Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Want to eat local and healthy produce from Chicago area farmers?

Farmer's Markets

Farmer’s Markets Fresh!


Check out this helpful map and schedule of Chicago farmers markets from DNAInfo here. The City of Chicago’s Farmer’s Market schedule is here.

A helpful Seasonality chart to show when eat type of fruit or veggie is in season is here. 

Why shop at Farmers Markets? CUESA (The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture website explains 10 reasons to shop at Farmer’s markets here. Huffington Post (also affectionately known as HuffPo), finds even more reasons to shop at farmer’s markets in their post, 15 benefits of Shopping at a Local Farmer’s Markets here.


Why do you shop at local farmer’s markets?


What is your favorite Chicago area farmer’s market?

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

For those that are interested in fresh juice or a fresh smoothly with wholesome healthy ingredients, check out the new Pressed Juice Bar at Whole Foods Market in Lincoln Park!

Whole Foods Market-Lincoln Park, New Pressed Juice Bar

Whole Foods Market-Lincoln Park, New Pressed Juice Bar

I recall when most Whole Foods markets, and other stores, had juice bars…then over time they disappeared. The only way to buy fresh juice has been at a select restaurants. Then in the past few years, the availability of fresh bottled juices has expanded, from Odwalla to Naked to Suja and more. Some people miss the convenience and freshness of in store juice and smoothies! Whole Foods has responded to that demand.

Fresh pressed juice..and smoothies, too!

Fresh pressed juice..and smoothies, too!

Recently inside the giant Whole Foods Market at 1550 N Kingsbury,  the new juice bar also sells BluePrint Juices. According to Whole Foods website, these juices were created for juice cleansing. They pack each bottle is packed with raw, organic fruit and vegetable juices made with a special hydraulic juice press.

Fresh from the grocery aisles to the juice bar to you!

Fresh from the grocery aisles to the juice bar to you!


Why Pressed Juice Over Any Other Kind of Juice?

A  centrifugal juicer is one in which the blade spins around at a very high-speed which produces heat and can destroy some nutrients. A juice press operates at a slower speed and causes less oxidation. The juice press also uses pressure instead of heat to kill harmful bacteria in a process called “high-pressure pascalization,” or high-pressure processing (HPP). This is an alternative form of pasteurization. According to Whole Foods’ Blog, HPP maintains a high percentage of the juice’s minerals and nutrients. This increases the shelf life of the juice so that it can remain fresh and nutritional for several weeks.

Pressed juice that has pasteurized via HPP  can be shipped without fear of spoilage. This has allowed more of us to be able to buy  nutrient-dense, pressed organic juice!

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By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Today I came across an article about the effects of giving up sugar in our brains, Here is What Happens to Your Brain When You Give Up Sugar For Lent, published in The Conversation. Author, Jordan Gaines Lewis, who is a Neuroscience Doctoral Candidate at Penn State College of Medicine, explains the role of neurotransmitters and the body’s reaction to receiving pleasurable stimuli in the form of sugar. Unfortunately, as the brain becomes addicted to sugar, stopping your sugar intake such as by fasting for a religious reason, can have withdrawal effects similar to kicking the habit of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Although the article may be a bit complex as the author explains the neurological reaction of the brain to sugar, it is an excellent explanation of how our bodies react to the sweet stuff and why we crave it so much!

In another article in The Conversation, The Amount of Hidden Sugar in Your Diet Might Shock You, authors Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Sonia Pombo, Nutritionist at Queen Mary University of London, explain just how much sugar there is in food you might not think had sugar, including bread and cereal, nonfat yogurt, flavored water and even soup!  Check out their short article and chart to see just how much sugar is in the food you consume every day.

Interestingly, when we take the explanation of how we can become addicted to sugar and look at the amount of hidden sugar in our diets, it is easy to understand how people have difficulties curbing their sugar intake. And too much sugar intake can be part of the process that leads to Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Not to give us an excuse to overeat sugar, but before we can do something about a problem, we must first understand it!

Overcoming Sugar Addiction

If you do find that you have a sweet tooth or a full on sugar addiction, I hope these articles help you understand that resisting the sugar craving is not just a matter of will power. Just like being addicted to drugs like cocaine and heroin, people who feel they are addicted to sugar need help to overcome their sugar addiction. There are some drugs being tested to help reduce cravings, but cognitive behavioral therapy is also widely regarded as a helpful tool in combating addictions, including sugar addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy does help people fighting addiction in a few keys ways. First a pychotherapist uses CBT to help clients to evaluate how thoughts and beliefs may be impacting  behavior and allowing the addiction to persist despite potential harm caused by excessive sugar consumption and then helps clients learn how to modify or change those beliefs and habitual thoughts which make it difficult for the client to manage the sugar addiction. Secondly, a psychotherapist uses CBT to work with clients to determine  a means to modify or change food consumption and other behaviors in specific ways to overcome the addiction. And according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, (NAMI), “Individuals who undergo CBT show changes in brain activity, suggesting that this therapy actually improves your brain functioning as well.”

Psychology Today has an easy step by step method you can try to curb our sugar addiction on your own in their article, How To Get Over Your Sugar Addiction. Sherry Pagoto, Ph. D. explains how to “train your palette to prefer less sweet.” Her approach is in line with a CBT approach. However, if you feel your sugar addiction is beyond self-help, it is best to consult a licensed psychotherapist who can help you make the changes in your life that will allow you to overcome your sugar addiction. Living in a culture that provides not only an abundance of sugary food at every corner, even in Starbucks, professional help is often needed to build a support system and a behavioral plan to help fight the addiction.

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By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Happy New Year to Working Well Resource readers!

New Year's Eve at Navy Pier Chicago. Photo from Time Out Chicago.

New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier Chicago. Photo from Time Out Chicago.

We hope you enjoyed our blog this past year and we look forward to sharing more with you in 2015. New Year’s Eve is a time many celebrate and yearn for fun and excitement. This December 31, 2014, fellow Chicagoans, please make sure you are warmly dressed, have safe ride home if you go out and enjoy yourself without over indulging. We want to hear more from you in 2015!

Check out these blog posts for the latest in wellness trends for 2015:

Top health industry issues of 2015 (Do it yourself health care, Privacy versus convenience, expanding scope of practice and more!)

6 Fitness Trends for 2015 That Have the Experts Buzzing (Wearable monitors, streaming workouts, trendmill classes the new Soulcycle? and more)

Wellness Travel Trends for 2015 (eco-conscious travel adventures, fitness tracking on vaca, actual gazing versus photo blazing, airports with indoor green space

15 Top Diet Trends for 2015  (sprinkle superfoods, less beef, more green tea, good fats, and less complacent consumers!)

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By Susan Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I admit, I am a fan of the occasional corn chip, But I do try to eat healthy and watch my fat intake. It is funny how most corn chip brands now advertise “NO TRANS FATS.”  Hmm, since corn chips for the most part have not ever used trans fats, this is like putting a label on celery that says “NO TRANS FATS.” Saturated fat is still fat and for those watching their fat and oil intake, finding no fat chips can be a daunting task.

I used to be a fan of the Guiltless Gourmet Baked Corn Chips. However, over time I noticed they “reformulated” the chips and basically, added some oil to fatten the chips up and make them take “better.”  They once had 0 grams of fat and now a serving of 1 ounce of chips contains 3 grams of fat. And they are expensive, and no longer available at Whole  Foods Market from what I can tell.

Guiltless Gourmet Yellow Corn Chip nutrition facts.

Guiltless Gourmet Yellow Corn Chip Nutrition Facts

So what to do for that periodic low fat corn chip fix? Try making your own at home! It can be less expensive and less oily.  Check out this post and video showing you exactly how to make your own corn  chips at home from the Lindsey who writes the Happy Herbivore blog.


Photo from the Happy Herbivore Blog. Check out the recipe and make your own!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

After the long winter, many of us are struggling with a few extra pounds. But is the cause of weight gain an attempt a t human hibernation or is it emotional eating? Check out this short article on WebMD about the causes of binge eating. Elizabeth Lee, writes about former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD’s comments about how our biology and our neurology are culprits in the overeating process. Read the post, “Compulsive Overeating and How to Stop It” here.  Then have a carrot and a cucumber!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently a client asked me if I knew anything about healthy vending machines. I looked into it and found that there has actually been a lot of new vending machine companies that now offer healthier foods in vending machines.  I took a look at a few of the more popular vending machines companies and put together some info for other corporate clients, schools and hospitals.

Keep in mind that these vending machine companies are primarily geared toward selling vending machine franchises to vending operators. But two of them  do provide enough information to allow companies looking for healthy vending machines with information about their offerings and a means for client companies to contact them to inquire about adding a vending machine to their company. Companies with a high volume of usage will be more likely to be able to secure a vending machine versus small companies with fewer staff or vending machine usage. My top pick is Sprout!

Sprout Healthy Vending

I really like the Sprout website and company approach. Check out this webpage for detailed specs on the Sprout vending equipment and an excellent video on how the vending machine combines non-refrigerated items with refrigerated items in one machine AND accepts coins, bills and credit cards easily. I really like Sprout’s website and approach to sales. They showcase themselves as a company of people committed to providing healthy products and creating a good working environment for their own staff.

Sprout Healthy Vending Machines

All Sprout Healthy Vending Machines Include:

  • Sprout Healthy Vending Machines
  • Cashless Credit and Debit Card Payment Systems
  • Coin Acceptor/Dispenser
  • Wireless Reporting/Monitoring
  • Shipping / Delivery and Installation to the Vending Locations

To inquire about setting up a Sprout vending healthy vending machine service in your office or school, click here.

Some FAQ’s about Sprout vending services that I thought was useful:

Your location does not have to pay for the machine! Its free! The Sprout Healthy Vending machine is provided at absolutely NO cost to the location. In fact, not only do we provide the machine, we service and stock it on a regular basis and then give you a percentage of the profits each month.

Sprout Healthy Vending has a qualified professional Operator in your area who is responsible to monitor, stock and service the machines as necessary. Each of our Operators goes through extensive training and background checks to ensure that the quality of service provided is far superior to anything you have witnessed before.

Your company can help select the products in each machine in your location. Sprout believes it is important to provide a good variety of healthy products in order to satisfy the taste of everyone. Your local Sprout Operator will meet with you to discuss potential products and you can provide a wish list of requested products from our extensive inventory.

Sprout has licensed Dieticians on staff that create customized Menu Plans for each machines. They will take into account local, state and federal guidelines and build a menu plan that meets or surpasses those standards.

Sprout products are all national Name Brand items. These are the same products you would expect to find on the shelves of your local Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

Fresh Healthy Vending

I also like the Fresh Healthy Vendings website because it makes it easier for client companies to see all the available products they can choose for their vending machines. Fresh Healthy Vending has a clean, easier to navigate website and it’s easy to see exactly what products they offer. Fresh Healthy Vending offers Cliff bar products lines, Luna and Kashi Go Lean bars, Nature’s Path, Barbara and SoyJoy bars as well as dried fruit, vitamin waters, healthy  juices, smoothies and yogurt. Check out the scrollable product options here.

Fresh Vending

To get more information on starting a Fresh Vending Franchise or to order a Fresh Vending machine for your location, click here and fill out the online form.

Healthy Vending Machines by HUMAN

Healthy Vending Machines by HUMAN

Sad to say that Healthy Vending Machines by HUMAN may be a great company, but the website looks like a giant confusing infomercial. When I think of HUMAN, the vending machine company, the phrase that comes to mind is “stressful clutter.” I could not get much information about any of their products, other than they are “customizable” and “healthy”.  I had to go through several web pages to find a general list of the type products they offer (granola bars, juice, etc.), but found no specific product lines mentioned. Thus their website does not list any brand name products to allow me to compare HUMAN’s offerings with the other two healthy vending companies.

I also do not like their video display terminal on the top of some of their vending machines. People at work are already under stress and stopping to grab a healthy snack should be a BREAK from computer monitors. Adding yet another video display with canned advertising content adds MORE stress to office workers. Be kind to human beings, HUMAN, and get rid of the annoying video displays on your machines! We are already bombarded with commercials on television, at air ports and in elevators. Do we really need yet more commercial clutter on our vending machines?

The HUMAN website is also difficult to navigate and cluttered with videos promoting their services. Their sales approach is so cluttered,  confusing and hard sell that I would not recommend them for any of my client sites. Go with Sprout or Fresh Vending instead!

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