narrows the arteries making it harder for the blood to flow through- if a blood clot forms, this can lead to a blockage resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
    *arteries: blood vessels coming from the heart that carry oxygenated blood
    *Plaque: made of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood).

Need more clarification on atherosclerosis? Think of a garden hose without a nozzle- a normal garden hose represents healthy arteries- when you allow water to flow freely from the hose the flow is smooth and even but when you put your finger over the end of the spout or create a kink in the line, the water has a harder time getting out and the stream gets more strong and powerful- great when you want to squirt your friends with the hose- not so great when we are talking about blood in your arteries. You want your blood to be moving steady and smooth not putting stress on your blood vessels, but when plaque develops (i.e. your finger covering the spout or putting a kink in to make the hose narrower) the blood has to push harder to get through, causing damage over time.

Ok… so. What causes Cardiovascular & Heart Disease?

      • Unhealthy diet
      • Being overweight or obese
      • Physical inactivity
      • Smoking
      • High blood pressure
      • High blood cholesterol
      • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
      • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
      • Age (55 or older for women)

Unfortunately we are unable to change our age or genetics, but this is just a small piece of the heart disease puzzle- a majority of the risk factors above involve things in your life you have control over- diet, exercise, weight, whether you smoke or not… therefore…

minions clappingLike- 80% PREVENTABLE!
That’s a HUGE number!
With 1/3 of American’s dying of heart disease, this number can be greatly improved through preventative measures/lifestyle changes such as:

      • Eating a heart-healthy diet… everything I preach! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, heart healthy fats (oils, avocado, nuts), cutting down on sugar, white flour, avoiding heavy butter/cream sauces and gravies and large amounts of saturated (bad) fats.
      • Exercise! In addition to eating well, I really can’t stress enough how important it is to MOVE… not only does it help you maintain/lose weight, it increases your HDL (good cholesterol), regulates blood sugar, helps prevent bone loss, gives you endorphins to make you feel good and aids in better sleep… I encourage everyone who is healthy enough to lift weights and really get their heart rate pumping as much as they can- that being said, the *minimum* amount of daily activity you should be getting is 20 minutes… whether that’s a 20 minute walk all at once, or broken up through the day, physical activity and moving your body is essential.
      • A healthy diet and physical activity lead to… maintaining a healthy body weight! Healthy body weight goes hand in hand with healthy blood pressure, healthy cholesterol levels and decreased risk of diabetes… it’s a domino affect- get your weight in check through diet and exercise and everything else should (ideally) fall into place.
      • Not smoking. Hopefully you don’t smoke, but if you do quit. NOW. Not only will quitting decrease your chances of heart disease and stroke, but also cancer and chronic lung disease… you’ll have the same risk level for developing heart disease as non-smokers within a few years! Need even more of a reason to quit? Seeing as it’s February/Valentine’s Day and we are talking about ~*hearts* & *love*~ a poll showed 58% of people would “absolutely not” date a smoker and 22% of people would “probably not” date a smoker. Not only will you be helping your heart… but potentially your love life as well!

Know the signs & symptoms
Unfortunately, the statistics stand… 1 in 3 people will die of Heart Disease… it’s important to know the signs and symptoms so you can help yourself or a loved one if something happens. We are taught that chest pain is the universal sign of a heart attack, but there are other symptoms as well, especially in women…

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or lower back *these are especially common symptoms in women*
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea & extreme fatigue

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke

  • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to Call: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Feeling a little more informed? I hope so.  Yes, it’s nice to work out and eat well for reasons of vanity and feeling confident when you rock your spandex but healthy diet and exercise are more than that- they’re essential for maintaining overall health and keeping your heart strong, remember that! <3