• Theresa Gentile

If you’re looking for a refreshing summer drink with lots of flavor but no calories, look no further! This no-sugar, zero-calorie drink is perfect for relaxing in your garden or for those work-from-home days where you’re just too hot to think!


I love water, but it can get boring. If you’re looking for a cold, refreshing drink without the sugar or calories, then infused waters may be just the thing for you. I like the fresh taste of cucumber, mint, and citrus and they pair together nicely in this drink.


And if you’re really thirsty, try something sour – like lemon water, or a sour candy. The acidity triggers the brain to make your mouth pucker and water. That’s another reason why I love this drink – it really quenches my thirst on a hot day.


Of course, this drink is super versatile – add or remove flavors that you like.

Sparkling Cucumber, Mint, Lime Water

Ingredients:

Mint, handful or ~ ½ cup

Cucumber, 1/2, sliced

Lime, 1, sliced

Water, 4 cups

Sparkling water, 2-4 cups

Ice


Instructions:

1. Muddle mint, ½ the lime slices, and the cucumber slices. Add water and refrigerate to let flavors combine.

2. Strain half of the infused water into glasses and top with sparkling water. Top with remaining lime wedges.



Enjoy!


Tell me if you tried it!

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  • Theresa Gentile

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

After counseling hundreds of clients, I’ve come up with 6 pillars that are crucial for success in your weight loss and health goals.




A client recently asked me what I think are the keys to weight loss success. His goal is to lose weight for health and mobility reasons, he doesn’t want to relapse and he only wants to do this once. It made me think about what it is that my most successful clients do that can be replicated. Below are 6 attributes that can set you up for weight loss success.


1. Anything worth your time takes time


Weight loss is a slow and steady kinda game. If you’re looking to keep weight off and prevent relapse of weight re-gain, you have to make it a lifestyle. As one of my clients says, she has made a, “commitment to her sobriety”, in a sense.


Crash diets, crazy diets, let’s-eliminate-whole-food-group diets have been shown to have a greater increase in weight re-gain at 12 months than a slower, more stable weight loss. This is because slow loss gives our bodies time to develop and cement new habits. In this way, we’re also allowing our body’s natural physiology to keep the weight off and not rebound.


Plus, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to put in all the work of making healthy changes, I only want to do it once! I don’t want to go through the trouble of falling off the wagon, just to get back on again. It’s a lot easier to keep going.


2. Small Steps


“Every journey begins with a single step” (Confucius, philosopher).


If you want to accomplish your weight loss goals, or any goal for that matter, it would be in your best interest to tackle one thing at a time. Stop the overwhelm by breaking up a long journey into small strides.


The most successful people pick one thing and do it well.


Every small step you take gives you the momentum and proven success mindset to propel you forward. I recommend that my clients use some sort of visual to accomplish this...maybe adding coffee beans to a jar with every step made, or keeping a list of accomplishments. This will help productivity because motivation alone is often not enough to get us through tough changes to ingrained habits.


It’s also a good idea to write your goals down. Break down your goals into monthly and weekly acts.


3. There is No Perfect


You may want to throw in the towel every time you take a step backward or fail at making another stride, but if you want weight loss success, you’ll have to go with the ebb and flow of life.


Accepting and sitting with the uncomfortable gray areas will take practice. It will require you to be gentle and compassionate with yourself.


In addition, every time you fall off the proverbial wagon and are able to get right back on, it teaches an important lesson. Firstly, you learn from your mistakes. Secondly, every time you get back up, you train your brain to make this connection next time, instead of giving up.


4. Set up Your Environment for Success


According to Clear in “Transform Your Habits”, (Clear, 2015; Duhigg, 2012), “If your environment doesn’t change, you probably won’t either.”


Increase the ease to get and eat healthy food at home. Conversely, make it harder to get to the unhealthy food. If it’s possible, don’t keep unhealthy, or trigger, foods in the house at all. If snack foods or candy are around in your home, make it physically hard to get. Keep it in the basement, or up high in the back of a cupboard. By nature, we are programmed to do what is easiest.


Also, making a plan ahead of time is crucial. It will always be easier to make a choice based on a decision you’ve already planned out than attempting to come up with a new plan on the fly.


If cookies with that 3 pm coffee in the break room is a trigger for you, make a plan (and write it down) at the beginning of the week. Maybe this week you’ll bring a healthy snack to work instead. If that’s not enough for you to resist the cookies in the breakroom, maybe you can go out for a walk and get a cup of coffee where there aren’t cookies staring right at you.


This can work with exercise routines as well. Make a plan for the week for your physical activity. Then do everything to make it work. Tell your family that you’ll be running out right before breakfast for a walk, set out your clothes the night before, or invest in the right equipment and clothes that you might need.


5. Accountability


Once you take responsibility for your actions and your goals, you are putting yourself in the driver's seat. Your goals are within your control and every step you take will be in the direction of that goal.


To whom should you be accountable? Well, you could join a mastermind group or use an individualized coach. You could find either one of these in various Facebook groups, blogs, Reddit, or MyFitnessPal. You could start with a Registered Dietitian for your nutrition goals or a personal trainer for your physical activity goals.


Can you hold yourself accountable to family or friends? Of course! There are pros and cons to whether you should invite someone you know or invite an unbiased person to hold you accountable. You have to do what’s right for you.


But, no matter who you choose to hold you accountable, informing the people with whom you live is a good idea as well-meaning family can undermine your health goals if they’re not aware of them.


6. It Has to be a Lifestyle


Like I mentioned earlier, most quick fixes won’t amount to long-lasting change. To get to the root cause of your eating or health issues, you really need to identify the weaknesses and make a plan to change those habits.


With a plan, an accountability partner, and the right mindset, you can accomplish your health goals before you know it!

If you’ve been thinking about getting more serious about your weight loss or health goals, email me in the contact box below, so we can discuss if I can help meet your needs.


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Updated: Apr 29

Flaxseeds are a little powerhouse seed of nutrition. From decreasing cholesterol to decreasing cancer risk, most healthy adults can improve their health just by adding a little bit of flaxseeds to their diet each day.





There’s been a lot of growing and impressive research on flaxseed, it’s impact on health, its bioactive components and how to consume it so we can reap the most of flaxseeds’ benefits.


Flaxseeds are a plant-based food with healthful fat in the form of polyunsaturated fatty acids

(specifically, omega 3 fatty acids), antioxidants and fiber. Flaxseeds also contain protein and are a rich source of lignans. Because flaxseeds have the potential to boost health, it is considered a functional food.


What are some health benefits of flaxseeds?


Flaxseeds can help decrease cholesterol and blood pressure


Flaxseeds can help lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Likely through the anti-inflammatory effects of the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flaxseeds, dietary flaxseed has been shown to decrease the progression of atherosclerosis when it is caused by high dietary cholesterol or high dietary trans-fat content.  


Flaxseeds may also decrease cholesterol due to the phytosterol content. Phytosterols have a
similar structure to cholesterol, but they help prevent the absorption of cholesterol to the
intestines.

In terms of lowering blood pressure, there has been substantial effects from milled flaxseeds.

Again, it’s thought that ALA was the factor involved in lowering blood pressure.


In the double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized FlaxPAD Trial, PAD patients fed 30 g of milled flaxseed every day for 6 months exhibited significant decreases in both systolic and

diastolic blood pressure. This hypotensive effect was shown as early as 1 month after starting the flaxseed in the diet and was maintained for up to one year.


Flaxseeds may decrease cancer risk


A majority of the research in flaxseed’s role in decreasing cancer risk is with breast cancer.

Flaxseed lignans are nonsteroidal phytoestrogens whose chemical structure is very similar to

mammalian estrogens; these lignans produce estrogen-like effects in mammals. Flax lignans are metabolized by intestinal bacteria to become bioavailable in the plasma. The flax lignans may slow tumor growth.


Flaxseeds have been found to decrease tumor growth in women with breast cancer and mortality of women with breast cancer.

Flaxseeds may improve blood sugar control and diabetes


Flaxseed supplementation reduced blood glucose in subjects with type 2 diabetes in some studies and lowered blood glucose in subjects with prediabetes. More research needs to be done in this area.


Flaxseed and hot flashes and hormonal status


The estrogenic effects of flaxseed suggest a potentially positive effect on hot flashes in post-

menopausal women.


In a study of 140 postmenopausal women, menopausal symptoms decreased and the quality of life increased in women who ingested a flaxseed supplemented diet. Another large trial (199 women) of unusually long duration (1 year) on a high dose of flaxseed (40 g per day) reported a significant decrease in menopausal symptoms, but this effect did not differ from the control group that ingested a wheat germ placebo. (See article here)


More randomized, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to determine conclusive effects on

menopausal symptoms.


Flaxseeds and gastrointestinal health and the microbiome


It is now well understood that the gut microbiome plays an important role in human health.

(Read more on the microbiome in my article here) How much flaxseed’s components contribute to the microbiome is still being researched. It has been shown that flaxseed’s digestion in the intestines alters the bacterial composition favorably. And changes in specific bacteria in the microbiome may have implications in disease progression.


Flaxseeds are high in insoluble fiber, which remains in the digestive tract after eating. It then
absorbs water adds bulk to stool. This helps decrease constipation – just be sure to drink plenty of water during the day.

What is the best way to eat flaxseeds?


Flaxseed comes in whole flaxseed, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil and partially defatted flaxseed meal. A new form available is flax “milk”. It’s a milk alternative, like almond or oat milk. Flax milk is made from finely milled flaxseed mixed with filtered water and a few other negligible compounds. Flax milk is high in ALA and is an excellent alternative to dairy milk, as it has no cholesterol or lactose. It is suitable for people allergic to soy, nuts and gluten, and it contains more health benefits than almond milk.


Flaxseeds’ high content of ALA makes it very susceptible to oxidation. This is why flaxseed can have a bitter taste sometimes.


Baking products with flaxseed, even up to 352 degrees F for two hours, does not alter the

composition of ALA in baked goods.



My favorite ways to use flaxseeds:


-Top oatmeal

-Throw in an omelet

-Add to baked goods

-Add to smoothies

-Top yogurt

-Sprinkle on a sandwich

-Sprinkle on a salad

-Flaxseed crackers










What’s your favorite way to use flaxseeds?



References:

Pan A, Yu D, Demark-Wahnefried W, Franco OH, Lin X. Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(2):288-297. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27469


Edel AL, Rodriguez-Leyva D, Maddaford TG, Caligiuri SP, Austria JA, Weighell W,

Guzman R, Aliani M, Pierce GN. Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating

cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in

patients with peripheral artery disease. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4):749-57. doi:

10.3945/jn.114.204594. Epub 2015 Feb 18. PMID: 25694068.


Parikh M, Maddaford TG, Austria JA, Aliani M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1171. Published 2019 May 25.

doi:10.3390/nu11051171

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