St. Patrick’s Day – Green Recipes

St. Patrick's Day Foods

St. Patrick’s day is an annual holiday that takes every March 17th. Traditionally, the day is supposed to mark the death of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s most celebrated patron saint. But in reality, St. Patty’s day is all about eating and drinking at the nearest Irish Pub. Well what if you’re truly committed to your health and fitness? How can you participate in all these great festivities? Don’t worry; I got you covered! Here are three fun and easy recipes you can implement into your diet today and give it that extra green, St. Patrick’s theme.

Guacamole

Who doesn’t like guacamole? If prepared correctly, this party favorite is totally healthy snack you can enjoy on this wonderfully green day. You will need:

  • 3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Now that you have all your ingredients in place, it’s time to mix everything together. Grab a medium sized bowl and mix the avocados, lime juice, and salt first. Then mix in the onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Finally, stir the cayenne pepper. For best flavor, pop the bowl in the fridge for about 1 hour. Then serve immediately. You can accompany it with chips, pita, crackers, anything!

Brussel Sprouts

Sounds boring, huh? Well don’t be deceived by the name because this side dish is both delicious and healthy. Baking them is also a breeze. All you need is:

  • 1 ½ pounds of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 slices of bacon (preferably from pastured pork), cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

To bake them, make sure you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. While you are preheating, go ahead and clean your brussel sprouts. The best way to do this is trimming the back part, then rinsing them with some apple-cider vinegar and water. Place your brussel sprouts on a baking dish and drizzle some olive oil over them. Sprinkle salt and pepper and toss the brussel sprouts so they are all evenly coated. Pop them in the oven for 45 minutes, turning them every 15 minutes, and voila!

Hulk Smash Lime Protein Shake

This one is probably my favorite. It’s a beautifully green shake that’s great after your workout. You will need:

  • 2 scoops of BioTrust Low Carb Vanilla
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup of plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of spinach

Once you have all your ingredients ready to go, put them all in your blender and blend away. You can taste it before serving, in case you want to pour in more lime juice. It’s all up to your taste buds.

I hope you have fun with these green, healthy recipes. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Late Night Snack that Burns Fat & Fights Stress

Yes, you read correctly, the the title of this article is “Late Night Snack that Burns Fat & Fights Stress.” I bet you never thought you could use all of these awesome adjectives to describe one food item, did you? Do you want to try to guess what it is? I’ll give you a few hints: it’s a fruit from Barbados, it’s citrusy, it’s slightly pink, and it’s delicious. If you guessed a grapefruit, you just won the lottery my friend, and I’ll tell you why!

This healthy snack will revolutionize the way you snack throughout the day and especially late at night. Let’s start with the never-ending list of health benefits that grapefruits provide. Grapefruits contain 26% more vitamin C than oranges. These leads them to be an excellent source of antioxidants that will promote healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones. Grapefruits also possess anti-aging properties that promote youthfulness and a healthy glow. Moreover, grapefruits fight stress due to the fact that vitamin C significantly lowers levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is also a fat-storing hormone that is directly linked to increased belly fat, so the fact that all that vitamin C found in the grapefruit lowers the hormone quantity means that it will not only help you combat stress, but it will also help you burn fat simultaneously. Can it get any better than that?

Yes it can! Grapefruits also serve as an appetite suppressor and a cravings crusher. Researchers from the Vanderbilt University found that when people added fresh grapefruit to their diet they automatically consumed 500 less calories per day and their weight loss rate increased over 13%. If you’re not convinced, I totally understand; it’s hard to believe, but grapefruits are the real deal! In another study, researchers from Scripps Clinic in California discovered that over the course of 12 weeks, overweight people who ate fresh grapefruit before meals lost five times more weight than individuals who didn’t. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. So go ahead, add this low-glycemic, this low-sugar carbohydrate, this amazing fruit to your late snack sessions and your overall diet and begin to enjoy all of the benefits that will soon result from it.

Artificial Sweeteners Are Harmful

Here’s a frightening fact: a University of Texas-San Antonio study discovered that increased consumption of artificially sweetened diet soda can lead to obesity. According to Sharon Fowler, MPH, a faculty associate in clinical epidemiology, “on average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years and 41 percent more likely to become obese.”

The harsh reality that for a long time the chemical sweetener industry did not want you to know is that artificial sweeteners like Splenda, NutraSweet, Sunette, and Sweet ‘N Low may have serious health consequences, one of them being that they can cause you to gain weight despite the fact that they are marketed as food products that can help you lose weight.

Artificial sweeteners can lead you to gain weight in a variety of ways. For example, the consumption of artificial sweeteners can prompt you to just eat more. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity documents how when researchers fed a liquid sweetened with real sugar to one group of rats and then fed a liquid mixed with artificial sweeteners to another group, the rats that consumed the artificial sweetener ate more. One of the reasons why it is believed that artificial sweeteners ironically lead you to eat more is because they act as a kind of short circuit in your brain, thus preventing your body from sensing how much it has eaten, so you just keep eating. It is also thought that when people consume diet products like Splenda, for example, you feel subconsciously entitled to overeat. The mentality is simple, “I’m already being good by not consuming real sugar, let me have one more cookie.” No! This is not true! You will not only gain weight, but you are potentially harming your body.

Here’s the breakdown: Splenda contains sucralose, NutraSweet has aspartame, Sunette is all about acesulfame K, and Sweet ‘N Low is saccharin. So far, the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) included aspartame, saccharin, and acesulfame K in their “avoid” list of food additives due to the health risks associated with these artificial sweeteners that have been unveiled over time. Just to give you an idea, aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked to tumors. Sucralose (Splenda) contains chlorine atoms, and yes that is the same chemical used to kill microorganisms in swimming pools! These chlorine atoms can kill off the gut flora lining your intestines, which is obviously not good for you at all.

So if artificial sweeteners are not a good alternative and sugar isn’t either, what is? My recommendation: zero or low-calorie sweeteners like Truvia, Z-Sweet, and Sun Crystals. These sweeteners are made with natural sources like erythritol and stevia. Erythritol is an all-natural product, with zero calories, no glycemic impact, it’s found in many fruits and vegetables, and most importantly it’s recognized as safe by the FDA. Sun Crystals are a mixture of erythritol and raw cane sugar, so not zero-calorie, but it will still be a lower calorie intake than real sugar. And Truvia is a mix between erythritol and stevia, which is a natural sweetener derived from a leaf. Stevia is also sold in products like PureVia and SweetLeaf.

 

Regardless of whether you are consuming healthy natural sweeteners or sugar, the most important thing to keep in mind is to use them with caution. Train your body and your brain that is doesn’t need too many sweets in order to be satisfied.

 

LOSE Weight with a Cheat Day

Naturally, when we are surrounded by the ones we love we want to eat what they eat. No one wants to worry about their caloric intake or their excess carbohydrates when they are relaxing around a low-key tailgate or barbecue. I mean, just let me eat my bacon-wrapped cheeseburger, right? Who possibly diets as a lifestyle without ever cheating? I’ll tell you. No one; and that’s because cheat days don’t have to be bad for you. They can actually help you to LOSE weight. Really. Here’s how I do it following a day of excess:

Day 1: Take a protein shake day.

During this day I only consume healthy protein powders mixed with almond milk to cleanse my system and reinvigorate my muscle fibers. This actually, and naturally, “shrinks” my stomach so that in the succeeding days I am less hungry overall. My appetite decreases. For the record, I eat four shakes about three hours apart give or take.

Day 2: Eat protein and veggies.

Throughout the course of the day I eat about five very small meals, also three hours apart. The meals are composed of solely low fat, lean protein. Occasionally I’ll add some cottage cheese and eggs but I generally like to keep each of these meals pretty restrictive in terms of size. Although, I will include healthy fats like coconut oil and/or organic butter for a little flavor. There’s no reason food has to taste bad just because you’re dieting!

Day 3: Binge Day

This is the fun one. On the third day after a cheat day I’ll dive into some thicker carbs over the course of my five mini-meals. However, I will also make sure to include an additional half-cup of “high-energy” carbs through slow-absorbing mediums to take care those carbs that are not converted into body fat. Then, I’ll eat one, just one, splurge meal, and obliterate whatever I want. There’s no holds barred. I just make sure to not get overly full. Basically, it’s a mini meal that’s just a little smaller. I also ensure that this binge meal is not my last food of the day.

By following these rules, I not only get back on track to losing whatever extra weight I may have gained from my cheat day, but my metabolism is actually accelerated. This way I lose weight even faster than I was before my cheat day. Sometimes, our metabolisms begin to plateau in the way of speed when it becomes too used to the same diet. So when you switch it up a bit, it has to adapt and thus runs at optimum efficiency.

Anyway, I hope these tips and tricks help you to capitalize if you fall a little off-track. Good luck!

Red Meat and Cancer: 6 Tips to Lower Your Risk

As you’ve probably heard, the World Health Organization has declared processed meat as definitively carcinogenic to humans and red meat as “probably” carcinogenic. Vegetarians and vegans had cause for celebration at this news, but the rest of the world reacted with an understandable amount of terror.

Over at Huffington Post, a nutritionist laid out some of the facts of this revelation in an easy to understand way.

First off, the news that processed meat is carcinogenic is not exactly new. The research has been going for decades and if you’ve seen the influx of health documentaries like “Food, Inc” you’ve probably noticed that. Also, it simply shouldn’t be surprising. Even the most lamen of eaters have to know that spam and hot dogs aren’t natural or good for you.

Regardless, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IACR) recently gathered 22 scientists to review 800 studies regarding the consumption of processed meat (anything salted, fermented cured or smoked) and red meat. Their conclusion was that “on the basis of the large amount of data and the consistent associations of colorectal cancer with consumption of processed meat across studies in different populations, which make chance, bias, and confounding unlikely as explanations, a majority of the Working Group concluded that there is sufficient evidence in human beings for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of processed meat.”

Essentially, even when you rule out the other possible contributory factors, such as chance and bias, the correlation data between processed meat and cancer remains. This is bad news if you’re an avid meat eater, but it’s not a death sentence. There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of the worst health effects.

Avoid Processed Meat the Vast Majority of the Time

This includes ham, bacon, sausages, and any meat that’s been salted, cured, fermented, smoked or otherwise preserved. If you have to have your bacon, choose an ethical brand such as Applegate or Niman Ranch. However, keep in mind that these companies still make products that fall into the IARC’s definition of “processed.”

Eat Grass-Fed Organic Red Meat Options

Buying more ethically treated meats is not only good for the world, it’s good for your diet. They also taste better, and a little can go a long way. Eat grass fed beef or lamb in small portions.

Eat Your Vegetables!

Mom was right in this case. You should always fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables or salad. They’re packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants and will help neutralize the damage done by processed meat products.

Be Careful How You Cook Red Meat

Cooking red meat at a high temperature forms polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitroso-compounds (NOCs) which are both cancer causing chemicals. Cooking over a lower temperature for a longer time can help prevent this.

Be A Healthy Vegetarian

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you still have to be health conscious. Oreos and Fritos may be vegan but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. If you eat your (real) vegetables and highquality vegetarian protein instead of processed veggie burgers and sausages.

Manage Your Health Holistically

Nutrition is not the whole picture when it comes to preventing cancer. Managing your stress, exercising and staying well hydrated are all steps you can take to improve your overall health.

 

USDA Awards Grants for Nutrition and Obesity Prevention Research

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $2 million in grants today to support research on nutrition education and obesity prevention for disadvantaged children and families at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Utah State University. The funding will help create two new Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence (RNECE), which have been established through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) andSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (SNAP)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture director Sonny Ramaswamy was quoted as saying “While we are beginning to see promising signs of progress with the epidemic leveling off in children, these grants will help evaluate and strengthen existing nutrition education and obesity prevention efforts to help ensure this progress continues.”

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville will receive $1 million to strengthen their existing Snap and EFNEP education programs for low-income families in particular. They will focus on reducing obesity by working to identify facilitators and barriers as well as training and evaluation needs.

In Utah, the State University in Logan will receive $1 million to look at EFNEP and SNAP-ed program participants and non-participants across many different ethnic and racial backgrounds in five states. The research will improve the USDA’s ability to create and maintine effective nutrition education programs and will, ideally, result in participants’ healthier food choices and increased physical activity. Improved health will reduce the incidents of disease and disability thus reducing the overall costs to individuals and the nation’s healthcare system.

“With one-third of our nation’s children overweight or obese, this issue stands out as one of the greatest health challenges facing our country,” said Audrey Rowe, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator. “As we invest in our nation’s health it is important we leverage partners and innovative strategies to help children from low-income families grow and develop into healthy adults.”

The RNECE were established in 2014 with one institution in each of NIFA’s administrative regions and one National Coordination Center, the result of a partnership between the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, NIFA and several participating universities. They exist primarily to research and develop best practices that address issues related to obesity among poor and underrepresented groups.

SNAP-ed, initiated in 1992 exists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Nearly 100 agencies deliver the program including public health departments, food banks, non-profit organizations and others.

NIFA invests in agricultural research, education and extension and works every day to make discoveries that solve challenges in society. To learn more about NIFA, visit http://nifa.usda.gov/impacts

 

Snack Better

It’s amazing what eating the right foods will allow you to do on a diet. After organizing a healthy diet and workout routine, you absolutely can enjoy the sweeter things in life without fear of recourse or rebounding. The world won’t come crashing down because of one candy bar or cookie, but it takes determination to keep that one snack from becoming a binge. Below are some tips to keep you snacking better.

Moderation: As with most things in life, too much of something can turn and bite you. That goes double for allowing yourself to snack during a diet. The temptation to reach for one more chip or cookie when you’ve passed your allowance is easy, and products are designed to keep you reaching for just one more. A creative way to combat this trend is to reach for a single, larger snack. Instead of a sleeve of Oreos, try a gourmet cookie. Usually larger than a softball and in a variety of flavors, you can enjoy an oatmeal raisin cookie that fills you up without sending you into a sugar spiral.

Understanding: A reason that some people diet incorrectly is that they don’t uJosh Bezoninderstand the foods they are putting into their body. Though small and oftentimes difficult to read, food labels will become a big part of your life when embarking on a diet. Read each label, and put down the foods with overly complicated chemicals and corn syrups. Those products are designed to keep you hungry, and make for particularly hard snacks to set aside mid-diet.

Meal Maintenance: Though snacking is great, what allows these little trysts away from your diet is having a well planned and healthy meal schedule. Three square meals a day, each packed with the necessary vitamins and nutrients are a must when dieting, and to forgo such a necessary step will only spell trouble on your road to progress.

Why the Food Pyramid is Outdated

Do you remember the food pyramid from you grade school days? You may be shocked to find out that it has remain nearly unchanged for decades despite the loads of nutritional discoveries unlocked by researchers over the years.

You may recall that grains (bread, pasta, rice) are situated at the base of this pyramid. For two decades, the United States Department of Agriculture itself recommended that upwards of half of your diet should be derived from from carbohydrates.

This is, by no means, good advice.  The American educational system as well as government sponsored organizations are not receptive to new information apparently. It takes years or even decades for them to amend their recommendations to reflect the information that is revealed and commonly accepted by the scientific community. This is quite travesty if you ask me.

USDAHowever, the USDA did introduce their “my plate” system that is, relative to the archaic food pyramid, quite great. In the My Plate system, United States of Department of Agriculture is recommending that vegetables and fruits account for about half of your diet and that grains make up a more reasonable 30%.

The USDA also is now recommending that protein make up of 20% up of your diet, a marked increase from their previous recommendations.

That said, there are a number of things that the USDA could have done better with regards to their “My Plate” system.

Firstly, the My Plate system does not feature healthy fats such as organic dairy products, nuts, and oils. These healthy fats serve as a vital component of a health diet and should be consumed much more than the old food pyramid recommends.

Secondly, grains should account for about a sixth or 15% of your diet. Research has shown that you should be try to eat grains for breakfast and after a workout.

Additionally, try to increase your protein take to about 35% from the recommended 20%. There are a number of benefits from consuming more protein such as decreasing body fat, increasing muscle, increasing the thermic effect of feeding, and more.

The Metabolic Race

We all have that one friend. You’ve seen him eat entire pizzas, you’ve watched him wolf an entire birthday cake, but he somehow remains thin. Our metabolic rate governs our waistline like a dictator ruling over their country. While some metabolisms may be more proactive, burning food like logs in a furnace, others are slower, taking their precious time with what’s given. But not all is out of your hands.

Sadly, crash dieting has become normal for the general public. The ups and downs of a shifting diet can wreak absolute havoc on your metabolism. Imagine your body as a finely tuned car, and multiple diets as different types of fuel, doing little more than damaging the inner workings of your system with its ever-changing qualJosh Bezoniities. Crash dieting can slow your metabolic rate to a crawl, and snapping back to old habits will not only bring the weight back but pile it on with a vengeance.

Dr. Rudolph Leibel, the leading researcher at Rockefeller University and world-renowned obesity expert, found that there is a quantifiable difference between those who crash diet and those who took the time to establish healthy eating habits. Not only were the metabolic rates of the “crashers” 25% lower than their counterparts, the damage done to their metabolism set their body to the rhythm of someone nearly half their size.

The human body is a complex system of chemicals and hormones, each working together to ensure we keep moving forward. Crash dieting can not only damage your metabolic rate, but it can alter your vital hormone makeup. By drastically reducing a daily diet, the human body will begin to lessen its production of fat-burning hormones. The thyroid, responsible for combating weight gain, can drop as much as 38% after two weeks of sustained low-calorie consumption. A week spent indulging in your old habits after your metabolism has dropped to these lows will spell doom for the progress you fought to earn.

No one is perfect. We do our best with what we’re given and make improvements when we are willing and able to do so. Though many remain the victims of their metabolism, there is an answer to the problem plaguing millions, and it’s simple. Eat well, eat regularly, and don’t subject yourself to constant crash-dieting. Not only is it better for your mind, it’s good for the body.

Two Sneaky Tricks to Fight Cellulite

fruits-veggiesBefore we dive into the steps of actually getting rid of cellulite, it is important to understand exactly what it is. It can typically be found in bum, thighs, arms, stomach. You might have noticed that these are the exact locations where stubborn fat tends to linger. Cellulite appears as if it s lump skin that is akin to the dimples of a golf ball. But on the inside, cellulite is simply a pocket of fat that is sitting directly under your skin. If these fat pockets are pushing against the connective tissue, it can create that golf-ball appearance. There are number of factors including, but not limited to, your background, your genes, age, lifestyle and more that have an impact on the degree of cellulite. It should be noted, however, that cellulite is much more common in women than men due to the presence of estrogen and females’ naturally thinner skin.

Tip #1: As a mother’s intuition suggests, vegetables and fruits are great, especially when you are trying to get rid of that pesky cellulite. However, moms probably cannot explain why. Vegetables and fruits are helpful as they are full of antioxidants that combat free radicals. Furthermore, they work to limit damage in the future as they create another layer of protection. Brightly-colored fruits and vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, berries, squash, broccoli, berries) tend to have the highest antioxidant content.

Tip #2: Treat your body right. While it may sounds simple, limiting your intake of toxins, which are quite common in today’s society,can do wonders for smoothing out your cellulite. Free radicals which are caused by stress, pesticides, charred foods, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and more can wreak havoc in our bodies. Try to reduce your intake of all these and start treating your body like the temple it is.