The Veggie Secret

Hey there good lookin!

Today’s weight loss tip is one that I love and that I live by! It’s a portion control tip that’s sure to not disappoint. You’ll leave the table satisfied, satiated and full. You’ll feel great and have a rush of lasting energy that will help get you through your day. What is the mystical tip that can possibly do all this?

It’s simple. Fill 1/2 your plate with low carb veggies (sorry potatoes). Steamed, raw, sautéed, baked, stir fried, marinated, grilled…you name it, you can have it.

Veggies are oh-so-amazing for a variety of reasons. They:

1. Are chalk full of fiber (helps us feel full so we don’t overeat)

2. Are loaded with vitamins and minerals and other nutrients which our bodies can’t live without.

3. Are low in calories and fat (we can eat lots of them and not feel guilty)

4. Reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

5. Increase our energy

6. Help us have healthy skin and hair

Talk about nutrition powerhouses! These little beauties are packed full of these and about a million other healthy benefits.

So, really, there’s just no excuse not to eat your veggies!

What are some of your favorite ways to eat your veggies?

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Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – The Big “O” #1

Ok peeps, let’s get real. This is a major issue that’s important to talk about.

You may realize that this post in on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. I was so excited to post yesterday, but the topic I chose was WAY too big for one post. So, I decided to give you bite-sized nuggets in a three part series vs one ginormous post.

Part 1: Fruits and Veggies

I’m sure that somewhere along the line, you’ve heard the term “organic”. But, what does that really mean? And is it even that important? Is it simply a marketing ploy? Is it worth spending the extra money? Does it help you lose weight? Let’s find out.

Definition: Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms [GMOs], or ionizing radiation…[It] is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. -1

There’s a branch of the government called the USDA (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) and they have a National Organic Program (NOP). They send out certified inspectors to ensure the farmers meet the national requirements of the organic label. Processed goods also undergo a rigorous process to ensure quality.

Do you hear that? This is awesome news! I LOVE that there are strict, rigorous guidelines in place that make sure that the food we’re eating is actually clean and good for us.

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It’s the conventional (aka non-organic) stuff that bothers me. You know, the stuff filled with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, chemicals, etc. Well, what’s the big deal? How harmful can this stuff be?

The answer is simple, it’s a HUGE deal! These things are all toxins. That means they are poisonous (like, as-in-poison!) and VERY harmful to humans.

The United States uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides per year, but only .01 percent of that actually reaches it’s intended target – the bugs. The rest winds up polluting our food, air and water.

Pesticide exposure can lead to skin, eye and lung irritation, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, blood and nerve disorders, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Autism, hormone disruption, reproduction effects and even birth defects. -2

Some fruits and veggies have a ridiculous amount of pesticides sprayed on them. For example, hot peppers top the charts with a whopping 97 different pesticides sprayed on them to keep the bugs away. Apparently, some bugs really do like it hot! Cucumbers are high on the list at 68 and leafy greens are a close third at 66. -3

Think you or your child are allergic to a certain fruit or vegetable? Does your mouth get itchy and tingly? You could actually have an allergy to the pesticides on that apple vs the apple itself.

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Washing your fruits and veggies doesn’t work all the time. Even after a good washing, pesticides were still there on 63% of samples (according to the Environmental Working Group or EWG for short).

There are some fruits and veggies that have more exposure than others. The EWG tests samples of produce each year to determine their rating. The fruits and veggies on the Dirty Dozen Plus list include produce that you should try your hardest to get organic no matter what. They have above average pesticide exposure. The produce on the Clean Fifteen List include fruits and veggies that you can get away with. Get them organic if you can, but if it isn’t available, you can still get conventional and be ok.

Dirty Dozen (Plus):

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines – Imported
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas – Imported
  12. Potatoes
  13. Hot Peppers
  14. Kale/ Collard Greens

Clean Fifteen:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas – Frozen
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

There’s no way I would be able to memorize all these, especially since they change every year. Thankfully, the EWG came out with a free app called “Dirty Dozen”. So, next time you’re in the grocery store and can’t remember, don’t despair! There’s an app for that.

If you can, always opt for organic. Keep in mind that this list doesn’t take GMOs into consideration. If it’s conventional it may have GMOs present. Eating organic eliminates this risk all together.

Plus, because organic foods are more pure, they taste better. When things taste good, you want to eat them. When you want to eat healthy foods because they taste good, you’ll lose weight, feel amazing and love your life!  How is this a bad plan?

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Let’s talk cost. Organic food is a little more pricey. But, look at it this way. Pay your organic farmer now, or pay your doctor later.

Every time you buy something, you’re voting with your dollars. You are either supporting pesticides or helping the organic movement.

But don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. Find this stuff out for yourself. It makes it so much easier to eat clean (which helps you drop those unwanted pounds) when you truly understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

Sources:

1- organic.org

2-The Problem With Pesticide

3-Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – The Stress Monster

Hey ya’ll! This weekend, the hubs and I were in a mood to just go. Anywhere. Just go. So, we ended up on Alberta Street. We parked somewhere random and walked til we found a place that had a line and tantalizing smells begging us to come and eat their yummilicous food. That magical place happened to be Bollywood Theatre. Random, I know. I’m an Ayurvedic Chef, so middle eastern/ Indian cuisine intrigues me. We were not disappointed.

After, we ventured down the road a little ways to the infamous Salt n’ Straw for ice cream. The line was hecka long! But it only took a half hour or so til we were able to eat our delectable treats. Way back when, we saw Salt n’ Straw on the Travel Channel. They were featuring a smoked bone marrow and bourbon soaked bing cherry ice cream. Ever since then, Jon has always wanted to try it. Turns out it’s seasonal. He had to wait about a year for it. So needless to say, he was excited! I think he liked it. I never eat anything that can be transplanted, it’s my policy, so I didn’t eat any. Instead, I got an amazing carrot watermelon sorbet. It was fabulous.

The line...you can't even see it all!

The line at Salt n’ Straw…you can’t even see it all!

Now that I told you about our treat splurge, let’s talk about the weight loss tip for this Tuesday. In particular, how stress relates with weight loss.

Stress. It’s a normal part of life. Everyone experiences it, and it’s actually a good thing. Our bodies are always under some form of stress. Even when we sleep, our lungs continue to breath, our brain continues to be active. Stress increases our ability to perform. It’s only a negative thing when it causes damage to the body or mind due to us being revved up neurologically and chemically for too long. Here’s a graph that illustrates this:

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Picture in your mind a football coach. He gets to practice and he says,

”Ok you wonderful gentlemen, I would appreciate it if you would get your drills done. If it’s too hard, that’s ok, you can stop and I’ll still appreciate your effort.”

The players would feel no stress. They won’t reach their potential. They would stop when they started to feel uncomfortable, when things started becoming a little too hard.

Now, picture the opposite. The football coach comes to practice and yells,

“Ok you pansies! Get out there and get your drills done! If you don’t do them we’re going to do bleachers til you throw up and cry for your momma!”

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The players are going to do what the coach says because he’s holding them accountable and making them get things done. Some players will be able to run the fastest and the furthest. They will thrive. Look at the graph. They will be at their optimum performance.

There may be some players that aren’t up for the challenge. They’ve done too much and they’re not ready to do anymore, they have passed their optimum performance and are on their way down. Once they pass that point, they aren’t motivated, they don’t really care anymore and they feel gross.

Have you ever felt like that? Stressed for so long that it’s just too much? It’s not even worth it anymore?

Stress

It’s important for us to find that sweet spot. The spot where we can achieve anything we put our minds to, but not pushed to the edge. Each person is different. We need to find the place where we thrive and be aware not to go over that.

Let’s talk about cortisol. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of it. It’s the stress hormone. It is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress. This is part of our fight or flight mechanism. Once the alarm to release cortisol has sounded, your body becomes mobilized and ready for action. This was super helpful way back in the day when cavemen had to fight lions or wrestle alligators. Not so helpful for every day situations that we face now. If there isn’t a physical release for fight of flight, cortisol levels build up in the blood which wreaks havoc on your body.

If you have a build up of cortisol (which most of us do) it can lead to weight gain, difficulty learning, poor memory, increased blood pressure and cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease and lower your immune function – have you ever gotten a cold after being high stressed for a while?

Clearly, it’s critical for us to learn how to manage stress, because life isn’t going to stop throwing curve balls our way. There are several things you can try:

  1. Regular physical activity

-Get out and move your body! It’s one of the best ways to relieve stress!

  1. Socialness

-Hang out with people that you enjoy being around

  1. Laughter

-Oh yeah, laugh it out! Studies have shown that life is so much better when you laugh! Haha!

  1. Music

-Listen to your favorite songs that fit the mood you’re in

  1. Adaptogenic herbs

– Need more than just laughter and music to combat your stress? There are several herbs

that are phenomenal such as Ginseng, Lemon Balm, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha to name

a few.

6. Meditation and breathing exercises

-I absolutely LOVE meditation! There are so many different types! Check back on Friday for the

scoop on meditation!

My brother's pic from his mission in Africa. Looks like paradise to me!

My brother’s pic from Africa. So serene!

What are some of your favorite ways to de-stress?

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Work Those Chompers

It’s that time again! Our favorite day of the week! Weight Loss Tip Tuesday!!

Remember last Weight Loss Tip Tuesday? It was all about beans…anywho, I mentioned I would talk more about how important it is to chew your food. Well, today’s the day my friends.

Have you ever shared a meal with someone who scarfs their food down like it’s the first and last meal they’ll ever have? They inhale it so quickly and it feels like there’s been a whirlwind or a tornado in the room.

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My sister-in-law, Brandi took this epic shot. These were clouds right above her house before a tornado blew through town!

I used to love to see how quickly I could consume my food. Not anymore kimosabe, not anymore. Now I am frequently the last one to finish my food. I attempt to eat consciously and be present in the moment. It is so much more fun to eat now! I can actually look and feel and taste my food .

Ideally, you should shoot for between 30 and 50 chews per bite. Let me tell you, at first, it may feel weird and you may even hate it. But keep it up! I promise, the benefits definitely outweigh the weirdness. It’ll change your life.

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Did you know that digestion actually starts in your mouth? Ya, go figure! As you chew your food, digestive enzymes that are present in your saliva begin breaking it down prepping your body to absorb all the wonderful nutrients.

Chewing this way helps with portion control, which is a huge issue in America especially. Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered an entrée and had a dish that could literally feed a family of 4 presented to you? I know I have! Portion sizes are so skewed! It’s hard to actually know how much you should be eating. Chewing your food allows you to listen to your body. It may take some practice, but if you listen, it will tell you when it’s full.  

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Chewing also helps your beautiful pearly whites. Teeth need a workout too! Chewing helps to keep them strong. Bonus: the saliva produced when you chew also helps with plaque buildup and tooth decay.

If you chew your food, your body doesn’t have to work as hard so you’ll encounter less gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramping along with other digestive problems.

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Now that you’re not rapidly chowing down on your food, you have more time in between bites to notice things you never have. If you can, surround yourself with instrumental music or silence. Try to be mindful, look at your food, really look at it. Think about everything that went into bringing this food to your plate and into your tummy. Notice the smell. I know your mom probably told you to never play with your food but touch it, take note of how it feels. Now put it in your mouth and notice the movement of your tongue. Pay attention to the taste – describe to yourself what you’re tasting. Is it sour? Sweet? Juicy? Notice the texture. Swallow. Now, pause for a moment and take a breath. You did it! Now repeat! 

This can actually be a meditative experience. It took me a while, but now I don’t have to count every bite. Eventually you’ll be able to do this without having to put a lot of thought into it as well. It takes practice, but don’t stop! Keep it up!

 

Now, for the recipe that will blow your socks off…it’s a kick butt hummus recipe! Check it out!

 

 

What are your thoughts on chewing? Have you ever given it thought?

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/chewing-foods.aspx