Candace: With September being National Cholesterol Month; what are some simple things we can do to maintain a healthy normal cholesterol level?
Victoria Shanta Retelny: "Great. Yeah, there's so many things you can do as far as the food you're eating and I like to recommend because I have a sweet tooth- dark chocolate. Dark chocolate adds such powerful antioxidants to your diet which actually keeps your cholesterol in a healthy normal range and can actually keep that bad cholesterol from oxidizing. I do like to recommend about an ounce a day of dark chocolate; the other thing I like to tell people is lower your sodium intake. It doesn't mean you have to take away flavor but really think about how much sodium you have on your plate. The typical American eats twice as much salt and sodium as they should, so I recommend Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning blends; there's 14 varieties. They have some great recipes on their website- go to MrsDash.com or check them out on facebook.
The other thing is snacking. So many people ask me 'how can I get healthy snacks in?' You know the USDA dietary guidelines recommend that people eat fat free and low fat dairy products and Weight Watchers cheese fits right in there because they have a line of cheese sticks and string cheese (and mozzarella happens to be my favorite) but that are low in calorie, high in protein and a good source of calcium. So that's one way to get some good snacking in. And also for kids; if you're the mom of children or a parent of a child you want to think about easy, accessible and portable snacks- GoGo squeeZ apple sauce is a great option. It comes in a resealable pouch (no refrigeration required) and it's 100% fruit, so that's something I feel good about giving my children. It comes in five flavors as well, so there's a lot of variety there."
Candace: How can we cut calories simply by changing what we drink?
VR: "Well, drinking does come up often and many people really need to think about the types of beverages they're taking in. If you're drinking high calorie beverages like coffee drinks and even juice drinks you want to think about how much of that you're drinking. You could either journal it down and write a log or also drink water; drink more fluids. Drink water before meals, drink them in between meals, sip water throughout the day. It's really going to help keep you hydrated for zero calories, so that's really my advice for drinking."
Candace: What are some simple ways we can add exercise to our daily routine?
VR: "Exercise is such a powerful tool to keep cholesterol levels down and weight down; so I recommend people get 30 minutes of physical activity most days a week- so that could be biking to and from work, taking a walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even park further away from the store, so you're doing some more physical activity. It really does count toward heart health and weight management which is what we all need to be thinking about."
Candace: Do you have any additional tips or information?
VR: "No, I recommend that people go to the website News2Know.com or you could check out my website and my book called The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods."