Surprising Foods That Make You Hungrier




If you feel like you are always hungry and constantly needing to snack, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at what you are eating on a daily basis. It could be that you are just not eating enough at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, or it could be that it’s WHAT you are eating that is making you hungrier sooner.

Read below to learn the top foods that make you hungry:




Granola bars

Granola bars are sneaky because they are marketed as healthy, yet most of them are loaded with carbs and sugar with a small amount of fiber. This means that you will digest them very quickly, which causes your blood sugar to plummet and triggers your hunger hormones.

Fix it: Instead of granola, look for high fiber bars or cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar.

Artificial sweeteners

Research has found that artificial sweeteners may actually cause you to become hungrier, eat more, and gain weight. One of the proposed reasons for this is that artificial sweeteners spike insulin (just like sugar does) which leads to fat storage and hunger.

There is more research that needs to be done in this area, and some artificial sweeteners are likely to cause more issues than others. You can read more about this here and here.

Fix it: Look for products without artificial sweeteners.



Chips

Have you ever thought about why you are given chips and salsa at a restaurant? Perhaps to increase your appetite?! Chips are one of the worst foods for your waistline because they are loaded with carbs and salt – both of which make you hungrier and eat more – and they certainly do not fill you up.

Fix it: Ask your server to please not serve you the chips and salsa – or just take the salsa.

Alcohol

Ok, I know alcohol isn’t a food, but it’s worth mentioning because it can definitely make you feel hungrier. This is because when you drink alcohol it causes a decrease in blood sugar and it also lowers your will power when it comes to eating unhealthy foods – bad combination when you are trying to watch your waistline!

Fix it: Never drink on an empty stomach and have a little fat before you do indulge.



Cereal

Take a quick look at your cereal box, if you see more than 7 grams of sugar per serving and less than 5 grams of fiber, then there is a good chance this cereal is going to make you hungry. This is because the sugar and low fiber content means you will digest this meal very quickly, leaving you hungrier in an hour or two.

Fix it: Go for high fiber cereal and avoid any cereal that has over 10 grams of sugar per serving.

Juice

Even juices marketed as being “green” or “healthy” can be loaded with sugar and can spike and then drop your blood sugar quickly, leading to hunger not too long after.

Fix it: Instead of juice, have a smoothie which will have fiber from the pulp.

Bread

All bread products  – toast, croissant, bagel – will leave you hungrier than you started. This is because they are high in carbs and low in fiber, low in fat, and low in protein.

Fix it: If you are going to have a bread product, add some fat and/or fiber such as adding a tablespoon of nut butter.



Fat-free yogurt

Have you ever looked at the nutritional label of yogurt? The sugar content is normally around 20 grams per serving! That’s an entire days worth of sugar in just a few bites. The worst offenders tend to be the fruit flavored yogurts, but even plain or vanilla can have a ton of sugar as well. This high sugar content paired with no fat means it will be digested very quickly – leaving you hungry in an hour or two.

Fix it: Look for yogurt that has less than 10 grams of sugar per serving and add some healthy fat and/or fiber to it such as a handful of almonds or high fiber cereal.

Main takeaways…

To sum it up, if your meal or snack lacks fiber and/or fat there is a good chance that in an hour or two you will be hungrier than you started.



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Should You Eat Breakfast Before Or After Exercise?




I am a huge advocate for exercising first thing in the morning for many reasons, including how it sets the tone for the day, gives you energy, and makes you feel good. I am also an advocate for going into your morning workout on an empty stomach, aka in a fasted state, and saving your breakfast for after your workout is finished.

Read below to learn why I recommend eating AFTER your morning workout:

1. It could make you burn more fat

Research shows you may burn more fat if you go into your workout in a fasted state. This is because overnight your body runs out of glucose (aka carbs) for energy and so it starts burning fat for fuel while you sleep. When you wake up your body is still in this fat-burning state, meaning exercising on an empty stomach first thing could accelerate this fat-burning. If you eat carbs first thing in the morning, this breaks the fast (hence breakfast) and you are no longer in a fat-burning state and you are now in a carb burning state.

Health Hack: Coffee before a workout has been shown to possibly accelerate fat-burning. If you need something to get you going in the morning, consider having a cup of coffee with non-dairy milk and a glass of water.



2. You don’t have to wait to workout

Most individuals do not have a lot of time in the morning, am I right? If you plan to eat after your workout then you can just get up and go rather than having to prepare your breakfast, eat your breakfast, and then wait for it to digest.

3. You won’t get heartburn

The worst is when you eat right before a workout and then you have heartburn all throughout the exercise. When you go into your workout with an empty stomach you don’t have to worry about this uncomfortable situation!



4. You won’t feel as lethargic

When you eat before a workout this can cause you to feel weighed down and even tired, especially if you had a carb heavy breakfast.

5. You’ll get through your workout faster

If you have your breakfast to look forward to after your workout, this will make you want to get your workout done more efficiently and quickly, rather than just socializing or wasting time at the gym.

6. Big refuel after

Hooray your workout is done! Now you can feast on a good meal after.



7. Less time planning

Rather than wasting your precious time thinking about what you should eat when you first wake up, you can just get up and go and think about what you want for breakfast during your workout.

8. MUCH less likely to talk yourself out of working out

The longer you wait to exercise in the morning, the higher the likelihood you will convince yourself you don’t need to workout. This is especially true after eating breakfast which can make you feel more relaxed, and make your bed look very inviting.



9. You’ll enjoy your breakfast more

A hard workout makes you feel accomplished and because you literally worked for your breakfast, it makes that meal that much better – you deserved it!

Main takeaways…

It can definitely be an adjustment to waiting to eat until after your workout is finished, but the benefits are worth it! 



 

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The Most Common Diet Mistakes You Are Probably Making




Changing your eating habits and trying to eat healthy is hard – finding out that your best diet efforts have been failing you is even harder! Don’t let this happen to you, read below to learn the most common diet mistakes.




You’re waiting too long to eat

If you are skipping meals or waiting longer than 5 hours to eat, there is a very good chance you will binge on the next meal. Make sure to eat three or four large meals and have a snack on hand in case you get held up and won’t be able to eat again for a while. 

You’re snacking too much

Just like waiting too long to eat is not good, snacking too much is also a recipe for overeating. Think snacking constantly revs your metabolism? Eh, the research on that is pretty limited. Rather than snacking constantly throughout the day, make three or four big meals that actually fill you up enough so that you are not constantly thinking about what you are going to eat next. The best snacks contain a combination of protein, fat, and/or fiber.

You’re not checking serving sizes

Serving sizes are key when it comes to a healthy diet because anything in excess is not good for you. Understand how much a serving size is for all foods you consume so that you are not unknowingly taking in way more than you realized.

Note that there are exceptions to this rule. You do not have to track servings of foods such as vegetables, eggs, chicken breast, or egg whites because your body burns these foods quickly and they are very hard to over consume – have you every felt bad about eating too many eggs? Didn’t think so 😉

Read more about foods most likely to be burned for energy rather than be stored as fat here.



You’re eating too much fruit

Eating cups and cups of fruit is not doing you any favors. Yes, fruit is healthy. HOWEVER, fruit it also very sweet and is high in sugar. Stick to 1/2 cup serving size and go for lower sugar fruits like berries and melon.

Personal experience: In practice I see this all the time where a patient continues to have elevated blood sugar and elevated weight even with an improved diet, and in the end it was the overconsumption of fruit that was the culprit.

Note that the good thing about eating whole fruit is that it at least has fiber to help slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, unlike fruit juice or candy.

You’re eating dried fruit

If you think fruit has a lot of sugar, dried fruit has about 10 times as much sugar! Dried fruit is nothing more than sugar-coated candy. Do not be fooled into thinking you are eating healthy when you dig into a bag of dried fruit.



You’re doing a juice cleanse

Doing a juice cleanse might sound healthy, but it actually backfires big time for a few reasons. First of all, juices are high in sugar (unless it is all leafy greens) which raises blood sugar, makes you hungrier quicker, and is most likely to be stored as fat. Another reason is that only consuming juice for a day or longer is going to slow your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle due to lack of calories and lack of protein. So even if you do see your weight drop after a cleanse, you better believe that weight is going to shoot right back up and maybe even higher than with what you started with!

Professional experience: I’ve seen this all the time where a patient does a juice cleanse or some other crash diet, and when we check their weight it does typically go down right after. Unfortunately, when we check the fat and muscle content we see the fat go up and the muscle go down.

Swear that you feel great after a juice cleanse? This is most likely due to what you aren’t consuming during the cleanse, so take that info to re-evaluate your current diet.

You’re eating “natural sugars”

Sugar is sugar and once it is in your body your body does not care whether that sugar is table sugar or honey – it all turns to sugar when it goes into your body.

Sweet tip: If you want to sweeten a meal, use whole fruit to sweeten it rather than a sugary syrup so that at least you are getting fiber and nutrients from the flesh of the fruit.



You’re not eating enough

Not eating enough is one of the worst things you can do to yourself on a diet because it slows down your metabolism, makes you feel irritable, and it can – and likely will – make you overeat later.

So how do you know if you’ve eaten enough? Allow for 20 minutes to pass after eating a meal because it takes that long for your stomach to message your brain that you are full. Also stick to a low sugar, adequate carb diet because sugar and carbs can make you hungrier.

You’re not eating enough protein

Protein is king when it comes to diet. Protein keeps you full, speeds up metabolism, burns the most calories, and builds muscle. Aim to get a gram of protein per pound of body weight.

My favorite protein-rich foods include eggs, egg whites, chicken, grass-fed beef, whey protein, wild salmon and fish.



You always choose a salad

First let me say that I love salads and salad is usually my go-to. That being said, you have to be very picky with salads because a salad can become a diet disaster quickly from the dressing to the fried wontons, to the dried cranberries etc. The flip-side of an unhealthy salad is a salad with not enough in it, leaving you hungry and making you overeat later. So how to choose a healthy salad? Make sure it has a protein (non-fried or breaded) and healthy fat such as avocado.

You’re eating too many nuts

Nuts are great for you – in small portions. A serving of nuts is 1/4 a cup, which really isn’t much and most of us will eat triple this amount if not paying attention. This can lead to hundreds or even thousands of extra calories your body does not need without even realizing it.

Measure out a serving of nuts and use a small bowl or plate to eat from.



Eating too much after a workout

Rewarding yourself with a large meal after a workout is fine as long as the meal is made with healthy ingredients and you don’t overdue it. But when you reward yourself with something you wouldn’t have otherwise chosen like a box of donuts, this is where your efforts will backfire.

The sad truth is that you can’t out exercise a bad diet and you likely didn’t burn as many calories as you thought you did.



You’re treating all calories the same

All calories are not created equal. Your body is much more complex than just calories in and calories out. What you eat affects a wide variety of hormones in your body, and these hormones are what dictate how you burn and store those calories. 

Read more here about what foods are more likely to be burned for energy rather than be stored as fat.

You’re drinking your calories

Put down the coffee creamer, sports drink, and the juice. These seemingly healthy drinks are normally loaded with sugar and calories without you even realizing it. Stick to water and whole foods.

You’re consuming too many artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are a problem because studies have found consuming them can actually increase your appetite, can make you crave more sugar, and may even cause your body to store more fat. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners as much as you can and look for foods sweetened naturally if you are craving something sweet. Read more about artificial sweeteners and fat gain here. 

Main takeaways…

Avoid making the above most common diet mistakes and you will be on track to reaching your goals faster!




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Avoid These 13 Foods and Drinks If You Want To Lose Weight




It can be confusing when it comes to trying to eat healthy and make the best diet choices – think about how how many new diet books come out in a year! That being said, there are some foods and drinks that will definitely promote weight gain and should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Read below to learn which foods and drinks you should avoid if you are trying to lose weight:

1. Soda

Soda is probably the number one worst thing you can consume for your waistline and your health. Drinking soda is basically like pouring sugar directly into your bloodstream. Why is this a problem? An overload of sugar in the bloodstream is highly toxic to the body and signals the hormone insulin to get that sugar out of the blood as quickly as possible (this is why you go from a sugar high to a “crash” or hypoglycemia). So where does insulin funnel sugar to? The place where you have an infinite abundance of storage, i.e. your fat cells.



2. Fruit juice

Fruit juice acts the same as soda because it is high in sugar and has about zero fiber to slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream. The only better thing about juice is that it doesn’t contain all of the chemicals that you find in soda, and it does have some vitamins and minerals.

3.White grains

Foods that fall under this category include all of the foods we love – cookies, pancakes, waffles, white pasta, white bread, hamburger buns, pizza dough, etc. The problem with white grains (aka refined grains) is that these grains have been stripped of all their fiber and nutritional value, and what you are left with is just a bunch of carbs and calories.



4. Granola bars and protein bars

Check the ingredients and the nutrition label between granola bars, protein bars, and candy bars – they are pretty similar! What makes granola bars and protein bars worse than candy bars is that they are marketed as being healthy so you’ll eat more of them, whereas at least with candy bars you see them more as a treat.

Learn how to choose healthy protein bars by reading here. 

5. Cereal and granola

About 99.9% of cereals and granola will help you to pack on the pounds. They tend to be loaded with sugar and calories and have very low fiber or nutritional value – yes, this includes the “all natural” types as well. 



6. Pastries

Pastries are basically a mix of unhealthy fat, white grain, and sugar, all of which will increase your appetite and pack on the pounds quickly.

7. Beer

The term “beer belly” is highly accurate because it does promote a larger waistline. Beer is probably the worst alcoholic beverage you can drink because it is loaded with carbs and alcohol, and contains zero nutritional value. Plus, unlike spirits beer has less alcohol meaning it’s easier to drink more of it.

8. Dessert coffee beverages

This basically includes all coffee drinks that are made of more than just plain coffee. Once you start adding milk, sugar, cream, syrup, whipped cream, etc. the sugar and calories add up very quickly without you even realizing it.



9. Salad dressing

Just about all salad dressings can contribute to weight gain, including bottled and even freshly made. This is because just a small amount tends to be loaded with calories, unhealthy fat, and sugar.

Read here to learn about healthy and delicious alternatives to salad dressing.

10. Chips

Chips are one of the easiest foods to overeat because they don’t fill you up until you finish an entire bag! Chips have about zero nutritional value, meaning they are just empty calories you are putting into your body that will end up as fat.



11. Ice cream

Ice cream basically consists of fat and sugar, which tastes amazing but also is the combination that will rev up your appetite, make you hungrier, and pack on the pounds.

12. Artificial sugars

Think you are being healthy by cutting back on real sugar and eating the fake stuff? Err, probably not. There have been many studies that have found that consuming artificial sugars may promote weight gain by throwing off your natural gut flora and making you crave sugary foods and increasing your appetite. Read more about this here.



13. Fried foods

This includes french fries, onion rings, crispy calamari, fried chicken, etc. Once you fry something, you add a ton of unhealthy fat and calories to an otherwise healthy food.

Main takeaways…

Avoid the above foods and drinks as much as possible and this will help to prevent you from gaining the unwanted extra pounds.




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Healthiest Foods to Help You Gain Weight




To gain weight you need to consume more calories then you burn, it doesn’t matter where those calories come from. But when it comes to all around health you want to make sure the foods you are eating are going to keep you healthy and not cause negative health effects such as raising blood sugar, causing fatigue, or increasing inflammation in the body. That is why you want to make sure you are gaining weight from healthy foods rather than junk food.

Read below to learn the top healthiest foods to help you gain weight:




Organic whole milk

Skip the low calorie almond milk and reach for organic whole milk to add to your coffee, smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, etc. Organic whole milk is a great healthy weight-gainer because it is packed with calcium, calories, protein, and fat.

Whey protein

Whey protein is a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal, or any other mixable food to increase both the calories and the protein content. Whey protein is a complete protein making it an excellent source of protein.



Starchy vegetables

Think potatoes and sweet potatoes. Starchy veggies are a great way to consume healthy carbohydrates that are also dense in calories and vitamins.

Coconut oil

Add coconut oil to everything and anything because coconut oil is very nutrient and calorie dense and generally has little to no flavor. Examples of foods and meals to add coconut oil to include smoothies, eggs, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and veggies.



Grass-fed butter

If you aren’t a fan of coconut oil, then go for grass-fed butter, or use both! Grass-fed butter is packed with calories and nutrients and can be virtually added to anything you want. Plus, everything tastes better with butter, am I right?!

Cheese

Go for organic cheese whenever possible and add it to any savory dish. Cheese is calorie dense and is also packed with fat, protein, and calcium.



Fatty meat, poultry, and fish

Think organic beef, chicken thigh, and fatty fish like wild salmon. Stick to fattier proteins because not only will these be tastier, they will also be a great source of extra calories. Avoid anything dry which can be harder to eat and will generally be lower in calories and flavor.

Pasta

Pasta is a great weight-gainer because it is easy to eat and is dense in calories. Add a protein and fat source to your pasta, such as a meat based or cream based sauce.



Nut butter

Nut butter is packed with calories and healthy fat as well as vital nutrients, making it a great choice for increasing calories. Add nut butter to smoothies, oatmeal, toast, or fruit.

Fruit

Fruit is a healthy sweet food that is helpful for gaining weight because most fruit is high in carbs and calories. Eat fruit alone or add to cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, or enjoy with nut butter

Rice

Rice is very calorie dense and tends to not fill you up because it has little fiber. Add rice to savory dishes to increase the calorie content and as a way to add some texture to your meal as well.

Bread

I’m not saying go and eat a loaf of bread, but use bread as a base to eat other foods. Examples of times to eat bread include sandwiches rather than salads, or adding healthy protein and fat sources such as eggs or almond butter.



Full-fat Greek yogurt

Full-fat Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium as well being dense in calories, protein, and fat. I recommend Greek yogurt over other types of yogurt because it has the highest amount of protein – around 20 grams of protein per serving! Just be sure to check how much sugar a serving contains and stick to less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

Main takeaways…

The key to gaining weight the healthy way is to basically eat as many calories as you can by eating high calorie, nutrient dense foods, while also keeping sugar low and sticking to organic and grass-fed animal products whenever possible.

Note: If you already have high blood sugar or other dietary concerns you should consult your provider first before changing up your diet.




About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.

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Top Factors You Should Be Monitoring For Weight Loss




If you have cleaned up your diet and started exercising, yet you are still having trouble losing weight, it is a good idea to take a look at your day-to-day activities. This means keeping a daily journal of the different factors that can make or break your progress.

Below lists the top factors you should be keeping track of to lose weight:




Sleep

Take note of how much sleep you are getting. Also take note if you are having a hard time getting to sleep or waking up in the middle of the night which could be signs of stress. High levels of stress in the body can cause your body to hold onto fat. 

Stress levels

This includes taking note of when you felt stressed, what prompted the stress, how long the stress lasted for, and what you did about the stress. This is a great way to understand what stresses you and if you are doing anything to sabotage your fitness progress when a stressor hits.



Exercise

Take note of what exercise you are doing, the intensity, your heart rate. Exercise is going to help accelerate your results and should be part of your weight loss program. Taking note of different exercise parameters will let you see how you can change up your routine if you hit a plateau or you aren’t losing much weight.

Movement

This can be tracked in a variety of ways, but the easiest ways is steps. Aim to get at least 10,000 steps per day and this does not include steps from exercise you did. If you have an Apple watch then you can also track your calories and movement. Note that calories are never going to be completely accurate, so just set a calorie goal understanding that it’s not going to be accurate and use the same device that tracks your calories not between devices.



Snacking

Note if you had to snack between meals and what happened right before your urge to snack – were you stressed, bored, or actually just hungry?

Timing of meals

Take note of what time you are eating your meals and how long it is between meals. Too short or too long a time period can be setting you back. Too short means your meals aren’t large enough.

Main takeaways…

If you are committed to losing weight and keeping it off, you should start taking notes of the above. Weight loss is multi-factorial and you have to take in many different factors when it comes to getting lasting results.




 

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Ingredients You Should Never Use – But You Probably Are!




With all of the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, it can definitely be confusing when it comes to eating right and preparing healthy meals. A good starting point is to understand which ingredients to avoid using and going from there!

Read below the top ingredients you should never use:

Vegetable oils

The word “vegetable” might make you think these oils are healthy, but they are actually highly processed and devoid of much nutritional value. These oils are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and we already tend to get enough omega-6s in our diet as it is. Vegetable oils to avoid include corn and soybean oil.

Use this instead: Coconut oil, avocado oil, hempseed oil, and of course olive oil are all great oils.



Fake butter

Fake butter like margarine are highly processed and also pro-inflammatory, plus some brands contain trans-fats which are the worst fats for your heart and your overall health.

Use this instead: The real stuff – grass-fed butter.

Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are highly processed and lack any sort of any nutritional value. They may even make you crave more sugar and trigger you to eat more in the end. Plus some artificial sweeteners have been linked to stomach upset and gastro-intestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea – yikes!

Use this instead: Real whole fruits, puree if need be.



White flour

Ever think about why flour is white? Because it’s bleached! This means that not only are you using a highly processed ingredient devoid of any nutritional value, but also adding potentially harmful chemicals to your meals as well.

Use this instead: Some of the best alternatives include coconut flour and almond flour which are also high in fiber.

Fat-free dairy

Be weary of any food that is fat-free or reduced in fat because that means something is usually added in, most commonly sugar. Not only is sugar often added into fat-free dairy products, but the lack of fat makes the meal less satisfying and can make you eat more later.

Use this instead: Full-fat dairy – you’ll end up using less because it is much more flavorful and satisfying!



Processed nut butter

The only two ingredients that a jar of nut butter should contain should be nuts and salt, and maybe some sort of oil. Steer clear of nut butters that have sugar, salt, or any other ingredient listed on the label. Another giveaway that the nut butter is not healthy is if you don’t have to stir it first or refrigerate. 

Use this instead: Natural nut butter that you have to stir or even better if you can grind it yourself.

Syrup

Syrups are highly processed and typically contain artificial flavors, artificial coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, and have a ton of added sugar.

Use this instead: Use 100% maple syrup which is higher in flavor plus actually has some vitamins and minerals in it.



Powder based dip

Dip made from powder and water is probably one of the most processed foods you can eat. You can bet this powder is full of artificial flavorings, artificial coloring, artificial everything! All of which means highly inflammatory and devoid of any nutritional value.

Use this instead: Anything is better than this, but some easy dips include making guacamole or hummus.

Sugar

Ok, you probably suspected this one was coming 😉 Pure white sugar is a terrible ingredient to use for many reasons including how it is pro-inflammatory and is a major player for most chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease – just to name a few.

Use this instead: Go for pureed fruits as an alternative, or at the very least use half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for.

Main takeaways…

The above are some of the most common unhealthy ingredients we should avoid using when cooking and baking meals. Try using natural alternatives, your body will thank you!




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12 Signs Your Diet Needs To Change




You may not realize it, but diet plays a major role in how you feel on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to pay attention to the connection between what you are eating and how you are feeling – especially if you haven’t been feeling too great.

Read below to learn the top 12 signs that you need to change your diet:

1. You always feel constipated

Constipation is an indicator of something not working in your diet. It also signifies that you are likely not getting enough fiber and water. Start paying attention to how much fiber you are eating, and slowly introduce 5 grams of fiber per week until you get up to 30 grams of fiber per day. Also be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water because water helps to push fiber and stool down.



2. You frequently get heartburn

Heartburn, aka acid reflux, is when acidic juices from your stomach travel up your esophagus (the tube connecting your stomach to your throat) causing an unpleasant “burning” sensation. Heartburn every now and again is unpleasant but OK, but if you are having heartburn regularly this is a problem because the acid can cause erosion and ulcers to form. Some of the most common triggers for heartburn include spicy foods, tomato based sauces, coffee, peppermint, citrus, chocolate, and sugar. Everyone is different and will be more affected by different foods, so keep note of when you feel heartburn and what you had eaten beforehand.

3. You’re always gassy

Having an overly gassy body is an indicator that something you are eating is not digesting well. One of the most common culprits is due to a lactose intolerance. Try cutting out one food at a time for a two week period to determine which foods are causing a buildup of gas.



4. You’re always bloated

This could be because you are producing an overload of gas and/or you are constipated, both of which indicate something is not working well in your diet.

5. Your skin is breaking out

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and can tell you much about what is going on inside. If you’ve noticed an increase in breakouts for no apparent reason, this could have to do with what you are eating. One of the best ways to prevent breakouts from the diet is to eat non-inflammatory foods like berries and vegetables, and to drink tons of water.



6. You are gaining weight

You could be gaining weight for a few different reasons related to diet. These reasons could include increased inflammation in the body, too much sodium, not enough fluids, too many calories, an unhealthy gut flora, or all of the above. Keep in mind that our bodies try very hard to keep our weight constant and so if you are gaining weight seemingly out of nowhere, this is a sign that something is disrupting the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis.

7. You’re always hungry

This could be from a few different reasons, the most common being your’e not eating enough or you’re eating too many carbs and sugar.

Professional experience: I had this one young woman come see me – I actually forget the initial reason – but it came up that she would wake up in the middle of the night ravenous and have to eat something. I inquired about her diet and came to find that she was eating way too much sugar in the form of energy bars, electrolyte drinks, and fruit. I told her to cut back on these and see if it helped. The next time I saw her she let me know that since cutting out those foods, she no longer woke up hungry in the middle of the night, and she had lost close to 10lbs!



8. You’re always tired

Not getting enough nutrients in your diet can definitely make you feel more tired throughout the day. Make sure you are getting adequate protein, healthy fats, and some carbs in your diet.

9. You feel depressed

This could be from a number of different nutrients lacking in your diet, but some of the most common include a lack of B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vital nutrients which can lead to feelings of sadness. Read more about the nutrition depression link here.

Professional experience: I had a patient who started eating vegan after watching a documentary on veganism (a very flawed documentary I might add) who at first told me he felt great cutting out animal products. Then a week or two later he came to see me because he started feeling very depressed seemingly out of no where. I told him it could be stemming from his new diet, and so he agreed to start slowly introducing animal products back into his diet to see if it would help. A few days laster he called to let me know he felt SO much better after introducing animal products back into his diet and no longer felt depressed.

This is a reason why if I have a patient come in who is depressed, I ALWAYS inquire about diet and any new diet that could be part of the issue.



10. You have very little energy

Having little energy throughout the day is definitely a sign that something is off with your diet. Common reasons include that you aren’t getting enough iron, you aren’t drinking enough water, you aren’t eating enough in general, or you are eating too many carbs and sugar. Take a look at your diet and see what you are eating in the day and take note of when you feel low energy and good energy.

11. You have chronic diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea or frequent, loose stool is a big indicator of something off in your diet – it is literally your body rejecting and ejecting the food it doesn’t like as fast as it can from your body. The most common culprit is dairy due to lactose intolerance.

Note that that there are other reasons for chronic diarrhea and it is a good idea to let your primary care provider know if you suffer from this.



12. You often feel sick to your stomach

Feeling sick to your stomach on a regular basis is not normal, and it could be due to something in your diet. Some of the most common culprits include too much sugar, gluten, and artificial ingredients.

Personal experience: When I was younger I would use artificial sweetener to sweeten my coffee and my oatmeal and noticed that I often felt sick. I also noticed that when I didn’t use the artificial sweeteners I didn’t feel sick and so I completely cut them out from my diet and I’ve felt so much better every since. This is why I am a huge proponent of using natural sweetener like whole fruits and avoiding artificial sweeteners as much as possible.

Main takeaways…

If you are experiencing one or more of the above issues, it is a good idea to start taking a hard look at your diet. Try keeping a food and symptoms journal for a couple of weeks to see if you can make a connection between what you are eating and how you are feeling. If this isn’t enough, then start cutting out certain foods one at a time for at least two weeks to determine what is causing the issue.




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9 Mistakes You Are Making On The Keto Diet – And How To Fix Them!




Have you heard about the ketogenic (keto for short) diet? The main idea of the keto diet is that the majority of the calories you eat come from fat and protein and a smaller portion comes from carbs. I am a huge fan of a ketogenic type of diet for many reasons – read more about it here – but there are definitely a lot of mistakes and misconceptions made with the keto diet. 

Read below to learn the top mistakes made with the keto diet and how to fix them fast:

1. Too much processed food

Sure you can find packaged low carb versions of your favorite treats, but just because they are low carb doesn’t make them healthy. Watch out for packaging that says “low carb” because there’s a good chance these are highly processed to make them low carb. If the food has a long ingredient list be weary because even though you are eating keto, those extra additives and chemicals in the food are not doing you any favors.

Fix it: Limit the amount of processed food as much as possible by eating real foods that don’t come in a package. 



2. Not eating enough vegetables

Many keto-dieters get so caught up on carbs that they cut back on veggies just to keep the carb count low- don’t do this! Non-starchy veggies will not spike your blood sugar or throw you out of ketosis – and they definitely won’t make you gain fat! Vegetables are the number one source of vitamins and minerals, plus they pack at ton of natural fiber.

Fix it: Non-starchy vegetables should be consumed in unlimited quantities, aim to get at least a cup of veggies at every meal.

3. Not accounting for all carbs

If you are finding that you are not getting the results you want from the keto diet it might be because carbs are sneaking into your diet without you even realizing it – a little bite here and there of carby foods can add up quickly.

Fix it: Be mindful of everything you eat and drink and check the nutrition label whenever possible.



4. Eating too many nuts

Nuts and nut butters in small amounts generally have a low amount of carbs, but when you start doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the serving size then these carbs really start to add up.

Fix it: Take a look at your nut consumption and start measuring out serving sizes.

5. Not eating enough protein

Many keto-dieters get so caught up on loading up on fat that they skimp on protein – don’t let this happen to you!

Fix it: There are many factors that go into how much protein you need, but if you are active a general rule of thumb is to consume up to a gram of protein per pound of body weight. 



6. Eating too much

One of the biggest misconceptions about the keto diet is that you can stuff yourself with fatty foods and you won’t gain weight – not true. It is true that your body will be better at metabolizing food and using food for energy rather than storing as fat, but if you eat way beyond what your body can use then you will start putting on the fat.

Fix it: Eat slowly and eat until you are full. Be sure to get a serving of protein and ideally a vegetable with each meal to keep you full and satisfied.

7. Consuming artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners might help you to cut carbs and sugar in the short term, but could cause you to crave more sweets and eat more later. Artificial sweeteners have also been found to possibly mess with your gut bacteria, which can lead to other potential issues like weight gain and stomach upset.

Fix it: Avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible, and if you need something sweet then go for a little fruit.



8. Assuming all fats are created equal

All fats are definitely not created equal. Some fats promote inflammation in the body while other fats help to decrease inflammation and supply the body with essential nutrients.

Fix it: Go for grass-fed and organic products and definitely no processed cheese or dairy!

9. Smothering all meals in butter to make them keto

Just because you add a ton of fat to a meal does not mean that meal is now keto friendly. Things like coconut oil and grass-fed butter are great to add in small amounts to high protein foods, but adding them to carbs does not cancel out the carb content.

Fix it: Remember that servings sizes matter and carbs do not disappear.

Main takeaways…

The above are some of the most common mistakes individuals make on the keto diet – don’t let them happen to you! And if you have been making one or more of these mistakes, don’t worry about it because now you know 🙂




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Use this, Not That! Healthy Baking Swaps to Cut Calories and Sugar




I love baking healthy snacks and meals and I often find myself experimenting with traditional recipes to make mine tastier and healthier! 

Read below to learn the healthiest alternatives to some of the most common unhealthy baking ingredients:

Instead of oil…

Most baking recipes will call for oil of some kind (usually unhealthy vegetables oils) to add moistness to the recipe, unfortunately oil also adds tons of calories with zero nutritional value.



Use this: Mashed banana or apple sauce

Instead, try using mashed banana or unsweetened apple sauce (or better yet pureed apple) in place of oil. It depends what kind of recipe you are making, but from my experience you really can’t even taste the difference!

Instead of white flour…

White bleached flour has about zero nutritional value, but adds tons of calories and chemicals to your recipe. 

Use this: Coconut flour or almond flour

Instead, try using coconut flour or almond flour, both of which are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and richer in taste!

Instead of sugar…

Sugar is probably the single worst ingredient you can add to a recipe for many reasons, including how it has no nutritional value, increases your risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions, leads to obesity, etc. And I’m not just talking about white sugar, this also includes “healthy sugar” like honey and maple syrup – sugar is sugar so skip it!



Use this: Whole fruit

Instead, use whole fruit which will be lower in calories, will add more fiber, and will have a much higher nutritional value.

Which fruit to use? It depends what you are trying to bake, but I tend to use pureed apple, banana, and/or berries.

Instead of heavy cream…

Heavy cream is heavy in calories and low in nutritional value – one tablespoon has about 50 calories!



Use this: Greek yogurt

Instead, try using plain Greek yogurt which is lower in calories and higher in protein. Note that you should always check the ingredients label for yogurt because many brands will add a ton of sugar – even plain. 

Instead of cow’s milk…

Cow’s milk is high in calories, sodium, and sugar, not to mention that the cows are often pumped with hormones and antibiotics to get them to produce more milk, which can possibly lead to health problems when consumed.



Use this: Almond milk

Instead, use unsweetened nut milk, such as almond milk, which is high in flavor and low in calories.

Main takeaways…

Use the above as a guide the next time you want to bake a tasty treat.

To get more healthy recipe inspiration, follow us on Instagram where I am always posting my favorite healthy recipes for muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, and other tasty treats I experiment with!




 

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12 Foods to Buy to Eat Healthy on a Budget




As a full-time college student for about eight years, I had to learn how to eat healthy on a tight budget – especially when living in New York City where prices seemed to be exponentially higher for everything!

Below I’ve listed the cheapest and healthiest foods that you can find in the market to help you to put together simple, healthy, and cheap meals.



1. Nut butter

Nut butter is extremely cost effective and also very delicious and versatile! You can eat it alone as a snack, or add it to fruit or toast, it goes good with basically everything and adds a good dose of healthy fats and vitamins as well.

The cheapest nut butters tends to be peanut butter and almond butter. You should be able to find a nut butter under $10 and you definitely don’t need to buy the fanciest jar of nut butter to be healthy! Just check the ingredients and ideally the only ingredient listed will be nuts and maybe some type of oil – steer clear if sugar is listed as an ingredient.

Personal experience:

I lived on peanut butter and almond butter in college. I would make nut butter toast, nut butter pita, nut butter banana, or just eat it alone as a healthy snack.

Cost: around $0.50 per serving

2. Frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are an awesome budget friendly food because not only are they much cheaper than fresh produce, but they may be higher in nutrients! This is because frozen vegetables were flash frozen at their prime, while fresh produce was likely picked early and may have been sitting around for a while past their prime.

Personal experience:

Almost every single night for dinner I would steam, roast, or stir fry a bag of frozen vegetables and it was super low cost, healthy, and tasted great! I would usually add spices and maybe some hummus and small amount of sauce (see more below on this).

Cost: about $1.25 to $2.50 per bag



3. Frozen berries

Rather than buying an expensive or unhealthy dessert, go for frozen berries. They are also great for adding natural and healthy sweetness to different meals.

Personal experience: 

I would add a few frozen berries to my oatmeal to add some sweetness and to cool it down. 

Cost: about $0.50 per serving

4. Oats

Rolled oats are a great grain to have on hand because they’re cheap and a natural food with no sugar or other preservatives. Always go for anything other than quick oats or instant oats because these quick cooking oats have been heavily processed, meaning you will not get the same health benefits compared to longer cooking oats. Plus instant oats ten to have sugar and artificial flavorings added and are more expensive.

Personal experience:

I made oatmeal most mornings while in college because it was super easy to make and it was cheap. I would make overnight oatmeal to have ready in the morning before “overnight oatmeal” was even a thing. The great thing about oatmeal is that it is like a blank canvas that you can add things to to make it taste great.

Cost: less than $0.25 per serving



5. Hummus 

Hummus or any other similar type of dip is a great way to add flavor to savory meals. Hummus is a good source of healthy carbs and also healthy fat, making it a much healthier choice than highly processed salad dressings.

Personal experience:

I used a serving of hummus in my veggies for dinner and it really added great flavor to my meal. I would make sure to measure out a serving of hummus because it can be easy to use too much and then go through the entire container in two sittings!

Cost: about $0.50 to $1.00 per serving

6. Nuts

Nuts are a great snack because they keep you full and are inexpensive. Nuts are packed with vitamins and nutrients and are a good source of healthy fat.

Personal experience:

I always carried a bag of almonds with me in case I got hungry throughout the day. I bought them in bulk and then I would measure out servings and put them into baggies.

Cost: about $0.50 per serving



7. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains you can eat because it is considered a complete protein and is naturally gluten-free. If you love grains, go for quinoa.

Personal experience:

I had a massive bags of quinoa that my mom got me from Costco that literally had a countless amount of servings. I often added quinoa to vegetables either for lunch or dinner.

Cost: about $ 0.25 per serving

8. Eggs

Eggs are one of the very best foods you can buy because not only are they super cheap, but they are also packed with essential nutrients, fat, and protein. There are so many great ways to prepare eggs – hard boil, scramble, poach, fry, etc – making them one of the most versatile foods if not the most versatile.

Personal experience:

I actually didn’t utilize eggs to their full potential in college, but I would eat one or two every day by stirring them into my oatmeal! It made the oatmeal super fluffy and also added a good amount of protein. If I could go back I would have hard boiled eggs and used them as an easy snack.

Cost: about $0.30 for one organic egg



9. Spices

Instead of costly condiments that add up in price, go for budget friendly spices which add a ton of flavor with zero calories and zero sugar. Experiment with different spices and discover for yourself which spices you like because they add great value to meals.

Personal experience:

I always had a big container of cinnamon on hand for oatmeal and for adding to my banana sandwiches, as well as paprika and turmeric for my savory meals.

Cost: Less than $0.25 per serving

10. Raw protein

Meat and fish will probably be the biggest expense when it comes to groceries, but getting enough protein is definitely important and animal products are the very best source of protein. The cheapest way to get high quality protein is buying it non-cooked. This means a little more prep work on your part, but it will definitely cut costs.

Personal experience:

I actually didn’t eat much meat or fish in college because I didn’t want to prepare it myself, and so I was basically a vegan without trying to be – with the exception of eggs. But now I almost always will buy fish, turkey, and chicken unprepared and cook it on the stove and it tastes great! I also like how when you cook at home you have control over what ingredients are added to it as well.

Cost: varies greatly, but for organic meat and wild fish the average cost per serving is around $4.00



11. Bananas

I found bananas to be one of the cheapest and healthiest fruits you could buy. This is in part because unlike most fruits, you don’t have to buy bananas organic because they have the outer peel that tends to keep the banana itself free from pesticides and other chemicals. Bananas are packed with vitamins and nutrients making them a super healthy and affordable food as a snack on its own or to add to meals.

Personal experience:

I ate at least one or two bananas per day in college and I would mix it in with my oatmeal or make a banana nut butter sandwich. I loved how in Manhattan there were fruit vendors everywhere and I could buy four or five bananas for a dollar.

Cost: $0.20 to $0.35

12. Sauce

A strong sauce that you don’t need to use much of, such as teriyaki sauce or soy sauce, is super cost effective and adds a tone of flavor to your meals! Plus these strong sauces don’t have many calories or sugar making them a MUCH healthier alternative compared to conventional salad dressing.

Personal experience:

I always added a little bit of teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to my vegetables to add flavor! That plus spices and hummus made for the perfect dinner.

Cost: around $0.10 per serving

Main takeaways…

With a little planning you can definitely find cheap and healthy foods. Use the above as a guide the next time you take a trip to the market.



 

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Top Foods Most Likely To Be Used For Energy Rather Than Stored As Fat




Wouldn’t you rather eat foods that are more likely to be burned for energy rather than be stored away as fat on your body? Yes please!

In general, foods that are most likely to be used for energy are high in protein and/or fiber. Protein is the most unlikely of the macronutrients to get stored as fat because it takes a great deal of energy for you to digest it (you burn about 20-30% of the calories just from digestion!) and the amino acids in protein can be used for muscle building and muscle preservation. Fiber rich foods are also unlikely to be stored as fat because fiber calories are not absorbed by the body and the presence of fiber may block the absorption of other calories as well.

Read below to learn the top foods that are least likely to be stored as fat:

Eggs

Eggs are highly unlikely to be stored as fat because they are high in complete protein and contain virtually zero carbs and sugar. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body.



Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are a powerhouse for fat burning because they are high in protein and also  high in EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids – both of which are linked to fat burning.

Green bananas

Green bananas contain a high amount of resistant starch which is a particularly good type of fiber because your gut bacteria loves it and will actually help you to digest and prevent you from absorbing the calories.



Chia seeds

Chia seeds are basically composed of all fiber, meaning the calories in chia seeds are almost negligible and eating chia seeds may cause you to absorb less calories from other foods eaten with them as well.

Chicken 

Chicken breast in particular is unlikely to get stored as fat because it is basically pure protein with zero carbs and very little fat.



Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is the best choice of the yogurt varieties because it is packed with the most amount of protein and tends to have the least amount of sugar. Greek yogurt is also a great source of calcium, which has been shown to possibly help with fat burning.

Sweet potatoes

There’s a bit of a catch with this one, we are not talking about sweet potato fries here, no. Instead, go for baked or boiled sweet potatoes that have been allowed to cool for a bit. The cooling of the cooked sweet potato actually increases the resistant starch content, meaning you will absorb less calories from the sweet potato this way.



Black beans

Black beans are high in fiber, meaning you won’t absorb as many calories from them and the fiber may block the absorption of calories by your body. They are also high in protein, however, note that they are not a complete protein so you aren’t getting the same benefits as you would from animal sources.

Vegetables

Virtually all vegetables are more likely to be used for energy rather than stored as fat and so you really can’t go wrong when it comes to eating veggies. The less cooked and more crunchy the better because this means the fiber is still intact and less calories will be absorbed from your meal.

Some of the best high fiber vegetables include cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.



Whey protein powder

Whey protein is a great way to get high quality, complete protein into your body and is highly unlikely to be stored as fat. Just be sure to choose a protein powder that has less than 5 grams net carbs and a short ingredient list.

Main takeaways..

Think about it this way, if you aren’t burning, you are storing, so stock up on fat burning foods today!




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