Why organic?


Why consider organic?

This is one in a series of posts on why you might want to consider organic foods the next time you are at the grocer or choosing between a conventional or organic food to consume.

Many people consider organic foods to be a “scam” – a more expensive version of the same food.

These posts concerning organic foods are intended to help bring a little insight regarding organic foods; what’s the difference, why consider, is it worth a cost difference, what does it matter, etc.

What is organic?
While the term “organic” is not defined by law or regulations FDA enforces, however – the USDA does have a certification and seal that is intended to assure consumers that the organic foods they purchase are produced, processed, and certified to be consistent with national organic standards.

According to the USDA: Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

There is a difference in how the product is raised, produced, and made ready for you to eat.
You are what you eat, and the same goes for the things you eat – they all become a part of you.

Next up on this series – why should you be concerned about organic vs. conventional.

The goal of mrhlth.com is to help you do this:  to provide a place where you can discover changes that you can integrate into your life to take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Questions about anything in this post?   Leave me a comment and let me know – I’d love to hear from you.





What about whole grain?


Whole grain, Whole wheat, something else?

Yes – to all the above!

Look for whole grain
– whole grain is good – it contains the added nutrients found in the part that is stripped off to make processed or “white” flour.  Whole grains are contrasted with refined grains.  The refining process removes many nutrients, including fiber.  If it’s called enriched grains or flour, that means that some of the nutrients lost during processing are added back in.

Whole wheat?
-Whole wheat is good – even better if it’s organic.   You have to read labels and look for whole wheat to be listed as the first ingredient.   If it’s listed further down the ingredient list, it may be included, but not as one of the primary ingredients.

Read labels
-Watch out for terms like made with or includes or stoneground or multigrain or variations on those.  Just because those are included, does not mean that the whole grain is used – it can be stoneground or include multiple grains, but still not use the whole grain.  You have to read the labels to know for sure – the key phrase to look for is made with 100% whole grain.

Made with Natural Ingredients
The only thing this means is that it includes some natural ingredients – it may also contain a lot of other things you don’t want to consume – you have to read the labels!  According to the FDA website – the FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.

Which whole grains?
Some of my favorites include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, rice, rye, oats (including rolled oats), sorghum, teff, triticale, wheat, and wild rice.  I prefer these to be organic, but for reasons we’ll cover in another post.

Look for whole grain versions of  your favorite grain based foods (bread, pasta, tortillas, etc.)  you get more nutrition, a lower glycemic load and glycemic index which could affect risk for diabetes and obesity, and the risk of colon and breast cancer.

Questions, comments, or your own observations?

I look forward to hearing from you – leave a comment below.


motivating people to live a healthy lifestyle

The secret that will motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.

Before we get right to it – a few things that are not the secret:

Understanding the research on what makes or keeps us healthy
We live in an enlightened time; a lot is know about physiology, biology, food science.
IF education and understanding were the key – we would all have healthy, fit bodies.
There is some confusing info out there and I hope to help cut through that confusion and clear up some of the misinformation so that you can move toward a healthier lifestyle, but clearly education alone is not the key.

Seeing someone make the changes and choices that lead to a healthy lifestyle
Most of us have seen or know that person in our life that made changes and now “looks great” and can run, bike, hike, etc. for seemingly endless periods.   We’ve seen the transformation before our eyes and seem someone get fit, change their diet, gain energy, etc.  Seeing it happen to someone you know is not the magic motivation that works for most people.

Having someone point out all the wrong things you are doing or eating
A lot of people have that well-meaning person that raises their eyebrows or gives you a hard time for what you eat, or “eating the whole thing” or not exercising.  Negative motivation is not the key for most people.  A person generally knows when they are doing something that’s not healthy, or when they choose to avoid a healthy diet or lifestyle.

Here’s the key:

It is only when you reach the point where you decide healthy living is what you want more than any thing else that you will make the changes needed to get there.   You have to reach the point where you look in the mirror or look at the report from your annual physical or think about being around for the people you love and for one of those reasons decide to make it a priority; no one else can do that for you or make you want that – you have to want it for yourself.
That is when you will begin seeking out info about a healthier diet – things to avoid, things to include.  That is what will motivate you to begin to do things like review your diet, take the stairs, not worry about getting the closest parking space, find ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily life, and build time into your schedule to include some regular fitness or exercise activity, etc.

The goal of mrhlth.com is to help you do this:  to provide a place where you can discover changes that you can integrate into your life to take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.  I want to help you make small changes that become a part of your lifestyle – a part of who you are and the way you do life.


Questions or something to say about this post?   Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.



“What type of crust for pizza would you use” ?

Today’s post answers this question which was submitted last week.


“What type of bread and crust for pizza if making our own would you use at your house?   Whole grain, Whole wheat, something else??”

Great question – I think your pizza dough should be just like the bread you eat – simple and nutritious.  Pizza dough, just like bread, should only contain a few ingredients

Whole grain

By all means whole grain – complex carbs are the way to go, and I wouldn’t change that with pizza dough.  You can experiment with a combination of bread flour and whole wheat flour – or go all whole wheat.   You can also try spelt flour – it has a taste like wheat, but some consider it a healthier alternative.


Olive oil

Olive oil is one of the healthy oils – use this for both good tasting and nutritious crust


Sea salt

Incorporate sea salt into your diet and cooking.  Sea salt brings some additional minerals.  Also – go just a little lighter on the salt; most people take in more than enough salt.  Look for ways do decrease your salt intake.


Check the recipe page for our favorite pizza dough recipe.




Questions or comments about this post?   Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.


negativity sucks

Negativity sucks!



It sucks your energy

It sucks your enthusiasm

It sucks your vitality

It sucks your health

It sucks your motivation to do good and healthy things for yourself

It sucks the life and energy and passion out of those around you
(or from anyone around someone who’s being negative)


Take every means to eliminate negativity from your own life today for your own well-being

You will be glad you did – and everyone around you will be too

You don’t have the luxury of a negative thought

Too much is at stake


Questions, comments, or your own observations?

I look forward to hearing from you – leave a comment below.

what’s the deal with seltzer water?


You have seen seltzer water reference in a few of the posts here now.
Some of you have asked “what’s the deal with seltzer water”?

It is water.
It’s not bad for you.
It’s a great substitute for soda if you like fizzy drinks.
It feels fresh and clean bubbling on your teeth.
It has zero calories, though you can mix it with fruit juice for a low-calorie drink.
You can make it at home (I do, with a sodastream carbonator).
Some people find it eases nausea and indigestion

Seltzer no calories no sodium
Club soda no calories some sodium
Tonic water some calories some calories and quinine

Watch for:
Flavored seltzer waters with ingredients other than “fruit essence” or a natural fruit flavor extract

Make sure you read the labels!
Some fruit flavored carbonated waters are sweetened with artificial sweeteners which have their own health concerns.



Want to know more about anything mentioned in this post? Let me know – leave a comment.

Healthy alternatives for food you should avoid part 2

You can make changes to your diet – one step at a time- and still enjoy a delicious variety of nutritious foods.  This post will help suggest options to help make some of those changes.

Once again, start with your food diary (having logged everything you consumed for a week), and then review what you’ve eaten and target things you should avoid.   Reference the list of items to avoid here – there are so many delicious and healthy options – you won’t go hungry!

Packaged/processed foods

  1. -Fresh healthy options are always your best bet; here are a few examples:
    -Baked, grilled, broiled or roasted chicken or fish
    -Grilled or seared lean meats (grass-fed beef, bison, chicken)
    -Steamed, grilled or roasted veggies
    -Salad mix with or without pieces of grilled or pan-seared chicken or fish
    -Fresh made pizza (want the recipe?)
    -Turkey or low-fat ham and cheese sandwiches (want the recipe for healthy homemade bread?)
    -There are many sites dedicated to healthy meal options – use this list as a springboard for thinking about healthy options in the style of a traditional meal (meat, veggie, bread, salad).  There are more options than steak and potatoes or burgers and fries.
    -None of the options above take much time to prepare (except for pizza) and many of the ingredients can be pre-staged to accommodate a quick meal and a busy lifestyle
  2. Alcoholic beverages
    -Be very careful with these, the calories add up so fast, and there are many detrimental effects of alcohol abuse.  Some studies indicate that moderate consumption may have some beneficial effects; do the research, but don’t start drinking to try to improve your health!
    -Fruit juices, seltzer water mixes, the rare sugar sweetened soda, sparkling fruit juices
    see the options previously listed for soda
  3. Bacon, sausage, cured meats
    -These are not good for your health, try to avoid these altogether.
    There are no good healthy meat based substitutes for these, but here are some recommendation is you feel you must consume this type of meat product.
    -Look for organically raised uncured bacon or organically raised uncured turkey bacon
    -Look for uncured sausage made with organically raised meats
    -Avoid these or keep them to a minimum to avoid excessive fat consumption and the detrimental effects of fried foods
  4. Sauces, dressings, and toppings
    -Look for lighter dressings and sauces made with healthy oils, and vinaigrettes
    -Watch for low-fat sauces, but beware of added sweeteners or chemical thickeners
  5. Candy
    -Fresh fruit
    -Try a small amount of dark chocolate, you get an antioxidant boost as a bonus
    -Dried fruit (a small amount – ounce for ounce more calories than fresh fruit)
    -Candy should be avoided because of the high sugar content which quickly raises blood sugar levels, potentially damaging to tissues and results in the unused sugar being stored as fat
    -Save sweets for a rare treat or special occasions (and even then – only having a small piece) you will save yourself loads of calories and protect yourself from blood sugar/insulin spikes and peaks

These suggestions are a starting point to get you thinking about the many healthy and delicious foods that can be a part of your diet, and to help you replace some of the things you need to avoid.  There are many web resources available for healthy quick recipes.



Want to know more about anything mentioned in this post?  Let me know – leave a comment.


Healthy alternatives for food you should avoid part 1

Healthier choices don’t mean a tasteless diet!

If you’ve already created a food diary (logging everything you eat and drink for a week), then it’s easy to review the items you’ve consumed and watch out for things you should avoid.   You can reference the list of items to avoid here –  don’t lose heart, there are healthy alternatives for everything!

The following are some suggestions for the first five foods on your “stop or limit” list

  1.  Sodas – both diet and sugary
    -Consider the following options instead:  coffee, tea (black, green, white, herbal), seltzer water,
    or perhaps the best option – just plain water
    -Many people can wean themselves off soda by watering it down or adding seltzer water and eventually switching to plain seltzer water if they still want the fizz (or seltzer water with just a splash of fruit juice)
    -If you have to have a soda – make sure it’s sweetened with sugar – not high fructose corn syrup – and only have one occasionally as a rare treat
    -Diet sodas have their own issues – it’s best to avoid them.
  2. Juice Drinks
    -Look for 100% juices or make your own at home with a juicer, blender or Vitamix
    -Look for unsweetened, unfiltered juices
    -Be careful of apple juice – can be high in sugar  (about the same as Pepsi or 7up), but usually with no fiber
    -Be careful of fruit juice that is largely flavored apple juice with added flavorings
    -Add some water or seltzer or sparkling water to your juice drink if you simply must have it
  3. White bread, white rice, white rice, white potatoes
    -Look for whole grain alternatives to the bread products.  Fewer calories, more fiber, more nutrients
    -Look for wild, brown, or black rice as an alternative to white rice.   More nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, less fat, fewer calories
    -Whole grain pasta – more fiber, more nutrients
    -Sweet potatoes instead of white (just don’t load them up with butter and brown sugar) – they have a natural sweetness.  You can even make your own broiled sweet potato “fries”
    -With all the above you won’t get the same blood sugar/insulin spikes and peaks as with the “white foods” and they will “stick with you” longer than the white alternative
  4. Fried foods
    -Look for grilled, baked, broiled or roasted alternatives.
    -By limiting fried foods to every once in a while and eliminating them as a mainstay of your diet you will save loads of calories and fat
  5. Cakes, cookies, pies, etc.
    -Look for fresh light alternatives like fresh fruit, yogurt
    -Try frozen fruit like frozen berries or grapes
    -Have a small amount of dark chocolate, you get an antioxidant boost and less fat than milk chocolate
    -By saving these sweets for a rare treat or special occasions (and even then – only having a small piece) you will save yourself loads of calories and protect yourself from blood sugar/insulin spikes and peaks


These are just a few of the possibilities – get creative and make it a game to find healthy substitutes!
Remember to watch your portion sizes on anything you eat – start by cutting everything in half.
Also remember to take the time to thoroughly chew each bite.  This allows you to savor the flavors and textures, helps with the digestion process by grinding up the food thoroughly and giving the enzymes in your saliva a better chance to do their job, and slows you down so that you won’t keep eating past the point of being satisfied.

Next post – Substituting food you should avoid with healthier choices  part 2


Want to know more about anything mentioned in this post?  Let me know – leave a comment.

take one step to become the new healthier you – today!

I want to encourage you to take one step to become the new healthier you – today!

Some people get very discouraged about the shape they are in; their weight, fitness, relationships – or just overall health.  Some people “feel bad” almost every day – what might be called malaise or a lack of well-being.
You can begin to make changes today – even by taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Wikipedia defines health as: the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain (as in “good health” or “healthy”).   For some people, it’s been so long since they’ve felt like they were in “good health” that they’ve given up.  They decide that since they don’t feel good every day that food and activity choices they make don’t really matter.

Don’t fall into this trap!

Every day of life and breath that you are given is an opportunity to feel, live, love, think, move and be all that you were created to be.  Every day presents new opportunities to make healthy choices; choices that can lead you toward good health.

Make a conscious choice today to choose good health.  This site has ideas on how you can take small steps to begin to move in the right directions; small changes that you can sustain that will become part of your lifestyle.

You are uniquely you and no one has the same body as you; today you have an opportunity to choose at least one thing, one change that can lead you to better health.  For many, it’s as simple as eat a little less and move a little more.  


Here are a few simple suggestions to help you start today to the new healthier you:

-skip that candy bar                        -have a piece of fresh fruit

-skip soda today                             -drink an extra glass of water

-skip the dessert                             -have a little more salad, fruit or veggies

-skip the butter for today                 -skip the salt too

-skip that angry thought                 -tell someone  thank you

-skip 15 minutes of TV                   -spend an extra 15 minutes walking

-skip another 15 minutes of TV      -spend 15 minutes praying or meditating


Today is a new day – the choices you made yesterday are history.

You can begin today to move toward a new healthier lifestyle.

You’ll find several ideas here on how to review your diet and begin to move toward healthier choices.


Tomorrow we’ll continue with suggestions on how to move away from 10 unhealthy foods with some suggestions for substitutes and healthier choices.


Questions, comments, or your own observations?

I look forward to hearing from you – leave a comment below.

Stop eating these now

A recent blog post here highlighted the importance of creating a food diary.

The best place to start with a review of your diet is with a food diary; simply record everything you eat and drink for a week.  If you’ve already done this – good!  If not, start your food diary today and I will show you how to do a simple review of the things you consume in order to identify things to skip or minimize, and reinforce some the good things in your diet.

This post focuses on things that you need to stop or limit to an occasional treat (circle these things in your food diary in red).  While this is not a comprehensive list, this list of 10 items is a start – not necessarily the “top ten” or ten worst, but a starting place for your review of the things you consume. This review is not a substitute for an in-depth nutritional analysis, it is intended to help you move toward a healthier diet.


Sodas – both diet and sugary. Empty sugar calories at best.
May also contain unhealthy artificial sweeteners.
Juice drinks Most of these are sweetened beverages with some added fruit juices – you have to read the labels!
White stuff: White bread, white rice, white potatoes, white pasta  – these are simple starches/sugar without much fiber – they can lead to blood sugar/insulin spikes and increased body fat
Fried food Too many bad things to list here! Let’s leave it at the high fat content for now (how about grilled instead?)  Fried food will get its own post in the future.
Cakes, cookies, pies, etc. High sugar, often high fat with little or no fiber, and lots of calories.
Packaged/processed foods Read the labels – usually high sodium, low in fiber, added sugar, and lots of things you can’t pronounce that you probably shouldn’t be putting in your body
Alcoholic beverages High in empty calories (almost as much as pure fat)
Can both dehydrate you and displace other nutrients
Effects on heart, liver, brain and other organs
Bacon, sausage, cured meats Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of even a small amount of these results in a measurably increased risk of cancer and other issues
Sauces, dressings, and toppings Often high calorie with lots of added sugar, salt, and fat.   These can make a healthy dish unhealthy, or turn something  already unhealthy into something very bad for you.
Candy Added sugar that nobody needs.
Kudos if you have dark chocolate – just don’t have too much.

Coming next – suggestions on how to move away from these with substitutes and healthier choices.


Want to know more about anything mentioned in this post?  Let me know – leave a comment.