Tag Archives: health

10 Easy Tips to Improve Your Nutrition

10easynutritiontipsWhether you want to make a change to eat more healthy foods during National Nutrition Month or anytime of the year, these small changes can make a big difference.

1. Read Labels. Always read the nutrition facts and ingredients before purchasing a product. It is important to note how many servings are in a package as well as the sugar and sodium content. Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

2. Plan Ahead. If you wait until you are hungry to decide what you will eat, you are more likely to make unhealthy choices.

3. Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks. Replace sugary drinks, like soda, juice, sports drinks, and flavored milk, with water.

4. Eat Breakfast. Choose a breakfast cereal that is high in fiber and low in sugar. If you don’t have time to eat at home, pack a healthy breakfast to bring with you. Don’t skip breakfast, the most important meal of the day!

5. Go to a Farmers Market. It is easy to eat more fruits and veggies when you are surrounded by fresh seasonal produce from local growers. Use the USDA National Farmers Market Directory to find ones in your area.

6. Replace Salt with Other Seasonings. Season your food with herbs, spices, and olive oil instead of salt.

7. Explore Alternative Grains and Seeds. Make new recipes with gluten-free grains and seeds, including quinoa, millet, and chia seeds. Try these 15 No-Bread Sandwiches, using veggies as buns.

8. Try Meatless Monday. There are many health benefits associated with eating a meatless meal at least one night per week.

9. Carry Healthy Snacks. When you carry healthy snacks with you, like nuts, fruit, and NuGo protein bars, you won’t resort to junk food.

10. Consult a Registered Dietitian. Read 10 Reasons You Should Be Talking to an RD, and Top 14 Reasons to Consult a Sports RD.

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Chocolate on Valentine’s Day Could Mean a Stronger, Healthier Heart

NuGoHeartHealthMonthIt’s February, and with Valentine’s Day here this month, we all have the health of our hearts on our mind. After all, a strong, healthy heart is capable of a stronger, healthier love.  How can we stay healthy with all of that Valentine’s chocolate that often contains unhealthy hydrogenated oil or substitutes unhealthy vegetable fat for all-natural cocoa butter? Well, there’s good news. If you eat REAL Dark Chocolate, it is good for your heart and, unlike milk and white chocolate, is full of great health benefits too.

So, what exactly are the health benefits of eating dark chocolate? For starters, dark chocolate has been proven to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, which, in turn, reduces high blood pressure. But a healthy heart and lower blood pressure aren’t the only benefits to eating dark chocolate. Cocoa, the primary ingredient in REAL Dark Chocolate, is a proven trigger to the pleasure center of the brain and raises serotonin and endorphin levels. The result? A pleasant, happy mood that some people describe as euphoric. Hey, the chocolate may be dark, but your mood doesn’t have to be!

But don’t get fooled by fake dark chocolate. Due to a lack of a FDA standard for dark chocolate, some companies are passing off fake dark chocolate made with fatty vegetable oils (usually palm oil) as being healthy dark chocolate. These fake dark chocolate coated bars may actually raise the unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels that REAL Dark Chocolate is shown to reduce.  Look in the ingredients panel – if palm oil or another vegetable oil is included in the ingredients, it is fake unhealthy chocolate.

Plus, REAL Dark Chocolate has a superior, exploding, rich, chocolate flavor, which is the result of the smooth texture cocoa butter releases when the chocolate melts in your mouth. The fake palm oil chocolate coating raises the melt point of chocolate way above body temperature, so the chocolate does NOT melt in your mouth, imparting a waxy texture and too sweet taste.

Take the delicious taste and health benefits of REAL Dark Chocolate and combine it with protein, the building block of the body, and you’re on your way to a delicious and healthy NuGo bar. We have 16 different varieties coated in heart-healthy REAL Dark Chocolate, offering something for nearly every lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for gluten-free, organic, vegan, low sugar, or even a protein bar for bodybuilding, we have something for you. So, when you go to have a chocolate snack this Valentine’s Day or any day, choose healthy, decadent NuGo REAL Dark Chocolate protein bars.

Looking for a heart-healthy, REAL Dark Chocolate coated NuGo bar that fits your lifestyle? Try one of these:

5 NuGo Dark bars


5 NuGO Slim low sugar bars

1 NuGO STRONGER bodybuilding bar

2 NuGO FREE rice protein bars 

Which dark chocolate coated NuGo bar is your favorite?


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Men’s Health Month: 5 Simple Tips for Dad

menshealthmonth.orgAs we celebrate Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day, June is the perfect time to share with Dad important health tips. Let Dad know how much you love him and want him to value his health, so you will have many years of celebrating Father’s Day together.

1. See a doctor for a check-up. Did you know women are twice as likely as men to see a doctor for preventative care? A primary care doctor can recommend all the potential lifesaving screenings for your age. These important screenings can detect problems before you notice any signs or symptoms, so don’t put this off another year!

2. Don’t ignore health symptoms. Don’t accept shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, or other symptoms as a normal part of life – discuss them with your doctor!

3. Exercise more. Find the type of fitness activities you enjoy most and incorporate them more frequently in your weekly routine.

4. Improve your nutrition. Make simple changes, like eating less sugar, salt, and fat and eating more fruits and veggies.

5. Get an extra hour of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to many health problems. While it is recommended to sleep 7-9 hours per night, that may not be practical for you. Set a simple goal to get one more hour of sleep than you normally do by going to bed an hour earlier.

For more Men’s Health tips, visit the CDC and Menshealthmonth.org.


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No New Year’s Resolutions

NewYearsResolutionsErinMacdonaldGood-bye, 2012. Hello, 2013. Many people look at the starting of a new year as a metaphor for a new beginning. With what would you like a fresh start in the New Year? Are you going to make “resolutions” like everyone else? Have you made resolutions in the past, only to find that you didn’t or couldn’t achieve them? Been there, done that. It doesn’t work. This year, resolve not to make any resolutions.

We all start out the year with the best intentions. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Manage stress better. Exercise more. Save money. Improve our relationships. Sound familiar?

So why, by February 1st, have we slipped back into our old habits?

When you make a resolution, it’s usually a very large, over-reaching goal. Lose 30 pounds. How can you expect to lose 30 pounds as quickly as you want to, especially when it didn’t get put on overnight? Big goals with no game plan equal big failure. And when we fail, we beat ourselves up over it. After many years of setting up unattainable resolutions, and failing to achieve them, we’ve labeled ourselves as failures and thus have little hope for actually succeeding when we set out to try again. And yet we continue to try again. I give an “A” for effort, but unfortunately the outcome is the same because we haven’t changed the game plan and the results are the same.

Another reason we are doomed to failure is that we are very impatient. We want results and we want it NOW! That’s normal for a society of instant gratification. So, waiting for results is very difficult.

The solution? Take it slowly, be patient, and break those lofty goals into smaller, more achievable goals. Try U Rock Girl’s “Goal A Day” challenge.

You want to make changes that will last. This year will be different. You will succeed. All you need is a game plan. Here are the tools you need:

• Give yourself specific directions. Vague resolutions like “Lose weight” are doomed for failure. How are you going to do it? How many pounds? Over what time period? Do not give yourself too many options. Set focused goals, like “I will eat breakfast every day,” “Walk 20 minutes at lunchtime every day,” or “Only one glass of wine at dinner.”

• Give yourself inspiration. If your goal is to increase your strength, then find a picture of yourself when you were in better shape and tape it to the refrigerator as motivation. Make the inspiration reasonable – don’t put a picture of an elite athlete as your screen saver or you will set yourself up for frustration.

• Get motivated (and stay motivated). Take a look at the larger goal (Losing weight). Now break it down into little, attainable goals, i.e., bring lunch to work every day; drink 8 oz. water first thing in the morning; have a fruit or vegetable at every mini meal. When your goals are smaller and more easily achieved, you will feel successful. This feeling will encourage you to make more changes that will get you closer to your next mini-goal, and ultimately your big-picture goal.

Make your environments supportive of your goals. Your home and work or school are the two environments in which you spend the most time, so make sure they support the healthy changes you are trying to make. Get rid of your trigger foods and stock the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry full of fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, lean protein, and healthy snacks, like NuGo bars. If you know you always crave sweets at 3 p.m., then have a healthy snack of some sweet berries and a protein, like Greek yogurt, to satisfy your craving and keep your hunger in check. Or try a NuGo Slim bar (I love the Roasted peanut flavor) which satisfies the sweet and savory craving. Other environments, like social, travel, and commuting are also situations in which you can make changes to keep you successful. If you know you’re going out for dinner, look at the restaurant menu on-line before you go out and decide what you’ll be ordering. Also, having a light and healthy snack before you go out to eat or to a party will help you from making a poor food decision or overeating.


Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and practice. You may occasionally fail or have a set-back. That’s ok and you should even expect that to happen. It’s how you deal with that set-back. Accept it, own it, figure out why it happened, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future. By taking the time to assess your progress – what’s working and what’s not – you will be able to make the necessary changes to allow you to be successful in achieving your health and wellness goals.

About the Author:

Erin Macdonald, R.D. is a Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness Coach in southern California where she has a private practice and teaches cooking classes. She is the co-founder of U Rock Girl, a web site full of nutrition, fitness, and wellness information and recipes to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. She also writes a regular column for Oxygen Magazine, called “Easy Does It” and will have a new column in Clean Eating magazine called, “Ask the dietitians.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter




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New Research Shows Toxic Effects of Sugar

This fascinating segment from 60 Minutes with Sanjay Gupta shows why sugar may be classified as a toxin and linked to heart disease, cancer, hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, started the anti-sugar campaign in 2009 with his YouTube video, Sugar: The Bitter TruthWhile Dr. Lustig’s views about sugar were previously considered controversial, there is now new scientific research supporting him.

But now, studies done by Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis are starting to back him up. She’s in the middle of a groundbreaking, five-year study which has already shown strong evidence linking excess high fructose corn syrup consumption to an increase in risk factors for heart disease and stroke. That suggests calories from added sugars are different than calories from other foods.”

Stanhope’s conclusions weren’t easy to come by. Nutrition studies are expensive and difficult. Stanhope has paid groups of research subjects to live in this hospital wing for weeks at a time, under a sort of 24-hour lockdown. They undergo scans and blood tests – every calorie they ingest, meticulously weighed and prepared.”

Surprisingly, Stanhope found that after only two weeks of drinking sugary drinks with high fructose corn syrup, they had increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including higher LDL cholesterol levels. After seeing the powerful data, Stanhope decided to drastically reduce the sugar in her own diet!

So imagine, for these healthy young people, drinking a sweetened drink might be just as bad for their hearts as the fatty cheeseburgers we’ve all been warned about since the 1970s.”

A Harvard professor, Lewis Cantley, explained how sugar is a catalyst in some common types of cancer, actually causing the tumors to grow! While his team is working on a drug to prevent the tumors from growing, Cantley advises to avoid eating sugar. Eric Stice, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, has shown through MRI scans that sugar is addictive like cocaine.

Eric Stice says by scanning hundreds of volunteers, he’s learned that people who frequently drink sodas or eat ice cream or other sweet foods may be building up a tolerance, much like drug users do. As strange as it sounds, that means the more you eat, the less you feel the reward. The result: you eat more than ever.”

The good news is that NuGo Nutrition has many options to help you reduce sugar. All NuGo bars are 100% natural and free of high fructose corn syrup. Since NuGo bars are high quality protein coated in only a small amount of luscious real dark or milk chocolate, they contain significantly less sugar and fat than other brands of protein bars. Additionally, NuGO Slim contains only 2 grams of sugar from REAL Dark Chocolate and chicory root. NuGO Slim is the first low sugar protein bar without sugar alcohols or maltitol, which can cause gastric distress and a bad aftertaste. NuGo Family is certified low glycemic.

Click here to watch the 60 Minutes video, Is Sugar Toxic?, and watch the informative extras, including a segment about kids and sugar. Sanjay Gupta recommends eating real food to avoid added sugars and reading labels to cut down on sugar. How many calories of added sugars should a woman consume in a day? Less than the amount in one can of soda!

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