May 20
Bites of Health - May 2016

Bites oh Health Newsletter

Hello Friend,

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to take care of your body and add color to your plate. So many are in season right now: apricots, artichokes, spring peas and strawberries, just to name a few. Make one simple change this May by adding new fruits and vegetables to your diet.

Oct 01
Healthful exercise doesn't require expensive equipment or a gym membership
By Consumers Union of United States Inc,July 02, 2012

Nothing beats the convenience of working out in your own home. And you don’t need to buy a $4,000 treadmill to get started. Standard floor exercises can provide a good cardio workout using little to no equipment.

Or you can take your workout outdoors. Try walking around a park, climbing steps, jumping rope, doing jumping jacks or even hula-hooping. “Thirty minutes of hooping is a very effective form of cardio-respiratory exercise,” says Jessica Matthews, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. “It brings you back to your childhood, it’s lighthearted, plus it’s as effective as many other forms of cardio.” Matthews also recommends that beginners enlist a professional trainer to ensure safe exercising and to maximize training time.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, five days a week, plus two to three days of resistance training using elastic bands or free weights to strengthen your muscles. Strength training should target every major muscle group, including your abdominals, arms, back, chest, legs and shoulders, says Michele Olson, a spokeswoman for the American College of Sports Medicine and a professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala.

“You don’t have to be on a health-club schedule,” she adds. “If you’d rather be active during late morning or lunchtime, invite a friend over and just work out together in your home.”

Consider including these items when setting up your home gym. Many can be stored in a closet or under a bed.

Elastic bands or tubes

Why they’re useful: They provide resistance training for strengthening and toning muscles. And they can help you target hard-to-hit muscles, such as the rotator cuff in your shoulder.

Shopping tip: Opt for bands or tubes with different tension (they’re often sold as sets), so you can vary the resistance.

Price: $8 and up.

Exercise mat

Why it’s useful: The extra cushioning is helpful for exercises done on the floor, such as crunches, push-ups, stretches or yoga.

Shopping tip: Choose one that’s hypoallergenic, easy to clean and well padded.

Price: $20 or less.

Free weights

Why they’re useful: They’re a versatile tool for toning your muscles. You can work everything from your shoulders to your legs.

Shopping tip: Buy at least two sets — a lighter set for your arms and shoulders and a heavier set for your back, chest and legs. You should be able to lift the weight 10 to 15 times.

Price: About $10 to $60 a pair.

Heart-rate monitor

Why it’s useful: It can help you track the intensity of your workout and make sure you don’t go too far outside your target zone.

Shopping tip: Consumer Reports liked the Timex Personal Trainer 5G971 and the Omron HR100C in its latest tests.

Price: $50 and $40, respectively.

Jump rope

Why it’s useful: It’s an instant cardio workout. Turn on your favorite TV show or music, and see if you can jump rope for 15 minutes, taking breaks as needed.

Shopping tip: Pick a jump rope with nonslip foam handles. Find the best length by stepping in the middle of it. The handles should reach between your armpits and shoulders.

Price: $6 and up.


Why it’s useful: When used properly, swinging this mini cannonball helps you burn calories and builds lean muscle, including your abs, arms, glutes, legs and shoulders.

Shopping tip: Start lighter if you’re new to this type of workout. Women can start with a weight of eight to 15 pounds; men with 15 to 25 pounds.

Price: About $20 and up.

Stability ball

Why it’s useful: This inflatable ball can be used for exercises to improve your balance and help build up your core strength. It can also be used to tone your upper body, glutes and legs.

Shopping tip: Try a 45-centimeter ball if you’re less than 5 feet tall, a 55-centimeter ball if you’re 5-1 to 5-7, and a 65-centimeter ball if you’re taller.

Price: About $30.

Copyright 2012. Consumers Union of United States Inc.

Oct 01
Everything We Need

by Tracie Miles ​taken from

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

If the term "you are what you eat" were literally true, my son would be a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Before Michael was old enough to even say ice cream, he loved it. Several years ago, he begged for chocolate ice cream, with bottom lip poked out for sentimental effect. Since I could never resist
that adorable face, I pulled the gallon of ice cream out of the freezer.I pried open the lid only to discover a nearly empty carton. To save time from scooping and scraping, I had Michael eat straight out of the gallon.A monster was created that day.Once he discovered that eating out of the carton meant his portion would not be limited to a few scoops, life as he knew it changed. Never again did he ask for ice cream without proposing he just eat out of the gallon.

Michael's desire for unlimited measures of his beloved frozen treat made me ponder how life-changing it is when we crave unlimited portions of God.In today's key verse, the psalmist refers to God as his "portion." Although he knew he would fail in heart and flesh, giving in to temptations and looking to things or people to meet
his needs, He knew God was enough for whatever he needed.

The Lord provides a sufficient portion of strength when we are feeling weak and beaten down. He sustains us when we are anxious, discouraged, frustrated and tired. He promises that when we stumble, He will give us His grace and mercy.Most importantly, no matter how long we spin our wheels trying to find joy and satisfaction in earthly things, God patiently offers Himself and waits for us to realize that what we really need is a bigger portion of Him.

In Hebrew, the word "portion" is translated as "inheritance" or "allotment." What if we thought of God's portion as our inheritance? Could we embrace the truth that He gives us everything He is; and we can have as much as we desire?

When we come to Jesus with the hungers of our heart, He provides the perfect portion to fill our longings, heal our wounds and meet our unmet needs. When it comes to God and His Word, we can always eat out of the gallon!

Dear Lord, give me a hunger and a thirst for Your Word. I want to crave a daily portion of You and rely on Your provision to meet my every need. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Sep 02
Is your family glued to the screen?

taken from Healthpartners Today Summer 2013

​Did you know, the average school-aged child watches 1,203 hours of TV a year and only spends 900 hours a year in school? There's no question we live in a technology-driven world, but could unplugging every once in awhile be good for your family's health? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child's use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day.

HealthPartners doctor, Pat Courneya, MD, offers three reasons your family can benefit from limiting screen time:

Better sleep

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the more TV children watch, the more likely ther are to resist going to bed and have trouble falling asleep. Make your kids' bedrooms a "no screen zone" to give them time to power down. Remember, kids need 10-12 hours of sleep per day.

More activity

It's no surprise the more your kids sit in front of a screen, the longer they're going without active, creative play. Research shows that children who watch more than two hours of TV a day are more likely to be overweight. so encourage your kids to get up and move!

Better grades

Limiting screen time is another way to help your kids succeed in school. In a recent medical review, Dutch researchers found that the more time kids spent playing and being active, the higher their grades were. Other research found that elementary students who have TVs in their bedrooms tend to perform worse on tests than those who don't.

Moderation is key

"Unless it's work or something exercise-related, you should limit your family's screen time to two hours or less each day," says Dr. Courneya. "This might be difficult at first, so start with some small changes. Try scheduling designated 'no screen time' around meals and before bed."

Jun 01
Breakfast, The Start of a Healthy Day

Excerpt from an article by Elaine Gordon in

If you are one of the millions of Americans who skip breakfast, you could be sabotaging your health goals. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and gives your body energy to think more clearly while preventing overeating later in the day. Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity to consume foods high in vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration and memory. It can also reduce irritability and tiredness. So, forget the caffeine and opt for a complete meal packed with the nutrients your body needs.

Start the day right

So what makes a nutritious breakfast that will fill you up and give you the energy to get through your morning?
Your breakfast should contain:

  • Lean protein to help you stay full longer and prevent overeating later in the day. Lean protein options include low-fat or fat-free milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, turkey sausage, egg whites, nut butters or a handful of raw nuts.
  • Fiber-filled whole-grain carbohydrates for lasting energy.
  • Antioxidant-packed produce to increase your daily fruit and veggie intake. For produce, opt for seasonal varieties. This winter you can count on fresh fruits such as pears, kiwis or citrus. Year-round you can enjoy apples, bananas, papayas and rutabagas. Or, if you don’t mind veggies in the morning, go for these year-round options: mushrooms, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocados or potatoes.

Putting it all together

  • Combining lean protein, whole grains and fruits or veggies makes a complete breakfast. Here are some powerful breakfast combos to try:
    Smoothie: 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, ¼-cup old-fashioned oats and 1 tablespoon raw, unsalted almond butter.
  • Scrambled egg whites with diced mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and spinach on a toasted whole-grain English muffin with a slice of low-fat cheese and/or avocado
  • Greek yogurt topped with granola, banana slices and raw nut pieces
  • Oatmeal made with milk and topped with seasonal fresh fruit, a handful of raw nuts and a sprinkling of ground chia seeds
  • Lean turkey bacon or lean chicken sausage with sliced fresh fruit and whole grain toast with a glass of low-fat milk
Jun 01
Your Gut: A Delicate Garden?

by Christiane Northrup, M.D. from

​Your gut is a very delicate ecosystem, with more flora (healthy bacteria) in it than all the other cells in the body put together. When this ecosystem is healthy, your digestive tract has the proper balance of stomach acids and bacteria. This allows your body to breakdown food for nourishment and cell repair. Without the ability to absorb nutrition from your food and eliminate waste, you may experience all kinds of health issues that, on the surface, don’t seem to be related to digestion. These include headaches, mood issues, weight gain, menstrual cramps, fatigue, back pain, frequent colds, estrogen dominance, and more. If your digestive health is poor, everything suffers.

Here are some things you might not know about the amazing digestive system:

  • The lining in your gut is actually part of your immune system. In fact, it’s your first line of defense against bugs and other organisms that can make you ill. For millennia, this immune mechanism was needed for the survival of the species. Humans lived without refrigeration and didn’t always know enough to practice safe food handling. When your gut is healthy, it keeps any foreign invaders in food from getting into the bloodstream. It also protects you from airborne viruses and bacteria.
  • Research done in recent years proves there is a real connection between the digestive tract and the nervous system. (To learn more read Michael Gershon, M.D.’s book The Second Brain.) In addition to the nervous system in the spine, there is a nervous system in the gut called the enteric nervous system, which sends signals to the brain and vice versa. If you are anxious, depressed, or stressed, you may notice that your desire for food is different or your digestion is off. Stress hormones can shut down digestion (which results in constipation) or speed it up (which results in diarrhea).
  • The digestive system actually produces more neurotransmitters than the brain does. I suspect that many women could avoid antidepressants altogether just by supporting their digestive system. How many of us reach for a sugary treat when stressed? This is a short-term (and unhealthy) way to make the neurotransmitters your body needs to restore your emotional equilibrium.
  • The phrases “Rely on your gut” and “Gut instinct” make more sense than you may realize! As a second brain, it may be more effective. It doesn’t have to contend with the judgmental “committee,” which lives in your left brain and will often try to talk you out of what you know in your gut to be true.
  • As an energy system, the digestive system is part of the third chakra. This area has to do with self-esteem, self-expression, an appropriate sense of responsibility, and having the confidence to “go with your gut.”

ABCs of Digestion

A few months ago, Gerard Mullin, M.D., a holistic gastroenterologist and professor at Johns Hopkins, was a guest on my Internet radio show Flourish! Dr. Mullin is also the author ofInside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health. We explained to listeners that any time you take medicines that block acid production or kill healthy bacteria, you upset the delicate ecosystem in your gut.
I understand the desire to quell your symptoms. But remember that you’re not suffering from an antacid or a laxative deficiency. It’s always better to address the underlying issue than to take medicines that can cause other health problems.

Here are some suggestions for addressing three common digestive ailments—acid indigestion, bloating, and constipation—without upsetting the natural balance.

Acid indigestion

Acid indigestion, also known as reflux or heartburn, occurs when your stomach acids back up into the esophagus. The standard treatment is prescribing a proton pump inhibitor to keep the stomach from producing any acid or popping an antacid to reduce symptoms. Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat ulcers, too. The problem is that your stomach acids help balance the bacterial growth in the gut. Too little acid can result in too much bacteria, which can lead to yeast overgrowth (infection) throughout the body, as well as gas and bloating. This condition is largely the result of a highly-refined food diet, which is converted into high blood sugar too quickly. Your body also needs stomach acids to break down minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. Insufficient stomach acid can lead to deficiencies in these minerals as well as in vitamin B-12. It’s not uncommon for women to develop low bone mineral density (osteopenia) if they take acid blockers for long periods of time.

Bloating and Gas

Dr. Mullin mentioned a category of foods that you may never have heard of—even though you probably eat these foods often. They’re called FODMAPs, which is short for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These common, everyday foods are a type of carbohydrate that ferments during the digestive process causing gas, bloating, and bacterial overgrowth. Following a diet that eliminates FODMAPs has been shown to dramatically improve symptoms for Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers.
This means cutting out eleven fruits, including apples, pears, and peaches; twenty vegetables, including asparagus, cauliflower, and peas; six lactose-containing foods, including milk and ice cream; four legumes, including lentils and kidney beans; two whole grains, including wheat and rye; and seven sweeteners, including fructose and high-fructose corn syrup.
It’s very common for women to experience more gas and bloating as they go through menopause. These women often become intolerant to foods they’ve eaten all their lives, particularly wheat and gluten. Cutting out these foods can drastically improve bloating, gas, and indigestion for many women.
Your normal production of stomach acids declines as you age, too. Taking a digestive enzyme can help you break down and absorb the nutrients in food better.


Magnesium is a miracle mineral. It’s used by virtually every cell in the body and can be particularly beneficial for muscle spasms, migraines, and anxiety. It’s also great for constipation. So instead of reaching for a stool softener or laxative, try 500 mg to 1500 mg of magnesium aspartate (or a blend of different forms of magnesium).

Finally, I always recommend a diet of whole foods that is low in sugar and includes lots of fresh vegetables and greens, lean protein, and healthy fats as well as plenty of water. Processed foods wreak havoc with the digestive system, and can cause acid indigestion, bloating and gas, and constipation. Plus they can rob the body of magnesium.

Jun 01
Get Healthier in One Day
 Brenda Polk in has some encouraging words for all of us and the positive impact would go beyond our personal lives.

Get Healthier in One Day

By Brenda Polk - from 
What if there were one choice you could make today that could improve your health, vitality, and ministry capability tomorrow? One choice that could energize you to be your best for God's glory. Would you choose it?
Believe it or not, our choices sabotage our health every day. Less-than-optimal choices lead to lack of energy, poor digestive function, slower metabolism, higher stress, and a disinterest in life mirrored by our lackluster appearance.

In the second half of life, making the right choices becomes more important than ever — we're talking ministry energy and lifespan here. Choosing well daily is a testimony of a life centered on Christ, one dedicated to being more disciplined physically for God's glory.

Here are three choices — good, better, and best — that can help you feel healthier tomorrow and invigorate your ministry potential in the process.

The Good Choice

Replace your after dinner dessert and afternoon snack with blueberries. Blueberries are considered a superfood for their high fiber and disease-fighting antioxidant and phytochemical levels. These sweet, low-calorie jewels are perfect mixed in morning cereal or oatmeal but are also great as a substitute for a sweet treat before bed. If blueberries aren't in season, frozen varieties are just as nutritious as the fresh and are more economical. Enjoy a 1 cup serving for only 71 calories instead of the same serving of ice cream weighing in at 200 calories.

The Better Choice

Skip that 30-minute sitcom and take a walk. Whether you exercise regularly or don't believe in sweating, a 30-minute walk, at any pace, will aide in food digestion, boost metabolic rates, reduce stress, and clear your mind. The health benefits of a 30-minute walk extend to every area of well-being and have as great a benefit physically as many medications for blood pressure and glucose levels. With just one walk, your body will begin to function better. Turn your 30-minute walk into prayer time to really boost the benefits.

The Best Choice

Get 60 to 90 minutes of additional sleep tonight. It's no secret that many adults are sleep deprived. Some of us even wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. However, sleep is necessary for good health. Even two hours of sleep deprivation can lead to emotional outbursts, higher stress, increased calorie consumption, and slower reaction times. Increase the sleep debt and pay a higher health cost in obesity, high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes, mental lethargy, decreased productivity, and drowsy driving — which causes approximately 100,000 car accidents, some fatal, each year.

For best sleep, turn off all technology in the evening, develop a bedtime routine, create a restful sleep environment, and go to bed. You will be healthier and happier tomorrow when you approach the day, rested and alert, as a living testimony of Psalm 89:15: "Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence."

This article is courtesy of More Living Magazine.
Branda Polk is a certified personal fitness trainer and wellness coach.
May 31
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month

Along with other special holidays, June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. A great time to visit your local farmers market and enjoy the great flavors and wonderful nutrition of God's creation.

How about sharing a fresh fruit or vegetable recipe?

May 30
The WOW is in the WHY!

Prevention Plus Event - see the details

I am so excited to share with you of this very powerful and worldwide speaker coming to the Twin Cities! I promise you there will NOT be a dull moment at this Juice Plus+® event. For what it’s worth, find out for yourself – there is no cost to you to attend!

Wendy Campbell’s energy and passion will fuel you to wanting more of what she has to share for your own health’s sake. This one short hour could very well make the biggest difference for the rest of your life and for those you love and care about.

I’ll meet you at the door.​