Blog

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

Simple Meal Planning Tips

May 15, 2018

With our busy lives, cooking often seems beyond challenging.  But as I tell my clients, not cooking is not an option.  In order to be healthy, we have to cook.  Let's be successful and create a plan that works.  I believe planning and being "ahead of the game" is the key to success.  Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Pick a day.  Routine allows us to take action with less thinking.  Pick one day where you plan and shop.  Make this consistent. 
  2. Use your calendar.  Plan ahead knowing how busy you are, when you'll be home, are there visitors or family activities.  Use a crock pot for those busy days where you'll be home late, for example.
  3. Get input.  Let everyone have a say in what they eat.  There's nothing more defeating than working hard on a meal just to have no one touch it.  Solicit ideas.  More participation equals less work on your part. 
  4. Create balanced meals.  I always think what's my protein, whole grain carb, and vegetables.  I start with protein.  Is it chicken, turkey, fish, other seafood, tofu, beans, etc., then I know what carbs I want to add.  Finally, I load it up with a rainbow of vegetable colors. 
  5. Create themes.  I don't always do this but any time we can skip thinking, do it.  We make too many decisions in one day as it is.  For example, Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Crock Pot Wednesdays, Friday Fish, etc.  Don't forget about the weekends too. 
  6. Pre-prep.  I like to at least think about what I'm doing the next day so I know if I need to pull out some meat or fish from the freezer to the fridge.  Do I need to pre-cut some things if I won't have time tomorrow?  Looking ahead is so valuable.
  7. Only plan one meal a day.  We keep it simple in my house.  We rotate between eggs and oatmeal for breakfast (with the occasional variety on the weekends).  For lunch, we eat leftover dinners.  So...I really only have to think about one meal a day.

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

4 Steps to Create Your Own Happiness

May 1, 2018

We all want happiness but it can seem difficult to achieve at times even for the most positive people.  Life struggles can get in the way and our brain can definitely interfere.  We are all human with all our beautiful flaws.  The best we can do is keep trying.  Here are 4 things to practice this month.  Of course, I can go into a long list of things we should consider and work on but let's start small for optimal success.
  1. Emotional:  Practice gratitude.  Find every tiny reason to be grateful.
  2. Social:  Focus on the positive qualities of other people.  Be the friend you would like to have.
  3. Physical:  Exercise DAILY.  Eat well, sleep well too.
  4. Spiritual:  Be in awe of nature.  Believe in something greater than yourself.
That's your homework this month.  Focus on these four every day. Be easy on yourself.  We are all growth in progress.  And we often need these as reminders.  A happy mind is a heart at peace and a thriving body.  They are all interconnected.

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

The No-Work Weight Loss Journey

April 15, 2018

At Happy Food, we believe in a journey that feels like weight loss is not work.  If it feels fun and easy, then you'll be successful and stick with it FOREVER.  Here's a rough journey that we take in the office.  Will you take it with us and give it a try?

  1. Make lists.  Make lists of healthy foods you like so that in the moment, you'll always have a plan.  Make lists of foods you'd like to try too.  Make lists of goals so you can be held accountable.  I love lists.
  2. Fun exercise.  Why bother if it's not fun.  Make exercise fun.  Join a team, make it silly; there's a thousand and one ways to move.  Don't forget to include others.  Having friends involved makes it even more fun.
  3. Nature.  Nature prevents depression.  Nature feeds the soul.  Get out in nature for hiking, camping, skiing, caving, exploring, etc.
  4. Play in the kitchen.  The kitchen is not a place of work and chores.  It's a place to play, experiment, and create.  Our mindset is everything.  Set yourself up for a dreaded challenge and you'll get just that.
  5. Savor.  Don't forget to taste your delicious creation.  Enjoy your food.  Don't inhale and vacuum it.  Slow and mindful eating is the best diet plan.  It helps us eat less.
  6. Partner in crime.  Find your partner who will take this ride with you.  That person doesn't have to be physically close either.  Community creates happiness and success.
  7. Celebrate.  We are always working too hard and not celebrate enough.  Celebrate every tiny success.  Don't treat yourself with food though.  Try getting exercise gear, books, baths, movies, trips, or whatever makes you feel happy.
  8. Feeling great.  Don't forget to focus on how great you feel.  You deserve to feel confident, energetic, and feeling great in your skin.  This is not about discipline or self-control.   You are simply worth it!!!

This is definitely a journey.  Enjoy the journey and not just the destination.  I'd love to support you.

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

Just 2 Things to Help Lose Belly Fat

April 1, 2018

At Happy Food, we believe in small actions.  They are simple, fits into our lives, and grow into big successes that stick.  Let's just start with 2 simple tips to reduce belly fat.  Remember, health and weight loss is a lifestyle change not a quick fix.

First, focus on distance being your friend.  In a study lasting 10 minutes with a bowl of M&M's placed on a large coffee table, 70% of participants ate the M&M's when the bowl was 8 inches away versus 58% ate them when the bowl was 2-1/3 feet away.  Place your unhealthy snacks beyond arm's length or completely out of sight would be best.  Conversely, have healthy snacks within arm's length.  Humans always search for the path of least resistance.  Use that knowledge for your success.

Second, the time spent in a chair, sofa, or car affects your belly size.  In a study of inactive participant on average moving 13 minutes/day (moderate-intensity exercise), each hour of sedentary time was linked to an extra 1.9 quarts of abdominal fat.  Sedentary time, however, wasn't linked to belly fat in people who were active averaging 40 minutes per day.

Start with these and we will continue working on other action steps towards healthy and happy.

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