American Diet Invites Breast Cancer

Results from an in-depth screening of mammograms revealed frightening facts.  Women who ate a Western “American” style diet had a significantly greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Table for Two

A Western diet can be construed as a steak and potatoes-type meal, a club sandwich, a burger, and fries, or pizza with pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese. All of these have something in common. They are especially high in fat, dairy, processed meats, and refined grains. They also lead to the development of denser breast tissue.

Denser breast tissue has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Sugary drinks and sweet desserts were added to the Western diet list as well. The study published this month in Obstetrics and Gynecology pointed out that overweight-obese women eating this type of diet are at great risk. Statistics point out that women eating the all-American diet as specified above have a 46 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer. Wow. That’s some information.

Making Adjustments

The study, (which consisted of data from over 3,500 women) also took into consideration other lifestyle factors. The results factored in adjustments such as age, those who smoked, drank alcohol, were in the midst of menopause, taking hormone treatments, and family history. Even yet, it still appeared that women who adhered more to a Western diet were more prone to show higher density tissue in their mammograms.

The women who adhered to a Mediterranean-type diet, however, did not show mammographic density. Less dense equals less cancer-risk. Perhaps it’s time to adjust our food choices…

What to Do

If you feel you or your family may be over-indulging in the American diet plan, and you want to make some changes, it can be done painlessly and almost invisibly. In fact, it can be surprisingly delicious and just as satisfying!

It’s just a matter of swapping out certain foods for other more healthy, fresh, unprocessed ones. Fast food (so sorry) will need to be out. But not to worry. There are other “fast” foods for you and your family that can come from a healthy place!

If foods like quinoa, chia, and kale intimidate you, that is completely understandable! But, learning how to cook them (or add them) is not a big deal, and they can taste super yummy. But this may be stepping ahead…

What to do now is eat more fish. Grill more veggies and eat more salads. (But don’t use traditional dressings!) Adding lemon, honey, and/or balsamic vinegar to your greens is a great replacement. Beans are a great side dish, too. Replace red meat with cage-free poultry, eggs, and/or plant-based proteins.

Whether you’re concerned about your risk of breast cancer or any other type of pervasive illness, certainly the best preventative advice may be to adhere to a clean, Mediterranean–style diet. To learn more about healthy foods and diets, check out


3 Simple Steps towards Healthier Foods

1. Be Alert – Healthier

A new study shows that the brighter the room, the more alert you are. Researchers discovered that when you’re more alert, you chose healthier foods.

2. Dining Room Lighting

The authors of this study observed the eating habits of 160 restaurant patrons to start. Those who picked healthier foods off the menu were those in well-lit rooms. In fact, those diners were almost 25% more likely to choose, let’s say, grilled fish over fried chicken with gravy.

It was discovered that healthier options were chosen because the light was brighter. In the dimly-lit room, sales records demonstrated that those patrons ordered almost 40% more calories. The researchers ran four more studies, which included 700 males and females between the ages of 18 and 22. Those results were close-to-identical as those in the original study.

3. Eating Environment

The above study was entitled, “Shining Light on Atmospherics: How Ambient Light Influences Food Choices.” It was published in the Journal of Marketing Research in May 2016 and included four authors. One of the authors, Dr. Brian Wansink, is a behavioral scientist and has made it his mission to change eating behavior. His philosophy is “eat less and eat better.”

Wansink is an author in his own right, as well as the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Besides recommending brighter lighting, he suggests reducing kitchen clutter. In order to choose healthier foods, he also suggests keeping a fruit bowl on the counter. Jokingly, (or maybe seriously), he advocates electrifying the cookie jar.

Eating in dim lighting isn’t horrible. You actually enjoy the food more because you eat slower. (Think about what you order and how you eat at the movies.) Perhaps ordering in bright light and then eating in the dark might be an interesting experiment. Bottom line, anything that can help us to make healthier food selections is worthwhile.

Check out for great food suggestions and recipes.


Are You Guilty of Over-Eating? (Or Just Want to Get Rid of Belly Fat?)

Are you just done with that roll around your waist?  Do you want to get rid of belly fat even more than that awful 8th grade class picture hanging on your mom’s wall?  You’re not alone. You may not be able to replace that photo, but you definitely can shed some pounds and create a better picture for today and for your future.

A Little of This, A Little More Fat

As the new year brings excitement, it also introduces more stress.  Most of us will make an honest attempt to choose healthier behaviors when it comes to food and drink. The problem is that office parties, nights out with friends, or just the end of a long day invites cheating.  This is where over-eating, and, hence, belly fat starts to sneak in.

Unfortunately, stress often wins and then the resolve to eat less (or more nutritiously) takes a secondary position to enjoyment.  The daily pressures of work schedules, deadlines, and family financial strains all combine to create distress and anxiety—the perfect environment for belly bloat.

Over-Stress = Over-Eating ?

Stress can wear us down, and many of us battle it by consuming an overload of carbs, sugar, and high fat foods. Most people attend dinner events, office parties, and cocktail hours without any preparation or planning.  A lack of planning will offset intentions for losing weight. But with the right planning and attitude, you can win that battle and get rid of belly fat once and for all.


While there are many factors that play a role in creating roundness around our middle section, high stress is at the top of the list.  Other causes include:

-too many processed foods

-lack of exercise

-hormonal changes

-lack of sleep

Get Rid of Bad Habits, Not Just the Food

Belly fat is the visceral fat around the abdomen.  Visceral fat creates adipose hormones and adipokine chemicals in the blood stream, which causes inflammation. Inflammation contributes to potentially dangerous health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lower immune function.

The resolve and plan for eating healthy may be easier to maintain at home. But, sometimes our options are limited because of life’s daily circumstances. Here are some ideas for creating better habits to get you on the road to get rid of belly fat:

1) Many restaurants and outside events offer appetizers, fried foods, and an array of sweets. If you show up without a plan and you’re hungry, sustaining your goal will be almost impossible. While it’s fun to celebrate and get together with friends and family, it’s important to be mindful of what type and amount of food and drink you’re consuming. Take note of everything you place in your mouth. Write it down if you have to in order to keep track.

Better Eating Habits

2)  There are many nutritious foods that can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid gaining fat. One group you can choose from is protein. Protein has been shown to reduce cravings, boost metabolism, and reduce daily calorie intake. Chicken, turkey, lean meats, beans, and fish are solid sources. Most, noteworthy, eggs are a good source of protein, contain amino acids, and aid in building muscle and suppressing hunger.

3) Most fiber rich foods help fight belly fat, keep you filling full and also lessen hunger pangs. Dark leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, and legumes are foods that are high in fiber and nutrients.

4) Do your best to avoid white flour products, and sugary and processed (pre-packaged) foods. Also, limit alcohol.

5) Working out on a consistent basis will help alleviate some of the stress, tone muscles, and help you get rid of and reduce excess fat around the waistline. Some gym memberships offer the benefit of a personal trainer for initial enrollment.  Hence, take advantage of the trainer’s guidance and suggestions to create a plan that works for you.

Over the Hump

As you begin to see and feel improvement, you’ll gain momentum needed to continue on to get rid of belly fat.  As a result, you will also learn new methods for alleviating stress other than relying on food. Daily walks or doing any fun activity is a good way to start.  Yoga and Tai Chi are workout activities that have been proven to help with breathing, balance, and eliminating tension.  Listening to easy music, gardening, or crafting projects are a few therapeutic ways to deal with relieving stressors from the day.

In conclusion, it’s important to make decisions about what you will and will not eat and drink before the week or an event happens.  Awareness and mindfulness are essential to your success. Making a plan to eat healthier, participating in daily workouts, and being more conscious about balance and consumption will help you succeed in your challenge.



How to Completely Change Your Eating Habits in 2018

If you were completely honest, could you identify which of your eating habits do not service your best health? And, once you pinpointed those habits, would you be willing trade them in for something better? If so, read on to learn how you can completely change your eating habits in 2018.

Let’s Dish on Not-So-Great Eating Habits


With the New Year often comes a list of behaviors we’d like to change or improve. One of those items on your list might be the way that you eat. Before we can fix it, we need to recognize it. If you’re having difficulty zoning in on your specific not-so-great eating habits, perhaps the following list can help.

Do you…

  • Skip meals and then overeat?
  • Eat late at night?
  • Eat junk food because it seems convenient?
  • Eat when you’re not hungry?
  • Eat on the run or standing up?
  • Eat when you’re stressed or depressed (emotional eating)

If you indulge in any of the above practices, you’re not providing your body with the best health opportunities possible.


How to Make Changes in 2018


Eating habits can be a tough nut to crack when wanting to make changes. The desire can exist but the motivation and information may be lacking.

As for motivation, keep in mind that when you make healthy eating choices, you can extend the quality of your life. Excess fat (and toxins) from processed foods and chemicals (including sugar) can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Motivation can be to get healthy/stay healthy/live longer.

As for information, below you will find several suggestions on how to make changes in your eating practices.


1) Eat breakfast. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep (7 hours or more in a row), then your blood sugar needs rebalancing when you awake. After all, you’ve been fasting. Clinical dietician Dr. Christy T. Tangey reported, “Studies have found that although people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index, or BMI.”


Refueling at the beginning of your day:

– makes you more alert and focused

– makes you less apt to snack or binge eat

– boosts your metabolism (and helps you burn more calories throughout the day)

– sets you up for a healthy day of eating and productivity


Sitting down to a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast is not ideal. However, scrambling a couple of eggs or eating a hard-boiled egg are good choices. Oatmeal is quick and healthy, as is yogurt with no-added-sugar granola. A fruit and veggie smoothie with a good fat (flax seeds, almond butter, or avocado) is another great option.


2) Keep healthy foods nearby. When you start feeling hungry, grab an apple, a carrot, a celery stick, popcorn (no butter), or a handful of nuts. It’s OK to snack; in fact, it’s preferred as opposed to getting too hungry and then overeating at your next meal. Keeping your select foods with you can come in handy when you’re stuck in traffic, preparing a meal, or when you don’t want to eat the cake at the office.


3) Control portions. We don’t need a lot of food—we just need the right ones. Your plate should consist of half veggies and the other half a combo of protein, whole grains, and good fat. This can be achieved on a salad-sized plate. Don’t eat directly from a container or a package—you can easily lose track of how much you’re eating.


4) Finish eating way before your bedtime. Going to bed on a full tummy is an awful idea. But, even a small bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine can affect your weight, metabolism, and the quality of your sleep (from the sugar content.) Brush your teeth after dinner; this may prevent you from eating again before bed. If you get a craving, soothe it with a slice of fresh fruit or fruit-infused water. Golden milk has also shown to promote better health when drinking it at least an hour before turning in.


5) Replace sitting around snacking with something else. Instead of watching TV and munching on corn chips after work, deliberately chose an alternate activity. Join a yoga class or a Bunco game, take a walk, practice an instrument, or get involved with anything that can distract you from bored or binge snacking.


6) Sit down and slow down. Eating should be done mindfully. It’s a process that is nourishing your body to keep you healthy and alive. It justifies your attention. Try not to eat standing in the kitchen. Pull up a chair and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy. (Food is a good thing!) Slow down your eating process, too. It takes your brain up to 20 minutes to notice you might be full. You can avoid overeating by taking smaller bites, chewing longer, and drinking water in between. Using silverware also helps; eating with your hands often makes you eat faster.


Hopefully, changing your eating habits makes the top of your New Year’s resolution list. With motivation, information, and action, you will rock it! Best of health in 2018 and many future years to come.





Most Effective Healthy Eating Tactics for 2018

“I really want to eat healthy this year!”

Most of us have made this proclamation. But, eating healthy, as most of have experienced, can be a considerable challenge. Fret not, however, because we have assembled the most user-friendly, effective, and successful healthy eating tactics for 2018.

The Three W’s of Healthy Eating

The concept of healthy eating is not necessarily about dieting. Dieting connotes a goal of weight loss. Eating healthily entails a commitment to your overall fitness, which also includes a series of behaviors along with certain types of foods. They are:

  • When to eat
  • What to eat
  • Where you eat

These are the three W’s. Each of these “W” categories incorporates tactics that will make your healthy-living mission most effective.


“When” Tactics for Your Eating Plan

The word breakfast literally means to “break” the “fast” that you’ve endured while you were sleeping. Eating within your first waking hour is important because you need to stabilize your blood sugar. Additionally, you are essentially refueling to start your new day. Would you begin a road trip with an empty tank of gas?

Many nutritionists suggest eating every three to fours hours to keep blood sugar levels from dropping too low; no one wants to get “hangry.” One suggestion is to apply a 1-to-10 scale to your level of hunger. A grumbling tummy with a lack of mental focus and low energy would be a 1, 2, or 3. That would mean it’s time to eat.

Feeling bloated or like you have to take a nap right after eating might count as an 8, 9, or 10—meaning you ate too soon after your last meal or too much food. The goal would be to maintain a feeling somewhere between a 4 and a 7. Try not to wait too long between meals or snacks so that you don’t risk over-eating or eating “junk” once you get a hold of some food.

If you want to have a good night’s sleep, you probably shouldn’t go to bed on a full stomach. Have your last meal or snack at least three hours before turning in. If you feel peckish and it’s late, have a full glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange or an herbal or flavored decaf tea. That’s a far better tactic for healthy eating than sneaking a midnight snack.

“What” is Included in My Plan?

The most effective habit you can incorporate into any health plan is to educate and surround yourself with nutritious foods. Knowing the difference between the truth about certain foods versus marketing will help you make better decisions about what you store in your home and what you ingest.

Here are some prevalent truths:

  • We need fat in our diet (as long as it’s monounsaturated or polyunsaturated). This would include olive, coconut, and avocado oil, salmon, some nuts, and seeds, etc. Trans fats and saturated fats are unhealthy (beef, margarine, corn oil, palm oil, vegetable oil, cake mixes, non-dairy creamers, microwave popcorn, some frozen dinners, etc.)


  • “Eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day could significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and early death” (Imperial College London Study, published February 2017.) If you can shop organic, it’s preferred, as you will be subjecting yourself to less toxins in your produce such as pesticides and fertilizers.


  • Sugar intake significantly increases health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancers. Sugar in your pre-packaged foods can be listed as: fructose, corn syrup, and cane sugar. None of them will benefit your health or waistline.


  • White potatoes, bread, and rice will not help you if you’re on a healthy eating course. Instead, choose whole grains, sweet potatoes, and wild or brown rice.


What you stock up on at home is what you will eat.

Effective tactic: Shop wisely and avoid purchasing or bringing home foods that are unhealthy. It’s that simple.


“What” Else?

Portion control is a huge (but, keep-it-small) element in healthy eating. Snacks are tiny meals aimed to tide us over until we have our next meal. A meal should be proportioned, balanced, and focused on nutrition and providing energy. Just because you’re eating healthy foods doesn’t mean you should eat a ton.


Best “Where” Tactics

Healthy eating can absolutely be successful while dining out. You just need to keep a few things in mind beforehand. Where you go, and how you act when you get there, is all up to you. But you’ve got this!

Most effective tactics for healthy eating away from home (aka as in a restaurant):

  • Peruse the menu before you get there. See what you should/can or should not/cannot eat in advance.
  • When the server asks if you want bread or chips, say, “NO. Thank you. J)
  • Beware of yummy sauces and dressings. They are most likely filled with bad fats and sugar.
  • Keep it simple and delicious. Grilled is a great option, as long as it’s with olive oil, not butter or vegetable oil. Salt, pepper, and garlic in moderation is awesome for flavoring and your health.
  • Side dishes: order the veggies (as long as they’re not drowned in butter), or the fruit. French or home fries, mashed potatoes, salad with a ton of dressing, or slaw with mayonnaise are not productive choices.
  • Order an appetizer instead of a meal. Often, that portion is enough.
  • Order water instead of a sugary or alcoholic beverage.
  • If they serve you too much food, get a to-go box. Don’t force yourself; leftovers are awesome.


2018 needs to be a year of success for you and your family. Healthy eating practices are not difficult once you understand which foods will benefit you most and how you can include them into your diet habitually. Hopefully, with our guided tactics, your quest will be simply attained and managed.







Tips for Staying Healthy in a Chaotic World

Attempting to achieve the American dream may be proving to be a health nightmare. In our unrelenting effort to make ends meet, we usually wind up burning out.

It’s not until we get sick or come down with some frightening illness that we stop and reflect upon our day-to-day behavior. The classic adage applies more than ever: If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. So, what are we going to do to change?

First off, our priority must be our health and wellness. That includes how we eat, sleep, exercise, and also attend to our emotional and spiritual lives. If that statement scares you, it’s probably because you think it’s going to be too hard or too expensive. Yes, it will take commitment and discipline—but so does everything in your life that matters.

To truly succeed, it’s necessary that you place you and your loved ones’ health in the number one spot. So with that said, here are some tips for making your transition simple and enjoyable, not worrisome or costly.


Make a shopping list of all the foods you know (or have read) to be healthy. That would include fresh produce, whole grains, and lean meats. Read labels and stay away from anything that has sugar or corn syrup as a primary ingredient. Keep dairy to a minimum.

Plan to make all your meals at home until everyone adapts to your new eating lifestyle. Look online for yummy recipes to motivate yourself. Worse case scenario, you throw a bunch of greens, fruits, a scoop of almond butter, some yogurt, lemon-water, and ice into the blender.

It takes five minutes and it’s a nutritious full meal. If you stick to a good-food plan, you won’t be able to go back to fast-food or junk; your body won’t let you. It will re-learn how to crave proper nutrition.


As adults, genetics and heredity play a part in the “perfect” amount of sleep for each individual. Research, however, estimates that we need, on the average, eight hours per night for best health.

To achieve this with a hectic lifestyle, make your evening restful. Have a cup of chamomile tea, read, stretch, practice yoga, meditate, do what you can to provide a calm body so that you can fall asleep quicker and more deeply. Refrain from using a computer or Smartphone in bed.

If you think you can’t find enough time for a long sleep, trade-in something else you do that isn’t nearly as important (think: Candy Crush, Facebook, TV, reading gossip columns, etc.).


Just assume that everyday you are going to get exercise. In an ideal world, we’d have an hour each day to do some aerobic activity, weight training, and yoga. But since most of us can’t achieve that, think of exercise simply as “movement.” Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

Get off the bus an exit early and walk a few blocks. Use some of your lunch break to go outside, walk, and breathe fresh air. Chase your kid around the dinner table. 10 minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups, and a few planks is better that no minutes of nothing. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

Peace of Mind: Not everyone wants to meditate. Although its benefits have been scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase attention span, improve metabolism, and help you sleep better, you don’t have to do it. How about sitting quietly and taking deep breaths?

Give yourself permission to be alone. Explore how you are feeling. Pay attention to all parts of your body while you are still. Focus on relaxing and dispelling any negative or anxious thoughts.

Even in five minutes, you’ll feel rejuvenated. If you can try that for 20, all the better. Eventually, you will learn how to do this (and check in with yourself) even with your eyes open, in a room full of people. Let yourself feel calm, joyous, and full of gratitude. There’s nothing like that recipe for a healthy vibe and body.

Your fear of trying something new or making changes should pale in comparison to the fear you’ll experience when your health starts faltering. Being proactive and taking the best action to keep your body healthy really matters more than anything.



Exotic Dining: Would You Eat Under the Ocean? In a Volcano? Naked?

One of life’s greatest pleasures is food. Meals prepared with care and skill can literally be memorable for a lifetime. What also adds to the experience is the ambience of the space in which those foods are eaten. Mere furnishings and soft music don’t hold a candle to some of the most exotic restaurants around the globe.

The past few years, restaurant explorers have been privy to eateries such as Ithaa, which is enclosed in a tunnel under water in the Maldives; Kakslauttanen, which has dining tables set inside a veritable igloo in Finland; and El Diablo, where specialties are grilled to perfection on top of a volcano in Spain. Opening for three months this year in London, however, is a new, “raw” conceptual restaurant experience—dining in the nude.

The new venue is called The Bunyadi. The environment boasts “bareness”; there will be no electricity, gas, chemicals, or artificial colors. And, no phones allowed. Additionally, the restaurant’s press release states there will be, “wood-flame grilled meals served on handmade clay crockery and edible cutlery, in a space void of the industrialized-world’s modern trappings.”

The company, Lollipop, (who opened ABQ, a popular cocktail bar that serves drinks inspired by the show Breaking Bad,) has created this bare-bones concept that holds 42 diners. One section will be reserved for those patrons who chose to remain clothed. The other half of the space, partitioned by bamboo and candlelight, is for those wishing to dine naked. Changing rooms and lockers will be available for the “naturalists.” Meals will run about $85 per person, which will include food and drinks.

Is this really a new concept? Seemingly so, since a pro-naked choice eatery hasn’t been publicized (or legal), at least in the past two centuries. Or is it just bringing us back to a time where feasting, minus-the-toga, was a grand part of life, reminding us that all we truly need to survive is shelter and food? Whatever the meaning for its appeal, The Bunyadi already has diners—thousands—clamoring for a seat. Yahoo news reported that 6,500 people are already on the waiting list, whereas NPR reported that the restaurant’s operators claim there are 8,000 on the wait list to date. If you don’t make the cut, pretending at home may your second best choice.



Bad Moms, Average Moms, Best Moms?

In the best of all worlds, mothers should be honored on a daily basis, not just one day a year. And within that honor, should include an understanding of a basic human reality—no one is perfect. With that, lives the contradiction that no mom is perfect, yet each mom is perfect. The mom we get and the moms we become are perfect for our individual lives. How we were raised and how we are raising children, shapes who we are and all that we can become.

In today’s media-driven society, everyone clamors to post their best photo or most impressive description of their mom. One husband may post that he is grateful for his wife who cleans, gourmet-feeds, brand-name dresses, gently disciplines, and mini-van chauffeurs the kids. How wonderful for him and their children. But is mom getting enough rest or any of her other needs met? Hopefully so. And for that family, that may work out wonderfully.

Yet, what about the mom who gets up and has to hop in the shower so she herself can be clean for work? She doesn’t have time to make pancakes, eggs, and bacon for the kids. But she yells to them from the bathroom, as she dries her hair, to grab a banana, a granola bar, and put a frozen waffle in the toaster. She reminds them to be polite to others on the bus and not to talk to strangers. Is she a less superior mom?

There’s a comedy film soon to be released titled, Bad Moms. Whether the movie turns out to be funny is irrelevant right now—the point is that every woman who’s seen the trailer or heard of the title laughs aloud and is intrigued by the concept.

We’re compelled by this notion because being a “bad mom” swirls in our heads daily. It’s either something we identify with, something we experienced, or something we are deathly afraid of becoming. Whichever of these fit our description, we still deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day—without judgment.

Moms need to be celebrated for bringing us into the world. By their divine grace and through our own years of experience, we learn tolerance and forgiveness.

Your mom was perfect for you. She may have brilliantly nurtured you or, in other ways, caused emotional damage; either scenario, it has supplied an experience into your life that has helped inform who you have become.

As we age, we realize we must take responsibility for our choices and behavior, just as that is the same information we must impart to our children, regardless of the wonderful things we’ve done for them—or the mistakes we’ve made.

Hope your Mother’s day was perfect for the perfectly imperfect mother you are and for the mother that you have (or had.) All we can do is our best, and that is worth celebrating.