November 2014

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Gratitude for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul 
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with Thanksgiving comes the topic of gratitude. People everywhere express gratitude for their family, friends, work, food, and the list goes on. Did you know that regular acts of gratitude can also contribute to a healthier body? Research has found that practicing gratitude is not only good for your overall emotional well-being, but is also good for your health. This month I hope to inspire you to live a life filled with gratitude by sharing tips of gratitude for a healthier mind, body and soul.

- Elizabeth 

A colleague of mine and registered dietitian, Teresa Pangan, recently shared this with me:

"When you feel a sense of true thanks for what you have right now something magical happens. You don't take it for granted but instead focus on valuing it. This is where we see people that are grateful take better care of themselves with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and physicals. Gratitude results in you valuing yourself enough to take the time to take care of yourself." 

Reflecting on her statement reminds me just how important the act of gratitude is for a healthy life. Here are more ways an "attitude of gratitude" may help improve your overall health:

Fight depression. Several studies have found that the more someone is grateful, the lower the level of depression they have.

Maintain healthier relationships. Grateful people tend to have healthier relationships with their spouse, children, friends, co-workers, etc. Healthy relationships generally mean less arguing and more laughing. Laughter releases healthy endorphins, which are your body's natural feel good chemicals and can promote an overall feeling of well-being.

Manage stress. Gratitude is one more way to manage stress (paired with exercise and good nutrition). Stress can be triggered by worry. Worry can stem from anxiety and thoughts of all you "need" or "don't have enough of". Bringing yourself back to the present moment, and focusing on what there is to be grateful for can reduce the stress- cycle anxiety can cause.

Build a stronger immune system. Gratitude is linked to a more optimistic approach to life. According to Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, "there are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function."

Combat disordered eating. Gratitude can help fight disordered eating because instead of focusing on all you "cannot eat" you can shift your energy into gratitude for food that can fuel you.

Build a healthy body image. Learning to be grateful for all your body can do instead of worrying about what the scale says is a way to build a healthy body image. Just had a baby? Express gratitude for growing another human inside yourself. Taking care of a sick loved one? Express gratitude that you have the strength to feed and care for him or her. Have an "athletic" build? Show gratitude for your body with movement. Challenge your body to the next level, don't "starve" yourself and hinder your performance, instead be grateful for the body you were born with and fuel it for success!

5 Ways to Practice Gratitude for Health
  1. Share the strength of your body with another. Find someone else who is in need of help and use the strength of your arms and legs to help them do what they cannot do for themselves.
  2. Laugh more. Find humor in your day to day living. Humor and laughter will help shift your perspective and give you the understanding that there is good in the world and whatever made you laugh and smile is probably something to be grateful for.
  3. Grow your own food. Practice gratitude for this earth you live on and the body you live in by planting a garden and nurturing your body with the food from it.
  4. Move your body. Move with thoughts of gratitude rather than obsessing over burning off every bite of last nights meal! Be grateful for the food you enjoyed and the company you shared it with.
  5. Rest when you are tired. Show gratitude to your body by taking a break and resting when you are tired or burned out.

 Scripture of the Month


Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)



In This Issue
Recipe of the Month: Cream-less Cauliflower Soup

Recipe Courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms

Makes 6 Servings

1 leek, white and light green part only, cut into -inch-thick rounds
1 small head cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch florets
8 ounces peeled butternut squash, cut into -inch dice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
One 32-ounce carton all-natural vegetable broth
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
Optional garnish: Shredded, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 425F.
Break the leek rounds apart into little rings, place in a bowl of cold water, and swoosh around to remove any dirt trapped between the layers. Drain well in a colander.
Place the leeks, cauliflower florets, squash, 2 tablespoons of the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly with the oil. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the vegetables are golden and the leek rings become crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir well every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the cooked vegetables and the broth. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the milk, and let cool slightly.
Transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth and creamy. You could also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with optional toppings.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 1/3 cups): 130 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 480 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 120% vitamin C, 80% vitamin A


"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."

- Brian Tracy 


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Elizabeth M. Madison, ElizabethMadisonNutrition/Weight Loss Transformation, LLC. | 718-276-6037 | elizabeth@weightlosstransformation.com | http://www.weightlosstransformation.com
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