Health Talk Today


Make Preparations to Keep a Healthy Diet When You Go on Vacation

Guest post by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie.

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Going on vacation is an event that most families look forward to all year long.  For many people, family vacations are only possible once a year due to available finances and work and school schedules.  When vacation time rolls around, there are numerous outings and activities to look forward to.  Many people enjoy eating out and enjoying some of their favorite foods while they are away from home as part of their favorite activities.

Healthy Fruit

Plan Your Travel Time Meals and Snacks in Advance

In order to prepare yourself and your family to stick to a delicious but healthy diet, it is a good idea to plan out the majority of your snack and meals for your travel time.  If you will be spending a lot of time in a vehicle, taking along a cooler and packing healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, trail mix and homemade granola bars will help you to stay away from fast food restaurants and convenience stores for snacks.

Staying away from convenience stores while you are on the road will eliminate the temptation to purchase fat-filled foods such as candy bars and potato chips.  For family meals on the road, consider adding deli sandwiches consisting of BLTs or turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with lettuce, mustard and cucumbers. 

Finding a Health Friendly Hotel

Not all hotels are designed with healthy living in mind, but there are some establishments that cater to a healthy lifestyle, which are terrific choices for anyone who wants to maintain their diet while on vacation. These hotels are often tough to find so it is important to do some research prior to traveling. I have found that reading reviews from other travelers on the hotels and areas provides the most unbiased and honest opinion. I stumbled upon a great site where I was recently able to find a list Las Vegas hotels with a number of amenities including a vegetarian restaurant primarily because of the reviews from healthy conscious travelers such as myself. Such hotels will not only offer exercise facilities, but there may also be healthy food options from restaurants and room service. In addition, some hotels will offer active gatherings such as aerobics classes or group sports for guests to remain active during their stay.

Eating Out

If you have been avoiding eating out lately, familiarize yourself with the restaurants you will be visiting on your vacation. If possible, review menus online so you have an idea of what is available. One of the greatest pitfalls that diners and travels may face is dining out at restaurants, which can be accompanied with fatty appetizers, wine and spirits as well as caloric masses of food. Avoiding heavy appetizers and skipping the breadbasket is the first way to prevent overindulgence. It can be very easy to eat an excessive amount while waiting for a meal to arrive and chatting with fellow diners. Starting the meal with water or seltzer water flavored with lemon can help prevent mindless eating while enjoying conversation. Many restaurants offer a section on menus where healthy options are highlighted, which can be extremely helpful for travelers looking to separate unhealthy options from their healthy counterparts. While a salad may seem like the best choice, heavy dressings, cheeses and croutons can make salads a tricky pitfall that many diners become confused by. Instead, seek out grilled fish and chicken surrounded by steamed vegetables. When in doubt, diners monitoring their nutrition while traveling should never hesitate to ask servers and wait staff about the method of cooking, dressing options and fats used in a dish. Simply questioning a prospective meal may help diners save hundreds of calories by allowing them to pick another option or request alternative cooking methods, such as steaming, baking and grilling.

Cole MillenCole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Some people plan a trip to “get away,” while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter.

Visit Cole’s blog: Cole’s Mill.

Food That Is Good For You

I believe that continuing to take little steps in the right direction, will add up to a healthy lifestyle. And every time I take another step, I find there’s so much more I can do. There are many stages of eating healthy. Some people think processed lunch meat is healthy. Others think more chicken and less beef is better for them. And some won’t eat meat at all.

No matter what your eating habits are today, here are some little steps you can take …

Drink more water
Aim for 8 glasses of water a day. I’ve read that everything counts: Water, coffee, tea, even the water content of food like lettuce. I think only water is counted as water. That’s what I try to drink most of the time.

Eat less salt
Add a little salt if needed, as food is cooking. But, never add salt at the table.

Eat slowly and chew well
Put your fork down between bites. Chew at least 20 times per bite. Pay attention to feeling full. Stop when you get that feeling.

Eat food that is good for you
A plant based diet is one of the healthiest. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. And, to minimize pesticides, buy organic when possible. Use a non-toxic cleaner to wash fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt, germs from handling, surface pesticides and protective coatings. Even food you’re going to peel should be washed. When you peel or cut into it, you don’t want to drag dirt, germs and pesticides into the food.

Food That Is Good For You

Be sure to leave a comment. What’s your favorite food that is good for you?

Marilyn Kvasnok

Real Blueberries?


Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /


When you see blueberries on the box,
do you believe there are really
blueberries inside?

Check the ingredient list
to find out what’s REALLY
in your food.

Marilyn Kvasnok

Seven Simple Steps to a Healthier You and a Healthier Planet

Seven Simple Steps to a Healthier You and a Healthier Planet

(ARA) – Americans have traditionally considered the health of the planet and their personal health two distinct subjects.  Times have changed.  When we consider our personal health, many now see the connection to the environment.

“Most people want to be healthy and live on a clean and beautiful planet,” says Amy Lou Jenkins, a registered nurse who writes about nature and green living for, and who has authored the book, “Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting” “Now, it’s becoming important to enhance our own health, as we care for our Earth.  Fortunately, it’s easy to make green living choices that are good for you, your family and the planet.”

Jenkins offers these seven simple steps that can help you improve your own health, and care for the earth at the same time:

1. Replace car trips with a bike ride or a walk whenever possible.
Every day, Americans’ automobiles pour millions of pounds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Any step that reduces that output is a step toward better health for the environment.  Walking and biking are also great low-impact ways to exercise your muscles, burn calories and deliver cardiovascular benefits.  Taking a bike instead of a car for just one 4-mile round trip prevents the release of about 15 pounds of pollutants, according to the WorldWatch Institute.

2. Buy local foods and eat less meat.
Locally grown food requires less fuel to transport and causes the emission of fewer pollutants to arrive at the market than produce grown far from where you live.  A meal of meat uses exponentially more water, land and petroleum products than a plant-based meal.  The greenhouse gas emission associated with animal feed and animal methane increase environmental damage further.  Add to that the water pollution from runoff and land degradation from grazing and you begin to see the enormous ecologic strain caused by a diet rich in meat.  Lowering your red meat intake and increasing your consumption of fresh vegetables is associated with improved health, lower incidences of cancer and heart disease and a longer life.  In addition, buying local produce will directly benefit your community.

3. Discover solar cooking.
Whether you cook on an electric stove, gas range, gas grill or charcoal grill, traditional cooking consumes fossil fuel.  Consider buying a solar cooker and swap out propane and charcoal grills for sustainable solar energy.  Solar energy is carbon neutral and ultra clean.

4. Take the stairs.
Elevators use energy all day long and two-thirds of that consumption is used to move people up and down.  Reducing the number of elevator trips cuts the amount of energy used.  Plus, taking the stairs is an easy lifestyle change that can net a big payoff over time in heart health and weight management.  Overall, it is a healthier way to travel.

5. Get into gardening – all year long.
Gardening offers many health benefits, from mental relaxation to light cardiovascular exercise.  Indoor gardening with easy hydroponic systems can ensure you’ll have plenty of fresh, nutritious produce – even in the winter.  And by traveling from windowsill to plate, instead of being flown across the country or planet, your homegrown produce reduces fuel consumption and pollution.

6. Switch to all-natural products for cleaning, rather than toxic chemicals.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that it has found detergent in 69 percent of streams it has tested and disinfectants in 66 percent of tested waterways.  Fortunately, many manufacturers of household cleansers now offer all-natural lines.  By switching to natural products – including homemade cleaners made with simple pantry products like vinegar – you reduce your personal exposure to toxic chemicals and help keep them out of our groundwater.

7. Unplug.
American homes consume a staggering amount of electricity every year.  Switching off the computer, video games, TVs and cell phones not only reduces your home’s energy use, the electronic silence offers an invitation to family time to reconnect and spend time together.  Research shows that healthy relationships and social contacts are associated with long life and happiness.

You can find more green living news at

Marilyn Kvasnok

Slow Food ~ The Healthy Alternative to Fast Food

Alice Waters is a pioneer. She’s been preaching the virtues of cultivating fresh food for decades. Lesley Stahl interviews this world-renowned chef and restaurateur. Alice Waters hopes a slower approach to the food we eat will keeps us healthier and greener.

From the Chez Panisse Restaurant website:
“Alice and Chez Panisse have become convinced that the best-tasting food is organically grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound, by people who are taking care of the land for future generations. The quest for such ingredients has largely determined the restaurant’s cuisine. Chez Panisse has tried for years to make diners here partake of the immediacy and excitement of vegetables just out of the garden, fruit right off the branch, and fish straight out of the sea. In doing so, Chez Panisse has stitched together a patchwork of over sixty nearby suppliers, whose concerns, like the restaurant’s, are environmental harmony and optimal flavor.”

Chez Panisse is located in Berkeley, California, but Alice Water’s influence extends far beyond.

Marilyn Kvasnok
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