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Prevent Breast Cancer | Learn How to Read Nutrition Labels

October 1, 2015


Do you normally read nutrition labels before making your purchase?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I would like to remind you that when grocery shopping, reading labels in order to prevent or survive breast cancer is a must.

Prevent breast cancer by learning to read nutrition labels:

1. The serving sizeLearn How to Read Nutrition Labels to Prevent Breast Cancer

The information on nutrition labels is only for one serving. If the the product  contains more than one serving, do the math

2. Calories and calories from fat

Assuming that you are on 2,000 calorie diet, 40 calories is considered low, 100 calories is medium, and 400+ is considered high. Always check if calories come from fats, nutrients, fiber, carbohydrates, sugars, etc.

3. Total Fat

We shouldn’t have more than 65-70 grams of fat per day, it means no more than 30% of total calories coming from fat. The easiest way to convert calories from fat, multiply by 9.

4. Trans Fat

If the labels say 0 trans fats but the product contains partially hydrogenated oils, there is still 0.5 or less of trans fats per serving. Well, do the math before you eat too much of 0 fat products. Trans fat is very dangerous for our health, because it clogs arteries which leads to heart disease.

5. Dietary fiber

Ladies, to feel and look fabulous, we need at least 25-30 grams of total fiber daily. Don’t be fooled or confused with whole wheat, multigrain bread. If your favorite bread contains less than 3 grams of fiber, it is not as healthy as you think it is. Look for products with 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.

6. Sodium.

The amount of sodium means the amount of salt per serving.  Look for products with 140 milligrams per serving or less. Too much sodium is dangerous because it raises our blood pressure which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

7. Sugar content

Always remember that 4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp. And don’t forget to look for hidden sugar.

8.  The footnote

The footnote is your reference. The “less than” means that you should limit intake of these nutrients.

Let us be label reading smart, shall we?


Don’t forget to breathe, smile and be happy.

© Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Counselor

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Super Unhealthy Foods to Avoid During Cold and Flu Season

January 2, 2012


It’s that time of year – cold and flu season when we have to take care of ourselves to stay healthy.

If you don’t want to catch a cold or to reduce stress, have more energy, sleep better, or even to lose, or at least not to gain some weight, you need to know not only which foods to eat but also which foods to avoid to survive the busiest time of the year.

Did you notice that we always look for super foods to be healthier and feel better? But what about foods that might make us super sick?

These are super unhealthy foods which add more stress on our system and are super harmful for our health:

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Sugars
  • Artificial sweetenerssuper unhealthy food
  • High-fructose syrup
  • Flour products
  • Refined grains
  • Junk foods
  • Fast foods
  • Processed foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco


*** The trans fatty acids most fast and processed foods contain actually reduce circulation and raise blood pressure, keeping your body in a constant state of stress.

*** Alcohol upsets the blood sugar level and disturbs sleep patterns.

*** Caffeine boosts the production of the stress hormone adrenaline.

*** Sweets, raise your insulin levels increasing serotonin for a little while, and then serotonin level goes down very fast turning you into cranky and irritable person.

Did you know that average American consumes more than 190 pounds of sugar a year, and 3/4 of it are “hidden” in processed foods?

Be aware of hidden sugars in the following items:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Salad dressings
  • Luncheon meats
  • Canned fruits
  • Bread
  • Peanut buttersuper unhealthy foods
  • Crackers
  • Soups
  • Sausage
  • Cheese dips
  • Chewing gum
  • Jellies and jams
  • Fruit Yogurts
  • Fruit Juices
  • Frozen deserts (ice cream, sorbets)

You don’t have to avoid these items entirely.  You just need to be wary of them.

A lot of people don’t realize that to stay healthy sometimes it is not about what to eat but rather what not.

So let us be food smart to feel and look fabulous during this holiday season.

Click to listen to Pamela Reilly, Naturopath and Raw Food Coach on How to Boost Our Immunity During Cold and Flu Season.


Breathe, smile and be happy.

© Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Counselor

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Learn How to Read Labels to Find Hidden Sugar

December 30, 2011


Sugar is in the air, because sugar is everywhere.

A lot of people (including my husband) think that they eat healthy, because they don’t eat sugar. But don’t they? When I asked them about labels they seem confused.

We (in the U.S.) have sugar consumption more than 170 pounds per person per year! Did you know that average American gets more than 400 calories a day only from sugar?!

What about you? Do you know how to read labels and find hidden sugar; how much sugar you consume every day without even knowing it?

Here are some tips for you to leanr how to read labels to find hidden sugar andto reduce the amount of sugar you consume.

Tip # 1. Read how many grams of sugars per serving the product contains. To help you understand how much is too much, realize that 1 teaspoon has 4 grams (a small container of blueberry yogurt contains 34-40 grams of sugar and it means about 10 teaspoons!!??)

Tip # 2. Always check on how many servings per container there are. People don’t realize that a big container has more than 2-3 servings, but the number of sugar listed in only per serving.

Tip # 3. Compare the number of sugar grams to the number of total carbohydrate grams. Try to buy foods that have at least one-third and less of their total carbohydrates coming from sugars. We need to eat complex carbohydrates from unprocessed foods not simple carbohydrates that come from refined unhealthy foods. Why do you think you have all your cravings, suffer from candida, gain weight, develop diabetes and heart attack?

Tip # 4. Look for hidden sugars in the ingredients list: barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob, syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, ffructose, fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solid, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, turbinado sugar, xylitol, yellow sugar.

Tip # 5. Don’t get confused or even fooled with “sugar-free” term. Under the FDA’s new food labeling rules the food contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving (the same with fat – food contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. If the container has more than one serving – do the math.)

Tip # 6. Don’t get confused with “Reduced Sugar” or “No Added Sugar” on the labels. “Reduced sugar” means that the product can contain 25% less sugar (according to the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration); as for “no added sugar” term, it means that sugar wasn’t added to the foods that naturally contain some sugar, like jams, jellies, other preservatives, milk, tomato sauce.

Let us be sugar smart, shall we?

P.S. Bottom Line: if you cannot pronounce the word and don’t know the meaning of the ingredient-don’t buy the product.


Breathe, smile and be happy.

©Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Counselor

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Beware the Hidden Dangers of Soy for Healthy Breasts

October 16, 2010


Beware the Hidden Dangers of Soy!

Soy has phytoestrogens that is an estrogen-like substance. These substances should be avoided if a woman has an estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Research suggests if you have this type of breast cancer, eating large amounts of soy or products may be detrimental to your health.

I would like to share with you an excerpt by Dianne Gregg, health advocate and author of her book The Hidden Dangers of SoyHealthy Breasts - Beware the Hidden Dangers of Soy .

In today’s market 60% of the food commercially available contains some form of hidden soy.  Consumers need to know where the soy is in such common items as prepared frozen foods, sauces, seasoning mixes and salad dressings.

Here are six quick and simple soy substitutes for products containing soy.

1.  Instead of using vegetable oil – which often contains soy oil as part of the mix – use olive, safflower, or coconut oil.

2.  Use real butter instead of margarine, butter substitutes or shortening, all of which contain soybean oil.

3.  Many microwave meals – including seasoned frozen vegetables – particularly those in a sauce, contain soybean oil.  Instead buy fresh/or unprocessed frozen vegetables.

4.  Instead of canned soups try using Kitchen Basics brand broth, which contains no soy.

5.  If you buy jarred tomato sauce. Buy organic brands – most do not contain soybean oil – but always read the label to be sure.

6.  Instead of purchasing pre-packaged seasoning mixes, which can contain soy, get creative and blend your own spices. For example, to prepare steamed or grilled vegetables, use olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Add a little salt and pepper – voila!


Breathe, smile and be happy.

© Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Counselor

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How to Lose 20 Pounds a Year by Cutting 250 Calories a Day

March 4, 2010


Are you on a weight loss diet and have been frustrated by your results? You are not alone. Believe it or not, I can show you how to lose about 20 pounds a year by cutting 250 calories a day.Easy Weight Loss Diet

It is all about small diet changes we can make. To get big results we need to focus on very small changes. In order to lose weight, we have to set practical goals and take one step at a time in order to achieve them.

Did you know that 3.500 calories = about 1 pound fat?! Let me show you how to save some calories to lose weight naturally.

Try to focus on cutting 200 calorie a day if you are in your 30’s and 250 calories a day if you are after 40. And by the way, this small change can save you more than 75,000 calories a year. But, please don’t forget  tostill  exercise or at least to use exercise shortcuts to burn calories and feel fabulous.

Here is a list of calorie overload foods to help you lose weight one slice at a time:

  • Starbucks Caffé latte with non-fat milk – 160 calories
  • Starbucks Caffé Mocha with non-fat milk – 330 calories
  • Starbucks Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino without whipped cream – about 440 calories
  • Turkey breast, roasted -2 oz. = 230 calories
  • Ham, fresh – 3.5 oz. – 222 calories
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes – 222 calories
  • Pecan pie – 1/8 pie – 510 calories
  • Pumpkin pie – 1/8 pie – 367 calories
  • 1 slice Cherry pie – 308 calories
  • 1 slice Apple pie – 302 calories
  • 2 Sugar cookies – 178 calories
  • premium Vanilla Ice Cream – 1/2 cup – 270 calories
  • 1 English muffin – 150 calories
  • 1 slice Cheese pizza – 230 calories
  • 1 slice Pepperoni Pizza – 290 calories
  • 2 large scrambled eggs – 200 calories
  • 1 cup chocolate milk – 257 calories
  • 1 slice of white bread – 60-80 calories
  • 1 hot dog – 250 calories
  • 4 chicken wings, skinless – 171 calories
  • 30 small corn chips – 155 calories
  • 20 potato chips – 210 calories
  • 10 tortilla chips – 150 calories
  • 6 peanut butter crackers – 205 calories
  • 1 candy bar – 250 calories
  • 1 slice cheesecake – 257 calories
  • 1 slice sponge cake – 196 calories
  • 3 brownies with nuts – 279 calories
  • 5 chocolate chip cookies – 247 calories
  • 4 peanut butter cookies – 245 calories
  • 5 sugar wafers – 230 calories
  • 1 donut – 227 calories
  • 4 vanilla or chocolate sandwich cookies – 297 calories
  • ½ cup chocolate pudding – 192 calories
  • 1 cream puff – 300 calories
  • 1 eclair – 239 calories
  • When you read labels looking for calories, don’t forget to check on sugar content:
  • 1 cup Apple juice – 117 calories and 27 g of sugar (more than 6 tsp of sugar)
  • 1 cup Orange Juice – 112 calories and 20.8 g of sugar (5 tsp of sugar)

Let us cut some calories, to feel and look fabulous, shall we?


Breathe, smile and be happy.

© Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach, Counselor, and Radio Show Host

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Unhealthy Sugar Packed and Caloric Overload Foods to Avoid

February 10, 2009


I hope you enjoyed my Tips on How to Avoid Hidden Sugar.

Now let me give you some examples of the most sugar packed foods.

I am sure there are some of them you will be surprised with.

Below are excerpts from the article “The Most Sugar-Packed Foods in America” by Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding published in the Men’s Health, Health and Fitness Section.


Most sugar-packed breakfast cerealSugar packed foods

Quaker Natural Granola: Oats, Honey & Raisins (1 cup)

  • 30 g sugars
  • 420 calories

Warning: Granola’s healthy reputation is way overrated. The problem is those healthy-sounding oats are invariably bathed in a variety of sweeteners, making it not only one of the sweetest cereals in the aisle, but also a caloric overload. In fact, one cup of this stuff has more sugar than two servings of Lucky Charms.

Most sugar-packed salad

Uno Chicago Grill’s Spinach, Chicken and Gorgonzola Salad

  • 38 g sugars
  • 720 calories

The candied walnuts on this salad help to make it sweeter than a double-scoop cone of Ben & Jerry’s Butter Pecan ice cream. Choose a more sensible meal and save the sugar calories for dessert (which you’ll share, right?).

Most sugar-packed side dish

Boston Market’s Cinnamon Apples

  • 42 g sugars
  • 210 calories

This apple dish is right up there with the one Eve served to Adam, and you know how that worked out. Boston Market’s sickly sweet side consists of apples overwhelmed with sugar, brown sugar, soybean oil, and cornstarch. Oh yeah, and a pinch of cinnamon—which is about the only healthy thing about it. If you want this dish done right, make it at home.

Most sugar-packed sandwich

Subway’s Foot-Long Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

  • 38 g sugars
  • 740 calories

The most distressing part: this sandwich finds its way onto Subway’s “healthy” menu. Ignore the claims of low fat that adorn the menu board; the teriyaki sauce contributes nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar to the sandwich, which will soon find their way to your waistline.

Most sugar-packed “healthy” food

Panera’s Pumpkin Muffin

  • 47 g sugars
  • 530 calories

Stop thinking of muffins as health food and start thinking of them as cake. They’re made from refined flour, contain only trace amounts of fiber, and can pack more sugar than two ice cream bars. Have one of these for breakfast, and you’ve sabotaged your diet for the whole day.

Most sugar-packed kids’ meal

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Combo Lunchables

  • 61 g sugars
  • 680 calories

Kids love Lunchables, and for the usual reason: It’s a candy box. Too bad so many busy parents use them to fill empty lunchboxes. But this kids’ meal has more calories than a Whopper and more sugar than two Snickers bars; suddenly, packing their lunches becomes more of a priority. Anything to avoid that prepackaged candy and sugary drink.

Most sugar-packed breakfast

Bob Evans’ Stacked & Stuffed Strawberry Banana Cream Hotcakes

  • 102 g sugars
  • 1,200 calories

Despite the fruity name, this is truly one of the worst breakfast entrées in America. Each stack has 25.5 teaspoons of sugar—that’s more sugar than six funnel cakes. This is their diabetic special—one that contributes to the disease, instead of curing it.

The most sugar-packed food in America

Baskin Robbins Large York® Peppermint Pattie Shake

  • 281 g sugars
  • 2,210 calories

Baskin Robbins’ line of candy-based beverages are horrendous on so many accounts: Each large shake has a day’s worth of calories, up to three day’s of saturated fat, and an ingredient list so long—some more than seven inches—it requires an advanced degree in chemistry to decipher. This particular caloric catastrophe has more sugar than 11 Peppermint Patties. read the whole article


I understand that it may be difficult to be sugar free. But we can at least be better choice smart, shall we?

Breathe, smile and be happy.

Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Relationship Expert

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