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The Facts About Carbs

December 15, 2017

Do you constantly crave carbs? Learn why your body craves it & how to end the cycle.

No-Carb is a very trendy diet but the truth is carbs are also in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, etc. We need carbs to regulate blood sugar and provide energy otherwise protein would be used to break down energy instead of building and maintaining tissues.

The real problem is that we consume the wrong kind of carbs in giant portions and at the wrong time. Refined carbs like white bread, white rice, bagels, sugary cereal or sugary beverages and processed junk food shoots up our blood sugar levels then crashes. This leads to not only weight gain but type II diabetes, heart disease, strokes, etc. High levels of processed carbs (aka sugar to the body) signals for insulin secretion. Fat cells are the best place to absorb extra calories quickly (hence the weight gain). Once absorbed, the blood stream lacks calories which is why we experience a sugar crash. Then we crave more carbs/sugar when the body is starving for energy. This is why we become addicted to carbs. It’s not necessarily that we love the taste of it so much but more a physiological response to “bad carbs”/sugar.

To break the cycle, we need to focus on complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and cutting out the sugar and processed carbs. This will level out our insulin secretion and allow the body to self-regulate again…getting off the carb-addiction hamster wheel.

Also, it turns out that when we eat carbs matter. The body is less able process carbs late at night so aim to eat your carbs during the day versus for dinner. So the next time you think about carbs, think what (type), when, and how much. Learn how to enjoy the right carbs. Give us a call.

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

I was interviewed last month..

December 1, 2017

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Hua.

Samantha, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I used to be a field biologist, traveling the world surveying wild animals. Nutrition was just an interest. Each time I came home from my travels, I noticed my family gaining weight and diagnosed with type II diabetes, cancer, thyroid disease, etc. I saw the struggles that people have with food, weight, and constantly being on a diet. These diets seem demeaning and miserable to me. There must be a better way to be healthy and not torture ourselves!

With a background in biology and getting certified as a health coach, that’s when I started Happy Food. I wanted to help people enjoy food, get well, and transform their confidence because let’s face it…when we are uncomfortable in our bodies, not much good comes from that. It’s so rewarding to help people take the shackles off from torturous diets, get to the root of why they’ve gained weight, educate on nutrition, and see all around transformation beyond weight.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In a business, the beginning is always difficult. People are unsure of what they signed up for. It’s a different concept to not count calories, weigh-in, and restrict food. Once they take the leap of faith and let progress happen organically, they come out a changed person. We address the core of what’s going on so it will likely change your relationship with food, people, yourself, your body, and life perspective. It’s so cool to witness this development instead of self-defeat after another failed diet.

Please tell us about Happy Food.
Most people come to me for weight loss. They tend to be people who have tried every diet out there. They are frustrated! When they are done with the program, they walk out educated about nutrition, know what their body needs, and addressed the root of the problem which can be as simple as drinking more water to as complex as resolving marital problems and communication skills. Our health is intertwined and connected to all aspects of our lives. Counting calories just doesn’t cut it. We are so much more than that.

I’m most proud of helping people pinpoint the problem and asking the right questions to help them resolve their own problems because we are all the expert of our own lives. Education, action, accountability, and manageable solutions that are delicious and fun–That’s how we succeed.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I didn’t know anything about starting a business. I also didn’t do any market research and started my business in 2009 at the height of an economic crisis. Had I not jumped into my business haphazardly, Happy Food probably wouldn’t exist today. Maybe it was all meant to be.

On the one hand, I could have been more discipline and got everything planned out more thoroughly as it was stressful in the beginning but on the other hand, maybe I just needed to jump in.

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~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach

Important: Dodge BPA & Other Hormone Disruptors

November 15, 2017

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with estrogen, testosterone, insulin, thyroid, and other hormones.  Estrogen not only affects reproductive health but also the heart, brain, and bones.  Unfortunately, endocrine disruptors can end up in what we consume because they are often used in food processing equipment and packaging.  Watch out for BPA, Perchlorate, and Phthalates.  Here are some ways to avoid them:

  • Avoid these plastics:  No. 3 (PVC containing phthalates), 6 (styromfoam with styrene, a possible human carcinogen), and 7 (polycarbonate contains BPA). 
  • Wash plastic containers by hand to avoid high heat.
  • Use less canned foods.  The resin in canned foods contain BPA.  BPA-free cans may not be safer.
  • Microwave in glass or ceramic.  Also, never cover your food with cling wrap or plastic.
  • Avoid putting hot foods/liquids in plastic
  • Toss out scratched up plastic containers.  It’ll likely leach toxic chemicals into your food. 
  • Avoid thermal paper.  Minimize handling receipts; it contains BPA since it uses heat instead of ink for printing. 

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 Healthy Change is Hard

November 1, 2017

Why is healthy change so difficult? Too often we are motivated by a sense of guilt, fear, or regret. Surveys/research shows that this is the least effective strategy. Experts in behavioral change all agree that long lasting change is more likely to stick if it’s self-motivated and based on positive thinking. In my office, this is the main focus. We focus on the positive and take away guilt and judgment. We also focus on specific goals and have a plan. These are 2 other strategies that make us more successful.

Change is a process and not an event. The hardest part of my job is to promote being kind to ourselves. Stop dieting, stop beating yourself up, stop doing all things that are counterproductive to success. Start accepting that this is a process with setbacks, and setbacks don’t mean you’ve failed.

Here is a well accepted theory of the stages of change:

  1. Pre-contemplation: you have no intention to change. In order to move to the next stage, you need to see that your habits get in the way of important goals such as being able to enjoy your kids or being able to travel, etc.
  2. Contemplation: you’re only considering change but it might be 6 months or more from now. Ambivalence leads you to constantly re-weigh the cost/benefit of the change and keeps you stuck. You’d have to consider barriers and how to overcome them. For example, if you don’t have time for 30 minutes of exercise, maybe break it up into 2 sessions per day.
  3. Preparation: you know you must change, believe that you can, and have already made some plans such as joining the gym. Here’s where you’d consider taking out triggers that get in the way.
  4. Action: you’ve changed! You’ve started using healthy coping strategies. Here’s where you want to get support, be clear on your motivation, and talk about it often.
  5. Maintenance: new behavior has stuck for at least 6 months. It’s still tough here. You may need to avoid certain activities or even certain friends and continue to get support.

Keep in mind that it’s rarely straightforward moving through the different stages above. Relapse is common and we should even expect it. Each time, you learn more about yourself and long-term success becomes more of a reality. 

This is what I help people navigate. We promote positivity, joy, delicious food, fun exercise, and learning that spiraling through the stages several times is not a sign of failure. This is normal, and I coach you to learn how to maneuver through it each time to become successful for life. It’s a journey, and one that can be enjoyable if you allow 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

How to Get Extra Nutrients

October 15, 2017

It’s easier to be healthy than you think.  You do NOT have to eat perfect.  Start with baby steps.  Start by implementing vegetables in everything you can imagine.  Here are some tips:

  • Add broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach to omelets
  • Add greens to the bottom of your soup bowl
  • Add green beans, squash, bell peppers to your whole grain pasta
  • Add eggplants, spinach, chards, peas to your noodles
  • Add arugula to your tacos instead of iceberg
  • Add mustard greens, cucumber to your sandwiches
  • Add mushrooms, peppers, greens to your whole grain pizza
  • Add thin slices of carrots, zucchini, cucumber to your wraps
  • Replace half your pasta with zucchini noodles
  • Add apples, carrots, squash to your cakes/dessert

Vegetables have extra phytonutrients that reduces cancer, promotes anti-inflammation, and boosts immunity.  For example, arugula has 8 times the amount of calcium as iceberg lettuce and more vitamin C than any greens.  It’s my favorite vegetable and I add it to everything.  Sweet potatoes have tons of Vitamin A.  So pile on a nice variety of produce.  You’ll have more energy, live longer, feel better, prevent diseases, and LOOK GREAT.

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

Some Daily Carcinogenic Foods We Can Avoid

October 1, 2017

I think we’ve all heard things like “don’t eat the burnt part; it causes cancer.”  That’s because in 2002, a Swedish study discovered that acrylamide is a naturally occurring chemical that causes cancer in animals from eating foods such as french fries, bread, etc.  Acrylamide occurs when amino acid combines with sugar at high temperature.  Here are some interesting foods high in acrylamide that you can reduce:

  • Fried potatoes have the most acrylamide.  Roasted has less, baked even less, and boiled has none.
  • Sweet potato chips have more than regular potato chips.  Baked has less.
  • Veggie chips from dehydrated potatoes have more than regular potato chips.
  • Store potatoes in dark, cool places.  The cold refrigerator turns the potato starch into sugar. 
  • Choose thicker fries (acrylamide forms near the surface)
  • Don’t toast bread until it’s dark brown. Aim for golden yellow.
  • Roasted almonds appear to have higher levels than roasted cashews or peanuts.  Raw nuts have none.
  • Dark roast coffee actually has less acrylamide than light roast.
  • High levels of acrylamide form when prunes are made into juice. 

It seems that acrylamide levels in meat, seafood, dairy, and most produce don’t seem to matter as much as the above.  As with anything in my office, I believe in moderation and balance.  What we do once in a while will never kill us; it’s what we do daily.  Learn how to use moderation without guilt and lead you to weight loss. 

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

Can Eating Whole Grains Lead to Weight Loss?

September 15, 2017

The latest study from Tufts University show that eating whole grains versus refined grains help with weight loss. Previous studies prove that whole grains have health and nutrition benefits, higher fiber intake, and controls glycemic levels and insulin sensitivity but no one has tested metabolic rates and whether it regulates weight.

In this study, they took 81 individuals ages 40-65 and had them eat either a whole grain or refined grain diet for 8 weeks. Researchers measured weight, metabolic rate, blood glucose, fecal calories, hunger, and fullness.

At the end of the study, the whole grain eaters lost almost 100 more calories per day due to increased resting metabolism and also excreted more calories in their stool. In addition, there were lower levels of gut bacterium which is often linked to inflammation.

What to do? Eat whole grains but don’t over consume. Plus, foods that claim “made with whole grains” may not be as beneficial. Eat the whole item full of fiber, vitamin B, and iron.

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, 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

Want Your Family to Eat More Vegetables?

September 1, 2017

Studies show that “seductive names” make vegetables more appealing.  A team at Stanford found that vegetable sales went up by 25% with names such as “sizzlin’ beans, dynamite beets, or twisted citrus-glazed carrots” compared to basic labels like simply “carrots.”

Interestingly, seductive labels increased sales by 41% compared to “healthy restrictive” labels such as “carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing.”  The healthy label was actually a turn-off.  Sales were 35% higher compared to “healthy positive” label such as “smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots.”

People are motivated by taste and tend to associate healthy food as less tasty.  This is why at Happy Food it is essential to promote delicious food and we should never sacrifice taste for health.  That said, as we learn about nutrition and change our habits, our palate also changes.  All my clients tell me they go back to their favorite treat and it’s not as tasty anymore (or it makes them sick now).  That’s how we loss weight…without restrictions!!

It’s so interesting how much psychology plays into eating and weight loss which is why we focus on psychology.  Labels can really influence our sensory and affect how tasty food is.  So get your family excited about vegetables not by labeling them healthy or good for weight loss.  Jazz it up with favors and a snazzy label. 

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, 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

Risks of Sitting Too Much

August 15, 2017

Studies show that sitting for long periods of time is linked to poor health such as obesity, weight gain around the waist and increased risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol, and cancer.  Let’s reduce these preventable risks by moving a little more.  Here are some ideas:

  • Stand up alarms.  Set an alarm to stand up and move at least every 90 minutes if not more often. 
  • Track it.  Wear a device to track your steps.  My clients who start wearing these end up walking more (and maybe even a little bit competitive).
  • Stairs.  Skip the elevator/escalator and use the stairs.
  • Standing desks.  Use a standing desk although keep in mind that just standing up for long periods  instead of sitting results in other issues (varicose veins, back problems, etc.) so make sure you move and not just stand all day. 
  • Walk it over.  Schedule walking meetings or walk over to your co-worker instead of sending an email. 
  • Stand & talk.  Stand up and pace around when you’re on the phone.
  • DIY.  Do it yourself.  Mow the lawn, pick up food/grocery (instead of delivery), fixing things.  Don’t outsource everything. 
  • Join your kids.  If they are playing a sport, join them or if you’re cheering, get up and walk the side lines.  You’ve had enough sitting all day. 
  • Shoes.  Oh and don’t forget the comfy shoes.  Bad shoes will surely promote us to sit more. 

Just replacing 1 hour a day of sitting with standing, you burn 330 calories a week which is more than an hour of moderate-paced walking.

Try not to sit for more than  90 minutes at a time.  Stand up and move.  Love the body that allows you to be mobile.  The more you move, the better you feel.  The better you feel, the more active you become and the better you’ll eat.  Then, the better you’ll sleep and the better you’ll focus and interact which leads to more confidence and weight loss…and it keeps going.  Making it a healthy snowball effect because it can easily become an unhealthy one too.  

If there are changes you’d like to make in your stress level, eating habits, exercise, 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