Chia seeds – Powerful Superfood

chia seeds

Source: Flicker/Health Gauge

Chia seeds have gained popularity in recent years. They are an ingredient in the Shakeology that I drink and I also use them to add to different foods (oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, etc.). They are a powerhouse of nutrition in each ounce of the tiny seeds. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat (mostly Omega-3), as well as a good portion of calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus among other vitamins and minerals.

I get chia seeds in my Shakeology but sometimes I add either extra chia seeds or flax seeds to my shake to add some extra Omega-3s and other goodness.  Chia seeds are native to South America. They are seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica – a relative of the mint. Chia seeds are considered superfoods because they pack an amazing amount of nutrition and they are very high in antioxidants. They are an excellent protein source and when ingested they swell which can help you feel fuller.

If you are interested in learning more about the superfoods in Shakeology you can check out my post here.

This is Day 26 in 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

My New Vegetable Discoveries

new vegetablesI love to try new vegetables. This week I found two new things to try. At Trader Joe’s I found something called kale sprouts. Apparently they are a cross between kale and Brussels spouts. They grow in a stalk like Brussels sprouts. I also found a bag of baby squash. It had green and yellow patty pan squash and zucchini. I have never tried patty pan squash and I’ve always wondered if I would like them. I sauteed the kale sprouts along with the squash with some onions and garlic. I added salt, pepper and some oregano that my husband grew in our garden. It was all delicious. I encourage you to try something new this week.

You can check out my other veggie posts to find some new ideas or rediscover some old favorites.

Turnips

Parsnips

Rutabaga

Bok Choy

This post is Day 25 in 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

 

Eating Healthfully When Eating Out

Source: Flickr/Sameer Vasta

Source: Flickr/Sameer Vasta

Eating out without blowing your diet

My family and I are going out to dinner tonight. Over the last two years I have made a great deal of changes in my nutrition. Many of the changes have become a permanent part of my lifestyle and aren’t even a struggle to maintain anymore. One of those changes is eliminating fast food. At this point I have no desire to eat at a fast food restaurant. It’s really a relief for that craving to be gone. I do still enjoy eating out though. Here are some tips that have helped me navigate the challenges of eating out.

Choose your restaurant wisely

Tonight we are eating at a Mongolian BBQ. I love this type of restaurant because there are plenty of healthful choices. You can get plenty of delicious food with full of great nutrients. I load my bowl with chicken and a nice variety of veggies. I go for lower calorie sauces so I don’t add a sugar punch to my dinner. The portions are too much food for just one meal so I save half for lunch.

I also enjoy going out to our favorite steak restaurant. It’s an easy place to pick my protein and choose my own side. I usually choose steamed veggies and I have a green salad to start. I find that the steak is so amazing that most of the time I don’t miss the potatoes that I used to add to my meal.

For lunches on work days I like a local burrito joint. They make your burrito to order and I choose to order it in a bowl instead of in a tortilla. I choose my protein and then add black beans, cabbage and other veggies. Top it off with pico de gallo and avocado and you have some great food with great nutrients. The bowl is enough for two lunches to me so it’s easy on my wallet as well.

Think about what restaurants near you make it easier to make more healthful choices.

Splurge on occasion

Sometimes it’s fine to just have a treat meal and not feel guilty. I try to eat clean 90% of the time so that I have room for a splurge every once in awhile. It has taken me awhile to learn that a treat meal doesn’t have to turn into a whole treat day. Every once in awhile I feel poorly after eating foods. This is a good lesson for me about where I can splurge and where my body tells me, “That’s not really right for you.”

Ask about substitutions

Many times restaurants are willing to accommodate substitutions for healthier choices. You can also have them hold back things you don’t want to be tempted with. For example, one of our favorite restaurants automatically brings bread and butter to the table. We ask them to not to bring it for us. We also ask for our dressing on the side and not on the salad. As above, I will generally ask for vegetables rather than a starch side dish. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want. The worst that can happen is that they may say no. They are usually happy to please the customer.

Beware the salad 

Read the nutritional information on the menu when it comes to salads. Many times it is surprising how many calories can be in some of the salads. I used to order a very delicious southwest salad until I noticed that it was almost 12oo calories. In fact, it was more calories than a burger and fries. I thought I was making a healthier choice but it was loaded with empty calories.

If you like this post you may like more of my posts in the #write31days challenge titled 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

Mindful Eating

mindful eating

Source: Flickr/Bruce Tuten

Mindful eating can be an important part of your fitness journey.

Mindful eating is one area that I have lots of room for improvement. I am guilty of eating too quickly and many times I don’t even really taste my food. I drink my breakfast smoothie at work at my desk while I’m working. I do better at lunch when I eat with my coworkers. Then at dinner I eat in front of the TV. As a result I think I sometimes overeat because I’m not paying attention to what I’m eating. Many times I don’t take the time to really taste and enjoy my food. I may miss the “I’m full” signal when I’m not paying attention.

Tips for mindful eating:

  • Reduce distractions – sit at the table, turn off the TV, put down your smart phone – this will help you focus on the task at hand – eating
  • Take your time – focus on the appearance and the smell. Take the time to taste each bite. Enjoy the different flavors in your meal. Try to identify all the different seasonings.
  • Chew well. It helps you be more mindful and it’s better for your digestion. The digestive process starts in your mouth.
  • Fresh is best – enjoy the freshest, highest quality foods you can afford.
  • Enjoy your company – If you are eating with other people take the time to enjoy their company. Talk about the food – the appearance, the flavors. Thank the person that prepared it for you.

This may not happen for you all at once. It may be changing years of bad habits. Choose one meal to focus on at first. I think you will find that mindful eating will help you eat less and enjoy your food more.

This post is day 22 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

 

Getting Enough Protein for Weight Loss

proteinAre you getting enough protein?

Many times when trying to lose weight people skimp on their protein. They do it to save calories but what they are doing is, in fact, slowing down their metabolism. A good starting point is about 4 ounces at each meal and 2 ounces at each snack. Men and people who are putting on muscle may need more protein. Having enough protein also helps to reduce sugar cravings. For more information about the best sources of protein you can read my post here.

Here are some easy ideas to increase your protein:

For breakfast you can scramble 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white. 

One of my favorite snacks is some plain Greek yogurt with half a scoop of whey protein mixed in and a few unsalted nuts for a some high quality fats and a nice crunch. It is so good for you and feels a bit like dessert. Sometimes I’ll add a little fruit as well.

Organic, grass fed meats are a great option for protein.

My Favorite Nutrition Books

nutrition booksToday was a long, crazy day at work and I still need to get a post written. I thought I would post links to some of my favorite books on nutrition. I like to be up front – I am an Amazon affiliate so if you buy any books through the links in this post I will make a small bit of pocket change at no additional cost to you. But my personal policy is that I never recommend anything that I haven’t used (or read) myself. Feel free to buy your books from any source you choose, but if you buy through my links it just helps support this website. If you want to buy a different version (paperback, Kindle) it still helps to start from my link and then search for exactly what you want. So on that note, let’s move on to the recommendations.

[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0062267337″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cravifitne-20″]  This book helps break down the conventional “wisdom” and why it’s not working. The author, Jonathan Bailor has reviewed more than 1000 research studies to break down nutritional information into simple guidelines. If you only buy one book on nutrition, this would be my number one choice.

[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1609614798″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cravifitne-20″]  

 

 

 

[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1936608391″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cravifitne-20″]

 

This book was a very important part of my nutrition journey. Cutting out wheat was instrumental to breaking through a very difficult plateau. The book helped me to understand why wheat and other gluten containing foods were not best for me. Once I fully understood that I was able to break free from my bread and pasta addiction. Now when I eat foods that I have eliminated from my diet, my gut tells me that I made a mistake.

 

 

 

 This book is an incredible resource. It is part nutrition book, part picture book and part encyclopedia. If you have any type of autoimmune disorder I highly recommend this book. If you don’t have an autoimmune disorder but you have questions about the paleo diet, I highly recommend this book. I don’t think you will find a more complete resource. Parts of it are very scientific and much of it is very simple to read. 

Diabetes Survival Skills – Recognize and Treat Hypoglycemia

hypoglycemia symptoms

Source: Flickr/sriram bala

Fast Recognition of Hypoglycemia Symptoms is a Vital Diabetes Survival Skill

Recognizing hypoglycemia symptoms is one of the most important diabetes survival skills. Unfortunately many people are put on diabetes medicines that have a risk of hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar) and they are never taught to recognize the symptoms or what to do about it. Glucose (blood sugar) is the body’s source of energy. Hypoglycemia means that there is not enough energy to meet the body’s needs. If this is not treated appropriately there is a possibility that this can progress to a medical emergency.

Hypoglycemia symptoms

Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar drops below 70. Most people feel symptoms when the blood sugar drops below 60. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are related to one of two causes. Some of the symptoms are the result of the body not having enough glucose for energy needs. These are symptoms like confusion, fuzzy thinking, sleepiness, irritability, impaired vision, anger, lack of coordination and other similar symptoms. Other symptoms are related to the fight or flight syndrome that occurs in the body because it recognizes hypoglycemia as an emergency. These are symptoms like shakiness, palpitations (rapid heart rate), anxiety, sweating, clamminess, etc. The person may also feel extremely hungry as the body tries to correct the situation. If not treated, hypoglycemia can progress to seizures, unconsciousness or even death.

How to treat hypoglycemia

Treating hypoglycemia symptoms is simple, especially if it is recognized early. Simply eat 15g of carbohydrates, rest and re-test 15 minutes later. If the blood sugar is still low, eat another 15g of carbs. You can buy glucose tablets or glucose gel at your drug store that serve this purpose. You could also eat any carbohydrate food like a glass of milk, soda (not diet), juice, crackers, etc.  Eat a small meal within the next hour. If hypoglycemia is so severe that a person has passed out or has become uncooperative they may need an injection called glucagon that would have to be given by someone else. People who experience frequent low blood sugars may have this medication prescribed. If this medication is not available, emergency medical services must be called.

How to avoid hypoglycemia

Some of the best ways to prevent hypoglycemia are to eat meals at regular intervals, take medications as prescribed and recognize and treat symptoms early before they progress to a medical emergency.

This post is Day 19 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

Nutrition Quotes

nutrition quotesWe struggle with eating healthily, obesity, and access to good nutrition for everyone. But we have a great opportunity to get on the right side of this battle by beginning to think differently about the way that we eat and the way that we approach food. ~ Marcus Samuelsson

Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set, and you’re working out, you’re going to feel good. ~ Jason Statham

You need to put what you learn into practice and do it over and over again until it’s a habit. I always say, ‘Seeing is not believing. Doing is believeing.’ There is a lot to learn about fitness, nutrition and emotions, but once you do, you can master them instead of them mastering you. ~ Brett Hoebel

Chronic malnutrition, or the lack of proper nutrition over time directly contributes to three times as many child deaths as food scarcity. Yet surprisingly, you don’t really hear about this hidden crisis through the morning news, Twitter or headlines of major newspapers. ~ Cat Cora

I cannot stress a greater importance than to teach the young generation about the risks of unhealthy eating. A great way to pique their interest in nutrition is to involve them more in the cooking process. They not only will learn to cook for themselves, but also develop a lifetime of healthy habits. ~ Marcus Samuelsson

Developing a diet that is healthful, balanced, and appropriate for your particular caloric needs is easy enough and is absolutely critical to establishing a healthful lifestyle that incorporates proper nutrition, adequate fitness, and mental resilience. ~ Daphne Oz

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”  ~Doug Larson

“Mainstream medicine would be way different if they focused on prevention even half as much as they focused on intervention…”  ~Anonymous

“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.. stay away from these”  ~Michael Pollan

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.”  ~Mike Adams

 

October Clean Eating Challenge

clean eatingDo you struggle with clean eating or knowing WHAT to eat? Do you need help avoiding all the holiday goodies? I am running a one-week clean eating challenge that starts on Sunday, October 19. We will provide the guidance and accountability so that you can have an amazing week. We’ll finish up just in time for the next weekend!

For one week we will be sharing with you meal ideas and a food list for you to move towards CLEANER EATING. You will benefit by learning what foods may seem healthy but maybe aren’t that good for you. We’ll take a look at what your metabolism is doing to either work FOR you or AGAINST you in your health/fitness goals. Finally, we’ll make sure you have recipes that will not only work for YOU but for your entire family (especially dinner ideas). Sign up for the challenge using the form below. I’m glad you are joining us!

In our previous groups the people that put in the work saw great results. 

One Week No Junk Food Challenge

no junk food challengeI am taking a one week no junk food challenge and I’d love to have you join me. Let’s take a 7 day break from junk food and break some bad habits. From October through December there are so many holidays and so many parties and events involving food that it’s difficult to stay on track. So let’s avoid the junk and start choosing healthier meals, sides and snacks. I will run a private Facebook group for the week so we can share ideas for healthier choices and support each other when we’re tempted by the goodies on the break room table at work or the leftover snacks in our kids’ lunches. Sign up below. We will start on Monday October 20.