Archive for November 2015

4 Ways to Breathe More and Stress Less

by Hilton Head Health Intern Kelsey Camien

While life can be demanding, there are techniques to overcome your daily stresses. Meditation is a great way to help alleviate stress in less time than you would think. In just 10-15 minutes a day, you can have a fulfilling meditation practice with these 4 tips:


Create a routine.

Practice in the same spot every time. This will help condition your mind to move into your meditation practice faster. If it’s possible, choose a location where you only meditate: maybe a chair outside or lying on a mat. It’s best to find a quiet, comfortable place without clutter and distractions.

Meditate at the same time daily, this will help solidify the practice. Some like to meditate upon waking up to help center themselves for the day, others choose right before bed to unwind. You can also try a mid-day meditation to help relax yourself right before or after a stressful moment.

Creating this pattern will become a value in your life, a habit you won’t want to break.

Connect to your breath.

Connecting to your breath is a key component while meditating. Using a mantra, which is a sound, word, or phrase, can be an aid in doing so. There are countless mantras, so choose what resonates best with you. Some like to count the breath: 1-2-3-4 on the inhale and 1-2-3-4 on the exhale. You can also use phrases such as “I am peace” or “I am.” Examples in practice: inhale “I am” exhale “peace” or inhale “I” exhale “am.”

Be kind and gentle with yourself. Thoughts will come in from time to time. Think of these thoughts as clouds that float by, allow them to dissolve and return back to your breath and mantra.

Be passive, not active.

While meditation does take some practice, it shouldn’t be something you stress about; that is what you’re trying to relieve! When you begin your meditation, give yourself permission to let go of all the stress, worries, and tension you may be holding onto. Set a timer with a gentle chime and tell yourself that this is your time of day when all the cares of the world seem far away. The timer will eventually sound and life will be right where you left off.

Be still.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Set an intention not to move during your practice. You may notice that more activity is happening inside of you now that you are still on the outside. With commitment, your physical stillness will lead to emotional and mental stillness. Over time, this will become habitual. Every time you sit still, your inner frenzy will turn into a calm and peaceful state of mind.



How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietician, Felicia Hackett, RD

The holiday season is here and our healthy lifestyle has now become part of our holiday wishlist. Here are some strategies to help you optimize your healthy choices during this special time of year.


Be a Thoughtful Grazer

Focus on expressing gratitude rather than ruminating on food this Thanksgiving. Spend your time connecting with family and friends or practicing being thankful for your year of accomplishments. Try occupying your mind and body with activities like getting together for a flag football game or entertaining your guests.

When you do reach for food, grab for nutrient dense fare made of vegetables or fruit. Skip on the creamy and choose herbs and spices as flavor enhancers. For dessert think sliver not slice or dollop, not scoop. Make the Thanksgiving beverage a low-calorie Thanksgiving herbal iced-tea like cranberry vanilla or make that holiday wine a wine spritzer.

Make your day more about the thanks and the giving and less about the thoughtless grazing.

December Holidays

Think Small Wins

The month of December is all about holiday parties and the bombardment of tasty food and drinks that come with them. Think small wins throughout the month long celebration.

“Small wins turn into transformative changes.”

Pat yourself on the back for skipping on the Christmas cookie or fruit cake. Go for the big win and challenge yourself to a “0” gain weight goal going into the New Year. This way you get after your New Year’s resolutions instead of thinking you have to lose pesky holiday weight first. Avoid tempting fate by not standing near the seasonal cookies, pies, and candies and position yourself away from the food; out of sight, out of mind.  Include more mindful food experiences that create mindful pauses like cracking almonds to get to the crunchy nut.

Last tip for the holidays. Take notice of your holiday nutrition behaviors and see if you can tweak it slightly so that it aligns better with your food and fitness goals. For example why not change Santa’s cookies to Reindeer food of carrot sticks.

Happy Holidays and cheers to family and friends.



Mini Pumpkin Pie

Without a doubt pumpkin pie has to be one of top desserts for the holidays, especially for Thanksgiving. And it’s probably one of the most unhealthy, too, with around 300-350 calories per slice. Normally that would mean you should steer clear of this but not this year! The H3 Healthy Kitchen’s lastest recipe makeover is: Mini Pumkpin Pie. So you can have your mini pie and eat it, too!



Pie Crust:

1.3 ounces Cream cheese, fat-free, cold

4 Tsp Sugar

Pinch Salt

Pinch Baking powder

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

4 tsp Ice Cold Water

2/3 cup Flour

4 tsp Flour for rolling out dough

1.3 ounces Butter, unsalted, cold

Pie Filling:

1 cup Pumpkin

1 cup Egg Beaters

1 cup Evaporated Milk, fat free

1 cup Brown Sugar

½ tsp Ginger

¼ tsp Cloves, ground

¼ tsp Allspice

1 tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Nutmeg


  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • In a mixing bowl – with paddle attachment, mix all dough ingredients.
  • Sprinkle clean counter with a small amount of flour. Roll dough out on counter, making sure dough is not too thick.
  • Then place the large rolled out dough over the pie pan. Press dough down into pie pan to make a good fit.  Cut off excess dough that drapes below the edge of the pie pan.  Make sure to give yourself a little dough on the edges so you can crinkle the dough around the edges.
  • Once you have cut the extra dough off, roll that dough back into another ball and repeat of you are making multiple pies – otherwise freeze.
  • Crinkle the edges of the pie dough around the edges of the pan to make a nice design for your pie. Then place in refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat all filling ingredients on high for one minute.
  • Pour into pie pan and bake 60 minutes or until firm and toothpick comes out clean.


Servings: 12

Serving Size: 1 mini pie

Calories: 175 kcal

Fat: 7 grams



3 Biggest Weight Lifting Fears for Women

by Kristen Clark, Hilton Head Health Fitness Intern

There are plenty of rumors roaming around about why girls shouldn’t lift; today, we’re setting the top 3 rumors straight! If you’ve ever been scared to lift, Hilton Head Health is here to let you know there’s no reason to be. Weight lifting is a great way to burn calories and reach your weight loss and wellness goals.


I’m going to “bulk-up”.

  • Many women have a fear in their mind that lifting weights will instantly turn them into a body builder or “The Hulk” to be more precise. The truth is that women don’t have the same amount of muscle growth hormones as males, so we physiologically can’t get the same muscle increases as men.

Lifting weights won’t help with weight loss.

  • Lifting weights in a circuit style will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to calorie burn. You will increase your heart rate as you would with cardio, but you’re also building muscle mass. Even at rest, muscle can burn up to 3x more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

It’s intimidating.

Don’t be intimidated by the boys in the gym!

  • A great way to get comfortable with a weight lifting routine is to schedule a session with a personal trainer or attend a group fitness class such as Body Pump. Look for keywords in class titles such as body sculpt or total body tone.

It’s time to start pumping some iron! Log your strength training sessions so you can keep up with your progress. And remember to lift safely.



Spiced Chocolate Dipped Apples

by H3 Healthy Kitchen Assistant Chef Carrie Adams

Today’s Healthy Kitchen recipe is the perfect fall treat for anyone with a sweet tooth looking for a healthier alternative. Our Spiced Chocolate Dipped Apples a twist on one our fall favorites, the caramel apple. The spiced chocolate adds an extra layer of flavors when you bite into the sweet, tart crunch of a yummy Granny Smith. Plus, it’s super simple and can created as a last minute healthy snack.

spiced apples



2 each Apples

½ cup Chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon Cloves, ground

¼ teaspoon Cinnamon, ground

¼ teaspoon Salt

16 each Wooden skewers


  • Cut each apple into eighths and skewer each slice onto a wooden skewer.
  • To create a double boiler. Fill a sauce pot about half-way up with water. Bring to a boil.
  • In a large stainless steel bowl, add: chocolate chips, cloves, cinnamon and salt.
  • Place the bowl over the boiling water. *The water should not touch the bowl.*
  • Stir chocolate constantly until melted.
  • Dip skewered apples into the chocolate mixture.
  • Place dipped apples onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Store in refrigerator until chocolate solidifies.
  • Enjoy your chocolate dipped, spiced treat!


Serves: 4

Serving size: ½ of an apple

Calories: 190

Fat: 8 grams



Improve Your Breathing and Your Fitness Level

by Aaron Wood, Hilton Head Health Fitness Intern

Breathing is a vital part of life as everyone knows but when it comes to our health we forget how important it truly is.  We get so focused on completing a movement or exercise that we forget about breathing deeply or at all in some cases.  Breathing plays an important role in not only performance but safety, as well.  Three areas of focus where breathing is vital to completing the activity efficiently and safely are stretching for flexibility, strength training and cardiovascular training.


Improper breathing can leave an individual tight and significantly less mobile.  People commonly think when they are stretching that the object is to just pull the muscle as far as possible even if they can’t breathe deeply or really breathe at all in that stretch.  This isn’t functional for us to do.  What I mean by that is when you have reached the point where you can’t breathe or your breathing is very shallow and stressed, breathing is no longer functional due to the fact you can’t maintain that position without the likelihood of passing out.

stretching, breathing

What you want to do is stretch the muscle to slight discomfort in a position where you can breathe, and breathe deeply while you hold the position.  After spending some time in the position, you will breathe in deeply and on the exhale work a little deeper into the stretch only going so far as that you can maintain that deep breath.  You can also just practice breathing deeply to improve flexibility.  Try alligator breathing, where you lay flat on your stomach with your head resting on hands and breathing deeply trying to raise the lower back with each breath.  Or literally just taking out the time to just sit upright in good posture and practice breathing deeply.

Strength Training

Along with proper form, breathing during strength training can be one of the most important aspects to make sure you are doing it efficiently and safely.  When performing a movement, especially one loaded with weight, breathing plays a big role in providing oxygen to the muscle(s) to help perform the task.   The goal is to breathe in on the eccentric (stretching, or easiest part) of the exercise while breathing out on the concentric (flexing, or hardest part) of the exercise. This breathing sequence rushes oxygen to the muscles during the loading of the weight which is when the muscle is being stretched and then the muscle uses that oxygen (along with other properties) to perform the flexion of the muscle. Though, what typically ends up happening is people hold their breathe through the movement making it harder on their muscles to perform the task at hand while also putting themselves in danger of passing out.

Also, holding your breathe through the exercise can result in complications such as high blood pressure.  If you already suffer from high blood pressure, raising it unsafely during exercise can be dangerous and lead to serious injury or other health issues.  The way in which you breathe can also help with the efficiency of performing the task.   And breathing properly promotes good form; breathing deeply during a task usually forces you to correct your posture in order to do so.

breathing, strength training

Cardiovascular Training

Obviously, breathing plays a big role in cardiovascular training.  Most of the time, we make sure to breath but we don’t breathe in an efficient way.  Usually when we do cardio, whether it is going for a run, swimming or whatever the case may be, as the activity goes on we start to breath more rapidly and more shallow (versus how we would like, which is deeply).  This makes us less efficient in our activity; ultimately, the activity ends early as we feel more exerted much quicker because we are using more energy to breathe at that rapid pace instead of using that energy to help the muscles perform the activity.

To get better at breathing when it comes to cardio it is important to remember pace.  We pace ourselves in speed all the time while usually neglecting how we breathe in that pace.  That breathing pace should be just as important to us as the pace in which we run, as far as speed.  Breathing steadily along with breathing deeply will help much like in strength training.  As your muscles are performing the task at hand they need oxygen, better breathing helps your muscles complete the activity easier than if they have to do so with little oxygen circulating through the body.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion breathing is of vital importance to performance in exercise or flexibility.  It also plays a vital role in safety.  So next time you stretch, strength train, or take part in cardio training remember to breathe, and not only breathe but breathe deeply and efficiently.  Doing so can be the difference between being unable to improve your mobility, strength, or cardiovascular endurance and reaching those goals that have been eluding you.



Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s by 35 Percent

alzheimer's disease, MIND Diet

The MIND Diet

Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the scariest and most costly chronic diseases. Fortunately, the evidence continues to mount that we have a greater impact on influencing our risk than many would believe. A recent study builds on previous research suggesting that lifestyle, specifically diet can have a dramatic impact on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, led by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, found that those following their dietary approach rigorously, lowered their risk by 53%, encouragingly, those following it even moderately lowered their risk by about 35%.  Referred to as the MIND diet (acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), the dietary pattern was developed by blending elements of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets, both of which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Food Recommendations and Limitations

The dietary pattern emphasized the consumption of 10 brain healthy foods and limited the exposure to 5 foods that may increase risk.

The healthy foods were:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or a salad with romaine lettuce every day
  • One other vegetable every day
  • Three servings of whole grains a day.
    • A serving is one slice of whole wheat bread,  ½ cup of whole grain pasta or brown rice, or a bowl of whole grain cereal.
  • Beans every other day
  • One serving (about and ounce) of nuts per day
  • Poultry two times a week
  • Berries at least 2 times a week. The study found blueberries to be very ‘potent’ in brain protection.
  • Fish at least one time a week
  • Olive oil
  • One 5 oz. glass of wine per day.

Foods that were limited:

  • Red meats
  • Less than on tablespoon of  butter or stick margarine per day.
  • Full fat cheese, less than one serving per week
  • Sweets and pastries
  • No more than one serving each per week of fried or fast foods.

The Beauty of Simplicity

At first glance you may think, there is nothing new here, why all the excitement. First, of the results were impressive,  secondly, as Varanda R. Seth, RDN,CDE, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states “the MIND diet is fairly simple to follow. Having a green salad and one other vegetable a day and snaking on nuts is pretty simple to do. Many people already have poultry at least two times a week and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.” The other guidelines while challenging for some to follow, are not overwhelmingly difficult. And as lead research Dr. Morris points out once again, ”one of the most exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction (35%) in the risk of Alzheimer’s. I think that will motivate people.”

The Big Takeaway

The take home message from this study is that we have more control over our risk for Alzheimer’s Disease than many consumers believe. Dr. Morris sums it up by  saying that “With late onset AD, with that of older group of people, genetic risk factors are small piece of the picture. This study along with past studies have  yielded evidence that suggests that what we eat may play a significant role in determining who gets AD and who doesn’t.”




The Vegetarian Burrito

by Hilton Head Health Executive Chef Hicham Elmadi

It’s time to share another recipe from our True* dining menu! Get your tastebuds ready for one of the best burrito recipes you’ll ever taste, the Vegetarian Burrito. Don’t be fooled by the name, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to love it. It has the perfect mix of vegetables, plant based protein and flavorful ingredients to entice anyone.

vegetarian burrito, healthy recipe, meatless recipe


1 each Flatbread

2 tablespoons Cilantro Lime Cashew Sauce

¼ cup Black Bean Puree

¼ cup Quinoa, red, cooked

3 ounces Kale, chopped

1 tablespoon Jalapeno, minced

2 teaspoons Chili powder

1 tablespoon Cilantro, finely chopped

¼  teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Olive oil


  • Prepare Cashew sauce and Black Bean puree and set aside.
  • Massage kale with jalapeno, chili powder, cilantro, salt and olive oil. Set aside.
  • Assemble each burrito by spreading black bean puree first and then the cooked quinoa.
  • Arrange kale mixture at the bottom half of the burrito and roll sides in tight.
  • Serve sliced in half with 2 tablespoons cashew sauce and a side salad with citrus vinaigrette.


vegetarian burrito, kale burrito, healthy recipe


Serves: 1

Serving Size: 1 wrap (with side)

Calories: 290

Fat Grams: 7 grams

Protein: 14 grams

Want to add a few more meatleass recipes to your weekly meal plan? Find all the best veggie recipes right here on our blog!



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