rainbow foodThis phrase, “Eating from the rainbow,” is starting to show up more and more. So, take a second and think about it… and the benefits. A plate full of color is a plate full of nutrition. Each color (fruit or vegetable) we eat, provides something different and a specific benefit to our body.

There are a lot of unfamiliar terms listed, but concentrate on the benefits…

Reds: tomatoes, apples, beets, watermelon, red wine, grapes, chile peppers, bell peppers, strawberries, beans, red onions. Red foods contain resveratrol, capsaicin, and lycopene. These keep you from getting hungry, can relieve pain, and reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Orange: winter squash, lentils, obviously oranges, turmeric, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Orange foods contain curcumin, beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene,and hesperidin. The benefits from these foods are boosting the immune system, promoting bone cell growth, reducing inflammation, and blood vessel damage.

Yellow: pineapple, corn, papaya, tangerines, lemons, spaghetti squash, and yellow peppers. Yellow foods contain bromelain, limonoids, lutein, and curcumin. The benefits of eating these foods are a release of enzymes that ease indigestion and asthma, lower cholesterol, and promote eye health.

Green: spinach, artichokes, avocados, grapes, green onions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, parsley, chard, all leafy greens. Green foods contain apigenin, luteolin, catechins, and isothiocyanates. We need these to help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, to lower cholesterol, and purge the body of carcinogens. Fruits and Vegetables

Purple: purple cauliflower, purple cabbage, berries, eggplant, and purple radishes. Purple foods contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which help slow metabolism, improve brain function, and reduce risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

With all these choices, it’s easy to eat healthy and provide our body with nutritional value. Many of these foods will pick up the flavor of any spices or herbs you put with them, so you create the taste. More nutritional value exists if foods are eaten raw, but steaming or roasting are good preparations, as well.

Not sure you’re ready to give up your favorite foods? There’s no need to. If you decide to have pasta, stir in some green onions and spinach. With your rice, stir in purple cabbage and some artichokes. Or, when you prepare a salad, make it interesting with beets, broccoli, celery, and a yellow pepper. The possibilities are endless. You will not only create beautiful meals, but will be “eating from the rainbow,” and eating healthful meals to feel great.

Strive to be healthy!

Images courtesy Feels Like Home and The Top Five Reasons to Eat More Fruits and Veggies


blog-posting-tipsIt’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog… in fact it’s been one season. That is, one season of my theatre arts organization job that lasts from June 1 through mid-August; we produce five Broadway musicals every summer. I work year-round, but the season is during the summer months. This was a busy season with much to accomplish and I simply couldn’t keep up with my weekly blog posts. And here’s the story: I now find myself about 10 pounds heavier, with a decreased energy level, a bulging disc in my back, and feeling generally cranky. This is a result of not properly caring for myself over the summer and ignoring my own advice on how to remain healthy and feeling great.

In May 2012, I began eating gluten and wheat-free and found my quality of life improved greatly. I have continued this eating regimen, but soon discovered there are many choices in a gluten-free diet these days – some of which are not the best for my body. There are gluten-free pastas, breads, crackers, everything imaginable. The sad part is sometimes gluten or wheat free means more carbs and more sugar. Again, completely against my idea of how to maintain a health eating plan.

Personally, I feel best when I eat high protein with lots of veggies. The protein comes from beans and grains, paired with white fish and roasted veggies. It’s interesting how easily I drift from what I know is best… only to realize it’s time to begin again and find the perfect balance of diet, sleep, and exercise. This is my quest: to once again find that balance and feel great. Here is how I’ll start:

Step One: Clean out the refrigerator and pantry: This is a must when unhealthy eating habits have crept into my life. Get rid of all temptations and refill with healthy snacks that are easy and convenient.

Step Two: Prepare food ahead of time: I used to spend Sundays preparing my food for the week. I would make a broccoli and bean salad (find this is my recipe section) that I could easily grab a bowl for lunch. (Yes, I’m lucky and go home for lunch most days). Otherwise, I need to identify the restaurants and eateries that have a healthy menu containing items good for my system. Of utmost importance – begin each day with a good breakfast. An egg white omelet with some black beans on the side is the best and tastes great. This gives me energy and keeps me from getting hungry mid-morning. (Hint: rinse the black beans until there is no more foaming. This will eliminate any gastrointestinal problems).

Step Three: Find 30 minutes each day to exercise: If it’s only a morning walk or a bicycle ride at the gym, I will do something to get moving.

Step Four: Get back to my daily vitamin routine: I feel best when I take extra B, C, and D. The difference in the way I feel is immediate and wonderful.

Step Five: Regular sleep: I know my body requires 8 hours of sleep each night to feel good… 9 is even better. This won’t happen without planning. I need about 30 minutes to turn my brain off so I can sleep. This means being in bed by 9:30pm with a book, turning out the light about 10pm, and rising at 6am.

Step Five: Blog: This is good for my mind and keeps my healthful plan in front of me on a regular basis. It’s impossible to write about a topic and not research it and find ways to implement it in my life.

Some of you may be thinking this sounds like a lot of trouble – and who has time to plan your day around eating, sleeping, and exercising? Well, to me it’s well worth it. Following this type of plan helps me feel great and gives me energy to do the other things I want to do in my spare time. I quickly fall into a routine and it doesn’t take so much planning and thinking. It get easier the longer I do it. And if it’s a choice of feeling sluggish and lethargic versus feeling energized and healthy – it’s an easy choice.

I realize my plan doesn’t work for everyone. Each person’s body is different and needs different things to feel good. I found what works for me…but, maybe through this you will get some ideas of how to begin your own healthful plan. Take some time to research products, vitamins, foods, etc. Try different things. If something doesn’t work, please don’t give up – develop a new plan. You’ll be glad you did!

Strive to be healthy!

Image courtesy of The Weather Up Here