Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Q: Does cutting fruits and vegetables cause nutrition loss?

A. Most people do not realize the crucial importance of freshness when it comes to produce. Whenever we slice into a vegetable or fruit we expose the cut surfaces to heat, light and oxygen -- the nutrient destroyers. This exposure results in the oxidation of phytonutrients and loss of some nutritional value of the fruit or vegetable. An example of oxidation can be seen by cutting an apple, pear or banana and letting it sit in the open a few minutes. The “browning” you observe is evidence of the oxidation that robs it of its nutrients. Antioxidant protection can be seen by taking the type of same fruit or vegetable and cutting it up but this time apply some “fruit fresh” crystals and notice how the crystals prevent oxidation, which is the antioxidant protecting the fruit. Some fresh orange juice will work too. In the natural state, fruits and vegetables are provided protection from the air because of their skins. Even though they still “go bad in time,” the protection of their skins is lost when they are cut up, diced or sliced.

According to Dr. Ray D. Strand, M. D. — Specialist in Nutritional Medicine "Fresh salads and cut vegetables and fruit lose more than 40 to 50 percent of their value if they sit for more than three hours". All I know is that I incorporate tons of fruits and vegetables into my eating plan to receive their benefits. If I were not concerned about nutrients, I would just plow down Big Macs and the like and call it a day. But since that is not the case, and I am going to eat premium foods, WHY would I allow nutrient depletion just so I could have the "convenience" of pre-sliced produce? A good rule of thumb is "If I cut it now, I eat it now."

On a side note: It is best to tear lettuce into bite size pieces rather than cut it with a knife. Tearing it will break the bonds between the cells, making for less water loss. Cutting lettuce slices through cells, allowing the water to escape. I have also heard that cutting lettuce (especially with a metal knife) will cause it to turn brown more rapidly, possibly due to a chemical reaction between the metal and the lettuce.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Favorite kitchen gadget for under $50


  • Prepares 5, 10 or 14 cups cooked rice capacity
  • Added cooking versatility with steaming tray
  • Clean up is easy with removable, dishwasher-safe, non-stick pot and steaming tray
  • Automatic keep warm with indicator light
  • Includes measuring cup and rice paddle
  • Worry free with automatic shut-off and tempered glass lid
Ok I LOVE this kitchen gadget. I put almost all of my whole-grains in it. Forget about the old way of putting rice in a pot and having to wait for it to boil, drain, make sure it is not over/undercooked etc. I simply put water and grain (ie.CousCous, brown rice, oats, quinoa), put the lid on and push the button. It stops when it done and keeps it warm until I come and turn it off. I had a bag of green lentils and wanted to see how they would cook, and again SHEER PERFECTION! The bonus is that it comes with a tray on the top that you can put veggies in and have them steam as your whole-grains cook. I have had mine for about 3 yrs and it still looks like new. I use it 2 or 3 x/wk and feel grateful that I found a kitchen gadget, that saves me time, prepares my foods with ease and goes above and beyond just being a "rice cooker."

I have the exact one above, but I could not find it at They have it at Target, Kohls and Sears. Cost: $26-$31
Buy Now

Friday, November 14, 2008

OUR Best Body Part: The Brain

I really like a hair-care forum and visit it because I get great tips and learn about products, techniques, members trials and errors and get to see many pictures for inspiration. Many of the girls, myself included seem to be really "into" their hair, so I posed a question to find out if they are really "into" their health/fitness. Basically I said, "You love your hair so I know you're not fat." Some people were offended and some were curious as to where I was going with that question. Many people mentioned that it is easy and fun to focus on hair(they felt that you can quickly see results), but that with fitness/eating, they can't seem to find the motivation. I also heard many excuses as to why they can't or choose not to work out or eat healthy.
What I want to do now is show you how you can take your passion or interest for 1 thing (ie. hair, shopping, earning a degree etc.) and use it to have success in any area of your life, particularly health and fitness. Much of the following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, however I will relate it to hair also in this example:
4 Parts of the Brain
L-Brain (words, logic) Focuses on reality, focuses on details, reading, writing
R-Brain (patterns, images) Focuses on changing reality, focuses on the broad picture, creative imaging
Mid-Brain (emotions)
Brain Stem (physical stimulation)

Before I go on let me just say that most of us go through our days in auto-pilot. A big step in realizing your fitness/eating goals is to make it a PRIORITY, not just when you "feel" like it. I will never forget an example I heard on it where if a serial killer is plotting something, he has tacks on the walls of their location, details such as pictures, some of their belongings etc. because of his focus he can get his target. He is not out at a party somewhere dancing and then says, "oh man I am supposed to be killing someone right now." The next thing to remember is that you have to use ALL 4 parts of the brain to hit your goals quickly and effortlessly. Most people leave out 1 or more parts. The last thing to remember is to counteract negative thoughts, excuses and self-sabatoge with repeating your affirmation with a feeling of joy.

Here is the action you have to take now:
1. Write a 1 or 2 sentences written objective and underline it. This is your affirmation. An example is "I easily attain my fitness goals from working out 5x/wk and eating healthy. I enjoy the process and knowing that it is best way for me and everyone involved."(The last part is key bcs you do not want to become thin, but you got that way from an incurable disease.)
2. Give it a name, so when you say it it will come into your memory easily. ex. "Operation Fit Plan"
3. Use as many senses as possible when thinking of your Operation Fit Plan and experience total joy, success and excitement.
4. Look at your written affirmation, say it and feel it several times per day. Why? Because your brain will give you several objections/complaints during the course of a day.

Correlation between loving hair and loving to be fit:
L-Brain (words, logic)
Hair: read comments in hair forums; participate, which is like saying/speaking
Fitness/Eating: Reading and saying affirmation, reading books, belonging to fit/eat online community.
R-Brain (patterns, images)

Hair: Seeing before and after pictures or seeing pics of inspirational hair
Fitness/Eating: Seeing before and after pics or pics of inspirational bodies
Mid-Brain (emotions)
Hair: Excited by the possibilities
Fitness/Eating: Excited by the possibilities
Brain Stem (physical stimulation)
Hair: Physically doing your hair
Fitness/Eating: Physically working out, grocery shopping for healthy foods, preparing and eating them.

It is as simple as that! I hope this has been helpful to you. As with all things, some people can take information, use it and get results while others just seem to take the information and let it pass right through them and get no results.
Obviously as a trainer I help people with the physical stimulation, however I will be offering help in the other 3 parts of the brain with a "members only" website that will be launched Dec 1st (Before New Years Resolutions!!!) You can email me your email address to be put on a waiting list to be notified when it launches. If you are subscribed to the blog, you will automatically be notified.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bucket List 1

I have created a bucket list of things I desire to do. Some things will be small and others huge, but the main thing is that they are regularly done and checked off. I am also encouraging other campers/people to do the same. Otherwise these important things can end up never getting accomplished since they are not part of your daily life. This was my 1st bucket list and gave me the opportunity to be a hairstylist for a day (I also added in makeup and eyebrow shaping). I used to want to be a hairstylist in high school and let me just say it was a fantasy that I should have let stay in my head. I have a new respect for hairstylists now. I was on my feet in one spot for an hour and a half in 3 inch heels. I just wanted to run around and do some flips or jumping jacks or something. It feels so good to go through my bucket list now and not when I'm 90 years old. I really enjoyed and abhorred it at the same time. It was cool but I am glad to be back in the fitness industry again. Stay tuned for the next bucket list desire of mine or others.
p.s. Sorry the after look was not captured. I accidentally hit the stop button instead of record at the end. So you can't even see the after of all my hard work. She looked great before and after for the record.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day After Historical Election (Question)

My question is IF you consider yourself a Christian, how do you justify voting for (pro-choice) Obama?

Let me start of by saying that I am willing to possibly lose respect from some or get flamed by some who may be offended by my question. I voted for McCain instead of Obama bcs of this analogy: If someone were to approach me and say, "I will kill your baby but, you can have the best health insurance, tax savings, better economy, better gas prices....and so on and so on". I would have stopped him at the 1st 5 words and demanded him to get out of my face. Why? because I consider myself a Christian that follows the word of God (Bible). I am not perfect and I am sure I fall short but before I became saved 7 yrs ago I called myself a Christian but did not walk the walk. Now I am about pleasing God and depending on God as my source and not a president as my source to the things I want in life. God will protect and take care of my desires because of my faith. I do not expect either candidate to be perfect but if one blatantly want to allow known sins then I can not support that. I admit that I am thrilled that the country is changing and color barriers are being broken but again as a Christian that does not precede God's word and commandments. I do not want to judge anyone and I certainly do not want to appear haughty but I want some honest replies. I really want to know if you feel that you just voted on either candidate bcs of race? Do you feel that the only way you can have your best life is based on who's president? Do you feel you pick and choose which parts of the bible have significance? Do you just believe in God/Jesus but are not interested in living it by his word? Click on comments below and help me to understand another perspective please. I will tell you in advance it will not change my mind but at least I will know.

p.s. I will surely pray for President Elect Obama and never express anger or bitterness about him being president. Everything is about love so my motto is always: love the person but not the sin.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Think on This (Part II)

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of the mind” (Romans 12:2).

Here are 10 practical ways in which you can begin to conquer negative thinking today:

1. Affirm yourself daily – An affirmation is a short positive empowering statement declared in the present tense. Note the key words here are: short, empowering, and present. In other words, to affirm yourself you should not say: “One day I will become.” No, you need to claim it right now: “I am!”

2. Choose how you will feed your brain - Plan your daily inspiration carefully. Remember that whatever you feed your brain with -be it people or entertainment – it will feed and nurture itself on it. Choose wisely. Listen to, read and watch only those things that will move you up to the next level. Anything that does not fit that requirement avoid it by any means necessary.

3. Don’t depend on others to approve of you – Stop feeding and depending on the approval of others – approve yourself. People, even those closest to you, might never approve of you and they might never affirm your progress - you must come to terms with that. Their non-approval and non-recognition should never ever stop you from affirming yourself.

4. Stop entertaining pessimistic negative people – Those people in your life that only have sorry stories are impacting your psyche, particularly if they are family. Don’t entertain their negativity. Listen to them, but don’t take it on. If you do, they will bring you down. And don’t listen to them for hours either because they will end up making you a believer. These people are going nowhere because they honestly believe that their situations have no remedy. If you entertain them they will bring you down too.

5. Practice forgiveness – The number one killer of positivism and good thoughts is un-forgiveness. Holding on to grudges and resentment is like feeding your mind with poison. You are literally drinking the poison and hoping that the other person will die. It’s suicide. Learn to love people unconditionally because people will fail you. They are human.

6. Refuse to think certain thoughts – Yes, this is possible. Remember that you have the control of your own mind. You decide what goes into it and what it will think. When negative thoughts about you threaten to invade do an about turn and find a mirror. Once you are facing and seeing yourself in the mirror affirm yourself.

7. Rehearse your success – It has been proven that positive imaging as opposed to fantasizing can help to push you up another level. The difference between both is that imaging makes you envision real possibilities. On the other hand, fantasizing deals with what you wish but will never truly be. You need to visualize yourself in the place you want to be. If for example, you consistently create an image of yourself in a successful relationship, or career you will also see the things that you need to do, and will not compromise, in order to get there.

8. Pray and meditate- Wait! Before you skip over this one it is your most important step. If you are a believer you are probably saying: “Yeah, I know”, and if you are not you are thinking: “Religious yadah yadah.” But psychologists and brain researchers are saying that prayer and meditation work wonders for the brain. When you pray and meditate you are putting your mind in a state of self-empowerment. You are strengthening your faith in the belief that while you cannot now see it, you are most certain that it will happen. Remember that what your mind visualizes is converted in reality. Take time out daily to empower your mind - pray and meditate on promises, proverbs, psalms, and inspiring quotes.

9. Eat brain food – The mind-body connection is the body’s most powerful link. Experts believe that we can eat food that will feed our brain and thus improve our memory and abilities for retention and analysis. You’ve been hearing that spinach, peppers, peaches, wheat products are a good for your body. But, did you know that they also feed your brain? Maximize their intake. Read this article from The Franklin Institute The Human Brain - Diet & Menu to find out how and what to eat to feed your brain.

10. SMILE!

© Copyright 2006, written by Norka Blackman-Richards (Joy added #10)


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