Hello Loyal Soup People! I’ve just read about another study that shows the powerful effects of exercise and all around healthy living. Harvard researchers published results of their study in JAMA Oncology. According to the study, nearly HALF of all cancer deaths could be prevented if Americans met four lifestyle goals:

– not smoking
– maintaining a healthy weight
– limiting or avoiding alcohol
Рexercising moderately  for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorously for at least 75 minutes a week.

In the study of 136,000 nurses and other health professionals, one-fifth met all four goals.The women in this low risk category were 25% less likely to develop cancer and 48% less likely to die from it than other women. Low risk men were 33% less likely to develop cancer and 44% less likely to die from it.

The researchers surmised that the general American population would see even greater results than the study participants because medical professionals tend to be health focused and lead healthier lifestyles. If the average American were to adhere to the four goals, their cancer risks could drop even more.

The researchers conducted a second study that primarily focused on exercise. They found that physically active people are at a lower risk for 13 of 26 major types of cancer.

It is important to note that exercise and healthy living is certainly not guaranteed to prevent you from getting cancer. In fact, a healthy lifestyle was not at all associated with a decreased likelihood of breast or prostate cancer. However, it was associated with a reduced chance of dying from these diseases.

There are so many factors that contribute to disease – environment, genetics, and reasons that we simply don’t know. However, the knowledge that we could, somehow, help protect ourselves against disease, certainly keeps me moving! Yet another reason to get exercising and eat healthfully!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! A lot of us are trying hard to lower our salt intake these days. Excess consumption of salt is linked to hypertension and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Many people’s palates are accustomed to a lot of salt, and when they reduce it in their diet, they find that food can taste bland. The key to successfully reducing salt while still enjoying food is to add as much natural flavor as possible to what we eat. The best way to do this is to cook with herbs and spices.

Not only do herbs and spices add wonderful natural flavor, but they have incredible health benefits! Fresh herbs are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants). Spices such as turmeric, cumin, and chili powder are getting noticed for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

When cooking, add spices in the beginning of the heating process to release their flavors into your food. For example, when making a stir-fry, add your spices with your garlic (just be sure not to burn them!). Add herbs at the end of the cooking process (right before serving!). Or, add them fresh to salads. Nothing is better than basil on ANYTHING in the summer! Add mint to your watermelon! The possibilities are endless. No matter how you add herbs and spices, you’ll find that when you cook with them, you’ll need less and less salt. Flavor AND health – the perfect combination!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to return to the topic of supplements. As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of getting your nutrition through pills. I strongly believe in eating a well balanced, healthy diet to fulfill your nutritional needs. Of course there are exceptions, but on the whole, relying on pills isn’t the best idea. I’m particularly wary because the food and supplement industry will always hop on the latest food trend and try to convince us that we need another pill to be healthy.

The latest supplement I’ve read about is green-tea extract. A lot of studies do indeed seem to point to the healthy benefits of green tea. Observational studies have shown that green tea drinkers have fewer obesity related illnesses and also have higher bone density. However, more research needs to be done to understand the connection between green tea and these benefits.

The supplement industry hopped on this research and now sells green tea extract pills. They boast all sorts of benefits – from promises of weight loss to keeping your bones strong. However, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, these pills had no impact on bone health or weight loss. There was no difference in body mass between participants who took placebos and those who took the green tea pills. Zero benefits. Yet, because of the lack of supplement regulation, these pills remain on the market, claiming unsubstantiated or completely false health claims.

If you are looking for vitamins, eat a salad. If you are looking for the potential health benefits of green tea, brew a pot. If you need more fiber in your diet, eat oatmeal and chia seeds! Health cannot be found in a pill!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This record breaking heat we’re experiencing has me thinking about the sun. To be blunt, stay out of it! While a sun tan may look nice for a day or two, it is terrible for you. A tan is simply your skin’s DNA responding to damage. A burn is even worse! This damage is the first step towards the development of skin cancer as well as aging skin.

People used to think that it was acceptable to spend time in the sun to absorb Vitamin D. We now know that a nutritious diet and supplements can take care of Vitamin D for you – no need to stand out in the sun in the middle of the day! The damage your skin will incur will far outweigh the bit of Vitamin D you’ll absorb.

If you’ve been tanning for a while, you can probably already see permanent damage to your skin. Compare the sun spots (aka permanent damage) on your arms or face to the skin under your arms or on your buttocks (areas rarely exposed to the sun).

You’ve heard me say this before, but I’m really trying to emphasize it as much as possible. Tanning is out! Pale is in! Apply sunscreen regularly, stay out of the sun, (especially between 10 AM and 2 PM), stay under umbrellas when at the beach and pool, and wear protective clothing.

Are three days of a “healthy glow” (I hate that phrase!) worth a lifetime of damage, or even worse, disease? I certainly don’t think so!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’m focusing again on sugar. More specifically, I’m writing about even more reasons to avoid it. This week I want to share information about new research linking sugary beverages to greater risks of heart failure and belly fat.

In a recent Swedish study, 42,400 adult men were followed for nearly 12 years. More than 4,000 were diagnosed with heart failure – a condition in which the heart can no longer keep up with the body’s demands on a day to day basis. Over five million Americans suffer from heart failure. As you can probably guess, those men who drank the most sugary beverages were 23% more likely to develop heart failure than those who avoided these types of drinks.

Another study published by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that adults who consumed sugary beverages were highly likely to gain belly fat over several years. Participants who drank a sugary drink once a day showed a 27% gain in belly fat over six years. To be clear, fat around the belly is the most dangerous form of fat. It is more dangerous than any other type of fat. It is linked to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer.

You can guess my conclusion! Wean yourself off of sugary beverages. They are killing you! To be clear, this category doesn’t just include soda. You should also avoid energy drinks, fancy coffee drinks. flavored iced teas, fruit punch, and more – anything with added sugar.¬† Time to grab a reusable water bottle, fill it up, and drink old fashioned water! Or black coffee, green tea, water with a squeeze of lemon… so many healthy options!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! Let’s talk, again, about salt. The truth is we all need a little salt in our lives! Most people should not be on complete salt-free diets unless prescribed by a doctor. Of course, as we know, most of us eat too much salt, mostly through processed food. I just learned of yet another reason why we should cut back on excess salt. It makes us eat more!

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, salt makes us eat more and consume more calories throughout the day. In the study, researchers gave participants macaroni and cheese. They mixed up the amount of fat and salt. Some participants ate high salt and high fat macaroni, while others ate the opposite. Some had a mix of the two. The researchers found that the fat content didn’t impact the participants’ eating patterns. Rather, it was the salt content that has the biggest impact! Those participants that ate the higher salt macaroni and cheese consumed 14% more of their meals than those eating the lower salt meals. That’s quite a bit more mac and cheese!

They are still studying why the salt had such an impact on their eating choices. However, the conclusion is clear – salt makes us eat more. So, if you are focusing on portion size, cut the salt!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! I’m always encouraging people to stay away from processed foods. What we really need to focus on is avoiding ultra processed foods! According to a recent study I read, 40% of the average American diet includes these types of foods. Ultra processed foods contain high amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat – the most addictive and dangerous types of flavors for people.

Study after study show that our bodies can become addicted to the combination of sugar, fat, and salt. Once we start, we literally cannot stop eating. If we start tempting ourselves with soft drinks, packaged snacks, baked goods, candy, instant soups, deli meats and deep fried poultry (chicken wings), we start craving them more and more. We can literally become addicted to ultra-processed food.

To avoid an addiction, stop before it starts. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, legumes, water, and unsweetened tea of coffee. Did you know that many flavored coffee drinks contain more sugar than a can of soda? That chai latte or whipped mocha can contain over 200 calories from sugar alone! We don’t often think of coffee as highly processed, but the wrong hot beverage choice can be just that.

Be mindful about what you’re feeding your body. If you often find yourself craving sugar, fat, and salt, take a look at what you’re eating regularly. If you find yourself craving tomatoes – bravo!! Enjoy!!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! Have you ever tried to diet and failed… and then weighed more than when you started? I’ve just seen so many people struggle to lose weight, fail, lose motivation, and just give up. I find that one of the main reasons for this failure is setting unreasonable goals and expectations. Often, when people start dieting they set themselves up for failure. “I need to lose 50 pounds by my daughter’s wedding,” or “I want to fit into my college jeans by Thanksgiving.” Fifty pounds is A LOT of weight, and takes a long time to lose. So, how about we scale back those expectations? Did you know that losing 10 pounds, or even three to four pounds can have very important health benefits?

Studies have shown that losing even 5% of your body weight can lead to big improvements¬† in insulin sensitivity and other major factors associated with heart disease and diabetes. In fact, when you lose weight in small increments, the benefits keep adding up. Long term, slow, modest weight loss can result in long-term reduction in blood pressure. In fact, for every pound of weight loss, systolic blood pressure goes down, on average, by one point. That’s a serious health benefit with every pound!

When you start accepting the fact that you are helping your body with every single pound you lose, it becomes easier to see the long term goal. Fifty pounds can be achievable – but let’s start with one or two! You’ll start reaping the health benefits immediately!

rattle giftbag thumbnailIs there anything in the world better than the Gift of Soup? Anything? OK, perhaps puppies. And rainbows. But other than that, nothing! New moms routinely tell us that our soup got them through the first few months of motherhood. “Stop sending the onesies,” they say! “Just send soup! Send SOUP!!” When your friends move into a new home, skip the fern. Forget the orchid. No one can keep those alive anyway. Send soup! They haven’t unpacked a thing. They’re hungry. They need soup. Desperately. And hey, remember when you borrowed your neighbor’s snow shovel and it broke and he couldn’t dig his car out of its spot for a month? Yeah, you should probably get him some soup.

So many opportunities for gifts, so little time! Actually, there’s plenty of time. Stop stressing! Plus, there are so many options for gifts! We have:

Gift packages
E-certificates
In store gift cards
Mugs
Thermoses
Soupscriptions

Send a new mom a full Soupscription, and they don’t need to cook for a month! We’ll deliver it right to their door.

Flowers and chocolate = out. Soup = IN! Click here for all the details or send us an email and we’ll explain all the options.

Hello Loyal Soup People! Last week I wrote about how diet and exercise can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. This week I learned about the connection between a healthy diet and lifestyle and breast cancer prevention. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), changes in diet and exercise could prevent nearly one in three cases of breast cancer occurrence. That is an extremely significant number.

According to AICR, a few lifestyle changes can have a major impact on your cancer risk:

– Eating vegetables. However, not only is it important to eat vegetables, but also to eat a wide variety. Many studies have shown that women with higher blood levels of carotenoids (compounds found in orange, yellow, red, and green vegetables) have a 25% lower risk of breast cancer than those with low carotenoid levels. Researchers don’t know if there is a specific type of carotenoid that is more effective, or if it is the total amount in your blood. Therefore, it is important to eat a lot of different types of produce. Eat the rainbow! Green spinach and kale, blue blueberries, red tomatoes, green, yellow, and red bell peppers… the list goes on and on. Cruciferous vegetables are also incredibly important. They include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, radishes, and cabbage.

– Eat a lot of fiber rich foods. Breast cancer usually develops over many years. The high fiber foods may begin protecting our system early in life and continue through middle age and beyond. Also, most high fiber plants are also abundant in protective nutrients, carotenoids, and phytochemicals.

– Embrace healthy fat. Many studies have shown that heart healthy fats can lower breast cancer risk. Don’t fear the olive oil and avocados! Add them to salads and sandwiches.

– Be wary of alcohol. Many studies show that women should limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day (12 ounces of beer / 5 ounces of wine / 1.5 ounces of liquor). Even such a small amount is linked to breast cancer risk. However, the more you drink, the greater the risk.

– Exercise. Even if your exercise isn’t resulting in weight loss, you should still keep moving. It affects hormones that can help lower the risk of breast and other cancers.

I’m not suggesting that diet and exercise will keep you healthy forever. There are so many factors that contribute to disease – genetics, environment, and much more! However, study after study shows that healthy eating and exercise can go quite a long way to help fight illness!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!