Top 5 Clean Eating Mistakes

Clean eating has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for good reasons!  It’s a great way to cut out the junk that comes with processed foods, and it helps boost the amount of nutrients in our diets!  But there are a few mistakes that litter the path to clean eating.  Make sure you know how to avoid them!

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Juicing

It’s so so popular, and everyone wants a vitamix, but watch out for juices!  Because most of the calories come from sugar, your body won’t process it quite the same way as it would a piece of fruit.  On top of that, when drinking your fruits via juice, you’re missing out on important opportunities to fulfill your fiber needs for the day! Limit your juice intake to make the most of those calories!

Fruit Binges

While fruit is healthy and a great way to get lots of nutrients, eating too much of it can trigger your blood sugar and set off your hunger signals, causing you to eat too much fruit in one sitting or to go out and seek for something to eat right.this.second.  Make sure you’re getting your daily requirements for fruit, but don’t eat 3 oranges in one sitting! Pair your fruit with a few slices of cheese or some nuts to help stabilize your bloog sugar!

Snack Time

If you’re focused on clean eating, don’t let snacktime derail your hard work!  Make sure your snacks are just as balanced as your meals– a bit of fiber, a bit of protein, a bit of fat, etc.  This will help you really feel satiated when you’ve finished the snack, and you won’t go on a kitchen raid to find the next snack to start on!

Processed Foods

Even if you’ve cut out the boxed mac and cheese with that neon powder, you might still be relying too much on processed foods.  Try to eat as little as possible from bags, boxes, cans, and jars.  Buy whole food ingredients and set aside time to meal prep at the beginning of each week.  This will help you avoid the excuse of convenience that leads most of us to pick up highly processed foods at the supermarket!

 

Overeating

Just because you are eating whole and clean foods doesn’t mean you can overeat!  Many people think that because they’re eating healthy foods, they can eat more than they used to put on their plate.  The truth is that even with your organic chicken and your spinach and carrots and apples, you’ve got to stay in control of your portions!  Don’t throw caution to the wind and binge (although to be fair, a binge on apples is much less severe than a binge on donuts!) just because your food is healthy.  Limits are good for everything, even for clean food.

 

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to clean eating?

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Top 5 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

We know that there are certain foods that help certain parts of our body, but there are also specific foods that are great for our brains!  Read the list below to find out 5 great foods that will improve your memory!

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Avocados

This fruit is such an amazing food, especially for your brain!  They often get the bad reputation of having a high fat content, but it’s important to remember that the fat contained in avocados is the good fat (monosaturated!), which happens to be amazing for your brain!  It’s also great to for healthy glowing skin and for stabilizing your blood sugar levels!  Because they contain vitamin K and folate, they’re also great at preventing blood clots in the brain and improving cognitive functioning (key to memory!).  On top of all that, they’re rich in Vitamins B and C, which your body doesn’t store and thus must replace daily!  Try it smashed on toast, in your smoothies, or on top of a salad!

 

Broccoli

Even if it’s not your favorite vegetable, this veggie is so versatile that it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a way to enjoy it.  It’s high in vitamin K and choline, which are great for boosting your memory.  It’s also packed with vitamin C!  Eat it raw as a snack or in your salad, roast or grill it with other veggies, toss it in a stirfry, grate it into meatballs– the possibilities with broccoli are truly endless!

 

Dark Chocolate

Put that snickers down and listen up!  Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  They help lower blood pressure levels and improve blood flow to the brain and the heart.  The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the better.  Opt for a minimum of 70% cacao to get their full benefit!

 

Salmon

Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your brain and thus, your memory!  Be aware that the health benefits of salmon apply to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed salmon.  A filet of salmon is a super versatile ingredient– broil it, pan fry it, put it into croquettes, serve it in a salad or in pasta– there are a ton of ways to enjoy a healthy piece of salmon, and you should aim to have 3-4 servings of fish per week anyway!

 

Beets

 

One of the easiest veggies to prepare (literally boil them until they’re soft), these guys are literally crammed with nutrients!  They reduce inflammation and are packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants.  On top of that, they’re packed with nitrates that help boost the flow of blood to the brain, which will absolutely boost your memory!  Add them to your salads or eat them as a side dish to get their benefits!

 

What foods are you trying to include in your diet to benefit your brain?

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

 

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Top 7 Breakfast Ideas for Gym Goers

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

Going to the gym early in the morning has plenty of benefits– it helps you mark off the gym from your to-do list instead of procrastinating, it gives you an early dose of feel-good endorphins, and can help you feel more alert and energetic for the rest of the day.  But if you wake up early to go to the gym, what should you eat for breakfast?

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Yogurt Parfait

It looks fancy, but it will take you less than two minutes to put your greek yogurt, berries, and granola in a cup! It’s a quick breakfast with a bit of protein and natural sugar and carbs to get your body ready to run!

 

High-Protein Oatmeal

Your body will need the carbs and the protein to power you through a high-intensity workout, so make your oatmeal the way you like it, but add nuts and the nut butter of your choice!  This will help to fuel your body throughout your workout and after, and you won’t feel lightheaded or dizzy while pumping iron in the morning!

 

Protein Smoothie

 

If you don’t have much of an appetite in the mornings but you KNOW you need to kickstart your metabolism for the day, try having a protein smoothie.  It can be as simple (milk, greek yogurt, protein powder, fruit) or as complicated as you want to make it, but get some calories in you!  Better yet, start your day with a good dose of protein to make the most of the exercise you’re about to do!

 

Apples and Peanut Butter

It won’t take you but 2 minutes to put together, but it will stay with you throughout your workout.  Slice an apple and top each slice with some peanut butter, raisins, chia seeds, or other chopped seeds or nuts that you like to add to your dishes.  This can be eaten on the run, too, if you have room in your gym bag for a food container!

 

Avocado and Egg Toast

If you boil your eggs ahead of time, this breakfast will take about as long as it takes to toast your bread!  Mash your avocado on top of your toast and slice your hardboiled egg on top.  You can add salt or pepper, paprika, olive oil, sri racha, or whatever else you’d like on top to boost the flavor level of your breakfast!  The healthy fats of avocado, complete protein of the egg, and the healthy carbs in your whole grain toast are the winning combination for a healthy breakfast!

 

Omelette

Eggs are always cheap and fast to cook.  Throw in a bit of leftover protein from last night’s dinner, any veggies you might like to include, and tada!  Full of protein and a great vehicle for other ingredients, omelettes are a great breakfast to get your  day started with, especially if you need a protein fix after a workout!

 

Freezer-Friendly Prepped Breakfasts

You can make tons of options ahead of time and then freeze them, ensuring that you always have something healthy that’s ready to go when you are!  Bacon, egg, and broccoli cups made in muffin tins are a great option!  Turkey and egg breakfast sandwiches are a classic, and breakfast burritos with your favorite proteins are popular, too!  In one sitting, you could easily prepare breakfast for 2 weeks if you take the meal-prepping + freezer route!

 

What’s your favorite pre- or post- gym breakfast?

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

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5 Steps to Changing Your Taste Buds

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

Taste is one of our most important senses, and it can get us in trouble if we have cravings for certain tastes!  Potato chips, chocolate, or sugar– the list of tastes we love (but that are actually bad for us) goes on and on!  But did you know that you can CHANGE your taste buds?  I’m serious!  Use these five steps to reprogram your taste buds to keep you from craving foods that will derail your progress!

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Fight the Addiction.

Addiction?  What addiction?  Let me tell you:  science says that the serious overdoses of sugar and fat in our diet are addictive to our taste buds, and that they also dull them!  That means that you’ll crave those tastes but constantly need more and more to get your fix, and you might not be able to register new tastes as they actually are.  So step 1 to changing your taste buds is to make a serious commitment to swearing off large amounts of these ingredients.  You don’t have to go cold turkey!  Try weaning yourself off of them and finding enjoyable replacements for fatty or sugary foods and drinks.  Over time, it will get easier to avoid (but warning: you might pass a couple of grumpy days as your body and brain adjusts!).

Try it Again and Again.

It can be difficult to try foods that we’re sure we don’t like, but it’s an important step in reprogramming your taste buds.  If you have bad memories of hating broccoli as a child, maybe it’s time to try it again.  And if you find that you don’t like it, you’re not done!  Try it with a minimum of 2 ways of preparation:  Maybe you don’t like sauteed broccoli, but you might like it roasted, in a creamy soup, or raw in a salad.  Sometimes we think we don’t like the taste of something when really it’s the texture.  When it comes to vegetables, texture can change so much just by cooking ingredients differently.  Set a goal to try 3 foods each week that you normally don’t eat.  Kale, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and lentils might be a great place to start, but go with what will work for your personally!

 

Trick your Brain!

If you’re still not a fan of something that you KNOW you should be including in your diet, try and pair it with something that you do like.  For example, if you’re still not a fan of brussel sprouts, try sprinkling them with parmesan cheese after cooking.  At first you’re just masking the taste a bit, but you’re brain will start to associate BOTH tastes with happy feelings instead of just the cheese.  After trying this magical combo a few times together, you’re likely to find that brussel sprouts are a new dish in your regular rotation!

Become a Mouth Breather.

A big part of our sense of taste comes from our nose (shocking, right?), so sometimes you may think you don’t like the taste of something, but what you actually don’t like is the smell!  Quite a few vegetables have scents that are different from their actual tastes, but if you’re smelling it in front of your mouth for 15 seconds while you debate whether you’re going to eat it or not, all you ever get is the disagreeable smell.  Take stinky vegetables and try boiling or roasting them to help remove the sulfurous compounds that cause their odors.  Another good tip?  Your sense of smell is weakest in the evening, so save dinner for the time of day when you get wild and adventurous with new and healthy foods. Try to avoid taking huge whiffs of food before taking a bite if you know it’s a food that you have a complicated past with.

 

Spice Things Up!

If you’re really craving salty, fatty, or sugary flavors but you’re being so so good by avoiding them, try to keep your mouth entertained with other flavors!  Soy sauce, chili pepper, sri racha, vinegar (and all of its variants!  Rice vinegar is a great and interesting taste to add depth to stirfrys, for example), mustard, lemon, and fresh herbs are all great ways to create interesting tastes that will liven up any pot of green beans or lentils!

Make Small Changes

If you consider yourself a really picky eater, this is an important step to consider.  If you’re a fan of butter, don’t drop straight into dark olive oil– try a lighter one to ease yourself into the transition.  If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t move from milk chocolate to 80% pure cacao!  Start with smaller percentages of cacao and work your way up.  Water down your juices or sodas with a bit of water until eventually you don’t need such intense sugary tastes to get your sweet fix!  Sometimes making huge and sweeping changes is really setting yourself up for failuer.  Humans are creatures of habit and that’s ok.  Start small but stay constant and you’ll end up where you need to be!

 

What are your best tricks for trying new foods and tastes?

 

 

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

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What to Eat After a Heavy Workout

So you went to the gym and you KILLED your workout.  Now what?  What you eat next could make a big difference in your fitness results and your recovery time.  Keep reading to get the best tips on what to eat after a heavy workout!

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First let’s start with what you shouldn’t eat:

You want to avoid fat right after a heavy workout.  Fat by itself isn’t always bad, of course, but you shouldn’t eat fat right after a workout because you want to get carbs and proteins into your body as fast as you can.  Including fat in that post-workout meal with slow your digestion, and you want to start digestion your protein and carbs quickly to get the maximum effect from them!

 

When should you eat?

We know that there’s a window of about an hour after a workout that’s the ideal time to refuel your body, so it’s important to take advantage of your time and make sure you’re feeding yourself after a workout.  If you want a shower first, go for it– it doesn’t have to be the second you drop the weights.  But you don’t need to shower, go to your car, run some errands, then get home and cook.  Do what you need to do (meal-prepping, anyone?) to find a way to eat a healthy meal post-workout.

 

On to protein and carbs:

You know why you want protein (muscle building woot woot!) but do you know why your body needs carbs after a workout?  They aid in the recovery system for your muscles!  You need a good meal after an intense workout that consists of easy to digest (which means faster digestion time) food.  Here are a few options to consider:

Eggs

Don’t let the Rocky movies trick you– there is no benefit to consuming raw eggs.  In fact, your body will be able to absorb even more of their protein by cooking them.  Hard-boiled (easy to prep ahead!) or scrambled, make them however you want to meet your protein goals for your post-workout meal!

Whole Grain Pita and Hummus

Carbs? check.  Protein? check.  Add your favorite spices to your hummus to keep things exciting, and dip away post-workout to make sure your body has what it needs to recover and grow!

Sweet Potatoes

A baked sweet potato has the perfect dose of healthy carbs to kick your body’s recovery functions into full gear.  Pair this with your favorite go-to protein and remember to hydrate yourself!

Rice or Potatoes

While we’re often warned against white starches, they can be helpful right after a workout because the lack of fiber (the reason we’re told to avoid them) actually helps your body to digest them faster, helping you to quickly access the carbs your body needs to begin recovery.  Chicken and rice or potatoes is a dish you can even pack ahead of time if you’re really serious about getting that meal in right after your workout is finished.

 

What’s your favorite post-workout meal?

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6 Super Healthy Breakfast Grains

Find some new healthy breakfast inspiration here with these 6 healthy breakfast grains!

Breakfast can be one of the most challenging meals of the day to prepare, simply because mornings can be so hectic sometimes.  The temptation to eat processed foods, junk, or to just skip the meal altogether is REAL!  Check out these six healthy breakfast grains that can be prepared in advance to help you get a quick and healthy breakfast every day!

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Quinoa

You may have seen it in salads, but did you know that you can whip this grain up for breakfast, too?  Quinoa is a great breakfast grain because it can be prepared in bulk in advance!  Treat it like a cereal and mix it with your favorite milk– whole milk, coconut milk, or almond milk– and heat it.  Add your prepared fruit on top and you’ve got an instagram-worthy healthy breakfast bowl!  The protein in quinoa will help you to stay full until lunch, and you won’t be loading up on highly processed or sugary stuff from a box!

 

Buckwheat

This is a great gluten-free option if you’re craving oatmeal, because you can prepare it the same way.  You can go sweet or savory depending on the ingredients you decide to toss in.  The texture of buckwheat porridge is a bit creamier and less lumpy than traditional oatmeal, and has a slightly nutty taste to it!

Steel-cut oats

A traditional breakfast staple, steel-cut oats make a great start to your day.  Heart-healthy and quick to make on the stove or the microwave (or overnight in the fridge!), buying steel-cut oats gives you more fiber than the instant version.  Add your favorite nuts and fruits to boost the nutrients count!

Muesli

You might not have tried this dish, but you really should give it a shot!  Try this:  warm muesli with ricotta (or greek yogurt) and honey.  It’s quick and savory, and you can add other fruits or nuts if you’d like!

 

Brown Rice

I know that in the western world, rice isn’t a common breakfast, but hear me out:  I had a friend who hated breakfast foods. She’s not a big fan of fruit and doesn’t like honey or yogurt.  She loves savory breakfasts, like eggs and bacon and toast.  So when she went on a stricter diet, her nutritionist suggested she make brown rice bowls for the morning– stirfried veggies that can be batch prepped at the beginning of the week, mixed with brown rice that can also be batch prepped at the beginning of the week– TaDa!  Unconventional?  Absolutely.  Did it work for her? Absolutely.  Maybe you should give it a try!

 

Freekeh

An Arabic grain that you might not have heard of before, this stuff acts as a prebiotic that helps to grow healthy gut bacteria.  It also offers up over 4 times the amount of fiber than brown rice!  Serve it warm with fruit, ricotta (or yogurt), and honey to get your day started right!  You can find this grain in your local arabic supermarket.

 

What are your favorite breakfast dishes?

Find some new healthy breakfast inspiration here with these 6 healthy breakfast grains!

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Food Labels– What Do They Really Mean?

Make sure you know how to understand food labels and ingredient lists!

Understanding food labels can be tricky business– serving sizes might be half of a container that otherwise looks like a single serving to you, and ingredients can go be disguised by other names that you don’t recognize.  Read up below on how to understand food labels, and make sure you’re informed about what you’re putting in your body!

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Serving Size

At the top of the nutriton information panel on the back of each product, you’ll see the serving size.  This might come in grams or another unit of measurement that you don’t keep handy in your brain, but it should also estimate about how many servings are in that container.  Don’t just assume that a small container is one serving– check this information first so you can then inform yourself about the balance of nutrients listed below.

 

Calories

Once you know the serving size, check how many calories are in each serving.  Remember to do the math on how many calories you’re actually consuming if you double up on portions.  A common problem in the U.S. is that many people eat more calories than necessary each day, and even with all of those calories they still don’t meet the ideal nutrients intake recommended by the FDA.  Checking out the calories (as well as the calories that come from fat) is an important step to deciding if this is a food that you want to include in your diet. The nutrition information panel is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.  The FDA suggests that 40 calories per serving size is low, 100 calories is moderate, and 400 calories is high.  Take this into consideration when checking out the back of the box or can!

 

Avoid These Ingredients!

Try to avoid products with trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  These can contribute to problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure.  By limiting these in your diet as much as possible, you can achieve a more balanced diet and better health.  It’s important to note that these ingredients often appear in processed foods, so you may be able to avoid many of these ingredients by taking the long route of cooking a meal from scratch instead of buying the convenient boxed versions that fill our supermarkets!

Look for These Ingredients!

Try to opt for items that are high in Vitamins A and C, Calcium, Iron, and Dietary Fiber.  Many Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients, despite their high caloric intake.  You can see the percent daily value available on the back of each box (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet) which can help you to better understand how well a certain food may help you meet the necessary daily intake of specific vitamins and nutrients.

 

Check the Ingredients!

The other aspect of the food label that’s important to understand is the ingredient list.  The most important piece of information to know about the ingredient list is that ingredients are listed in order of quantity.  You want the first several ingredients of any packaged food to be whole ingredients that you recognize, not chemicals or fillers.  If the first ingredient on the list is something you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not very nutritious.

 

Watch Out for Sneaky Names

The next detail to be aware of when reading the ingredients list is that many undesirable ingredients go by different names.  For example, sugar can be listed as plain sugar, but it can also be listed as corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, barley malt syrup, agave nectar, or dehydrated cane juice (and those are just a few!).  Sodium also has several different names that can appear on a label.  Trans fat, something we want to avoid, might not appear at all!  Instead, ingredients that are high in trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil and hydrogenated oil, for example).

Don’t Fall for Gimmicks!

Health food labels on the front of foods can also be quite deceptive, so watch out! ”No added sugar” might make you think that a food is sugar-free, but some foods are naturally high in sugar.  ”Natural” doesn’t mean the same as organic.  It only means that the product began as something natural (such as pears or grains), but it doesn’t denote what may have been done to those natural ingredients on the way to making the product.  Low-fat and sugar-free options often are high in other undesirable areas in order to compensate for the lack of taste that comes with cutting out fat or sugar.  It’s important to read up on the labels that denote ”healthy” food, because they are designed to entice those of us that want to eat healthily!  It’s a sales gimmick!

 

Opt for Whole Foods

We know that the best way to avoid nasty ingredients and increase our intake of quality nutrients is to eat whole foods.  This doesn’t mean everything that comes in a box or a bag is off limits or terrible, but those products DO require a close look at the food label!

 

Those are my top tips about checking out food labels!  What’s your biggest difficulty understanding food labels or ingredient lists?

Make sure you know how to understand food labels and ingredient lists!

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Are You Eating Enough Protein?

Make sure you're getting enough protein to maximize your workouts and nutritent intake!
We all know that protein is an important part of a healthy diet, but do you know if you’re eating enough of it? Different sources say different things, and the amount ultimately depends on your body and your physical activity level, but it might be time for an information tune-up to make sure you’re doing the most you can to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals!

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Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They make up our muscles, tendons, organs, and skin.  They are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and several other tiny molecules that serve important functions.  Proteins are essential to not only growing our bodies or muscles, but also in maintaining them.
An important thing to remember about protein that it’s nott just about quantity. It’s also about quality.
Generally speaking, animal protein provides all the essential amino acids in the correct ratio for our bodies to make the best use of them.  If you’re eating animal products (like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy) every day, then you’re probably already doing pretty well, protein-wise.  If you don’t eat animal foods, then it can be slightly more challenging (and requires a bit of research and planning) to get the protein and essential amino acids that your body requires.

So how much should you be consuming?

Adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.  It’s not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day, according to the CDC.
  • A 3-ounce cut of meat has around 21 grams of protein. A normal 8-ounce cut of meat could have over 50 grams of protein.
  • One 8-ounce yogurt container has around 11 grams of protein.
  • One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.
  • One cup of dry beans has around 16 grams of protein.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, specifically for women.
Pregnant women are encouraged to get around 10 grams of protein extra while pregnant, and it’s recommended that 20-30 grams of their entire protein intake for the day come from low-fat dairy products, as the calcium and Vitamin D are good for the bone health and development of both the mother and the baby.
Nursing mothers are recommended a 20 gram increase in their protein intake per day.  Both of these recommended increases are small and don’t have to mean a lot of extra calories or food.  An additional serving per day of greek yogurt or beans will often be enough to help meet these increases.
Making sure you’re meeting your body’s protein requirements is a great way to maintain and build lean muscle, which will help your body to burn more calories by simply maintaining it.  You just have to watch it because some forms of protein also come with high amounts of fat and other not-so-great additional ingredients.  Try monitoring your protein intake every day for a month, with the goal to reach your maximum daily requirement, and see if you don’t see a difference in your muscle definition, energy, and even in your skin and hair!
What’s your favorite way to add more protein into your meals?
 Make sure you're getting enough protein to maximize your workouts and nutritent intake!

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Health Benefits of Nuts

Easy to find in supermarkets (or in your own backyard!) and versatile enough to go in almost any meal, nuts are a superfood all their own.  Though tiny, they pack a powerful punch of health benefits!  Find out the health benefits that you can add to your diet by simply adding nuts to your meals and snacks!

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Almonds

Rich in Calcium and Vitamin E, these little nuts are a great addition to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal.  They make a great snack on their own, too!  Bonus points if you eat whole almonds with their skin, as the skin is full of heart-protecting flavanoids!

 

Brazil nuts

A great source of the mineral selenium, which helps produce the active thyroid hormone.  Selenium also helps wounds to heal and is great for people with thyroid problems.  Try adding it to your breakfast– you only need 3-4 brazil nuts per day to get all the selenium you need!

 

Cashews

High in protein and packed with iron, magnesium, and zinc, these guys make great toppings on salads and stirfrys, or can be made into a delcious nut butter.  The magnesium content in these nuts can help improve recall and mental delays, so pack them into your lunches, snacks, and dinners whenever you can! Because they contain so much good stuff, these nuts are ideal for people that follow a vegetarian diet!

 

Hazelnuts

A great source of folate, which is especially important for women!  Try hazelnuts in a nut spread or eat them whole or chopped in stirfrys and salads!

 

Macadamias

This nut has the highest fat content of all nuts, but it adds great texture and flavor to meals.  They supply a great level of the healthy type of fat (mono-unsaturated) and are rich in fiber, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.  You can stash these anywhere from cookies to salads to home-made bread or muffins.  They go great in salads and stirfrys too!

 

Pecans

These guys are packed with sterols, a compound that helps lower cholesterol.  That makes them super heart friendly, and because they’re rich in antioxidants, they can help prevent hardening of the arteries!  They are rich in oleic acid, which is also found in avocados and olive oil.  Because they are rich in Vitamin B3, these make a great snack to fight exhaustion.  They go well in salads, desserts, stirfrys and soup toppings, on top of fish, and even plain!

 

Pistachios

 

Rich in vitamin B6, these guys are great at keeping hormone levels regulated.  They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute the eye health.  They also contain potassium and fiber, making them a great snack option.  These go great in salads and stirfrys as well, and like most other nuts, can be crushed and used as a pre-bake coating for fish or chicken!

 

Walnuts

These guys are packed with antioxidants, making them useful in the fight against cancer.  They also contain heart friendly fat and can help to lower LDL cholesterol.  They’re also rich in omega-3, so if you’re going a day without fish or avocados, try to sneak these guys in where you can!

What’s your favorite nut and how do you eat it?

 

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TOP HEALTHY EATING TIPS

6 Simple Green Smoothies That Make Salad Taste Like Dessert!

 

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25 Foods High in Magnesium

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Magnesium has a history of being left in the dust, but the overlooked mineral deserves a place in the spotlight. Magnesium has numerous crucial functions. It’s one of the most important nutrients for your health!

Magnesium powers more than 300 chemical reactions in your body, some of which include maintaining a steady heart rhythm and regulating blood sugar levels. Coined the “miracle mineral”, this nutrient can also alleviate bloating and constipation while reducing fluid retention. Do you constantly feel sluggish and groggy? Are you suffering from an inability to relax? You might be dealing with a magnesium deficiency. As one of the developed world’s most common nutritional deficiencies, that certainly doesn’t make you a minority!

Here’a a compiled a list of simple, wholesome foods bursting with the magical mineral. By simply scribbling some foods down on your grocery list and squeezing them into your daily menu, you could notice a dramatic difference in your energy levels and overall state of health!

1. Bananas
Praised for its potassium-rich profile, a banana also offers a whopping 32 mg magnesium, serving as a wonderful grab-and-go energy booster!

2. Spinach
This vibrant superfood is bursting with health benefits and offers a great source of magnesium that’ll control inflammation and blood sugar levels.

3. Sunflower Seeds
Besides boasting a gloriously golden image, sunflowers also offer up incredibly healthy seeds. Bursting with antioxidants and vitamins, this powerful superfood also carries 80% of your recommended daily magnesium.

4. Plain non-fat Yogurt
Magnesium and calcium form a dynamic duo in the protein-filled milk product. The mineral allows for easier absorption and use of calcium in your body.

5. Lentils
Lentils make the perfect vegetarian dinner staple with a scrumptious nutty flavor. Their high magnesium levels are associated with improved blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, making them super heart-healthy legumes.

6. Dark Chocolate
Considered a “cheat” food by many, dark chocolate actually carries a bunch of healthy properties. In terms of magnesium, the tasty treat delivers roughly half your daily recommendation per 100g serving. Enjoy a small slice when you feel that afternoon crash creeping up.

7. Pumpkin Seeds
These nutritional powerhouses are small but mighty. Stuffed with plant compounds like free-radical scavenging antioxidants, the magnesium-rich superfood makes a portable, heart-healthy snack.

8. Collard Greens
This loose, cabbage-like veggie has been praised for centuries due to its calcium-rich and cholesterol-lowering properties. Chock-full of vital vitamins and incredible minerals, the leafy green staple tastes amazing in a variety of dishes, besides being great for your health.

9. Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole grains offer a healthy dose of magnesium. Unlike refined starches, the bran and germ component in whole grains stores the magical mineral. Whip up a wholesome, whole-wheat pasta dinner to get your fix!

10. Wild Salmon
Salmon offers a great deal of magnesium, clocking in at around 60 mg per half fillet. Besides tasting delicious, the decadent superfood is also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s and beneficial fats.

11. Artichokes
One cup of artichokes offers about 71 mg of magnesium. Experts say that the unique vegetable can also aid digestion, strengthen your liver, and improve gall bladder function.

12. Dates
Dates offer massive health benefits, such as boosting nervous system health and improving your digestion system. Snacking on a date before a meal can prevent overeating. These delights are high in natural sugars, making them an effective energy booster on a sluggish day. Each dried fruit packs a healthy dose of magnesium, so grab one before heading out the door!

13. Oatmeal
Oatmeal reigns supreme on the list of healthiest foods out there. The hardy cereal grain gives you the stamina to carry you through a chaotic morning schedule and packs a great deal of filling fiber and slow-releasing carbs to keep you satisfied for hours. A cup of cooked oats clocks in at around 58 mg of magnesium, so dive into a bowl at breakfast!

14. Flaxseed
Flax is making a comeback! The powerful health food dubbed the “forgotten oil” was praised centuries ago due to its medicinal and nutritional properties, but its short shelf life made it expensive to produce and transport. Nowadays, the superfood is more obtainable, and nutritionists continue to name it a pantry must.

15. Soybeans
One serving of soybeans will meet about 20 percent of your daily magnesium needs, making them a great legume to add to your menu! Toss a few fiber-rich beans into your salad and stir-fries for added delicious texture along with a zap of protein and fiber.

16. Halibut
This deliciously tender fish is bursting with B vitamins and omega-3s, making it a high quality protein and an excellent source of magnesium. Health experts say halibut can improve the electrical properties of heart cells and lower the risk of stroke.

 17. Almonds
These fruit seeds might flaunt a high-fat nutritional profile, but don’t stress! Monounsaturated fats are dubbed “good fats” for a reason. They can stabilize blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. Along with their magnesium abundance, these crunchy nuts contain high amounts of potassium. Grab a small handful for a healthy energy boost!

18. Brown Rice
With its low-glycemic index, brown rice makes a great energy-boosting starch to add to a meal. A cup of these whole grains contains 84 mg of magnesium. To crank up your meal’s magnesium levels, pair brown rice with black beans. Both wholesome ingredients provide all 9 essential amino acids when combined.

19. Peanut Butter
The savory spread delivers a healthy dose of magnesium. Oftentimes considered a guilt-ridden indulgence due to its caloric profile, peanut butter (enjoyed in moderation) can fight cravings and actually help with weight loss!

20. Tofu
These chewy, nutrient-rich blocks can serve as a base in countless dishes with their subtle flavor and firm texture. The low-calorie superfood boasts high amounts of protein and hooks you up with calcium, magnesium, and iron.

21. Broccoli
Along with adding scrumptious texture and flavor to your meals, broccoli has powerful detoxification properties that can flush contaminants. In addition to cancer-fighting properties, broccoli can also lower inflammation and improve your immune system.

22. Brazil Nuts
These delicious beauties are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, nutrients proved to help lower bad cholesterol in the blood. In addition to packing in high levels of magnesium, this exotic superfood offers a host of other miracle minerals like selenium, copper, potassium, iron, and zinc.

23. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans add a scrumptious chewy texture to any meal while offering a healthy dose of protein and fiber to keep you full for hours. A cup of kidneys weighs in at 70 mg of magnesium, so toss a few cans in your cart next time you’re grocery shopping!

24. Figs
Lusciously sweet with a chewy flesh and candied skin, dried figs are a no-brainer when it comes to getting your magnesium fix. Along with satisfying a sweet tooth and curbing cravings, figs offer a great source of dietary fiber, making them an effective weight loss snack!

25. Cashews
These oily nuts offer a wealth of monounsaturated fats, healthy nutrients that stabilize insulin levels and battle stubborn belly fat! Like its fellow tree nuts, cashews are packed with antioxidants. They also offer an excellent dose of magnesium, along with other key minerals like copper.

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9 Best Brain  Diet Foods

Your brain needs the right nutrients to perform at top level.

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Eating the right foods can help you look, feel, and think better. That’s right. Research proves that certain foods enhance your everyday brain skills. Besides making you sharper, a diet comprised of the right nutrients can protect your brain against degeneration, warding off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Eating brain food also nourishes your neurons and boosts your brain’s production of neurotransmitters.

If you’re wondering which brain diet foods you should go after, we’ve rounded up our top picks of foods that’ll boost your brainpower. These wholesome, uber-nutritious noms are bursting with key nutrients to enhance your memory, attention, and learning abilities. Who knew your diet could make you smarter?

1. Walnuts
Take a good look at a walnut. It looks suspiciously like the human brain! It’s no surprise these miracle nuts make the ultimate brain food. Replete with omega-3s, fatty acids crucial for normal brain functioning, walnuts are also known to raise melatonin levels. This helps you ward off sleeplessness and sluggish brain activity. Grab a few before dashing out the door!

2. Salmon
You might’ve been told to eat salmon before a big test, and the advice has some validity. Deep water fish like salmon are chock-full of omega-3s, which boost the synapses in your brain associated with memory. We’re not saying a salmon dinner will have you acing tests left and right. With the fish’s memory-jogging properties, however, it could help!

3. Lentils
Sharpen up with some lentils! Lentils deliver a steady dose of glucose to the brain. Glucose serves as the major source of energy for cells in the body and powers up brain cells. The fiber in lentils monitors and stabilizes the release of glucose, so your brain cells can use them optimally. Fiber also has a satiating effect, helping curb cravings.

4. Pomegranate Juice
Just as your body feeds off the nutrients from your food, so does your brain! Uber-nutritious pomegranate juice offers a feast of incredible brain-boosting nutrients. With its soaring concentration of antioxidants, pomegranate juice prevents free radicals from damaging brain cells. Its antioxidants repel radicals from your heart. Science shows people with healthy hearts tend to have better memories.

5. Spinach
Spinach offers an infinite spectrum of health benefits. It’s no wonder the superfood literally supercharges your brain. Spinach contains a bunch of vital enzymes and nutrients that strengthen synapses and release healthy levels of neurotransmitters. You can’t go wrong by following in Popeye’s footsteps and squeezing more spinach into your diet!

6. Blueberries
These deep blue beauties taste great and are miraculous for the mind! When it comes to studying and test-taking, the fabulous fruits are a no-brainer. Research shows that blueberries activate neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells, in a region of the brain responsible for memory. They also enhance mental speed and cognition. Munch on a handful and feed your brain!

7. Beets
These ruby-red vegetables are full of fiber and low in calories, making them perfect for weight management. But that’s not all! They offer a bunch of brain-boosting properties as well. Beets contain a hefty dose of natural nitrates, which your body converts to nitric oxide. This nitric oxide causes the walls with blood vessels to swell, allowing your brain more oxygen, nutrients, and energy.

8. Eggs
These protein-packed superfoods deliver a great source of choline, a vital nutrient that often falls in the category of B vitamins. Your mind benefits from choline, thanks to the nutrient’s ability to maintain the structure of brain cell membranes. It also helps relay messages from the brain to your nerves and muscles. Cheap, versatile, and delicious, eggs are your foolproof go-to when it comes to healthy brain food.

9. Oats
Oats are nature’s medicine for the mind. Bursting with iron, zinc, potassium and B vitamins, oats keep your brain functioning at its full capacity thanks to these nutrients. The versatile superfood also contains glucose, which delivers energy to your brain cells. Its high-fiber profile allows for a steady release of this glucose while warding off cravings and keeping hunger at bay.

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7 Underrated Foods That Do Wonders for Your Health

These 7 foods are tasty and great for your health

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We tend to shower a certain host of superfoods with attention. As a result, we often ignore less trendy health fare. By giving unpopular foods the cold shoulder, you’re doing your body a disservice! We’re shining the spotlight on 7 Underrated Foods that do Wonders for your Health. With each item offering its own list of health benefits, they’re a must on any nutrient expert’s grocery list. These top picks are widely available and super familiar. It’s easy to enhance recipes with their distinctive, delicious flavors.

1. Egg yolks

The whites get all the hype, but what about the yolks? These sunny egg centers are often dismissed for their fat and cholesterol content, but don’t let those numbers scare you away! With their fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, egg yolks contain most of the superfood’s nutrients. They’re one of the richest sources of the vitamin choline, a B-complex vitamin associated with improved brain function and reduced inflammation.

2. Garlic

Garlic is your knight in shining armor when you feel a bug creeping up. Garlic fights viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, steers away congestion, and prevents heart disease. Its funky scent comes from an oozy liquid that inhibits the growth of bad bacteria

 3. Shrimp

This fruit of the sea is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Its high-protein, low-calorie profile sets it apart from other fabulously healthy fish. Shrimp fills you up and curbs cravings without the excess calories present in fattier fish. It makes a delectable appetizer at any get-together or dinner party.

4. Cashews

Don’t let almonds get all the attention! Cashews are downright delicious and offer a ton of health benefits. A small handful of these nuts can boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and prevent heart disease. They deliver a good source of protein and fiber to ward off cravings and keep you full. Just make sure to opt for raw, unsalted cashews over the fried and flavored versions that reverse all their positive effects!

5. Seaweed

Nutrition experts swear by certain vegetables, and seaweed is no exception. Don’t let its slimy appearance scare you! Seaweed contains alginate, a natural fiber that improves digestion and reduces fat absorption. It’s a good source of iodine, an essential mineral critical for healthy thyroid function. If that weren’t enough, the super sea veggie also delivers a boatload of calcium and vitamin B12.

6. Hard Cheeses

It’s not every day you hear “cheese” and “healthy” in the same sentence. But we’re not referring to overly-processed American cheese or fatty, calorie-laden soft cheeses. We’re talking about hard cheeses aged over a considerable length of time. Parmesan and Asiago offer a significant source of vitamin K2, which protects against cancer and heart disease. Despite being high in calories, cheese requires your body’s energy to digest (which actually burns calories!) and its high protein content will keep you full for hours.

7. Sauerkraut

There’s more to less-than-approachable foods than meets the eye. Exhibit A: Sauerkraut. Although a tad pungent, the fermented vegetable is one of the healthiest foods available. Sauerkraut delivers a boatload of healthy bacteria to the gut. These nutritious microbes aid digestion and nutrient absorption. A healthy gut sets the stage for an all-around healthy self. With its ability to boost energy levels and strengthen your immune system, the sour cabbage brings more than improved digestive health to the table. Sneak the superfood into your diet by adding a spoonful to your salad or layer on a sandwich.

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5 Best and Worst Salad Toppings

Do’s and don’ts for Topping Those Greens

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Green crunchy goodness! There’s so much about the humble salad that shouts good health and weight loss…until it comes to toppings. Salad toppings can make or break your journey to shed pounds. Learn the 5 best and 5 worst salad toppings so you can stay on track to a slimmer, healthier you.

Salads have long been a go-to food on healthy meal plans. While fresh greens and vegetables are smart food choices for anyone who wants to lose or maintain weight, many women end up adding unnecessary fat and calories by choosing the wrong toppings. Even toppings labeledhealthy can be hidden sodium or sugar traps that will wreck your weight loss journey. Find out which salad toppings are dos and which are don’ts.

5 Best Salad Toppings

1. Homemade Salad Dressings
DIY dressing recipes give you complete control over taste and ingredients. By using clean eating ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, lemon, honey, and more, you benefit from all the flavor and none of the ingredients that add bulk to your waistline.

2. Seeds
From chia to flax to pumpkin, seeds punch up the nutritional factor–and the crunch factor!–in any salad. Chia and flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “sleep” amino acid found in turkey), plus they offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

3. Greek Yogurt-Based Dressings
Non-fat Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to calorie-bomb creamy dressings. It delivers protein and a heaping helping of probiotics, which boost gut health. Try this homemade

4. Legumes & Other Plant-Based Proteins
Get a meaty fix by using chickpeas, beans, or tempeh (a cake-like food made from soybeans). These ingredients provide a plant-based protein source that will recharge your mind and body, making them a smart choice for refueling at lunchtime.

5. Eggs
Boost protein power the healthy way by adding one hard-boiled egg to your salad. Recent research suggests that adding an egg to your salad improves the body’s ability to absorb inflammation-fighting nutrients from the vegetables [1]. Many women can safely consume one egg each day, but if heart health is a concern, stick to a hard-boiled egg white.

5 Worst Salad Toppings

1. Creamy dressings
Processed cream-based dressings are easily among the worst salad toppings. Creamy dressings labeled light aren’t necessarily healthy either. What you lose in fat or calories you gain in sodium, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. Fat-free creamy dressings are also notorious for incorporating high fructose corn syrup.

2. Whole Cheese
Some fats, like those found in olive oil, can be healthy additions to the menu; however, consuming too many fat-rich, whole dairy products, like cheese, can weigh down your weight loss efforts. Limit cheese toppings for salads to a light sprinkling of low-fat feta or shredded mozzarella. If you’re eating takeout or dining at a restaurant, ask the server to put the cheese on the side so you can control how much you consume.

3. Processed Meats
From bits of salami to slices of bacon, processed meats are a go-to salad topping for some. Research has linked processed meats, including bacon, to an increased risk of cancer. Some experts argue that regularly eating processed meats is in the same cancer-risk category as smoking. Do your body a favor and pass on these worst salad toppings!

4. Fried Chicken or Shrimp
Salads can be a way to boost healthy protein intake – unless you’re mixing in fried chicken or shrimp. The excess fat and calories will virtually negate any of the good stuff found in your greens.

5. Dried Cranberries
I know—they’re tasty. And they make a salad look pretty too! The problem is that dried cranberries are high in calories—up to 123 in a ⅓ cup serving. That same serving size contains…wait for it…a whopping 26 grams of sugar, or the equivalent of half a can of soda. Yikes!

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7 Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

Prevent and relieve symptoms naturally

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Nutrition plays a big role in supporting the immune system, which is charged with protecting your body from invaders that range from the simple cold to complex cancer. Nutrients like vitamins and minerals give the immune system the ammunition it needs to do its job well. A healthy diet can’t prevent every disease, but it can ensure your immune system has the tools to fight as well as it can.

Processed foods are stripped of the vitamins and minerals that support the immune system. By choosing a clean-eating lifestyle—one that focuses on minimally-processed or whole foods—you give your body what it needs to support an immune system less vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and disease-causing processes. The foods that fight colds below are a smart way to start.

1. Banana
Bananas are a tummy-soothing winner. They’re easy on the stomach, making them a natural for nursing the body through diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

2. Garlic
Garlic is packed with antiviral and antibacterial properties that support a healthy immune system.

3. Green or Black Tea
Tea is a natural cold and flu fighter because it offers high levels of antioxidants like L-theanine, a known immune booster. Avoid processed tea drinks and reach for unsweetened tea or tea that’s lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener like honey. (Bonus: honey is rich in antioxidants for added immune support.)

4. Mushrooms
Mushrooms probably aren’t the first cold-fighting flu to come to mind, but they’re a major source of zinc, which bolsters the immune system to help battle the sniffles. Shitake mushrooms in particular may have antiviral properties [1]. Add mushrooms to an omelet with fellow cold-fighter garlic to give sniffles a one-two punch.

5. Red or Pink Grapefruit
The rosier varieties of grapefruit are rich in compounds called bioflavonoids that boost the body’s natural immune reaction. Grapefruits are also high in vitamin C, which may help fight colds.

6. Soup
Grandma was right. Broth-based soup, particularly chicken soup, contains cysteine, an amino acid that thins mucus. Soup hydrates the body, which is a critical part of the healing process.

7. Spicy Foods
Whether it’s chili peppers or ginger, spicy foods are natural decongestants that help unclog a stuffy nose by temporarily shrinking blood vessels.

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50 Ways to Eat Clean

Try these foods to clean up your diet.

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It’s unhealthy to have an all-or-nothing mentality. Eating clean is not about being perfect; it’s about making the best choice as often as possible and working to be healthier and stronger every day. Getting all your nutrients will fill you with vigor and energy, improving your body, mind, and mood. Below, we have compiled the 50 Ways to Eat Clean, plus included clean recipes throughout. These tips are meant to be a guide to help you become a little healthier and a bit stronger each day.

1. Start your day with a glass of water.
The first thing we consume in the morning awakens our metabolism and starts our digestive system. For many of us, this means coffee. If our coffee comes in the form of a sugary blended drink, our digestive track will be hit with a full dose of sugar before it’s fully revved up. A glass of water will wake up your body without any excess sugar or fats.

2. Eat breakfast.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all. A balanced breakfast will kickstart your metabolism and provide all-day energy. Recent research has found that people who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat throughout the day. Not to mention it’s easier to get out of bed when you know you have a delicious meal waiting for you!

3. Work sugars out of breakfast.
For the same reason that a sugary coffee is detrimental in the morning, a sugar-filled breakfast can leave you feeling slow and groggy. Avoid putting too much sugar in your oatmeal and save starchy breakfasts such as pancakes for special occasions.

4. Make your breakfast larger and your dinners smaller.
Many of us think of breakfast as the smallest meal of the day, with dinner being the largest. Our bodies actually work better in reverse. A hearty breakfast with lean proteins, healthy fats, and slow-digesting carbs will give you energy throughout the day and work to fend off cravings. A large dinner can lead to restless sleep or interrupted digestive processes.

5. Train yourself to use less sweetener.
Even if you use a natural sweetener like honey, too much sugar has a negative effect on your health. Processed or unprocessed, sugar quickly makes its way into your bloodstream, causing spikes and weight gain. Train yourself to use less sweetener by slowly decreasing the amount you put in your coffee and oatmeal.

6. Focus on incorporating more healthy foods.
If your main focus is to stay away from chocolate, a healthy diet can seem restrictive. Instead of eliminating your favorite foods, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables each day. Your body will be satisfied by the healthy items, leaving less room for sweets and junk foods. Remember that there’s always room for a treat as long as it’s enjoyed in moderation.

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30 Day Gluten Free Challenge

These easy tips and tricks will help you determine if gluten free is right for you.

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Do you feel bloated, drained, and sluggish? Gluten could be contributing to these blah symptoms. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, gives foods like bread and dough their chewy texture. Unfortunately, those who are gluten sensitive can experience increased inflammation in the body, especially the gut. Gluten sneaks past the gut barrier and enters the immune system. This throws your immune system into full gear, causing it to develop antibodies to attack gluten which can, in turn, attack the body.

Going gluten-free has been a trend among celebrities and health enthusiasts for years. But why? Experts claim that ditching wheat can wash away pounds, enhance physical performance, decrease belly fat, and boost energy levels. If that doesn’t convince you, supporters attribute improved digestion, less bloating, and clearer skin to their gluten-free diet. Wheat plays a prominent role in the American diet. It’s tough to cut the chemical out entirely. But don’t stress – SkinnyMs. is here to help!

Jump on this 30-day challenge and cut gluten from your diet for one month. These tips and tricks will help you ditch the detrimental protein and make you feel lighter, happier, and more energized.

1. Stock Up On Produce

Lucky for you, all fresh fruits and vegetables are gluten-free, providing you with an infinite list of potential recipes under your belt.

2. Give Your Kitchen A Makeover

Going gluten free will have you preparing your own meals, since there’s a shortage of premade gluten-free options. Ease the transition by making your kitchen gluten-free-friendly and removing all gluten items.

Having trouble parting with scrumptious, carb-filled snacks? Don’t fret. There are plenty of gluten-free alternatives that’ll satisfy those taste buds.

3. Start Fresh

Cut out gluten completely and avoid contact with all ingredients containing gluten. For example, if you make a salad with croutons for your family, don’t simply remove them from your plate and call the dish gluten-free. Make your dishes gluten-free from the start without any modifications.

4. Befriend Other Whole Grains

Instead of mourning the absence of gluten-stuffed foods like pizza and pasta, stock up on healthy whole grains that don’t contain the protein. Brown rice, corn, and quinoa are excellent options.

5. Swap Starches

Trouble reconciling your love for baking with your gluten-free plan? Don’t sweat it. Plenty of safe flours exist that make perfect alternatives. These include brown rice flour, millet flour, and quinoa flour. Opt for high-protein, non-grain flours like almond flour and hazelnut flour to pack a protein punch in your recipes.

6. Add Texture and Flavor

A gluten-free diet shouldn’t have you munching on cardboard. The challenge doesn’t mean giving up savory foods. Adding chopped nuts, dried fruit, or shaved coconut can do wonders for your food’s texture. Opting for applesauce, Greek yogurt, or brown sugar will boost moisture levels.

7. On the Go? Don’t Give Up!

We understand that hectic days have you running around like crazy and leave no time for at-home meal prep. That’s why it’s important to keep stashes of travel-sized gluten-free snacks around. This will minimize the temptation to cheat and spoil your goals.

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5 Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee

It’s alright to indulge in your favorite morning beverage!

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Black coffee may be bitter, but its health benefits are sweet. Coffee is full of nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that improve overall health, brain function, and may even help prevent diseases. Many of these health benefits are due to caffeine, a natural stimulant. Read on to learn our favorite 5 Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee!

Note: These perks apply to pure, black coffee. Artificial sweeteners and syrups destroy coffee’s natural health benefits.

1. Black coffee raises energy levels and brain activity.
Caffeine is a stimulant that allows your brain to increase dopamine levels. Because of this, coffee improves all cognitive functions. Drink on and work productively.

2. Black coffee helps you lose weight.
Caffeine’s stimulant effects don’t stop in the brain. It also boosts your metabolic rate, which means your body burns fat faster with caffeine’s assistance.

3. Black coffee is full of nutrients.
Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals – coffee has it all. Though the percentages of vitamins and nutrients in coffee are small, they add up over a few cups. Americans get most of their antioxidants from coffee. Antioxidants play a large part in reduced cancer risk.

4. Black coffee may lower the risk of certain diseases.
Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease, depression, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and cancer are just a few of the diseases that cancer protects against.

5. Black coffee is a natural pain reliever.
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which allows temporary pain relief. Though this is a wonderful health benefit, you shouldn’t rely on caffeine as a long-term pain reliever. Over time, you will become dependent on the substance, which will cause pain rather than relieve it.

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7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

There really are no excuses.

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Health should not be a privilege. Your access to healthy meals shouldn’t depend on your income. Sometimes it seems like in order to buy the latest health products or to eat organic, you need to empty your bank account. Many specialty health stores are known for their outrageous prices, while bargain supermarkets seem to carry only junk food and processed snacks.

It’s not impossible to eat healthy on a budget. Whole, nutrient-packed foods don’t need to come from expensive specialty stores. From frozen fruit to bulk grains, you can get nutrition without breaking the bank. Check out our top 7 tips for eating healthy on a budget.

1. Check out the frozen produce.
Many of us prefer fresh fruit and veggies because they’re full of color and flavor. Unfortunately, fresh also means they don’t keep for very long. Consider frozen fruits and vegetables a healthy, budget-conscious alternative. You won’t waste any money on food that goes bad before you eat it.

Buying frozen also means you can buy in bulk. Many wholesale retailers carry large bags of mixed veggies that are perfect for stir-frys. Another benefit to buying frozen is that your fruit is smoothie ready! No more adding ice that waters down your green smoothies.

2. Buy frozen chicken.
You can save money by purchasing large bags of lean frozen chicken. Look for chicken breast without the skin to keep things extra-healthy. Chicken is a protein-packed ingredient that you can use in every meal. It’s also much more economical than other protein sources.

3. Go crazy for legumes.

Beans and lentils are packed with hunger-quenching fiber and muscle-building protein. They also happen to be super cheap! A bag of beans is an inexpensive investment that will last a long time. Beans are incredibly versatile, meaning this one ingredient can be used in a variety of healthy recipes.

4. Plan your meals.
A little bit of meal planning can make a huge difference. When you know exactly what dishes you will be preparing, it’s easy to keep yourself from buying food that will rot. Meal planning is also essential when switching to a healthier diet. Having a set meal plan keeps you from resorting to fast food and quick microwavable meals.

Before grocery day, make a rough outline of the meals you will be preparing that week. This also gives you time to check for items you already own.

5. Pack your lunch.

If you spend $5 on lunch five days a week, it comes out to over $100 per month. For five dollars, you can buy a bag of mixed greens with some healthy vinaigrette, or a loaf of whole grain bread and some deli meat that will feed you for several days. Whenever possible, pack lunch instead of eating out. This will save both money and calories.

6. Shop at the Farmer’s Market
While this isn’t true for all cities, some farmer’s markets offer better deals on fresh produce. Check out your local farmer’s market to compare prices and learn about all the fruits and vegetables grown in your area.

7. Stay away from brand names.
Just as with clothes, you often pay more for recognizable names in the grocery store. Many brands go out of their way to make their product seem the most natural and healthy. This isn’t always true. Many stores carry generic products that are just as good and just as healthy as the big names.

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7 Ways to Eat Clean on the Road

Hit the road the healthy way.

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Does traveling trip up your healthy eating habits? Hitting the road doesn’t need to widen your waistline! Check out these 7 ways to eat clean on the road.

Whether you’re conferencing or sightseeing, traveling can seem like a healthy eating trap. Sometimes you’re tempted by tasty local fare that looks too good to pass up. Other times you might find yourself too busy to grab a bite – and then you overeat when you finally do get the chance.

But you don’t need to fall prey to the traps that have tripped you up in the past. We’re sharing no-hassle ways to eat clean, no matter where you are or what’s on the agenda.

1. Eat 4-6 small meals each day.
Travel can be hectic. It’s not uncommon to skip meals while you’re on the road. Don’t do that to yourself! Eating regularly throughout the day maintains a steady blood sugar level so you’re less likely to overeat at meals. If you don’t have time to stop for a meal, check out the next step for ways to eat clean while you’re on the move.

2. Pack a snack stash.
Bringing your own clean-eating snacks helps you avoid convenience stores, fast food places, and other unhealthy eating traps. Pack fresh fruit and vegetables, if possible. Bananas and apples travel relatively well for short periods, as do sugar snap peas, sliced peppers, and baby carrots. Single-serve bags of unsalted nuts, like walnuts and almonds, are smart eating choices too.

3. Hydrate often.
Few things are as dehydrating as travel. Crazy schedules, dry hotel air, and other factors can make you feel like a dried-out husk. Always keep water on hand and sip it throughout the day. If you tend to forget to drink water, set an alarm on your smartphone to remind yourself to drink every 20-30 minutes.

4. Keep tabs on alcohol consumption.
Whether you’re indulging in cocktails before the keynote or Mai Tais by the pool, drink alcohol, a major source of empty calories, in moderation. Reduce your consumption by drinking one full glass of water between each alcoholic beverage

5. Visit food markets instead of eating at restaurants.
Another way to eat clean while traveling is to take advantage of local food supermarkets, which often provide healthier options than typical restaurant fare. If there’s a fridge in your hotel or rental, stock it with healthy market foods like nonfat plain Greek yogurt, minimally-processed hummus, veggies, and fruit. Toss whole grain crackers or pretzels in your basket, too. You’ll save yourself calories, fat, and sugar. Your wallet will be happier, too!

6. Indulge occasionally.
Truth: some treats are meant to be savored. Don’t be afraid to let yourself indulge in local tastiness, whether it’s a cappuccino in Italy or shoofly pie in Amish country. The key is to stick to small portions. Dessert time is a fantastic time to share if you’ve got travel companions.

7. Eat smart when you eat out.
It can be tricky to completely avoid restaurants while traveling, so check out these basic guidelines for smart eating while you’re out-and-about.

  • Order the smallest portion available.
  • Choose dishes that are baked, roasted, steamed, broiled, or grilled.
  • Ask for vinegar, lemon, or extra virgin olive oil to dress salads.
  • Request that heavy sauces be served on the side to better control your intake. 

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