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9 Fresh Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Toast

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9 Fresh Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Toast Q4fit.com

We always seem to look for the easy, the quick, the tastiest way to do anything.

 Ok, I get that.  Why wait for all that.  We have become a society of convenience and quick.  A drive through society that applies to everything.

With that in mind, breakfast has become a casualty in this new pace.  It is, as we know, so important, but we just don’t take the time to do it right.  Maybe we would if it tasted better and really was simple.

Fitbit is not only tracking your movement these days, it is moving into the food accountability world.  Their blog is always full of great articles and this one caught my eye because of its simplicity.

Most of the toppings for these toasts should be in your pantry already.  If they are not, put them on your shopping list.  Small steps, eat the first meal of your day with some great healthy ingredients and you will set yourself up for a much better day.

Healthy Morning Toast

Are You Managing Your Sweet Cravings?

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Are you managing your sweet cravings. Q4fit.com

Most of us can easily say, “I love sweets”  There is a reason why at every event that we celebrate there is a sweet thing to eat.  Birthday cake, Halloween candy, Easter chocolates, Christmas cookies, and then because it is Tuesday works for me too, lol.  Our bodies crave sweet in one form or another.

Why do we crave sweets?    

There are a few reasons actually.  But, sometimes it’s not your fault, we are actually made this way.  Sometimes it’s what we have or have not eaten.   

 

  • Our bodies have a hormone called serotonin.  It is often called the ‘feel-good’ hormone.  It does just that, it makes you feel good. Sugar can actually trigger a serotonin release causing you to crave sweets.
  • Another time we crave sweets is because you have just had a starchy, heavy meal, like pasta and if there is little to no protein or fiber, bring on the craving.  Your body will absorb this meal so fast that it will be looking to bring your blood sugar levels back up once it’s digested and sugar is the quickest way to do that.
  • Salt is another reason we crave sweets.  Sounds funny, but it’s true.  The saltier the food, the more you will crave something sweet.  It doesn’t matter where the salt comes from either.  Whether it’s a bag of chips, processed food, fries, or something healthy but heavily salted, you will crave sweets to balance it out.
  • Another reason may be simply that you are thirsty.  Truly, thirsty.  Sometimes our body doesn’t recognize what we are really feeling and it seems to resort to old habits rather than giving a clear message about what we need.  When our bodies want water, sometimes we are confused about what our bodies want and we resort to eating and eating something either sweet or salty instead of having a glass of water.

 

Ok, now we know why we crave sweet, what do we do now if we are trying to eat healthy or avoid the candy and cookies?

Here are some simple things to add to your overall diet that will help reduce the cravings before they happen.

  1. Eat foods that are high in the mineral magnesium, chromium, and zinc.  They are foods such as dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, broccoli, eggs, sweet potatoes, and oysters.
  2. Use spices in your meals.  Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom naturally sweeten food.
  3. Coconut oil, extra-virgin is preferred, and other ‘healthy’ fats.  These include avocados, nuts and seeds again, salmon, and eggs. This speeds up metabolism and feeds the brain.
  4. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol and increase water.  Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body and dehydration have been linked to cravings in general. Drink herbal teas, water with lemon, or good old plain water.
  5. Make sure you are exercising and getting enough sleep.  We tend to eat when we are sleepy and exercise boosts our energy levels which helps our bodies produce and use serotonin.  Happy happy joy joy!

 

I love to eat – Kit Kats or cookies-and-cream ice cream. I need sugar like five times a day. – Kim Kardashian

Foods That Help Fight Colds

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It’s that time of year again, you sniffle, he sneezes, she coughs and then you wonder, am I getting a cold?  With the fall in full swing, kids back in school, doors, and windows are closed and furnaces are starting to recirculate the household air, cold and flu season is here.  

Is there something that you can do to try to stay healthier?  There sure is.

When I started researching this topic some of the results were not what I expected.  Some I have known about for years and others were a pleasant surprise.  The best news is that the more you can incorporate into your diet, the better the chances of fighting off that cold.

So when you are doing your meal planning, plan to put some of these super healthy foods into your daily routine.  

 

  • Fish and Oysters

It’s the omega-3 fatty acids and the zinc that are working here, helping to reduce inflammation in the body and reducing symptoms like headaches.

  • Garlic

Garlic is a known antioxidant.

  • Anise seeds and Fennel

Anise seeds are licorice-flavored seeds, which have antibacterial properties, have been shown to ease coughing and help clear congestion. Fennel, which also tastes like licorice is also a natural expectorant. Fennel can be eaten steamed or better yet, raw in a salad.  Anise seeds can be used in baking, but both are delicious ground and made into a tea.

  • Tea

Aside from the soothing feeling you get from tea, it actually has healing properties.  All tea black, green, or white contains a group of antioxidants called catechins which boosts overall immunity and metabolism.

  • Citrus fruits and Red peppers

So recent studies have suggested that vitamin C may not be as potent at preventing colds as we once believed, but, it looks like it is powerful once a cold has begun.  It looks like it may reduce the cold’s duration, hmmm.  Citrus fruits and red peppers are full of that Vitamin C, so eat up and feel better

  • Milk and Yogurt/kefir

Dairy products such as good old milk, yogurt, and kefir are rich in vitamin D.  Vitamin D is a builder of our immune system and the yogurt and kefir keep your gut healthy with helps ward off tummy issues.

  • Mushrooms

This was a new food for colds for me.  But surprisingly mushrooms are full of antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B.  Shiitakes even contain lentinan, which has been known to have anticancer properties.  Who knew?

  • Leafy greens

The darker the greens, the higher the nutrient content. So choose the darker leaves like kale, rather than iceberg.

  • Blueberries

Another powerful antioxidant fruit.  If you can find them, look for wild blueberries they contain anthocyanins—one of the most potent antioxidants

  • Dark chocolate

Ounce for ounce, pure cocoa contains more of the disease-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols than most berries—and it's loaded with zinc.  Are you seeing a trend?  Antioxidants.

  • Brazil nuts

These nuts are high in protein, healthy fats, and selenium, a mineral that's essential for proper immune function and may help guard against infections and flu.

  • Carrots and sweet potatoes

Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in beta-carotene. When we eat these foods, our bodies convert this organic compound into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system.

  • Sunflower seeds

These crunchy snacks are among the best natural sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cell walls from damage.

  • Oats

Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, known for its cholesterol-lowering and immune-boosting properties.

 

Health is not valued till sickness comes. – Thomas Fuller

 

Is This Food Going to Bring Me Closer or Further From My Goal?

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When you are looking at losing weight, I believe the hardest thing about it is staying motivated.  We usually start really well.  We have the best of intentions.  That upcoming wedding, that little black dress that is still hanging in the closet, those jeans that you love but still gives you a muffin top, way too much jiggling, and the list goes on.  

How do we stay motivated?

That is the million dollar question.  Motivation is the undefined thing that seems to haunt us all and is different for every one of us.  In our house, Doug and I chose, coming up 6 years ago, to make healthy eating and living our priority.  We changed our eating habits and now make exercise part of our weekly routines.  But, our motivations are totally different, other than to live a healthy life.  We both started out wanting to get healthy and to lose weight, but that is where the similarities end.  What motivates me doesn’t motivate him and what motivates him doesn’t motivate me.

How, then do we come up with a common ground to work with?  

That is the never-ending question.  Recently, I heard a really profound question, that for me has answered this question.  “ Is the food/ drink I am about to consume going to bring me closer or further from my goal?”

This hit me between the eyes.  WOW!  This will now be my question that I will ask every time I want to eat something.  Because once I can answer that question, it will lead right back to why I want to eat that thing, or not eat that thing.

The reason we eat essentially is for survival.  Without food, we will ultimately die.  If you don’t water a plant for a long time, it will die.  True, but most of us just throw some water at that plant and it does the rest.  However, we are not plants.  We don’t and can’t survive on water alone.  It is essential, but not enough.  It is not enough for that plant, but it gets the rest on its own through the sun and it’s soil.  Oh if only I were a plant and things could be just that simple.

We, however, are so much more complicated than that.  Even in the animal kingdom, they eat for survival and nothing more.  Predators only kill to feed themselves and their family.  Scavengers only eat until they are done, and then the next level of scavengers get the rest.  Grazers, eat all day, but never to the point that they are too full.  We are not included in this because we are humans and we were given feelings and emotions.

No other animal attaches food to feelings but us.  Therefore we need to get past the excuses and get back to the basics.  Take the out emotions as much as we can and get back to – “ Is the food/ drink I am about to consume going to bring me closer or further from my goal?”

If we were to stick this saying on the fridge, pantry, freezer, snack cupboard, we may find that we don’t really need to eat as often or as much as we have been.

Having said all that, we were given taste buds for a reason.  We are supposed to enjoy what we eat.  We are supposed to come together in celebration and consolation with food.  It is how we are made.  We just need to remember that in between those celebrations and those meal gatherings, we should not gorge ourselves.  We are to be mindful of our bodies and the fuel we are putting into it.  We need to go back to remembering why we eat.

So, my advice for you is going to be just what I have done.  Put a post-it note on the fridge, pantry door, snack cupboard, to remind me of the commitment that I have made to myself.

Is this food going to bring me closer or further from my goal?

 

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates