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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

Want Success? Feed the Brain

March 15, 2018

So many people I meet tell me they don't have time to go grocery shopping, cook, or even eat.  What are we so busy doing?  Are we working hard to achieve career goals, parenthood, or in our community?  How much more smoothly would your well-oiled machine work if you gave your body the right fuel?  Imagine being more productive, smarter, better mood, more energy, and sleeping better.

The brain has 5 main components and this is how we can feed it better:

  • Omega 3 & 6.  These fats or lipids from nuts, seeds, and fatty fish prevent brain degeneration.  It also maintains cell membrane health.  Conversely, prolonged consumption of bad fats such as trans-fats and saturated fats degrades brain health.
  • Protein & Amino Acids. These support growth and development of the brain.  It affects how we feel and behave.  They are the precursors that affect mood-altering chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.  This explains why we may feel sleepy after lunch or feel more alert because of what we eat.  Proteins and amino acids affect our mood, sleep, attentiveness, and even weight.
  • Micro-nutrients. We get these from fruits and vegetable which helps our brain work well for a longer time and prevent brain disease.  They fight free radicals that destroys brain cells.  For example, B6, B12, and folic acid prevents brain disease and mental decline.  Iron, copper, zinc, and sodium improves brain health as well as early cognitive development.
  • Carbs.  The brain is only 2% of our body weight but uses 20% of our resources which is why we need carbs but there are different types of carbs.  The ratio of starch, sugar, and fiber fuels the brain but creates dramatic results depending on what kind of carbs we consume because the frontal lobe is very sensitive and reacts to these varying sugars.  For example, a diet high in sugar like white bread will decrease our attention span and affect our mood.  Whereas, oats, bran, and legumes will create steady energy and sustained brain power.
The moral of the story:  take the time to eat delicious, homemade food to ensure success at whatever is important to you.  That can be your job, parenting, sports, friendship, community, etc.  Nothing else is more important than your brain and 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

Trouble Sleeping?

March 1, 2018

Sleep is beyond important.  When we don't get enough sleep, we turn on the hormone that tells us we are starving and turn off the hormone that tells us we are full.  Double whammy!  This definitely leads to weight gain.  Sleep is also when our brain takes out the trash.  People who don't get enough sleep tend to be more negative. 

Here are some basic tools to make sure you sleep well.  Beyond this, check in on your anxiety, worries, and use some relaxation techniques.  Also, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seems to work for many. 

  • Avoid caffeine.  It can take way more than 8 hours to wear off.  I'd say skip it all together if you struggle with sleep. 
  • Limit alcohol at night.  You may pass out, but it robs you of deep sleep. 
  • Routine.  Having a bedtime routine helps the brain recognize that it's time to sleep.
  • Boundaries.  No eating, reading on tablets, TV watching before bed, etc.
  • Unplug.  Avoid lights from electronics and TV at least an hour before bed.  This
  • lowers our melatonin levels (sleep hormone).
  • Schedule.  Have a regular bedtime and wake up time regardless of weekdays and weekend.  Never nap after 2pm.
  • No big meals before bed.  Especially if you suffer from heartburn, never eat big meals before bed.  Indigestion leads to no sleep.
  • Keep the room cool.  It's tough to sleep when we're too hot.  It's nice to have a cool room and covers to keep cozy.
  • Meds.  Make sure your medicines aren't keeping you up.  Some cough, cold, and allergy meds might do that.
  • Bath.  A drop in the body temperature after a bath may help you fall asleep. 

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

Weight Measurement Methods Have Failed Us

February 15, 2018

Do you weigh yourself weekly? Daily? Then, get super frustrated, maybe even discouraged? We need to go beyond the scale. Since the 1950s, the scale was a main source of weight measurement. When scientists realized it didn't tell a complete story, they invented the Body Mass Index in the 1970s. This measured our body to muscle mass but that also proved very inaccurate. Then they developed the body-fat percentage using a skin-fold test. This failed to measure fat distribution for disease prevention. The best measurement at the moment is probably the waist-to-hip ratio but it seems all these measurements only spiral us downwards. I'm more interested in methods that make us successful as well as preventing diseases and feeling great in our body. We want to reduce visceral belly fat which increases inflammation and the risk of cancer. Here are 4 tips to reduce that visceral fat.

  • Keep insulin stable. Reduce processed food, sugar, and refined grains. These items make us more fat.
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods. This allows the body to self regulate, reduce fat, and add more nutrients resulting in more energy and weight loss.
  • Exercise. Although most of weight loss is from our diet, exercise helps regulate insulin, stress, etc.
  • Chill pill. Stress adds fat believe it or not (and mostly in the hip and waist). Plus, when I'm stressed, I don't think a big bowl of broccoli.

So relax, enjoy, make amazing meals, smile, play, enjoy the outdoors, connect with people, and put that toxic scale away. 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 We Binge & How To Fix It

February 1, 2018

All of us have overeaten but binging is overeating on steroids.  It's often associated with an eating disorder but some have binging problems because of a physiological issue. In our world of striving for the perfect body and judging those who carry excess weight, I see lots of chronic dieters.  Can you relate?  Do you restrict your calories all day, suppress your appetite, and fear food during the day just to find yourself binging later in the day?  This is not lack of will power; it is a physiological response.  Your body is trying to survive and you're not providing enough calories so the body sends strong signals to eat. Stop torturing your body by artificially restricting the calories that your body needs.  Give up the damaging effects of dieting. Start learning to see food as nourishment and yes, enjoying it thoroughly.  When that battle ends, that's when we end our frustrating cycle of diet-binge.  Do you need help embracing a loving relationship with food? 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