Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to discuss the most basic action we take when eating – chewing! Did you know that proper chewing can help with weight loss? It is something we do at every meal, so let’s pay a bit more attention to this action! Let me explain…

Chewing, as opposed to drinking and swallowing, forces us to slow down our pace of eating. The more thoroughly we chew, the slower we eat. This gives our stomach more time to signal our brains that we are full. Remember that it takes a full 15 minutes for our stomachs to send these satiation signals. When we eat too quickly, we overeat and end up feeling too full because we don’t give ourselves the time to listen to our bodies’ cues. However, when we take the time to chew slowly and properly, we allow our bodies to digest properly.

The act of chewing itself also stimulates our digestive system to start working – even before we swallow. Just simply chewing our first bite of food readies our digestive systems to start working. When we drink sweet juices or thick smoothies, we’re skipping this essential step and our digestive systems have to catch up!

If you’re looking for an easy way to cut calories this holiday season (and beyond) start with chewing! You’ll eat a little less, enjoy your food a little more, and might end up weighing a bit less!

*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! As Soupergirl mentioned seventeen times in this email, Thanksgiving is here! As I often do around this time, I’d like to provide some helpful tips on how to maintain a somewhat healthy diet at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. Keep these tricks in mind when approaching a big holiday meal:

– Drink water and/or green tea before the meal. You won’t feel famished when sitting down to a big meal if you fill yourself with a bit of calorie-free hydration.

– Use a salad plate for your main course. Many studies show that we tend to mindlessly clear our plates. We’ll finish whatever is put in front of us. So set yourself up for success by simply using a smaller plate! Even if you finish everything on it, you’ll eat nearly half of what you would have with a normal sized plate.

– Strategize your eating. Choose a few things on the menu that you love, and stick to eating those items. Don’t feel compelled to take a serving of everything that’s offered. I’m not sure why we all feel the need to cook four types of stuffing! One is enough!

– When you finish eating, take your plate to the kitchen and wash it. Looking at your empty plate in front of you tempts you to add second, third, and fourth servings! If you have no plate and fork, you can’t mindlessly pick at food.

Physical acts are also important. If you can, leave the table and help clean up! Go for a post-meal walk around the block. Any change of activity can distract you from over-eating.

However, most importantly, enjoy!! Everything in moderation… including moderation!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, everyone!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to discuss food waste. It seems that this huge problem is finally getting some “buzz.” I’ve heard reports on the radio, read articles, and seen news bites about it. People are finally starting to pay attention to how much food we throw away every single day. I don’t want to shock you with all the depressing statistics. Just know that there is more than enough food in this country to feed everyone. No one needs to be hungry in our society. While the problem seems vast, the good news is that we can make small changes at home to reduce waste. When we start conserving more, we buy less, the stores throw away less, and we start to chip away at the problem. Here are a few tips to help you reduce waste in your home:

– Get friendly with your freezer! There are very few items that you cannot freeze. Some items freeze better than others (i.e. soup freezes REALLY well!). However, most things can be frozen when fresh and then thawed a few weeks later for a last minute meal. Plus, when pondering what to make for dinner, before calling in for delivery, check your freezer! A healthy meal might be ready in minutes!

– Keep track of perishables in your refrigerator. You’re more likely to eat highly perishable items if they are stored at eye level instead of hidden on the bottom shelf. Some people go so far as to have a list on the refrigerator door to let them know what they should be eating first.

– Have fun with your leftovers. If you don’t want to eat the same meal a few nights in a row, turn your leftovers into something new! Take a veggie stir-fry and put it in tacos! Toss beans into a new salad!

– Plan your meals. If you have the time, plan your meals for the week, and buy only what you need to cook for those nights. Cook a little extra and plan for a night or two of leftovers.

Not only do these tips help you reduce waste, but also, they help to train you to cook healthier and lighter! Everyone wins!

squash_pilgrimHow is it November already? It was 80 degrees last Friday and 50 on Sunday… but the calendar says Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. We’re here to remind you that you can indeed pick up lots of holiday fixings at Soupergirl. Of course we’ll have our Maple Syrup Roasted Butternut Squash soup on our online delivery menu the week of the holiday. We’ll also have a number of other pumpkin-themed soups and salads at the shops. We’ll deliver delicious holiday soups to various stores around town as well. But what we’re really most excited about is that we have an excuse to post a picture of a butternut squash dressed as a pilgrim. We look forward to November all year long. If we posted this picture in July, it certainly wouldn’t be seasonal, now would it??

Hello Loyal Soup People! Since the weather is finally cooling down, I’d like to discuss exercising outdoors. The good news (or bad news for people looking for excuses to take breaks for working out!), is that it’s never too cold to exercise. As long as you take proper precautions, you can exercise outdoors all winter long. Ignore that urban myth that freezing air can freeze our lungs – it is simply not true.

All year long, our bodies work to maintain a temperature of 98.6. In the summer, we sweat to cool down, and in the winter, we shiver and our noses run – all signs of our bodies working to keep us warm.

When exercising outside, it is important to dress wisely to stay safe and give your body a hand when it’s working to stay warm:

– Wear layers. The first layer should draw away sweat from the body,  so it should be something synthetic. Avoid cotton which simply turns cold when wet (i.e. when you sweat) and can actually cause hypothermia! The second layer should be a fleece to insulate you. The last layer should be waterproof. Layers are essential because you can remove them as you warm up. If you overdress, you’ll sweat excessively and could become dehydrated. Excessive sweating can also lead to hypothermia! Remember, when you first start exercising outside, you should feel cold. As a rule of thumb, if running, dress for the second mile, not the first. By then, you’ll be warmed up.

– Pay attention to your extremities. Our bodies concentrate our warmth and blood flow in our core, leaving our heads, fingers, and toes susceptible to cold. Wear gloves, extra socks, and hats to protect your extremities.

– Stay hydrated. The air is dry and we might not sweat quite as much in the winter, leading us to ignore traditional signs of dehydration. Always carry water with you and drink before and after exercising.

As a general rule, be smart! If it is pouring rain or icy, choose the gym or workout at home. It is very difficult for our bodies to keep us warm when we are soaked in cold rain. Look for signs of hypothermia. If you start losing feeling or have tingling in your extremities, head home immediately. Don’t, however, use the cold weather as an excuse to become a sloth! There is nothing quite as invigorating as a brisk nature walk in the winter. Give it a try!

*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! As Soupergirl mentioned, holiday season is rapidly approaching… which means cold and flu season is too! Yuck. I wanted to send out a few simple reminders about how to keep yourself germ-free this season. I also wanted to include a few notes about what NOT to do!

DO:

– Wash your hands often and correctly. You’ve probably heard this advice before, but it works! Wash your hands with soap for twenty seconds under warm water, while rubbing your hands vigorously. Clean your nails, cuticles, in between your fingers… all over! Be sure to dry them thoroughly as well. You should be washing your hands before you eat, after you sneeze into your hand, after using the restroom, after coughing, after exercising… basically a lot!

– Keep your kitchen counter and cutting boards clean. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, the kitchen can be the dirtiest (germiest!!) place in the home. Clean your counters and cutting boards before cooking to get rid of any germs.

DON’T:

– Avoid antibacterial hand soap and cleaning products. These types of soap are harsh on your skin and provide no additional health benefits. Plus, our overuse of antibacterial products is leading to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Not good!

– Don’t steer clear of the gym or airplanes out of fear of germs. Staying fit is only going to boost your immune system. Flying is the safest (but arguably most stressful) way of travel. Just avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, and ears when at the gym or on a plane. Wash your hands often!

In short – be smart! Don’t invest in expensive face masks or avoid places just to stay healthy. Wash your hands, get proper sleep, and exercise. And do try to keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes, nose, and ears!

ImageFall is fun!! Speaking of fun, the holidays are just around the corner (wow), and it is time to think about your next party! Let’s face it folks, there ain’t no party like a Soupergirl party. What does that mean? Soupergirl caters! We can take care of a lunch meeting and deliver hot soup ready to eat (making the meeting a party…). Or, deliver gallons of your favorite soup. Serve the soup in a martini glass! Serve it in mugs! Serve it in a funnel and chug! No, please don’t do that. If you’re interested in having us cater your next event or meeting, send us an email and we’ll work on getting the soup-party started!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to chat about fat. As many of us have come to realize, fat isn’t nearly unhealthy as we thought it was. In fact, certain types of fat are incredibly healthy! Avoiding all fat all the time is definitely not a good way to follow a healthy diet. On the contrary, people who consume unsaturated fats have lower instances of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and may even benefit from lower blood sugar levels. Here is a brief overview of the fats that you should consume and those that you should avoid:

Healthy Fats – As I mentioned above, unsaturated fats are very healthy. There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Both are very hearty healthy and contain their own health benefits. They are found in various oils (e.g. olive, canola, etc.), avocados, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, and more.

Unhealthy Fats – There is no debate over the most unhealthiest of fats – trans fat. When oils go through a process called partial hydrogenation, trans fats are formed. This process keeps fats solid at room temperature and gives them a much longer shelf life. This is why they are so popular in shelf-stable, processed foods. Trans fats increase cholesterol levels and actually lower the good cholesterol in your body.  They are incredibly unhealthy and should be avoided – even in small amounts.

There is a lot of controversy over saturated fat. What is clear is that saturated fat in itself does not make you gain weight. However, many studies have shown that consuming saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels.

Because so much is unknown about saturated fat, I highly recommend sticking to consuming healthy fats. Choose nuts, seeds, and avocado over red meat. Remember, however, that foods with healthy fats are pretty calorically dense. Don’t eat the entire bag of peanuts in one sitting! The good thing is that a small amount of unsaturated fat will keep you full for a long time. A snack of an apple and almonds is so much better than a few Oreos!!

Hello Loyal Soup People! Last week, I wrote about the misconceptions about chocolate. As Halloween is getting closer, I’d like to chat this week about sugar. There isn’t a lot of ambiguity on this topic. I’m sorry to say that sugar is pretty darn unhealthy.  I’m referring specifically to added sugar. Whether it comes in the form of cane, beet, high fructose corn… our body processes sugar in basically the same manner. While there is a lot of debate these days of whether fat in food turns into fat in our body, there is no question about sugar. Sugar goes straight to our waistline! And there’s more…

– Sugar has been linked to heart disease. A 2013 study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that sugar can negatively impact your heart’s pumping mechanism and lead to heart failure.

– Sugar causes obesity. As I mentioned above, the extra calories that come from sugar turn directly into belly fat. Also, sugar can cause an increase in leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells our bodies when we are satiated. Studies, however, show that too much sugar can cause our bodies to ignore this hormone, causing us to overeat.

– Sugar can have toxic effects on the liver. Similar to alcohol, excess sugar consumption can cause liver disease. Also, just like alcohol, sugar can indeed be addictive.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there. The biggest issue with sugar is that it doesn’t trigger any sort of satiation signal in our body. When we consume fat or fiber, we feel satisfied and eventually stop eating. Sugar, especially in the form of sodas and other sweetened beverages, doesn’t trigger any sort of satiation signal. We have to force ourselves to stop, which we often don’t do – especially when eating a huge bag of candy at the movies!

Unfortunately, sugar sneaks into so much processed food – bread, crackers, tomato sauce, and more. Like I always say – check the ingredient labels! If you want to cut back on sugar consumption, start keeping a journal. Track how much you are eating each day, and try to cut back slowly. Hopefully, as you lower your sugar consumption, your cravings will change too!

*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!

IMG_1044Attention awesome people! Soupergirl is hiring! We’re looking for a few good souper-people to join our team. We’re hiring brand representatives, retail staff, and all around Souper-people. If you are looking for a new opportunity – full or part time – give us a holler! Visit our Careers page to apply.