Tips For Healthy Travel

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We hear it all the time – My traveling work schedule is destroying my diet. How can I eat healthy when I’m on the road?

Being out of your element can definitely hinder your attempts at eating healthy. But, with a sensible game plan, you’ll find that you can do a pretty good job of eating healthy even when you’re away from home for days or even weeks at a time.

Try the following tips to stay on track on your next trip.

Do your homework. Once you know where you’ll be traveling, go online and check out restaurants and grocery stores in that area. Many restaurants have healthy options if you know what to look for. Ask your waiter how your food is prepared and request modifications if necessary. Stay away from sauces, breading, and heavy dressings. A chicken thigh and a side of vegetables with water or iced tea is obviously a better choice than a combo meal at the fast food drive thru. Many grocery stores also have a salad bar or hot bar for grab and go lunch and dinner options.

Be prepared. If you want to eat healthy you must have food options available so you don’t skip meals. Poor planning and skipped meals during the day will increase your chances of eating too much or the wrong kinds of foods at night. Once you get settled into your hotel, do some grocery shopping and pick up some breakfast and snack options. Oatmeal, nuts, fruit, and protein powders require no refrigeration and can be taken along in your bag or purse. If you have a small fridge in your hotel room, you can pick up some Greek yogurt or sliced deli meat to have around for breakfast or snacking. You could even pack a cooler and take options like this or a salad with you during the day if you know you’ll only have a small window for lunch. If you just go through your day without a food plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Hydrate. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Staying hydrated will keep you performing at your best and will make you less likely to reach for a coffee in the middle of the afternoon or a cola as you walk by the vending machine. Drinking a bottle of water and having a balanced snack will help control your blood sugar and allow you to make rational food choices throughout the day.

Avoid temptations. Many traveling clients find options like bagels, doughnuts, and other pastries available when they walk into their early morning meetings or someone may have ordered pizza for a lunch meeting. If you go into these situations on an empty stomach, it’s hard to resist these unhealthy foods, especially when everyone else is eating right in front of you. If you stick to your plan and eat healthy foods every 2-3 hours, you’ll be less affected by these unhealthy temptations.

Don’t skip the workouts while traveling. Studies show that people who exercise consistently also eat healthier. An early morning workout puts you in the right frame of mind which will keep you focused throughout the day on what’s best for your body. If your hotel doesn’t have an exercise room, get outside for a 30 minute walk or jog. A healthy body craves healthy foods.

So don’t let traveling sabotage your diet. Plan accordingly and have a great trip.

Avoid That Afternoon Slump

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Tired young businessman in office

Have you ever felt like taking a nap mid-afternoon? Maybe you lose focus and can’t seem to concentrate on your job or task at hand. If you find yourself in a daze or just feeling lazy during those afternoon hours, your body and mind need a reset.

When you feel that afternoon slump coming on or want to avoid it altogether, give the following tips a try.

Get outside. If you work indoors, just getting out in the fresh air can awaken your senses. Studies show that getting closer to nature has a positive impact on health. So, if you work near a park or trail, go for it. Even if you work in a highly urban area, a simple 5-10 minute walk around the block that exposes you to the elements has been shown to be more beneficial for mental health than the same walk indoors. So, if the weather permits, get outside and soak in Mother Nature.

Grab a healthy snack. One reason you might be feeling sluggish in the afternoon has to do with declining blood sugar levels. If you ate lunch around noon, by 3pm, your blood sugar may be getting low enough to affect your productivity. This would be a great time to recharge with a snack that will hold you over until dinner. A great option would be a Greek yogurt with a few blueberries and crushed walnuts or even a small salad with chicken and avocado. Whatever you choose, make sure it includes a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Breathe. Sitting in a car or slouched in an office chair can hinder deep diaphragmatic breathing. Shallow chest breathing can limit the amount of oxygen you take in and carbon dioxide you expel. To improve your breathing, try this: Stand up, place your hands on your abdomen, and take a deep breath through your nose as you feel your hands and your abdomen pushing outward. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for 7 breaths. You should feel an instant improvement in energy.

Stretch. While you’re standing up and breathing, you may as well go ahead and stretch. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and reach your fingertips as high as you can. Continue reaching upwards for ten seconds and slightly tilt to either side. Next, fold your body forward and reach your fingertips towards the floor as you push your hips back until you feel a stretch along the backside of your body. These two simple stretches will improve blood flow and release tension from tight muscles, both of which will give you a refreshing boost of energy.

Laugh. It’s amazing how a sincere laugh can instantly make you feel better. Laughter releases endorphins which improve your sense of well-being and just make you feel good. Everyone’s sense of humor is different so find things to do that make you laugh. It could be a conversation with a co-worker, a quick phone call to a spouse or friend, or even watching a funny video clip. Learn to laugh more and you’ll be better off.

So get out of that slump and get back to doing what you do best.

Digestive Health

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Healthy Gut

Digestion is something we usually take for granted until it gives us issues. Cramping, upset stomach, bloating, etc. can cause quite a bit of discomfort and annoyance. Rather than taking a tablet to cover up the symptoms, listen to your body and try to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.

The following tips will keep your digestion working efficiently and your health in check.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration causes numerous problems, one being impaired digestion. Drinking more water could be the simplest way to improve digestion! To maximize the water you are drinking, add a pinch of sea salt and a wedge of lemon to your water bottle. This will help pull more water into your cells and hydrate you at the cellular level.

Eat the right foods. Yes, this may seem obvious on the surface, but the perfect food for one person may be a bad choice for someone else. Some common food intolerances include gluten, dairy, and eggs. If you think you might have a food intolerance, there are many tests out there that can identify your body’s response to common foods. In addition to cutting out any disruptive foods, you’ll also want to increase your intake of fibrous foods. These include plenty of organic fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts such as apples, berries, broccoli, and walnuts. Consuming clean organic foods and staying away from chemical additives will also put less stress on your system.

Exercise and lose weight. Even if you’re not overweight, the simple act of exercise can improve and aid in digestion. A strong abdominal wall will support a healthy GI tract and contraction of those muscles can help stimulate the GI tract. If you’re carrying extra weight around your midsection, it could be causing extra pressure on your abdominal wall and causing issues that would otherwise not be present.

Supplement with probiotics. Introducing healthy bacteria into your digestive system can have a positive impact on the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. Studies have shown a decrease in digestive related issues in those who consumed probiotic-rich foods. A decrease in healthy gut flora could happen after a round of antibiotic medication, anti-inflammatories, and acid blockers. Consider eating real yogurt, kombucha, kefir, or taking a reputable probiotic supplement.

Chew and enjoy. Digestion begins in the mouth so chewing your food properly can really help initiate healthy digestion. Too many people eat on the run – while driving or working on the computer for example. Multi-tasking is great, but when it’s time to eat, slow down and enjoy your meal. Your brain needs to relax so it can better facilitate digestion.

So take a proactive approach to improving your digestion rather than trying to cover up the symptoms once they occur.

Squat to Improve your Health

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The squat is often called the king of all exercises. When performed correctly, it’s one of the best all-around movements for total body strength and conditioning. When using resistance as described below, the squat uses muscles of the legs, hips, core, back, shoulders, and arms.

We’ll use bodyweight and a barbell to perform this exercise, but you can also use dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a rubber band for resistance.

To Perform: Begin with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart while holding your arms straight out in front of you. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Drop down to a depth where you still feel stable in your stance. Exhale as you stand back to the top, but don’t lock your knees all the way out. Repeat for 10-15 controlled repetitions. Squatting with just your bodyweight is a great way to become comfortable with the actual squat mechanics. It’s also an effective warm-up exercise to prepare you for your workout.

Try to Avoid: If you have limited flexibility or stability, it’s very easy to lose your form as you squat down. Ensure that your heels stay planted on the floor and don’t push your knees forward past your toes or allow the knees to cave inward. Also be aware of your overall posture – at no time should your back become rounded. It’s important to keep adequate tension built in your abdominal wall to protect your spine. Always hold your chin at a fairly neutral position – not too high or too low. Also avoid bouncing back up from the bottom position.


How to Progress: A simple way to progress the squat is by adding resistance. Step under a racked barbell and place it on your upper back (not so high that it rests against your neck). Perform the squat as described above, but keep the barbell held firmly in place throughout the exercise. Choose a weight that allows you to perform between 7 and 15 reps and repeat for at least 3 sets. With added weight on your back, it’s crucial to keep your body in good form.

So get back to the basics and take advantage of the squat and all it has to offer. Add this variation to your workouts 1-2 times per week for an effective strength and conditioning tool.

Eat more carbohydrates

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Box with fruits and vegetables

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term ‘carbs.’ If you’ve attempted to lose weight before, you’ve probably come across low-carb options or may have heard someone telling you to cut out carbs. But what is a carb? A carbohydrate is one of three macronutrients – the other two being protein and fat. To make things simple, you can think of a carb as sugar.

Too many carbohydrates in the diet, in recent years from added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, has been a major contributor in the onset of obesity and diabetes in many Americans. In addition, carbs take the blame for issues such as weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, and poor sleep. But this doesn’t mean that all carbs are bad for you. Many of them, in fact, are not only healthy, but necessary for optimal health.

These five natural carbohydrate options will give you a great supply of energy and a wide range nutrients.

Sweet Potatoes. The sweet potato packs a punch as far as nutrients and flavor. It has a lower glycemic index than a white or red potato, so it doesn’t disturb blood sugar levels nearly as much. You’ll get good amounts of beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins B and C. Slice up a sweet potato into thin slices and sauté in a covered pan with a bit of coconut oil and season with rosemary for a great alternative to regular potatoes.

Kale. Although kale sounds like a boring vegetable, it’s actually quite versatile. It can be eaten raw in salads, added to soups, blended into smoothies, or even baked into chips. This green powerhouse has plenty of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients while only yielding around 35 calories per cup.

Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are packed with antioxidants and add some fun color to your diet. There are too many phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals to list but a good variety of these powerhouse fruits will help fight inflammation, disease, and the signs of aging. Steer clear of sugary juices that contain these fruits and eat fresh organic as much as possible. Have a half cup of mixed berries with a hard-boiled egg as a snack or simply blend them into a nutritious smoothie.

Spinach. Spinach is a wonderful green leafy carbohydrate that is very low in calories but extremely high in nutrients. It’s also naturally sweet tasting, so you can add it to smoothies or use it as base for salads for added flavor. Spinach contains many antioxidants and nutrients that protect the body from free radical damage and inflammation. The next time you make a smoothie, add a large handful of spinach and see how it tastes. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Cauliflower. This is one ‘white’ food that we actually recommend. Cauliflower contains nutrients that support detox while containing several anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients as well. It’s high in Vitamins C and K and phytonutrients that fight oxidative stress. Grate a head of cauliflower into a rice-like consistency and sauté in a pan with a bit of coconut oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and eat in place of white rice.

Limiting processed foods and consuming more of these healthy carbohydrates will greatly improve your diet and your outlook on carbs.

Break Through That Plateau

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If you’ve ever attempted to lose weight or get healthy, you know how challenging things can be when you hit a plateau. You feel like you’re working harder and harder but nothing seems to happen.

The great thing about the human body is that it will adapt to the environment you put it in. For example, if you increase your activity levels and decrease your caloric intake, chances are, you’ll lose weight as your body sheds stored fat.

But, there are many things to take into consideration besides calories in/calories out when it comes to weight loss. If your body is able to meet your demands, it no longer has a reason to change or adapt. This is generally what happens when you hit a plateau. But rather than giving in to the frustration, try the following tips to keep your body moving in the right direction.

Think progression. If you aren’t pushing your body to do a little more each week, your results will fizzle out over time. Get in the habit of keeping a workout journal and recording your workouts from week to week. You can progress by lifting more weight, shortening your rest periods, increasing the volume of your workouts, or adding intervals to your cardio routine just to name a few. Plan out your workouts for the next eight weeks and be sure to incorporate some form of progression from week to week.

Exercise properly. Too many people get in the habit of focusing mainly on cardiovascular exercise to help them lose weight. Cardio is a great form of exercise, but too much of it without a balance of strength training could be setting you up for minimal results. In addition to burning more calories than you take in you must maintain or increase your metabolism by building more muscle density while keeping your hormones in check. Too much monotonous cardio could actually tear down muscle tissue and increase stress hormones, therefore wreaking havoc on your metabolism and your results. Focus on a balance of strength training and cardio – so if you’re working out 5 days per week, focus 3 of them on strength training and 2 of them on cardio, with each workout lasting around 30-45 minutes.

Feed your body. Don’t make the mistake of starving your body and thinking you’ll lose weight faster. Your caloric intake will depend on your activity level and the amount of muscle mass you have on your body. If you eat too few calories you will lose precious muscle mass, so you may lose weight, but the wrong kind. As you lose muscle your metabolism will weaken along with your ability to burn fat. In addition, make sure you’re getting a balance of macronutrients. Too many carbohydrates and too little protein or healthy fats will impede your ability to burn fat. Get your body fat measured and determine you daily caloric needs and percentages based on your goals.

Rest hard. If you’re working hard, you need to allow for proper rest. Most of the positive changes to your body occur when you’re resting or sleeping, so missing this recovery window will slow your results. Focus on getting a good night’s sleep every night and learn simple ways to relax or de-stress throughout the week. Take care of your body and you will see positive changes.

So try these tips to bust through a plateau or to avoid one altogether. You’ll be seeing results in no time.

Stand Up Straight Again

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If you’re one of the many who spend their days sitting in front of a computer or behind a steering wheel more often than you’d like, there’s a chance your posture may be suffering. Being seated for hours a day can start to pull you out of natural alignment and begin to add stress to your spine, hips, shoulders, and surrounding tissue.

So what can we do to get the body back into proper balance? For this article, the focus will be on 5 exercises that will help release shortened muscles while activating weak muscles and in turn, set the body back into normal muscle tone.

Pectoral Release. Lie on a dense ball to apply pressure directly to the pec muscle near the front of the shoulder. With firm pressure held on the tight area, slowly move your arm around and focus on getting a full range of motion through the shoulder joint. Continue for several minutes until you feel improved range of motion and then switch to the other pec.

Thoracic Release. Lie on a foam roller with it placed slightly below your shoulder blades. Keep your neck neutral and hips on the floor. Gently drop your shoulders and puff your chest forward as your back naturally arches. Hold for several seconds and then move the roller up or down an inch at a time and repeat until you feel a release of tension throughout that area of the spine.


Hamstring Release/Stretch. Take a seat on a firm medicine ball and place it just below your glutes at the top end of your hamstrings. Allow your weight to sink into the ball and slowly move down the length of your hamstrings until you reach the backside of your knee. You can also tilt your body side to side to hit the inner and outer parts of the hamstrings. Once you ‘smash’ out each hamstring, now you can focus on stretching it. Assume a lunged position over the top of a mat and drop down until your back knee is resting on the mat. With a flat back posture, slowly straighten the front leg while leaning forward until you feel the hamstring lengthen. Slowly shift your hips side to get a nice release through the back of your leg.


Now that we’ve released some of the tight areas, it’s time to activate some of the weaker areas.

Glute Bridge. Lie on a bench with your feet on the floor and your upper back supporting the rest of your weight as your body will be turned perpendicular to the bench. With your feet placed directly under your knees, squeeze your glutes while keeping tension through your abdominal wall. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly drop your hips about 12 inches. Raise back up and hold again for 5 seconds. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.


Scapular Retraction. Lie face down with your legs together and your arms resting on the floor so you form a Y-shape. Engage your glutes and your abdominal wall and then slowly raise your arms off the floor while rotating your thumbs upward and squeezing your shoulder blades. The goal is to feel engagement in the glutes, abs, and shoulder blade area without feeling tension or pinching in the lower back or neck. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.

Use this routine a few times per week to help your body re-learn its natural posture.

Caffeine – Is it right for you?

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Pouring Coffee

Caffeine. Is it good or bad? We get this question all the time, and the answer really depends on your goals and current state of health.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that starts altering bodily functions once consumed. Caffeine will increase heart rate and blood flow while raising your body temperature. Many people drink coffee and its accompanying caffeine to help them start their day. A cup in the morning makes you feel more alert while satisfying the physical dependence you may acquire from drinking it daily. Most experts agree that a daily cup or two of coffee or tea is considered safe.

Caffeine may not be suited for everyone though. Caffeine consumption may disrupt sleep cycles, but it can also cause under-hydration as well as restlessness, anxiety, and irritability in mood and behavior. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes are risking added stress on the heart and circulatory system as well as a possible increase in blood sugar levels. So caffeine could increase health risks in individuals with these conditions.

On the positive side, studies have shown that caffeine does improve athletic performance, which means a cup of coffee or green tea before you exercise could help you accomplish more. This is due to caffeine’s ability to increase muscular power output by assisting the release of calcium as well as helping your body burn more fat as a fuel source. Caffeine consumption before a workout also lessens your rate of perceived exertion and your perception of exhaustion. Your brain makes you feel as if you aren’t working as hard as you really are. This performance boost can be achieved by consuming as little as 1 milligram of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight. So, for most people, a cup of coffee or green tea would be enough to boost the output of your workout.

The main concern we have with drinking coffee every morning is that too often the coffee takes the place of a complete breakfast. Many people rely solely on the caffeine and sugar in their morning cup to get them through until lunch, but this gives no nutritional sustenance. So as long as breakfast consists of a balance of macronutrients from actual food, there should be little concern with having a cup of coffee or brewed tea. If you’re drinking an 8oz caffeinated drink, be sure to drink 8oz of water to help offset the diuretic effect of the caffeine.

Also, be aware of your dependence on caffeine, as it is found in many sodas and energy drinks. If you have to drink more than two caffeinated drinks just to get through your day, it may be time to cut back. Try, instead, to fuel your body with nutrients from real food so you stay naturally energized. Many caffeinated drinks contain high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, so limiting or avoiding them will help keep your overall health in check as well.

So be aware of the good and bad aspects of caffeine and if and how it should fit into your nutrition plan.

Maintain That Weight Loss

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weight loss nutritional

So after months of hard work the extra weight is finally off – now what? Maintaining your weight loss will no doubt take focus, but the hardest part is definitely behind you. Now it comes down to permanently taking control of your health so you’ll never again gain back that extra weight.

Remember your reason for losing weight in the first place. Is it still important to you? If not, find a new internal drive. You must want to keep your newly acquired body. Once you have a solid focus, use it to set your goals. Whether it’s to stay healthy for life or simply fitting into a dress for an upcoming wedding, a goal of any kind will keep you looking towards the future for the focus you need.

Schedule ‘you time’ every week. If taking care of yourself isn’t a priority, then it could very well get pushed aside and replaced with ‘more important’ things. The best intentions usually aren’t enough to stay consistent, so unless you block off time just for you several days throughout the week, you may find yourself struggling to find time for exercise. Your weekly workouts should be as much of a routine as your lunch break or picking up the kids from school. Three to five workouts per week will help you maintain a healthy body weight.

Plan your meals ahead of time. If you’ve had previous weight loss success, you already know how important meal planning is for consistent results. Plan out your meals based on where you’ll be that particular day. If you’re at the office, make sure you stock the fridge with healthy options so you aren’t skipping meals or snacking out of the vending machine. If you’re traveling, be aware of grocery stores and restaurants in the area that have healthy food options or pack a cooler so you have what you need at your fingertips. Eating a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for 5-6 meals a day will ensure a variety of nutrients and help maintain blood sugar levels, which curbs hunger and keeps your metabolism running efficiently.

Surround yourself with healthy people. If friends and family seem to be pulling you off track, get them more involved in their own health. At the same time, get out and meet people who have healthy interests. Find a workout partner, take a yoga class, or join an online support group. Hanging out with motivating people will support healthy choices and improve your lifestyle.

Remember to reward your efforts when worthy. Staying healthy takes focus but it shouldn’t be stressful. Sometimes you just want that dessert or need a massage instead of another workout. As long as you’re happy with your progress, go for it! Understand the value of moderation and know what your body can tolerate without sabotaging your efforts.

So enjoy your slimmer body while understanding what it takes to keep it. The sooner you get these healthy habits set in place, the more fun you’ll have in your new lifestyle.

Find Balance When Planning Your Meals and Snacks

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Although there’s an abundance of food choices out there, we teach our clients 5 basic food groups – protein, fats, fruits, vegetables, and starches. Fruits, vegetables, and starches all fall under the macronutrient carbohydrates, while protein and fats make up their own respective macronutrients. It’s a proper balance of these three nutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates that will keep you healthy and nourished. Let’s take a look at these nutrients and how to fit them into your diet.

Protein is a building block for muscle. Therefore, if you want a toned and lean body, you must eat protein to support muscle growth and maintenance. Eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish and whey are all excellent forms of protein.

Fat is the most underrated macronutrient. Most people avoid fats because of their higher caloric content, but the truth is, fats are vital in our diet and without them, there is a tendency to eat too many calories from carbohydrates. This leads to spikes in blood sugar and weight gain. Focus on eating natural fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and coconut oil.

Fruits are easy to understand, but remember that a variety of fresh fruit is the way to go. Fruit provides natural energy and an abundance of nutrients. Don’t be afraid of the “sugar” in fruit but eat in moderation as with everything else and be sure to always pair fruit with the other two macros.

Vegetables are too often neglected and overlooked. If you look at the ratio of nutrients to calories, vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and zucchini will flood your body with nutrients but not drown you with excess calories.

Starches should be limited because of their sugar content and the effect they have on blood sugar levels. Too much sugar eaten at one time could cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, which has negative effects on metabolism and overall health. Bagels, cereal, and bread might be common staples in your diet, but they provide a lot of sugar with minimal nutrients. Limit these types of starchy foods and get more carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.

So if we break that down into a sample meal plan for the day, a 1600 calorie diet would look like this:


Breakfast – 7 am Snack – 9:30 am Lunch – 12 pm Snack – 3 pm Dinner – 6 pm
1 protein, 1 fat, 2 vege 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 fat 1 protein, 2 vege, 1 starch, 1 fat 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 fat 1-2 protein, 1 fat, 2 vege

2 eggs

1 oz shredded cheese

½ cup spinach

½ cup chopped tomato


5 oz Plain Greek Yogurt

¼ cup blueberries

1 Tbsp Flax Oil




4 oz chicken breast

¼ cup brown rice

½ cup black beans

1 cup chopped romaine

¼ avocado


1 scoop whey protein

1 apple

1 Tbsp natural almond butter

6 oz salmon

1 oz crushed walnuts

4 asparagus spears

½ cup diced red peppers



How does a typical day from your diet compare? Remember, a healthy balance of these 5 food groups is a sensible way to not only ensure a variety of nutrients, but to control your weight as well. Give your diet the thought and time it deserves. Your body will thank you!



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