Need Motivation? The Missing Ingredient in Your Healthstyle Journey

by | Oct 8, 2014

Photo by JD Hancock

When I was a kid there were few words I dreaded more than “The Mile.” Once a quarter our teachers would drag us out to the field and make us all run four laps around the track.

I hated The Mile for so many reasons. It hurt my legs, my lungs, and I’d get this crippling cramp in my side. And I was ALWAYS the last to finish, dragging myself across the finish line after the 15 minute mark. It was the worst.

I used to think there were two kinds of people in the world. Those who loved running and sports, and those who would be happy to never lace a pair of sneakers again. I was more than happy to spend the entirety of my life in the latter group, chilling on the sidelines cheering on the bizarrely energetic athletes.

Fast forward 20 years and I consider my workouts one of the most precious and essential parts of my day. I love lifting weights, maximizing my heart rate, and pushing myself to new physical limits.

What caused me to change teams? Did I just wake up one morning and decide to like the gym? Of course I would have loved that, but it isn’t what happened.

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Home Court Habits: The Secret to Effortless Weight Control

by | Jan 13, 2014

Photo by *sean

This time last year I introduced the healthstyle Recalibration. Recalibration is an excellent way to help reset your healthstyle (especially if you were a bit derailed by the holidays) and troubleshoot stalled weight loss, but it is not intended as a method of prolonged weight control. For that you need something that lasts.

No human on earth can eat perfectly healthy for every meal of his life. And if you think about it, that shouldn’t even be your goal. Food is too good and life is too short to deprive yourself all the time of things you enjoy. Besides, nobody has an endless supply of willpower, so even if you try for perfection you will likely fail.

What’s awesome is that you don’t actually need to eat perfectly all the time. To achieve and maintain your ideal weight, all you need is to eat healthy most of the time. In other words, the secret to long term weight control is not restricting certain foods or ingredients, it’s changing your habits.

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For the Love of Food

by | Nov 8, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week broccoli is 43% less pretentious than kale, weight loss improves your sex life, and a new secret to making workouts more enjoyable.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For The Love of Food

by | Jun 21, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week salt gets way too much attention, age and fertility aren’t as linked as you think, and how to interpret pork labels.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Join Me on Lift for Your Foodist Healthstyle Recalibration

by | May 8, 2013
Shopping at the farmers market is one of my most rewarding healthstyle habits

Shopping at the farmers market is one of my most rewarding healthstyle habits

Now that you all have your copies of Foodist I’m sure you’re itching to get started upgrading your healthstyle, and I want to help.

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9 Simple Tricks To Eat More Mindfully

by | Mar 6, 2013

Photo by Orin Zebest

Whenever anyone tells me they eat healthy but still can’t lose weight, I ask them if they practice mindful eating. Most people just stare back at me blankly, wondering what on earth I’m talking about and whether there’s a chance I’ve traded in my lab coat for some new age crystals and incense.

No, I’m not a hippy. Far from it in fact. But I do think that just about everyone could benefit from adopting some principles of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, particularly when it comes to your eating habits.

There is a wealth of scientific data that eating quickly, not chewing thoroughly and not paying attention to what and how much you’re eating can result in substantial overeating—and even healthy foods can cause you to gain weight if you eat enough of them. Though sometimes this mindlessness can be used in your favor, more often than not you’ll be lulled into a false sense of security and eat more than you intend.

The good news is that these mindless habits can be overcome with practice. The bad news is that like most bad habits, it is difficult to change your behavior without concerted effort. But if you’re committed to the practice, mindfulness does become easier and you’ll learn to enjoy your food more and naturally eat less.

Keep in mind as you’re reading through this list that different things work for different people, and some of these will be much easier for you than others. My goal is to present you with as many options as possible that have worked for myself or others so that you can pick and choose those that fit best with your habits and lifestyle.

9 Simple Tricks To Eat More Mindfully

1. Chew 25 times

Chewing is probably the simplest and most effective way develop the habit of eating mindfully. There used to be an entire dieting movement, led by the late Horace Fletcher, based on the idea that chewing more helped you eat less. Though Fletcher took this idea a little far (and was arguably a little crazy), there is reliable scientific data that extra chewing results in less overall food intake.

I recommend 25 chews per bite here, but likely anything over 20 chews will provide a benefit. The most important part is that you choose a number and count your chews until you reach it. The number itself is less consequential.

To help myself remember to chew thoroughly I’ve used iPhone apps such as Reminders! to ping me a few minutes before my usual mealtimes with a simple Chew 25 Times reminder.

2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand

Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to what you’re doing. One simple way to do this is to force yourself to eat with your non-dominant hand, which for 90% of us is our left hand. It might be too much to do this for every meal, but trying it for breakfast and snacks is a good place to start.

Be careful though, if you get too good at it you can slip back into your mindless habits.

3. Eat every thing with chopsticks for a week

Even if you grew up with chopsticks as your primary utensil, you’ve probably never used them to eat a sandwich or a bag of chips.

I once heard a story about a local tech company that asked a bunch of their employees to use chopsticks exclusively for a week as a mindfulness exercise. Although weight loss was not the goal, everyone in the office lost weight and several reported life changing realizations as a result of the project.

One person dropped his morning bagel habit when he realized that the chopsticks prevented him from experiencing the part of the ritual that he enjoyed the most. Apparently the taste of the bagel was not as appealing as the act of ripping it apart with his hands. Once he realized that actually eating the bagel wasn’t important to him he decided to give it up.

4. Put your fork down between each bite

Putting your fork down between bites of food is an excellent complement to the chewing habit. The act of setting your fork down forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite. It also encourages you to slow down and attend more to the taste of your food, instead of just shoveling it down your throat as quickly as possible.

5. Take your first bite with your eyes closed

I once went to a restaurant where the entire dining experience, including being seated at our table, occurred in the pitch dark. The idea was to focus exclusively on the experience of eating, without the distraction of vision. Unfortunately the food at this restaurant was terrible, and focusing on it only made this point more obvious. But it was a good lesson, and I was certainly not tempted to overeat as a result.

While eating all of your meals in the dark, or even with your eyes closed, is not very practical, taking the time to taste your first bite with your full attention can help you eat the rest of your meal more mindfully. Focus on all the flavors in your mouth and how they interact, as well as the smells and textures. This will help you both appreciate your food and eat more slowly.

6. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal

Trying to taste and identify all the different ingredients in your meal is another great way to focus on the present moment and eat more mindfully. This is particularly fun at restaurants, when you didn’t make the food yourself. An added bonus of this technique is it may also help you become more creative in the kitchen.

7. Put your food on a plate

It may sound obvious, but eating out of a bag is not a very mindful practice. Get in the habit of placing even small snacks and desserts on a plate before you eat them. This will force you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.

8. Sit at a table

Once your food is on a plate, you may as well go the extra mile to sit at a table. Formalizing your dining experience can help draw your attention to your food and your eating habits.

9. Eat in Silence

Put away your phone, turn off the TV, hide your kids, hide your wife. Any sensation that you experience outside of taste and smell while you’re eating can distract you and make mindful eating more difficult.

While going through an entire meal in pure silence may be a bit much for most of us, designating the first 3-5 minutes of a meal for quiet and mindful practice can be an effective strategy.

What are your tricks for eating more mindfully?

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Meal Planning Without Shopping Lists

by | Feb 15, 2012

Photo by evelynishere

Photo by evelynishere

Food shopping can be intimidating, especially if cooking is new to you.

A common approach to this problem is to pick your recipes beforehand, make a list of what you need and then shop until everything from the list is in your basket. But being comfortable shopping without a list is a valuable skill worth adding to your healthstyle toolkit.

Lists can come in handy, especially when you’re planning a large meal or event where organization is essential. But at a farmers market, shopping lists aren’t nearly as useful.

You can never be 100% certain of what you’re going to find at the market each week. Sure there are things you can usually count on (I know I can find kale at my market year round), but having a long catalog of ingredients for a particular recipe is likely to be frustrating.

A shopping list you can’t fulfill will leave you scrambling, running around the market looking for absent ingredients or inferior substitutes. No fun. The last thing you want to do is turn the farmers market into a source of anxiety.

Still the best reason to avoid lists at the farmers market is that discovering new and interesting foods is what makes shopping there such a treat. It takes an open mind and curious eyes if you hope to find the next tree tomato.

So how do you free yourself from the shackles of shopping lists without ending up with a pile of random vegetables and no obvious meals?

When shopping at a farmers market, the best meal planning strategy combines both structure and flexibility. Start with an idea of what you want to accomplish, then let the season’s offerings nourish your spirit of adventure and round out your menus.

Meal Planning at the Farmers Market

Step 1. Quantify

Think about how many meals you want to get from your purchases (e.g. 4 dinners, 5 lunches), and be sure to have that many main course ideas (vegetables being the centerpiece) given that a few will probably repeat.

At this point it is okay to have one or two things in mind you know you want to make, but the rest of your meals should be inspired by wandering through the aisles and seeing what catches your eye.

Step 2. Visualize

As you discover which foods will be the focal points of your meals, start to think about how you might like them cooked (even if you don’t know how). Think about what other flavors usually taste good with what you’re buying–consider herbs (parsley, thyme, mint, cilantro, etc.), proteins (meats, fish, eggs, legumes) and side dishes.

If you can’t think of anything, try to remember how these foods have been served to you in a restaurant. If you still aren’t sure what other flavors would be a good choice, ask the vendor you are buying from. Farmers are usually pretty good at cooking the foods they grow.

Step 3. Consolidate

For all the different ideas you had for meals, think of those with common flavors. Look for similarities between the dishes and overlapping ingredients. For example, most dishes will need some kind of onion, garlic or both. The farmers market is also a great place to get herbs and spices.

Look around and see what is available, purchasing the ingredients that are the most versatile. Flavors that can be included in several different dishes also give you the flexibility to change up your meal plans in middle of the week if you are suddenly struck with inspiration.

Step 4. Collect

As your ideas solidify, be sure to collect all the elements you need. iPhone apps can be particularly helpful with this if you want to double check ingredient lists. Because most popular recipes are born from available seasonal ingredients, it is likely you will find everything you need while shopping at the farmers market. If not, you might need to pick up the rest of your ingredients at a regular grocery store–not the end of the world.

To make sure you don’t forget anything, think about each dish individually and deconstruct each of the elements in your mind. This will jog your memory if you forgot to grab a lemon or some garlic.

Step 5. Plan

It is good to have a rough idea of when you are going to eat each of the meals you visualized. Some vegetables hold up better than others over the course of a week in the refrigerator. Plan to eat the most delicate produce in the first day or two, and save the hearty kale and broccoli for later in the week. Here are some tips to keep produce fresh.

Conclusion

Creative shopping without lists takes some practice, but you don’t have to be a master chef or flavor expert to get it right. When cooking with delicious, seasonal ingredients you can’t go wrong with simplicity. Start with the basics and work your way up as you get more comfortable in the kitchen and at the market.

Do you use shopping lists?

Originally published January 20, 2010.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 20, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

There are certainly some must reads this week, including Ruth Reichl’s speech from the Good Food Awards about how the food landscape has changed (for the better) in America. I also found an excellent discussion of the Paula Deen fiasco, and a handful of studies showing exercise is even more awesome than we knew.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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UPdate: Jawbone Up is still really cool, but far from perfect

by | Dec 5, 2011

After a month I figured it’s a good time to check back in and give you my latest opinion on the Jawbone Up, since a lot of you are asking. I had only used it for five days when I wrote my last review (below), and how I’ve been using it over the past weeks has definitely evolved.

Apparently a lot of people are having trouble with the device. I’m on my second one (my first wouldn’t charge properly and eventually stopped working), but to be fair I’m on my third Fitbit as well. Since I’ve had the new one I’ve had no problems and it works perfectly (so does the latest Fitbit). I wonder if it’s working better because I stopped wearing it in the shower? Who knows.

I’ve heard a few people say they are having issues with the accuracy of tracking, but mine has consistently registered within a few hundreds steps of Fitbit, a difference that is virtually irrelevant. Someone in the comments here said their device counts steps when they drive their car, pushing the numbers very high. I don’t drive so can’t attest to this issue, but I would be pretty upset if it were true. I’ve also heard that a lot of people lose their plug caps, which hasn’t happened to me but would be annoying. To their credit, from what I understand Jawbone has been cool about replacing devices and caps for those with problems.

Hardware issues aside I still think the Jawbone Up is really cool, and I absolutely love the hourly reminders to get off my ass and move around. I set these myself, so the nudges aren’t a prerequisite for using the device, but I think they are by far the best reason to get the Up. (Are you listening Fitbit?)

As a pedometer, the lack of bluetooth wireless syncing bothers me more than I expected. This is especially true since I’m still using my Fitbit, which has a beautiful display of my steps (not to mention calories, stair flights, miles traveled and the time) at the push of a button. Though plugging the Up into your iPhone is easy enough, to get your data you need to launch the app and sync the device. This takes the better part of a minute and feels very laborious compared to the simplicity of the Fitbit that I can check easily without a second thought.

That said I do love that the Up presents my data in a graphical form that has me making progress toward a defined goal (10,000 steps). There’s something innately inspiring about seeing your activity build over the course of the day, and it is even more powerful when you can see it compared with friends (I’ll get more into the social side shortly). Once again, inspiration is probably the greatest advantage of the Up.

As much as I love data, however, I stopped using the Up to track sleep and food. I’m not a big food tracker anyway, but the interface is a bit too cumbersome despite its attempt at simplicity. It just isn’t very intuitive and doesn’t translate well onto my personal eating style (low-maintenance). I’d be interested to hear if any of you have found a way to make the food tracking worthwhile. If not, I’d recommend Jawbone kill this feature or spend some serious time rethinking how to make it work.

The reason I stopped using the sleep tracker is more rudimentary: I don’t like sleeping with a bracelet on. I think Jawbone did a great job of making a sleek, cool looking device for wearing during the day. But when I sleep I have a tendency to move around a lot and I like to slide my arms under blankets, between pillows and other cozy places. In that setting the Up is obtrusively bulky. As much as I love the idea of naturally waking up every morning during the perfect time in my sleep cycle, it won’t happen for me with the current bracelet design.

Back to the app, the social aspect was the part I was most excited about and it kills me how difficult it is to find friends on Up. Why is there no Facebook or Twitter integration? This is baffling. The search function for friends is ridiculously difficult to use, and I don’t think there is any way to discover other friends who are using the device if you don’t already know they’re on there. From what I understand this is a fairly simple feature to add and I don’t understand why it wasn’t built in at launch. I share Alexia’s dream of Up seamlessly integrating with social services, but for now it’s a major social FAIL.

To summarize, I like the Up and still think it has tremendous potential. I still might choose it over Fitbit for that reason (a lot of these issues can be solved with software updates), as well as the buzz reminders. But if you aren’t the social butterfly I am (or if you happen to be an Android user) at this stage Fitbit is still an excellent alternative if you’re just looking to move more for health reasons.

How is your Up working out?

UPDATE from Jawbone (12/8/11):

I receive this email from Jawbone today guaranteeing a full refund, even without returning your Up. They say that have found a few hardware issues and are stopping production until the problems are fully resolved. There will still be software updates as necessary. Here’s the complete letter from the Jawbone CEO:

UPDATE FROM THE CEO
The UP™ No Questions Asked Guarantee
To the UP Community:

Earlier this year, we unveiled Jawbone’s vision to help people live a healthier life with UP. We’ve been thrilled by the passionate response to this product. We heard from tens of thousands of you through emails, tweets, blog posts and on our forums about how you’re changing your lifestyle and becoming consumers of your own health. In just four weeks, UP users have collectively taken over three billion steps, gotten more than 300 years of sleep and captured hundreds of thousands of meals.

While many of you continue to enjoy the UP experience, we know that some of you have experienced issues with your UP band. Given our commitment to delivering the highest quality products, this is unacceptable and you have our deepest apologies. We’ve been working around the clock to identify the root causes and we’d like to thank everyone who has provided us with information and returned their bands to us for troubleshooting. With your help, we’ve found an issue with two specific capacitors in the power system that affects the ability to hold a charge in some of our bands. We’re also fixing an issue with syncing related to the band hardware. Typically, these issues surface within the first seven to ten days of use. The glitches are purely performance related and do not pose any safety risk.

We’ve also received helpful feedback on the application experience, including bug reports, ways to make signup and finding friends easier, user interface suggestions and new feature requests. Your comments are invaluable as we continue to improve, so please keep them coming and check back frequently for updates to ensure you’re always enjoying the latest features and enhancements.

We recognize that this product has not yet lived up to everyone’s expectations – including our own – so we’re taking action:

The UP No Questions Asked Guarantee

This means that for whatever reason, or no reason at all, you can receive a full refund for UP. This is true even if you decide to keep your UP band. We are so committed to this product that we’re offering you the option of using it for free.

The program starts December 9th and full details can be found at http://jawbone.com/uprefund.

For most of you, this program is simply meant to offer peace of mind. Please continue to enjoy your UP band and keep sharing your experience with us. If you encounter any problems with your UP band, contact Jawbone directly for your choice of a replacement and/or refund under this program. It’s that simple.

Jawbone remains deeply committed to addressing all issues with UP, investing in the category and giving our customers the tools to live a healthier life. We’ve temporarily paused production of UP bands and will begin taking new orders once these issues have been sorted out. In the meantime, we’ll continue to release app updates for existing users.

We regret any disappointment we’ve created for our community of users and appreciate the trust you’ve put in us. The fact that you’ve taken the time to talk with us and help us make a better product is simply phenomenal. Our customers have always been part of our team and we’re incredibly grateful for that.

Please know that we’re doing – and will continue to do – everything we can to make things right. This is just the beginning for UP and we are excited to keep improving until we realize the powerful vision of what this category can be.

If there is absolutely anything else we can do for you, please let us know.

Hosain Rahman
CEO
Jawbone

Jawbone Up is the coolest pedometer in the history of the universe

November 9, 2011

I don’t write a lot of product reviews, mainly because I don’t use a lot of products. For my healthstyle I prefer simplicity, and until recently the only health tracking I’ve done regularly involves making sure the same jeans fit me year-after-year. Super fancy, I know.

That was until a few months ago when I realized that it is very easy for me to lose track of how much walking I do, which I’ve learned is absolutely critical for maintaining my weight. Since then I’ve been tracking my steps with a Fitbit (that I adore), and in just two months I’m back down to what I consider my ideal size.

But as much as I love my Fitbit, the Jawbone Up I got last weekend is way cooler.

What is it?

Like any pedometer, the Up tracks your steps. I’ve been wearing both my Up and Fitbit for a few days and the numbers are very similar.

Instead of clipping to your pants like the Fitbit, Up is a water-proof wristband that you wear at all times. The Up plugs directly into your iPhone sound port, and syncs with an app that displays the data.

It has three different modes: regular, sleep and active. There is a single button on the device you use to change modes. Generally you keep it in the normal mode, but if you are exercising vigorously the active mode will give you more accurate readings. The sleep mode tracks how much sleep you get and displays when during the night you were in light versus deep sleep.

The Up allows you to track your meals as well, which is powerful when combined with the various challenges you can set up for yourself. For instance, if you take a picture of your lunch and you have also challenged yourself to eat something green at both lunch and dinner, you will have the option of giving yourself credit for that meal.

Up is also proactive. It has a built in vibration that can be used as an alarm clock that gently wakes you up at the right time of your sleep cycle around the time you specify. Or if you want to break the habit of sitting at your desk for long stretches of time, you can have it nudge you if you’ve been inactive for a set amount of time.

Why it’s awesome

Where Up has a huge advantage over Fitbit is how the data is displayed. For the most part the app interface is beautiful and intuitive, making it easy and fun to use. You can scroll through your days and look for the patterns of activity, and the sky appears to cycle between night and day as you look back in time.

The social integration is also way better in Up than Fitbit, and it is highly customizable for any goals you may have. Your engagement can be friendly or competitive, so you can set it up for whatever motivates you best. It’s really fun when there are two devices in one house, it’s a constant competition here over who takes the most steps every day (I always win).

The sleep mode is also awesome. While Fitbit has a sleep mode as well, it’s a pain to use and doesn’t give you much insight. The Up sleep data is more similar to the Zeo personal sleep manager, but has the advantage of not requiring you to sleep with the equivalent of a camping headlamp strapped to your face, which is nice. The sleep data is simple and gives you information that is actually useful.

I also like what they’ve done with the meal tracking. This is usually a tough sell for me, because tracking can easily become way too labor intensive to be practical. The Up only requires a picture, but it is also proactive in that it will remind you to evaluate how you feel a couple hours after the meal. The simplicity is key, and I think this could actually be helpful in selectively building and breaking various eating habits.

I think this app has huge potential for habit building. With the challenges and built in reminders, tracking and nudging has never been more simple. And since the key to habit building is repetition and consistency, these tools are incredibly powerful for making meaningful behavioral changes.

Lastly, the Up is surprisingly cool looking and is relatively comfortable to wear. I expected it to look something like the rubber LIVESTRONG bracelets (which fit better on my ankle than my wrist), but the form factor is much more elegant. I got a black band and I love it, but it also comes in bright red, bright blue or silver, and dark brown, dark red and white are coming soon.

Down sides

So far I don’t have many complaints. There is the obvious disadvantage that it cannot be used if you don’t have an iPhone, but I could write pages about why the iPhone is the best thing I’ve ever bought in my life so I personally don’t think this is a major negative.

There are still a few imperfections in the app UI, which can easily be addressed. For example, it isn’t particularly easy to search for friends to add to teams. But presumably all this will can be fixed in software updates.

It would be nice if the Up tracked elevation like the new Fitbits do. I encourage all of you to be taking the stairs whenever possible, and elevation data is a nice feature in that regard.

My last critique is that you can’t see your data with just a push of a button like you can with Fitbit. The Up requires you take it off and plug it into your phone, which isn’t that much of a hassle but makes me slightly less inclined to check my status.

But considering you’re basically getting Fitbit, Zeo and Health Month rolled into one, at $100 it’s hard to beat.

You can order yours on Amazon or the Jawbone Up website.

What do you think of the new Up?

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Top 10 iPhone Apps For Healthy Living

by | Feb 2, 2011

Photo by Gonzalo Baeza Hernández

Geeks, this one’s for you. Guest author David Harfield blogs at iphoneappcafe.com about iPhone apps and accessories, and also provides tips to get the most out of your iPhone.

Top 10 iPhone Apps For Healthy Living

by David Harfield

Healthy living and technology don’t often walk hand in hand. However, with the rise of the iPhone’s popularity, tech experts around the world are putting their cerebral skills to practical use for leading a healthy life. Here are the 10 best iPhone apps for healthy living.

1. Locavore

$2.99

For anyone who is serious about sourcing locally produced food, then Locavore is an essential purchase. Not only does it recommend local farmers markets depending on your location, it informs you of food that is in season or coming into season near you. Locavore provides links to Wikipedia sites that show you details of the fruit or vegetable that you are interested in as well as a link to Epicurious recipes that show you how to turn your healthy food into delicious meals. Also, the in-app updates from Twitter and Satisfaction mean you can trade information with other foodies and sway recipes and health food tips.

2. iFitness

$1.99

The iFitness app is essentially a pocket sized personal trainer, who only charges you a one off fee of $1.99 and never gives you a guilt trip for missing a training session. Offering comprehensive routines and exercise programs aimed at working out a particular muscle group, iFitness also provides a detailed diagram of the human body so that you can determine which area it is that you want to train. There are personalized exercises for various sports, such as the ‘Basketball Conditioning Routine’ that shows you a set of exercises aimed at improving the muscle groups to help make you an NBA contender. The routines can be done anywhere and everywhere, using anything from free weights to office chairs for the ‘Business Travel Workout’. By keeping a personalised log of your workouts as well as a BMI Calculator and weight monitor, this app is the ultimate workout buddy.

3. Fooducate

Free

This App is a true triumph of technology in the land of the supermarket. By using the Fooducate app, your iPhone is able to quickly scan the barcodes on food packaging, which gives you a detailed analysis of the nutritional content of the food, and enables you to make an informed decision as to whether to shove it in your shopping cart or your mouth. If the food contains trans fats, controversial food colourings or anything else that the manufacturers may want to keep hidden from you, then Fooducate will highlight it and let you know what you are about to put into your body. On top of this, Fooducate also provides preferable alternatives if the food you scan is not to the highest of standards. If you are a busy parent who doesn’t have the time to browse the local farmers markets and has to shop at the supermarket, then this is the app for you.

4. Whole Foods Market Recipes

Free

Whole Foods Market Recipes is a great app for those of you who like to experiment in the kitchen, while not compromising on the health and nutrition. It shows you where your nearest Whole Foods Market is, then allows you to search for recipes by ingredients or dietary types including gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan or low fat. All of the nutritional information are listed alongside the ingredients, all of which are natural and organic. The recipes include easy to follow cooking instructions that really do produce tasty meals. A nifty little function allows you to search for recipes based on what you already have in your fridge, meaning that you can build a meal around what you already have in the house.

5. Veg Out

$2.99

Vegetarianism is becoming more mainstream every day, the only problem is trying to find a decent veggie restaurant when you’re out and about. If you have felt this pain then Veg Out is the app for you. By utilizing Google Maps technology, Veg Out directs the hungry vegetarian to the nearest veggie eatery, all with user-rated star rankings, where their favorite meat-free dishes await.

6. Runkeeper Pro

Free

This is the ultimate running app, as it uses Google Maps to help plan routes on which you can put heel to the pavement and give your body a work out in the fresh air. Incredibly easy to use, Runkeeper Pro keeps track of how far you have run, your average speed, the current pace that you are running at and how many calories you have burned during your journey. You can use all the regular applications on your iPhone such as its iPod and camera functions without having to pause the app, meaning your jog around the block can be sound tracked and photo-documented. A great way to keep track of your personal running goals, Runkeeper Pro really is a valuable tool for any aspiring runners.

7. Good Food Near You

Free

Building on Veg Out’s idea of locating veggie-friendly restaurants in your surroundings, Good Food Near You takes things one step further and tells you what the healthiest menu option is in restaurants dotted around your proximity. It will tell you exactly how much fat is in the average burrito in your local Mexican takeaway, or the number of calories are awaiting you in that seafood special in the nearest Thai restaurant. This is probably not an app to take out on birthdays or special occasions, but can help you eat healthily when you’re on the go.

8. Yoga Trainer Pro

$1.99

For centuries yogis have been leading a healthy, spiritual lifestyle through this fascinating and all-encompassing form of exercise. From beginner poses to advanced sets of training, Yoga Trainer Pro teaches you a variety of stretches and breathing exercises that not only improve your overall fitness and health, but also allows you to practice yoga anytime, anywhere you want at a fraction of the price of yoga classes. The step-by-step guides include photos and voice alerts to talk you through each pose, letting you learn at your own pace. With popular yoga routines and techniques including Pranayama, Meditation and Astanga, this app will have you bending and breathing, but never breaking, in next to no time.

9. WaterWorks (not yet available in US)

$1.99

By setting your target amount of water intake for the day, WaterWorks reminds you how much H2O you have to ingest to meet your goal before the end of the day. Through consistent reminders to stay hydrated, this simple little app is a Godsend to those of us who live life on the go and often forget the simplest of tasks, like drinking enough water. You can set up your own water containers and their respective sizes, (in litres, gallons, ounces, etc), so that you know exactly how much water it is that you are drinking throughout the day.

10. Food Additives 2

$3.99

Food Additives 2, lets you know the lowdown on which additives are in your food and which are particularly detrimental to your health–whether you suffer from a long list of ailments or are as fit as a fiddle. By inputting the additive name or number that should be listed on the back of any food that you are buying from a supermarket or local shop, Food Additives 2 will show you the origin of the substance such as fish, animal, plant etc., its general use and functionality. It will also tell you any known or potential side effects that the additive may cause, the maximum or recommended daily intake and any dietary restrictions that the additive may fall under.

Well, there we have it guys, 10 iPhone Apps that actually help you lead a healthy life. Consider a few of these next time you’re squinting at a screen and trying to conquer the next level Angry Birds. Remember, these Apps will only work if you use them everyday, so no cheating and “forgetting” your iPhone charger!

What are your favorite healthy living apps?

To see Darya’s favorite apps follow her on Chomp

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