HEALTH & FITNESS
#Thursday, June 03, 2010

 If you’ve already mastered choosing high quality and balanced meals off of the menu while at a restaurant, you’re on the right track! Doing so will stabilize blood sugar levels and allow you to burn fat while feeling you’re best.

So why are you still bloated after a “healthy” meal? What you may not realize is that despite your best intentions of eating “clean”, restaurant meals typically contain much higher amounts of salt than what you are used to eating at home. A high sodium meal causes water retention which results in bloating, particularly in the abdominal area.

How can you beat the bloat while still enjoying your favorite restaurant meals? In addition to choosing balanced meals and watching your portion sizes, ask your server to request that your order is prepared “light on the salt” or with “no salt added at all”. Most chefs are used to personal dietary requests and are happy to comply.

Our best,

The Venice Nutrition Team

#Sunday, April 18, 2010

As a Venice Nutrition Coach for many years, I’m all for trying anything that promotes a healthier, fitter body.   Yet, whenever anyone attempted to persuade me to try yoga, I was skeptical.    After all, I’ve always been that girl in the gym sweating it out, lifting ridiculously heavy weights and sprinting until my hips ached, silently telling myself, “no pain, no gain”.  I looked good but felt fatigued, sore and unbalanced.  Regardless, I kept living by my motto until I actually got hurt in the gym.  I mean really hurt.    This pain was certainly not worth any gains I’d ever achieved.   My injuries were so bad, I had to stop all of my workouts and start extensive physical therapy.  Without realizing it, a lot of the strengthening and stretching moves that my physical therapists recommended to heal my muscle imbalances, core weakness and misaligned back and hips, were actual yoga moves.  It was time for me to change my ways and most importantly my way of thinking.  It was time to create a healthy body, mind and soul. 
 
Though I’m very much a “newbie” to yoga and I’ve only lightly scratched the surface of all that it has to offer, I’m tremendously grateful that yoga has become a part of my life.  I’m also completely astounded at the seemingly infinite list of benefits that yoga has to offer.  My research felt endless simply because the facts just kept piling up! 

What intrigues me most about yoga is that it’s a great workout for the body and for the mind.  And despite popular notion, it’s not all about twisting your body into a pretzel!  Ask any seasoned yogi why they love yoga so much and chances are they’ll admit to being absolutely addicted to the mind/body connection and the mental clarity they feel after they practice.   The way their body feels (and looks) because of regular yoga practice seems to be just an added bonus.   Do I think that every well rounded workout includes resistance training and cardiovascular exercise?  Yes.   But throughout my own experiences and extensive research, I now firmly believe that a balanced workout routine should include yoga too.  Here’s why (just a heads up...you are about to be very pleasantly surprised):

Yoga can:
 
1.  Increase your strength.  Don’t believe it?  Try holding a yoga pose in perfect alignment.  I'm willing to bet you'll shocked at how challenging a workout it can be.   On another note, there are so many forms and levels of yoga that it can easily be adapted for beginners (read:  no contorting your body into a pretzel) all the way to advanced students.

2.  Increase your flexibility.  Stretching the body safely and moving gently from pose to pose is fantastic for mobility and releases lactic acid build up that causes pain, tension and fatigue.
 
3.  Increase lubrication of your joints, ligaments and tendons. 

4.  Increase your muscle tone.  Muscles that are weak (there are so many neglected muscles that are hardly worked throughout your regular day or exercise routine) are used extensively as you move through a series of yoga poses.

5.  Increase your core strength.  Yoga can help you to develop deep core strength because the majority of the poses rely on those core muscles.

6.  Improve your posture.  Increased strength, flexibility and body awareness can help you to improve your posture in both standing and sitting positions.

7.  Improve your energy levels and awaken the mind.

8.  Relieve chronic pain (such as neck, joint or back pain).  A seasoned yoga instructor or therapist can help you adapt postures to avoid further injury and release tight muscles, strengthen weaknesses and re-align imbalances.

9.  Help you to avoid injury by keeping the body mobile and strong.

10.  Promote circulation.

11.  Improve your lung capacity and respiratory health through deep breathing exercises.  This can also be a very powerful benefit for athletes who wish to improve their endurance levels.

12.  Improve your outlook on aging by making you look and feel younger.

13.  Help you relax and handle challenging situations more effectively.

14.  Can encourage self acceptance and positive thinking.

15.  Drastically improve your stress levels and help you to feel a sense of calm.  Yoga practice includes meditation which teaches you how to ignore the endless “mind chatter” that leads to stress.  The result is also biochemical; practicing yoga decreases stress hormones.

16.  Reduce your depression and increase your happiness.
 
17.  Increase your focus

18.  Lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate, and especially help those with hypertension, heart disease or stroke.

19.  Boost your immune system function.

20.  Decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels

21.  Increase your body awareness, which helps you to correct your posture or alignment.  This awareness allows you to gain the most benefits and prevent injury during other workouts and even throughout your everyday movements.

22.  Help alleviate medical conditions such as asthma, insomnia and arthritis.  Research in the US is still being done on this topic, but medical researchers are hopeful and suggesting therapeutic yoga as a form of treatment for sufferers.

23.  Help with learning and memory.  Some studies are suggesting improvement in these areas with regular yoga practice.
 
As you can see, the benefits of yoga are vast and quite powerful!    Anyone, no matter their age, lifestyle, goals, or limitations has something wonderful to gain from practicing yoga.   If you are interested in incorporating yoga into your lifestyle, I would recommend finding a beginners or foundation class to get started.  Always make sure to let your instructor know of any health challenges or injuries you may have so he or she can modify the poses to best suit your needs.

Namaste!

My best,

Valerie Cogswell
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef

*info derived from healthandyoga.com, spine-health.com and webmd.com

One of the most frequent requests we receive from our members are tips on how to stay focused on their goals during the weekend.   Why is it so much simpler to stay on course Monday through Friday?   More than likely your work week is typically more structured and follows some sort of routine.  After all, the weekends are usually hectic, less scheduled and packed full of activities you just didn’t have time for during the busy work week.  Add on the Saturday night dinner out with friends for cocktails, food and fun, and you see how easy it is to fall off track.   Even though your weekends are jam packed, you can still easily stay true to your personal goals without investing a lot of time or effort.  Here’s how.

1.  Take the time to journal your meals, timing, water, supplements, and exercise for two weekends in a row.  Then take a few moments to identify where your falling off track…you’ll notice that the challenges you are having are consistent weekend to weekend.  Once you are aware of where you might be going wrong, it’s time to create a solution.  For example, are you going too long without meals during the weekend days because of endless errands and plain forgetfulness?  Pack a protein bar in your purse or car so you never skip a meal.   Are you running out of healthy choices by Saturday and relying on whatever’s lying around?  Make an adjustment in the amount of food you cook in bulk for the week, such as adding a few extra chicken breasts or more veggies to have on hand…. If it’s there, you are more likely to eat it!

2.  Make the time to exercise at least one day over the weekend.  Many people like to work hard and work out hard Monday through Friday and then take the entire weekend off.   The better choice is to pick at least one day over the weekend for some kind of exercise, particularly one you enjoy if you have been incredibly active all week long.  It could be as simple as playing a game of golf, taking a power walk or even a yoga class.  If your body is sore and fatigued because of a strenuous week, aim for a calming activity like yoga or a walk.  And always take the time to stretch, even on your off days.  The extra day of activity will help to keep your metabolism pumping and your body limber and mobile.  It’s also the perfect motivation to keep up other healthy habits all weekend long.

3.  Plan your “off” meal.  Notice we said off meal and not off day!  It’s a misconception to think that taking an entire day or weekend to eat whatever you’d like is okay even if you’ve eaten well all week.  Doing so only leads to erratic blood sugar levels, moodiness, and ultimately fat storage.  You’ll also notice that an entire day or weekend of indulging in unhealthy food will cause you to want to eat unhealthy for days after due to unstable blood sugar levels.   And this makes it so much more challenging to get back on track on Monday.   So what’s the solution?  Plan an entire “off” meal where you can indulge in anything you’d like.  Just make sure that you’ve eaten balanced meals all day leading up to the “off” meal and you get right back on track at the following meal to re-stabilize blood sugar levels.

We know how important your weekends are to you.   Taking the time to relax and enjoy is a critical component of a balanced lifestyle.   Following the above strategies will keep you on track towards reaching your goals without taking up your entire weekend.  Here’s to a fun and healthy weekend!

#Sunday, January 17, 2010
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

If you’re stabilizing you’re blood sugar, then you know how important it is to get complete protein every three to four hours.  One of the ways to help make that more convenient is to use deli meat as your source of protein for one of your daily meals.   Here is what to look for to make sure you and you’re family are eating the healthiest deli meat possible:

  1. Choose whole, oven-roasted then sliced deli meat in place of pre-packaged, processed, formed or section meats. 
  2. Stick to lean turkey breast, chicken breast, and roast beef.  Avoid beerwurst, bologna, pepper loaf, olive oil, capocolla, corned beef, liverwurst, pastrami, proscuitto, salami and pepperoni.
  3. Aim for low sodium products
  4. Avoid any products with fillers, gluten, artificial colors and trans fats

Info from boarshead.com

Even the most dedicated health nuts occasionally have the urge for something sweet.  And of course it’s okay to indulge in your favorite dessert once in a while.  But if you are looking for delectable options that are balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fat and will actually help you to reach your goals while satisfying your sweet tooth, our team of nutrition and fitness experts have a few ideas!  The following options are both healthy and satisfying.

Protein bars- look for a bar that contains a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat like Detour, Greens Plus Protein Bar, and Think Thin Bar for example.  All of these options come in a range of flavors and many of them taste like candy bars.

Protein Smoothies- Combine chocolate, vanilla or strawberry protein powder with skim or low fat milk (or soy milk), fruit  (for carbohydrates) and peanut butter, nuts or flax seed oil (for fat) along with ice in a blender for a smooth and refreshing shake.

Try one of our delicious sweet treats from our recipe collection (see full recipes in your Recipe Tab):

Pumpkin Ricotta Parfait

White Chocolate and Strawberry Pudding Parfait

Cottage Cheese, Apple and Peanut Butter Bowl

Banana Nut Muffins

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Protein Power Oatmeal

B&B Pancakes or Banana Cinnamon Pancakes with Homemade Berry Syrup

Cereal To Go

The options are endless.  Enjoy!

Our best,

The Venice Nutrition Team

#Saturday, January 02, 2010

These days, everyone is trying to save a dollar.  With the economy in crisis and so many people out of work, even every day staples like groceries can be hard to come by.    Many people think that eating healthy and often (the keys to success with the Venice Nutrition program) can be really pricey.  The fact is, if you shop “smarter” using the tips below, you can eat well while saving your hard earned cash.  Read on to learn more!


Do some research first to see what’s on sale and where.  Your newspaper is a great resource.

Join a coupon club online.  Do a google search to see which club is best for you.  Then simply print the coupons you need and save.

Places like Super Walmart are excellent for every day basic needs.  Most families who shop here weekly for groceries save hundreds!

Make a list and plan your spending to avoid impulse buys.

Never go to the grocery store hungry; doing so leads to impulse buying (and a lot of excess snack food you probably wouldn’t buy otherwise!)

Remember that the most natural, healthy foods like produce, proteins and dairy are generally on the perimeter of the grocery store (not in the aisles). 

Be open to trying new foods; if you see a fruit on sale that you haven’t tried before, give it a chance.  You’ll expand your culinary palette and save.

Stock up on inexpensive but healthy staples like eggs, chicken breasts (bone in, skin on is cheaper than regular breasts, just remove the skin once cooked to save calories), frozen veggies, milk, cheese, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits in season etc. so you always have them on hand.

Take a good look through your kitchen and prepare your menu for the week around what you already have on hand, and what's on sale.

Keep in mind that the larger stores are generally cheaper than smaller ones.

Avoid trips to the local convenient stores where you always end up spending too much.

If you go to the supermarket before 9 am, you may have a better chance of getting mark down items.

Check the front and back of your supermarket flyer, the best sales are usually on these pages.

Most bargains are found on the higher and lower shelves. Most expensive brands are at eye level (to get your attention).

If a product you use often is currently on sale, buy in bulk to save money.   As long as you know you’ll use it and you have the room for it, it’s not a waste of money.

Just because an item has the word "SALE" on it, doesn't mean you are getting it for a lower than normal price.  Compare it to the other brand or store names on the shelf- you may be surprised at how much cheaper some of the same products can be.

Always sign up for a savings card with your local grocery store.

Give store brands a try!  Remember that fancy packages and labels cost you more money for the same product.   Most stores will refund your money if you are not satisfied.

Buy and use in season veggies and fruit.  

Frozen fruit and veggies are great to use as well and have a lengthy shelf life.

Remember, convenience foods, such as pre-chopped veggies are more expensive. 

Always ask for a raincheck if an advertised special is out of stock. While you are waiting for the product to come back in, look for more coupons for that product.

Always return a product that is spoiled.

Send off for rebates to get items free, or nearly free!

*many tips derived from www.thefrugalshopper.com

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

We all know that daily exercise and regular activity is a must, especially as we age.  But did you know that regular exercise can actually help you lower your risk of some of the most common diseases?  It’s amazing to think that we can help to control our health and only 30 minutes a day of regular heart pumping exercise is enough for many people to make an impact!  In fact, check out how exercise works to ward off the following health risks.

Obesity-  Reducing your body fat along with increasing your lean muscle mass with good nutrition and the right exercise program is the most effective way to get and stay at a healthy weight.   Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding obesity is critical to helping to avoid other diseases. 

Type 2 Diabetes- With this dangerous (and often avoidable) disease on the rise, even in children, it’s no wonder Diabetes made the list.  Regular activity helps to lower blood sugar levels and improve the way your body uses the food and sugar you take in.

High Cholesterol-   Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise increases your HDL (the good cholesterol) while lowering your triglycerides; a great combination to keeping healthy cholesterol levels.

High Blood Pressure-   Regular activity prevents your heart from having to work too hard to support your body.  This lowers the pressure on your arteries, thus reducing blood pressure.
 
Heart Disease- Exercise is a great way to improve your heart function and enhances blood flow to help prevent heart disease.

Osteoporosis- In combination with a healthy diet including plenty of calcium and Vitamin D, weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, and weight training helps to  build bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.
 
We invite you to get moving today for a healthier future!  For correct exercise protocol and the most efficient forms of exercise, please visit your Exercise Tab in your online program.

Live well.

Our best,

The Venice Nutrition Team

*info derived from msnhealth.com, webmd.com and ehow.com

#Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Makes Venice Nutrition Unique and is This Program for Me?

At Venice Nutrition, we know how many nutrition and diet programs there are available for you to choose from.    We also understand how wary you may be to commit yourself to an online program without knowing if it works for you.  That is why we wanted to provide you with some answers about our program AND an opportunity to try the Venice Nutrition program FREE for 14 days with absolutely no obligation to join.   We won’t even ask for your credit card information.  Your trial membership will simply expire after your FREE trial.  Interested in receiving a 14 day FREE trial to Venice Nutrition and achieving all of your nutrition and health goals today?  Simply click this link and you're all set:   http://bit.ly/6YL5QK.    After all, what have you got to lose?


So what is Venice Nutrition?

If you are searching for a real-life nutrition program based on science and how your body really works, then you’re in the right place.  Venice Nutrition is a program that focuses on keeping blood sugar stable to allow your body to release stored fat, increase metabolism and energy levels and achieve overall balance within the body for optimal health, permanently.  Because Venice Nutrition is customized to your personal lifestyle, food choices, body composition and your unique health and fitness goals, our program works for people of all ages, backgrounds and goals.  We even offer two individual types of memberships for your convenience, our online program (see above to receive your FREE, no obligation trial) or the opportunity to work with your own private nutrition coach through our one on one consulting programs.   

At Venice Nutrition, we know the only way you will achieve permanent success is with a lasting education in how your body really works, real life tools you can use daily to work nutrition and fitness into your lifestyle, and ongoing support with health professionals who understand you and your goals.  We are committed to providing you with a nutrition program that guarantees all of these components for your success. 


What makes Venice Nutrition unique?


1.  Venice Nutrition is based on the science of blood sugar stabilization.  By eating the right amount of calories each meal, eating them at correct intervals, and making sure that the proper ratios of carbohydrates, protein, and fat are maintained, you create balance within your body and blood sugar is stabilized.  Once your blood sugar is stabilized, your body will naturally start breaking down fat on a consistent basis. By incorporating your customized exercise routine into your plan, you will then be able to build lean muscle mass while increasing metabolism.   Stable blood sugar will also eliminate your sugar cravings, increase your energy and focus, and reduce fatigue.   Because Venice Nutrition actually changes the way you’re body works, you’ll not only look great, but feel great as well. 

2.  We’ll eliminate the “Yo-Yo Diet Effect”!  So many diet programs are based on “quick fix” methods such as calorie restriction or cutting whole food groups such as carbohydrates. These “quick fixes” cause a "yo-yo" effect. You lose weight and then gain it back the moment you fall of course. Methods like this leave you feeling hungry and actually cause you to lose lean muscle mass, which drastically slows your metabolism. Unfortunately, when you gain the weight back, you don't regain muscle mass, only more body fat in its place, leaving you with a higher percentage of body fat than ever before. When people do these types of programs they typically repeat the process over and over with each attempt, resulting in the laying down of more and more body fat cells. Venice Nutrition is different.  We’ll teach you how to achieve permanent results the healthy way.  By maintaining stable blood sugar levels you will lose weight and keep it off permanently because your body will be changed from the inside out.

3.  We’ll teach you to stay the course.  Most programs focus on initial results and fail to teach you how to stay on track permanently.  Venice Nutrition will provide you with the motivation and education to implement your program indefinitely. We also provide the tools to get right back on track if you do fall off course.

4.  We focus on your entire lifestyle.  Most programs only teach you how to eat according to their rules and neglect other important aspects of your health. Venice Nutrition will teach you how to eat well to best fit your needs, how to exercise correctly, how to improve your sleep and stress levels, and how to work your program into your current lifestyle. You'll learn how to balance your health with all other aspects of your life including your profession, relationships and lifestyle.

5.  We know you are an individual with your own unique goals and lifestyle.  While most programs have the same "game plan" for everyone, Venice Nutrition knows you are an individual with your own unique goals, lifestyle, health challenges and food preferences. Our member's goals vary from person to person. Some of our members want to lose weight and body fat while others like professional athletes may want to build lean muscle and enhance performance. While blood sugar stabilization is the basis for everyone's program, each plan is created specifically for you based on your customized nutritional parameters, your current lifestyle and the goals you wish to achieve.


What does my customized Venice Nutrition Program include?

At Venice Nutrition, we know what it takes for you to be successful.  The tools that come with your program are exactly what you need to reach your goals.  Here is what your personal Venice Nutrition program includes (even if you only participate in the 14 day FREE trial!):

1.  Your Personalized Health Structure- is your game plan for success!  This includes customized meal and exercise plans, recommended sleep schedule to maximize results, supplement recommendations, water intake parameters and real-life, stress management tools.

2.  The “Getting Started Guide”, The “Three Phase Guide”, and even a “Goal Setting Guide”- from when you first get started with Venice Nutrition to maintaining your new lifestyle, we map out a go-to guide for you to stay the course.  With Venice Nutrition, we make it as simple as possible for you to stay the course!

3.  Customized Meal Plans with over 1000 Meal Options To Choose From!  Your customized meal plans are based on your goals, lifestyle, health, level of exercise and of course, your food preferences.  Each tasty meal in your plan is designed according to your personal nutritional parameters so there’s no guess work.  Just choose a meal in your plan and enjoy!  Even better, each meal can easily be edited to your liking.  With our extensive food database you will have the ability to quickly exchange food items within a meal and create new meals. The software does all the work for you. You’ll never need to count calories, do math, or try to figure out your own ratios!

4.  Creative and Healthy Recipe Database- full of FAST, EASY and DELICIOUS meal options perfect for singles or families that want to eat healthy without all the fuss!

5.  Your Personalized Exercise Plan- we know one size does not fit all when it comes to exercise.  Our goal is to design a workout for your body that will help you get faster results in less time.  We’ll teach you the right exercises, frequency, duration, target heart rate, and techniques for cardiovascular training, as well as core/ resistance training and stretching for your personal goals.

6.  Interactive Journal and Automatic Customized Grocery Shopping List- two incredibly powerful tools to help keep you organized and on track!

7.  Ongoing Support with Our Team of Certified Nutrition Coaches- we pride ourselves on the level of support and commitment we provide our members. If you have a question, just ask. Your customized program even comes with your own personal email coach for constant support.

8.  E-Newsletters, Health Blogs & Member Forum- connect with fellow members and nutrition coaches across the world and explore the most cutting edge tips and info in nutrition, fitness, health, and more!

9.  NEW-Monthly Coaching Webinar Series with creator, Mark MacDonald- we understand that even with the power of the Internet, it is still difficult to find health information that is relevant, backed by science, understood, and can be implemented into your lifestyle. For this reason, we've introduced a powerful Monthly Coaching Webinar Series for our members where you can join in, learn and even participate in Q & A.

And so much more…….!

Now is the time to make your health a priority permanently.  And you have nothing to lose!  To receive your FREE 14 day trial membership with absolutely NO commitments (we won’t even ask for your credit card info!), simply click this link and your all set:   http://bit.ly/6YL5QK .  We look forward to helping you to achieve all of your goals today.  Happy Holidays!

Our best,

The Venice Nutrition Team

#Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you are interested in becoming a Certified Nutrition Coach and earning a Nutrition Certification, then Venice Nutrition offers everything you need. Here are the 10 steps from start to finish...
#Friday, December 11, 2009

For those of you interested in earning a Nutrition Certification and becoming a Certified Nutrition Coach you may have been wondering if you can legally teach/coach nutrition even though you do not have a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition.  The answer is Yes you can, through Venice Nutrition and the IBNFC.

Since each state views Nutrition like a Licensed service, the Dietetic Association of each state created a Law to confirm that all nutritional advice was being given by qualified health professionals. Below is a link to the website that provides additional information regarding the Dietetic Laws of each state. You will also find the Exception to the Law that a Nutrition Coach Certification by the IBNFC and Venice Nutrition falls under.

Because of the Credential’s of the Venice Nutrition Medical Board, the Advanced Certification Course Curriculum & the Robust Venice Nutrition Software System, any individual that becomes Certified as an IBNFC Nutrition Coach & utilizes the Venice Nutrition Software System CAN Legally Teach Nutrition throughout the Continental US.

This is the link that describes the Nutrition Laws of each state:

http://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/licensure/index.htm

For states that have this law in place, below is the necessary requirement and the exception to the law that Venice Nutrition, LLC and IBNFC certified Nutrition Coaches fall under. The IBNFC governs and confirms all Certifications and content of the entire Venice Nutrition System. The Title below is taken from Georgia Licensure Law, the same exact law, with the same verbiage, is used by the other states that enforce the Dietetics Practice Act.

TITLE 43, PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES CHAPTER 11A. DIETETICS PRACTICE ACT.

43-11A-18 Exceptions

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect:

7. PERSONS WHO PROVIDE WEIGHT CONTROL SERVICES, provided the weight control program has been reviewed by, consultation is available from, and no program change can be initiated without the prior approval of either a dietitian licensed under this chapter, a dietitian licensed in another state which has licensure requirements which are substantially equal to the requirements contained in this act, or a registered dietitian

_________________________________________________

For more information on becoming a Certified Nutrition Coach through Venice Nutrition please visit our Certification page on our Health Professionals website.

Thank you for your interest in Venice Nutrition.