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Is Protein Powder Good For You?

October 1, 2018

Does extra protein boost muscle gain or trim fat?  Most of us seem to believe this but research shows that participants gained no more muscle given extra protein.  The best way is weight and resistance training.  So why do so many recreational and professional athletes use protein supplements?  It is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Advertising has heavily promoted the necessity for supplemental protein. 

That said, protein is very important.  If we don't consume enough, we lose muscle mass.  Protein repairs cells and promote healthy growth and development.  The recommended daily intake is 0.36 grams per every pound we weigh.  We need more research to prove that these numbers are conclusive but note that we far exceed our necessary intake.  The average woman gets 35% more protein and the average man gets 65% more. 

My philosophy for Happy Food always holds the same.  Eat whole foods and mostly home cooked.  Get rid of the cumbersome food fads and debates and just enjoy eating real food for the complete nutritional package.  We are throwing hundreds of dollars down the drain with supplements.  Many are short on the 9 essential amino acids of protein.  Plus, it's more calories and more synthetic ingredients that our body does not recognize.  

The only benefit of protein powder is convenience.  I challenge you to not downgrade your life down to convenient or cheap or quick.  You are worth quality, time, and enjoyment.  You are worth so much more than convenient.  Let's go back to eating food our body enjoys and can process versus ones that are identified as toxins, and therefore stored in fat to protect vital organs.  The body's solution to all these toxins is to dilute it with more fat.  Now isn't that counterproductive to our goals?

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

What’s Wrong With Healthy Smoothies?

September 15, 2018

Smoothies enjoy such a healthy halo, especially if it's green. So what's wrong with them?

If you buy your smoothie at the market or at places like Jamba Juice, you may be consuming almost 1,000 calories depending on the size. Using "whole fruits" as they claim isn't always the case. As a matter of fact, many contain added sweeteners, reconstructed fruit purees, lemonade or other juices like white grape juice concentrate, and added flavors and sweetened protein powders. Jamba Juice's green smoothie can be as high as 90 grams of sugar (or 21 teaspoons) for just 22 oz. Some store-bought smoothies can border a milk shake. Don't be fooled.

It's better if you make your own so that you'll eat more greens but too many of us consume 20 to 24 ounces and that's a lot. Plus, we load it up with bananas, apples, berries, etc. to make it taste good so now we have heavily loaded up on liquid fruit all at once.

Also, when we drink our food, we avoid prompting our stomach to digest, alerting our pancreas, and using salivary and other enzymes to break down food. This causes easy fermentation in the small intestine and can lead to bloating, abdominal discomfort, and bacterial overgrowth.

I always tell my clients that chewing is best since it takes 15 - 20 minutes to tell the brain we're full. The body was built to self regulate (calorie control). Let's go back to enjoying our food, tasting our food, and seeing the rainbow of natural colors. What is life's rush? Why are we rushing our journey to the burial ground? Slow down and enjoy. Eating and chewing is nice. It's fun socially and delicious alone too.

How will you slow down to be in the moment and to love all the good things in your life?

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Sleep Research Update

September 1, 2018

We are a nation of sleep deprivation.  The average adult needs 7-8 hours and 10 hours for adolescence.  In the U.S., 30% of adults and 66% of adolescence are sleep deprived. 

Lack of sleep can affect learning, memory, mode, reaction time and can also lead to inflammation, hallucination, elevated blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes.  In an extreme case, a devoted soccer fan stayed up for 48 hours to watch the games and died.  Those with insomnia are more likely to suffer from dementia and in extreme cases, premature death. 

The brain collects wastes and toxins throughout the day.  When we sleep, it uses the Glyphatic System to remove the toxins.  Lymphatic vessels help clean away daily brain waste products. 

Sleep is beyond important for health and sanity.  Get sleep!!!  Here are just a few tips:

  • Stick to a routine sleep schedule even on the weekends. 
  • Practice more relaxing activities before bed and avoid things that cause anxiety, stress, and have lots of light like your electronic devices.
  • Exercising daily helps regulate our hormones but please don't exercise at the expense of sleep.
  • Make your room cooler, block out lights, and use white noise if there's a lot of disruptive noise in your sleeping area.
  • Don't forget comfort.  Find mattresses and pillows that work for you.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals late at night.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep & intimacy.  Leave your electronic devices charging elsewhere.

Slow down and LOVE getting into bed for sleep.  It'll make your life so much happier and healthier.  

 

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

7 Dinners to Beat the Heat

August 15, 2018

I admit, summer is a tough time to cook.  Who wants to roast dinner and heat up the house or cook in front of a hot stove top.  I completely understand!  Here are some ideas in a pinch that don't require cooking and cooling the body while eating with the seasons.  I try not to use too much canned items but this is just once in a while. 

  • Rotisserie chicken salad.  De-bone the chicken and add it to your favorite salad full of greens, your favorite veggies with options such as seasonal fruits, nuts, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, olives, artichoke hearts, etc. 
  • Rotisserie chicken taco.  De-bone chicken and fill up your taco with tons of chopped tomatoes, avocado, sliced carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumber, cilantro, etc.
  • Spring rolls.  Wrap up some mangoes, cucumber, avocado, carrots, mint, basil, lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, etc in rice paper and enjoy a light refreshing meal.  Add chicken, tofu, or shrimp as your protein.
  • Cool bean salad.  Add a can of black beans with corn, avocado, tomatoes, onions, salsa, lettuce, mangoes, etc. and eat over a bed of greens or some brown rice or both. 
  • Tuna salad.  Add some tuna with avocado, tomatoes, red onions, bell pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, optional white beans and enjoy over a bed of your favorite greens.
  • Cold quinoa salad.  Cook quinoa in a rice cooker that does the work for you.  Add lots of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onion, cilantro, mangoes, avocado, beans, dried cranberries, etc. and toss with olive oil, lime juice, salt/pepper. 
  • Smorgasbord.  Make a platter of your favorite things like humus with veggies, hard-boiled eggs, refreshing vegetables, mixed fruit, nuts, some cheese.  I personally prefer cheese with arugula or sliced cucumbers, but use some crackers if you'd like.  Just always read your ingredients.  Stuff all this into a thin pita wrap if you'd prefer.  The hummus makes it nice an moist.  

Enjoy your summer activities.  Make your food more refreshing and seasonal.  For me, I don't mind a little sweat while cooking.  Nothing a quick, cold shower can't cure before a delicious meal.   

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutriton & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Gifts to YOU for Health

August 1, 2018

We are such a fast society and no one seems to have any free time for pleasure and self-care.  I guess that's how we have become so unhealthy and overweight.  Let's get back, at least in a small way, to taking care of ourselves to look amazing, dodge diseases, and have the ability to do whatever we want in life.  Make sure you schedule some of these things as if your life depends on it because in the end...it does.

  • Celebrate yourself.  Have a list of your accomplishments that you're most proud of.  Celebrate, reflect, and use it as a pick-me-up.  You have so much to smile about!
  • Get off the grid.  Let go of your devices and get outdoors either in the woods or under the twinkling stars with your favorite person/people.  Community makes us strong so stay connected to people and detach from devices. This resets me every time.  It is my therapy.
  • Learn forever.  Sign up for dance, cooking, language, or any class that you've always wanted to try.  Be crazy and do something totally different.  I'd love to try swing dancing next. And my Spanish needs to improve for sure.
  • Check local treasures.  Your home is important.  Check out local treasures and be a tourist at home.  Try eateries, museums, parks, etc.  When I was in Asheville, I took a trolley tour and learned so much.  I don't think I know much about my own hometown in San Diego.
  • Go green.  Buy yourself flowers or a house plant for no reason at all.  My new vegetable garden and all that it produces is making me sooo happy.  There's so much therapy in nature and being connected to it.  Great for mental health and weight loss.  (A balance, happy person treats his/her body great).  More green therapy PLEASE.
  • Nap.  Indulge in a nap.  I had a relatively "easier" day today and laid down for a nap and it felt amazing.  My 3-year old read me to sleep. Ha ha.
  • Feel accomplished.  Sign up for something and follow through.  Feel a sense of accomplishment like running a 5K or whatever suits your personality.
  • Serve others.  We often focus too much on our problems.  Do something that helps others and feel good about your contributions to the world. We are all connected no matter our origin or politics. 
  • Imagine.  Let your imagination go wild.  Plan a road trip and explore the world.  Life is about learning, living, loving....not working all the time.  Find your balance and your health and weight will follow easily. 

I get it!!!  We all live in the grind and need these reminders to get us out.  Enjoy and let me know how you're doing.

 

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Summer Time Activities for Weight Loss

July 15, 2018

Summer is so great with long days and plenty of time to get moving.  Let's have fun while we shed some pounds.  Being cheerful is not only good for our mind but great for our waist-line too.  Here are some ideas.  Please post on my Facebook with YOUR ideas or share what you're trying.   www.Facebook.com/HappyFoodSD

  • Beach volleyball (my personal favorite!!)
  • Bike ride alone or with the whole family (lots of calories burnt)
  • Dance party: dance on the beach or at the park, at a wedding, or even while you're grilling.
  • Yoga.  I was so tired the other day and did 30 minutes of YouTube yoga and felt energetic and stronger.  Simple solutions.
  • Hike.  Nature resets me and dodges all kinds of mental illnesses.
  • Tennis, badminton, ping pong...all the same idea, right?
  • Push a stroller, play with your kids, play tag, run/stroll with the dog...those "smaller beings" can really push us.
  • Add water:  like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, canoeing, outrigger, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, etc.
  • Team sports:  basketball, soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee, hockey...how about underwater hockey? Too crazy? 
  • Climb a rock or a tree.  Just keep climbing and moving up.
  • Garden, mow the lawn, vacuum, mop...all calorie burners.
  • Stroll after dinner peacefully alone, with the whole family, or romantically holding hands.  It's all great.

Be silly.  Have fun!  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Move that body in a way that feels great without judgement, calorie counting, and shame. The happier and more balanced you are, the happier you'll be with your body. 

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Top Vegetables for Nutrition

July 1, 2018

Vegetables have huge benefits such as protecting your heart and brain, reducing risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes, preserve your bones, losing weight, gaining energy, yet most of us don't eat enough (not even close).  I thought it would be useful to list the top 5 vegetables for each benefit but please eat a variety.

  • Fiber:  Artichoke, peas, avocado, lima beans, jicama
  • Beta-carotene:  Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, mustard greens, spinach
  • Vitamin C:  Red bell pepper, broccoli, green bell pepper, green chili pepper, brussels sprouts
  • Potassium:  Sweet potatoe, lima beans, Swiss chard, spinach, portobello mushrooms
  • Magnesium:  Spinach, Swiss chard, lima beans, artichoke, peas
  • Vitamin K:  Mustard greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens
  • Folate:  Frisee, asparagus, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens
  • Lutein:  Spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, radicchio

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego

Fast Ways to Get Food on the Table

June 15, 2018

What is happening to our society that makes us all so busy?  I am no exception to this.  At times, I have to plan weeks in advance to meet up with a friend.  This truly is insane.  I can't solve this problem for you right now but I can try to help you put food on the table faster.  None of us have time to cook gourmet meals on a daily basis.  Let's aim for quick, healthy, and delicious.  Here are some tools that I use:

  • Helpful appliances.  The oven is my friend (not in the summer though; maybe the grill then).  I love just tossing in protein along with root vegetables and any veggies I like roasted (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc).  A couple of baking sheets and I have a complete meal right out of the oven. 
  • Stock up.  For example, when you have some extra time, boil some chicken, shred, and freeze in small bags to use for tacos, soups, bowls, stir fries, etc. Super quick meals with this step taken care of.
  • Convenience food.  Use convenience food but make sure you choose wisely and read ingredients.  I like using frozen fruits or vegetables, canned beans, pasta sauce and other sauces but make sure they are all whole ingredients. 
  • Leftovers.  I love leftovers.  I "refresh" them by adding new, fresh vegetables.  Some leftovers can all be mixed together with fresh produce to create a new meal in minutes without wasting food.
  • Pre-chop.  I recommend this but I don't do it.  I think I'm pretty fast at chopping veggies and I don't mind it but I know this has been super helpful for many of my clients.  Just using a few minutes to chop the night before or a few days before can really speed things up when you only have minutes to cook.
  • One pot.  I love one-pot meals mainly because I hate doing dishes.  Stir fries, casseroles, stews, soups, etc. I especially love soups because I don't have to stand over it and can take care of other things while my food simmers until I'm ready to eat it.  
  • Batch cooking.  Another thing I don't do but others have found it helpful.  Double or triple the recipe and store extras in the freezer for later use.  You know what you like out of the freeze such as chili, meatballs, soups, lasagna, etc. 
  • Weekends.  Don't forget to plan for the weekends too.  So many people get stuck.  We never want to eat out 3 meals a day.  That is weight gain for sure.  Even 2 is no good.
  • Support.  Don't forget that we can't do anything alone.  Share duties with your partner, kids, family, friends, etc.  Potlucks are nice.  Maybe friends can get together with a large batch of food and you all swap to make up a variety of meals for the week.  Have fun with it.  Cooking is not an option so find ways to enjoy it. 

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA

Barriers That Stop You From Eating Well

June 1, 2018

I just celebrated my 9th year of opening Happy Food.  The main lesson I learned over the years is perception.  If I can help people create a different perception and believe it, then their reality changes.  The mind is so powerful!  Let's list the barriers that stop you from eating well.  As you change your perception of these barriers, you might be surprised by your success.

  1. Time.  Most people tell me they don't have time to shop or cook.  Is it really time, though?  Is something else getting in the way?  Because when we want something, we make time for it.  Maybe you just need to feel more confident in the kitchen.  Maybe we waste more time than we'd like to admit.  Maybe it's about being more organized.  Let's get to the root of it.
  2. Perfection.  Why is it that we are so set on perfection?  If we can't do it perfectly, then we don't want to try at all.  There's never a need to aim for perfection.  It doesn't exist.  You don't need to make all meals from scratch.  Start with baby steps until you reach your goals.  Let me help you create a plan that is more realistic and that is sustainable.
  3. Culture.  In many countries, people cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch.  Feeding one's family is the top priority.  In our country, it seems perfectly acceptable to say I'm too busy to shop or I don't have time to cook.  This is not optional.  Feeding oneself is the essence of life.  We can't make these statements anymore.  We must prioritize feeding ourselves well versus being OK feeding our family poorly. 
  4. Crazy schedule.  Some of us don't have any consistency in our schedule.  True, that makes it a little more challenging but it shouldn't stop us.  If we learn how to plan, we can work with any schedule. Again, aim for baby step changes and not for perfection.
  5. They won't eat it.  If you cook to feed others especially children, it sure can be frustrating when they don't eat what you have cooked.  One thing to remember specifically with kids but with adults too is that they are learning how to eat "right."  The dinner table is a place for kids to learn.  They won't like everything during the first try.  But with more exposure and calmness around the table, they will learn what a balanced meal looks like.  Give them (and you) the chance to learn.  You or your family may have been picky eaters or not raised with healthy meals and need to learn this now as adults.  Give yourselves a break!  Let's learn to enjoy delicious food without judgment and pressure.

Perception is everything.  What's just ONE perception you can change?

If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people's opinion of Happy Food. 

~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA