Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

Organic Produce that is Worth the Price

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 02:49 PM

Do you find yourself asking, “What food is really worth buying organic?”  If pesticides and other contaminants worry you when shopping for fruits and vegetables, you may consider buying organic.  Many people’s budgets are limited, so you may not be able to afford to buy all organic produce.  Therefore, it’s important to determine the produce that should be bought organically vs. what is safe to buy conventional (non-organic).  Strawberries, for example, top the list of fruits and vegetables contaminated with the most pesticides.  According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries! 

We will begin with the most contaminated foods.  The foods listed below are considered the “Dirty Dozen” and should be purchased organically if possible:   

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears

Some fruits and vegetables are not as contaminated as others.  Some produce have a natural defense because of an outer layer of skin, such as corn or pineapple. If you are looking to simply avoid pesticides, there are several conventionally-grown produce that have little to no residue. In general, you are going to be safe from pesticide residue by purchasing conventional versions of the following fruits and vegetables, known as the “Clean Fifteen":

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Onion
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Papaya
  • Sweet Potato

All the produce on “The Clean 15” list has little to no traces of pesticides and is quite safe to consume in non-organic form.

Look for the USDA Organic Seal when selecting your organic purchases. The organic seal means the food is grown, harvested, and processed according to government standards that include limits on pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Natural pesticides are allowed. Organic food cannot be treated with any sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.  

Look for this seal when purchasing produce on the “dirty dozen” list. 

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eni's Wellness Experts are available to provide our members with information on developing a nutrition plan that works for them!

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, Wellness, Organic Food

The Importance of Stretching

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 11:14 AM

relax_yoga_meditation_wellness.jpgStretching is often a neglected part of our wellness plan and activity routine. It is easy to overlook and often forgotten. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine may seem futile, but the benefits of stretching are as important as your commitment to cardio and weight training. 

The benefits of stretching for your body:

  • Stretching helps improve range of motion and flexibility. A regular stretching routine can lengthen your muscles and make daily activities easier and more enjoyable.
  • Stretching improves your posture. Tense and tight muscles contribute to poor posture, which in turn can affect the functioning of internal organs, not to mention our appearance. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and chest helps keep the back in alignment and improves posture.
  • Stretching may help decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity.
  • Stretching improves circulation by increasing blood and nutrient supply to muscles and joints, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness.

The benefits of stretching for your mind:

  • Stretching can provide relaxation and stress relief. Regular stretching helps relax tense muscles caused by stress.
  • A short break in your day for stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your mind and body a chance to reboot.

Experts suggest stretching for a minimum of 10 minutes at least 2-3 times per week. This timeframe will ensure you are achieving the most benefits from your stretching routine. If you are inconsistent, you will not be able to maintain a consistent range of motion and flexibility.

Keep in mind that stretching is not a warm up activity for your cardio and weight lifting routine. Stretching is most effective when the muscles are warm. It is best to stretch after a workout focusing on tight muscles and increasing your blood flow to this area of your body.

Stretching has multiple benefits for both your body and your mind. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine improves your overall health!

Members of eni’s Corporate Wellness Program have access to experienced Health Coaches who provide valuable information, just like this, that helps them achieve their personal health and wellness goals. Wellness Programs have become a critical component of successful corporate strategies as healthy employees use fewer sick days, have fewer medical/disability/ workers compensation claims, and are more productive.

Contact eni today to learn more!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, employee productivity, Wellness, stress relief, stress management, stretching

Remaining Active Throughout the Winter!

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

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Winter weather has arrived.  The colder weather conditions may make you reevaluate your outdoor fitness plan.  Hibernation is simply not the answer.  Consistency is the key to staying on track with your fitness goals and schedule.  Studies show, remaining active throughout the winter months actually boosts immunity by keeping your circulatory system active.  It will also prevent weight gain that can occur during the holidays from inactivity, eating cookies and those extra drinks. 

There are some simple and easy steps you can take to ensure your routine is not interrupted by inclement weather and that you remain on track.

  • Get walking and be sure to dress for the weather.  Walking is an accessible exercise, even in the winter.  You simply have to throw on your sneakers or treaded boots and head outdoors!  Consider walking for a slower pace for the first 5-10 minutes for your warm up and then pick up your pace for the next 20 minutes.  Getting your heart rate up for approximately 30 minutes daily is the goal!
  • Head for the hills.  Consider snowboarding, downhill, or cross country skiing.  Snow based activities are a great cardio workout.  Even walking in the snow is ideal because it takes more effort than walking on a clear sidewalk or track.
  • Join a gym.  Use the winter weather as an excuse to finally take that spinning or yoga class you’ve wanted to try.  Your new activity may even turn into your favorite winter exercise.
  • Consider signing up for a spring event that requires a training schedule.  Training for a 5k or a half marathon will ensure you remain on a regular exercise program that will get you through those winter months. 

 When the weather turns cold and snowy and you simply feel like snuggling under a comfy blanket, remember to keep your eye on the prize.  Focus on your progress and envision how you will feel and look in the warmer months after sticking with your fitness routine all winter.  Also, take time to recall why you began your routine in the first place and remember a healthy you is a happier you and you are definitely worthy of a twelve month commitment.

eni’s wellness coaches are available to help our members meet their health and fitness goals year round!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, Workplace Wellness, Winter Activities, winter wellness

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 04:27 PM

Be proactive this year in avoiding that 5lb to 10lb weight gain that often accompanies the holiday season. 

Eat before holiday parties. Grab a light snack prior to your holiday outing.  A 100 to 200 calorie snack containing carbohydrates, protein, and a little bit of fat—will take the edge off your hunger.  It will also deter you from overeating and mindless grazing at the holiday buffet.

Drink two glasses of water (16 oz) prior to your meals.  This simple task will make you feel less hungry and, in turn, you will consume fewer calories.  A recent study by The American Chemical Society found that "Over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake."  This is a simple way to control and facilitate weight management.

Try the one-a-day program.  Limit yourself to one treat or indulgence per day. Don't deprive yourself of all treats for the week so you can pig out at the company holiday party.  Moderation is the key.   One cookie per day or two holiday drinks on Saturday won’t pack on the pounds and won’t leave you feeling deprived.  Be moderate and be mindful of your sugar and alcohol consumption.

Divert Your Attention.  Pay attention to the company around you and not the buffet.  Many people forget that there's more to a holiday party than food and drink.  Focus on something other than “the spread”.  Chatting is a great diversion, whether you're at a small family dinner or a large party.  Focus on conversations and mingling and take your focus off the food and beverages!

Don’t forget your exercise!  Break up your exercise throughout the day to reach 30- 40 minutes per day. Try two 15-minute walks or a 30-minute shopping outing with some extra lifts of those packages you're carrying. 

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The Holiday season is only six weeks long.  Take it one day at a time and maintain a healthy attitude and schedule throughout.  Moderation with your food and drink intake is the key!

eni’s wellness experts are available throughout the holiday season to provide our members with tips to maintain their healthy lifestyle! 

Tags: Healthy Eating, Corporate Wellness Programs, Wellness, holiday weight gain,

High Blood Pressure and Your Diet

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Jul 01, 2015 @ 03:57 PM

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Did you know that about 70 million Americans (29%) have high blood pressure?  Yet, according to the CDC, only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

Additionally, nearly 1 out of 3 American adults have pre-hypertension, which is blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range.  High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.

One of the many ways you can help control your high blood pressure naturally is by monitoring your diet.  Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical.  The target for potassium intake is around 3,000 mg to 4,000 mg daily.

Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, white beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes (with skin), bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and raisins.

Sodium should also be monitored if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension.  According to the CDC, Americans get most of their daily sodium, more than 75%, from processed and restaurant foods.  Quite often, sodium is found in large quantities in processed and restaurant foods, which makes it difficult to reduce daily sodium intake when choosing these foods.  Although it is wise to limit your use of added table salt while cooking and eating, only a small amount of the sodium we consume each day comes from the salt shaker.

  • The CDC recommends that everyone age 2 and up should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day.
  • Certain groups of people should further limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.  These groups include those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and adults over the age of 51.

So if your blood pressure is a concern, the bottom line is to select from a wide variety of foods within your eating plan, limit alcohol, get the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, load up on potassium and, of course, keep salt to a minimum. Lastly, your doctor should be consulted regularly for medical advice in regards to hypertension!

eni’s Corporate Wellness Programs are tailored to meet the health and wellness goals of your workforce.

Contact eni today for more information:

[email protected]
1-800-364-4748 ext 2028

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, Workplace Wellness, high blood pressure, blood pressure control

Water - An Essential Nutrient

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Thu, Jun 04, 2015 @ 02:49 PM

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When we think of nutrition, we tend to think of food. However, one of the most valuable, and essential nutrients is simply this – water. We can go for more than three weeks without food (Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation), but water is a different story. The body can only last a few days without it.

As summer comes upon us, it is important to make sure ourselves and our loved ones are hydrated properly. It is especially a concern for the very young and the elderly.

You can stay properly hydrated by following these steps, courtesy of eni’s Work/Life Experts:

 Start each day with a glass of water (no ice). Drink it before you have coffee, tea or juice. It will help replace fluids lost overnight and get your hydration efforts off to a good start. Also fill a water bottle you can take with you in the car, or keep with you and refill during the workday.

Eat two or three servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. They are brimming with water and include the minerals that help your body absorb and use it properly. Keep in mind that most processed foods (including sugars, flours, salty snacks and processed meats) result in lowering the body’s water table. Also remember that eating a lot of meat puts pressure on your kidneys and tends to increase your body’s need for water.

Establish regular water breaks, if possible. Tailor your drinking to meet your needs. For instance, drink an extra glass of water if you worked out or didn’t squeeze enough fruits and vegetables into your day.

Substitute sparkling water and low-sodium vegetable juice for soda and fruit juice. While it’s true that all beverages count toward your daily tally, the sugar in regular soda and fruit juice, as well as the chemicals in diet versions, can trigger a host of unwanted reactions in the body, including blood-sugar spikes.

Install water filters in your home and use a pitcher-type filter at the office. Resort to bottled water when you must, but beware of the drawbacks - it’s expensive and environmentally wasteful, the plastic contains harmful chemicals that can leach into the water, and there are no guarantees that bottled water is any better for you than the water flowing from the tap.

Cook with high-quality sea salt. A good, unrefined sea salt is rich in trace minerals, which are key to cell health and hydration. Bonus: Sea salt is also lower in sodium than table salt.

Try this delicious summer Mocktail to slip in some extra hydration on a hot day!

Ingredients:

1 cup (250ml) of fresh coconut water

1 cup (250 ml) strawberries hulled and sliced

3 T of sugar syrup or agave nectar

Directions:

To make the sugar syrup, boil sugar and water together in a ratio of 1:3 sugar to water until it thickens to a runny syrup consistency. You can then store in a jar for all future cocktail making.

Measure 1 cup of coconut water, either directly from a cut-open coconut or from a store-bought container.

Combine the strawberries and sugar syrup and blend with a blender to desired consistency.

Serve with ice.

Enjoy your summer, stay hydrated and stay healthy!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, work/life balance, Wellness, Water

Skin Protection Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 05:08 PM

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The arrival of warmer weather will mean more outdoor time for most families.  This means added exposure to the sun and harmful UV rays.  The sun can damage your skin in more ways than the occasional uncomfortable sunburn.  According to the American Cancer Association, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and harmful UV rays are the main cause of the majority of skin cancers.  So it is imperative to protect you and your family’s skin from the sun, not only during the summer months, but throughout the entire year.

Skin cancer can affect anyone. Some people are more at risk than others.  If you have fair skin, red or light hair, and if you have a number of moles or freckles, you are at a greater risk than those who do not.   Also, if you have a family history of skin cancer or have been exposed to a bad sunburn at a young age, you also have an increased risk of skin cancer.

Safeguarding your skin against the sun is vital to skin cancer prevention.  Be sure to follow these simple guidelines for sun protection:

  • Spend time in the shade; especially between the hours of 11:00am and 3pm - this is the time of day when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

  • Cover your exposed skin with clothing.

  • Wear your sunglasses!

  • And your hat!

  • Use sunscreen - 30-50 SPF and be sure to re-apply throughout the day, every 2-3 hours.

  • Wear an SPF lip balm.

  • Don’t forget those hidden or often forgotten areas of your body when applying sunscreen, including your ears, feet, neck and back.

Remember to examine your skin regularly for any abnormalities, such as changes in moles or changes in your skin.  Early detection is the key to successful treatment of skin cancer.  Also, those who are more at risk should have their skin examined by a practitioner yearly.   

BalanceHealth is an enhanced Corporate Wellness Program developed with the medical expertise of the world-renowned Harvard School of Public Health to help your employees effectively take control of their health and effectively balance the competing demands of work and life – before personal problems effect professional performance. Contact eni today to learn more!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, Sun Protection, Wellness, Skin Cancer Prevention

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

Heart disease is the world’s number one killer and it affects both men and women.  Some of the risk factors, such as family history are out of your control.  However, a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle can help you prevent cardiovascular disease and be one of your best weapons against the risk factors you can control.

Keep your weight in check

The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to consume the right number of calories for your age and lifestyle.  It is important to eat reasonable portions of healthy foods and aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.

Eat fruit and vegetables

Diets rich in fruit and vegetables lower your risk for heart disease.  Be sure to eat a variety from all colors of the rainbow.

Fiber

Eat 25-30g of total fiber daily.  Soluble fiber found in oats, beans and barley helps to reduce the “bad” cholesterol.  Fiber also helps to keep us fuller longer and reduce our tendencies to overeat.

Cut back on “unhealthy” fats

Limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol to less than 7% of daily calories.  Avoid processed snacks and cookies and try to replace them with lean meats, fish and plant based proteins, such as beans.

Eat fish twice a week

Fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which protect the heart.  Omega 3s also decrease triglyceride levels, slow the growth rate of plaque in the arteries, and lower blood pressure.

Limit sugary drinks and foods

Added sugars are “empty” calories that supply few nutrients and add on extra pounds.

Limit salt intake

Limit daily sodium to 2300mg (about 1 tsp).  Reducing sodium intake can prevent hypertension and help reduce blood pressure if you are taking medication.

Drink alcohol in moderation

Consume moderately, that’s 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.

Check out the following recommendations from the American Heart Association for a heart healthy eating plan:

Wellness blog graphic resized 600eni’s Wellness Coaches are available to help our members make healthy lifestyle choices.  Contact us today for more information on eni’s Corporate Wellness Services.

Tags: heart disease prevention, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, Wellness, Workplace Wellness, heart health

Holiday Fit Tips from eni’s Wellness Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Thu, Dec 04, 2014 @ 04:32 PM

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Tis' the season to indulge!  Even as our stomachs are still full from Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and pie, we excitedly look ahead to Christmas cookies and holiday treats…  It is a great time to celebrate with family and friends but that doesn’t mean that this has to be a time that you come to regret in January. 

We all know what we should do to keep our waistline in check during the holidays but who has time with all the additional demands of the season? 

If you don't have time to make extra trips to the gym this time of year, why not use your time at work to add in a few extra minutes of activity during your day?  Try a few of these tips to increase your calorie burn while at work and feel a little bit better about yourself at the end of your day AND the end of your year!

Extra Steps!  Visit a co-worker’s office instead of e-mailing them, go the bathroom on the next floor, avoid the elevator and take the stairs, try to take a 10 minute walking break to get some fresh air, or walk the halls.  Remember, cardio counts even when it is in very short intervals!

Work Your Core 

Try Seated Core Supports.  In your seat at your desk, set your hands on the chair beside your legs at about mid thigh, lean forward slightly and straighten to lock out your arms.  Push down with your arms to raise your butt off the seat slightly.  This will force your abs to contract tightly and increase core strength.  Try to hold for 30 seconds (you can work up to that!)

Try Seated Elbow Pushdowns. Sit with your elbows on your desk, feet flat on the floor, push your elbows down as though trying to raise your body up out of the seat.  This engages the 6-pack muscles without crunches!  Try doing this one arm at a time to work the deeper muscles of your core.

Invest in an exercise band!  These bands are cheap, discreet and they come in a variety of resistances that make them appropriate for everyone interested in increasing strength from beginner to advanced.  Most bands come with exercise suggestions and can be used for upper and lower body workouts right at your desk.

Spending just a few minutes a day on extra activity at work can add up to a lot in just a week and it is a great way to offset stress levels or small indulgences that are both on the rise this time of year.  Do yourself a favor and prepare to start off 2015 on the right foot!

eni’s wellness experts are available all year to help our members maintain healthy lifestyle habits!

Tags: Fitness, holiday fitness, Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, Workplace Wellness, Holiday Stress

Ch…Ch…Ch…Chia!

Posted by Cindy Mccall on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 11:08 AM

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Remember the clay figurine pets that you would spread the seeds on and watch them grow?  Well, now those same seeds are the latest rage in the nutrition world and can enhance your diet with super nutrients.

The Chia seed dates back to the Mayans and comes from the desert plant, Salvia hispanica.

They are a concentrated food containing healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, anti-oxidants and calcium.  Chias are an unprocessed- whole grain that can be absorbed by the body as seeds, unlike flax.  One ounce (about 2 Tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams of fiber and vitamins and minerals.

You can add them to foods and beverages and most often they are sprinkled on cereal, vegetables, yogurt, or mixed into drinks.  Chia seeds are a high source of fiber and form a gelatinous substance when you wet them, which takes longer to digest.  This means you will be fuller longer, helping prevent overeating.

Enjoy Chia seeds for their flavor and to boost fiber, protein, calcium and anti-oxidants in your diet. 

Are you ready to give them a try?  I hope you enjoy the quick pudding recipe below:

Chia Seed Pudding

1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk

1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Kosher salt

1/4 cup chia seeds

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tbl honey, vanilla and 1/8 tsp of salt until just blended.  Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes.  Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, in a medium bowl add in any fruit you wish.  I like to use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or bananas along with 2 tbl more honey.  Spoon pudding into bowls and top with the fruit mixture and serve.

eni’s BalanceHealth service is an enhanced Corporate Wellness Program. Wellness programs can help create and maintain a healthy workforce and healthy employees use fewer sick days, have fewer medical/disability/workers compensation claims, and are more productive.  Contact eni today to learn how you can develop a happier, healthier, more productive workforce!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, Wellness, Workplace Wellness, nutrition