Best Ways to Avoid Bloating

Bloating is a common health problem, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not terrible! It might be a chronic problem for you, or it could just be an occasional issue– after eating certain foods or as a PMS symptom. Bloating has many different causes, but there are ways to prevent it from happening to you! Check out the tips below on the best ways to avoid bloating!

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Watch the foods you eat.

A huge culprit of bloating can be the foods we eat.  Some foods are known for causing bloating, so these are foods that we want to avoid.  Certain vegetables, dairy products, and anything with lots of fiber in it might cause you to suffer bloating.  Read more here about foods to avoid if bloating seems to be a common problem for you!

 

Walk around.

It sounds too easy to be true, but one common cause of bloating is sitting still for too long.  If you have a desk job, you might experience bloating simply because you aren’t moving enough.  This means that the natural gases inside of your body aren’t moving either, they’re just sitting there building up and making you feel like an uncomfortable balloon.  Try getting up once each hour to walk around, even if it’s just for 3-5 minutes.

 

Stop using straws.

What do straws have to do with anything?  Well, it’s been proven that people that drink through straws swallow more air than they would if they were drinking from a glass like normal.  Swallowing excess air brings extra gas into your body that can contribute to bloating.  Skipping the straw is simple and an easy way to lessen the amount of air you take in while at lunch or while working.

 

Take OTC medication.

There are several brands of pills that will help you avoid the buildup of gas that causes bloating.  Many of them will advise you to take it prior to eating, especially if you’re going to be eating troublesome foods.  If you’re not sure which one is best for you or if it might combine safely with other medications you take, be sure to consult your physician.

 

Try yoga.

Yoga is a great way to stay healthy, and if you’re feeling bloated, a few minutes of yoga stretches and positions can help you out big time.  You can even do some of them in bed!

 

What are your best tips for avoiding or dealing with bloating?

 

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Healthy Fats are Key to a Good Diet

Everybody is worried about fat– body fat as well as fat in our food!  It’s only natural that we begin to see fat as a bad thing.  We’ve been told to avoid it at all costs, after all.  Many products come in a low-fat option and television commercials are constantly convincing us to buy the newest supplement or workout program to burn fat fast!  It’s important to remember, though, that we need fat in our diet!  Continue reading to see what types of healthy fat you should be including in your diet!

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The truth is that not all fats are created equally.  We’ve villified fat in our culture to a point that many of us have cut TOO MUCH fat out of our diets!  So how can you know which fats should be on your table and which fats you should be avoiding?

The simple way to remember it is that Trans fats are bad and should be avoided, Mono- and Poly-unsaturated fats are good, and saturated fats are up for debate.

While we’re recommended to consume a very small amount of fat, the problem is that all fats are being lumped into one category here, but all fats aren’t the same.  Of course we want to cut trans fats out of our diets, but we definitely want to keep Omega-3 fats, and in fact most people need to be consuming more of them!  Check out these five sources of healthy fats that you can include in your diet to round out your nutrition!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with protein, vitamin E, and fiber, these guys bring even more good stuff to the table– they’re rich in monounsaturated fats (the good kind!).  Try adding half an avocado per day to your diet– they’re easy to add to salads, sandwiches, and wraps and also make a great soup or chili topping!  They can go on top of toast or be eating solo, too!

 

Dark Chocolate

The saturated fats in dark chocolate will help you to slow your digestion and feel less hungry!  On top of that, it’s packed with antioxidants that fight free radical damage.  A few ounces per day is all you need! Eat it as a snack between meals or add it to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning!

 

Whole Eggs

If you’ve only been eating egg whites, listen up!  While the whites are solid proteins, the yolk of the egg contains fat and cholesterol.  However, most of those fats in the yolk are monounsaturated, and the overall fat profile of the egg yolk has been found to actually REDUCE LDL (bad cholesterol)!  On top of that, eggs are the top dietary source of choline, a nutrient that shuts down the genes that cause us to store fat around our liver.

 

Salmon

By adding two servings of wild salmon to your diet each week, you’ll be getting the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids that will help to protect your heart!  Try it as a main, a salad topping, or in a sandwich or wrap!  Just make sure you’re buying wild caught salmon, as farmed atlantic salmon does not have the same healthy qualities!

 

Olive Oil

This oil is packed with polyphenols, which are great for fighting cancer risk!  They contain adiponectin, a hormone that breaks down fat!  Extra virgin olive oil has also been proven to increase blood levels of serotonin, which helps us to feel fuller faster and avoid overeating!

 

What healthy fats do you try to work into your diet each week?

 


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Top Foods To Improve Brain Function

We all need our brains to work quickly!  Work, parenting, and enjoying our hobbies or social events all require a fast-working brain!  How can you make sure your brain is in great shape?  One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat foods that improve brain function!

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Coldwater Fish

Try eating 3-4 servings of coldwater fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) throughout the week, as the FDA suggests.  EPA and DHA fats are contained in these fish, and they’re in their ready-made form, making it easy for our bodies to digest them and put them to use right away!  These fats are important for healthy brain functioning and for protecting our joints, so eat up!

 

Tomatoes

One of their super ingredients, lycopene, has been found to fight the free radical damage that occurs at the onset of dementia, so make sure you’re adding tomatoes to your diet where you can — salads, soups, and sandwhiches are great places to start!

 

Broccoli

This vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain functioning, so make sure you’re packing it into your meals!  Try it roasted, grilled, raw, or grated into meatballs, soups, and salads!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocadoes are great for helping to maintain a healthy bloodflow in your body.  Your brain will reap the benefits of a healthy bloodflow, and they also lower blood pressure! Try adding olive oil to your dishes that contain avocadoes– they pair well together and you’ll get double the boost of monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually slow brain aging!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which make it a must in your healthy-brain diet!  It contains natural stimulants which will help your brain to focus on the task at hand, and it stimulates endorphin production, which will help to regulate your mood in a healthy way!

 

 

What are your favorite brain-healthy foods?  How will you try to incorporate these into your current food habits?

Find out which foods you should be including in your diet to improve brain function!

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Tops Foods To Improve Brain Function

We all need our brains to work quickly!  Work, parenting, and enjoying our hobbies or social events all require a fast-working brain!  How can you make sure your brain is in great shape?  One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat foods that improve brain function!

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Coldwater Fish

Try eating 3-4 servings of coldwater fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) throughout the week, as the FDA suggests.  EPA and DHA fats are contained in these fish, and they’re in their ready-made form, making it easy for our bodies to digest them and put them to use right away!  These fats are important for healthy brain functioning and for protecting our joints, so eat up!

 

Tomatoes

One of their super ingredients, lycopene, has been found to fight the free radical damage that occurs at the onset of dementia, so make sure you’re adding tomatoes to your diet where you can — salads, soups, and sandwhiches are great places to start!

 

Broccoli

This vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain functioning, so make sure you’re packing it into your meals!  Try it roasted, grilled, raw, or grated into meatballs, soups, and salads!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocadoes are great for helping to maintain a healthy bloodflow in your body.  Your brain will reap the benefits of a healthy bloodflow, and they also lower blood pressure! Try adding olive oil to your dishes that contain avocadoes– they pair well together and you’ll get double the boost of monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually slow brain aging!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which make it a must in your healthy-brain diet!  It contains natural stimulants which will help your brain to focus on the task at hand, and it stimulates endorphin production, which will help to regulate your mood in a healthy way!

 

 

What are your favorite brain-healthy foods?  How will you try to incorporate these into your current food habits?

Find out which foods you should be including in your diet to improve brain function!

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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 Ways To Avoid Bloating & Cramps

Find out what you can do to prevent bloating and cramps!

Bloating and Cramps are two of the most uncomfortable — and most common– stomach issues out there. Everyone suffers from these from time to time, and some people are chronic sufferers.  While they both seem common, there are ways to avoid them!  Read more about how to prevent them below!

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Avoid the Usual Culprits

We know that some specific foods cause gas, bloating, or cramping simply because of their contents (sulfuric compounds, high fiber content, etc.), so make sure you read up on what foods commonly cause these problems, and start cutting them out of your diet to see if you feel a difference! If you see a difference after cutting out one of these common culprits, consider keeping it out of your diet for good.

 

Use Probiotics

Find a good probiotic supplement, which will help you cut down on inflammation from foods.  Take them along with whatever other multivitamins or supplements you take daily.  They’ll help to regulate the flora in your gut, which will help to prevent these common digestive problems.

 

Change your Lifestyle

Some changes in your day-to-day life and habits might help you prevent these uncomfortable symptoms if you are a chronic sufferer.  It might be helpful for you to eat smaller meals, stop chewing gum, and stop using straws– all actions that will help prevent you from swallowing excess air.  You might need to find more time in the day to get moving (even if you’re just walking), which will help gas in your body to shift around instead of sitting in place and becoming concentrated.

 

Use Over-the-Counter Remedies

You could benefit from lactase supplements when consuming dairy, or a host of other OTC medicines that can help to prevent (or if you’ve already eaten, alleviate) cramping, bloating, and gas.  Do your research about which might be best for you, and if you have any questions, make sure you consult with your doctor.

 

Consume Peppermint

Often used to soothe upset stomach symptoms or help digestion, it’s a common and easy to find flavor.  Peppermin tea or peppermint candies can be used after eating to help settle your stomach and aid digestion.

 

What do you do to avoid cramping, bloating, and gas?

 

Find out what you can do to prevent bloating and cramps!

 

 

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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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