Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

Fit Trends for the Spring


Wondering what new trends you should be paying attention to? Well, we decided to ask some of our female fitness & nutrition experts what are the hottest trends for the spring. Spoiler Alert: They didn’t talk about fitness fashion. But, here’s what they predicted:

The Future of Fitness

  • Strength is Sexy:

Low carb diets, deprivation diets, and excessive cardio are out (thank goodness!). Strength training is in! By focusing on positive gains (building muscle and toning up) versus weight loss (exercising to burn calories) our mindset is in a heathier place thus supporting our goals without all of the guilt. Strength training will build a healthier body and confidence… you cannot beat that! –Karla Williams, H3 Healthy Kitchen Executive Chef

  • HIIT is Happening:

HIIT Training will continue to be major in fitness along with Pilates and CrossFit. – Chris Varano, H3 Fitness Coach/Pilates Instructor

Healthy Food Trends:

  • Quality on-the-go meals:

A report by Hartman Group titled “Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors” states that half of our eating occasions are on-the-go whether as snacks or mini-meals. Consumers are looking for interesting, less processed foods in smaller packages. Trend watch- nutrient dense foods, plant based, that are packaged for convenience. – Felicia Hackett, RD, Hilton Head Health Program Manager

  • Meal planning:

Busy lifestyles are leading many people to meal plan. Choosing one or two days out of the week to plan and prep meals for the upcoming week has not only become trendy but a must! Meal planning services are becoming popular too: Blue Apron, eMeals, and Relish. –Karla Williams, H3 Healthy Kitchen Executive Chef

  • Vegetables and Whole Foods:

Restaurants are focusing on organic foods, the farm to table concept, and are even offering more vegetarian/vegan options. Menus are offering more whole grains and a variety of vegetables at trendy restaurants. Vegetables and whole grains are hot right now! –Karla Williams, H3 Healthy Kitchen Executive Chef

  • Fresh Cocktails:

It is so last year to drink grenadine, sweet and sour mix, or any other processed cocktail mixer. Spring brings fresh herbs, fruit juices, and even spices to cocktails providing an experience for happy hour. These cocktails will be so tasty, you will just have one. –Karla Williams, H3 Healthy Kitchen Executive Chef



All You Need to Know about Caffeine

Caffeine Awareness Month

March is Caffeine Awareness Month, it is sponsored by the Caffeine Awareness Alliance, a group started in 2003 by Marina Kushner, an anti-caffeine activist. She is the author of a book entitled Life without Caffeine, where she writes about the dangers of caffeine consumption. But how bad is caffeine and does it really deserve its own month?

cup of coffee, caffeine

Just the facts.

First, a little background. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and has been used for thousands of years to ward off drowsiness and increase alertness. According to, caffeine is found in over 60 plants. Beverages containing caffeine like coffee and tea are by far the leading sources of caffeine but it is also found in soft drinks, energy drinks and over the counter pain relievers, cold medications and weight loss products.

Ninety percent of North Americans consume caffeine daily.

Since we get most of our caffeine from coffee or tea let’s take a look at the impact those beverages have on your health. Concerns about coffee go all the back to the 1500’s, reported that in 1511 the mayor of Mecca shut down coffeehouses because it’s patrons were more likely to gamble and “engage in criminally unorthodox sexual situations.” Ironically in the 1600’s, it was thought to cause impotence. In the 1800’s, some thought it was as bad as morphine, cocaine, nicotine or strychnine and could cause blindness. And as late as the 1970’s and 80’s, it was thought that coffee could be a major contributor to heart attacks.

Is a cup of joe or a spot of tea that bad?

Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy a cup or 2 of java a day the latest research is far more encouraging. In a study published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation on November 16, 2015, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that people who drink about 3 to 5 cups of either decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and suicide. Senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology commented, “this study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases.”

When it comes to tea, the news might even be better. Jeffery Bloomberg, director of the Antioxidant Research Center at Tufts’ University commented in 2013 that “If there is anything that can confidently be communicated to the public, it’s the strong association of tea drinking with a lower risk of chronic disease, particularly heart disease, and the demonstration of that benefit through clinical trial.” Tufts’ University Health and Nutrition Letter also reports that in addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, tea consumption may also help prevent: osteoporosis, improve digestion, lower the risk of some cancers and reduce the risk of functional disability.

One other persistent myth is that caffeine consumption can lead to dehydration. In fact, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea contribute to meeting your hydration needs.

tea, caffeine

How much is enough?

While most of the concerns about caffeine consumption have been alleviated, there are some concerns associated with heavy consumption. The consensus is to limit your consumption to no more than 400 mg. per day, the equivalent of 4 8-ounce cups of coffee per day or 8 8-ounce cups of tea. Beyond that level, caffeine might contribute to feeling jittery, nervousness, and irritability. Because of its stimulating effect, it can contribute to insomnia if consumed within 6 hours of bed time and some highly sensitive individuals might need to cut it out for up to 14 hours prior to turning off the lights. The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women and nursing moms limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg per day. Adolescents should not exceed 100 mg/day, younger children should avoid caffeinated beverages. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teenagers eliminate high caffeine “energy drinks”. Finally, while it is rarely used this way, it is possible to purchase pure powdered caffeine on the internet. Pure caffeine powder has the equivalent of 28 cups of coffee in one teaspoon. It is a powerful stimulant in small amounts and has been implicated in the death of two young men. The FDA advises consumers to avoid pure powdered caffeine.

At this point, I think that the research is clear, while there are some concerns with exposure to high levels of caffeine and some groups of people have to be more aware or their intake than others, the major sources of caffeine in our diets, coffee and tea have a far more positive than negative effect on our health and wellbeing.

No more CAA.

Interestingly, the Associated Press reported in August 2014 that the  Caffeine Awareness Association, the group that sponsored Caffeine Awareness month, was ordered to disband when its founder plead guilty of operating a community service scam. Those needing to work off court ordered community service requirements could purchase an e-book about caffeine and could satisfy their requirement by answering a multiple choice quiz. Upon completing the quiz, the association offered letters certifying community service completion, charging fees based on the number of hours needed to be served.



Coming March 2016, True Bar

In response to guests’ requests for more alcohol education and as a means to provide helpful tools for encountering everyday situations with alcohol, Hilton Head Health is adding a cozy bar to our dining room in March 2016.


Healthier Approaches to Alcohol

By the end of this month, True Bar will afford guests an opportunity for not only lectures and education on incorporating alcohol in a healthier, more manageable way into their lifestyle, but the ability to practice these healthier approaches while at H3. This idea of presenting guests with healthier choices and practices to take home has been one of our best strategies to help guests create and maintain healthy lifestyle changes.


Fresh Ingredients, No Added sugar

Our same portion control philosophy and moderate alcohol consumption guidelines will be in play as guests are able to choose drinks to complement their healthy, gourmet meals. Guests will enjoy house made cocktails using fresh ingredients without added sugar and excess calories during their stay.


 Check out the new photos below:


Staining the wood




It’s almost complete!


Our barn door is up!



We can hardly believe True Bar is almost complete! Thanks to our amazing Maintenance Team. Final project photos coming soon!



5 Ways to Get Your Heart Pumping

It’s Heart Health Month and Hilton Head Health is celebrating by sharing 5 heart healthy tips! We asked our Health & Wellness experts what advice and statistics they give to anyone that wants to know how to keep their hearts healthy. Here’s what they had to say:

Hilton Head Health Director of Lifestyle Education, Bob Wright suggests:

If you aren’t currently doing any type of cardiovascular exercise. Just by walking 30 minutes a day,

you can lower risk of heart and health related diseases by 30-50%. 



The Nurses’ Health Study found great benefits in eating berries. Women that consume one and a half total cups (or 3 half cup servings) of blueberries + strawberries per week lowered their heart health risks by over 30%.

For anyone trying to lose weight or manage their weight loss, the American Heart Association studies show that people who sustain 3% weight loss have experienced clinically meaningful improvement in lowering cardiovascular risk factors.

Chris Varano, Hilton Head Health Fitness Coach promotes:

Interval training! It’s a fun cardio workout option mixes high intensity and low intensity activities at varied speeds that allows you to work out your heart and your body. simultaneously. Try these interval training workouts, straight from my fellow H3 Fitness experts to help you get started.

Hilton Head Health Fitness Coach, David Chesworth encourages you to:

Find an activity that you enjoy to get you moving and get your heart pumping. My best suggestions are to start doing a dance class with a friend, playing tennis with a group of people, or simply taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood.


The more fun you have moving, the healthier and happier you and your heart will feel!

Use these nutrition and fitness tips to get up and start moving! What are you doing to celebrate heart health month?



5 Healthy Tips for Your Super Bowl Party

Everyone is gearing up for Super Bowl 50! Whether you’re a devoted fan, love the game or  just love to socialize during the game, we’ve got 5 simple tips to help you stay mindful and make healthier choices without missing a second of the action.


Bring something healthy and simple.

That way you have at least one healthier option to turn to during the party. H3 Fitness Coach, Chris Varano makes a low fat spinach dip with some Greek yogurt and vegetable soup mix and spinach. It’s that simple and very yummy.

And if preparing something is a ‘foul on the play’ in your mind, H3 Registered Dietician Felicia Hackett suggests buying store bought hummus with pre-cut vegetable tray. Hummus is always a hit and it’s always great to sneak in as many veggies as you can.

Be a Mindful Host at Half-Time

Make smaller portions of dips and put out smaller portions of chips while putting out bigger platters of fruits and vegetables.

Edamame hummus

Be sure to put water bottles next to the beer and other beverages so everyone sees there’s water available. You can even hand out/offer a water bottle to every guest when they are getting settled. Our RD Felicia Hackett pulls out these healthy tricks to help guests make healthier decisions while still allowing them to enjoy a little indulgence.

Turn Commercial Breaks into Fit Breaks

To stay active without missing a play or a hilarious commercial, Fitness Coach David Chesworth chooses squat jumps as his go-to fitness move. From a seated position on their chairs/sofas they would stand up and clap their hands – those who want high impact could add a jump after they stand. They could do 10 squat jumps for each commercial that airs or do 10 every time their team scores.

We’ve given you the game plan and now, it’s time to use it. Enjoy Super Bowl 50, everyone.

We’d love to know what you’re doing to stay on track during your Super Bowl Party. Share your plans with us in the comments!



Fawn Germer Talks New Years Resolutions

Best-selling author Fawn Germer, voted Top 25 Leadership Experts worldwide, shared some insight from her latest book, Work-Life Reset with our guests here at Hilton Head Health. She gave such relatable, InSPArational content we asked her to leave us with some healthy tips for the New Year resolution-ists:

Recap of Fawn’s tips:

  1. Make reasonable (realistic) resolutions/goals.
  2. Don’t try to take on too many goals.
  3. Take baby steps to reach your goals. (Small changes create bigger transformations.)
  4. Believe in yourself!

When you’re creating your list of New Year’s resolutions or goals, use Fawn’s tips to help you create an achievable list. In December of next year when you look back, you’ll see all that you’ve accomplished.

What is your biggest goal for 2016?



9 Tips To Help You Sleep Better

Adequate sleep is an important asset to a healthy lifestyle; not to mention, integral to successfully completing daily tasks, work . WebMD found that around 20% of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep each night. If you’re in that 20%, our Hilton Head Health experts shared some strategies to help you get more, restful shut eye.

sleepless, working in bed, can't sleep

The best technique to quiet your mind and your body is called progressive relaxation, says Bob Wright, H3 Director of Education.

Stress is usually a culprit when you’re in bed but can’t get to sleep. Your mind’s racing a mile a minute and you’re thinking about all the things on your to-do list.

  • Start with a few minutes of deep, slow breathing. It helps if you visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a relaxing word
  • Then starting with your toes,  moving to your feet, you slowly, alternate tensing then relaxing each muscle group all the way up your body.

The combination of concentrating on breathing deeply and focusing on your muscles, distracts you from those stressful thoughts, along with the physical relaxation that results from this techniques creates the perfect environment for drifting off to sleep. If you don’t fall asleep with  10 -15 minutes, don’t stress over it.

  • Get up, go to another room, sit in a comfortable chair and read for 15 or so minutes, go back to bed and try it again.

Chris Varano, H3 Fitness Specialist suggests these 3 tips to promote quality sleep filled nights:

  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping, not for TV watching, roaming the Internet or a work station.
  • Turn off phones, tablets, and other electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime to limit the amount of distractions around you.
  • Avoid eating right before bedtime. It’s ideal to have three to four hours of digestion before you try to go to sleep.

These tips from John Lippitt, Hilton Head Health’s Fitness Specialist can help you start a healthy sleep regimen:

  • Don’t work out right before bed.

An intense workout late in the evening may keep you awake longer because of the adrenaline, testosterone, and increase in sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).

  • Exercise at the same time every day.

Getting into a routine of working out at the same time daily will help your body to follow a routine and a healthier sleep cycle as well.

  • Try light stretching or yoga before bed. These 3 yoga poses can help you get ready for bed:
    • Child’s pose
    • Forward Fold
    • Legs up the wall.

The focus on breathing will help to calm your body down, clear your head of the “monkey chatter”, and prepare you for a restful sleep.



To Diet or not to Diet on Christmas

Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian, Felicia Hackett

Christmas cookie,

The food is made with love and holiday cheer. Family and friends have finally arrived. Throughout the house, there are homemade sugar cookies and gingerbread men that are perfectly or not so perfectly frosted, tasty dill dip in a bowl made of rye bread, peppermint candy canes, yummy cheese and crackers, and red and green foiled candies. For dinner, the buffet is set with an attractive basted turkey or honey glazed ham, grandma’s stuffing, classic green bean casserole, buttered mashed potatoes, and candied yams. After dinner, the whipped heavy cream topping is placed next to the pecan and pumpkin pie signaling that dessert is ready.

How does that sound for a Christmas day spread?

Pause for a moment and think what Christmas means to you and your family. For me, it is about breaking bread; having a friendly and engaging meal in a comfortable, inviting environment with the people you hold dearly to your heart.

“Food for thought: have we been so engrained in our tradition that breaking bread has now become breaking habits, nutrition habits in this case?”

Intuitively, food that is familiar is food that we like.

Pump the breaks on holiday foods like the ones listed above and begin shifting your mindset to more nourishing foods. Experts agree that wholesome, healthful foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are linked to positive health outcomes. This Christmas nourish yourself and choose not to diet. If we are in the dieting mentality we hold feelings of guilt and regret for enjoying foods that we have, over the years of dieting, labeled “bad”.

Feelings like these only damper the holiday spirit.

To Diet is the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight. To Nourish is to provide food necessary for growth, health, and good condition. In contrast to dieting,  if we practice having a nourishing mentality we are expressing feelings of satisfaction and contentment. To keep on track this December, ask yourself a simple question before you eat, Is this food nourishing?

  • Create a menu that highlights steamed, baked, or sautéed vegetables with fresh herbs.
  • Decrease the amount of added sugars in your day by using half the sugar the recipe calls for in candied yams and like foods. And instead of honey glazed ham, try smoked ham; or just like salad dressing have the glaze on the side.
  • Add whole grains to the menu by making a whole wheat bread stuffing, a recipe right from our blog.
  • Cut down on dessert options, because having variety of desserts quickly becomes a tasting of the variety of desserts.

This Christmas, give yourself a gift by tossing out the dieting mentality and embracing the concept of “to nourish”.



Healthy Gifts Ideas for Everyone on Your list

We asked our expert Health and Fitness staff to give us their best healthy gift ideas for the holidays. No matter who you’re shopping for, this is the ultimate gift list to take care of everyone for the holidays!

Gifts to Get Them Moving

We all have a friend or family member that’s stuck at a desk all day, with little or no time to go to the gym before or after work. The DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike Pedal Exerciser is the perfect gift to get them moving. They can feel the burn while they’re at they’re desk.

For the Personal Trainers or Fitness Coaches out there, give friends and family certificates for training sessions.  Use your skills and gifts to help your loved ones start a healthy fitness practices for the New Year. Who knows your loved ones better than you do? Craft their workout routines for their fitness level.


You can’t go wrong with a simple but personalized gift basket decked out with a water bottle, energy bars, healthy snacks ideas, socks, a Fitbit (if you’re going all out), etc. Throw in a gift card to get some fitness gear or sporting goods and the special person receiving this will absolutely love it!

Healthy Kitchen Gadgets They’ll Actually Use

Get your loved ones eating healthier with the Spirelli Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Such a great tool for sneaking more vegetables into recipes. I love shredding zucchini and tossing it with whole wheat pasta. (under $30)

Herbs are mini vegetables! The Back to The Roots Garden-In-A-Can helps make herbs readily available to eat more often and much more affordable. Fresh herbs add so much flavor to even the most simple dish. (under $30)

The All in One Kitchen Tool Set is a great gift to new cooks or someone looking to simplify their kitchen and save some space. It is about the size of a bottle of wine and includes eight kitchen tools: a funnel, lemon squeezer, spice grater, egg masher, cheese grater, egg separator, measuring cup, and a grip for hard-to-open lids. (under $30)


Gift the Caloric Cuvee Calorie Counting Wine Glass to the person in your life trying to monitor her wine intake.

Gifts for Your Favorite Foodie

An awesome KALE Sweatshirt is a goodie for any vegetable lover, especially the Foodies in your life! Share the love for this great leafy green with this stylish item!

This one might go down as the best Foodie gift, EVER. Gift your Foodie friend or family member with a week long stay at Hilton Head Health to submerge themselves into the Healthy Kitchen Cuisine Living Well Program! They’ll enjoy healthy cooking demonstations, gourmet fine dining events, hands on cooking classes and so much more.


Now that you’ve got some great holiday gift ideas, there’s nothing stopping you from knocking out that gift list!



Active Tips for Everyday

Hilton Head Health Fitness Interns Aaron Wood, Kristen Clark, Kelsey Camien

In order to start a healthier lifestyle, you don’t have to go from one extreme to another to create change. For example, going from no exercise at all to 2 hours of exercise everyday and expect that to habit to stick. Smaller progress can lead to long lasting, healthy change. By making healthy adjustments here and there, you can be more active and create a daily routine that’s easy to follow.


Don’t be an Office Potato

Healthy Exercise Snacks

  • Try calf raises while standing in line or doing dishes.
  • Perform some squats while you brush your teeth.

Extra Steps that Count

  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator.
  • Park further away from the doors while grocery shopping, at your workplace or any parking lot for that matter.

Daily To-do’s

  • Add light cleaing as an every day activity to move more. Not to mention, keep your stress levels down due to your less cluttered home.
  • Turn healthy eating into a daily ritual by cooking at home and meal planning.




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