Extreme Restaurant Meals – Do you know what you’re eating?

Even if you’re trying to eat healthy and cook at home, sometimes you’re going to have to eat out.  Whether it’s getting together with friends, a special dinner with your spouse or grabbing something because it’s been a hectic day, there are an infinite number of food choices to make.  You may have noticed some restaurants have begun to add calorie counts and other nutritional information to their menu, which can be very helpful in trying to make healthy choices.

Fast food giant, McDonalds, been posting calorie counts for menu items in 2012 and even created an app for customers to look up nutrition information on their offerings.  Other chain restaurants like Panera Bread also post calorie counts on their menus. But, many other popular chains have not stepped up and in fact, lobbied against legislation that would require them to reveal nutritional information.

This year, just before the deadline for that legislation, lobbyists for pizza chains (led by Domino’s), convenience stores, and supermarkets convinced the Trump administration not just to delay but to reopen the rules to weaken them, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).  When you see the calorie counts on some of CSPI’s 2017 Xtreme Eating Award winners, you might understand why the restaurant chains want to keep this information under wraps.

Cheesecake Factory is known for their large portions, and their Pasta Napoletana is no exception.  It’s also got a huge calorie, fat and sodium count, weighing in at 2,310 calories, 79 grams of saturated fat and 4,370 mg of sodium. Here are the counts recommended by the FDA for adults:

One dish of pasta contains more than a day’s worth of calories, almost four times the saturated fat and almost twice the sodium recommended for an entire day.

Maybe you’re in the mood for a different kind of meat-lover’s meal.  A 16-oz prime rib, loaded sweet potato and Caesar salad at Texas Roadhouse will add 2,820 calories to whatever you’ve consumed earlier in the day, along with 72 grams of saturated fat and 5,330 grams of sodium.  It also adds more than a day’s worth of added sugar.

Eggs are healthy, right?  Head over to IHOP for a cheeseburger omelette and a side of pancakes and you won’t have to eat again all day.  CPSI reports that at 1,990 calories, 45 grams of fat and 4,580 grams of sodium, it’s the equivalent of eating four McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins drizzled with 2 tablespoons of syrup.

These are extreme examples, but do show that it’s often impossible to guess the nutrition content of restaurant meals.  The best strategy for eating healthy in restaurants (especially if you do it often) is to look for fresh veggies, lean proteins like chicken or fish, whole grains and flavor from spices and herbs. High-fat, processed meats and creamy sauces will add unwanted fat, sodium and calories. We all deserve a treat sometimes, but knowing what you’re actually consuming might change your mind about what to eat and how often to splurge.

All nutritional information from cpsinet.org

4 Simple Ways to Boost Immunity this Fall

4 Simple Ways to Boost Immunity this Fall

The weather is finally starting to change in the Phoenix area. This is why we live in Arizona! But did you know that viruses that cause colds and flu thrive in the cooler weather? Colder temperatures can also lower the immune system’s response to viruses. Add back-to-school and holiday stress and your immune system can really take a hit. That’s why it’s important to boost the immune system as we move into fall and winter – even in Arizona!

Here are some immunity boosting tips to keep you healthy through seasonal changes:

Stay active – This is easy to do in our climate. If you’ve been hibernating throughout the hot summer, ease into outdoor activities. Stick to a schedule of regular, moderate exercise schedule of 30-45 minutes a day. This will help boost disease-fighting white blood cells, lower stress and keep you stronger overall.

Get enough sleep – Natural seasonal changes mean longer nights and shorter days. Your body may respond by needing more sleep and rest at this time. Research continues to show that restorative sleep has many health benefits, including increasing your ability to fight off colds and other viruses.

Eat vitamin-rich foods – Fall and winter holidays bring many unhealthy food choices. While it’s natural to want to indulge in some “comfort foods” and holiday treats at this time of year (Halloween candy, pumpkin spice lattes, pies and more!) maintaining an overall healthy diet with lots of nutrients will keep your immune system strong. Vitamins C, D and A are important for healthy immune function. Seasonal produce such as squash, yams and carrots are rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants. We are also lucky to have an abundance of citrus crops in Arizona – eat those oranges and grapefruits fresh from the tree! And of course, our beautiful winter sunshine provides Vitamin D to boost immunity. Overall, eat a variety of fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains to maintain your health.

Manage stress levels – Stress and other negative emotions can cause an elevated level of the hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. One easy way to reduce stress and sooth the nervous system is with aromatherapy. There are many different essential oils and blends that can be used to enhance your health and boost immunity. Natural compounds found in Tea Tree Oil, Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Rosemary, to name just a few, can help with cold symptoms, promote relaxation and support immune function. There are several different techniques that can be used for aromatherapy including direct inhalation, topical application, using an essential oil diffuser or creating a room misting spray.

Autumn often brings renewed energy and a desire for change after a long, hot summer. If you’re ready to take the next steps towards reducing stress and living a healthy lifestyle, please contact me to set up a free consultation.