A Whey /Way to Avoid the Freshman 15

Whey Freshman 15As much as I hate to say this, Labor Day is upon us, meaning summer is coming to a close. For those still in school, that means classes will begin soon enough. Incoming college freshmen are going to have a lot on their plates as they start their first semester away from home. They’ll encounter new people, perhaps share a bedroom with another person for the first time, and be pushed out of the nest.

While this newfound freedom (no parents means no rules, right?!) may be exciting, in practice it can be a tad overwhelming. In addition to the normal pressures that come with academics, many college students are managing their food intake alone – without their parents’ input. Don’t fret – here are some tips to ensure your best nutritional health at your new home!

 

  1. Don’t skip breakfast. I know that 8:00 am. classes are awfully early, but you know the old adage: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Skipping breakfast distracts from academic achievement. Without the energy you get from breakfast, you’ll take in less information from your morning classes.
  2. Stock your mini-fridge responsibly. It’s well-known that calcium is important for bone health, but did you know that the average college student needs 1,000 milligrams per day? Luckily for you, calcium-rich items are perfect for the mini-fridge. Where can you get it? An 8-ounce glass of milk has 300 milligrams; an 8-ounce serving of plain, low fat yogurt has 415 milligrams; oatmeal features 105 milligrams in one packet; most cheeses pack 200 milligrams per serving.
  3. Invest in a blender, especially if you’re an on-the-go student. Grab a packet of Femmepharma’s Whey Protein Powder, then add in some fruit or yogurt. In minutes, you’ll have a protein-packed breakfast you can enjoy on your way to class!
  4. Take supplemental vitamins to make up areas where you’re lacking. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your schedule gets too packed, and eating properly falls by the wayside. Taking a pack of vitamins, like Femmepharma’s Fab 5 featuring B-Complex, Calcium, Omega-3, Vitamin D, and a probiotic, will give you everything you need!
  5. Choose wisely in the dining hall. While it’s tempting to have french fries every day, limit yourself to make them an occasional treat. Pick grilled items over fried, and put something green and leafy on your sandwiches. If you must snack, then you should snack responsibly with a handful of almonds (80 mg. of calcium) or an orange (60 mg. of calcium).
  6. Think before you drink. Water is key, and you should have 1,500 milliliters a day. And, it’s important for those who are 21 and over to remember: there are no nutritional calories in alcohol.

 

Want more help? Take Femmepharma’s Nutritional Assessment and discover where you stand with your nutritional health! We’ll send you a free pack of our whey protein!

Snack Right With These Healthy Summer Snack Ideas

snack ideasGetting outside for a barbecue with your friends is a summertime staple. Don’t feel badly about the items on the potluck menu – check out these recipes for some savory and sweet treats to bring to your next summer party! Here some healthy summer snack ideas.

Crisp your own chickpeas. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are packed with benefits – cholesterol-lowering fiber, zinc, copper and iron. You can add them to salads or try roasting them in the oven! Here’s how:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Take a can of chickpeas. Drain and rinse well. Make sure they’re completely dry by patting them with a paper towel.
  • Stick the chickpeas in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, take the beans out and drizzle with olive oil. You can also take this opportunity to add some of your favorite spices – sea salt & pepper, rosemary or even cinnamon & sugar.
  • Roast the chickpeas for 15 more minutes. All done, crunchy and ready for snackin’!

Combine watermelon with… cheese. You heard that right – watermelon and feta make an excellent treat! Put a piece of watermelon with a piece of feta on a skewer. Add a mint leave and enjoy!

Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad. A refreshing light summer salad that’s easy to make and travels well!

  • 2 
large cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
  • 1⁄3
cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 
teaspoon salt
  • 3 
large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2⁄3
cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 1⁄2
cup chopped fresh basil leaf
  • 3 
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss together the cucumbers, vinegar, and salt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, onion, Basil and oil to cucumbers and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cool down with a cranberry slushie. Placate your sweet tooth with this simple yet delicious slushie. All you have to do is blend one cup of cranberry juice with one teaspoon of lime juice and one cup of ice cubes. It’s that easy!

Don’t forget – our whey protein is a great addition to any fruit smoothies you make this summer. Check it out in our shop!

Forget the Bikini Bod, Here’s Four Ways to Get Healthy For Real This Summer

Summer Bikini Bod

For lunch today, I had barbecue shrimp and cheesy grits. Meanwhile, my coworkers were eating lettuce wraps and salad. They each have beach trips rapidly approaching and they gotta look good, ya know? It’s not that I don’t plan on exposing my pasty self on the Jersey shore this summer, and it’s not like I don’t want to look good in the $5 bikini top covered in tropical birds I just bought at H&M. It’s just that I don’t really buy into the whole get-a-bikini-bod-in-two-weeks- thing that every “healthy” magazine and website seems to be selling right now. Also, cheesy grits.

I’m not saying that’s what my coworkers were going for either – they’re both healthy, smart people that look awesome as is, in my opinion. But many women – driven by the stress and anxiety that comes along with bathing suits, sundresses and shorts – feel compelled to crash diet and over-exercise in hopes of feeling more comfortable in skin-baring clothes. Newsflash: that’s not gonna happen.

Making a big, positive change in your diet and exercise routine is one thing, but you can’t expect to get the abs of your dreams by the Fourth of July. It takes a ton of time and work to make a significant impact; there are no shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle. But there are some small changes you can start making now that will impact your health in the long-run – and they’re perfect to start now that it’s finally summer.

Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables

Fruits and veggies that are in season not only taste better, they’re better for you too. And now that it’s finally summer, there are lots to choose from. Check out this website to get a better idea of what’s in season, then head down to your local farmer’s market this summer and stock up.

Go easy on the alcohol

There are roughly a bazillion boozy summer beverages out there, each more delicious than the last. The problem is that most of these are full of sugar and terrible for you, which equals hangover city. Instead of, say, several avocado margaritas (yes, that’s a thing), try sangria instead. It usually has a little less alcohol than other drinks, plus there tends to be fruit involved.

Take an evening stroll

… or run, or power-walk. Now that the sun is out longer, you have fewer excuses for not getting regular exercise. If you don’t have time during the day, take advantage of the later sunsets for going for a post-dinner walk. You could also try waking up just a little bit earlier and getting your exercise in before your day begins.

Take a break

You don’t need a fancy vacation to feel rejuvenated – sometimes a simple change of scenery will do. Take a day trip to someplace new, go for a hike, spend time volunteering, or just take a staycation and relax. When you return to work, you’ll hate life a lot less!

What are you doing to stay healthy this summer? Tell us in the comments!

Get Rid of Stress? It’s Possible!

stress

Stress – I know it. I stress about work, I stress while running errands, I stress about meeting familial obligations. I wake up stressed, I spend my day stressed, and I go to sleep – you guessed it – stressed. In short, I stress over just about everything.

Stress is not only an uncomfortable feeling; it can cause some adverse effects on your body. It can affect your immune system, your digestion, your mood, and your ability to sleep.

However, you don’t need to rethink your entire schedule to alleviate some of stress. Here are some easy tips to help you on your way to a stress-free life:

Monitor your diet. Certain foods, like those rich in minerals and B vitamins, can help to reduce stress. Try adding more green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts and cooked beans into your meals. And, include a supplement! Fish oil, like this one, has been proven to reduce the stress response that your body experiences.

Keep a journal. It’s important to get out these feelings of stress. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with someone else, grab a notebook and write out what is causing you stress. You may find that, during your writing process, you found a solution to your problem.

Meditate. You don’t need to dedicate an entire afternoon in order to properly meditate. Short, simple breathing can reduce symptoms of stress. Self-described “lawyer turned burnout prevention expert,” Paula Davis-Laack recommends the 4-7-8 breathing technique. At work, sit in your with your back straight. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and then exhale for a count of 8. Repeat this for five minutes for a peaceful mind. With any meditation exercise, practice makes perfect!

Find your happy place. Sure, we all get stressed, but by reminiscing on some of the good things in our life can be beneficial. Think about how relaxed you felt on your last vacation or even just how delicious your lunch is – use your imagination to transplant you to a place of good feelings!

If you haven’t done so already take our stress survey to find out if your a Stress Master or Stressed Out!

What’s the Difference Between Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse? You Might Be Surprised!

alcoholism

How many times have you been to the doctor where you’ve been asked, “How many drinks do you have per week?” Um, who’s counting? Typically I’ll give a rough estimate based on my poor memory and what I think the doctor wants to hear. But in all honesty, I don’t keep track. It’s not like I go out and get hammered on a nightly basis, but a lot of my social gatherings do include booze. From work outings to trivia night, it’s pretty hard to avoid the lure of alcohol. And so help me god if I miss a $2 Wit Bier night.

Now, what’s normal? According to a Gallup poll, the average American has four alcoholic beverage per week. Makes me feel like a bit of a lush, but OK. One in six adults binge drink up to four times a month – for women, that means four drinks consumed on the same occasion, with a BAC up to .08.

So, where do you draw the line between moderation and a serious problem? Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism are deeply serious problems. If you abuse alcohol, it’s likely that you:

  • Repeatedly blow off responsibilities to either get drunk, or to recuperate when you’re hungover
  • Purposely get drunk because you’re stressed or upset
  • Want to drink in moderation, but usually end up overdoing it
  • Blackout with entire chunks of time missing when you’ve been drinking
  • Get yourself and/or others into physical danger, like getting into a car or mixing booze with prescription medications

You get the picture: alcohol abuse isn’t pretty. Alcoholism has all the same ugly characteristics with one major difference: you’re physically dependent on alcohol. As in, you get physically sick and can’t function without alcohol in your system. In extreme cases, it can cause seizures and hallucinations.

It’s pretty obvious, but alcohol abuse leads to alcoholism. It doesn’t happen to every binge drinker, but anything stressful can trigger it – a break-up, a death, a work issue and so on. If alcoholism runs in your family, you have a much greater chance of developing it yourself.

Alcoholism creeps up on you; it doesn’t settle in overnight. That’s why it’s so many social drinkers don’t think they have a problem. They think they’re social butterflies, not alcoholics. For plenty of 20-somethings, it’s part of a lifestyle. But inevitably drinking will catch up with you – it always does. If you or something you know is struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism and you’re not sure what to do, check out the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence’s tips for coping and getting help.

What if you do end up drinking just a little more than you intended? Taking your vitamins is key to feeling like yourself again, especially B vitamins. Head over to FemmePharma.com and check out the Fab Five supplement packs.

So tell us: Do you know how many drinks you consume each week?

Depression—When The Holidays Aren’t Always So Holly and Jolly

Holiday Depression

It starts the second after your Thanksgiving turkey cools—the Christmas season take-over. Radio stations dedicate twenty-four hours of music purely to Christmas tunes. Stores have month-long sales in order to satisfy your many gift requirements. The entire neighborhood covers their houses in lights, Griswold-style. TV channels show Elf on repeat. Until December 25, you can’t escape Christmas.

While many—Buddy the Elf included—immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit, not everyone thinks that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Maybe you recently lost someone. Maybe your family causes more strife than happiness. Maybe you can’t afford all the gifts on your list. Or, maybe you’re struggling with depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health points to the following symptoms as showing signs of a potential depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms

If you have these symptoms, please make sure that you speak to a medical professional. In the meantime, if you’re feeling down around the holidays, here are some tips to help curb the blues:

Don’t isolate yourself. Call your trusted friends and family members—perhaps even to just catch up over a cup of hot chocolate. One hour of good conversation and laughter can do a lot of good to boost your psyche.

However, it’s also key to learn when to say ‘no’ to certain social engagements. If the thought of attending your work holiday party riddles you with anxiety, politely decline the invitation.

Take a walk. If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, take a break from whatever you’re doing to do what it takes to clear your thoughts.

And, most importantly—ask for help if you need it. Recognizing you need help—professional or otherwise—is one of the wisest decisions you can make. There’s strength in the realization that you can’t do it all alone.

Although times may be tough, you can get through this holiday season! From all of us here at FemmePharma, have a happy, safe holiday season.

Did you know? A B-complex vitamin can help improve mood and reduce stress. Visit our shop and add B-complex to your daily vitamin routine!

Not all protein is created equal—How the FemmePharma Whey was paved

protein powders

When FemmePharma was first founded, we spent a significant amount of time on developing our products. We wanted to develop nutritional supplements that not only would contribute to great health, but that tasted good without adding excessive amounts of calories. Protein powder was the natural choice, but it is also notorious for tasting like saw dust; making people understand the importance of protein was not enough, we needed to create something that people would be inclined to make a part of their daily routine.

The FemmePharma team spent over 365 days evaluating, discussing and improving our product. We looked at our target audience and what their needs were: how much protein; how many calories; ease of consumption, etcetera. In the end, we decided to use the purest form of protein with the highest amount of protein per gram: Whey.

Whey is a by-product of cheese, and whey protein isolate is protein in its purest form. While it is quite possible to include protein in your daily diet, most women get too little protein each day. Whey offers a small volume of powder (which mixed with milk and fruits makes the best smoothie) that is completely packed with protein. This allows you to get the most benefits out of the least volume.

Furthermore, whey protein is low in calories, sugars and carbohydrates, it will help you “lean up” instead of “bulk up”, and it will add to your over all energy levels and wellbeing. Whey protein can be made into smoothies of all kinds (see recipes here), and when you add iron-rich spinach or potassium-rich bananas you have yourself a mix that gives you some of the most important—and under appreciated—nutrients that a person needs.

We think that whey is the best kind of protein because of its purity. However, it is not for everyone. Since it is a by-product of cheese it contains lactose, which means that if you are lactose intolerant you may want to consider a plant based protein instead. Here is a brief overview of the different types of protein that you can choose from:

Hemp: This protein is made from the hemp seed, and is a high-fiber protein supplement. Hemp has an above-average digestibility, which makes it ideal for athletes. Additional benefits of hemp protein include potential immune enhancing and anti-fatigue properties, as well as kidney-protective effects.

Peanutbutter: Peanuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fats. However, it is high in calories, and is mostly used by those looking to build muscle.

Casein: Like whey, casein protein is milk-based. The biggest difference between the two is that casein takes longer to digest, so it provides your body a slow and steady stream of amino acids. Because of this, some athletes will take casein before bed to optimize the flow of amino acids and kickstart their metabolism. Casein is most often used by athletes who are looking to build muscle.

Egg: Egg protein powder is made of egg whites and doesn’t contain any egg yolks. This makes it low in fat and cholesterol free. The amino acid pattern of egg protein is considered to most nearly match that needed for human growth, and this option is great for anyone with lactose intolerance.

Pea: Pea protein is easily absorbed by your body and provides it with a substantial supply of beneficial amino acids. Pea protein delivers large amounts of the essential branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, valine, arginine and lysine.

Rice: Rice protein doesn’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s often combined with other protein supplements to get the full effect. Rice is another option for vegetarians or anyone with a soy allergy.

Soy: Soy protein is a low-fat, heart healthy supplement that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also vegetarian, so it’s a good option for those not eating meat looking up their daily protein intake. Because soy can potentially affect your hormonal balance, anyone with a thyroid condition should proceed with caution.

Peanut Butter: An Addiction Worth Going Nuts Over

Peanut Butter

When I was in high school, the principal gave a speech about forming a bond with an unlikely partner. She explained how she became friends with someone much different than herself–it all started when they discovered their mutual love of… peanut butter. I will never forget how emphatically she exclaimed in front of the entire school: “I don’t like peanut butter… I LOVE peanut butter.”

She isn’t alone–love for peanut butter has become so popular that it has an entire month of celebration. That’s right: November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. A lot of people–myself included–go nuts (pun is absolutely intended) about peanut butter. They put it on sandwiches, in cookies, in pies, on toast, in smoothies and essentially any food they can think of.

Luckily for us self-described peanut butter lovers, you can spread the love without feeling guilty.

It’s a great source of protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter pack in seven grams of protein. With all that protein, you feel fuller longer–now it all makes sense why peanut butter on toast is a great breakfast treat!

It has potassium. Many of us (unfortunately) lead very sodium-heavy lives. However, the potassium in peanut butter can help counteract the sodium content in our diets that would otherwise wreak havoc on our cardiovascular systems.

Don’t worry about the fat content. Peanut butter has more unsaturated fat than saturated fat; therefore, it’s considered a “healthy fat” needed in a healthy diet!

It’s loaded with nutrients. Antioxidants, magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6–you name it! And, that’s on top of the good stuff mentioned above!

Add some peanut butter to our delicious whey protein smoothies. Need more whey? Check out our shop to stock up!

Considering a Gluten-Free Diet? Read This First!

Gluten-Free Diet

The gluten-free diet has been in the news almost as much as Kim Kardashian’s butt recently, and it seems like everyone has a different take on it. Some people go gluten-free because they have a gluten allergy, some opt for a gluten-free diet simply because it feels better, and then there are those who don’t believe a gluten allergy exists at all. So what’s the truth behind gluten allergies?

Celiac Disease

The good news is that gluten probably won’t make your genitals take flight like the South Park episode will have us believe. There is, however, a very real autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease that affects about 1% of the population. Those with Celiac are unable to process even tiny amounts of gluten, as it causes severe digestive issues, skin rashes, iron deficiency and even malnutrition. Celiac is genetic, and requires a blood test and often a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm a diagnosis. The only treatment for Celiac is a gluten-free diet.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Here’s where things get hinky: NCGS is the term coined for those without Celiac disease, but still have some level of gluten sensitivity. Tests for NCGS have been inconclusive, as it’s nearly impossible to tell what levels of gluten will affect whom, and if there are other dietary issues at play. And yet, there are plenty of people who swear that a gluten-free diet quells their stomach issues, helps them sleep better and leads to a healthier lifestyle in general.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet for Me?

If you experience stomach pain, bloating, gas, weight loss or any of these other digestive issues, go get tested for Celiac disease. If you test negative for Celiac, it’s possible you have NCGS and could benefit from a gluten-free diet. In that case, a gluten-free diet could improve your digestion, help lower cholesterol and increase your energy levels. Here are a few tips for staying healthy and gluten-free:

  • Opt for non-processed foods whenever possible: Think lean meats and fruits and veggies
  • Always read labels: Gluten can hide in lots of unlikely places
  • Try quinoa: It’s packed with the fiber your body needs
  • For protein, try whey protein: It’s low-fat and totally gluten-free – check out FemmePharma’s whey protein variety pack!

Are you gluten-free? Do you know anyone who is? Share your diet tips with us in the comments!

Three Easy Recipes for the New Superfood: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Being both Irish and Polish, the potato is basically my official food item. Some of my fondest memories involve my grandma’s homemade mashed potatoes, where the secret ingredient was roughly three sticks of butter. No one else’s mashed potatoes have ever come close, probably because those levels of saturated fat are borderline illegal in some states.

Suffice to say, I love potatoes. Sweet potatoes? Even better.

Unlike their pale cousin, the sweet potato is something of a superfood. They’re cheap, readily available (especially now) and positively loaded with nutrients. What kinds of nutrients, you say?

Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A that helps reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers and diminishes signs of aging. Moreover, the natural sugars in sweet potatoes provide a slow release, meaning they’ll help keep you fuller longer. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin D, which is critical for combatting illness and seasonal affect disorder (S.A.D.), especially as the days grow shorter and colder. They also contain magnesium (which helps fight stress), are packed with vitamin C (which in addition to warding off illness can also maintain your skin’s elasticity) and offers a healthy amount of vitamin B6, potassium, iron… you get the picture. Go eat a sweet potato.

Oh, and the other great thing about sweet potatoes? There are a million easy ways to make them.

Microwaved Sweet Potatoes

No oven? No problem.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

1 paper towel

Wash the sweet potato and puncture a few times with a fork. Wrap it loosely in a paper towel and place it on a microwave dish. Cook on high for 4-5 minutes, turning it halfway through cooking.

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

This is my all-time favorite sweet potato recipe.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 whole canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of peppers

1/2 teaspoon salt

Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add butter to potatoes and mash with potato masher. Add peppers, sauce, and salt and continue mashing to combine. Serve immediately.

(Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chipotle-smashed-sweet-potatoes-recipe.html)

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

This one goes out to the vegetarians.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 28-ounze can diced tomatoes

4 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 6 cups freshly cooked)

1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 lime, cut into wedges

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, washed and dried

Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, garlic and salt.

Sautee until soft, about four minutes. Add the sweet potato and lime zest, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, continuing to stir occasionally. Add the tomatoes, black beans, jalapeno, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cocoa, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Serve over brown rice, if desired, with lime wedges and cilantro, or with corn bread, chips, etc.

(Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/black-bean-sweet-potato-chili.html)

Planning on making a sweet potato dish this holiday season? Share with us in the comments!