Friday, July 15, 2011


Lately we're seeing in the news and on television shows concerning the rise of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.... It's intriguing to look at how life has become sedentary, easy and at the same time more stressful...  Ok, so schools are cutting sports programs....Kids don't go out and play kick the can or jail break-now they sit on a couch and play video games.. Although gaming has gone to a new level that I'm happy to see kids now are having fun with movement, thinking they are playing games, when they are actually exercising... Kudo's to the gaming industry!

Fast food is available on every corner like gas stations.... And our economy has families at all-time high stress levels...  So people are turning to places with "Dollar" menus.... What does that "Dollar" really mean to you?  Have people realized that the "Dollar" menu is putting themselves and their kids at risk for high medical bills because the "Dollar" you saved today contributes to a major illness in the future..

So, I ask.... Health or Wealth?  In my family's journey to take our health into our own hands I've researched and compiled a list from many resources on how to turn off the dial that is only turning towards: high blood pressure, coronary disease, diabetes and obesity...

Don't Sweat It, Simplify It

  • Don't overwhelm yourself with counting or measuring. Don't say you're dieting, but say you're making lifestyle changes and think of your foods terms of color, variety and freshness.  Using quality products that are portion controlled and without the many additives such as hormones, steroids & antibiotics can be done easily through Rastelli Direct at
  • Introduce your new lifestyle gradually. Most lifestyle changes have a tendency to fail because people try to make an immediate switch from their current lifestyle at once. Take baby steps.. Introduce a fish in place of your beef, introduce a salad or vegetable to what you are already eating.  I've found if I eat my greens and proteins first I don't have room for the fillers.  A big help is drinking a full glass of water before your meal also to fill yourself before consuming the calories.
  • The littlest change makes the biggest difference. Perfection isn't the only key to a healthy diet. It's enjoying your new lifestyle one day at a time. Remember what's at stake and that preventing future illness and disease.
  • Water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins. Tiredness, low energy and headaches can be caused by dehydration. Don't mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Exercise. Ok so here is where you sweat it a little bit!! Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

    Moderation is key 

    • Don't identify certain foods as “off-limits.” It's amazing the day you ban an item for your lifestyle you crave it ten times more.  Moderation begins that lifestyle change process.  If you eaten an "off-limit" item for a long period of time cut down how many times a day or a week you eat it.  Eventually you can fade it out of your system, but not forever, because after all a scoop of ice cream can be great on a summer day.... Just remember one scoop instead of three or four!
    • Portion Control. Most people go out to eat and think they get the best deal on super-sizing or restaurants with large portions.  You may get the best deal for your wallet but not your waistline.  First key is don't super-size anything!  Next, if your favorite restaurant puts plate after plate of huge helpings in front of you, ask for a bread plate and take just enough portions to fill the bread plate and pack the rest up for another day...

    It's not just what you eat, it's how you eat 

    • Be a social eater.  Have you ever sat in front of the TV and consumed a whole bag of chips, popcorn, cookies or whatever... And when you have you most likely didn't realize it till you reached and there was nothing left.. Then the guilt.  Eating with others in social settings has benefits... Particularly sharing the food cuts down on portion sizes and also if your busy chatting away, you're not chewing away! :) which leads me to....
    • Taste your meal by chewing.  Savor every bite and you sure will if you have the quality foods on your plate.  I've heard people say it looks or smells so good I don't want to eat it.... 
    • Ask your body. If you're not sure how hungry you are try a glass of water because as I said we can mistake dehydration for hunger..... While your eating slow down and when that first sign comes to you that say "oh I think I'm done or stuffed" change it to "yes I'm full" and put the fork down, stop, drop and roll!! LOL..
    • Breakfast and small meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.

    Fruits & Veggies Oh My! 

    The antioxidants and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases.  I was taught at a young age to follow the rainbow when eating vegetables... Rainbows are pretty but how come I didn't like my veggies...  Now that I'm older and my health is a big concern the vegetable rainbow is returning...
    • Greens: Greens are packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, and they help strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Be adventurous with your greens and branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce—kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options.
    • Sweet vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets. Some examples of sweet vegetables are corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, winter squash, and onions.
    • Fruit: A wide variety of fruit is also vital to a healthy diet. Fruit provides fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
    • Fresh is Always Best.  Whenever possible buy fresh and I would recommend organic.  Canned items tend to have additives and you don't want pesticides in your diet either..


    So many of us don't know and confuse what "healthy" carbs are.... As a pasta/bread/potato lover this was one of the most difficult challenges in my lifestyle change......You want to seek out choices in healthy carbs and fibers, especially whole grains. Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants and help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. 

    How do I tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy carbs?

    Healthy carbs (sometimes known as good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
    Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.

    How do I eat more healthy carbs?

    • Include a variety of whole grains, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley. 
    • Danger words when it comes to grains. Be aware that the words stone-ground, multi-grain, 100% wheat, or bran, can be deceptive. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” at the beginning of the ingredient list. In the US, check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and 100% whole grain.
    • Take baby steps when switching to whole grains. For those of us carb junkies sometimes the switch is difficult, so make it gradual... combine the whole grains with what you are eating and phase out the old, bring in the new!
    Avoid: Refined foods such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals that are not whole grain.

    Enjoy healthy fats & avoid unhealthy fats

    Again, we hear good fat, bad fat, which is it?  Ok so I don't like the word fat in general but what distinguishes good from bad?  
    Healthy fats are needed to nourish your brain, heart and cells, as well as your hair, skin, and nails.  Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA are particularly important and can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood and help prevent dementia.

    What fats should I add?

    • Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame).
    • Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and walnuts.

    What fats should I say goodbye to?

    • Saturated fats, found primarily in animal sources including red meat and whole milk dairy products.
    • Trans fats, found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    Put protein in perspective

    Ok, so my trainer couldn't stop saying eat, get, consume more Protein, Protein, Protein... Why?
    Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Now that makes sense because my training wants me to perform and complete my regimen... So energy! Yeah! 
    Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. A lack of protein in our diet can slow growth, reduce muscle mass, lower immunity, and weaken the heart and respiratory system. Protein is particularly important for children, whose bodies are growing and changing daily.
    Experiment with different types of protein. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, trying different protein sources—such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu and soy products—will open up new options for healthy mealtimes.
    • Beans:  Black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils are good options.
    • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are great choices.
    • Soy products: Try tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and veggie burgers for a change.
    • Avoid salted or sugary nuts and refried beans.
    Most people in the U.S. eat too much protein. Try to move away from protein being the center of your meal. Focus on equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables.
    Quality sources of protein, like fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, beans or nuts. When you are having meat, chicken, or turkey, buy meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics.  This was a simple change for me... At first trying to find meat, chicken or turkey free of hormones, antibiotics and steroids in the main stream stores was a nightmare... Now I can just sit down after I exercise go to and order those items in portion controlled sizes, delivered right to my door.  Less time searching and extra time for exercise or fun!

    Calcium for strong bones

    Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, among many other important functions.
    Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg per day, 1200 mg if you are over 50 years old. Take a vitamin D and calcium supplement if you don’t get enough of these nutrients from your diet.

    Where can I get my calcium from?

    • Dairy: Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese.
    • Vegetables and greens: Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are rich sources of calcium. Try turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms.
    • Beans: For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.

    UGH! Limit sugar and salt

    The biggest hurdle for most people the reduction of sugar and salt.... Thank grandma and grandpa for the sugar fix and our fast food chains for the salts fix!! I can actually say when I made these limitations I felt a difference in energy and saw a difference on my waistline! 
    If you succeed in planning your diet around fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats, you may find yourself naturally cutting back on foods that can get in the way of your healthy diet—sugar and salt.
    Large amounts of added sugar can be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce, and ketchup. Here are some tips:
    • Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than the daily recommended limit! Try sparkling water with lemon or a splash of fruit juice.
    • Eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Try to limit sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.

    • Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods. Processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.
    • Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. 
    • Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.
    • Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels.
    • Choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products.
    • Try slowly reducing the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust.

    Plan quick and easy meals ahead 

    If it's already on hand you're less likely to dial or drive-thru for the quick fix.... Steamazing is a great alternative to drive-thru or dial-up meals...

    Plan your meals by the week or even the month

    One of the best ways to have a healthy diet is to prepare your own food and eat in regularly. Bring the family back to the table and socialize... Start with preparing your meals together.. Have recipe challenges...Make eating and cooking healthy meals fun!  Have a jar filled with everyone's favorite recipes and pick them for each night, see who found the most delicious, healthiest recipe!!

    If you have to shop the grocery store

    Avoid the isles filled with tempting foods... Go right to the produce section, the dairy section and grain section.. No stops, no endcap enticements!  Part of what shopping Rastelli products online keeps me from doing...  I've saved money and inches by avoiding impulse shopping...

    Try to Cook at home often!

    Cooking doesn't have to be a chore, as I said, make it fun.. Come up with challenges, share the cooking with the family and teach your children to save time, money and their health by using what's in the cabinets at home...  I used to eat out often only because I wasn't happy with the quality of the food I was finding at the grocery store... Chewy steaks, bad fish, tough chicken....that's not the end of it.. I threw away more food than I bought..... 
    Now I never have a scrap on the plate to even give to our pets! With Rastelli products from, I'm eating 5-Star Restaurant Quality food free from harmful steroids, hormones and antibiotics!! It's a disappointment to eat out anymore as it once was to eat at home!  
    If you're looking for the full effect of dining out add your favorite bottle of wine, turn on the music and dim the lights... 
    In the very near future you will be able to order your wine along with your food from the same location!  

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