Blog

The Truth About Sugar and Carb

                                                                                                      December 15, 2019

https://youtu.be/N7Ty8HoIEEg

Happy Food's BEST Diet

In a New England medical journal study, men and women with genetic risk of obesity were 4 times more likely to become obese drinking one sugary drink a day versus those who drank one a month. Sugary drinks (juice is no better than soda) tampers with your body's ability to maintain stable weight. They make you fat. They allow you to eat the way you normally do plus the extra calories whereas, eating whole wheat bread and beans fill you up so you don't consume extra. Aim for water, tea (without sugar), or fruit/herbs/veggie infused water.

When losing weight, should you cut carbs or fat or protein? After a year, those who cut fat as much as possible versus those who cut carbs lost the same amount of weight - 12 pounds. Both groups cut about 500-600 calories per day and ate healthy without sugars or refined grains. Unfortunately, Americans get a quarter of their calories from added sugars and refined grains and very little from vegetables (excluding potatoes).

The conclusion? If you eat whole foods without sugar and refined grains, it doesn't matter if you cut carbs or fat. Eating healthy is the main take home message. In addition, minimize those sugary drinks as they are nothing but empty calories. A few pounds every year adds up over the years.

Enjoy your holiday meals. Don't obsess about your food. Do enjoy it but choose whole foods (single ingredient foods), minimize sugar and refined carbs. Listen to internal cues and watch those portions too.

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


Don’t Let Food Marketing Fool You

December 1, 2018

I know big food corporations aren't "bad."  They are not out to make us fat or sick.  They just want to make money, so then it's all about the bottom line.  I do a lot of educating in my office so that we are completely aware.  It's OK to have treats but we are not eating something thinking it's healthy when it actually isn't.  Arm yourself with knowledge and apply the action steps necessary to build habits you want to keep for life.  That is the key to weight loss, healthy lifestyle, and maintaining it all with ease.  Here are just a few examples of their deceptions.  Don't fall for it.

  • Very Berry Cheerios "flavored with real fruit."  There's more salt and sugar than berries.  There are no whole berries.  Same with their Pumpkin Spice Cheerios "made with REAL pumpkin puree."  Again, more salt and sugar than pumpkin.  "Real food tastes better" does NOT include much real food, unfortunately.
  • Vitaminwater Active has 100 calories worth of mostly sugar with a hint of vitamins.  It's Coca-Cola's way of making you think ordinary water is not enough for an ordinary workout.  It's great for their bottom line though.
  • Protein One Bars have "only 90 calories, 10 gram of protein, and 1 gram of sugar" but also includes whey and soy protein isolates, maltitol, palm oil, glycerin, and dozens more processed ingredients.  Grab a fruit as your snack instead at least your body will know how to process that.
  • Kashi Breakfast Bars "now more fruit," but the additional fruit is made up of pear juice concentrate, tapioca syrup, cane sugar, apple powder, strawberry puree concentrate, cornstarch, vegetable glycerin, natural flavor, and elderberry juice concentrate for color."  Hmm..doesn't sound so healthy to me.  Sounds like a lot of added sugar.
  • Silk Prebiotics Almond & Cashew Milk really just adds chicory root extract (inulin), a carb that your digestive system can't break down causing gas.  Not a whole lot of prebiotic benefits. 
  • There are a million other examples as our supermarkets are filled with processed food. 
By the way, cereal (and now quick breakfast bars) is an American invented food that is far from healthy.  Think outside of the cereal box.  There is nothing healthy about it.  Learn how to eat foods that help us thrive, lose weight, and be full of energy. 
 
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

Change Your Mood, Change Your Weight

November 15, 2018

When I give presentations, people always tell me "I eat when I'm sad and I eat when I'm happy too. I eat at every occasion." Does that mean we are destined to be overweight? No, there's a difference. When we are experiencing a negative mood, we eat more and we keep eating. You may call this emotional eating. When we are in a happy mode, on the hand, we might have greater caloric intake but we stop eating.

Emotional eating is 70% of overeating. So if we can adjust our emotions/moods, we can avoid 70% of overeating which is HUGE for weight loss. So who eats emotionally? Generally, emotional eaters are busy with no time to feel. They are out of touch with their body. And they feel safer blocking their feelings with food than actually allowing themselves to feel. With a society so focused on intellect, this doesn't come as a surprise. We value the head and feelings are often considered a sign of weakness.

Take a look at our diet world. It's all about the latest information, counting calories, and restrictions. Nowhere are we allowed to feel. To listen to the body and feel what it needs. Sometimes it actually wants the healthy stuff and other times, it craves treats. A diet would shame you from having it, your cravings take on monstrous form, then guilt adds more visceral fat due to the heightened cortisol your body experiences while you're trying to diet. In addition, when we suppress our emotions or our emotions are extreme, both causes the same level of inflammation. When we can regulate our emotions, we live longer, live better, and have good body weight.

Here's one question to ask yourself. "What is eating to you?" Is it guilt, pleasure, or a nuisance? These negative emotions actually lead to greater weight gain, more stomach fat, and a vicious cycle of emotional eating followed by dieting then repeat. Become more aware of your body and your emotions. Develop alternatives and use a 15 minute wait-out period. Definitely stop the shame and judgment with food. STOP Dieting!! Our mood is everything. Let us help you address this root cause and healthy eating will fall right into place easily.

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

Why Do We Lose Memory & How to Protect It

November 1, 2018

How does memory work?  It's weird that some slip by too easily and others are so ingrained.  With each experience we have, neurons transfer experience to short-term memory then to long-term memory where it is stored in the brain.  When 2 neurons communicate repeatedly, that memory is strong and gets stored in the long-term memory.

So how is memory lost?  Here are some reasons:

  • Age.  Unfortunately with age, our synapses weaken, there's a decrease in production of neuron transmitters used for memory/learning, and the brain shrinks.  We lose 5% of our hippocampus every decade. 
  • Health.  Memory is strongest when we are deeply engaged and information is most relevant or important to us.  Physical and mental health issues interfere with how we pay attention.  This results in memory loss.
  • Depression. Those who are depressed are 40% more likely to develop memory problems.  Like the above problem, they struggle to pay attention to new information and less attentive due in part to low serotonin levels.  Again, resulting in memory loss.
  • Stress. Stress is necessary for survival; it increases alertness.  But too much, like chronic stress, floods the brain with chemicals and results in brain cell loss, the inability to form new ones, and retention of new information decreases. 
  • Isolation.  One study showed that older people with more social integration have a slower rate of memory decline over a 6 year period.  Like a muscle, social interaction provides the brain a workout. 
This all seems depressing especially if you relate to several of the above.  There's hope.  I'm a big fan of solutions and empowerment to make changes.
  • Eat Well.  Nutrients fuel the brain.  In my office, we make these links between eating well, stress, depression, memory, etc.  They are all connected.  Learn to eat well with ease.  With education, habit, and practice, you WILL eat well easily.  Please, no dieting!
  • Physical Activity.  Exercise sends blood to the brain, replenishes oxygen, and regulates our hormones and blood sugar, and more.  We have to move!
  • Brain Exercise.  The brain really is just another muscle.  We use it or loss it so learn a new language and keep learning new things. Make learning your life-long goal.
Don't blame age.  We can all slow down the clock by eating great food, exercising, learning, laughing, socializing, and finding balance. 
 
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

How to Protect Your Health Globally

October 15, 2018

In order to be healthy, we have to live congruently in all aspects of our lives physically, emotionally, spiritually, and yes, globally too. If we live a perfect healthy life but destroy our planet in the process, we will suffer the consequences. How?

Without checks and balances, we alter the quality of air we breathe, water quality and availability, and food we can produce. We are already seeing an increase in natural disasters like floods, fires, droughts, heat waves, and tropical storms. This all can lead to increase exposure to infectious diseases too. These weather patterns also affect crop yield, therefore less availability of nutritious food. Plus, an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide reduces nutritional content of food grown such as reduction in zinc and iron. We are also seeing widespread decline in pollinators which also reduces crop yield.

I know it sounds like a problem too big for individual scope. So what can we do? We can change the way we eat like eating less meat especially red meat. We eat more locally versus food from another hemisphere because we want certain things all year round. We can change how we produce energy and protect biodiversity. We can collectively put pressure on policies despite powerful groups like Big Agriculture and Big Oil companies. We have to pressure our politicians to make regulatory changes. If we don't, then we are just stealing from our children and grandchildren.

We can make changes!! Start with yourself. How will you change the way you eat, use natural resources, live, educate yourself, and engage in policy change in your community?

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

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