Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tips For Maintaining Healthy Joints and Choosing Great Products at Walmart!

Now that I am in my 40s, I have definitely shifted my focus in many ways when it comes to my fitness and nutrition goals.  One key issue that has been on my radar for a while now is maintaining healthy bones and joints.  So when I was approached recently by OmniChannel Health Media and its sponsor to write on the topic of joint health, namely shopping for products at Walmart that promote upkeep of our joints, I was all for it and am happy to share some of my tips and the latest research in this area!  

Joints are essential to keeping us moving.  They are the connections between bones. Smooth tissue called cartilage, synovium and synovial fluid cushions our joints so they do not rub together.  Unfortunately, factors such as increasing age, carrying too much weight and sustaining injuries can wear down cartilage ultimately leading to joint damage, discomfort and arthritis.  The good news is that there are ways that we can protect and maintain the health of our joints, namely by engaging in regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet.  Certain dietary supplements may also be useful.

Here are some basic tips for good joint health:

·      Keep on moving!

Regular activity, namely aerobic exercise like walking, swimming or biking, helps prevent excess weight gain, increases mobility and reduces joint swelling, stiffness and inflammation.  Adding strength training with weights (or exercises using our own body weight) helps maintain our muscle mass, which helps to support and stabilize our joints. It is also important to do daily stretches along with activity to promote mobility and range of motion.  If you have specific medical issues or concerns, check with your doctor about what activity is safe and right for you.  Sessions with a certified personal trainer or physical therapist can also be helpful to create a personalized exercise plan based on your history. Walmart has an excellent fitness section with weights, exercise equipment and work out gear to help give you a jump start on your routine. Grab a BPA-free reusable water bottle to help hydrate you while you’re at it!

·      Maintain a healthy weight

Keeping your weight in a healthy range can a have a huge impact on preserving the function of your joints. The heavier your weight, the more strain that is put on your joints, which can lead to a lot of wear and tear and ultimately injury. If you are overweight, then beginning a weight loss program under the supervision of your doctor and a registered dietitian is a great place to start. Regular exercise (as listed above) and a healthy diet with portion control and plenty of fruits and veggies can help with weight management.  Hit the colorful produce aisle at Walmart to stock up!

·      Nourish your joints with the right foods

The best way to approach eating for healthy joints is to decrease the amount of pro-inflammatory foods in your diet and replace them with foods that fight inflammation, namely those high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  Eat less processed foods, sweets and fast food because they contain saturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids and sugar, all of which increase the inflammatory response in our body.  Instead, fuel up with antioxidant rich choices such as a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, ginger, nuts, tea, and olive oil.  Include fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds in your daily eating plan, which are good sources omega-3 fatty acids.  All these healthy foods are available in the grocery section of your local Walmart!

·      Know which supplements may be helpful to you 

Supplementation with Vitamin D, MSM, turmeric, Sam-e and Omega-3 fatty acids has shown promising results in studies relating to joint health.  Probably the greatest and most impressive amount of research has been conducted on the use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.  When used together, they can help protect and maintain cartilage, along with reducing joint discomfort. Cosmin DS is a popular, trademarked combination of high quality glucosamine and chondroitin, specifically used in clinical trials. Before you hit the Walmart pharmacy to grab it and possibly some of these other helpful products, discuss them with your doctor and registered dietitian to confirm they are an appropriate option for you.

Hope these tips have been helpful and I wish you a lifetime of happy and healthy joints!  Also, for more information on this topic and coupons for Cosamin DS at Walmart, check out Dr. Lori Shemek’s great article HERE!!

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. 
Author’s Note: This blog has been compensated by OmniChannel Health Media and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Recipe Redux Post #44: Chili Lime Shrimp

The Recipe ReDux for March is "seven ingredient (or less) recipes!" This was certainly a challenge I could get behind because it is always a goal of mine to up my collection of quick and easy recipes!  In my efforts to try and cook more seafood I decided to buy some fresh shrimp and use that as my inspiration.  I simply marinated them with some basic yet super flavorful ingredients and grilled them thereafter.  They came out really delicious - wonderful on top of salad, in tacos, in a stir fry or just by themselves as a yummy appetizer.  I hope you will give this recipe a try and check out al the other seven ingredient or less recipes from the talented Recipe ReDux crew!


¼ cup lime juice
4 teaspoons brown sugar
½  teaspoon chili powder
8 ounces shrimp, cleaned, peeled and de-veined  (about 12-14 pieces)
4 skewers


Mix the lime juice, brown sugar and chili pepper in a small bowl. Add the shrimp to a large zip lock bag or sealable container, pour in the lime juice marinade and mix well to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Preheat a barbeque grill on high heat.  If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 5-10 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill. Remove the shrimp from the container, discard the marinade,  and add 3-4 pieces to each skewer. Grill a few minutes on each side until shrimps are slightly pink.

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: 1 skewer (about 3-4 shrimp)Calories 60  Protein 8 g  Carb 6 g  Fiber  0g Sugars    g Fat  0.5 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium 320 mg


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Update on the Eating Healthy With Diabetes Grocery Tour I conducted this past weekend!

I had a great time leading a "Eating Healthy with Diabetes" grocery store tour last weekend sponsored by OneTouch.  Click HERE to read a summary about my awesome experience! The tour took place at VONS  Redondo Beach.  You can register for future tours across California and the US by clicking HERE.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fabulous Food Finds: Earth Balance Spread

Butter vs. margarine- which to choose…it’s been debated for years, why? Here’s the scoop… Butter is all natural but is high in saturated fat- the artery clogging fat which is linked to heart disease, cancer , etc.  It also contains dietary cholesterol as well. Margarine used to contain trans fats, man-made fats that have equally harmful effects.  Fortunately all the backlash against trans fats has led many food companies to minimize or remove them completely from their products, so most margarines are trans fatty acid free now. Most margarines have 1-3 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, in contrast to butter which has 7 grams/ tablespoon, more than twice as much! So what’s the next catch? Margarines are not natural- and contain chemicals like preservatives, colorings and flavorings.  In my quest to use more healthy, REAL wholesome foods I discovered EarthBalance Spread.  As stated on the companies website “All of our products are 100% plant-based, vegan, non-GMO, lactose-free, gluten-free, egg-free, casein-free, have 0g of trans fat and, oh, did we mention they’re absolutely delicious? Because they are. At Earth Balance®, taste is king, and that’s a commitment we live by every single day. …To put it simply: We use only natural ingredients. We’re organic-minded.”  

Earth balance is all natural, has no cholesterol/trans fats, is low in saturated fat, tastes delicious, works great in baking and cooking (even the tub varieties) and keeps much longer than butter.  The ingredient list is very un-intimidating too! I promise that I am not being paid by the company to write this, I just like the product and want to spread the word (no pun intended!)  Try it in my white Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie and Carrot Cake recipes.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Gabby's Eats: Double Banana Yogurt Pops

Gabby has been very into bananas lately, hence a huge container of banana vanilla yogurt from Trader Joes that we just happened to have in the fridge.  

She wanted to use that as the base for a new recipe.  We simply added fresh banana slices to make a very simple yogurt pop with BIG banana flavor.  The result turned out great and because the ingredients are only yogurt and fruit they are pretty much guilt free. In fact, we wouldn’t even judge if decided to grab one or two for breakfast on a warmer morning…..we may just try that ourselves!


2 cups of banana or vanilla low fat yogurt (we used and highly recommend Trader Joes organic brand)
1 large banana cut into small chunks
six 3 ounce Dixie cups and  popsicle sticks
plastic wrap


Combine all of the ingredients in medium size bowl.  Spoon the mixture into six Dixie cups.  Carefully place the filled cups in a container (a mini muffin tin works well) cover with plastic wrap, poke holes in it and add popsicle sticks in the center of each cup.  Freeze for 4-6 hours until solid and enjoy!  

Note: You can also freeze without the sticks, remove from the Dixie cups let soften a bit and eat in a bowl ice cream style which is delicious too!

Makes 6 pops, six servings

Serving size: 1 yogurt pop Calories 100 Protein  4 g Carb  20 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 16  g Fat   1 g Saturated fat  0.5 g Sodium  50 mg

Gabby's Shot:


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