Thursday, October 21, 2010

So What's a Superfood?

In general, I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I tend to pay attention to what I eat, exercise three to five times a week, take good supplements, and get a good night's sleep. A year and a half ago, I herniated a disk in my lower spine. Talk about a wake-up call. Apparently, as much as I was doing to take care of myself, it wasn't enough. So while I've been trying to get back to normal - I'm probably about 90% - I set out to discover what more I could do to stay healthy.

The biggest change I've made is to revise my workout schedule to include more variety. Too much of anything isn't healthy and I was very likely spending too much time on the stairs at the gym.

When I took a look at what I was eating, I realized there were still improvements I could make. Simple improvements. Did you know there's something called Superfoods that can control cholesterol, fight cancer and heart disease and even improve your mood?

So here they are, taken from the WebMD site:

Beans
Blueberries
Broccoli
Oats
Oranges
Pumpkin
Salmon
Soy
Spinach
Tea (green or black)
Tomatoes
Turkey
Walnuts
Yogurt

Add dark chocolate and fiber to this list, and you've got a lot of bases covered.

Changing our eating habits isn't easy, but here are some things I've done to include more of these superfoods in my diet.

I keep jars of raw walnuts and almonds at my desk. I buy cherry tomatoes and pop them like grapes for a snack. Yogurts makes a great desert. I love the two kinds that are supposed to regulate digestion. Kills two birds with one stone. When I'm in a restaurant, I'll look for things that include black beans, or order fish (since I don't cook it much at home). And I've found that ground turkey works just as well as beef in things like chili, tacos or spaghetti.

So have you ever heard of Superfoods? Do you have any suggestions for how to fit more of them in my diet? Is there something you've started doing this past year to improve your health?




THE MOON THAT NIGHT my November Superromance is now available at eHarlequin or for pre-order at any of your fav on-line places. It'll be in stores on November 9th!

Helen

23 comments:

Cindy Gerard said...

Thanks for this post, Helen. First let me say that all a person has to do is look at you - your vibrant, glowing skin, lush shiny hair and super-tuned body - to know that you walk the walk as well as talk the talk. you look great and it shows.
I've struggled with my weight for years but I've finally decided that it's NOT about weight but about health. For that reason, I DO know about the super foods and try to include them in my diet.
I think I do a pretty good job now with about 9 of them but need to add more.
thanks for the reminder and being the living proof that eating right really does work!
And congrats on your new release! Looks great!

PJ said...

Can't wait to pick up a copy of your new book, Helen!

I don't eat as well as I should but I'm working hard to be better. This morning, I had oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts for breakfast. A good start! Now I just need to avoid the "bad snack" syndrome that sets in around mid-afternoon. I've been fighting it by refusing to buy junk food. I don't always succeed but I'm getting much better!

KylieBrant said...

Good post, Helen. I'm the pickiest eater in the world so eating healthier is a huge guilt trip for me. I have good intentions...brought a banana to school for my lunch today but one of my students didn't have breakfast so I gave it away :) Stuff like that. I've got the work out part down pat but the eating and drinking plenty of water--still struggling here. Lots of good intentions, but...

Michele Hauf said...

Yay, for you Helen! I like most things on that list, save the salmon. Used to do the yogurt to regulate the digestion too, but too much sugar in those little plastic cups.

I think just the fact that we pay attention to what we eat and not just blindly shove things into our mouths is a huge step toward respecting our body and taking care of it! Now, If I could just start to work in exercise...

Keri Ford said...

In the last week I've really gotten into canning and I LOVE it. I love looking in my pantry and seeing my home-cooked soups and whatknot filling my shelves and knowing exactly what went into them. and it only takes minutes to warm something.

All fresh/frozen veggies. Most of the meat is deer. little salt, nothing proccessed. Last night I did some blueberry jam that only has blueberries, honey and a squirt of lemon juice.

Thanks for this list! I'm going to have to add some of these to my canning list.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks Cindy - yes, I'm blushing! lol

And I couldn't agree with you more on the health part of our weight. Since this thing happened with my back, I found out I have arthritis in my hips. Asked the doc what I could do for it and he said most importantly don't gain weight.

I think the other thing to keep in mind and things ebb and flow. Sometimes we're good and other times it's tough to be good. Just keep coming back is what's important!

Helen Brenna said...

I gotta run. Will be back this afternoon!

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Helen! Great post. I'm very into the super foods and healthy eating. One more thing that I do is shop for organic items as often as possible. When it comes to poultry I pick the natural hormone free type and with fish a pick the wild caught as opposed to farm raised. I think that reducing the amount of pesticides and other carcinogens that we ingest is important as well. Luckily, some of the grocery chains have their own organic lines that are a lot more affordable. Okay...now I'm hungry...off to snack on some of those super foods:).

Kathleen Eagle said...

What a timely post for me, Helen. We cleaned up our little raised bed garden this week so the kids could put in their Halloween graveyard--still no frost here,but everything had petered out--and I hated to say goodbye to having fresh tomatoes and peppers right outside the door.

I can't tell you how glad I am to have a Trader Joe's in the neighborhood. They moved in a year or two ago, and I've gradually switch over for most of our food items.

Nan Dixon said...

Love these wake up calls - mine is cholesterol - and I am spending all my time looking for the right kinds of fiber. So what's for dinner tonight? Panera Black Bean Soup - 18 g of fiber - from Sparkpeople. a website where I track nutrition and exercise. Nancy Evertz

Helen Brenna said...

Hey, PJ - hope you enjoy the book!

Boy, you are good - what a great breakfast. Have you ever tried steel cut oats? I've heard they're supposed to be better than regular oats but take a long time to cook.

I think the afternoons are the hardest for all of us. That's when I reach for the almonds, walnuts and yogurt. I probably eat more than I should. Can you ever get too much of a good thing?

Yes!

Helen Brenna said...

Kylie, I used to be religious about drinking those 8 glasses of water a day, but the habit has fallen by the wayside recently. Thanks for the reminder.

Guilt? I think we can beat ourselves up too much about this stuff. Bring 2 bananas tomorrow!! lol

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I think you're so right - just paying attention is so important. I have a feeling the exercise is right around the corner for you!

20 lbs!!! Michele's lost 20 lbs in the last ... how long? Yay!

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, Keri, good for you! The only thing I've ever canned is tomatoes and I do miss that. We had a big garden at our old house and room for 8 tomato plants. I like the idea of knowing exactly what's in our food! Maybe I'll pick up some extra veggies at the farmer's market next year.

The blueberry jam sounds nummy!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Rula! I buy organic for a LOT of things, and I've noticed that option if becoming so much more available than ever in big chain stores. Especially with meat. Free range is a good thing, too!

Helen Brenna said...

That Trader Joe's is CRAZY to get in and out of isn't it, Kathy? They need a bigger store and bigger parking lot. They have a great white bean hummus that I love. An easy way to work some beans into the diet.

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Nan/Nancy! Good to "see" you here!

High fiber is great for cholesterol. I think I read 1/2 cup a day of beans is supposed to do miracles. Soluble fiber, I think?

I take fish oil every day, too. That's supposed to help with the bad and pump up the good.

lois greiman said...

I try to keep a glass of water on my desk so I'll sip all day and fresh veggies in the fridge to stir fry on demand.

Helen Brenna said...

Lois, I can never seem to work in the 5 servings a day of veggies and fruit, so I've actually started drinking V8. No more head banging!

Debra Dixon said...

I'm exercising more and paying more attention to the diet.

I'd really fallen off the exercise band wagon which was bad.

I'm also trying to eat more fruits and veggies. Less meat.

Tomatoes have always been a priority with me, so our kitchen is always fully-loaded with tomatoes. We use them in and on everything. Had homemade tomatoe soup last night.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, I've never made tomato soup, Deb. Got a recipe?

catslady said...

I have made a couple of changes in the last couple of years (nothing like a scare to get you motivated) and it's made a world of difference for me. The yogurt that you mentioned (I use Activia) and drinking water (I hate water-always have). I add a tsp. of dark cherry juice for antioxidants. Two very easy things that I swear by.

Helen Brenna said...

That's a good idea, catslady - the dark cherry juice. I don't mind water, but I get sick of it by the end of the day.