July 8, 2021
This Quarter's theme of "Local Communities," highlighting the RESILIENCY pillar, focuses on the health benefits of being involved in our communities, including immediate—such as family and friends—and larger communities like a workplace, neighborhood, or city. Through the lens of the NOURISHMENT and SUSTAINABILITY pillars, this quarter is focused on ways to support local farms that produce nutritious foods with sustainable practices. Spending time outside with friends and family is a great way to live up to the MOVEMENT pillar's recommendations. Through the RESILIENCY pillar's lens, community care is also self-care and is important for your overall wellness and that of others. We discuss the value of group activities in June's post below. We'll continue to share more about this theme in the coming weeks so check back here for updates!
The value of group activities
June 28, 2021
Columnist Mark Shields famously quoted, "There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better." Completing activities in a group setting or within your immediate community, can be very advantageous. As a collective, we can benefit from exercising, painting, cooking, and completing other partnered and group activities together.
These benefits include:
- Forming and reinforcing bonds
- Fostering idea generation and creativity
- Learning from one another and sharing diverse perspectives
- Blending complementary strengths
- Problem solving
- Accountability and motivation
- Easing workload burnout
- Having fun!
The next time you plan to cook a meal, workout or do any kind of creative activity, grab a friend or family member to do it with you. You both will benefit more greatly than if you did it alone!
RUNNING AND WALKING 101
June 21, 2021
An essential component of the Mediterranean lifestyle that leads to desirable health outcomes is physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise 5 days per week for heart health.
Walking and running are excellent cardio workouts and can be considered moderate or rigorous, depending on the speed and incline. Many claim they find clarity of mind while running or walking long distances, while others like to just get a quick run or power-walk in to meet the cardio recommendations and get their heart pumping before the rest of their work-out.
If you are new to running or walking for exercise and are looking for a place to start, you've come to the right place.
Before getting started:
1. Buy the right shoes. Test them out in the store and wear them around the house before breaking them in on the road to be sure they are comfortable.
2. Make a plan. Come up with a goal for yourself to start, whether that be running/walking 1 mile or 10 miles, or keeping pace for 5 minutes or 30 minutes. Try our cardio challenge to figure out how to slowly increase your time and distance.
When starting to run/walk:
1. Warm up and cool down. This includes stretching before and after as well as starting and ending with a warm-up walk.
2. Breathe. In through the nose and out through the mouth, and keep your breathing on rhythm with your pace.
3. Pay attention to your form. As you're getting started, make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back and down, your head up, and your core pulled in. Practicing this posture will help make it easier to keep correct form as you progress.
4. Plan your meals and snacks. This matters most if you are planning more vigorous exercise. If exercising first thing in the morning, eat a small carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a granola bar, and hydrate with water. After your workout, eat complex carbohydrates and protein, such as Greek yogurt and berries or chia seed pudding. If working out in the afternoon/evening, eat a substantial lunch a few hours before, such as a grilled
chicken Greek salad or grilled salmon grain bowl, and drink water. After your workout, rehydrate with waterand consume dinner within a few hours post workout. If your mealtime will be delayed, eat a snack of carbohydrates and protein to restore energy and help build muscle, such as trail mix, pita with hummus, or string cheese and an apple. Water is the best beverage for hydration, unless you are working out for over an
hour at high intensity, then consider a sports drink.
5. Track your progress. You may not know how much you've improved without keeping track of things such as your distance, time, speed, posture, pace, breathing, and enjoyment. Be proud of yourself every step of the way, because any effort you make is more than you would have done if you hadn't tried!
May is mental health awareness month
May 3, 2021
Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Mental health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Mental health is an integral part of everyone's overall wellbeing and can be improved with a balanced eating pattern that includes important nutrients like omega-3's, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin D and more.
Learn more by watching this great discussion between R/A Registered Dietitian Aimee Takamura, and Jennifer Monness, 500+ hour certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator, and founder of the Meditation Lab. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UTm2Xt9E5g.
May 1, 2021
Our new and holistic wellbeing platform, ForLife, is launching! ForLife was designed by our team of Registered Dietitians empowering our guests and associates to make informed decisions for personal and environmental health while cultivating wellbeing practices for life.
ForLife activates four pillars of our wellbeing journey:
As our accounts begin to reopen, they will be implemented this platform. In the meantime, the great material, recipes, handouts, and more are being shared with our teams, and here on the wellness page of our website, including previous posts below.
SUSTAINABLE BODIES, SUSTAINABLE PLANET
April 5, 2021
Sustainable eating continues to gain more and more attention as individuals, communities, and companies begin to invest in personal health as well as planetary health.
One way to measure the environmental impact of our food choices is through our carbon footprint, or amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, like food production. Our food supply alone accounts for about 20% of total U.S. GHG emissions, which is a result of manufacturing, travel, farming practices, etc. To make matters worse, about 45% of all harvested produce is discarded, and
roughly 33% of all food produced is wasted annually. Wasted food is the largest contributor to landfills. Luckily, we can make conscious changes in our daily dietary habits that will help.
Eat More Plants and Less Animal Protein
Adopting a plant-forward diet is better for your body and the environment in the long run. Plant-forward does not mean strictly vegetarian or vegan; it means putting plants at the center of your plate, with animal products, if desired, as accompaniments.
Substantial evidence supports the health benefits of a plant-forward diet. For example, substituting fish, beans, nuts, and legumes in place of red meat has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Although fish are not plants, they contribute health benefits to a plant-forward diet. While red meat is a great source of iron and protein, its saturated fat content can raise LDL cholesterol, increasing heart disease risk. This is not to say we should avoid eating red meat forever; just rethink the proportions of red meat in your diet. In addition to protein sources, make sure fruits and vegetables fill half of your plate with each meal—these are some of the most nutrientdense foods we have access to.
Foods with the greatest carbon footprint are red meats, like beef and lamb, because their production uses more resources like water, land, and feed, creating more pollution. Of course, there are many more parts to this equation. Foods with some of the smallest carbon footprints are produce, grains, legumes, and nuts.
The smaller the distance your foods need to travel, the less pollution is created. Produce is picked at peak ripeness, so you're getting an ideal product in terms of taste and nutrition. Buying local also supports small business in your community.
FROM OUR DIETITIAN: Get Moving
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.
THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET & LIFESTYLE
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.