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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

 

11 Foods That Help You Shed Pounds

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Fruits and vegetables in a heart shape over a white background

Everyone seems to be looking for the secret to losing weight.  There is no real mystery.  Calories in vs calories out.  And yet, most of us who want to lose some pounds, still struggle with it.  We struggle because although we know what we want and the basics of what we need to do, life gets in the way and in the end, it is still tough.

So, if it is still tough, why not do whatever we can to make the process work the best that we can make it.  

Let’s make the calories we eat work in our favor.

This is a small list of some foods that have way more nutritional value than most of us realize.  So, if we are going to eat, let’s make what we eat give us the most value possible.

1. Waterworks

Ever heard of drinking water to lose weight? The diet tactic actually works, along with eating foods that contain a lot of water, like fruits and veggies. In a University of Tokyo study, women who ate high-water-content foods had lower body mass indexes and smaller waistlines. Researchers speculate that the water in these foods may fill you up so you eat less. Make the strategy work for you by adding more of these in-season fruits and veggies—each is at least 90% water—to your meals.

2. Broccoli

Did you know broccoli is a great source of fiber and calcium?

3. Cabbage

Rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, cabbage is a great immune-booster. Enjoy it lightly sautéed in a stir-fry or paired with sweet-tart apples.

4. Cauliflower

Like other cruciferous veggies, cauliflower is full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients and is a great source of vitamin C and folate. Nibble on raw or lightly steamed florets to maximize cauliflower's antioxidant power.

5. Grapefruit

A powerhouse for heart health, grapefruit contains vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, along with pectin, a soluble fiber that may be a strong ally against atherosclerosis. Pink and red varieties also have vitamin A and lycopene, a phytochemical that protects arterial walls from oxidative damage. To get the juiciest specimens, select fruits heavy for their size.

6. Lettuce

With a mere 60–70 calories per pound, lettuce is high on the list of diet-friendly foods. Romaine lettuce alone is a great source of B vitamins, folic acid, and manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar and is essential for proper immune system function. Choose other dark green or purple varieties such as green or red leaf for the most nutrients, and toss with a zesty homemade vinaigrette.

7. Radishes

These brightly colored vegetables are packed with potassium, folic acid, antioxidants, and sulfur compounds that aid in digestion. Don't forget the leafy green tops, which contain six times the vitamin C and more calcium than the roots. Thinly slice and toss in a fresh green salad or julienne for coleslaw.

8. Spinach

Tender and flavorful, this leafy green is rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin K. It also contains disease-fighting antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as the phytochemical lutein, which protects eyes against age-related macular degeneration. Use as a substitute for lettuce in a salad, lightly sauté with shredded carrot, sliced mushrooms, and garlic for a savory omelet filling.

9. Cucumber

This summer veggie has a higher concentration of water than any other food—in fact, 96.7% of the fruit is made up of water. It’s also incredibly easy to integrate into your meals. Toss some sliced cucumber on salad, dip some sticks in hummus for a snack, or try whipping up refreshing cucumber soup!

10. Celery

You may have heard that celery has negative calories. While that may not quite be accurate, it’s also not that far off from the truth. Since celery is mostly made up of water, it only contains 6 calories per stalk. But despite the low-calorie count, it keeps you feeling full and satiated, thanks to the added bonus of fiber. Celery also isn’t short on nutrition—it contains folate along with vitamins A, C, and K. So whether you need a filling snack or meal add-on, celery is a pretty amazing weight loss superfood.

11. Green peppers

They may seem pretty dense and hearty, but bell peppers are actually made up of 92% water. And not only are these veggies great for your waistline, but they also pack a ton of antioxidants. Grill them up for a satisfying dinner or slice up some raw pieces for a healthy snack.

 

These great tips are courtesy of health.com.  

Below is the article along with recipes.

health.com

 

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.- Jim Davis