Category Archives: wellness

farro salad recipe

Farro Health Benefits + Which Kind Is Best For You?

FARRO: The Trendy, Not-so-new, “Supergrain”

Step aside quinoa. Farro is not only here, but it seems to be everywhere. Surely you’ve seen farro dishes gracing the menus at all the trendiest spots. While it may seem as though farro’s popularity sprouted overnight, (my spell-checking doesn’t even recognize it yet! Did you mean, “Fargo,” or perhaps, “Mia Farrow?”) the truth is, farro is an ancient grain that has been around for centuries.

This newly-hailed “super grain” served as a staple for the Roman legions and tantalized the tastebuds of Egyptian kings. However, as more and more people embrace the health benefits of whole grains, farro’s popularity has taken off and this light and slightly nutty grain is finding its way into a variety of recipes, from salads to breakfast bowls.

What Are the Weight Loss / Health-Benefits of Farro

But why farro? What are the health benefits? For starters, farro is high in fiber, which makes it a heart-healthy food that is great for digestion. In fact, one ½ cup serving of farro contains around seven grams of cholesterol-reducing fiber. Fiber rich foods also keep you feeling full for longer, which should cut out those cravings.

Vegetarian? Or perhaps you are trying to cut down on your meat consumption? Farro is a wonderful source of plant-based protein, in fact, this ancient grain provides the same amount of protein you would find in most beans and legumes.

Farro also contains a higher amount of antioxidants than wheat and other types of whole grains, including phenolic compounds, which are shown to be linked to disease prevention. The specific compound found in farro, called cyanogenic glucosides, can help boost immunity levels, lower inflammation, and cholesterol, as well as regulate blood sugar levels.

Is Farro Gluten-Free? Farro is actually a type of wheat. Being wheat it contains the gluten protein, (also found it barley, bulgur, & rye) so farro is not gluten-free!

Which Type of Farro Should You Buy: Whole, Semi-Pearled, or Pearled?

farro recipe weight watchers

Now that you know the health benefits of farro, it’s time to head to the store to buy it. Wait- not so fast! There’s more to know before you toss farro into your shopping cart. You’ll want to distinguish between whole farro, semipearled and pearled farro or you could end up preparing yourself a farro breakfast bowl that’ll cause you to chip a tooth!

  • Pearled Farro: Pearled farro has been polished to remove most of the outer bran, which makes it more tender and requires a shorter cooking time of around 25 minutes. It’s the fastest and easiest farro to cook
  • Semi-Pearled Farro: Semipearled is similar to pearled, but it does retain some of the bran and may require a few extra minutes of cooking. A good compromise between health benefits and convenience
  • Whole Grain Farro: Whole grain farro has the highest nutritional content, with the bran still intact, but requires overnight soaking. If you try to cook whole farro the same way you’d cook pearled farro, your grains will be as hard as a rock! Make sure to distinguish which type you are buying before you attempt to cook it, for the best results.

As far as which type of farro to buy – it’s a personal choice. You can’t go wrong- farro is great for your body in any form. If you want to receive the maximum health benefit, however, go for the whole grain. or at least the semi-pearled variety. Just don’t forget to toss it in some water before you go to bed at night to save yourself some frustration… or a sore jaw.

How Many Calories / How Much Fat Does Farro Have?

While there are big-time health benefits to eating farro including high protein and fiber, it’s relatively high in calories. For example, one cup of cooked or uncooked faro has about 300 calories, which is twice much as a lower-calorie alternative like bulgur wheat

A cup of farro also has about 2 grams of fat, which is also more than double what bulgur has. So, really, if you are on a diet focused on low-calorie intake, consider substituting grilled vegetables or bulgur for farro.

Farro Salad Recipes (Mostly Vegetarian)

mediterranean farro salad recipe

Whether or not you are on a diet, here are couple of popular recipes for farro salad:

Weight Watchers & Farro Recipes: Tasty Farro Salad & More

Wondering how many weight watchers points farro recipes have? There are a number of good farro recipes on the Weight Watchers site, including faro salad

turmeric health benefits

8 Health Benefits From Turmeric (Weight Loss + Skin Health!)

Health benefits of turmeric: There’s been a lot of talk lately about the unexpected health benefits that come with taking turmeric. Want to know just what all the hype surrounding this ginger-like root and spice is all about? 

Keep reading to learn about eight ways turmeric can improve your health.

1. Turmeric (Curcumin) Is An Anti-Inflammatory

New studies have found that chronic inflammation plays a role in many – possibly all – noninfectious diseases. The news of inflammation’s role in so many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and metabolic disease, opens new possibilities for the treatment and even prevention of these diseases. Welcome, turmeric.

Curcumin, one of the numerous active ingredients in turmeric, has potent anti-inflammatory abilities. Curcumin has received substantial attention within the medical community for its beneficial properties. It has been compared to some of the most effective pharmaceutical medicines for inflammation.

Turmeric, which can be taken orally or applied as a salve, has shown success in treating arthritis, gout and muscle injuries.

If you happen to be one of the 20% of women who suffer from menstrual pain severe enough to interfere with your daily life, turmeric may bring you relief. Thanks to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, taking turmeric has proven effective in treating menstrual symptoms.

2. Turmeric Can Boost Your Brain & Fight Depression

In ancient medicine, turmeric was used for increasing concentration and bettering memory retention, and its brain boosting benefits are continually recognized in modern science.

Many brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, are linked to a decreased level of a brain hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF. Put simply, the curcumin in turmeric increases the levels of BDNF in the brain, delaying and sometimes even reversing symptoms of these brain disorders.

Recent research revealed that taking turmeric increases the bioavailability of DHA (that’s that supplement you see on the shelves in Whole Food’s). DHA is a major structural fat found in the brain that is crucial to its function. That’s right: turmeric makes your brain work better.

Imagine what these geniuses could have done if they had included turmeric in their diet!

Turmeric relieves inflammation of the brain – inflammation that causes the brain to shut down energy production. The shut down causes mental fatigue and slows down the signals between our brains and our bodies.

As a result, taking turmeric has proven extremely effective in the treatment of depression, mood swings, brain fog, ADHD, and anxiety. It has even been compared to the anti-depressant Prozac.

turmeric bark benefit

3. Turmeric Keeps Your Skin Healthy

Turmeric can help you take better care of your skin.

If you are concerned about acne, try this DIY turmeric mask which stops the growth of acne-causing bacteria and reduces oil secretion. It also helps reduce pigmentation and even out skin tone.

Turmeric fights wrinkles and other signs of aging by slowing down cell damage. It can also be used as an exfoliant to improve skin texture.

Turmeric’s aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties can benefit the skin, too, by reducing acne scaring and treating dry skin and eczema.

4. Turmeric Promotes Weight Loss

Like CoQ10 and colostrum, taking turmeric helps speed up your metabolism, increasing your calorie burn and promoting weight loss. It also helps detoxify your liver and reduce fat mass, both essential to successful weight loss efforts.

Turmeric helps turn white fat cells (bad fat cells) into brown fat cells (the good ones), preventing the accumulation of bad fat in our bodies’ tissues.

Turmeric improves digestion (which we will talk about more below). Making sure our digestive systems are working smoothly is particularly important if we are looking to slim down.

Turmeric can be a great supplement to your tea drinking regimen for weight loss.

*New: Try NOOM for Free or, save $100 on Nutrisystem.

5. It’s A Powerful Antioxidant

Antioxidants are crucial in fighting those terrible free radicals we hear about that can cause DNA and cell damage in our bodies.

Vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant, has nothing on turmeric. Taking turmeric has proven to be five to eight times more effective than taking vitamin E!

Turmeric goes a step further: not only does it help us fight the nasty free radicals, it can also actually prevent their development, thus significantly reducing the risk of free radical damage.

6. Taking Turmeric Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease

Turmeric attacks heart disease from a few different angles.

First, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 inhibits our bodies from creating too much bad amino acids that can cause severe damage to our cell walls. This damage in turn causes heart complications.

Second, taking turmeric helps balance our cholesterol levels buy eliminating the bad cholesterol from our arteries.

Lastly, turmeric helps improve the function of our blood vessels. In fact, in one study of patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery, taking turmeric decreased the risk of heart attack in the hospital by 65%.

7. Taking Turmeric Helps Prevent and Treat Cancer

Studies have shown that taking turmeric can reduce the growth of tumors as well as stop the cancer from spreading.

Curcumin, the antioxidant in turmeric, slows down the growth of a protein essential to tumor growth. It has also been directly linked with the reduction of colon cancer cells.

A recent study has found evidence that taking turmeric not only treats cancer, but can also prevent it from growing in the first place. Turmeric proved to be particularly effective in preventing colorectal cancer, but research on its effect in the treatment of other cancers is currently underway.

8. Improves Gut Health

When you think of “gut health,” you might first think of probiotics, but turmeric benefits your gut too. Because of turmeric’s soothing properties, it has long been used to treat patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (otherwise known as IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other diseases of the digestive system.

These diseases are all linked to inflammation of the gut. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties strike again!

Taking turmeric can relieve constipation and cramping as well as bleeding in the bowel by eliminating irritation throughout the gut. It calms the digestive system, relieving symptoms of gas and bloating.

Another gut health benefit of taking turmeric? Turmeric stimulates the gall balder to help the body break down and digest food.

Turmeric, My Hero

Turmeric isn’t the only thing you should be adding to your routine to make you the best you possible.

tryptophan turkey diet

Better Sleep for Weight Loss? Yes! Eat Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Better Sleep Equals Better Weight LossHow Can Two People on the Same Diet Diet Get Different Results?

The difference between success and failure in your weight loss program might be the sleep you’re getting. Try adding tryptophan to your diet to help fall asleep, and get better quality sleep!

Jennifer and Elizabeth are two friends who started a weight loss journey together. They both use a fitness app to keep track of their meals, take neighborhood walks and they sweat together through Zumba class at 24 hour fitness.

Jennifer’s weight has been steadily coming off, while Elizabeth is struggling. On the surface, it appears they are following the same plan, so why is Elizabeth having a harder time? The difference might lie in their sleep habits.

While Jennifer sleeps a solid eight hours a night, Elizabeth struggles to sleep. She goes to bed around 11:00, but often tosses and turns until well after midnight. Once asleep, she wakes often and during the day, she’s groggy and unfocused. Turns out, her sleeps habits are keeping Elizabeth from successfully losing weight.

Good Sleep Habits Help You Lose Weight!

Sleeping less than seven hours a night can wreak havoc on an otherwise successful dieting plan. In fact, going several days without a proper night’s sleep will affect the body’s ability to use insulin correctly. In those who are short on sleep, fats will circle through the blood, delivering more insulin to the body. This excess insulin causes fat to become stored in the body, resulting in weight gain.

Lack of Sleep Makes You More Hungry & Gain Weight.

If that’s not enough to convince you to change your sleep habits, it has also been proven that lack of sleep affects hormones in the body, leaving you to feel hungry more often. Talk about adding insult to injury! Similarly, not getting enough shut-eye also affects judgment, pushing you towards food you know are not good for you. Bottom line – make sleep a priority.

Add More L-Tryptophan to Your Diet; Sleep Better, Lose Weight!

Getting more sleep is easier said than done. Elizabeth was still finding it hard to settle down at night, even though she realized her sleep deficiency was keeping her from properly losing weight. For people like Elizabeth, where sleep is an issue, adding foods rich in tryptophan into a meal plan can work wonders.

New: Is Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate Better Than the Food Pyramid?

How Tryptophan Can Help With Sleep

Tryptophan (also called L-tryptophan) is an essential amino acid that is supplied to the body through diet. The body uses tryptophan to make niacin (a B-vitamin that aids digestion) and serotonin.

Serotonin is hugely important, and as a neurotransmitter it influences most of your brain cells. It directly affects not only your sleep, but your mood, appetite, memory, and even social behavior. Eating more tryptophan helps raise your serotonin levels, so start thinking of how to get more tryptophan in your diet asap!

Foods Rich In Tryptophan: Turkey Alternatives

You probably have heard that gorging on Thanksgiving turkey is likely to make you sleepy. That’s because turkey is rich in tryptophan, but it comes with a costly 4500 calorie health bomb known as “Thanksgiving dinner.”

Yikes! Don’t be discouraged, though. You can give thanks that there are plenty of other tryptophan-rich foods that are also healthy for you to consider all year-round. Here are some foods rich in tryptophan that you can start adding to your diet:

  • Eggs & cheese
  • Pineapples
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Soybeans & tofu
  • Salmon

There are so many recipes that incorporate these ingredients to help you on your way to a better night’s sleep. If you are short on time, you can always keep nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts) on-hand for snacking. About ¼ of a cup ought to give you that boost of tryptophan you need for a more restful sleep.

Tryptophan + Healthy Carbohydrates = Better Sleep

To best achieve a serotonin boost from these foods, the key is to eat them along with a serving of healthy carbohydrates, such as rice or oatmeal.

Example: Most classic mac & cheese recipes combine several tryptophan-rich foods (cheese, eggs, and milk) together with a carb (healthy pasta) to deliver a boost of tryptophan.

Coupons: If you’re following a program like Weight Watchers (today’s specials here) you’re going to need to count some calories and Weight Watchers points to see where these foods can fit in!

Tryptophan: The Missing Piece of Your Weight-Loss Plan?

Once Elizabeth began adding tryptophan-rich foods into her diet, she found herself sleeping better at night. Sometimes it isn’t just about how many calories you are eating throughout the day, but what you are getting those calories from.

You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to get that high dose of tryptophan. Add these foods to your diet starting today to be on your way to a better night’s sleep and to achieve those fitness goals.

Fit Tryptophan Into Your Diet or Weight Loss Program

Determining which tryptophan-rich foods to add to your diet depends on a number of factors. If you aren’t on a regimented weight loss program, getting tryptophan into your diet might be as simple as making an effort to eat more tryptophan rich foods.

flaxseed weight loss benefit

5 Flaxseed Health Benefits: Weight Loss, Fiber, Immune System

The Benefits of Eating Flaxseed: Flaxseed might be a great addition to your diet, as they are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and can reduce your appetite by making you feel full sooner. Here’s the skinny on the benefits of eating flaxseed:

Top 5 Flaxseed HealthBenefits:

1. Ground Flaxseed Reduces Your Appetite

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan

Has anyone ever defined healthy eating better in 7 words? Well, flaxseeds fit nicely into that strategy; add a tablespoon to a meal or smoothie, and the healthy fats in them will help you feel full faster, making you less likely to eat too much.

2. Flaxseed is High In Fiber

I’m still scarred from the fiber-craze of my youth, and I still associate fiber with cereals and snacks that would be better off fed to farm animals. Also, my grandmother suffered through drinking prune juice every day, which wasn’t sexy either.

Sexy or not, it’s an important part of any healthy diet, and most people don’t eat enough. In fact, the average adult is only eating less than half of the recommended amount. According to the Institute of Medicine, women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need 38 grams.

If you’re not eating enough foods high in fiber like beans and vegetables, consider adding a tablespoon of flaxseeds to foods that could use a little crunch, or ground flaxseed to a smoothie.

How much fiber is in Flaxseeds? Just a tablespoon of whole flaxseeds has 3 grams of soluble fiber, while ground flaxseed has about 2 g.

3. Flaxseed is High In Healthy Fat

“Healthy fat” and “good cholesterol” always sound like oxymorons to me, (like “pretty ugly” or “jumbo shrimp) but your body needs them, and flaxseeds are high in both including Omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming them help decrease your appetite and raise your level of good HDL cholesterol as well as lowering your risk of heart disease.

*Note: For better absorption of fatty acids, consider ground flaxseed.

4. Flaxseed Boosts Your Immune System

Speaking of fatty acids, they are essential in strengthening your immune system, helping white blood cells in your body to fight off disease. Flaxseed is one of the richest plant sources available for Omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which regulates your cholesterol levels.

*Related: Is Nutrisystem healthy?

5. Flaxseed Is High In Protein

Protein helps build and repair muscle and is crucial to healthy bone development and maintenance. Eating enough protein is important at any age, and if you gave up red meat (great idea!) be sure to get your protein from other sources including flaxseed and farro!

So, how much protein is in flaxseeds? 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed has 1.3 g of protein, while whole flaxseed has about 1.9 g.

Having said that, a weight loss plan can put you on the right track, so please consider our coupons for the Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem diets for up to a 50% discount!

Add Flaxseed to Your Kids’ Diet

ground flaxseed

All of the benefits above apply to kids as well as adults. Our 9 year old son wouldn’t stop eating, and it took several helpings at meals until he was full. We now add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to his breakfast to help reduce his voracious appetite, plus all of the other benefits of flaxseed.

It’s easy to add a tablespoon of flaxseed to a fruit smoothie, or many other great recipes that you can find online like muffins and pancakes.

Flaxseed: A Healthy Addition to Your Diet or Weight-Loss Program

Just about every article on weight loss should include the disclaimer that there is no “magic bullet” supplement or super-food for achieving and maintaining a healthy body. The idea is, of course, that weight loss occurs when you eat a healthy diet and burn more calories than you consume.


grilled salmon vitamins

5 Best Natural Vitamins for Weight Loss + Foods High In Them

You already know that a healthy diet is essential to any weight loss plan. While vitamins and supplements can help you meet your weight loss goals, nothing can substitute for the jobs that these top vitamins do naturally in your body for healthy weight loss.

Considering a trendy new diet where you’re supposed to eat like a caveman, pirate, or astronaut? Just make sure you’re getting enough of these natural vitamins in your diet, and consider a good multivitamin to help supplement.

Here are the top natural vitamins for weight loss plus foods that are high in them.

1. Vitamin B6 – One of the Best Natural Vitamin for Weight Loss

  • Foods high in Vitamin B6: Nuts, lentils, oats, meat, fish, poultry, enriched cereal
  • Suggested daily intake of Vitamin B6: 1.3 mg (source)

Why it’s good for weight loss: Vitamin B6 is needed for turning food into energy, and another benefit is that it helps with serotonin production; helping you stay in a good mood.

Cutting carbs? That’s a great idea, but you’ll be missing (maybe even craving?) the serotonin that those unhealthy and refined foods contain. If you don’t want your mood to dip on a diet, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B6 from your multivitamin and in food like nuts and lentils.

Tip: Look for recipes at!

2. Iron – A Great Natural Vitamin for Weight Loss

  • Foods high in iron: Red meat, pork, seafood, beans, lentils, spinach, raisins, dried apricots
  • Recommended daily intake of Iron? Men: 18mg, women: 14.8mg or 8.7mg over 50 (source)

Why iron is good for natural weight loss: OK, let’s not go out and order double cheeseburgers and call it a diet, but red meat is loaded with iron. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might notice that omitting red meat has left you short on energy at the gym due to the lack of iron in your diet.

Next time you’re at the gym, see if you’re short on energy or even feel light headed. You might need more iron.

Also, if you have your period, you’re losing a lot of iron, so that time of the month it’s extra important to get your recommended allowance of iron.

3. Vitamin C – One of the Best Natural Vitamin for Weight Loss

  • Foods high in Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, papaya, peppers, and kale
  • Recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men (source)

Why vitamin C is good for natural weight loss: Ever look enviously at a pirate’s healthy body? No? Maybe that’s because they don’t get enough vitamin C. If you want to bring out the energizing powers of Iron, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C. It will help your body use the otherwise hard to absorb iron that’s in fruits and vegetables.

Another great benefit of vitamin C is that it’s an antioxidant, promoting optimal cell function. Think of vitamin C a lieutenant that runs into a tent full of sleeping soldiers, (cells) telling them to grab their guns an go fight free radicals in the battle for your health.

Related: Noom Food List

4. Zinc – Natural Weight Loss Benefits

  • Foods high in Zinc: Oysters, beef, spinach, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pork, chicken, mushrooms
  • Recommended daily allowance of ZInc is 8mg for women and 11mg for men (source)

Natural weight loss benefits of Zinc: Looking to lose weight naturally? Zinc is great because it helps your thyroid produce hormones that regulate your metabolism. Zinc is also good for digestion, as it helps produce stomach acids. You might be eating healthy foods, but if you aren’t able to digest them properly, they aren’t getting properly absorbed.

Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, and has also been shown to be good for your skin, hair, stress-levels, and memory. It also helps in the absorption of vitamin A. Also, watch how much alcohol you are consuming, or you might be hurting your magnesium levels and digestive system.

5. Magnesium – Great for Natural Weight Loss

  • Foods high in Magnesium: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, bananas, avocados, dark chocolate, soybeans
  • Recommended daily allowance of Magnesium is 320 for women and 400 mg for men (source)

How magnesium helps with natural weight loss: Do you have sudden chocolate cravings? You might not be getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is great for weight loss as it helps with digestion and prevents bloating. It also aids in building muscle which burns fat even when you’re not exercising.

Magnesium is needed for healthy insulin and glucose levels, energy production. Magnesium can help neutralize the effects of stress, which has been proven to lead to weight gain.

Get These Natural Weight Loss Vitamins in Food!

You’ll notice that some foods are listed as being high in more than one of these natural vitamins. Foods like spinach, lentils, whole grains, and wild-caught seafood should be part of your diet every week.

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables? Consider making (or ordering) a smoothie in the morning. You can even throw a handful of spinach or kale in and hardly taste it.

Multi-Vitamins Are a Good Daily Supplement

While a good diet high in these vitamins is central to any weight loss plan, a multi-vitamin can serve as a good supplement. In fact, checking the label of Centrum multivitamins shows that it has most or all of the daily allowance of these natural weight-loss vitamins. Doctors will stress, however, that no multivitamin can substitute for a healthy diet.

Also, some multivitamins are created for specific age groups or gender to help get you more of the natural vitamins that you need. Be sure to choose one that’s right for you!

ear acupuncture weight loss

Ear Acupuncture for Weight Loss (Can You Hear Me Now?)

Acupuncture and Weight Loss – New research from South Korea suggests that ear acupuncture may help you lose weight. That’s what I call sticking it to fat! (sorry, I had to say it)

In the study, patients received acupuncture needles in alternating ears over the course of two months. The results showed that those who did receive the acupuncture treatment lowered their BMI (body mass index) more than those who didn’t.

How does ear acupuncture work?

Although treatments may differ, the basic idea is that a number (about 5) of tack-like needles are stuck into acupuncture points in the ear.

These locations in the outer ear are linked to other parts of the body including the stomach, spleen, and endocrine system to reduce hunger and increase metabolism. (A magnet may also be worn on the ear to suppress appetite, and I’ve also read about the use of electric pulses.)

ear acupuncture chart
ear acupuncture chart

Just one of your ears has dozens of acupuncture points, so if you see someone with needles or auriculotherapy beads in their ear, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with weight loss. Their specific location may be intended to help with stress and achieve balance as well. (As seen in this recent photo of celebrity Penelope Cruz)

celebrity weight loss accupuncture
photo credit: c. alvarez / getty images

*Related: Celebrities Who Have Lost Weight w/ WW

Should You Consider Ear Acupuncture to Lose Weight?

Like any diet or weight loss program, you should do your research first, and it’s not a bad idea to run it by your family doctor. The medical community seems to disagree on the effectiveness of acupuncture in general, but it’s been popular in Asia for thousands of years, (Justin Bieber could only dream of such a legacy) and many people find it very effective.

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” – Ben Franklin (source)

Also, consider acupuncture as just one part of a strategic approach to weight loss. Eating chicken wings on the couch with needles in your ear isn’t going to shed pounds, but combined with a proven weight loss program (like Weight Watchers?) diet, and exercise it might just help.

Also, if you are looking to lose weight, please check out the coupons on our site for popular weight loss programs online!

More about ear acupuncture /weight loss:

  • Ear acupuncture for weight loss:
  • Weight loss supplement

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate: Better Than the Food Pyramid?

It took about 20 years to build each of the Great Pyramids at Giza, and that’s about how long the USDA has been building and retooling their own modern food pyramid. Actually, the newest version is no longer a pyramid, but simply known as the “MyPlate.”

my plate government

No doubt countless hours and millions of federal dollars have gone into it’s development, but many experts think it’s hardly a Modern Wonder of the World.

In fact, The Harvard School of Public Health recently came out as one of the biggest critics of My Plate, and offered up their own, less politically correct version called The Healthy Eating Plate. But, what does politics have to do with nutrition, you ask?

How Can a Glass of Milk Cost $7 Million?

Well, there is one glaring difference between the government-funded diagram and the Harvard version, and that is the glass of milk on the table. Perhaps some of the $7+ million that the Dairy Lobby spends each year helped get that glass of milk onto the government’s iconic place setting?

The unholy union of business and government is one reason that Harvard was inspired to create their own version, stating on their website that, “The Healthy Eating Plate is based exclusively on the best available science and was not subjected to political and commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists.”

Here’s Harvard’s version:

healthy eating plate harvard

We agree that Harvard did a better job. (Plus, they have a better rugby team than the USDA) In fact, the government’s MyPlate version leaves a lot to be desired, including:

  • They don’t mention that whole grains are better for you than refined grains
  • They don’t distinguish between proteins. That space on their diagram should have healthy fish or nuts, but just as well could have a hot dog on it
  • There are no specifics on which types of vegetables you should choose. Americans eat too many potatoes (aka french fries) and their consumption should be limited
  • Notice that expensive real estate that the “dairy” image holds. Although the government’s version infers that you should drink milk with every meal, experts recommend limiting dairy intake to one or two servings a day, since high intakes been linked to prostate cancer
  • The government doesn’t distinguish between healthy or bad fats. Clearly there is a difference between olive oil and mayonnaise
  • The USDA’s MyPlate doesn’t mention exercise, which is crucial in a healthy lifestyle

Why Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate is Better Than MyPlate

Want to learn more? Harvard does a nice job of breaking down exactly why their Healthy Eating Plate is better here.

Do you miss the old food pyramid? For sake of nostalgia, here are the previous versions. You can see that the Food Pyramid was inspired by a USDA diagram released decades earlier called, “The Basic Seven.”The Basic Seven – 1946Food Pyramid – 1992Hip New Food Pyramid – 2005

At least Harvard and the USDA can agree that saving money is good. If you are looking to lose weight or find a coupon for popular diets, consider one of our new coupons for Noom and Weight Watchers that we update every week.

History of the Food Pyramid

Here’s a brief history of the USDA food pyramid:

basic seven food 1946
Basic 7 food pyramid 1946
USDA Food Pyramid 1992
food pyramid 1992
food pyramid 2005
food pyramid 2005

obesity economic cost

How Much Does Obesity Cost America? $500+ Billion Per Year!

About two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and about half of those are considered to be obese. (a body mass index of 30 or more) There have been a number of studies that attempt to show how obesity is taking a bite out of the U.S. economy, but it’s a hard number to really quantify.

Unlike more straight-forward costs, like what might be spent on medicines to treat a specific disease, the actual cost of obesity in America has far-reaching implications that we might not think of right away. So, having said that, let’s try to wrap our heads around some of these expenses.

Cost of Obesity:

  • Obesity adds $190 billion in medical costs and healthcare resulting from obesity-related problems like heart disease, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes. That’s over 20% of the total annual health care costs in America, eclipsing even smoking-related costs.
  • Obesity costs Medicare and Medicaid an estimated $62 billion dollars each year
  • Consider that the average uninsured obese person costs a lot more to the American taxpayer. They cost the health care system about $3270 per year, compared to about $512 per year for the non-obese
  • Obesity costs American companies over $170 billion each year in lost productivity, and sick days (absenteeism) taken due to obesity. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that this cost of lost productivity could spiral to $580 billion per year by 2030
  • Obese employees are about 25% more likely to go on disability, which directly raises insurance costs. A recent study by the Shell oil company showed that obese employees were twice as likely to use paid days off than employees who were not.
  • Obesity costs us $4.5 billion at the gas pump! Think about this, if the average American weighed what they did in 1960, there would be a lot less weight to carry around in cars and airplanes. Each year we burn an extra 1.3 billion gallons of gas to transport overweight passengers
  • Childhood obesity costs Americans about $14.3 billion dollars a year. Also, consider that these children will likely be obese as adults as well

*Related: Cost of Nutrisystem? | Cost of WW?

These are just some of the obvious costs of obesity in America. It’s easy to imagine an almost endless number of less obvious costs as well. Obese people are more likely to suffer from depression, cancer, and childhood ADHD just to name a few.

Many hospitals and businesses have undertaken significant expenses to accommodate the obese, such as replacing wall-mounted toilets, and widening hallways.

The resulting increased cost of employee-sponsored health insurance lowers profits and weighs on employees salaries.

So how much does obesity cost our economy? Although there are numbers out there starting at $500 billion per year, how could you possibly calculate the total cost of this far-reaching epidemic? How can you quantify the cost of the 300,000 annual obesity-related deaths and the ripple effect that this has on America?

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The projections of the worsening obesity epidemic are truly frightening, and pose a profound risk to our economy.

Is there a solution? Well, there are a number of heated debates going on nationwide on how to address this issue, and it only complicates the matter that a number of large corporations fear that there own growth will suffer if Americans lose weight. You can imagine the implications to shareholders of Coca Cola or McDonalds if proposals like a soda tax were successful.

That’s why soft drink makers, fast food chains, and supermarkets are spending millions of dollars to lobby congress to make sure Americans stay fat and (sick?) happy. Pharmaceutical companies have certainly fattened their profits on the back of this epidemic, and meaningful legislation that addresses obesity seems nearly impossible. Ugh!

Estimated cost of obesity by state

Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Although the implications our our obesity epidemic are staggering, we can all certainly start addressing this on a personal level. If you need help, consider support from weight loss plans like Weight Watchers and Noom.

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