Hidden Traps in Your Diet

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:

tapin2life High Fructose Corn Syrup Review

Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Red Beet Chocolate Cake

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?

  1. If frying, extra light olive oil and sunflower oil (unrefined)
  2. 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.

guide to healthy cooking oils

Number 5:  Maximize fiber, Minimize carbs 

We need a high fiber diet to keep things flowing, if you know what I mean. Image result for happy toilet images

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!

As always, why not SHARE IT🔗🙌, LIKE👍,  REPOST♻, COMMENT💬 especially if you try my healthy tips and they work for you, and YES, SUBSCRIBE 👏by clicking Follow?

Thanks so much for dropping by!

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Oh Honey, How Sweet!

 

Since first posting this article about honey, I have used it a lot more to get through the Winter.  It has been amazing for colds, flu and allergy symptoms for my family as well as a sweetener to cut our use of refined sugar!  Hope you will incorporate it into your diet on a regular basis in order to be more healthy.

honey-823614_1920

Honey is such an amazing food.  It has some very unexpected health benefits and because it tastes so good, we don’t mind using it.  Here are just a few things that you can benefit from by using honey:

Think about it as a natural way to give yourself a boost of ENERGY.

We all have experienced that run down feeling at some point in time if we are over doing it and have not gotten enough rest.  Honey is a wonderful source of carbs and an important component of our energy source for our bodies.  If you take honey, it will give you an immediate boost in your ability to get the task at hand done and hold on until you can get something that is even more sustaining into your body.  It decreases muscle fatigue for athletes and because of its natural sugars, you can use it as you exercise.

Here is how it works….two important properties of honey are that it contains glucose, which breaks down very quickly to give us immediate energy, and fructose, which breaks down over a slower period of time to help us to sustain the energy.  Honey is also known to stabilize blood sugar more as compared to other things we use to sweeten our food.

  • Take it in the morning as an energy booster in your tea or as a cleaning tonic on an empty stomach with the juice of half a lemon, a bit of warm water and a teaspoon of honey (see recipe below).

It not only works to cleanse your body as it works as an antimicrobial and antifungal, it also helps to boost your immune system, hopefully preventing illnesses.  It has very powerful antioxidant properties that give want to be diseases a PUNCH!!!

  • Honey has been said to help fight cancer.  See below references for more on this.
  • One of my favorite uses:  a natural cure for treating wounds due to its antiseptic properties.  Next time you or your little ones have an OWIE, try a bit of honey on it.  It also is known to work to help heal minor burns.  There is a brand that has been shown to be good for this in the link below called UMF Manuka.
  • If you have a sore throat or cough, try a drink of honey with warm water and lemon as mentioned above.
  • Got insomnia, try honey and warm milk before turning in.  This is an old remedy that has been proven to work by many grandmothers.  You can even use the honey in tea such as chamomile.  My favorite is green tea and honey.  It seems to have such a soothing effect.
  • Honey and vinegar have been reported by many to decrease their pain from arthritis and work as a home detox.
  • Honey and lemon are said to be good for weight loss

Overall, you can’t beat a food that has so many HUGE benefits and tastes so SWEET!

So next time you are low on energy, instead of reaching for that candy bar or granola bar, give honey a try.

Check out this recipe below:

Honey and lemonlemon-91537_1280

Mix one tsp of raw honey with the juice of about 2 tsp of lime or lemon in a glass of warm water.  Make sure not to use boiling water and definitely not tap water.  Try to use distilled or at least a good quality bottled water such as FUJI.  The pH of Fuji bottled water is reported to have a pH slightly above 8 which is healthier for us.  Use this drink in the mornings before eating anything. It is effective in detoxing the body and as a digestive aid after a particularly oily meal.  This along with exercise and a healthy diet will hopefully help you to shed the pounds naturally and make it a part of your lifestyle change.

References:

http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-and-lemon.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php#the_possible_health_benefits_of_honey

http://www.medicaldaily.com/liquid-gold-7-health-benefits-honey-could-heal-your-whole-body-325932

Now, why not share this article with someone you love!!!  Click below & drop some knowledgeimages!

I’m #Nuts About You

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So which nut is more beneficial to our health?  Let’s get to the point!

The Brazilian Nut:

In just one-fourth of a cup there are 218 calories, 4 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated and great for the heart).  Selenium is a huge health benefit, which we will talk about in a bit.  You also get the added benefit of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.  There are trace amounts of thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin.

The Almond:
In one-fourth of a cup of almonds there are 162 calories, 14 grams of unsaturated fat (great for our hearts) and 6 grams of protein, but don’t get carried away.  This is only about 23 almonds and we must remember this about all nuts….the portion is important.  Almonds contain fiber in addition to protein and magnesium.  They also contain vitamin E.  This small nut helps us to lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Due to the amount of fiber and protein, they can also decrease appetite and help with weight loss.
So who are the stars of the contents:
Selenium– This is a trace element found in the soil and in certain foods as well as water.  It is good for preventing coronary heart disease, fighting inflammation, reducing free radicals, helping with antioxidant activity and increasing blood flow.  It also helps the thyroid convert T4 (thyroid hormone) into the active T3 form.  Healthy thyroid function equals a healthier metabolism.  It also plays a role in cancer prevention and improves sexual performance.  In men it boosts testosterone levels and helps with sperm production and motility.
Iron– Although pistachio nuts lead in the amount of iron as far as nuts go (four times more as Brazilian nuts or almonds), these above nuts are still a great source of iron.  Iron is one of the components of hemoglobin, the material in red blood cells that helps our blood to carry oxygen throughout our bodies.  Vitamin C can boost the amount of absorption of iron.
Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, healthy fats, protein and magnesium and those that eat nuts as a regular part of their diet have been shown to lower their risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes type 2.
So, based on which one of the above packs in more of the above important components, THE WINNER IS the Brazilian Nut over the Almond.  The fact that the Brazilian Nut comes in at number one for Selenium in food charts and the almond only yields about 2% of the daily amount that we use, for me, there is no contest!
What is a good serving size for most nuts:  one handful, 1/4 cup or  1 ounce.  So add these little delightful snacks as a regular part of your diet, especially to curb your appetite in between meals.  I like them with yogurt and a bit of granola.  If you currently enjoy them as a part of your regular diet, share your way of eating them below:
20160731_090841
                 

Oh Honey, How Sweet!

honey-article

Honey is such an amazing food.  It has some very unexpected health benefits and because it tastes so good, we don’t mind using it.  Here are just a few things that you can benefit from by using honey:

Think about it as a natural way to give yourself a boost of ENERGY.

We all have experienced that run down feeling at some point in time if we are over doing it and have not gotten enough rest.  Honey is a wonderful source of carbs and an important component of our energy source for our bodies.  If you take honey, it will give you an immediate boost in your ability to get the task at hand done and hold on until you can get something that is even more sustaining into your body.  It decreases muscle fatigue for athletes and because of its natural sugars, you can use it as you exercise.

Here is how it works….two important properties of honey are that it contains glucose, which breaks down very quickly to give us immediate energy, and fructose, which breaks down over a slower period of time to help us to sustain the energy.  Honey is also known to stabilize blood sugar more as compared to other things we use to sweeten our food.

  • Take it in the morning as an energy booster in your tea or as a cleaning tonic on an empty stomach with the juice of half a lemon, a bit of warm water and a teaspoon of honey (see recipe below).

It not only works to cleanse your body as it works as an antimicrobial and antifungal, it also helps to boost your immune system, hopefully preventing illnesses.  It has very powerful antioxidant properties that give want to be diseases a PUNCH!!!

  • Honey has been said to help fight cancer.  See below references for more on this.
  • One of my favorite uses:  a natural cure for treating wounds due to its antiseptic properties.  Next time you or your little ones have an OWIE, try a bit of honey on it.  It also is known to work to help heal minor burns.  There is a brand that has been shown to be good for this in the link below called UMF Manuka.
  • If you have a sore throat or cough, try a drink of honey with warm water and lemon as mentioned above.
  • Got insomnia, try honey and warm milk before turning in.  This is an old remedy that has been proven to work by many grandmothers.  You can even use the honey in tea such as chamomile.  My favorite is green tea and honey.  It seems to have such a soothing effect.
  • Honey and vinegar have been reported by many to decrease their pain from arthritis and work as a home detox.
  • Honey and lemon are said to be good for weight loss

Overall, you can’t beat a food that has so many HUGE benefits and tastes so SWEET!

So next time you are low on energy, instead of reaching for that candy bar or granola bar, give honey a try.

Check out this recipe below:

Honey and lemon

Mix one tsp of raw honey with the juice of about 2 tsp of lime or lemon in a glass of warm water.  Make sure not to use boiling water and definitely not tap water.  Try to use distilled or at least a good quality bottled water such as FUJI.  The pH of Fuji bottled water is reported to have a pH slightly above 8 which is healthier for us.  Use this drink in the mornings before eating anything. It is effective in detoxing the body and as a digestive aid after a particularly oily meal.  This along with exercise and a healthy diet will hopefully help you to shed the pounds naturally and make it a part of your lifestyle change.

References:

http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-and-lemon.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php#the_possible_health_benefits_of_honey

http://www.medicaldaily.com/liquid-gold-7-health-benefits-honey-could-heal-your-whole-body-325932