You Are What You Eat (Featured Guest Post)

girl holding salad and chocolate cakeThe foods you eat are choices you make every day. Choices about what you eat, when you eat it, and how much you eat; however, determine more than just satisfying your schedule and your appetite.  They affect your health, your immune system, your blood glucose levels, your energy levels, your bones, joints and every organ in your body.  If you’re wondering if “you are what you eat”, the answer is a resounding YES.  And practicing good nutrition habits can make a world of difference, not to mention reduce the risk of short-term and long-term illness and disease.

Food Affects Your Glucose and Insulin Levels

If you have diabetes, understanding how various food affects blood glucose is very important.  Having diabetes means that your body has trouble controlling blood glucose levels. When blood glucose stays too high for too long, serious health problems can develop. However, by controlling your blood glucose through medication, exercise and most importantly diet, you can delay or prevent problematic conditions associated with diabetes, such as kidney malfunctions, eye problems, heart disease and other complications.  According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), following a diabetes meal plan can help you keep your blood glucose levels on track.

Insulin does a lot of things for the body, most importantly, it helps glucose move from the blood into your muscle cells, where it can be used for energy. Some oral diabetes medications help you produce more insulin or help your insulin work more efficiently, so your medications and food plan have to work together. If you take insulin shots, you need to be especially careful to match the amount of carbohydrates you eat with your insulin dose. If you eat too many carbs without adjusting your insulin dose, your blood glucose might spike. If you consume too few carbohydrates, your blood glucose might bottom out, or become too low.  Your physician can help you match your food choices to the medication that has been subscribed to you.

Immune-Boosting Foods

A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense for good health and a strong immune system. Your body simply functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies.  Make sure you’re eating a diet high in fruits, whole grains and vegetables; exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight; cut down on smoking and drinking; get adequate sleep and control your blood pressure. These steps make a significant difference, and can really help as you age.

While some people age healthily, studies compared the elderly with younger people, and found that the elderly are far more likely to contract infectious diseases because of a lower immune system. Respiratory infections, pneumonia and influenza are leading causes of death for those over 65.  Eating healthy foods increases the production of T-cells, which help fight off infection and helps the body’s ability to mount a more vigorous immune response.

Eat Food Every 6 Hours

You can manage your blood glucose better if you eat the same amount of food at the same time every day. That keeps your glucose levels stable and helps your medication work best. Overloading or under-loading yourself with food surprises is not great for the body.  Eating every 5 to 6 hours ensures that your body is consistently getting nutrients, and those nutrients regulate blood glucose.  If you can’t eat a full meal, try snacking.  Healthy snacks are a fantastic way to reduce those “lows” you get throughout the day, due to low glucose levels.

Your body needs food.  Don’t let anyone tell you that eating less often is better.  Sure you want to avoid bad foods low in nutrition and high in calories, but with good foods like fruits and vegetables, you can literally eat a lot more than you thought, and you’ll experience regulated glucose levels and a healthy weight in the process.

Eat Smart

Carbohydrates can make or break you.  They are foods that have the biggest effect on your blood glucose levels. After you eat carbohydrates, your blood glucose rises.  Starches, sweets, dairy  and fruits all contain carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are important for health, when you eat too many at once, your blood glucose can rise too high.  Other carbs, such as sweet potatoes and vegetables, are better for you and less risky when considering a glucose spike.  Additionally, avoiding processed foods and eating more fiber and nutrients is another good strategy.

If you’re overweight, you can eat the same foods as everyone else, but the devil is in the details. A smart meal plan will tells you when, what and how much to eat.  It’s important not to completely deprive yourself of the foods you like, so your diet can include your favorite foods.  Just make sure your meal plan is also covering the following:

  • Fruits and Vegetables

  • Low-Fat Dairy

  • Whole grains

  • Fish, eggs, peas, poultry, dried beans and lean meats


To have a strong immune response, you need regular nourishment. There is evidence that suggests that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Various “micronutrient” deficiencies — for example, deficiencies in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as zinc, copper, iron, folic acid and selenium — alter immune responses. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement brings health benefits of many types, especially a healthy immune system. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better.

Additionally, a number of vitamins and herbs can influence the immune system in good ways. These include things like ginseng, aloe vera, echinacea, garlic, licorice root and probiotics. And while science has not proven that these nutrients unequivocally promote good immune function, if you do choose to take these nutrients, it can’t hurt.

Bottom Line

Eating good, healthy and natural foods can constitute the keys to great health and a long life.  By choosing those foods that beneficially support the major functionality of your body, you’ll be on your way to health benefits you only thought were possible with youth and a rigid work out regiment.  Fortunately, your diet, (along with proper sleep and moderate exercise) is perhaps the most important health strategy you should focus on.  A healthy diet, more than any other healthy lifestyle choice, will give you the most rewards.

david novak journalist Written by: David Novak is an international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist at consumer technology, health and fitness, and he also owns a PR firm and a consulting company where he and his staff focus on these industries. He is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit


5 Tips to help you banish belly fat

Written by Kimberly Evans

One of the most frequent health questions I get is “how do I get rid of this belly fat?”.  Generally this statement is followed by a testimony of healthy eating habits and the time spent trying to stay active.  My response to this belly fat question is always the same. You can not spot treat belly fat.  Seriously, it is just not possible. You can strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles but all the crunches in the world will not rid you any faster of a muffin top.  You need to shrink that middle so that you can start seeing your abs which you can fine tune/define with planks, crunches, etc.

Ask yourself this, how long did it take you to gain your muffin top? Expect that losing it will take just as long.  So exhibit some patience and keep in mind there is no one way to do this nor is there any easy way out. It will take willpower and dedication on your side to find what works best.

Below are my top 6 items to address so you can start seeing results.

1. Cardio – Are you still maintaining a level of  30-40% of you max heart rate when at the gym? If the answer is no, pick up the pace!  Try to find a happy zone staying between 60-80% of your total heart rate.   Unsure of what your heart rate is?  Try using a heart rate monitor.  There are fitness trackers with all sorts of bells and whistles or there are simple heart rate monitors that have a chest band (yes you have to wear it if you really want to know your  accurate heart rate).  These would be more than enough.   Here’s a quick reference sheet from the American Heart Association on ranges by age: Target Heart Rate.  As a side note, do NOT rely on the machines at the gym to tell you how far you’ve gone, what your heart rate is or what your calories are… they are not accurate.

2. Cut the sodium – Did you know the CDC recommends 1500-2300mg of sodium today?  If you are over 50 the recommendation changes to no more than 1500mg. That’s like the amount in an order of Chinese!  How much sodium are you consuming in a day?  Generally unless you’ve been watching that answer is too much.  Try to limit going overboard on sodium.  One quick way you can take this into your own hands is not adding extra salt to your food or pick lower sodium chicken broths, stock, seasonings, etc.  Sodium leads to water retention and unnecessary belly bloat.  Try reducing yours to see if that makes a difference.

3. Eating better – Greasy fries may be good on occasion but if you are looking to lose your middle filling up on garbage just stands as a roadblock between you and success.  This goes the same for the processed sugars.  Try and cut out those foods that have a laundry list of added ingredients in the back.  Less than 5 is ideal and if they contain the words partially hydrogenated soybean oil put it back.  Simple can still be tasty… try it I dare you.

4. Cut down drinking– Like to drink? Like to drink beer?  This is another notorious reason for that belly bulge that just wont’ go away.  Mild drinking is ok once and awhile just try not to make it a daily habit.

5. Sleep More – This one may confuse you but it has been proven that getting too little sleep can really screw your body over when you’re trying to lose weight.  A sleep study from several years back showed in the results that women who slept less than 5 hours a night weighed on average 5.5 lbs more than women who had a good night sleep. Need a quick win?  Get more sleep!  Aim for 6 plus hours a night, your body will thank you!

The list of things you can do to kick your belly fat for good goes on and on.  Like anything adjusting from your current routine and mindset takes a bit so cut yourself some slack (but not too much afterall that’s what got you in this predicament!) and keep on plugging away.    You’ll find as you make 2 or 3 of the changes above on a consistent basis that the new habits will become a routine and they will get easier and easier to incorporate daily without much thought.

To end as much as I like to be positive about things, sometimes I have to be a bit more brash.   You need to make the changes for you and no one else can make them for you.  There’s only so many times you can give someone the same advice, it’s at that point they need to either take it or stop asking.  Moral being: less talk more action will get you everywhere in life.  Now let’s kick it into gear!  Namaste.

Sugar, America’s own worst enemy

Sugar…it’s in everything.  It’s even in foods you would never expect to find it in.  It’s also one of the reason so many people are overweight or obese. Studies have shown that overweight people are likely to spend 37% more a year at the pharmacy. As if money isn’t tight enough in our economy already…

Unfortunately right now there is no regulated daily value to go off of for sugar like there is with calories, fat,  or cholesterol so how much really is too much?  Did you know one 12oz glass of pop has a killer 42-50 grams of sugar?  Holy sugar high!  Now consider how many fast food places you see with people drinking ginormous cups of this stuff.  No wonder New York put a cap on serving huge sized pops…  maybe the rest of America should take the hint.

Sugar is attributed to weight gain, rotting your teeth, and stunting any effort for weight loss you may be trying to do.  Washington Post released an article a few days ago regarding sugar being a “toxin” to our bodies.  Something so heavily available to be categorized the same as your bottle of liquid drano!  But, by no means are artificial sweeteners the easy way out.  They are starting to uncover that articial sweeteners can be just as bad.  From what we know, the body treats these devils in disguise same as sugar but heightened ten fold.  They have even been attributed to tricking people into weight gain!  Where is the relief?

Well you might think there’s a simple solution to that,  just rid sugar from your diet.  HA!  I dare you to go ahead and try.  Over 80% of foods in the market have added sugars like “high fructose corn syrup”.  Really very few items you’ll find at the store are completely sugar free (real or fake sugar).   Suppose you find a handful of these gold mines, do you really feel you could exist on those and those alone?  Or at this point would your body shut down?  Here’s an awesome video I found on you tube that I think best addresses the sugar issue and brings to light a great solution.  Watch this video and let me know what you think.  Keep in mind, brands will only make what we buy.  Do yourselves and your children a favor and pitch the garbage.