Being conscious of the kinds of fats you consume can give your body all the benefits to function optimally without the risks associated with ‘bad’ fats. Good fats are an essential part of a healthy diet – and healthy body!
Other fats, like canola oil and vegetable oil, are plant-based but are not considered good because they are refined at high temperatures that strip them of nutrients and destroys their omega-3 value, and often processed with the use of toxic chemicals.
The best fats to consume are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol levels. Some are:
Unrefined coconut oil is a gift from nature that can curb your appetite, aid with digestion and be used as an immediate source of energy. When you blend coconut oil up, it can cause little chunks to form in your smoothie. To combat this, you can gently melt the coconut oil (not hot, just melted) and add to your blended smoothie by setting your blender to its lowest setting and slowly pour in the melted coconut oil. This ensures everything incorporates _ blends perfectly.
An alternative to coconut oil is MCT oil, which is also harvested from coconuts, but contains a higher concentration of medium chain triglycerides. It’s odorless, boosts digestion and doesn’t solidify when blended. Since it is super concentrated and potent, we recommend using no more than 1 tsp of MCT oil per serving in your daily smoothie.
The problem with the concept of simply counting calories is, calories can be deceiving and are not the basis for determining what’s healthy. Counting calories isn’t a practice that means we are actually eating healthy foods. For instance, an apple with almond butter may have more calories than a 100-calorie snack pack from a factory, but which snack is going to keep your body fueled and satisfied longer? Which one will provide your body with more nutrients?
Don't get me wrong, if you consistently overeat, whether it is good food or bad food, you will gain weight. So, calories do matter but it's the quality that matters most!
I’ve adopted the concept of ‘Healthy L.E.A.N. (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition) Habits for life’. I’ve found that when I focus on fueling my body with more nutrient-rich whole foods, and eat mindfully, listening to my body and being respectful of when it is full, not only does my body naturally settle into a more comfortable weight, I also feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically. It’s important to focus on nutrients, appreciating the delicious flavors you can consume in fresh, natural foods.
Although most people are aware of the benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, not everyone knows just how important protein is for your body. Protein is one of the four macronutrients that your body needs on a day-to-day basis (the other three are fats, carbs and water). Protein is essential for our bodies to work properly. The key to replacing meals with clean, green smoothies AND feeling good is to combine protein with healthy fats. This power combo will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to make it to your next snack or meal.
Because your body burns protein slower than carbs, protein is important to prevent blood pressure spikes that can not only make you feel weak and dizzy, but can also lead to serious health issues down the road.
Another great benefit of protein is that when your body has enough, it doesn’t have to resort to burning muscle for the energy it needs so your muscles stay strong and toned. That’s why drinking a protein-rich smoothie after a workout is an excellent way of replenishing your body!
2). Change up your liquid base from time to time. Water is wonderful for smoothies, but it’s also nice to incorporate different liquids occasionally for an additional nutrient and vitamin boost. Not to mention a flavor boost! Coconut water is one of our favorite additions, because it’s high in potassium, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. For a creamier texture, try unsweetened nut milk like coconut or almond, which are both packed with bone-building calcium and Vitamin E.
Load up on the nonperishable pantry items like beans and brown rice, and restock them as needed. Meats can be bought fresh weekly, or you can buy in bulk and store them in the freeezer. Only fresh fruits and veggies call for a weekly trek to the store based on which recipes you decide to make. Meet your new 10 best friends:
STOCK UP ON THESE OTHER STAPLES......
On your Shelves
Focusing on whole foods that are high in fiber, lean protein, healthy fats like omega 3-s, and lots of anti-aging antioxidants is an effortless way to stay slender. Individuals who used to struggle with dieting and weight loss are able to transform their bodies by simply basing their meals on clean, simple foods. A few staples are:
Almonds - serving 1 oz.
Great for salads, yogurt, oatmeal and on-the-go snacking.
Key attributes - fiber, healthy fats, lean protein
Avocado - serving 1/2 avocado
Great for smoothies, salads, and guacamole; a healthy alternative to mayo
Key attributes - healthy fats, lean protein, antioxidants
Black beans - serving 1/2 cup
Great for soups, salads, and fajitas
Key attributes - fiber, lean protein
Broccoli - serving 1/2 cup
Great for soups, salads, and side dishes
Key attributes - fiber, antioxidants
Dark Chocolate - serving 1 oz.
Great for a healthy sweet-tooth fix
Key attributes - antioxidants
Kale - 1 cup
Great for soups, salads and side dishes
Key attributes: fiber and antioxidants
Olive Oil - serving 1 tbsp
Great for salad dressings and marinades
Key attributes - healthy fats
Salmon - serving 3 1/2 oz.
Great for breakfast (smoked), lunch, or dinner (baked, grilled or steamed).
Key attributes - healthy fats and lean protein
Spinach - serving 1 cup
Great for soups, salads and side dishes
Key attributes - fiber and antioxidants
Walnuts - serving 1 oz.
Great for salads, yogurt, oatmeal and on-the-go snacking
Key attributes - fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants
Okay, so fat does not necessarily make a beeline for your thighs. Here is a very simplified explanation of what happens when you eat it (courtesy of Eric Decker, PhD, professor of food science at UMass Amherst).
Maybe you are broccoli'd out or you're a vegetarian or you ran out of a recipe ingredient. Below are ways to make trades for your favorites with virtually equal calories and nutrients, so you can always keep your taste buds happy, meet your dietary needs and stay on track with your weight management goals.
3 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
= 3/4 cup egg whites
= 3/4 cup cooked or canned beans
= 1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites
= 1 large turkey or chicken sausage
= 3 oz. canned crab, salmon or tuna; fresh fish; ground beef; pork; steak; tofu
1-slice whole-grain bread
= 1/4 cup non-creamy (without tahini) hummus
= 1/2 cup whole-grain cereal
= 1/2 cup cooked beans, corn or peas
= 3/4 cup cooked whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal or quinoa
= 1/2 large potato or 1/2 cup diced potatoes
= 1 whole-grain pita (4 inches)
= 1 whole-grain tortilla (8 inches)
= 1 whole-grain flatbread or waffle
1 tsp. olive oil
= 2 tsp trans-fat-free buttery spread; vegetable oil
1 tbsp seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower
1 tbsp chopped nuts such as almonds, peanuts or pecans
= 1 tbsp creamy (with tahini) hummus
= 1 1/2 tbsp flaxseed
= 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
= 10 olives
Nut butter Swaps
1 tsp peanut butter
= 1 tsp almond butter; soy nut butter; sunflower butter
= 1 tsp tahini
1 medium orange
= 2 tbsp dried fruit
= 1/2 grapefruit
= 3/4 cup mango pieces
= 1 small banana
= 1 medium apple; pear
= 1 cup berries; cherries
= 1 cup melon pieces
= 2 apricots; kiwifruit
= 3 plums
= 24 grapes
1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked spinach
= 1/4 cup stewed tomatoes or tomato soup; 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
= 1/2 cup chopped nonstarchy vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, tomato or zucchini
= 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw leafy greens such as arugula, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, kale, lettuce or Swiss chard
1 cup skim milk
= 1 oz reduced-fat cheese or 80 calories of any full-fat cheese
= 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
= 1 cup calcium-fortified almond, soy or rice milk
= 1 part-skim string cheese
Stress depletes our B vitamin stores and snacking on nuts helps replenish them. B vitamins keep our neurotransmitters in their happy place and help us handle the fight-or-flight stress response. The potassium in nuts is also key: Penn State researchers found that a couple servings of potassium-packed pistachios a day can lower blood pressure and reduce the strain stress puts on our heart.
While oranges get all of the vitamin C hype, red pepper have about twice as much (95 vs. 50 mg per 1/2 cup serving). In a study in Psychopharmacology, people who took high doses of C before engaging in stress-inducing activities (oral presentation followed by solving math problems aloud) had lower blood pressure and recovered faster from the cortisol surge than those who got a placebo. It seems diets loaded with vitamin-C rich foods lower cortisol and help people cope.
To keep your wits about you when life gets hairy, you need omega-3's, especially DHA. In a study in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, people who took a daily omega-3 supplement (containing DHA and EPA) for 12 weeks reduced their anxiety by 20% compared to the placebo group. You won't get the same mood boost from the omega-3's (ALA) in flax, walnuts and soy, though, so shoot for about 2 servings a week of wild salmon or other oily fish and/or talk to your doctor about DHA supplements.
This leafy, green veggie is rich in stress-busting magnesium. People with low magnesium levels (most of us, actually) are more likely to have elevated C-reactive protein levels - and research shows people with high CRP levels are more stressed and at a greater risk for depression. Magnesium has been shown to help regulate cortisol and blood pressure too. And since magnesium gets flushed out of the body when you're stressed, it's crucial to get enough. Other solid magnesium sources include beans and brown rice.
This warm and comforting food also help your brain generate the de-stressing neurotransmitter serotonin. Research in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows carb-eaters felt calmer than those who shunned carbs. The carb-avoiders reported feeling more stressed. Any carb won't do, however. Refined carbs (white bread and pasta) digest faster and spike blood sugar, messing with moods and stress. Complex carbs like oatmeal are digested more slowly and don't spike blood sugar.
If you crave chocolate when you're on edge, have some. Research in the Journal of Proteome Research showed people who ate the equivalent of an average-size candy bar (about 1.4 ounces) daily for two weeks had lower cortisol and fight-or-flight hormone levels. To reap the feel-better rewards, choose chocolate that's at least 70 percent cocoa. And remember: dark chocolate is a high-calorie food, so mind your portions.
A study from University College London discovered that tea drinkers de-stressed faster and had lower cortisol levels than those who drank a placebo. Although (caffeinated) black tea was used in the study, caffeine revs the stress response in many people, so stick to decaf and herbal teas. Drinking herbal teals like chamomile, peppermint or ginger can be wonderfully soothing to the digestive tract which can help with stress by calming the nervous system in your gut.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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