March 9, 2021

Begin the New Year on a good foot, literally. Staying active has both short and long-term benefits, like increased focus, improved mood, better quality sleep, and reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancers. Movement is a key component of the Mediterranean lifestyle, which has been shown to result in the benefits mentioned above.

In today's culture where sitting is the norm, especially at work, it may be difficult to find time to get up and get moving. In fact, adults sit for an average of 6.4 hours per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A sedentary lifestyle works against all the great benefits of physical activity, with excessive sitting time (8+ hours per day) almost doubling one's risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The good news is, small moves can make big differences. Any movement, no matter how small or short in duration, is better than nothing!

Wondering how to fit more movement into a busy work schedule?
Try this 30-day office standing challenge with your co-worker to help you start a simple and healthy routine.

Week One: Start slow. Commit to standing for 10 minutes once an hour. Don't feel you have to stand still. Feel free to walk around on your feet or just refill your water bottle in the pantry. If you miss one session, don't beat yourself up. The goal this week is to move a little more.

Week Two: Try to add five more minutes every time you stand. Standing can be mixed into phone calls or work discussion. The goal for this week is to become more comfortable on your feet for longer periods of time.

Week Three: It's time to extend your standing time longer to 20 minutes per hour. Figure out what types of work are easier to do on your feet—then do them! Walking meetings, standing desks, or cafe-height tables for your laptop are easy options.

Week Four: You are almost a standing pro! The final goal is to add in stretching, squatting, or other movements in your standing routine. Calf stretches at a standing desk or simply walking are great choices.

If you haven't already, invite a colleague to try this standing challenge and continue to practice daily movement.

FROM OUR DIETITIAN: Resiliency, know your numbers

February 1, 2021

February is American Heart Month! The number one cause of death in America is heart disease, so it's worth the extra attention this month. The good news is, lifestyle factors play the greatest role in achieving optimal heart health. Following a Mediterranean lifestyle, which includes moderate physical activity and foods rich in healthy fats, whole grains, lean proteins and fiber, is a sustainable and effective way to promote lifelong heart health.

Know Your Blood Pressure
About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, but many don't realize it. High blood pressure can be a "silent killer" that leads to life-threatening cardiovascular problems without any symptoms. There are two numbers included in a blood pressure reading. The top number represents the pressure in your blood vessels as the heart beats (called systolic pressure). The bottom is the pressure as your heart relaxes and fills with blood (diastolic pressure). For a blood pressure reading of 120/80, the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80. Numbers higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a red flag that you need to be careful about your health and lifestyle. When blood pressure is high, the heart may work too hard and the high force of blood pressure may damage blood vessels and important organs.

Know Your Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol causes the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries. When cholesterol levels are high, the heart has to work harder to circulate your blood throughout the body. With increased buildup, the opening in the arteries narrow or close which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Maintaining a healthy level of total blood cholesterol <200 mg/dL is considered desirable for adults, with the breakdown being an LDL less than 100mg/dL and HDL greater than 50mg/dL.

Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight and waist circumference is important in minimizing your risk for heart disease. Women with a waist size less than 35 inches and men with a waist size less than 40 inches have a lower risk of heart disease because of less fat build-up around the heart and in the abdomen. In addition to diet, physical activity plays an important role in heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 50 minutes of moderate physical activity 3 times per week or 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 3 times per week.

The Bottom Line
The combination of knowing your numbers along with the Mediterranean lifestyle can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and help you live a healthy life.


December 30, 2020

It seems as though every day a new diet is introduced. While most of these trendy programs are lacking evidence to support their claims, there are a few popular diets that have been proven effective to benefit health. The Mediterranean Diet is one of them. First identified for its health benefits in the 1950s and 60s, it is one of the most researched diet patterns. There is a wealth of compelling evidence demonstrating its usefulness in improving various clinical markers of good health and preventing chronic disease.

Healthy Eating Pattern vs. Diet Prescription

The Mediterranean diet pattern doesn't stipulate rules, measurements, or food groups to avoid; rather, it provides general guidelines about the types of foods to emphasize and those to limit based upon the traditional eating patterns of those living in the Mediterranean region, whose exceptional health piqued the interest of researchers studying the relationship between diet and disease. Research has shown that some of the health benefits of this eating pattern are a result of the combination of foods eaten, not any individual component alone. The greatest health benefit results from all of the interacting factors of a lifestyle as opposed to any individual nutrient in isolation, like many "diets" prescribe.

Overall Guidelines of a Mediterranean Eating Pattern

At its core, the Mediterranean Diet is a plant-based eating pattern that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. While it does include lean animal protein like fish, seafood, poultry, dairy and eggs, red and processed meats are limited. This eating pattern is rich in healthy fats from liberal amounts of olive oil, fish, avocado, nuts and seeds. Components of this eating pattern vary by region based on what is locally available, rather than importing processed products. The traditional Mediterranean population consumes mostly--if not exclusively--whole foods and produce at the peak of their season. Water is the primary beverage of choice with moderate amounts of wine (maximum of one glass per day for women and two for men). Physical activity is a key component, focusing on enjoyable activities. The overall diet is focused less on portion and amount, with the individual free to eat intuitively.

Strategies for Creating a Medi Plate

  • Include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, seeds, nuts and olive oil.
  • Focus on plant-based protein, fish and seafood, with small amounts of poultry, eggs, and milk
  • Limit red and processed meat and added sugars
  • Include healthy fats from olive oil, oily fish and nuts to benefit from omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eat whole, fresh foods and limit processed foods.
  • Hydrate adequately with water. Red wine can be enjoyed in moderation with meals.
  • Daily physical activity is important.

Look for more information about the Mediterranean Lifestyle and its benefits in the coming months!

RADISH: RESTAURANT ASSOCIATES Delicious, Innovative, Sustainable, Healthy

Restaurant Associates guests want to eat better and feel better. At RA, our job is to make it easy for them. We created the RADISH program with the goal of enhancing the health and wellness of our guests through increased variety and visibility of better-for-you options.

Taking inspiration from Menus of Change, we sought to integrate wellness and sustainability under the emblem of RADISH: Delicious, Innovative, Sustainable and Healthy food.

We believe first and foremost that our food must be delicious. Innovation for the RADISH program comes not only in the form of culinary innovation, but also technology and integration with other wellness programs. Sustainability comes through in how we formulate our recipes and menus, and this is interwoven with the healthy food component.

We take very seriously the idea of deciding for others what is healthy and sustainable. We knew that we needed to start with nutrition criteria, emphasizing calorie balance, sodium, fat and sugar. Next, we wanted to build culinary themes, and we were heavily influenced by Menus of Change.

In order to promote wellness and sustainability, RADISH emphasizes:

1. More vegetable-forward cooking.
2. Less emphasis on animal products.
3. Appropriate portion sizes.
4. Healthier cooking methods.


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