How To Eat More Vegetables- 8 Easy Ways To Get More Greens

Everyone knows vegetables are important for a healthy lifestyle, but not everyone gets the recommended amount. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines suggests that adults eat between 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This amount depends on factors such as age, gender and physical activity. Eating healthy is hard enough in a world full of fast food and sugar, but according to food psychologist Marcia Pelchat, while we’re born with certain cravings, there’s also evidence we start to crave whatever we eat in large quantities. This means the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the more we will start to crave them. Here are some helpful tips on how to eat more vegetables and fruits.

1. Sneak them

Pizza anyone? Instead of loading your pizza with sausage, pepperoni and extra cheese, add sliced tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Take it slow by replacing just one topping at a time with a delicious vegetable of your choice.

2. Sauce them

Dressing can be fattening and full of sugars, but can help entice you into eating veggies. Instead of full-fat ranch, opt for a low fat version, or make your own sauce with olive oil and lemon juice. Spice your veggies up with cheese or seasonings to make them more desirable.

3. Freeze them

Who doesn’t love popsicles? Make your own by blending up fruit and sneaking in some veggies then freezing it in popsicles molds. Or add the mixture to ice cube trays and add to your favorite beverage.

4. Soup them

If it’s too cold for veggie popsicles, try adding them to soups. Canned veggie soups are full of sodium and not-so-fresh vegetables. Make your own soup by adding leftover veggies, meat, rice and beans to a slow cooker with either vegetable or chicken broth.

5. Juice them

Juicing has become a huge trend for people who want to add more fruits and vegetables to their day, but don’t have time to actually eat them. Juicing is a great way to get antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients into your body quickly. Since you are not heating or cooking vegetables when you juice, you help preserve these important enzymes. Juicing does remove a lot of fiber, so don’t make juice the only way you get your fruits and vegetables.

6. Blend them

Smoothies are not only quick and easy, but they make a perfect meal. Keep some spinach or kale leaves in the freezer and toss a handful into your fruit smoothies to give it a veggie kick. Add a scoop of Go Greens or Extreme Berries for added antioxidants.

7. Swap them

Swap one meal a day for a meatless one. Instead of a chicken sandwich for lunch, try a grilled veggie sandwich with black beans. Replace your meatballs in your spaghetti with tomatoes.

8. Bake them

Did you know avocado can be used in place of butter? Swap avocado for butter or oil in cake, cookie or brownie recipes. You won’t taste the difference and you will be getting a serving of vegetables in your dessert, plus heart healthy fats. Go ahead, have two brownies!

While it may take a while to start craving fruits and vegetables, these little tricks will help you get more of these healthy nutrients into your diet.

Sources:

1. Cohen, Elizabeth. Train your brain to crave healthy foods. CNN.com. Retrieved February 15th, 2013 from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/04/ep.brain.crave.cohen/index.html

2. Ko, Lisa. (August 11th, 2011). Juicing. PBS.com. Retrieved February 14th from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/juicing/10814/

3. Magee, Elaine. Eat Your Vegetables: 15 Tips for Veggie Haters. Retrieved February 16th, 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-your-vegetables-15-tips-for-veggie-haters

Celebrate Heart Health Month All Year Around

Love is in not the only thing the air this month. February is Heart Health Awareness month, which means your number one valentine should be your heart! Pamper your heart not just heart health month, but all year round with these tips and tricks. Find out the best and the worst heart foods plus some lifestyle tips to keep your heart healthy. According to the CDC, over 600,000 people die each year from heart disease, making heart disease the leading cause of death in men and women. Making some simple lifestyle changes can keep your heart healthy and cut your risk for heart related illnesses.

 

5 Heart Health Tips:

1. Fatty fish is your friend

Omega-3’s are a heart’s best friend. Fatty fish, such as wild salmon, are full of heart pumping omega-3’s that will help boost your immune system, protect your arteries, reduce blood clots, lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. Can your box of Sweethearts do that?

2. Eat your beans

Beans are not only the “musical fruit” but the heart healthy legume. The fiber in beans is not only good for digestion, but may help lower cholesterol. Beans also contain heart healthy chemicals, including flavonoids, which may lower the risk of heart attacks by preventing the bonding of platelets in the blood.

3. Exercise

Make aerobic exercise part of your heart healthy routine. Aerobic exercise consists of running, swimming and even walking. It’s anything that gets your heart pumping. Aim for 30 minutes 5-7 times per week. According to active.com, sedentary people who begin a regular program of exercise reduce their risk of a heart attack by 35 to 55 percent! Before you begin an aerobic workout, make sure to warm up to not only get your body ready for exercise, but help your heart and muscles adjust from a resting state and gradually increase your heart rate. And don’t forget the cool down to help bring that heart rate down.

4. Sub the donut for steel cut oats

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why not make it heart healthy? Steel cut oats contain B vitamins that protect again blood clots and increase good cholesterol. They are also high in iron, which helps the heart transport oxygen to active muscles.

5. Another reason to love chocolate

Of course we had to choose chocolate as a heart healthy food! Chocolate may get a bad rep, but in moderation it actually offers heart benefits. Research has found that eating small amounts of dark chocolate, which is rich in flavanols, has a blood thinning effect which can benefit cardiovascular health. Flavanols also help preserve the function of blood vessels which lower the risk of high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. So go ahead, enjoy those dark chocolate covered strawberries!

5 Heart Breakers

1. Being a couch potato

Staying active is key in maintaining heart health. Exercising can also help you maintain your weight, cutting your risk for obesity. About one in three Americans are obese. Being obese doubles the risk for coronary artery disease. Obesity also puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.

2. Say goodbye to fast food

Fast food is convenient, but deadly. Fast food is loaded with sodium and artery-clogging saturated fat. If you do eat out, try a salad and go light on the dressing.

3. Quit smoking

20-40% off all coronary artery disease deaths are related to smoking. Smoking doubles your chance of having a heart attack and is the leading cause of cardiac arrest. Even if you have been a smoker your whole like, within five to 10 years of quitting, your risk of heart attack decreases to a level similar to non smokers.

4. Skip the salt

If you are a salt lover, try using a flavored seasoning made mostly with herbs and spices. Cutting the salt can help lower your blood pressure to avoid hypertension. According to Active.com, every one-point reduction in diastolic blood pressure, there’s a 2 to 3 percent decline in the risk of heart attack. Try keeping your sodium intake under 2,400 milligrams per day.

5. Sugar isn’t so sweet after all

Drop the cookie- our bodies do not need all that sugar! Sugar has zero nutrients and can lead to obesity and Type-2 diabetes. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily calories allowance. That’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons for men. Switch to Stevia or another natural sweetener to reduce sugar calories. If you are really craving something sweet, have a piece of fruit.

It may be tough at first, but even slow and steady changes to your lifestyle and diet can help lengthen your lifespan.

Sources:

1.Rodriquez, Vanessa. 3 Foods Your Heart Will Love. Active.com. Retrieved January 24th, 2013 from http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/3-Foods-Your-Heart-Will-Love.htm.

2.Myers, Wyatt. (May 5th, 2012). 10 Heart Risks You Can’t Ignore at Any Age. Everyday Health. Retrieved January 25th, 2013 from http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/heart_healthy_diet_center/top_15_heart_healthy_foods

3.Connery, Rochelle. Your Healthy Heart Exercise Routine. Active.com.Retrieved January 24th from http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Your-Healthy-Heart-Exercise-Routine.htm

4.Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved January 30th, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

5.University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter. 8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease. Retrieved January 30th, 2013 from http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/8_Ways_to_Prevent_Heart_Disease.htm

6.American Heart Association. (June 11th, 2012). Sugars and Carbohydrates. Heart.org. Retrieved January 31st from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

 

 

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Five Ways To Read Nutrition Labels

A nutrition facts label is designed to help you make healthy food choices, and knowing how to read nutritional labels gives you the power to quickly compare products and choose ones that have nutritional values that meet your needs as part of a well-balanced diet. The following is an overview about how to decipher the food labels you see every day.

There are five key components to nutrition labels: serving size, calories, nutrients, %DV, and footnote. Each of these parts offers valuable information about the food product and helps you determine how the food fits into your diet as you strive to meet your personal nutritional needs.

1. Serving Size

One of the most important healthy eating tips is portion control, and paying attention to a food’s serving size is the key to moderation. The serving size is listed at the top of the nutritional label and tells you what a standard serving size is for that particular product. This makes it easier to compare similar products and to keep track of how many servings you are consuming.

2. Calories

Calories measure how much energy you gain from a serving of food. Eating more calories than your body burns can lead to weight gain, so keeping track of calorie intake is important. In this section of the nutrition label, you will also find how many calories in the food are from fat content. Often, the more fat calories in the product, the less nutritious the product is overall. As a general rule, foods that have 40 calories or less per serving are considered low calorie foods, items with 100 calories per serving are moderate, and foods that have 400 calories or more per serving are high calorie foods.

3. Nutrients

This section of the label lists all of the nutrients that are found in the food and how much of each is found in a serving. The first three listed are always fat, cholesterol, and sodium. A healthy diet should limit all three, especially saturated fat and trans fat. The nutrients that follow these, including varying items like dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, are all nutrients that are a necessary part of a well-balanced diet and found in antioxidant rich foods. Care should be taken to get the proper amount of these each day.

4. %DV

These numbers in the column farthest to the right on the label indicate how much of each nutrient a particular food will supply in a daily diet of 2,000 calories. 5% of a nutrient is considered low, while the 20% range is optimal for vitamins and minerals.

5. Footnote

The footnote at the bottom of the nutritional information typically shows either how a diet with more or less than 2,000 calories would alter the %DV for key nutrients or compares the standard amounts of certain components for diets of 2,000 or 2,500 calories.

Take the mystery out of healthy eating by taking the time to read nutrition labels. A little research can go a long way toward good eating habits.

Bacteria Can Be Good For You- Probiotic Benefits

Who would have thought that taking billions and billions of bacteria would be so good for you? Probiotics, a “good” form of bacteria, are becoming increasingly popular in relieving systems ranging from occasional irregularity to even protecting the body from yeast infections.

What is a Probiotic?

The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting” and biotic, meaning “life.” Probiotics are live microorganisms, most are bacteria. Bacteria may not sound like something we would want in our bodies, but there are “good” and “bad” strains of bacteria. Our digestive system works to balance out good and bad bacteria in our bodies. Factors such as the environment, disease and even our diet can disrupt this balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Probiotics help regulate the balance.

Probiotic Benefits

Probiotics work to protect our bodies in many ways. One way is by balancing our digestive tract. According to medicinenet.com, stress, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, drugs, and environmental influences can all shift our digestive balance in favor of bad bacteria. A healthy digestive tract filters out harmful substances such as toxins and chemicals and takes in nutrients our bodies need and deliver them to cells where they are needed. This balance can even help to protect the immune system.

Our bodies do use some “bad” bacteria, but problems arise when there are more bad bacteria than good. This imbalance can cause diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue and even urinary tract infections.

What are the different probiotic strains?

Lactobacillus is a popular strain of probiotics with over 50 species. Studies have linked Lactobacillus to treating and/or preventing urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, yeast infections, respiratory infections and even skin disorders such as eczema and acne.

Another large probiotic strain is bifidobacteria. There are over 30 species of bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria makes up about 90% of the healthy bacteria in the colon. Studies have shown that bifidobacteria can help with irritable bowel syndrome, dental cavities and even improve blood lipids and glucose tolerance. Bifidobacteria can also help repopulate normal flora of the intestines after taking antibiotics.

Healthy Belly® is a unique probiotic that can be added to anything! You can sprinkle on your cereal or yogurt or add it to your favorite beverage. It comes in a pouch and unlike many probiotics on the market, does not need to be refrigerated. Healthy Belly® is a convenient and delicious way to get over 20 billion healthy bacteria strains including:

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

Bifidobacterium Lactis

Lactobacillus Casei

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Healthy Belly® also has a good source of fiber for even more digestive balance. Use Healthy Belly® daily to give you a happy, healthy belly!

Sources:

1.Kovacs, Betty. Probiotics. Medicinenet.com. Retrieved October 12,2012 from http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

2.Grey, Charis. What are Various Strains of Probiotics Good For? Livingstrong.com. (November 4, 2012). Retrieved October 12, 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/296228-what-are-various-strains-of-probiotics-good-for/#ixzz22ygGy6Nj

 

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What are Antioxidants and Why do I Need Them?

You’ve heard of them. You know they’re good for you. You may even know which foods contain them. But what are antioxidants and why are they so important?

We offers a brief guide to this crucial component of nutrition so that you can be better informed to make good healthy eating choices.

The Science

As your body breaks down food, a series of complex chemical reactions takes place, including what is called oxidation. As part of the oxidation process, free radicals are produced, which can start chain reactions that damage your body’s cells. Free radicals can also enter your body through environmental exposure to things such as tobacco smoke and radiation. Antioxidants are molecules capable of stopping free radicals from causing these chain reactions and protecting your body’s cells from the harm that comes from them.

Where to Look

There are many antioxidants capable of protecting your body from free radicals and many more places to find them. Some of the most commonly known are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These are all found in a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, but also in nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry, and fish.

Staying Healthy

Free radicals cannot be avoided completely; in fact, the oxidation reactions that your body produces as part of its natural processes are crucial for maintaining life. However, you can minimize your exposure to harmful environmental free radicals by not smoking and wearing sunscreen when you spend time outside. Including a variety of antioxidant rich foods as part of a well-balanced diet is the best way to protect your cells from unwanted exposure to free radicals.

7 Green Superfoods You Should Know About

I love juicing my vegetables. For me, it’s the easiest route to get all the daily recommended servings into my diet. It is really challenging to get all the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet in order to be healthy and live a vibrant life. When your body isn’t receiving the nutrition it needs, it can lead to weight-gain, cravings, and low-energy. I find that by adding in one green juice made with green superfoods a day to my diet, I have more energy, it helps to stabilize my blood sugar and I feel more satisfied throughout the day. And if you are someone who typically depends on her morning cup of Joe to get moving in the morning, you’ll find that by starting your day with a green juice, you’ll have longer and more sustained energy!

There are certain SUPERFOODS that I add into my green juices that really pack a nutritional punch! Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Leafy green vegetables are always high up there on the list

I want to share with you seven vegetables that are always on my weekly shopping list.

1. Alfalfa

If the thought of alfalfa conjures up thought of horse or cow feed, then think again. Alfalfa is great for human consumption because it is full of protein, chlorophyll, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and a variety of other vitamins. It has been used in the past as a blood purifier and anti-ulcer remedy. I personally love to juice alfalfa with carrot and have that instead of coffee first thing in the morning!

2. Seaweed

Don’t be freaked out, seaweed is tasty and good for you! Plants like dulse, kelp and nori contain minerals present in the sea that we typically don’t get in our land-based plants. Seaweed contains iodine (which is crucial for a healthy thyroid) and is rich in protein and minerals.

3. The Brassica Family

This may sound fancy but it’s actually just the classification for vegetables you are already familiar with: broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens and more. These powerful veggies contain cancer-fighting compounds in addition to providing you with high levels of vitamin C and K, iron and zinc. Don’t be afraid to add these to your juices. They are easier to digest when they are juiced and if you typically don’t like cabbage or kale, this can be a great way to transform their taste into something you do like!

4. Spinach

Popeye was right! Spinach contains many vitamins and minerals which support total body health and strength! I find that when I juice spinach, it has a very neutral taste, so I can add it to most juices without it changing the flavor drastically.

5. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is a grain that is in its early growth phase. It contains abundant chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. It helps to cleanse the blood. Be warned, however, a little bit of wheatgrass goes a long way. Aim for about an ounce of juice in your drink or you’ll be overwhelmed by the taste.

6. Chlorella

If you didn’t know it, chlorella is algae. But I think of it as an amazing superfood because it’s a blood cleanser, helps the body to break down toxins, especially heavy metals and it also boosts immune function. Adding chlorella to your juices on a daily basis is highly recommended. A little goes a long way. A teaspoon should do it.

7. Spirulina

This is another type of algae. Spirulina is a the highest plant-based form of protein and is a complete protein at that! It also contains essential fatty acids, beta-carotene, and plenty of other vitamins and minerals. Spirulina has a different taste than chlorella and once again, I suggest adding a teaspoon to your diet daily.

When I’m juicing, I mix a variety of fruits and vegetables together to obtain unique flavor combinations in addition to making sure I get all the vitamins and minerals my body requires to stay in tip-top shape. I have even gone so far as to do a 40 day juice cleanse. I drank only freshly prepared juice for 40 days!! I documented my journey and the results where fantastic!! If you’re looking for some new juicing recipes, check it out for yourself. Plenty of people are discovering the benefits of adding juices to their diet on a regular basis or even doing a 7 day Superhero Juice Cleanse!

(And of course To Go Brands has Go Greens which is more than 15 organic fruits and vegetables in one container. How easy is that?! I add a scoop to my water mid-afternoon when I need a pick-me-up and I’m good to go!)

If you don’t have a juicer, don’t fret. You can blend produce and make smoothies. You can also focus on adding many more raw vegetables into your diet in the form of salads and wraps. Radiant health doesn’t have to be challenging. There are small steps you can take every day!

Emyrald Sinclaire is a Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Emyrald is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit PureRadiantSelf.com.

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Five Suprising Benefits of Folic Acid

Folic acid is widely known to help prevent birth defects, but it’s not just for pregnant women. Folic Acid, also known as folate or Vitamin B9, has multiple health benefits for women and men of all ages. Folic Acid is found in foods such as leafy greens, pastas, beans and more. According to Men’s Fitness, folic acid helps the body break down, create and use new proteins as well as form new blood cells and create new DNA.

Studies have shown that folic acid may help prevent heart disease, depression, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, type-2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Heart Health:

How does Folic Acid protect my heart? Folic acid pairs with Vitamin B12 as a coenzyme to help metabolism the amino acids methonine and homocysteine. Without folic acid, homocysteine levels can cause blood to clot more easily than normal and cause cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Studies have shown folic acid may lower homocysteine levels.

Natural Depression Remedy:

Folic acid supplements have been used to help treat depression and enhance antidepressant drugs. Studies have shown that people who are deficient in folic acid have less response to antidepressant medication. Folic acid is also believed to play a part in mood regulation.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

A recent study of 579 men and women ages 60 and up has shown that folic acid may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that participants who regularly consumed the recommended daily allowance of folic acid (400 mcg) through both food and supplements cut their risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half. Folic Acid also may play a key role in preventing overall memory loss associated with old age.

Diabetes Prevention:

Folic Acid may help with the breakdown of triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood that are used for energy. Type-2 diabetes is linked to high levels of triglycerides in the blood. A study by the European Journal of Endocrinology also found when looking at four different groups of women from different geographical locations, those with a BMI of 30 and above also had low levels of folic acid.

Cancer Benefits:

According to The American Cancer Society, low levels of folic acid in the blood have been linked with higher rates of colorectal cancer and some other types of cancer. A large study from 1980 to 1994 found that the women who took more than 400 mcg of folic acid per day were less likely to get colon cancer than those with those who took less than 200 mcg.

Folic acid is necessary to make and repair DNA when creating new cells. Scientists believe that low levels of folic acid may lead to changes in chemicals that affect DNA. This may alter how well cells can repair themselves or divide properly, which may lead to cancer.

Healthy To Go’s Smoothie Complete offers a unique way to get folic acid. Instead of a pill, Smoothie Complete offers an all in one way to get 21 vitamins and minerals, including 400 mcg (100% of your daily value) per scoop.

Sources:

1.Egan, Pamela. The Benefits of Folic Acid. Pamela Egan. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012 from http://www.pamelaegan.com/articles/folic-acid-benefits/

2.Freedman, Lisa. Are you getting enough of this B vitamin? Men’s Fitness. Retrieved Nov 28, 2012 from http://www.mensfitness.com/lisa-freedman/folic-acid

3.Folic Acid. The American Cancer Society. (May 7, 2011). Retrieved November 30, 2012 from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/folic-acid

4.Stoppler, Melissa M.D. The Benefits of Folic Acid for Women. MedicineNet.com. (Dec 6, 2007). Retrieved November 28, 2012 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=41765

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To Go Brands® Revamps Look And Benefits Of Smoothie Complete®

SAN DIEGO, CA – October 1, 2013 –To Go Brands® announced it will introduce its Smoothie Complete® “All-In-One Daily Essential” protein powder mix to The Vitamin Shoppe stores nationwide. The Vitamin Shoppe operates more than 500 stores throughout the United States and currently carries the To Go Brands® product lines Go Greens®, VitaRocks® and Acai Energy Boost™.

Smoothie Complete® is a unique protein powder mix containing 15 grams of rBGH free protein from whey protein concentrate and isolate with only 90 Calories. Whey protein can help reduce cravings, increase energy and build lean muscle. Smoothie Complete contains all essential and non-essential amino acids, including Lysine, Argenine, Glutamine, Leucine and Glycine. These amino acids are needed to build the proteins used in growth, repair and maintenance of body tissues.

Along with protein, Smoothie Complete contains 22 vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin D, folic acid and iron. Digestive enzymes and prebiotic fibers have also been added to help increase the absorption of these nutrients and support a healthy intestinal tract. Omega-3 from vegetarian chia seed as well as a SuperFruit blend providing the antioxidant activity of one serving of fruit makes Smoothie Complete an “All-In-One Daily Essential”.

“What makes Smoothie Complete so different from other protein products on the market is that it offers multiple benefits to consumers,” said Deana Jacobsen, Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s not just a protein product, but a multivitamin, an Omega supplement, a digestive enzyme and a serving of SuperFruits all-in-one.”

Smoothie Complete is made without GMOs, MSG, gluten and contains no artificial hormones, flavors, or sweeteners. Smoothie Complete comes in two flavors, Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Berry.

The new product line is available at Vitamin Shoppe stores nationwide as well as directly from To Go Brands’ Ecommerce store www.togobrands.com.

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Holiday Weight Loss Guide

The holidays are right around the corner, which not only means it’s time to shop till you drop, but also eat till you pop! Our holiday weight loss guide has some tips that can help you keep off the holiday weight and resist temptation to eat that last piece (or three) of peppermint bark.

1. Eat small meals throughout the day

Studies have shown that eating five small meals throughout the day can help increase your metabolism and control your appetite. According to MayoClinic.com, eating more frequently also may also reduce your risk of obesity by decreasing the blood insulin response to long fasts, which actually increase fat storage and weight gain.

Make Smoothie Complete™ one of these meals by adding it to your favorite milk beverage for a protein packed mini meal.

2. Smaller portions

According to our friend The Healthy Voyager, serve your dinner on a smaller side plate, not a large dinner place. Our stomachs are roughly the size of our fists, not the size of a huge dinner plate. Fool your stomach into thinking you are using a large plate by filling up a small one.

3. More fruits, veggies and heart healthy fats

Fill up this holiday season with fresh fruits and veggies. Sweet potatoes and date plums are in season this winter. Mashed sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg? Don’t mind if we do! Also in season, fiber filled chestnuts. No wonder there is a song about these holiday nuts.

Find out what else is in season by visiting Fruits and Veggies More Matters

4. Take the stairs

Who doesn’t just love the malls on holidays? Taking the stairs isn’t just a great way to burn extra calories, but you can avoid the crowds of people, and their bags, on the escalators and elevators!

5. Supplement your diet

Don’t forget about supplements that can help you stay on track. Trim Energy® has a good source of fiber than helps keep you full and control cravings. If you cheat on your diet, burn fat with Trim Energy® Green Coffee Bean Extract. Planning a big meal? Take a Neo-Carb Bloc® 30 minutes before a meal to help regulate the digestion of dietary starches found in many of our favorite carb-rich foods like potatoes and bread.

6. Gift wrap at the gym

This one may be a little extreme, but why not bring your gifts to the gym and wrap them on the bicycle? Ok, maybe just hop on the bike AFTER you wrap. Just don’t forget this important part of keeping your body and mind healthy this holiday season.

7. Skip the Full-Fat Nog

Yes, eggnog is delicious, but do you really need those extra calories from full-fat cartons of eggnog? How about make your own at home with our simple low fat recipe

Ingredients

•2 cups nonfat milk

•3 strips orange and/or lemon zest

•2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

•1 tsp vanilla extract

•1/3 cup sugar

•1 teaspoon whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

•Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Directions

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan or steam. Whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, egg yolk, sugar and flour in a medium bowl until blended together.

Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir with a spoon in until the eggnog begins to thicken (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop the cooking. Slowly pour the eggnog to a large bowl, and then chill until ready to serve.

Remove the zest. Garnish with nutmeg and enjoy!

8. Get an extra hour of sleep a night

With all the things you have to do this holiday season, getting extra sleep may be a stretch. But studies have shown that people burn between 50-86 calories an hour while sleeping. According to Live Strong, the exact amount depends on how much you weigh. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds you can burn 51 calories per hour while a 200 pound person will burn 86 calories per hour. And just when we thought sleeping in couldn’t get any better!

Happy Holidays from the Healthy To Go Team!

Sources

1.Scott-Hamilton, Carolyn (TheHealthyVoyager). (2012, 27 September). Healthy Bite Video Tip: Proper Portion Size Made Easy. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgxnU56Exo

2.Gargulinski, Ryn. (2011, June). About Calories Burned During Eight Hours of Sleep. Live Strong. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/280877-about-calories-burned-during-eight-hours-of-sleep/#ixzz2CFN9UlVE

 

 

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A Nutritionist’s Top 8 Ways To Get Dairy-Free Calcium

As a holistic nutritionist who also happens to enjoy a plant based lifestyle, I’m always more than happy to share with others how to get their calcium from plant based sources. Especially when the person is upset or frantic because they’ve just been diagnosed with a dairy allergy. And furthermore, unfortunately we do not have the best sources of dairy in the US and straying away from dairy products actually seems to help a lot of my clients with issues around digestion, IBS, constipation, allergies, and so much more!

Some of the best places to get calcium are from plants and they are even better absorbed and utilized by the body! What’s not to love!?

1. Sesame Seeds

Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds

A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium. I like to sprinkle them on my salads, mix them into my oatmeal and even add them into my smoothies.

3. Dark Leafy Greens (such as collard greens, kale, turnip greens, arugula, mustard greens and spinach)

Spinach ranks very high in calcium, with 56mg of calcium per cup. A 100g serving of collards packs a 145 mg calcium punch. One cup of steamed bok choy has around 158 mg of the mineral. Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving. If you aim to have one large leafy green salad a day, you are easily meeting your calcium needs.

4. Flax Seeds

Not only high in calcium (256mg per 100g serving), flax seeds are also rich in omega-3 fats.

5. Quinoa

One cup of cooked quinoa offers approximately 60-100 mg of calcium, not to mention a high amount of potassium, zinc and protein.

6. Oranges

Believe it or not, one cup of freshly-squeezed organic orange juice offers approximately 72 mg of calcium. Not to mention plenty of vitamin c, which will significantly improve the amount of calcium your body absorbs.

7. Beans

Many common beans are high in calcium. Winged beans possess 442mg of calcium per 100g serving. Many white beans are very high in calcium having approximately 175mg of calcium per serving. Navy beans are also a great source of calcium, with 127mg per cup.

8. Dried Fruits and Nuts

Many dried fruits are high in calcium. In fact, eating five dried figs per day gives you 135mg of calcium. Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

How much calcium do I need?

Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 need 1000 milligrams of calcium per day, with adults aged 51 and over need to increase their calcium intake to 1200 milligrams per day. If you are taking a supplement to get your daily calcium make sure you are also taking magnesium with it. Magnesium is the transport that brings the calcium to your cells. The ratio of magnesium to calcium should be 2:1. In other words if you are taking 1200mg of calcium you should also be taking 600mg of magnesium for a complete solution.

So there you have it. They may say that “milk does a body good,” but you can know that plants do a body better!

Emyrald Sinclaire is a Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Emyrald is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit PureRadiantSelf.com.

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