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5 To Do's for Clean Eating 101

When it comes to dieting, lose the fads. The single most effective way to lose weight and maintain health is by making lasting lifestyle changes. Clean eating is a lifestyle that puts the boot to processed, packaged foods dripping with salt, sodium, and unpronounceable ingredients.

Let's focus instead on natural, nutrient-packed foods that let your body run the way it’s supposed to. Change how you look and feel with our clean eating tips.

Do eat four to six small meals a day. Smaller, more frequent meals will keep your blood sugar levels stable and will increase your metabolism. And, because the meals keep the tummy satisfied throughout the day, you’re less likely to turn into a pantry-raiding snack monster.
Do drink. Water, that is. Drink at least four to six glasses of H2O every day to keep the body hydrated. Water also helps the stomach feel full, making you less likely to give in to unhealthy snack attacks. 

Do keep clean eating snacks on hand. Whether the day is filled with the kids’ sports events or running errands for an elderly parent, it’s easy to give in to the bad snack temptation. Stay on your clean eating track by packing up healthy snacks in advance. 

Do get very veggie. Vegetables deliver nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber by loading up on veggies by incorporating meatless meals.

Do combine lean protein and complex carbs at each meal. This clean eating one-two punch decreases insulin spikes and maintains energy levels. The combo also acts as a natural appetite suppressant, helping you feel fuller longer. 

This article was originally written by Skinny Ms. We shared this with you because we know eating healthy can be tricky, hope to motivate you, and get you on the right track. Enjoy the weekend!

DIY: Goji Berry Smoothie

Goji berries are known to have anti-aging benefits, boost immune function, protect vision, and prevent heart disease. Goji berry extracts may even boost brain health, mood and protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s so eat them up! They are perfect to add to any smoothie like this one loaded with potassium, vitamin A, fiber and good essential fatty acids, or as a snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. goji berries
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup of raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Directions

    1. Soak the goji berries in coconut water overnight or for a few hours (optional)
    2. Combine all ingredients in a blender
    3. Blend & enjoy!
DIY: Banana Bread Smoothie

If you have a sweet tooth but you're on a weight-loss journey, this banana bread smoothie is the answer to your prayers — a dessert that's actually good for you, thanks to its protein status.

Clocking in at over 34 grams of protein per serving, this tasty beverage will regulate your appetite, keeping you full and satisfied all morning long. Chopped walnuts are tossed into the mix for their nutty flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits, while the addition of metabolism-boosting cinnamon ties the smoothie together for dessert-inspired perfection.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (for dairy-free, add silken tofu)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 medium banana (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy immediately!

This recipe was originally Lizzie Fuhr of FitSugar. We shared this recipe with you because we care to keep you healthy & happy since food is medicine. Enjoy the weekend!

9 Foods That Reduce Stress Levels

Standard advice to reduce stress would include exercise regularly, drink an energy shake for breakfast and remember to eat small meals throughout the day, which will keep your blood sugar stable. When blood sugar is low, mental, physical, and emotional energy decreases, and stress increase. But what exactly should we eat?

Reach for these items next time you're feeling under pressure, under the weather, or just too close to that breaking point. Munching on these stress-free foods will help pull you back into the game.

Oranges. A German study in Psychopharmacology found that vitamin C helps reduce stress and return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. Vitamin C is also well-known for boosting your immune system.

Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be particularly stress-reducing because they can satisfy the urge you get for carbohydrates and sweets when you are under a great deal of stress. They are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, and the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner.

Dried Apricots. Apricots are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster and a natural muscle relaxant as well.

Almonds, Pistachios & Walnuts. Almonds are packed with B and E vitamins, which help boost your immune system, and walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure.

Turkey. Turkey contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the release of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical. This is the reason why many people who eat turkey feel relaxed, or even tired, after eating it. L-Tryptophan has a documented calming effect.

Spinach. A deficiency in magnesium can cause migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.

Salmon. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Avocados. The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas).

Green Vegetables. Broccoli, kale, and other dark green vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times of stress. 

This article was originally posted by Marie Claire. We think it's great to share with you because we find it informative on how to cure stress, the natural way.

DIY: Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta Salad

This healthy chickpea, avocado, & feta salad only takes 5 minutes to make. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, dinner, or snack. Plus five minutes is all you need to make this healthy salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 avocados, pitted, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons green onion
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

    1. In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, avocado, cilantro, green onion, feta cheese, and lime juice.
    2. Stir until mixed well.
    3. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

    This recipe was originally posted by Maria & Josh of Two Peas and Their Pod via Pinterest (follow us!) 

    Foods That Fight Inflammation & Belly Fat

    When eaten on a regular basis, foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body, helping to prevent the long-term health consequences associated with it — but only if you also eliminate the foods that cause inflammation. When inflammation is under control, not only will you have more energy and feel better overall, but you’ll also find that weight loss and reduction of belly fat both become easier!

    Remember staying hydrated is essential to flushing inflammation-causing toxins out of your body. So always aim for 64 ounces of water per day. Add an additional 8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise as well.

    Try adding anti-inflammatory foods into your meal plan on a daily basis. The more often you eat these foods, the less inflammation that will be present in your body. The following foods and nutrients can fight inflammation:

    Fruits and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables, due to their rich nutrient and fiber content, help to combat chronic inflammation, so make sure to include adequate amounts of these foods daily. Some types of fresh produce, however, are even more potent than others.Some terrific anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to include in your meal plan include apples, berries, broccoli, mushrooms, papaya, pineapple, and spinach.

    Green tea. This mild beverage is great for helping shrink your waistline as well as for decreasing inflammation. The flavonoids in this tea have natural anti-inflammatory properties. And the compound EGCG in green tea has been shown to help reduce body fat.

    Monounsaturated fats. These heart-healthy fats help raise your healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reduce overall inflammation. Great sources include olive oil, almonds, and avocado.

    Spices. Certain spices, including garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and chili peppers, have potent inflammation-reducing capabilities, so try adding them to meals as often as possible.

    Whole grains. Rich in fiber, whole grains help control the insulin response in your body. The high B vitamin content of whole grains also helps reduce the inflammatory hormonehomocystine in the body.

    Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that a diet with a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids and a low percentage of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked with decreased inflammation. Food sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flaxseed, and fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon.

     
    Superfood Recipe: Lentil-Parmesan Hummus

     Superfoods build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you get—and stay—slim?

    Sometimes it's hard to get inspired to actually cook with superfoods. Say no more.. try our Lentil-Parmesan Hummus recipe! This knockoff may look close to the chickpea original, but the creamy lentil-and-yogurt mixtures makes for a skinnier dip, with less fat but more protein, fiber, and iron. Lentils are a great source of satiating protein and fiber. A half-cup serving delivers 3.4 grams of resistant starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat. 


    Superfoods: Lentils, Olive Oil, Parmesan, Yogurt

    Serves 8

    • 1 cup dry brown lentils
    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
    • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    • 2 tablespoons prepared tahini
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder
    • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
    • 4 stalks celery, cut into matchsticks
    • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into matchsticks

    Preparation 

    Rinse the lentils under cold running water.  In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add the lentils and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid has been absorbed. 

    Transfer the lentils to a food processor.  Add the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan, tahini, and garlic cloves.  Process until a thick, chunky mixture forms.  Add the water and process 10 to 15 seconds, until he mixture lightens in color and is smooth.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder.  

    Serve immediately with the crudités or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

      Nutritional Facts

      167 calories, 11 g protein, 5 g fat (2 g saturated), 23 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 125 mg sodium