Category : Nutrition


Exercise Your Creative Muscle

gardeningOften times when thinking of being creative, thoughts of painting, sculpting and other elaborate forms of art are our first thoughts. However, what we don’t realize is there’s an opportunity for us to flex our creativity on a daily basis. Although fine arts such as painting and drawing are certainly creative forms, there are many other small ways to be creative – we just have to look for the opportunities. In scientific circles, these little instances of creativity are called “Little C.” This stands for little creative forms that we do every day, such as finding a new route to take home from work, loading the dishwasher differently or simply gardening. The simplest things can help flex that creative muscle. When was the last time your exercised your creativity?

Ruth Richards, psychology professor at Harvard Medical School states, “engaging in creative behaviors make us more dynamic, conscious, non-defensive, observant, collaborative and brave.” By exercising our creative muscle on a daily basis, we can create balance in our lives and create more time for you – allowing you to maximize your potential and productivity.

Top 5 Reasons to Exercise Your Creative Muscle:

1. Reduce Stress:

When we work creatively we calm down and go into an almost meditative state of mind. This creates an immediate reduction in stress levels.

2. Boost Self-Confidence:

For example, studies have shown that when we participate in creative activities with peers, the feedback given to each other builds self-respect by helping to learn to accept criticism and praise from others.

CreativeBrain3. Stimulate the brain – make thoughts and feelings more clear:

Researchers at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa and the University West in Sweden have found creativity lies at the root of innovation, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and faster brain processing. The findings, highlight the brain’s ability to integrate and process problems and alternative solutions faster if its creative side is more highly developed.

piggy-bank4. Save Money:

By exploring our creative side, we can control/fill the need to impulse buy, as shopping is often a means of something to do.
5. Build Stronger Relationships:

When we are actively creating, we feel better about our relationships. We tend to be more generous to others. We have more to give because we have answered our urge to create.


creativityAs we get older, creativity plays a vital role in maintaining a happy and healthier lifestyle. In older adults, engaging in daily creative activities have been proven to…

Reduce the number of visits to a healthcare provider

Reduce the number of medications taken daily

Create a higher morale – more outgoing

Increase social activity – less lonely

Create a higher level of optimism


Vending for Snacks

Micro_marketIn today’s modern society, it is hard to imagine that vending machines are still as popular today as they once were. However, the vending machine industry is still in full swing with sales estimating $64.3 million per year, and $7 billion globally. With approximately 4.5 million vending machines in the U.S., don’t be surprised the next time you spot one in your office building. In contrast, the demand for fresher foods is increasing, forcing the vending industry to start considering healthier and fresher options. Since food sales makeup 30% of the vending industry, it is important for these companies to shift with the times and offer alternatives.

Fresh food vending may seem like an odd or foreign concept; however, many countries are already offering these healthy options. In many other parts of the world, you may find options like fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and juices that are all stocked daily. One company called Fresh Healthy Vending is in the forefront of fresh food vending in the U.S. with its creation of the “micro-market” stating “Fresh Healthy Vending is the only company of its kind that fills this critical need [for healthy eating], which remains ignored by other business opportunities.”

Obviously the best practice is to never leave the house without a snack in your bag, such as a great protein bar that’s low in sugar; however, we cannot always be prepared for what comes our way. That’s why it’s important to know your options, and make smarter, healthier snacking decisions.

Best Vending Options

If you have to hit-up the vending machine snacks in your office building, be sure to use good choices. For example, avoid as many preservatives as possible and aim for “some” nutritional content. Here is a list of a few choices that won’t break your healthy eating goals:nut_snack

  1. Nuts – Preferably plain unsalted nuts. If possible a more nutritious nut is best, like almonds or cashews.
  2. Trail Mix – Along the same lines as nuts, avoid the sodium as much as possible, and avoid the trail mixes that include candies – this will only spike your glucose levels causing you to crash later.
  3. Granola Bars – Be cautious with these as they tend to be loaded with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Select the granola bar that is low sugar options offering a decent amount of protein.
  4. Popcorn – Again, plain is best – avoiding the sodium and butter. This can be a great filler that can satiate your appetite for a little while until you can find a healthy meal.
  5. Water – Seems silly to get a bottle of water when you’re hungry right? Actually, often times we mistake our dehydration and need for water as being hungry. Drink some water and a handful of nuts, then give it 20 minutes to see if you’re still as hungry as you once thought you were.

Worst Vending Options

If you find yourself standing in front of the vending machine, not sure of your best options, pick something not from this list:vending1

  1. Pastries – High in calories, these delightful looking items come packed with high-fructose corn syrup and tons of preservatives. Avoid these at all costs.
  2. Chips & Crackers – These are usually loaded with sodium and trans fats from hydrogenated oils. Additionally, these often contain Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT); which are compounds added to foods to preserve fats. These two chemicals are currently under scrutiny as potential cancer causing agents.
  3. Cookies – Packed with refined carbohydrates, added sugars and additional preservatives, these are a no-no.
  4. Candy & Soft Drinks – Sugar, sugar, sugar. If you are looking for a hard crash later in your day, then go for it; otherwise steer clear. There is no nutritional value in soft drinks and candy, just sugar.

Recommended Daily Allowances

(Be Informed Series – Part 5 of 5)

We’ve all seen the nutrition labels on everything we consume, and have most likely seen the %DV column. But what exactly does that mean and how does it pertain to you and your nutrition. The %DV stands for your “Recommended Daily Value” and is set by the FDA to help moderate the intake of certain nutrients. However, you might be shocked to find out when these recommended daily allowances were last updated.

Recommended Daily Value Out of Date…ww2-1563

During World War II, many soldiers were suffering from scurvy due to a lack of Vitamin B, as well as, other disorders associated with nutrient deficiencies. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). This ensured that each soldier was consuming the proper amount of nutrients needed in order to prevent nutrient deficits. Although this was groundbreaking in its time, the last update made to the RDA was in the late 60’s! Because we need more protection now than we did forty years ago, it is important to keep up-to-date on the most scientific information available to maintain optimal support.

Do’s and Don’ts…

sprite_can_1960sAlthough the Recommended Daily Allowances are far out of date, there are certain advantages to these being provided on our nutrition label. For instance, you can use this to make product comparisons (which have less fat, sugar, etc.) or to investigate the validity in “reduced fat” or “light” claims on labels. However, what you don’t’ want to do is use these percentages as the bases of tracking your nutrient intake. Mush like the evolution of the soda can design; our nutritional intake guidelines need a major update to the modern times.

What’s the Alternative to Outdated RDAs?

Due to the fact that these recommendations set forth by the FDA are not based on the most current scientific information, the Institute of Medicine has produced and continually updates their Scientific Guidelines for Nutrition. The institute of Medicine is an “independent, nonprofit organization that works outside the government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public.” Created in 1997, these Scientific Guidelines provide reports on for each nutrient and its RDA as supported by scientific studies.


“Why take the minimum amount of nutrients, just to get by, when you could be taking the optimal amount of nutrients for maximum protection and live life to the fullest.”