Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? This is one of the most common questions I’ve had in practice. And to answer simply, yes it is. What you eat (or don’t eat) in the morning does dictate how you will feel for the rest of the day.

Read below to learn why breakfast is the most important meal of the day:

Hunger level

What you eat first in the morning will dictate your hunger level for the rest of the day. This is because what you eat (or don’t eat) first thing in the morning sets you up to be constantly hungry, or it sets you up to be full for hours.

An example of being constantly hungry all day is if you eat a breakfast high in carbs (such as a bagel or cereal) which will then spike your blood sugar, and then drop it just as quickly. When your body senses this drop in blood sugar, signals are sent to your brain to let you know that you need to eat some sugar quickly. So you eat something with sugar, you feel better, and your blood sugar goes up. And this cycle continues all. day. long.

An example of being satisfied during the day is if you eat a breakfast that does not spike your blood sugar (such as eggs) and instead keeps your blood sugar at an even level. This means that you will have a more gradual decrease in blood sugar and also a more gradual onset of hunger.

Energy level

You want to start the day feeling energized and not sluggish, right? This means you need to start your day with food that is going to promote energy and not make you sleepy. Carbohydrates stimulate the feel good hormones (another reason we crave them) which also cause relaxation and sleepiness. Think about how you feel after eating a high carbohydrate meal like pasta – you want to take a nap right?

Avoid carbohydrates in the morning to prevent that sluggish feeling and instead go for a mix of protein and fat which will allow for lasting energy and do not activate relaxing hormones.

Mood

Have you ever experienced the dreaded “hangry?” It’s when you literally get angry at everything and everyone because you are so hungry. Hangry happens because your blood sugar has dropped so low that stress signals are sent to your brain telling you that you are in danger and need to eat immediately. So what do you crave when you get hangry? Sugar and carbs because eating sugary foods is what will increase your blood sugar the quickest.  And the cycle continues. This is why starting the day with something high in sugar can set you up for these highs and lows all day long.

Concentration

What you eat or don’t eat can definitely affect your concentration level – especially first thing in the morning. If you eat something that will keep you full and satisfied for several hours, then you can concentrate at your tasks at hand and not be worrying about nagging hunger constantly. If you eat something that spikes and drops your blood sugar constantly, you are definitely going to feel distracted and lethargic.

Sets the tone for the day

Have you ever had a donut first thing in the morning and then continued to indulge in treats the rest of the day? If you start the day indulging it can make you want to continue to indulge the rest of the day. On the flip side, if you eat a healthy breakfast first thing, this sets a healthy tone of the day and makes you want to continue to eat healthy.

Main takeaways…

Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day for the reasons described above. Set yourself up for a good day by eating a healthy breakfast low in sugar and high in fat, protein, and/or fiber. 

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Top 10 Inflammatory Foods You Need to Avoid




Inflammation is the root of basically every disease and disorder, which is why we want to minimize inflammation in our body as much as possible. Inflammation can also cause weight gain and water retention, which can make you look bloated all over – who wants that?! Foods are a big culprit when it comes to inflammation, and there are certain foods that are known to be highly inflammatory that you should definitely keep to a minimum or avoid all together.

Below lists the top 10 inflammatory foods:

1. Sugar

Sugar is highly inflammatory for the body, and is the cause for diabetes as well as a main factor for many other preventable chronic diseases. Most individuals take in way too much sugar. Aim to get less than 20 grams of sugar per day.



2. Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs include white bread, white rice, and food products made with white flour. These foods have been stripped of all their beneficials nutrients. When you eat these products they turn to sugar in your bloodstream almost immediately, leading to rapid blood sugar changes and spiking insulin, which is highly inflammatory to the body.

Does this mean you can never eat a croissant again?! Heck no! If you do enjoy pastries, just limit them to special occasions and don’t make them a daily habit.

3. Trans-fats

Man-made trans-fats are one of the worst things you can put into your body. In addition to being highly inflammatory, trans-fats are also linked to heart disease, infertility, diabetes, and obesity. Read more about trans-fats here.




4. Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and very low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetable oils to avoid include corn and safflower oils. Unfortunately many food manufacturers have started adding these fats to their products when taking out trans fats – basically swapping one terrible fat for a lesser terrible fat.

Good oils to use include olive oil and coconut oil.

5. Fried food

Fried foods are inflammatory mostly due to what they are fried in – vegetable oils as discussed above. The high temperatures that fried foods are cooked at also contribute to inflammatory by products in the food.

6. Soda

Soda is liquid sugar with a bunch of chemicals added to it – soda literally might be the worst thing you can put into your body. This includes diet soda as well, because diet soda has even more chemicals added to it to make it taste better.



 

7. Artificial additives

This includes artificial flavorings and colorings, which have shown to be pro-inflammatory in the body and even disrupt normal hormone function.



8. Grain-fed meat

Grain-fed beef is why meat gets a bad wrap. These commercially feed meats are fed grains that are high in omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory. Grain-fed beef also tend to be injected with hormones and antibiotics, and you can be sure they aren’t organic.

Instead go for grass-fed beef which is a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.



9. Gluten

Gluten is a name for a group of proteins found in wheat products. Gluten can wreak havoc on the body, especially the gut, because gluten is highly inflammatory. 

Try cutting out gluten for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.

10. Fast-food

Fast-food is one of the most inflammatory foods you can eat because the majority of fast-food is highly processed with tons of chemicals, preservatives and unnatural flavorings added to it. You can be sure that the majority of fast-food (if not all) is not organic, grass-fed, or used without harmful oils. If a taco or a burger costs you a dollar, really question how the restaurant was able to get that price so low..

Main takeaways…

Anything that is highly processed, overcooked, and unnatural is inflammatory for the body. Stick to natural whole foods and you will be good to go!




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Top 12 Foods with Medicinal Benefits




Prevention is key when it comes to health, and food is one of the very best ways to prevent disease and dysfunction from occurring in your body. Improve and optimize your diet today to prevent having to rely on expensive medications and procedures in the future.

Below lists top disease-busting foods to add to your diet:

1. Berries

Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries have certain properties that may help to fight inflammation and decrease cancer risk.

Try it: Enjoy fresh berries as a snack or add them to your oatmeal or protein shake.



2. Cinnamon

This spice has been found to help prevent blood sugar from spiking, thereby keeping your blood sugar at a normal and healthy level. We worry about high blood sugar because too much sugar in the blood is highly toxic to the body and results in conditions such as Type II Diabetes

Try it: Add cinnamon to any sugary or carb-rich meal to blunt a surge in blood sugar. For example, sprinkle cinnamon on a sweet potato or banana.

3. Cranberries

Research has found that cranberries may be able to prevent urinary tract infections because they may prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder cells.

Try it: You can use raw cranberries to add a bit of tartness to salads or a fruit bowl, or go for a low sugar cranberry juice.



4. Green tea

Green tea has been found to possibly have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.

Try it: Instead of reaching for a second cup of coffee, have a mug of green tea.

5. Turmeric

This spice may have anti-cancer properties because it is very high in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.

Try it: Turmeric is a great spice to add to savory dishes such as rice, vegetables, eggs, and meats.



6. Ginger

Ginger is anti-inflammatory and has pain-relieving properties. Ginger may also help easing nausea and vomiting.

Try it: Add ginger to your next smoothie or shave some ginger on top of your oatmeal.

7. Garlic

Research that suggests garlic has anti-cancer properties.

Try it: Garlic adds great flavor to savory dishes. Add it to your rice and protein dishes.



8. Fermented foods

These include foods such as kefir and kimchi, which are thought to possess properties that help with digestion and the immune system.

Try it: Most fermented foods are great on their own. Add some kefir to your smoothie.

9. Fatty fish

This includes fish such as salmon and sardines, and the medicinal benefits come from their high omega-3 content. Omega-3s are incredibly beneficial and have disease busting properties.

Try it: Aim to get a serving of fatty fish 2-3 times per week. Either cook it at home or plan to order it when you go out to eat.



10. Broccoli

Broccoli along with other cruciferous vegetables, contains compounds that fight inflammation, support a healthy heart, and may help to prevent certain cancers.

Try it: Roast some broccoli in the oven or steam on the stove and add to your dinner.

11. Nuts

Nuts have been found to be beneficial for the heart as well as helping with obesity.

Try it: If you are hungry for a snack, have a handful of nuts. Nuts are also great to incorporate into smoothies, oatmeal, and even savory dishes.



12. Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms in particular have been found to have anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, and immune boosting effects.

Try it: Mushrooms are a great vegetable to add to a sandwich or a savory meal. Try steaming or roasting some mushrooms the next time you are cooking in.

Main takeaways…

If you aren’t enjoying the above foods already, start including them into your diet now! Your body will thank you.




 

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7 Tricks to Making Healthy Eating Easier




Cooking healthy meals is easier said than done, and most of the work comes from the prep of the meal rather than the actual cooking part. Make it easer on yourself when it comes to preparing healthy meals at home so that you will be more likely to do it! 

Below lists the best tricks to making healthy eating easier:




1. Have a plan

Have a general meal plan for the week so you don’t waste valuable time everyday trying to figure out what you will eat next and it will save you from having to return to the grocery store multiple times. Your meal plan can as detailed as you want it to be, just having a general idea of what you will eat for the week is beneficial and will save you time and energy.

2. Buy frozen seafood

Seafood is incredibly healthy and it is recommended to eat seafood a couple of times a week. Rather than having to go to the grocery store every couple of days to pick up fresh fish,  buy high quality frozen fish and cook it at home easily. Take out one fillet in the morning and thaw it out in the fridge so that it is ready to go straight into the oven when you get home from work.

We personally love buying frozen scallops and then cooking them in the oven or on the stove – it’s one of my very favorite meals to cook at home!

3. Buy frozen veggies

Frozen veggies are flash frozen at their prime, meaning they may be even higher quality than the fresh produce. You can take a bag or two out from the freezer in the morning and put in the fridge for a few hours before you want to eat the vegetables. Then just put them on a pan and roast in the oven or steam in the steamer. Frozen veggies are not only convenient, they are also cost effective and much cheaper than fresh produce.



4. Chop up fresh veggies beforehand

Fresh veggies are great too when you want to eat them raw, so cut them up and have them prepared for snacks or as part of a meal.

Tip: if you love spiralized veggies, then I recommend spiralizing a bunch of veggies at once and then putting the noodles in tupperware in your fridge to use them whenever you want.

5. Cook up a few servings at once

If you are cooking up chicken for dinner, make a few extra servings that you can use for the next couple of days for lunch and/or dinner. You can do this with many foods, such as beans, quinoa, burgers, and/or turkey. Think about your future self and how happy you will be when you get home from a long day and you don’t have to cook or even think about what you should have for dinner.



6. Store-bought prepped produce

There are certain produce that take more prep to prepare than others – meaning less likely you are going to prepare them! For example, I love butternut squash, but it is super hard to dice it up and takes a long time to cook. So I tend to buy this in pre-cut pieces to streamline the meal prep when I eat them. It is more expensive to buy pre-cut produce, but it’s definitely cheaper than having to order take-out or eat out at a restaurant for dinner.



7. Smoothie jars

I am a huge fan of smoothies because they are an easy way to get a few servings of veggies in and are a great source of nutrition. That being said, making a smoothie can be somewhat time consuming if you need to get all ingredients together and chop up veggies. Streamline making your smoothie by adding all ingredients except for the liquid base to a jar. This way the next time you are ready for a smoothie you can just pop the ingredients into the blender and add the liquid base.

Main takeaways…

There are definitely ways to make healthy eating easier, and using one or more of the tricks above will get you on your way to eating healthier!




 

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Ditch The Scale – Track These Instead!




There are so many different – and even better! – ways to track your body composition rather than the scale. When you use a scale, it tells you nothing about where your weight is coming from and it can be very frustrating when you know you’re less flabby but it is not reflected in the scale. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, the tools below will help you achieve your goal.

Below lists the best ways to track your body composition:


1. Body fat monitor

This is hands-down the best tool to determine where your weight is coming from. This also goes for those of you who want to gain weight because you probably want to gain weight in the form of muscle right? Using a body fat monitor not only helps to track your progress, but it can also help you determine whether your current diet and fitness regimen is working.

Examples:

Say you lost weight but the body fat monitor found that this weight came from muscle and not fat – this means you might need to start strength training or take a day off from exercise. Another example, say you didn’t lose any weight but the body fat monitor told you this was because you gained muscle and lost fat and these evened out. See how helpful this tool is?! It doesn’t matter which body fat monitor you use, the important thing is that you use the same monitor to track your progress. 



2. Measuring tape

A measuring tape is a great tool to track where you are losing weight from or where you are gaining muscle. I recommend measuring the arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but you can measure anywhere you want. Be sure to measure the exact same spot every time you measure!



3. Selfies 

A great way to visually see your results is to take pictures of yourself each each or at least every couple of weeks. You likely won’t notice changes in your body because the changes are gradual and you see yourself everyday. When you put a side-to-side picture of yourself this lets you see the changes you’ve made in your body composition – and if you don’t see any changes then you may want to change up your diet and exercise routine. I recommend taking a front and back picture with legs together and another with legs apart, as well as a side profile of both your right and left sides.



4. Clothes fit

Do your clothes feel looser? Hopefully not tighter! This is a great way to feel the difference in how your weight has shifted with how your clothes are fitting. Take a minute to think about whether your jeans are feeling a little looser or if you had pants you couldn’t wear before and now they fit just right. How your clothes fit is one of the best ways to tell if you’ve lost fat and/or gained muscle.



Main takeaway…

Try one or more of the above ways to track your progress in addition or in place of the scale and you will better understand your progress.

 



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Top 6 “Healthy” Drinks That Are NOT Healthy!




It’s not easy sticking to a healthy diet, and what makes it even worse is when food and drink are marketed as healthy, only for you to find out that they are anything but healthy! Beverages are the worst offenders because they are easy to consume without them making you feel full or realizing that they are actually loaded with sugar.

Below lists the top 6 “healthy” drinks you should stop drinking:




1. Bottled smoothies

Beware of any type of smoothie that comes in a pre-packaged bottle because there is a good chance there is going to be a ton of sugar and other preservatives to give it a long shelf-life.

Fix it:

Instead, make your own smoothie at home. That way you know exactly what is going into your smoothie.



2. Juice

Unless this is pure vegetable juice, this is likely going to be very high in sugar. 

Fix it:

Make your own juice at home from vegetables, or better yet, make a smoothie! Smoothies contain the fiber in fruits and vegetables which will help to keep you full and slow the effect of sugar if the smoothie contains natural fruit sugars.

3. Skim milk

Skim milk, aka fat-free milk, is actually very high in sugar. One cup has around 11 grams – that’s about half as much sugar as you should have in one day!



Fix it:

Go for unsweetened nut milks. If you want dairy milk, then go for organic hormone-free full-fat dairy milk.

4. Sports drinks

All of those colorful drinks marketed as being good for fueling your workout or post-workout, should be avoided. These are nothing more than sugar waters with a bunch of chemicals added.

Fix it:

Drink pure water or go for coconut water which is super hydrating and full of electrolytes but with natural sugars.



5. Bottled tea

Bottled tea is super deceiving because tea by itself is sugar-free, but bottled teas normally have a ton of added sugar because manufacturers want it to taste good. When you add a bunch of sugar and chemicals and add it to tea, this makes the tea no better than drinking soda.

Fix it:

Brew your own tea at home, or find a brand of tea with zero sugar.

6. Ginger beer

Ginger beer is essentially alcohol free but unfortunately is loaded with sugar – one bottle can have around 50 grams of sugar or more! That’s literally double the amount of sugar you should consume in one day.

Fix it:

Try to find brands of ginger beer that are lower in sugar, or go for diet ginger ale instead.

Main takeaways…

Always check the nutrition facts label because anything marketed as “healthy” does not mean that it is actually good for you.




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Top 10 Vegetables To Spiralize




A spirazlier is a device that makes spirals (or noodles) out of produce. I always recommend the spiralizer to my patients for a variety of different reasons – there’s literally no one I wouldn’t recommend it too. It is an especially great tool for individuals who are trying to cut back on carbohydrates, those who are trying to lose weight, those who are trying to eat more vegetables and increase fiber, as well as those who just want to feel better after eating. I love the spiralizer because not only is it a way to get you to eat more vegetables, but I love how it can transform traditionally non-healthy meals into super tasty and healthy meals. 

Below are the best 10 vegetables to spiralize:

1. Zucchini

Zucchini is a good source of antioxidants, as well as a good source of potassium and the B-vitamins. Look for zucchini that is darker in color and small to medium in size because the lighter and larger zucchini generally have less flavor.



2. Carrots

Carrots contain a powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene, which helps to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Look for bright orange carrots that are firm and smooth in texture.



3. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and are a great source of potassium. Look for small to medium sweet potatoes that are firm and smooth in texture – these tend to be the richest in flavor.



4. Yellow squash

Yellow squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, as well as many others vitamins and minerals. Look for small to medium squash that is firm and smooth in texture.



5. Parsnips

Parsnips have a slightly sweet taste and are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Look for parsnips that are firm and smooth in texture.



6. Jicama

Jicama is a good source of pre-biotic fiber, and pre-biotic is important because it is serves as healthy food to grow a healthy gut flora. Jicama is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and B-vitamins.



7. Beets

Beets are rich in nitrates, which when converted in the body will help to dilate blood vessels, leading to better circulation and even possibly lower blood pressure. Beets are a great source of many vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. 



8. Onion

Onions are a good source of antioxidants as well as various vitamins and minerals. Look for onions that are firm and smooth, and that have little to no odor – if an onion is soft and gives off a strong smell this is a sign this onion is much past its peak.



9. Butternut squash

Butternut squash is a great sources of nutrients, including potassium and vitamin B6. Look for butternut squash that is firm and deep in color and is free from bruises.

10. Cucumber

Cucumbers are a good source of vitamins and minerals including the B vitamins. Look for cucumbers that are deep in color and firm and smooth in texture.



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Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Coffee




Here at The Mindful Tech Lab, we love a good cup of coffee because it tastes great and has amazing health benefits. There has been some confusion with whether coffee is good for you. The confusion comes from poorly designed studies that don’t take into account how the coffee was roasted or the quality of the beans used. If you use bad coffee, you will get bad results, just as with any other food or beverage. When studies are done on high quality coffee that is free of mold and toxins, the results are extremely positive. There is a ton of research on coffee, and I referenced a long lists of quality studies at the end of this article if you are interested in reading in more depth on this subject 🙂

Below lists the top 10 benefits of drinking coffee:

1. High in antioxidants 

Coffee is super concentrated with antioxidants, and antioxidants function to neutralize free radicals which cause cellular damage. Cellular damage leads to increased aging, disease and cancer, which is why we want to prevent this from happening as much as possible. Fun fact – coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the United States.



2. Metabolism boost

Coffee contains powerful thermogenic capacity, revving up your metabolism and causing you to burn more calories. A cup of coffee daily will help to kick start your metabolic rate.



3. Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have found an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and the development of Type 2 Diabetes. This study actually found that decaf coffee also was protective against the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. We have seen a steady rise in Type 2 Diabetes over the past few years, and it is great to know that coffee can possibly help prevent individuals from developing this chronic disease.



4. Protects your liver

Studies have shown that drinking coffee regularly may decrease your chance of liver cancer as well as cirrhosis of the liver (disease of the liver). Read more here. 



5. Good for your heart

Studies have found that drinking coffee may be beneficial for your cardiovascular system, including decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.



6. Decreased risk of death

It has been found that drinking coffee regularly has been associated with decreased risk of early death. This decreased risk of death that is associated with drinking coffee may be due to the high antioxidant power of coffee and its anti-inflammatory effects on the body.



7. Decreased risk of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system and disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Studies have found that coffee consumption may prevent MS possibly due to blocking inflammation that can be part of MS.



8. Decreased risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Studies have found that drinking coffee daily may help to prevent or delay the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. Read more about this here and here.



9. Good for your brain

Coffee consumption has been linked to better cognitive function as well as decreased risk of dementia. This is due to the possible neuro-protective effects of coffee as well as it being anti-inflammatory and a concentrated form of antioxidants.



10. Increased fat burning

Coffee helps to increase fat burning in your body because it helps to release fatty acids from tissue so that they can be used for energy. This paired with revving up your metabolism definitely helps to keep you in shape!




References

  1. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/2/569
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270202.php
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305996.php
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-latest-scoop-on-the-health-benefits-of-coffee-2017092512429
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/coffee-and-health/faq-20058339
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/upshot/more-consensus-on-coffees-benefits-than-you-might-think.html
  7. http://heart.bmj.com/content/101/9/686
  8. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Caffeine-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305888_Article.jsp#
  9. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/drinking-coffee-may-be-associated-with-reduced-risk-of-heart-failure-and-stroke
  10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170606112745.htm
  11. http://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(17)30147-2/fulltext
  12. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/5/1039.full
  13. http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2016/02/03/jnnp-2015-312176?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=JNNP_TrendMD-0
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420628/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10819950/




 

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Healthy Swaps for 7 of Your Favorite Indulgent Foods




Think about it, when someone tells you that you can’t eat something, of course this is going to make you want to eat it even more! Be ready next time a craving hits and learn below of great substitutes for your favorite indulgent foods. Eventually you won’t crave unhealthy foods as much because once you cut them out, your body starts to prefer higher nutritional value foods. But in the meantime, it’s good to know some healthy swaps for unhealthy favorites. 

Below lists healthy swaps for 7 favorite indulgences:



1. Skip: French fries

Sorry, but there is definitely nothing good about fried anything. Fries are bad by themselves, and when you pair them with a highly processed and high sugar condiment such as ketchup, talk about diet disaster, yikes!



Substitute in: Baked sweet potato fries

Sweet potatoes have more flavor and also more antioxidants and vitamins compared to white potatoes. Baking the sweet potato is also much healthier compared to frying. The oil used for frying is generally not healthy and will only be adding bad fats and extra empty calories.



2. Skip: Rice

White rice has zero fiber and has been stripped of basically all nutritional value. Brown rice is not far behind with only a couple more grams of fiber compared to white. DID YOU KNOW – one sushi roll has about 1 cup of rice, which is equivalent to three servings of carbs.



Substitute in: Cauliflower rice

Making “rice” out of cauliflower is brilliant! You still get the crunchy texture and feel of rice, but without all of the carbohydrates and empty calories. You can literally eat as much cauliflower rice you want, we guarantee eating cauliflower rice will not make you fat! Try making sushi at home with this sushi mat and try using cauliflower rice next time!



3. Skip This: Thick crust pizza

Thick crust pizza includes traditional pan crust pizza, deep dish, and Sicilian style pizza. All have thick crusts meaning more bread, carbs, and tons of empty calories – and that’s without the toppings! You basically take one bite and that’s a serving 😉



Substitute for: Flatbread or thin crust pizza

Instead, really enjoy your food and eat more of it when you eat flatbread pizza or any type of thin crust pizza. You are still getting all of the ingredients but cutting back on a few servings of dough as well as cutting back on tons of carbs and empty calories.



4. Skip This: milk chocolate

Cocoa is the part of chocolate that makes it good for you due to the high amount of flavonoids it contains. Flavonoids act like antioxidants to fight off cellular damage in your body. Milk chocolate has a very low amount of cocoa that is often diluted with cream and sugar.



Substitute for: Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is the best choice in terms of chocolate due to its high amount of flavonoids. Go for dark chocolate that is made up of at least 70% of cocoa to benefit from the antioxidant power of the flavonoids. Also note that the greater the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar content. 



5. Skip This: Skim milk

Does anyone think that skim milk actually tastes good? 😉 Skim milk is surprisingly high in sugar (about 12 grams per cup), which is just about half as much as the total amount of sugar you should consume in one day.



Substitute for: Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Go for unsweetened vanilla almond milk (less than 1 gram of sugar) which has greater flavor from the almonds and the vanilla. Yum! Almond milk is always lactose free, dairy free, and antibiotic free so you don’t have to worry about this type of milk messing with your stomach.



6. Skip This: Orange Juice

Orange juice is basically sugar and water with an orange taste, and one cup has around 20 grams of sugar – almost the total amount of sugar you should consume in one day!



Substitute for: An Orange

If you are really craving that orange flavor, eat the orange. It will leave you more satisfied compared to drinking the juice. If you are thirsty then drink a glass of water 🙂 Eating a whole food is always better than drinking its juice. When you only drink the juice you miss out on the nutrients and fiber that comes from the actual food itself.



7. Skip This: Pasta noodles

Pasta is super high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients, and most individuals eat double or triple what a serving should really be. It’s very easy to overeat pasta because one serving will generally not fill you up, which makes you eat more and more. Talk about a diet killer.



Substitute for: Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles taste pretty darn close to traditional noodles, except they don’t make you feel tired and don’t flood your body with carbohydrates and calories! Invest in a spiralizer, which is the device that makes noodles out of zucchini, and it will become one of your most favorite kitchen gadgets! You can eat the noodles raw, cook on the stove, or bake in the oven – all are great choices! Get your handheld spiralizer HERE



Main takeaway…

Try one or more of the above next time you have a craving!




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Best Low-Carb and Grain-Free Sources of Fiber




Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet for many reasons which include keeping your heart healthy, keeping you at a healthy weight, and even preventing cancer – fiber is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, most individuals do not get nearly enough fiber. Guidelines recommend at least 25 grams of fiber per day and most get less than half of this! One of the greatest reasons for this low intake of fiber is the prevalence of highly processed foods which are stripped of nutrients, including fiber. Grains and breads are also highly processed and are marketed as being healthy when in reality most contain very little fiber – yes this includes oatmeal and whole grain products. Grains are also high in carbohydrates and can also be very inflammatory for many individuals, which can leave you to question where to get your fiber from?

Below lists low-carb and grain-free sources of fiber:



1. Chia seeds

1 Tbsp has about 5 grams of fiber



2. Flax seeds

2 Tbsp has about 8 grams of fiber



3. Raspberries

1 cup has about 8 grams of fiber



4. Avocado

1/2 cup sliced avocado has about 5 grams of fiber



5. Almonds

1/4 cup has about 4 grams of fiber



6. Broccoli

1 cup has about 5 grams of fiber



7. Brussels sprouts

1 cup has about 4 grams of fiber



8. Coconut flour

2 Tbsp has about 8 grams of fiber



9. Cauliflower

1 cup has about 3 grams of fiber



10. Blackberries

1 cup has about 8 grams of fiber



11. Coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup has about 3 grams of fiber

Go ahead and eat up these delicious and high fiber foods!




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7 Healthy And Delicious Substitutes For Salad Dressing




Salad dressing is meant to ENHANCE the flavor of a salad and to mix all the ingredients together. However, we tend to use way too much salad dressing to a a point where you can’t even taste the food itself. Traditional salad dressing also typically consists of several chemicals and sugar combined together giving you a high sugar and high calorie diet disaster! When we eat food, we want to actually taste the food and not smother it in some sauce or dressing. And if we are going to smother our food in something, it should at least be healthy and taste great!

Below are my 7 favorite healthy ingredients to use instead of salad dressing:




1. Guacamole

Avocado or using guacamole is my all time favorite “salad dressing” because it tastes amazing and is amazing for you! Avocado is full of healthy fat, vitamins and nutrients and the combination of fat and fiber will help to keep you full as well. Mash up avocado or use guacamole and mix in with your salad.



2. Hummus

Hummus is another great substitute for salad dressing because it has great flavor and is very good at keeping a salad together. Mix in a few tablespoons into your next salad. Look for a brand that has very few ingredients listed on the label and ideally the hummus should consist of just chickpeas, olive oil, and spices.



3. Hard boiled egg (chopped)

I love hard boiling eggs and then throwing one( or a few) in a salad and chopping it up and mixing. The yolk is key with helping keeping the salad together so don’t skip the yolks! It also gives you a great protein and fat addition to your salad as well as great flavor! Take it a step further and make a guacamole egg salad by mixing a couple tablespoons of guacamole with a couple eggs then mixing into your salad.



4. Liquid Aminos

I love using liquid aminos as a substitute for soy sauce because it tastes just like soy sauce and is gluten-free and uses gmo-free soybeans. It is also calorie free and sugar free and adds great flavor to salads as well as marinades for protein.



5. Coconut oil

I love coconut oil on everything, and if you love the slight coconut flavor of coconut oil then add it to your salad! Coconut oil contains short chain fatty acids meaning it is easily broken up and digested by your body to be used instantly for energy rather than fat. Coconut oil also may increase your metabolism when consuming it.



6. Balsamic vinegar

‘Vinegar” is the key word here, any type of vinegar is great but balsamic is by far the most common in restaurants. Important note: Avoid vinaigrette which has added sugar making it a high calorie dressing – vinaigrette does not equal vinegar. 



7. Olive oil

A couple dashes of olive oil give you a good dose of healthy fats with zero sugar to help keep you satisfied and give you amazing health benefits! You don’t need much olive oil to give your salad great flavor, so don’t go overboard 😉

Enjoy!




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Top 10 Foods For Weight Loss




It seems like everyone is on a diet at some point in time for one reason or another, whether it be trying to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain current weight. The best diet will have a good mix of protein, fat, and fiber, and will be packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients to keep you satisfied and to give your body everything it needs.

Below is a list of the top foods that will keep you full and satisfied and will help you reach your goals faster. The foods below are very hard to overeat because they are so filling, so don’t worry about eating too much of them – if you are hungry, eat up! There are certainly other foods that can help with weight loss, but if you have trouble with portion sizes, you really don’t have to worry about that with the foods below.

Below lists the top 10 foods to get your lean and keep you lean:




1. Eggs

Eggs really are the perfect food. Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein and fat, contain zero carbs, and are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients. Aim to add eggs to at least one of your meals or snacks.

2. Egg whites

Egg whites are great because they are pure protein and help to bulk up a meal. Important to note that the yolk is where you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients (and flavor!), so I advise adding at least one full egg with egg whites.



3. Seafood

Almost all seafood is lean, but some of the best and tastiest include shrimp, cod, scallops, and salmon. Seafood is low in calories, high in protein, high in good fats, and packed with essential nutrients.

4. Chia seeds

I add chia seeds to basically anything that is low in fiber to help boost the fiber content of the meal. Chia seeds are almost completely fiber with a small amount of fat and are low in calories. I recommend adding a tablespoon to low fiber foods like eggs. Chia seeds have no flavor so they won’t change the flavor of your meal, don’t worry!



5. Chicken breast

Chicken breast is great because it is high in protein, has some fat, and is low in calories. It’s pretty difficult to eat too much chicken breast so eat as much as you want! Add chicken breast to salads to give the greens some protein or eat alone as a snack.

6. Leafy greens

My favorite leafy greens include kale, spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I’m really loving romaine lettuce in particular right now  because it has a delicious crunchy texture and adds so much volume to meals.



7. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is my favorite vegetable right now because it is so versatile! Cauliflower is high in fiber and low in calories, meaning it will fill you up and you can never eat too much of it. Some of my favorite ways to eat cauliflower include cauliflower rice, cauliflower crust pizza, and cauliflower based wraps. 

8. Broccoli

Broccoli is also one of my favorite vegetables because it is high in fiber and adds volume to meals that will help to fill you up and keep satisfied. My favorite ways to prepare broccoli are steaming and roasting in the oven.



9. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are great for adding volume to meals or using as snacks because they are mostly composed of water. Eat mushrooms raw or slightly cooked – just don’t overcook them because they’ll shrink!

10. Peppers

Peppers are a great way to add some spicy flavor to dishes and may even rev up your metabolism! They also add great color to your meals as well as deliver vitamins and other nutrients.



Main takeaways…

Eat as much of the above as you want because each of the above foods will help to keep you lean and will prevent fat gain.




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