Burn Your Own Fat For Fuel Using Ketones


Have you ever heard of a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet means your body is using ketones for energy production rather than sugar. Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body, and are produced when eating a high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This type of diet is called “ketogenic” because your body is in a state of “ketosis” meaning fueled by ketones rather than sugar (aka glucose).

Here are 9 reasons why you want your body to be fueled by ketones instead of sugar:

 

1. You literally burn your own fat for energy


Your body can run on either glucose or ketones. Which would you choose? Well, when you look at what this actually means: Glucose is produced from the breakdown of glycogen (strings of glucose), this means you are burning glycogen to produce fuel for your body. Ketones on the other hand are produced from the breakdown of fat (fatty acids), this means you are literally burning your own fat stores to produce energy. You can make ketones from eating very low carb (sub 50 net carbs), fasting, or consuming a product that can induce or supply the production of ketones (such as MCT oil).



 

2. No more “Hangry”


You know that feeling when are so starving that every little thing is irritating, and you need to eat right. NOW? Terrible feeling right? Blame the carbs! After a blood sugar spike from eating carbs, this will trigger insulin whose job is to get that sugar out of your blood as fast as it can (because sugar in your blood is toxic and inflammatory), resulting in an even lower blood sugar than you started with. Low blood sugar (aka hypoglycemia) is that terrible anxiousness you are feeling. No bueno! And how do you make that feeling go away the fastest? Eating sugar. And the vicious cycle continues.

Fat is the only macronutrient that won’t raise blood sugar, and therefore won’t spike insulin. Yes, that means protein can also raise blood sugar when eaten in excess. That is why a ketogenic diet favors a higher fat and moderate protein intake.



 

3. Ketones favor less mental stress


The presence of ketones increases the production of the primary calm inducing neurotransmitter, GABA, while at the same time decreasing the primary stress inducing neurotransmitter, Glutamate. Ketones do this by assisting in the conversion of glutamate to GABA in the brain, thereby favoring a more calming state. Increasing the activity of GABA is essentially what most anti-anxiety medications aim to do as well – pretty cool you can get the same effects by just changing your diet!



 

4. Ketones favor a more focused state


For the same reason ketones favor calmed brain activity, they also favor a more alert and focused state. As stated above, more GABA compared to glutamate in the brain favors a less stressed state, meaning there is less “noise” in the brain, allowing for greater focus and mental clarity.  This is why medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are marketed as a product that can increase focus and cognition – because they give the body ketones that can be used for fuel without having to be in actual ketosis from eating low carb.



 

5. Ketones are a more efficient source of energy

Ketones and glucose are both used as fuel by mitochondria to produce energy (aka ATP) – mitochondria are the part of a cell that takes fuel (either glucose or ketones) and manufactures energy from it. When comparing the output of energy produced from the use of ketones vs. glucose, more energy is produced when using ketones, thereby making it a more efficient fuel source. The presence of ketones also up-regulates the amount of mitochondria in cells, so more mitochondria means more energy produced. This is another reason for the improved focus and mental clarity seen with a ketogenic diet. 



 

6. Ketones act as antioxidants


Research has found that ketones act as antioxidants because they protect against oxidative damage from free radicals. When ketones are used to produce energy (by mitochondria) this process does not cause the release of free radicals, as does glucose when it is used to produce energy. Free radicals aka oxidative damage cause damage to cells and aid in the development of chronic disease, cancer, cognitive decline and other brain diseases, and aging. 



 

7. Ketones may prevent cancer growth


Compared to normal cells, cancer cells metabolize a much greater amount of glucose meaning they need more glucose to thrive. Cancer cells may preferentially use sugar to fuel their growth and proliferation, and research has shown that they may not be able to use ketones as fuel. Research has also shown greater response to chemotherapy when in a fasting state inducing ketosis. There is more research needed in this area, but ketones as a preventative measure for cancer is looking very promising! 



 

8. Greater absorption of nutrients


Major vitamin, antioxidants, and other nutrients need to be taken with fat to be able to be absorbed. This includes Vitamin D, Vitamin E, lycopene and beta-carotene such as in tomatoes, and the B vitamins.  Making sure you are taking in plenty of fats will ensure you are getting the most out of your food and supplements.  

 




9. Ketones are neuro-protective


Fueling the brain with ketones has shown to help with brain disorders such as seizures, brain cancer, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a widely cited case of a physician who put her husband on a ketogenic diet as treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and he improved within a couple of months. More research is needed on the direct effect of ketones for the prevention of diseases that affect the brain, but so far its looking very optimistic!

Side note: Ketones can supply up to 70% of the energy needed by the brain. It is true that your brain requires some glucose to function, but glucose can come from protein, it does not have to come from carbohydrates. It is a misconception that carbohydrates are necessary in your diet – they are not. Protein and fat are the two macronutrients your body definitely needs to manufacture all of the necessary components of the body.

All works cited can be found in the hyperlinks 

 



5 Common Reasons You’re Craving Salty Foods




Have you ever found yourself craving salt seemingly out of nowhere? Read below to learn 5 common reasons you are craving salty foods.



1. You’ve been consuming too much salt

If your diet is high in salt, then you will have a higher tolerance for salt and need more and more. Take a look at the sodium content of the foods you eat. For most individuals it is recommended to not go above 2,300mg of sodium per day.

2. You’re dehydrated

An indirect way that your body tells you that you need more fluids is to have you crave salty foods. Salt follows water meaning eating salty foods will then prompt you to drink more water to dilute the salts in your body.

3. You’ve been exercising intensely

When you exercise, you don’t just lose water but you also lose electrolytes – aka salts. Intense exercise or heated exercise causes you to sweat more, which means you will lose exponentially more salt and can cause you to crave salty foods to bring your body back to equilibrium.



4. You’ve been eating very low carb

Eating very low carb (aka keto) causes your body to shed extra water and salts. That is why it is generally recommended to add in extra salt when eating a very low carb diet.

5. Your diet is high in processed food

Processed food is generally high in sodium (aka salt) so if you regularly consume high sodium foods, you will continue to crave that higher salt content.




Sneaky Reasons You’re Packing on the Pounds During the Holidays




The dreaded holiday weight gain, many of us have fallen victim to this – but you don’t have to! Read below to learn the sneaky reasons why you are putting on the pounds during the holidays.



You’re drinking your calories

During the holidays there are many indulgent beverages that are high in carbs and calories. Some of the top offenders include egg nog (FYI: Egg Nog typically has about 20 grams of sugar per HALF a cup), seasonal coffee drinks (ex: pumpkin spice latte), and high sugar cocktails.

Fix it: It’s totally fine to have an indulgent beverage every once and a while, but once you start making it an everyday habit, that’s when the pounds can start creeping on. Be mindful of what you are drinking because those liquid calories will add up.

Desserts at the office

A cookie here, a donut there, after a few weeks of indulging on treats at the office you can start to see the pounds creeping on.

Fix it: If you are going to indulge, it should be the best of the best. Also, remember that just because a treat is offered to you, it does not mean you have to eat it.

Stress

It is very common to feel stressed during the holidays, whether it be due to family dynamics, buying gifts, traveling, cooking, etc. there are many situations during the holidays that can make you stressed. Not only is stress a terrible feeling, it can also be a factor that causes you to gain weight. Stress often causes individuals to overeat and/or reach for high carb, high calorie foods because eating carbs releases the feel good hormones in your body. Stress also causes the hormone cortisol to increase, and cortisol is a hormone that promotes fat storage.

Fix it: First identify what triggers stress for you and then make a plan of how you can alleviate that stress. Some examples of how you can decrease the stress response may include asking your spouse for help in the kitchen, saying “no” to social engagements that you don’t really want to do, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.



Skipping exercise

The holiday season is such a busy time that many of us don’t make time for exercise. Exercise is what helps to keep your focus on staying healthy and serves as a reminder to be mindful of your eating. Exercise helps to prevent you from packing on the pounds way beyond just burning calories and revving your metabolism – it also boosts the feel good hormones, suppresses stress hormones, helps to prevent stress eating, boosts energy, and also just serves as a reminder to stay healthy.

Fix it: Make exercise a priority during the holidays. I always recommend doing exercise first thing in the morning because it will give you energy and decrease stress before you start the day.

Skipping meals

Skipping meals to “save up” for dinner is NEVER a good idea – it ALWAYS backfires. Why? Because when you skip a meal, not only does that make you ravenously hungry (and hangry!) but also leads to overeating and a slowed metabolism.

Fix it: Aim to eat a mix of protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat at each meal every 3-5 hours. Note that if a meal is not keeping you full for at least 3 hours, you need to eat more.

Holiday parties

Holiday parties tend to have lots of desserts and high calorie beverages, which can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet.

Fix it: Make a point to eat BEFORE the party so that you don’t fill up on desserts or other high carb foods. Sip on water at the party and stick to a two drink maximum when it comes to indulgent beverages.




EAT THIS, SKIP THAT! At Breakfast




Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because what you eat (or don’t eat) will play a huge part in how you feel the rest of the day. Yes, that one meal in the morning will affect your mood, blood sugar, hunger, and food choices for the rest of the day – wow! So what do you choose when it comes to choosing your breakfast?!

Below lists what to eat and what to skip when it comes to breakfast:




1. If you are craving pancakes…

SKIP: Pancakes 

Pancakes are high carb and low fiber (yes even whole wheat) and low in nutrients – and that’s before you add any type of topping or filler (ie syrup). Pancakes should really just be called “cake” because that’s basically what they are. There are certainly ways to make healthy versions of pancakes, but traditional pancakes are a no-no.

EAT: Oatmeal

Instead go for the gluten-free oatmeal. This way you are still getting the carbs you crave minus the sugar, and some fiber and resistant starch to keep you full. 




2. If you are starving…

SKIP: Breakfast burrito

I get it, you are starving, and a breakfast burrito sounds very tempting, but All of the ingredients in your typical breakfast burrito are filling enough! You don’t need the wrapper which has little to no nutritional value.

EAT: Omelette

Get more bang for your buck with an omelette which gives you a great combination of eggs, veggies, and maybe even a cheese or another protein which will keep you full and satisfied.




3. If you are craving juice…

SKIP: All juices (unless made only from vegetables)

Juice is basically a fruit squeezed of all its sugar and put into a glass for you to drink. When you just drink the juice you are missing out on vital nutrients and fiber which comes from the fruit itself – not it’s fluid.

EAT: Fruit bowl

Always go for the whole food rather than the liquid coming from the food. The food itself has the majority of the nutrients and all of the fiber compared to its juice.



4. If you are craving coffee…

SKIP: Everything but black coffee

When a “coffee drink” has more ingredients other than coffee, it’s not really coffee anymore. Your frappuccinos, mochas, lattes, pumps of different flavored syrups, are not doing you any good because they contain zero healthy nutrients and are just adding chemicals, sugar, and empty calories.

DRINK: Black coffee (i.e. ingredients include only water and coffee beans)

 If you want coffee, stick to the real deal, and if you want to fancy it up then get a cold brew or add a splash of almond milk. 



5. If you are craving a bagel…

SKIP: Bagel

Did you know that a standard bagel is equivalent to four pieces of bread?! This super high carb meal causes your blood sugar to skyrocket and then shoot right back down making you feel lethargic and sleepy – the last thing you want to feel like in the morning! No one needs that much carb in one sitting.

EAT: Open face egg sandwich

Add slices of avocado or another egg or protein source if you are extra hungry. Adding more protein or fat will not cause any blood sugar changes, and will keep you more full and satisfied.



6. If you are craving a bowl of oatmeal…

SKIP: Quick oats

Also referred to as “instant oats” these type of oats have been highly processed meaning they have been stripped of most of their nutritional value. And definitely stay away from the pre-packaged instant oats that have been infused with maple and other sugars.

EAT: Irish oats

Irish oats are also called steel-cut oats and are the least processed of the oats. This means they will give you the greatest nutritional value.



7. If you are cravings a bowl of cereal…

SKIP: Raisin Bran

I can’t even count how many times a patient has told me they are trying to eat healthy and so they started eating Raisin Bran. This cereal has approximately 17 grams of sugar in one serving! To put this into perspective, guidelines recommend no more than 25 grams of sugar per DAY!  And unless you are precisely measuring this serving you are likely taking in even more.

EAT: Fiber One Original

Fiber One is hands-down the best choice in terms of cereal. It is high in fiber, low in calories, and contains zero sugar. However, It’s not gluten-free, but it is the absolute best choice when it comes to choosing cereal.



8. If you are craving yogurt…

SKIP: Flavored yogurt

In general, all flavored yogurts have too much sugar. Anything over 5 grams of sugar is too much, and most have over 10 grams – no bueno. Be especially weary of “fat-free” marketing because this almost always means additional sugar has been added to give it flavor (since the fat has been taken out).

EAT: Plain Greek yogurt

Plain is the main thing you want to look for, Greek is best because this type of yogurt contains the greatest amount of protein. Still check the nutrition label because sometimes plain yogurt still has a ton of sugar in it. To add some sweetness consider adding some berries and nuts.



6 Healthy Desserts To Curb Your Sweet Tooth




Who doesn’t love a treat? Especially when the treat is actually not bad for you – woo hoo! Unfortunately, treats and desserts are either super high calorie and high sugar, or taste like cardboard and make you crave treats even more. What to do? Well, here at The Mindful Tech Lab we have a small dessert almost every single evening and below is a list of our favorite healthy treats. All are low sugar and low calorie, so you don’t have to worry about derailing your diet when consuming them. Hooray!

Below lists our favorite healthy treats:



1. Dark Chocolate

This is our number one favorite healthy treat. Always go for dark chocolate because it has the greatest amount of nutrients and health benefits, as well as being the lowest in sugar of the chocolates. Look for dark chocolate that has over 80% cocoa, because the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar – check our the nutritional labels and compare. Note that the higher the percentage of cocoa the  more bitter the taste due to the lower sugar content, so consider starting on the lower end of percent cocoa and work your way up.



2. Berries

We love blackberries and raspberries because they are low in sugar, high in fiber, and taste great! Both fresh or frozen are good choices, just make sure if you buy frozen that it is not sweetened. A good trick is warming up frozen berries in the microwave because when it melts it tastes like pie filling! Stick to one serving of berries which is 1/2 cup, it can be very easy to triple this serving size, so pay attention to the serving size.



3. ARCTIC ZERO

We love ARCTIC ZERO frozen desserts because their products are gluten free and lactose free, and they use only natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial coloring. We also love that they sweeten their products with monk fruit, which is a natural sweetener and has a great taste. The main ingredient they use is whey protein, which gives it some protein and flavor. Our favorite lowest sugar flavors are Salted Caramel and Vanilla Maple.



4. Halo Top

If you are really wanting that ice cream taste and texture without all of the sugar and empty calories, this is your brand! Halo Top makes both dairy based and vegan products, but so far we have only tried the dairy based. The dairy based desserts are high in protein (around 12 grams) because they are made with eggs, milk, and cream, and low in sugar (around 5 grams) because they are sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia (a sweetener we approve of). The vegan desserts are coconut milk based and are also sweetened by stevia. The vegan products are lower in protein compared to the dairy based (about 3 grams) but are also very low in sugar (about 4 grams) which makes this product a great choice as well.



5. Plain greek yogurt with stevia or berries

This means low sugar greek yogurt, around 5 grams of sugar – very important to read nutritional labels here!! Even “plain” greek yogurt can have up to 20 grams of sugar without even tasting sweet – crazy right! Give it some flavor by sweetening with the natural sweetener stevia or monk fruitwith some warmed up berries. Watch the serving size of this and stick to 1/2 cup.



6. Hot chocolate

A low sugar hot chocolate is one of the best healthy desserts because it gives you high volume with low sugar and calories. We really like the brand Lakanto, who makes a drinking chocolate with about 2 grams of carbs and less than 10 calories per serving. We’ve tried A LOT of different products, and this one is the best in terms of taste and ingredients. It is sweetened by monk fruit, which is a natural and zero calorie sweetener. This product is also dairy free, gluten free, and vegan. Mix it with a cup of warmed unsweetened almond milk!

Enjoy!




The Worst Vacation Habits Making You Gain Weight




Taking a vacation is one of the very best things you can do for yourself because it’s a time to make happy memories and to reset and recharge. That being said, vacation can also be a time that you sabotage your healthy diet and exercise routine if you don’t plan accordingly.

Read below the worst vacation choices making you gain weight:

Choosing a hotel without a gym

If your hotel does not have a gym you won’t even have a chance to stick to any sort of exercise routine. If you are new to exercise and aren’t a huge fan of exercise, this can be a slippery slope of getting you back into old habits of not exercising. Not having a gym also means you won’t be able to burn off those extra calories you are consuming while on vacation, which means quicker and more weight gain.



Taking a road trip

A road trip is not doing you any favors when it comes to keeping up an exercise routine and sticking to a healthy diet. Think about the typical road trip snacks – chips, pretzels, and other 7-11 choices – plus the dining options on the road tend to not be the healthiest. 

Not to say you can’t make a road trip healthy, it just takes extra planning in terms of packing healthy meals and scheduling many pit stops to take walks and get exercise.

Staying at an all-inclusive resort

Staying at an all-inclusive means you must eat as much as you can to get your money’s worth right!? Er, maybe not the best plan when trying to stick to a healthy diet 😉 Also keep in mind that resorts understand that most of their guests feel this way and so the quality of the food may suffer to increase the volume available.



Relying on airport food

Lets be real, the majority of the food you will find in the airport is fast-food and it is difficult to actually find something healthy. Plus the food is highly marked up in price so you certainly aren’t saving any money by eating at the airport.

Relying on airplane snacks and meals

Not only is the food more expensive on the airplane, it also tends to not be the tastiest and definitely not the healthiest.



Not packing workout clothes

If you don’t pack appropriate clothes to exercise in, you’re not even giving yourself the option to exercise when on vacation.

You only drink specialty cocktails

Specialty cocktails are one of the worst diet mistakes you can make because they literally have zero nutritional value and are loaded with calories, sugar, and carbs – the recipe for fast weight gain.



Drinking too much

It won’t kill your diet to have one specialty cocktail, but once you start going past one cocktail those calories will add up to extra pounds on fat on your body quickly. Plus, drinking alcohol can make you crave unhealthy meals and lower your will power when it comes to making healthy decisions.

Not making a plan to exercise

If you aren’t making a plan for when you will workout, there is a good chance it’s not going to happen. 



Not packing sneakers

You are setting yourself up for a very sedentary vacation if you choose not to pack sneakers. 

Grazing all day

Snacking all day at the pool is only going to result in overeating, especially when the snacks are tasty foods like fries and chips.



Not utilizing the kitchen

If your hotel room has a kitchen and you aren’t using it, this is a definite mistake! This means you are also missing out on the ability to save some money and to eat healthy.

Personal experience: If we stay at an Airbnb or a hotel with a kitchen we always make a point of finding a market to pick up a few food items that we can easily make into meals and/or snacks. Some of our favorite simple and healthy meals and snacks include cutting up fruit, frying up some eggs, making nut butter banana sandwiches, or buying prepared foods and putting them together to make a meal.

Choosing the buffet

A buffet is doing you no favors if you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. With so many options, it’s easy to over serve your plate and go back for seconds or even thirds! Plus who can pass up all of the desserts.

Main takeaways…

Above are the top vacation habits to break when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine. 




Top 11 Breakfast Practices Making You Gain Weight




Breakfast can either make or break your diet – start off with the wrong breakfast and it can be very hard to get back on a healthy eating track for the day.

There are many mistakes you can make at breakfast time that can definitely derail your diet and expand your waistline. Don’t make the most common mistakes. Read below to learn the top breakfast habits making you gain weight:




1. Choosing granola

Granola is one of the biggest diet mistakes you can make in the morning because it is loaded with sugar, carbs, and a ton of calories. To make matters worse, it is often labeled as a “healthy” meal which can cause many individuals to load up on it because it’s healthy right? No. Step away from the granola, it will make you gain weight without you even realizing.

Professional experience: I had a new patient come in for a yearly physical, she was in her mid 40s and had been gaining weight steadily for the past few years despite having a personal chef (yes!) and seeing a personal trainer a couple of times a week. When I asked about her diet, she said that for breakfast she was eating homemade granola (by her personal chef) made with “all natural and healthy” ingredients like honey and maple sugar, plus yogurt and fruit. I stopped her right there without hearing anything else and told her how that breakfast was definitely sabotaging her efforts to lose weight and was most certainly a cause for her steady weight gain.

A year later I saw the woman back for her yearly physical again and I almost didn’t recognize her – she had lost at least 50lbs! Plus her skin and hair was noticeably smoother and more youthful.

This type of scenario happens in practice ALL of the time. Even with a personal chef AND a personal trainer, this doesn’t mean you will just naturally lose weight.

2. A bowl of “whole grain” cereal with milk

Cereal is in the same category as granola – it’s just sugar and carbs with little to no protein or healthy fat. It’s slightly worse than granola only because it is also highly processed. Not only will cereal not fill you up, it sets you up to be hungrier later because it spikes your blood sugar and then brings it back down just as quickly – meaning a hangry you later. Even worse, when you pair cereal with milk this adds even more sugar because a cup of non-fat milk has around 12 grams of sugar! The bottom line is that cereal is doing you no favors, skip it.

Professional experience: Cereal is definitely the most common breakfast of choice that I hear from patients. It seems to be either Cheerios or Raisin Bran and the patient almost always tells me they eat cereal because they are trying to eat healthy. I generally recommend instead eating eggs because they are easy to cook and are excellent for you.



3. Eating plain toast

Toast is actually better than cereal or granola because it tends to be lower in sugar. That being said, it is still all carbs and will not keep you full for very long, will spike your blood sugar, and make you hungry not too long after eating.

Healthy tip: Make toast part of a healthy breakfast by adding a protein and/or fat to help slow the release of carbs into your bloodstream. I personally love adding almond butter to toast, grass-fed butter, or adding an egg on top.

Don’t add this: Skip the jams and jellies because these are basically pure sugar. One trick I like to do to is warm up frozen berries and add them to almond butter on top of toast – you can see this on our Instagram page.

4. Using flavored coffee creamer

Cream by itself is actually fine as long as you use a tiny amount, but flavored coffee creamer with added sugars and artificial ingredients is doing you know favors. The sugary creamer adds tons of sugar and calories without you even realizing it. The serving size is also normally very small, like a tablespoon or less, so unless you are measuring it out, you are probably at least tripling this.



5. Eating a bagel

Bagels are a no-no in the morning because most bagels are equivalent to four pieces of bread or more – yikes! This means tons of carbs, tons of calories, and very little nutritional value. Eating a bagel will make you hungry not too long after eating and can set you up to crave carbs and sugar for the rest of the day.

Healthy tip: Make a bagel healthier by eating half a bagel and adding a protein and/or fat like eggs or almond butter. Another trick is scooping out some of the middle of the bagel and adding in the eggs or other fat/protein combo.

6. Oatmeal toppings

Who eats oatmeal plain? Probably no one. Oatmeal in itself is fine, but the toppings are what get you and can make you gain weight. Think toppings like brown sugar, milk (FYI milk is loaded with sugar), and dried fruit. All of these make your oatmeal a sugary carby disaster that will most certainly lead to weight gain.

Healthy toppings: There are certainly healthy toppings you can add to your oatmeal. Some of my favorites include walnuts, almond butter, frozen berries (helps to cool it down), unsweetened nut milk, and stirring in an egg white or two.



7. Watching TV while you eat

Mindless eating leads to overeating and not feeling satisfied with the meal – the perfect recipe for weight gain. Take the few minutes you have in the morning to sit down and give full attention to your breakfast. This will cause you to slow down and to fully enjoy the meal.

8. Grabbing a pastry

Hopefully you know that eating a pastry in the morning is not doing your weight any favors. Pastries are loaded with carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats and can make your body go into fat storage mode.

Professional experience: When I was working in Manhattan, pastries were a super common breakfast food I heard from my patients so I wanted to throw this one in the list.



9. Eating fruit only

Fruit is packed with vitamins and other great nutrients, but fruit is also packed with sugar. Fruit has some fiber to help slow the release of the sugar into your bloodstream, but it will still likely raise your blood sugar rapidly. This means you will be hungrier sooner and can put your body into fat storage mode.

Healthy tip: Pair fruit with a couple of eggs, or add in some nuts for some fiber and healthy fat.

10. Drinking juice

Juice is worse than just eating fruit because juice has zero fiber and is loaded with sugar, meaning a greater blood sugar spike and increased hunger.

Skip the juice and go for whole fruit with a side of protein or fat.



11. Sipping a chai latte

Think you are being healthy by just sticking to a coffee drink in the morning? Unfortunately, nope. Drinking a chai latte as well as any other coffee drink that doesn’t consist of just coffee beans is generally a diet disaster. A chai latte is one of the worst offenders because it sounds like it would be healthier than a mocha or a Frappuccino, but it is actually loaded with just as much sugar (or more!) and has more carbs than a candy bar – yikes!

Main takeaways…

When it comes to breakfast, skip the sugar and carbs and stick to protein, fat, and fiber to keep you full and to prevent you from packing on the pounds.




Best High Carb Vegetables To Add To Your Diet




I feel like I am always bashing carbs, so good news today because this article is all about the carbs I do recommend! While I do advise low carb eating, I don’t advise anyone to be zero carb because all vegetables have carbs and you should be eating as many vegetables as you can. Below lists my top recommended higher carb vegetables:

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin A, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. I recommend adding half a cup to a cup of baked sweet potato to your dinner.



Butternut squash

Butternut squash is very similar to sweet potato. We love baking or steaming butternut squash, or even making it into a mash and adding some grass-fed butter. I recommend half a cup to a full cup serving.



Carrots

Carrots make a great snack because they give you that crunch plus they have great flavor. If you like cooked carrots then try steaming or baking them and adding to your dinner.

Parsnips

Parsnips are a surprisingly sweet vegetable. Parsnips are great to spiralize into noodles, but you can also cut up in slices and bake in the oven. Because parsnips are on the sweeter side, I advise a cup or less for a serving.



 

Beets

I love beets because they have a great mix of sweetness and earthy flavor. I love adding about half a medium beet to a smoothie after a workout or roasting beets in the oven.



Main takeaways…

The above vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and good carbs. These higher carb vegetables are nutrient dense, meaning you don’t need very much to get a high dose of nutrition. Unless you are watching your weight or you are very sensitive to carbs, you can eat as much of the above as you want. If you are trying to lose weight or you have a harder time with carbs, then you may want to limit serving sizes to a half a cup to one cup cooked of the above.



 

Saltiest Foods Making You Bloated and Heavy




Do you ever consider how much sodium you are consuming? Most individuals need under 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This might sound like a lot, but it actually adds up very quickly and most will actually eat twice as much of this recommended amount. Ok, so why should you care? Well, aside from being linked to heart problems and certain diseases, too much sodium can also make you very uncomfortable. This is because an overload of sodium in the body leads to fluid retention, weight gain, bloating, and all around puffiness – nobody wants any of that 🙂

The tricky thing about sodium is that a meal doesn’t even have to necessarily taste salty to be loaded with it, so it can be hard to tell how much sodium you are taking in. That is why it is best to at least have some understanding of what foods inherently have a higher level of sodium so that you can cut back on certain food items as needed.

Read below to learn where sodium is hiding in your foods:

Bread

Does bread taste salty to you? Nope, didn’t think so, but yes it is often loaded with sodium.

Decrease your sodium intake from bread by choosing lower sodium breads and by sticking to one piece of bread at a time (aka open face sandwich) or skipping the bread entirely.

Note: Bread includes ALL bread items such as pizza, toast, sandwiches, buns, breaded chicken or fish, etc.



Processed foods

Processed foods tend to be loaded with sodium to make them taste good. Check the sodium content and the serving size before buying.

Not sure what processed foods are? Think about it this way, any food that has more than one ingredient is likely a processed food. Processed foods are some of the worst foods you can eat anyway, so this is just another reason to cut back on them 🙂

Canned foods

Canned products such as beans and soups are often loaded with sodium, so definitely read the nutrition label before buying! Look for cans that say “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” so you know at least the brand is trying to lower the salt content.



Cheese

I LOVE cheese but cheese is definitely packed with sodium. You don’t have to cut cheese out, just watch portion sizes because the sodium can add up quickly with just a few bites. The saltiest cheeses include American, blue, parmesan, and feta.

Salted nuts

The thing about salted nuts is that it’s hard to stick to one serving which is typically 1/4 a cup, because the salt makes you want to eat more and more of the nuts. This leads to hundreds of milligrams of sodium added to your day without you even realizing it.

Instead of salted nuts, go for raw nuts which tend to be healthier anyway because they haven’t been processed or roasted like most salted nuts have.



Deli meat and cured meats

Deli meats and cured meats are some of the saltiest foods you can eat. Especially when you pair these with cheese or make a sandwich (think condiments, bread, cheese, etc).

Tomato based foods

Tomato based foods are typically loaded with sodium so be mindful of this when eating pasta, pizza, salsa, and tomato soup.

Condiments

Check the condiments you use on a regular basis for their sodium content and serving size. The sodium to serving size can be deceiving because the serving size is generally extremely small and most individuals tend to use at least triple the amount.

For example, mustard has around 50 mg of sodium in a teaspoon – who only uses a teaspoon? Ketchup has around 150-200 mg of sodium in a tablespoon – who uses only a tablespoon?



Restaurant dining

Most restaurant meals are loaded with sodium and just one meal can surpass a days worth of sodium – no bueno!

The worst offenders tend to be asian based dishes – think soy sauce, sweet and sour soup, broth, etc. The dishes with the least amount of sodium tend to be salads.

Main takeaways…

We do need some sodium in our diet, but most of us take in WAY too much sodium on a daily basis. Use the above as a reference for some of the saltiest foods that are out there and where you could cut back on your sodium intake.

Remember, all hope is not lost if you overdid it on salt one day – read this article on how to get rid of excess salt overnight to feel lighter faster.




How to Lose Weight Literally Overnight




Want to lose some weight overnight? You definitely can! The catch is that it won’t be fat, but it will be extra water weight that you are holding onto. Water weight can account for several unwanted pounds around your midsection as well as around your entire body. The trick to decreasing this extra water weight is to cut back on your sodium (aka salt) intake. Salt attracts water and so the more salt you have in your body, the more water you are going to hold onto.

Note: Our bodies do need some sodium – guidelines recommend a max of 2,300mg or 1,500mg for certain chronic conditions – but the majority of individuals are consuming more than double what is recommended, yikes!

Read below to learn how to cut back on your sodium intake and lose pounds fast:

Drink more water

It might seem counterproductive to drink more water when you are trying to lose water – am I right? But the extra water will help your body to flush out extra sodium you are holding on to. The worst thing you could do is to decrease your water intake because that will just make your body cling to every last drop it can hold on to.

Put it into action: Aim to get 64 ounces of water at least per day. If you are exercising, add on another 16-24 ounces or more. It’s pretty hard to drink too much water, so drink as much as you can.



Exercise

Exercise is probably the number one best way to get rid of extra water weight because when you sweat you are sweating out excess salts as well as excess water.

Put it into action: Aim to get a sweaty exercise session in at least 2 days a week, but more the better.

Assess food labels

A food doesn’t have to even taste salty to be loaded with sodium. Check the sodium and serving sizes of the foods you eat on the regular to identify areas where you might be loading up on sodium without even realizing it. Some foods that are packed with sodium that you may not realize include condiments, bread, cereal, and deli meats.

Put it into action: Measure out serving sizes to make sure you aren’t taking in more sodium then you want and choose foods with lower sodium.



Load up on vegetables

Vegetables are essentially sodium-free and are high in water, both of which will prevent your body from holding onto excess fluid.

Put it into action: Aim to get a handful of vegetables at every meal, you don’t have to change anything about your meal just add the veggies in.

Load up on fruits

The sodium in fruits is negligible and fruits are also high in water which will help your body to flush out excess sodium from your body.

Put it into action: Load up on low-sugar, high-water fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and melon



Eat potassium and magnesium rich foods

Potassium and magnesium in particular are minerals that will help your body to get rid of the extra salt and water.

Put it into action: Eat foods high in magnesium and potassium such as bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados.

Dine in

The unfortunate truth about dining out is that the meals tend to be packed with sodium without you even realizing it. When you make your own meals you have full control over everything that goes into your meal and you know exactly how much sodium is in it.

Put it into action: Make your favorite meals at home and incorporate whole foods that are low in sodium such as vegetables and fish.

Main takeaways…

You can literally lose weight overnight, you just need to drink more water, load up on water-rich foods, get sweaty, and cut back on salty foods.




Simple Swaps To Cut Carbs and Calories





Let me start this first by saying that some carbs in your diet are completely fine, but most of us are consuming WAY too many carbs without even realizing it. We tend to overeat carbs because it’s easy to do so – they don’t keep us as full as fat and protein. Unfortunately, this overload of carbs and calories leads to weight gain, blood sugar issues, and various chronic diseases. 

Read below to learn simple swaps to decrease carbs and calories in your diet:

Instead of rice…

All forms of rice are high in carbs and calories, and are low in fiber, low in protein, and low in fat. What happens when you eat something high in carbs and low in everything else? You eat more and more because it takes longer to get full and satisfied.

Use cauliflower rice!

You can either make cauliflower rice at home by finely chopping cauliflower or by using a blender, or go the easy route and buy already riced cauliflower from the grocery store. Cauliflower rice has that same crunch as regular rice and acts as a great base for meals – without the calories and carbs.



Instead of pasta…

It’s no secret that pasta is very dense in carbs and calories – one cup has at least 40 grams of carbs and over 200 calories! And this is without sauce or anything else added to it, plus most individuals eat double or triple the serving size – talk about a food coma!

Use butternut squash!

Butternut squash noodles still give you that texture of pasta but without all of the carbs and calories! One cup of squash noodles has around 80 calories and 15 grams of net carbs. Many restaurants now offer butternut squash rather than pasta noodles or you can make it at home yourself.

Instead of pancake flour…

Flour for making pancakes tends to be high in calories, high in carbs, and low in nutritional value.

Use banana!

Replace the flour with a mashed banana! Bananas have some carbs, but they also have fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health.



Instead of jams and jellies…

Jams and jellies are normally made of sugar, syrup, artificial flavoring and colorings – you’re better off with just plain sugar in this case!

Use berries

Mash up some berries and use this instead! Berries have enough sweetness on their own and don’t need all of the sugars and syrups added to make them taste good.



Instead of toast

Toast tends to be high in carbs and low in fiber.

Use sweet potato

Thinly sliced baked sweet potato not only tastes delicious, but also cuts down on carbs and gives you more fiber.

Instead of tortilla

Tortillas tend to be the highest in terms of calories and carbs – you’re better off with bread if you had to choose between the two!

Use lettuce

The best part of a burrito or taco is the filling, so skip the tortilla shell and use a lettuce leaf instead!



Instead of chips

Think about how chips are so easy to overeat, it’s because they are high in carbs and calories, and low in fiber and nutrition.

Use sliced veggies

Sliced veggies like carrots still give you that crunch but are much lower in calories and carbs and high in nutritional value.



Instead of mashed potatoes

White potatoes are packed with carbs and low in fiber.

Use mashed cauliflower

You won’t be able to tell the difference! An easy way to make mashed cauliflower is to steam cauliflower until it is soft, then mash yourself or use a blender. Super simple and delicious without all of the calories and carbs.

Main takeaways…

Not only are the above foods going to help to cut carbs and empty calories from your diet, but they are also a great way to add more nutrients into your diet!

 




Top 10 Mistakes At Lunchtime You’re Probably Making

Lunchtime is a very important time of day because it can either help to keep you energized into the evening, or do the opposite and make you feel lethargic and cranky. 

Read below to learn the top 10 lunchtime mistakes you might be making:

1. You eat at your desk

If you are someone who goes into an office, you’ve probably eaten at your desk many times, am I right? Eating at your desk is a big diet mistake because you are very likely to be distracted by a number of things, including your computer, phone, work that needs to get done, coworkers, etc. When you are distracted, this means you eat more and feel less satisfied with your meal – not good!

Fix it: See your lunchtime as a break from work and a time to get out of the office to reset and recharge. Step out of your building, scope out the area, and find a bench or step where you can sit and fully place your attention on your meal.

2. You eat out everyday

If you are not the one preparing your meal, then you don’t know what all has gone into it. A seemingly healthy meal can actually be high in sugar, salt, bad fats, etc. This is because restaurants want their food to taste good, and so they add more oil, sugar, and/or salt.

Fix it: Make a lunch at home and bring it along to work. Even just starting with one day a week of bringing your lunch is beneficial.

3. You order delivery

Ordering delivery is even worse then eating out – at least if you are eating out you have to walk a bit! And if you are ordering delivery this probably means you plan to sit and eat at your desk, which is another mistake.

Fix it: Prepare a lunch at home and bring it to work. Then take your lunch outside and get a walk and some fresh air.

4. You’re not eating vegetables

Vegetables are key when it comes to a healthy meal, and lunch is no exception. Vegetables are high in water and fiber which help to keep you full and satisfied, plus they are full of vitamins and minerals.

Fix it: Always aim to add a cup of greens or veggies to your meal, no matter what you are eating.

5. You’re reading a screen while you eat

Scrolling through your phone or other device while you eat is distracting and can make you feel less satisfied and less full from your meal.

Fix it: Put all electronic devices away and place full attention on your meal, or put on headphones and listen to some soothing music while you eat.

6. You’re eating on the go

If you are walking or driving while trying to chow down, this is even worse then reading or watching something on a screen while you eat.

Fix it: Either wait to eat until you can sit down for a few minutes, or plan to eat your lunch before you need to travel.

7. You’re waiting too long to eat

If you wait too long to eat lunch to the point where you are starving, this is basically a guarantee that you will overeat later. Waiting too long to eat is stressful on your body and is also super uncomfortable!

Fix it: Try to not let more than 5 hours go by without eating. Plan to have a snack in between breakfast and lunch If you know you are going to need to take a late lunch.

8. You’re only eating carbs

Carbs trigger the feel good, soothing hormones in the body which is why eating carbs makes you feel good, but they can also make you feel tired. Think about how you feel after eating a bread heavy meal or a bowl of pasta meal of pasta.

Fix it: You don’t have to totally nix carbs from your lunch, but aim to add in some protein and fat as well.

9. You’re not eating enough

Having a lean lunch is great, but there is a fine line between eating lean and not eating enough.

Fix it: Be sure to get a good amount of protein, fiber, and fat to your meal to keep your full and satisfied.

10. You skip lunch

Skipping lunch might sound like a time-saver, but it is actually counterproductive. Food is fuel for your body and mind, and is what helps to keep your focused and energized. If you don’t have enough fuel, you can bet your productivity will suffer. Another big negative of skipping lunch is that you will likely be starving by the end of the day, which means you are very likely to stuff yourself at dinner.

Fix it: Carve out at least 20 minutes for lunch to give yourself enough time to eat slowly and digest your food.

Main takeaways…

Take full advantage of your lunchtime, and try to see it as a time to reset and recharge.