Taking Health Inventory – Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Answer the questions below and talk to your Vida coach about how you’re doing with your sleep!



How would you rate your sleep habits?

  • Poor
  • Room for improvement
  • No problem getting my zzz’s


On a scale of 1-10 how confident are you in your ability to maintain healthy sleep habits? On a scale of 1-10 how important is it for you to maintain healthy sleep habits?

  • 1. Not important at all
  • 5. Average importance
  • 10. Most important thing in my life now


My readiness to make changes or improvements to my sleep habits:

  • I am already maintaining healthy sleep habits consistently (6 mos. +)
  • I recently started working on this
  • I am planning a change this month
  • I am planning a change to start in the next 6 months
  • I have no present interest in making a change


Talk to your Vida coach about how you answered the questions above!

5 Foods That Cause Bloating

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Young casual girl woman is having stomach ache.


We all know that bloating is the opposite of fun. But the good news is we can often take steps to prevent it. It doesn’t come as a surprise that what we eat and drink plays a direct role. Here are the top 5 foods to avoid in order to prevent bloating:

1. Dairy

Dairy is highly nutritious, as well as an excellent source of protein and calcium. There are many dairy products available, including milk, cheese, cream cheese, yogurt and butter. When your gut bacteria breaks down a dairy like milk, it releases gas, which can lead to an uncomfortable full feeling. If you’re lactose intolerant, dairy can cause major digestive problems. Symptoms include bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea.

What to eat instead: People who are lactose intolerant can sometimes handle cream and butter, or fermented dairy like yogurt.

2. Carbonated Drinks

These drinks contain high amounts of carbon dioxide, a gas. When you drink one of these beverages, you end up swallowing large amounts of this gas. Some of the gas gets trapped in the digestive system, which can cause uncomfortable bloating and even cramping. Furthermore, diet sodas are laced with artificial sweeteners that your body doesn’t know how to digest. Beer is the biggest offender and will leave you with a bloated belly. Research has shown that alcohol can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which can leave you feeling inflated.

What to drink instead: Plain water is always best. Coffee, tea and fruit flavored still water are also great options.

3. Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables

The cruciferous vegetable family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and several others. These are very healthy, containing many essential nutrients like, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium. They are also full of fiber, which means they can be difficult to digest and tend to produce gas in your GI tract. They also contain FODMAPs, so they may cause bloating.

What to eat instead: There are many possible alternatives, including spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet potatoes and zucchini.

4. Legumes

Although they are considered a superfood, legumes require a big effort to break down. As your body works overtime digesting the sugar and fiber, it produces more gas in your gut, leaving you with a bad case of bloat. Legumes contain high amounts of protein, fiber and healthy carbs, as well as minerals such as iron, copper and manganese. Soaking or spouting lentils before you eat them can make them much easier on the digestive system.

What to eat instead: Light colored lentils are generally lower in fiber than darker ones, and may therefore cause less bloating.

5. Garlic

Garlic is incredibly popular for flavoring foods and for acting as a health remedy. Garlic contains fructans, which are FODMAPs that can cause bloating. Allergy or intolerance to other compounds found in garlic is also fairly common, with symptoms such as bloating, belching and gas. Cooking the garlic may reduce these effects.

What to eat instead: Try using other herbs and spices in your cooking, such as thyme, parsley, chives or basil.



6 Foods You Shouldn’t Put in Your Mouth

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It’s Monday morning; you woke up a little late and are now in a rush to get to work. You didn’t have time to plan or pack your meals so you just grab and go throughout the day. But it’s not a big deal. You promise yourself you’ll make healthy decisions. At the local coffee shop you grab a low-fat cranberry muffin for breakfast. For lunch, you order a healthy looking chicken Caesar salad, and when someone brings in a birthday cake for a co-worker, you grab a slice because you’re going straight to the gym after work and you’ll work it all off.


Ever wonder how long some of your healthy, and not so healthy food options take to burn off at the gym? You may be surprised by how much work it actually takes to burn off your meal choices.

Check this out. (All results based on a 40 year old, 5’8” woman that weights 160 pounds)

Low-fat Blueberry Muffin

In order to burn off this delicious treat that took 3 minutes to eat, you’ll need to hop on to that elliptical trainer for 1-hour at a moderate pace to burn off those 430 calories. Remember, low fat does not mean low-calorie, and can often times mean added sugar. This one muffin alone has over 14 teaspoons of sugar! A healthy replacement would be a plain yogurt with added fruit, none of the added sugar, and significantly fewer calories.

A medium sized latte

Make sure to plan a morning stroll to cover your morning latte. At 190 calories, you’ll need to walk at a moderate rate of 4mph for 1-hour. Instead, try an Americano (espresso and water) with a shot of milk. Pretty dang delicious, and barely 50 calories.

12-Ounces Orange Juice

If you’re in the mood for a ice cold glass of refreshing orange juice, you’ll want to get yourself in the mood for a half hour of spinning, which is how long it’ll take to burn off ton 12-ounce glass. At 170 calories, this is a great example of why it’s so much better to eat, rather than drink your daily-recommended value of fruit.

Chicken Caesar Salad

When considering a salad with iceberg or romaine, it’s good to consider the actual nutritional value of what that salad contains. Caesar salads, while fresh and delicious have very limited nutritional content. Those leafy greens are really just fancy little carriers to move the dressing from your bowl to your mouth. To burn off the 610 calories an average Caesar salad contains, you’ll need to run for 1-hour at the vigorous pace of 8mph. Instead, try a salad with more nutritional dark greens, added vegetables, lean meats, beans, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and a shake of salt and pepper.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is delicious, and healthy, and dangerous. One serving is only 110 calories. One serving size is ¼ a cup. So make sure to measure out your portions. Grazing from the bag can easily add another zero to those 110 calories.

Greek Frozen Yogurt

At 180 calories, and over 6 teaspoons of sugar per serving, this is a very sweet frozen treat that’ll take you 40 minutes on the step machine to burn off, while that’s a nice alternative to the 250 calories you’ll find in regular old ice cream, it’s still a pretty steep price to pay for a quick treat. Instead try throwing a frozen banana, a sprinkle of real cocoa, and splash of coconut milk into a blender.  Blend and enjoy!

Tastes pretty darned close to the real thing, and of course is much, much healthier.


Coach Jennifer Gibson has been coaching clients for over a decade with a background in exercise science and an advanced degree in dietetics. She is the Head Coach at Vida and has previously worked in both private practice and led health coaching teams in the corporate wellness setting.

How to Maximize Your Immune System This Fall


On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails! A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. But what can you do to prevent this? Do your immune system a favor, and pack some more fruits and vegetables on your plate. They’re loaded with nutrients, called antioxidants, that are good for you. Add more fruits and vegetables of any kind to your diet. It will help your health. Some foods are higher in antioxidants than others, though.

The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues.

Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon

Vitamin C: berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, tomatoes, and red, green, or yellow peppers

Vitamin E: broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds

These foods are also rich in antioxidants:

  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Raisins
  • Plums
  • Red grapes
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Beans

Other antioxidants that can help keep you healthy include:

Zinc: Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products

Selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, fortified breads, and other grain products

Cooking tip: To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed. Don’t overcook or boil them.

Prostate Cancer Signs & Risk Factors


Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States. It is preceded only by skin cancer. African American men are more likely to die from the disease than white men but, overall, most men with prostate cancer are not terminal.

Prostate cancer is often thought of as a disease of older men. This is, likely , due to the fact that approximately 1 in 10,000 men under age 40 will be diagnosed but these numbers increase dramatically by the age of 40 (1 in 38) and then again at age 60 (1 in 14). More than 65% of all diagnosed cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in those over the age of 65.

Signs of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located below the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounding the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis and out of the body. There are several signs, that are widely accepted by the medical community, to look for when you suspect that you may have prostate cancer. Many of the signs of prostate cancer are easy to dismiss as urinary tract issue due to the location of the prostate.

  • Weak urine flow
  • Interrupted urine flow
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or suspect prostate cancer, or any other medical issues, make an appointment with your physician.

Risk Factors

Aside from age and ethnicity, other risk factors include:

  • Genetics- If your family history includes a father or brother who developed prostate cancer you are two times more likely to get the disease. These risk factors increase or if three, or more, male family members have been affected or if anyone was under the age of 55.
  • Smoking –  Previously smoking was not thought to be a risk factor but it may be for more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
  • Poor Diet – A lack of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, is linked to prostate cancer.

Testing  & Treatment Controversy

Prostate screening can contribute to early detection of prostate cancer, however, many men are choosing not to go this route. The Prostate Cancer Foundation notes that there is not universal support for or against prostate screening.

Actor Ben Stiller, who at the age of 48 was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a blood test known as Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) raised a red flag, is a strong supporter of testing.

“The criticism of the test is that depending on how they interpret the data, doctors can send patients for further tests like the MRI and the more invasive biopsy, when not needed. Physicians can find low-risk cancers that are not life threatening, especially to older patients. In some cases, men with this type of cancer get “over-treatment” like radiation or surgery, resulting in side effects such as impotence or incontinence,”  Stiller wrote for Medium. “Physicians can find low-risk cancers that are not life threatening, especially to older patients. In some cases, men with this type of cancer get “over-treatment” like radiation or surgery, resulting in side effects such as impotence or incontinence. But without this PSA test itself, or any screening procedure at all, how are doctors going to detect asymptomatic cases like mine, before the cancer has spread and metastasized throughout one’s body rendering it incurable? Or what about the men who are most at risk, those of African ancestry, and men who have a history of prostate cancer in their family? Should we, as the USPSTF ( U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) suggests, not screen them at all?”

Sources: American Cancer Society, Center for Disease Control,  National Cancer Institute, Medium and Dr. Patrick Walsh’s Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer.

Cancer and Exercise


Although exercise may not sound like an ideal thing to do when you are sick, research is accumulating that shows the effects of exercise on prevention of cancer and its beneficial effects on influencing positive outcomes of treatment and helping to reduce cancer recurrence rates.

Recent research is proving that breast and colon cancer patients who exercise regularly have half the recurrence rate than non-exercisers. Exercise may also offset some of the common side effects of treatment including offering:

  • Improved energy levels and reduced overall fatigue
  • Improved long term heart health
  • Improved sleep
  • Diminished stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Improved strength and range of motion
  • Reduced pain
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced constipation and improved bone health

You should always consult your physician before undertaking a fitness routine when you are in the midst of treatment. And remember to always listen to your body and take it one day at a time. Start by simply walking a little more every day- with consistency, your immune system and energy will build.

Yom Kippur: Breaking the Fast the Healthy Way

Yom Kippur
Fasting is normally not recommended as a part of a well-balanced lifestyle due to the inadequacy of nutrients during times of restriction, as well as the tendency to overcompensate when we begin to eat again. However, sometimes religious and cultural circumstances require that we do so such as is the case for the Yom Kippur holiday.
One day of a diet lacking adequate nutrition will typically not be detrimental if you do not have health conditions which require you to eat regularly, such as diabetes, or if you require medication that must be taken with food. Avoid fasting, or speak with your Primary Care Physician before making this decision.
The primary concern is how you will recover from the fast, and get back on track with your healthy eating plan as quickly as possible. Below are a few tips on how to achieve this:
Let Your Health Coach In On The Plan
If you are planning to fast for Yom Kippur, let your health coach know! Together you two can work out a plan to get you back on track as soon as possible. Your coach will also help you hold yourself accountable by checking in, or having a set check in time to remind you of your goals.
Don’t Fast for Too Long
It is understandable that certain religious laws may require an observer to fast for a certain period of time. Try not to fast any longer than is necessary. This can cause your body to become extremely fatigued, and your blood sugar may drop. Also, the longer you fast, the more likely you are to overeat when you decide to eat again.
Plan Your Break-Fast Meal
Talk to your coach before the holiday so the two of you can plan what your meal might look like. It is logical to assume that this meal will consist of more calories than your typical dinner, since you haven’t taken in any calories all day. But don’t over do it! Your body can only utilize so many nutrients at once, even if it’s all you’ve given it today. Plus, you don’t want to feel weighed down and overstuffed – that’s why we are on this journey to begin with, right??
Talk About Visuals
Ask your health coach for tips on how to estimate portion sizes with your eyes, so that you can have an idea of how much you are putting on your plate. If your break-fast meal is buffet-style, it can be easy to pile on the portion sizes unconsciously.
Yom Kippur
L’Shanah Tovah. May this new year be filled with health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

8 Super Healthy Smoothies

Blueberry Maple Protein Smoothie

Super Healthy Smoothies are all the rage as they are portable, delicious and can  be perfectly balanced if you follow a few basic rules.

A balanced smoothie has the perfect ratio of liquid, fruit, vegetable and protein. Some folks like a thinner smoothie that is easy to suck through a straw while others like it thick to the consistency of a milk shake. Either way is perfectly fine, just adjust the amount of liquids that you put in the blender. You can also use frozen fruits to get more of the creamy and frozen texture. Play around with the ingredients until you get the consistency that you desire If you prefer blueberries over strawberries then swap those out too. Just remember to substitute like for like (fruit for fruit, vegetable for vegetable, liquid for liquid)

There is no right or wrong way but here are 8 delicious Super Healthy Smoothie ideas to get you started.

Almond-Milk-Smoothie1-1024x682Green Smoothie with Kale, Banana and Almond Milk

Delicious and nutritious, this smoothie will give you the energy you need to start your day off right!Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Protein powder
  • Spirulina (optional)
  • 2 tsp Agave nectar or honey
  • 1 cup additional frozen fruit (optional)

Blend all together and enjoy!


PB & J Smoothie

Peanut Butter is a source of protein, fiber and good fat…when eaten in moderation (which is so difficult to do)! This smoothie hits that PB craving but without the high caloric punch that can come from dipping your spoon into that peanut butter jar again…and again…and again. And, with the swiss chard, this smoothie is loaded with antioxidants!


  • Two handfuls of Swiss chard
  • 1 banana (frozen preferred)
  • 1/2c red grapes, frozen
  • 1 tbsp Peanut butter (or any nut butter will do!)
  • 1 tsp acai berry powder
  • 1 c almond milk
  • 1 c ice

Blend everything together and enjoy!

Adapted from greatist.com

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Chocolate Banana Smoothie


  • 3 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup raw cashew
  • 1 cup water


  • Add ingredients to a blender (save three cashews for topping) and mix until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass.
  • Chop remaining cashews and chocolate chips, sprinkle on the top, and enjoy.

Blueberry Muffin SmoothieBlueberry Muffin Smoothie

This smoothie has all of the sweet delicious flavors of a blueberry muffin without all the extra calories and fat. Blueberries are one of the top superfoods with lots of antioxidants that protect your body from cancer, they also contain Vitamin C, improve heart health and help in fighting UTIs.
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk

Blend everything together and enjoy!

Adapted from greatist.com

Turmeric Orange SmoothieTurmeric Orange Smoothie

This smoothie contains turmeric which is a superfood of spices in that it has anti-inflammatory properties that makes it ideal for post-workouts. Turmeric has also been shown to give relief to rheumatoid arthritis.


  • 3 carrots
  • 1 orange
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 c water
  • ½ c ice


Blend everything together and enjoy!

Adapted from greenblender.com

Whole Food Protein ShakeWhole Food Protein Shake

This shake is incredibly filling and will sustain you for long periods of time. If you like a thinner shake then simply add more water. Shakes are an easy way to get your day started correctly.

  • ½ cup frozen strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds + 1 tbsp chia seeds + 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 raw walnuts + 2 raw Brazil nuts
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin coconut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond or hemp milk½ cup water

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add liquid until it is 1-2 inches above the other ingredients).

Recipe Courtesy of The Blood Sugar Solution

Pumpkin Pie SmoothieSweet Potato Pie Smoothie

This healthy and delicious smoothie tastes like a sweet potato pie party in your mouth! Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch with Vitamin A, fiber and potassium. The sweetness of this smoothie can curb that sugar craving, as well, the cloves are anti-inflammatory and the nutmeg is antibacterial.
  • 2/3 cup roasted sweet potato
  • 1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk (or other milk)
  • 1 serving of protein powder
  • ¼ tsp of each: cloves, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Blend everything together and enjoy!

Adapted From “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow

Blueberry Maple Protein SmoothieBlueberry Maple Protein Smoothie

This simple recipe requires less than 10 ingredients and comes together in about 5 minutes. It’s the perfect portable breakfast that provides a full serving of fruit and plenty of protein.


  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt (or a mix of the two)*
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed meal
  • Sweetener of choice (such as honey)
  • 10-15 ice cubes + 1/4 cup water


Place all of your ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined. If it appears too runny, add more ice. If it’s too thick, add more water. Add more sweetener or extract at the end if the flavor isn’t strong enough for your taste.


*Use a non-dairy yogurt or milk for the base and a non-dairy protein powder to easily make this recipe vegan-friendly.

*Add a handful of raw spinach for extra veggies without any change in flavor.

3 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes to Try This October

Do you find yourself stocking your pantry with cans of pumpkin purée every fall? Well here are some creative and healthy ways to put those cans to use!




  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 packets truvia or stevia
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract and truvia/stevia. Dump the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Spray a flat griddle with cooking spray and place over medium heat. When the pan is hot, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan and cook until the edges are dry, the center puffs up slightly and the surface has bubbles. Flip the pancake and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Repeat this step until you use up all the batter.
  4. Serve with maple syrup or your favorite nut butters, all natural whipped cream, pecans, fruit, etc.





  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut oil spray


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin pan with cooking spray ~ use cupcake liners to take these on the go!
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes.
3. Recipe makes 10-12 muffins, so these are perfect for meal prep! Serving size is 2 muffins.





  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of milk of your choosing
  • 1 bag of black tea
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp of ginger


  1. In a small saucepan (or microwave safe cup) bring all the ingredients to a boil, except the tea bag. Keep an eye on that saucepan.
  2. Add the tea bag and allow to steep for a few mins or longer depending how strong you like your tea.
  3. Pour in mug, add a milk froth and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

7 Minute Home Workout

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Whether its too dark out too early, or the air is getting chillier, or you simply don’t have time to get to the gym, there’s no excuse not to burn some extra calories this week. Do this super quick and easy workout to burn fat and build muscle.

Do each exercise at high intensity for 30 seconds followed by a 10 second rest if needed. Repeat circuit 3-4 times.

A 5 minute warm-up and cool-down is recommended

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Wall Sit
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Chair step-ups
  • Squats
  • Tricep dips
  • Plank
  • High knees running in place
  • Lunges
  • Push up rotations
  • Side plank on each side