What’s sabotaging your diet?
Sometimes, it’s the small things that trap us from being successful in maintaining a healthy diet and weight. We live in a society that shuns the natural and encourages us to cover our food or worse, alter it. My goal is to help you to skip over the pitfalls and arrive at a healthier way of eating by implementing some of these health tips. I have put together a list of the most popular offenders that I have seen plaguing our society and what has worked for me and my family.
Number 1: Condiments
These include ketchup, mayonnaise, pre-packaged and store bought suaces such as BBQ sauce and Sweet and Sour sauce, salad dressings, and even those little packets of seasoning that we get for free upon ordering certain restaurant dishes. Anything “creamy” is usually packed with calories. Soup mixes and other all-in-one seasonings can lead to a lot of salt, MSG and other chemical ingestion and of course this can cause bloating, headaches and if used chronically, high blood pressure along with other ailments. LEAVE IT ON THE SHELF and make your own!
Just a few examples:
Mayo- Serving Size: 1 Tbsp, Calories: 90, Fat: 10g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 0g
Strawberry Jelly- Serving Size: 1 Tbsp, Calories: 50, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 13g, Protein: 0g
Ketchup- Service Size 1 packet, Calories: 20, sodium 160 mg, Fat: 0g, Carbs 5g, Sugar 4g
Healthier food may take a bit more time to prepare but use natural things to flavor like olive oil with lemon and a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic for a salad dressing and make your own sauces to control your intake of sugar, salt and preservatives. There are many healthy recipes to choose from. Use healthy spices and herbs such as Cumin, Tumeric, Paprika, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro, Thyme, Rose Mary and others to infuse flavor into your dish and add excitement to the meal. Avacado is good to blend and combine with herbs if you want a creamy dressing or sauce. Also lemon and lime zest with crushed garlic, a little salt, pepper and olive oil will make your taste buds dance!
Number 2: Sugary Drinks and Alcoholic Beverages
This is self explanatory. You can not expect to DRINK your calories and lose weight or have a healthy BMI (body mass index). On average, U.S. youth consume 143 calories from sugary drinks and U.S. adults consume 145 calories. Start by just cutting your daily intake by half and see what a difference it makes in your progress.☕🍹
As an alternative, drink homemade lemonade and teas that you can control the sweetener you use (like honey, brown sugar or molasses and even minimize these). Exchange your sweet wine for dry wine and minimize alcohol in general so as not to cause other metabolic problems such as liver disease.
Number 3: HFCS & Artificial Sweeteners
It’s extremely difficult to find anything that is sweetened without high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. HFCS is a cheaper alternative for companies to use and is healthwise less desired because it makes you continue to crave carbs and sweets. It’s like your brain not having an off switch to tell you that you’re full. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to studies that show a high incidence of cancer with regular use. Why not juice your drinks using more veggies than fruits to minimize your sugars and make your own desserts using healthier alternatives. There are great recipes such as Chocolate Beet Cake, Carrot Cake, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and more that you can use no or less sugar than what’s called for; or skip the sweets altogether and have whole wheat crackers with cottage cheese and veggie carrot sticks for example. Fiber is filling and cottage cheese is lower in fat than other cheeses.
Some healthy dessert/snack recipes and more info:
Number 4: Use healthy oils and fats
Fast facts about fats:
- Heart healthy fats come from plants, nuts and seeds.
- Saturated fats may raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) and also your risk for heart disease.
- According to the American Heart Association (AHA), we need some fats in our diets to: to make energy, assist in cell growth, protect organs, keep our bodies warm, aid in absorbing nutrients and making of hormones
Down with canola (unless you like using an oil that was originally made for lubricating ship engines…don’t believe me, research it yourself). I know that it is promoted as healthy but it is not a naturally occurring plant. Use extra virgin cold pressed olive oil instead. It is most likely to have it’s nutrients preserved. Sunflower oil makes a good alternative but beware of “refined” on the packaging . This may mean the oil was treated with acid, or purified with an alkali, or bleached. Refined oils could also have been neutralized, filtered or deodorized. This usually means less of the nutrients and although a cheaper product, not the best choice health wise.
Studies have also shown that trans-fats, found in processed foods like margarine raises the risk of death by 34 per cent and that butter has been shown not to be so bad after all. Of course if used in moderation the fat and calories in butter won’t mount up.
The bottom line: What are you using the oil for? How do we keep from sabotaging our diet?
- If frying, extra light olive oil and sunflower oil (unrefined)
- For salads and making dressings (for taste): olive oil, Unrefined sunflower oil as an alternative. There are many other oils of course but do your homework. These are the ones I use for everyday cooking, sauteing or making salad dressings. This quick guide below may help. Remember, don’t sabotage your diet with unhealthy calories and fats that will increase your LDL or bad cholesterol and lead to heart disease and unwanted pounds.
Number 5: Maximize fiber, Minimize carbs
We need a high fiber diet to keep things flowing, if you know what I mean.
There are two kinds of fibers: soluble and insoluble. We need both. Soluble fibers help us to lower our cholesterol and blood sugar levels and they dissolve in water. Insoluble fibers help to keep our bowel movements regular, prevent constipation and bulk up the stool. Fiber can help to maintain a healthy weight. I am speaking about this because we should as much as possible choose these foods over unhealthy carbs loaded with sugars and preservatives.
This is just a short list of healthy fibers:
Soluble: oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium
Insoluble: whole-wheat flour, nuts, wheat bran, beans and veggies like cauliflower, green beans and potatoes
The amount of fiber you need depends on age and gender. Women 20-25 grams per day and Men 30-38 grams per day.
Number 6: You must drink your water!!!
Self explanatory right? Get your 8 glass minimum in and use a water with a pH of at least 7 and no more than 8.5. Guidelines say 6-8.5 is best but below 7 is acidic and our bodies do not thrive in an acidic environment.
Number 7: Avoid meals after 7 p.m.
Sometimes, this can not be avoided but try your best and plan ahead. A healthy snack is okay after 7 pm if you are still hungry but remember to keep it as healthy as possible and cut your portion size that you would normally have by about half. Think of it as weaning yourself off of your unhealthy habits. Little by little you will get used to it and see the benefits.
So for 2018, get started on the right path!
- Keep a diary for about a week of what you eat AND drink, how much and how many calories, carbs, fat and fiber you have ingested or drank. If you don’t know, take time to look it up on the internet and approximate.
- Take a baseline measure of your chest, waistline, hips and thighs since these areas are usually problematic and measure every 1-2 weeks. You will be amazed after minimizing these hidden calories, carbs and fats how the inches will melt away.
- Don’t deprive yourself. For most people this backfires and when you have a moment of frustration, you grab the Ben and Jerry’s and binge eat. Make healthy lifestyle changes that become permanent and doable for you and your family.
- Have a support system. Don’t do it alone. Get your family or spouse or friends involved and help to change their lives for the better also.
- As always, a regular exercise routine always helps. It doesn’t need to be strenuous. Check out my moderate Jazz It Up Workout Vid and do it with me daily!
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Thanks so much for dropping by!