Good Will Hunting: Health & Fitness Fuels You to Give to Others

Look Good cover of magazineThe best part of my job — which is, in essence, making a healthy lifestyle simple and achievable for everyone — is the “aha” moments when clients and friends start seeing how inter-related our daily lifestyle habits are with our life purpose and goals. It is especially cool when a reporter grasps it and becomes the megaphone for sharing these simple truths: that every seemingly small decision we make about health fuels our bodies to achieve the things we dream about and that fulfill us.

In this month’s Looking Good Magazine, Kymberly Taylor writes: “Most important, Shattuck teaches not just how to eat to live, but also how to eat to give. ‘You fuel your body with goodness. You give yourself this gift and then you can become a gift to others,’ she believes.’” Setting aside for a moment the weight loss, disease prevention, and the desire we have to look and feel younger, what is it that truly gives us deep fulfillment and contentment? For me, it is the act of giving — and sharing the gifts God has given me.

I love that Looking Good features me in a swimsuit on the cover (It’s a Target fashion, circa 2012, by the way) and conveys the spirituality of the message — that our strong and healthy bodies are vessels for a higher calling, that of giving to others and living in the fullness of the grace and beauty that exists all around us. Vibrant Living relies on the combination of healthy and connected habits: moving our bodies, spending time in nature; lapping up water and earth-borne fruits and vegetables; and devoting ourselves to active and regular volunteer work. Thanks, Looking Good, for delving deep into the REAL goodness that lies within each of us.

Want to Live Longer? Avoid Disease? Two Takeaways Matter Most.

fruits and veggies at marketWant to life a long, vibrant life? By now, all of us know that avoiding tobacco plays a big part. But what two metrics matter most to our health — both to the prevention of early death and to living a life without the complications of chronic disease?

According to a 20-year study from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, a poor diet and physical inactivity contribute most to disease and death. In our world today, obesity kills three times as many people as malnutrition. Here at home, nearly 50 percent of the American population lives with a chronic disease. This study was the first major analysis of the health status of the U.S. population in more than 15 years, led by a global collaborative of scientists from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. They found that while Americans are living longer, our sedentary lifestyle and reliance on junk food means we aren’t living healthier or feeling well.

But don’t be intimidated. Changing your habits doesn’t have to be hard. Most Vibrant Living participants start out saying they don’t have time to fix healthier meals. Nor can they imagine building a half-hour of exercise into each day. Having heard this history-making research, what can you take away that will lengthen and enliven your life?

REAL food can be simple. Sure, you will add some more cutting and chopping of vegetables to your routine in place of the drive-through or the grocery’s frozen food aisle. But Molly’s book offers a lot of five-minute solutions.

  • Swerve that grocery cart over to the fresh produce section and serve a hot entree on a bed of fresh spinach. Boom! You’ve INSTANTLY added super-food power to your plate.
  • Add veggies to your smoothies. You can’t taste the greens you slip into a blender with your berries and bananas — and you add in a filling serving of your five-a-day’s in a blink of an eye.
  • Use your crock pot to make Vibrant Living’s Zesty Southwestern Salad, cooking chicken and salsa on low while you’re at work. Serve it on a bed of fresh greens — and you’ll never want take-out taco salad again. Fresh food you make at home will taste so much better and you’ll end up saving money too!

Daily exercise is not a pipe dream, if it becomes a priority. And we can show you how to chunk it in 10-minutes intervals that will ease your low-back pain and move your body in all the ways we are intended to MOVE

Spend less time building your Facebook timeline and more time replenishing your body with REAL food and exercise — so you can extend your timeline of vibrant, disease-free living!


Soup’s ON…To Lose Weight!

tomato soupWith soup on the stove this autumn, you can take off much more than the chill. Indeed, research shows that you can lose weight and whittle your waistline, spoonful by spoonful.

According to a study of more than 4,000 people, soup eaters are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t ladle up regularly. Whether it’s a vegetable-loaded chili or a chicken noodle, soup proved to be the key to lowering waist circumference and body mass index.

The study’s author, James Holis, PhD, of Iowa State University, believes that soup keeps eaters feeling full longer than other foods. “Soup is a satiating food,” Hollis said. “Accordingly, these findings suggest that increased soup consumption can help manage body weight.

Yet another study showed that if you start a lunch or dinner with a salad or soup, you will end up eating 20 percent less. Slurp up the biggest rewards by starting with broth-based vegetable soups like minestrone. Featured in Vibrant Living, Molly’s Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons, sprinkled with fresh Parmesan, cuts the sodium associated with so many canned versions of this tomato classic.

Then break out the blender because the nutrients of pureed foods enter the bloodstream faster, increasing the hormones that signal when you’re full. Load up on fiber with this puree, Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Soup, from Vibrant Living, taking care with the blending of the hot liquid.

Both of these recipes are simple soups — ready in 10 minutes, no all-day simmering needed! Get out your spoons and get ready to lose weight.

Feelin’ Bloated? Puffy? Sodium May Be to Blame!

When you learn to eat REAL, avoiding packaged foods in the grocery store and cooking for yourself rather than getting takeout, you’ll notice that puffiness in your face will disappear. And you’ll feel less bloated, your jeans will fit more comfortably.

When you are cooking for yourself, and filling your diet with fresh and colorful vegetables, your palette will begin to change — and many of the packaged foods you used to enjoy will taste too salty. You’ll crave salt less, and enjoy natural flavors more. You will come to prefer the zest of a lemon, the tang of cilantro, and the perfection of garlic sauteed in olive oil. And cutting back on all this excessive garlic will do you a WORLD of good — reducing your risk of heart disease, helping you lose weight and look great!

ginormous salt

Your Healthy Fro-Yo May Be Lying to You..

Fruit-and-yogurtFrozen yogurt has taken our world by storm! Sales of fro-yo increased 74 percent from 2011 to 2013, compared to a mere 3.9 percent increase in ice cream sales, according to Mintel Market Research. But beware the shop on every corner. Because even low-fat or fat-free varieties of the dessert can contain 200 calories and up to 40 grams of sugar per cup. And that’s without the gummy worms, Fruity Pebbles, and crushed Oreos we all love to heap on!

Compared to fat-laden ice cream, Fro-You seems like a good alternative. But most of us are indulging in excessive portions of this sugary chilled treat.

Is there a better way? Try these Vibrant Living tips:

  • Choose the tart flavors of frozen yogurt, and heap on the fresh fruit. David Katz, a nutrition expert and clinical instructor of medicine at Yale University, says that’s what he does when he visits the Peachy Keen fro-yo shop where his daughter works: “If the dose is moderate, [it makes] a nice treat—but overindulgence could certainly come back to haunt you in the mirror!”
  •  Avoid the shop and enjoy your yogurt at home. Indulge in Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries or raspberries with some crunchy granola on top. Greek yogurt contains double the protein as regular. Get your probiotics, too—the “good” bacteria which aids your digestion and helps your body, when eaten in modest amounts.
  • Make your own ice cream! Get active shaking the bag with your kids – and enjoy a recipe very low in sugar. You can add chocolate chips or fruit. These are REAL ingredients, free of preservatives or added chemicals, and you get to involve the whole family in the making of the treat.

Each day, fill yourself with water, fruits and vegetables – the staples of Vibrant Living. You don’t have to cool it entirely, you can still enjoy frozen yogurt from time to time. But your body will thank you, and your energy will soar, if you back away before you swirl the sugary stuff a little too high, or heap the toppings a bit too much.

Bolster Your Immunity and Heal Your Lungs with REAL Fiber

IMG_7466We all know that fiber helps our digestion. But scientists in the journal Nature now suggest that our lungs benefit from dietary fiber, too. Indeed, when fed food rich in fiber, mice proved less sensitive to asthmatic triggers.

More than 25 million Americans battle asthma — and this already huge number is increasing annually. And all of us who love to breathe can benefit from this new fiber finding. Incorporate more citrus fruits, lentils, apples and carrots into your daily routine and you will bolster your immunity, reduce inflammation and make your lungs more tolerant of dust mites that might otherwise irritate them.

Vibrant Living relies on REAL food, an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and plenty of other high-fiber fare. Think about the wonderful gifts your lungs have given you – the fresh air you enjoy every day. Now let’s get creative and give our lungs a gift in turn. Here’s how:

  • Mix your cereals. I like a double portion of high-fiber in my breakfast bowl, some grape nuts added into a whole-wheat flake. Be a mixologist – at a breakfast bar full of fiber.
  • Lasagna can be good for your lungs, if you take a page from my book, Vibrant Living, and make my Zesty Vegetable Lasagna. This delectable dish is full of mushrooms, crisp bell peppers and fresh spices. Not only will you benefit from the added veggies but they add a great texture to the dish’s melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
  • Need a snack? My book contains a fabulous recipe for Artichoke Hummus with veggie slices. The carrots and peppers are fiber-rich while the artichokes are full of antioxidants and vitamin C — both proven to boost immunity and help fight diseases like asthma. A perfect combo guaranteed to satisfy both you and your immune system!
  • Cookies can be friendly to your lungs, too, if you bake like I do with whole-wheat flour. Fill the cookies with oats, raisins, nuts and yes, especially chocolate chips. (Per cup, chocolate chips actually contain more fiber than raisins or walnuts.) You can get a gram of fiber in each cookie, baking with whole-wheat flour and spooning in healthy add-in’s.

Enjoy these gifts of the earth, full of fiber – now proven to help you feel better and breathe easier.


Have Your Chocolate Cake and Enjoy It, Too!

chocolate cakeChocolate is everywhere and it’s intoxicating. If you’re trying to lose weight, should you RUN away from its rich and delicious siren call?

Scientists at the University of Canterbury tell us no. In fact, full enjoyment of occasional indulgences is associated with better weight loss results. Feel shame after eating a slice of chocolate cake? The study showed that 27 percent of those who did, gained weight over an 18-month period. On the other hand, people who enjoyed the cake and treated it as a moment of celebration, were more likely to maintain their weight in the months to come.

Vibrant Living is just that – a life filled with purpose, presence and joy! The four pillars create a balance that enables you to truly enjoy a treat without remorse. How can you avoid the cycle of shame, deprivation and overindulgence that this research study shows is linked to weight gain?

  • Eat REAL. Get your five-a-day! Fill yourself each day with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and high-fiber foods. This low-calorie and highly nutritious routine is the best way to offset an occasional indulgence.
  • Drink your water. Soda and its artificial sweeteners bring on sugar cravings, so stick with H2O hydration. You will feel fuller after 90-plus ounces of water each day.
  • Know you’re headed out for a special birthday dinner? Plan your day with that reward of cake in mind – as you plot out time to exercise or devote yourself to a selfless task.
  • Reward yourself often for making vibrant, healthy choices – but not with food. Light a candle, read a book, take yourself out to a show.
  • Say grace. God’s gifts are all around us – and the cocoa bean is most certainly one of them! Eat and live with a sense of proportion and gratitude.

Don’t turn chocolate into a fat-inducing monster. Instead, commit yourself a life of consistent self-care. Then, when the dessert arrives, savor each morsel with thanksgiving and pleasure.

Got Five Minutes? Add Years to Your Life!

We sit, we sit, we sit. In front of computers, TV and movie screens, on our phones. But our bodies are designed to MOVE. And the inertia you feel, I promise, will be relieved if you make a modest goal – to MOVE today for five minutes, ten minutes, or a half-hour.

Vibrant Living calls for a half-hour of exercise everyday. It can be in three 10-minute increments, broken up throughout the day. Today, a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is revealing how very powerful small stints of daily exercise can be. Ready for it? People who ran FIVE minutes a day extended their lives an average of THREE years.

“Running even at lower doses or slower speeds was associated with significant mortality benefits,” the researchers found. On the other hand, “inactivity can lead to a 25% increase in heart disease and a 45% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality, not to mention a 10% increase in the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and untold depression.” Seriously, we are, as a nation, setting ourselves up for disease by sitting so much.

Not a runner? Even 15 minutes of brisk walking has proved life-extending, another study has shown. But many of us with bad knees or joint issues can manage small intervals of running. And this is more proof that getting out of your chair and putting on your sneakers is medicinal and critical to our bodies’ wellbeing.

Too much work to do to get out and run or walk? At least STAND UP! I stand up at home while I’m on the phone. And I work standing up, with my laptop on the kitchen counter.  More and more of you are telling me you are investing in stand-up or treadmill desks. And your body will thank you for this added motion. Still, the value of getting outdoors everyday can’t be underestimated. You will return to your work with so much clarity and creativity after a quick dash around the neighborhood.

Remember: I have never belonged to a gym. I have never had a personal trainer. I really KNOW that getting outdoors everyday for 30 minutes is transformative – for your body, your mind, your spirit.  So take a little time today to move, starting with five or ten minutes of running or walking! Shake off the stresses of the day. Take  in the grandeur of a giant blue sky or the sight of a tiny, busy ant hill,  and reflect for a moment on how big our world is, how magnificent our vistas are.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Take FIVE today — and let it be the start of a movement towards a longer, more active life.

This Headache Cure May Surprise You…

HeadacheYour head is pounding. And that’s reason enough to bypass the gym and head home after work. But before you self-medicate with couch time and comfort food, consider this: Researchers at Stanford University say getting active and getting hydrated may chase your pain away.

Tension headaches are the most common form of headache adults get – a band of pain, tightness or pressure around the forehead or the back of the head and neck. They often occur in the middle of the day – just in time to sabotage your plan to walk with a colleague at lunch, or the date you made with your hubby.

But before you abstain, consider the gain of . . .

  • Working off the tension. In Current Pain and Headache Reports, study author Nada Hindiyeh, M.D., recommends 20 minutes of brisk walking or cycling, which can trigger pain-relieving endorphins and send your head pounder packin’.
  • Moderate aerobic workouts, which proved to deliver pain relief. Save the running or the high-intensity cardio-boxing for another day. You need some fresh air and
  • Water, water, water. Dehydration is the surest way to prolong an ache, according to expert Dr. Hindiyeh. Combat stress headaches by filling up your water bottle and taking well-earned gulps of water throughout your day – and even more with aerobic activity.

Within a week of starting Vibrant Living’s 21-Day Action Plan, I so often hear from my clients that their headaches have gone away. It’s remarkable how dehydrated many of us are without knowing it – but headaches are a sure sign. Exercise and the escape Mother Nature provides, does wonders, too.

So, before you resign yourself to a headache and a “Not tonight, dear,” try an evening stroll and a big bottle of water. The effects may very well surprise you – and turn your evening around!

Quell Your Cravings with Visions of a Thinner, Healthier You

smaller pixel beachA hot and juicy hamburger is staring at you. Or it’s the time of day you usually succumb to the office candy dish. Or the time of the month when French Fries are a salty solace. How can you resist?!

Research tells us focusing on the finish line – on the positive payoffs of your healthy choices – will help you evade the temptations. Try to . . .

    • Pause. That’s the first step. Before you respond to those crazy cravings for salt or sugar, stop! The key to Vibrant Living and healthy, intentional choices is taking a moment before you allow the hefty burger or the cheesecake to attach themselves to your thighs – or your arteries.
    • Think. Just pause and ponder, “How will I look when I have dropped a dress size? How will my jeans fit? How will it feel to slide easily into my clothes?” According to study author Sonja Yokum,Ph.D., you’ll better stave off overeating with positive thoughts than with negative ones. So don’t shame yourself away, dream yourself away — from the burger, the candy and the fries. Picture yourself on a beach, comfortable in a bathing suit, with energy to walk end to end — or to join in a game of volleyball!
    • Act. That’s the last step in the Vibrant Living mantra: Pause. Think. Act. With visions of a new and healthier you in mind, make different choices. Take 12 gulps of water. Remove yourself, go for a walk or call a supportive friend.

As you know, I’m big on making goals – on keeping a bucket list of dreams you can’t wait to fulfill. The roadmap you make for your life helps you stay away from the dark side – from the fast food drive-through and from the late night binges.

Keep the goal of abundant energy alive and dancing in your mind. Use your dreams and visions of a new and vibrant life to stop cravings in their tracks!