Tag Archives: protein

5 Nutrient-Packed Foods for Healthy Hair

de5de856512394ea_shutterstock_96575575.previewMany of us assume that buying the best shampoos and conditioners will be enough to keep our hair looking healthy. These products do help to repair existing hair damage but don’t do much to promote new hair growth and cannot replace essential vitamins that we may be missing from our diet. There are certain essential vitamins and minerals that our hair relies upon, and a lack of these is often the source of many hair growth problems. Some simple changes to our diet can really make a big difference to the look of our hair.

Modern lifestyles can also have an impact – a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep, or even pregnancy can seriously make a difference in our hair health. Vitamin supplements have  been proven to help, but if you are looking for the most natural sources of these vitamins then here is a list of 5 food types foods that can help to provide those essential vitamins your hair needs.

Fish

Many sources site that salmon is the number 1 super food for healthy hair. This is because it contains a great combination of essential substances that our hair simply loves. Omega 3 oils help maintain a well hydrated scalp, and many believe this is essential to maintaining healthy hair growth. Oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3, and salmon is also rich in Vitamin D which is great for your hair follicles.

If you are someone who doesn’t like eating fish then certain vegetable sources can be a great way to get the omega-3 you need. Rapeseed, flaxseed, soya beans, walnuts, almond and even tofu are all good sources of Omega-3.

Vegetables with Beta-carotene

Beta carotene is present in many vegetables and provides us with a great source of Vitamin A. For many people who suffer from dandruff a simple addition of vitamin A to their diet can help solve the problem. Vitamin A helps to promote sebum oil which is our body’s natural conditioner for our scalp. It can also help with hair growth problems as it is said to assist with oxygenating our scalp. Sweet potatoes are known to be one of the best sources, and other vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and broccoli are also recommended.

Oysters

Oysters are also recommended to help fight scalp problems such as dandruff. A lack of zinc in your diet may even be the cause of hair loss, and oysters have a particularly high zinc content. Zinc helps promote the level of androgens in our body, and for some people a low level of androgens has been directly linked to hair loss. Crab, liver and beef are also good sources of zinc.

Eggs and other biotin rich foods

Our hair is essentially built using protein, a nutrient that has been associated with speeding up hair growth. Protein can be found in many types of foods, but eggs are one of the best sources. Another important mineral in eggs is biotin, and those who have a biotin deficiency may suffer from brittle hair. To prevent this, biotin has been proven to be effective from both foods and supplements if needed. Kidney beans and nuts such as almonds and even peanuts are also good sources of biotin.

Fruit and vegetables with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for both our hair and skin. Vitamin C helps keep our blood vessels oxygenated, which in turn keeps our hair follicles healthy. Super fruits such as blueberries have a very high level of Vitamin C, and strawberries and citrus fruits are also good sources. Many vegetables such as green beans, spinach and broccoli are good sources, and the old-fashioned rule of eating colorful vegetables can give you a good indication of a high vitamin C content, as well.

You may have identified that one of these essential sources of vitamins is missing from your diet, and that may well be the cause of a particular problem. If you are concerned and believe you may have a nutrient deficiency then simple tests at your doctors can identify what vitamins and minerals you may be lacking. This Women’s Hair PDF can also help you to diagnose any hair health problems you may have!

3 Ways to Rewire Your Brain and End Food Cravings

brainonstress

I’m a food addict. We all are. Our brains are biologically driven to seek and devour high-calorie, fatty foods. The difference is that I have learned how to control those primitive parts of my brain. Anyone can this if they know how. In this article, I will share 3 steps to help you counteract those primitive parts of your brain that have you chasing high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. But before you can update your brain’s biological software, you’ve got to understand why it developed in the first place.

Calories = Survival

The brain’s desire to binge on rich food is a genetic holdover from the days of hunter-gatherers. Given what scientists know today about our early ancestors, it makes sense that our brains are hardwired to fixate on high-calorie foods. It’s a survival mechanism. Eating as many calories as possible, whenever possible, allowed our ancestors to store excess calories as fat and survive lean times. That approach worked well for 2.4 million years, but today it’s making us sick and fat.

That’s because our brains haven’t evolved as fast as our food environment. The human brain evolved over 2.5 million years. And, with the exception of the last 10,000 years, people only ate animals they could hunt and wild-plants they could gather. Imagine if you could only eat what you caught or picked! The variety of foods hunter-gatherers ate paled in comparison to the 40,000 different food items we can buy in the average big-box grocery store today.(1)

No cinnamon buns for them!

And whereas we have easy access to food 24/7, drive-thru meals were not an option for hunter-gatherers. Not to mention that hunting and gathering was hard work. Early humans expended lots of calories acquiring their food, so they needed to eat high-calorie foods to offset the loss. The average hunter-gatherer got up to 60 percent of his calories from animal foods, such as muscle meat, fat, and organ meat, and the other 40 percent from plants.(2)

That balance between protein and carbohydrates in the diet is where the problem lies, but it’s not what you think. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap, but they are the single most important nutrient for long-term health and weight loss. But I’m not talking about bagels and donuts. I’m talking about plant foods that more closely resemble what our ancestors ate. Hunter-gatherers ate fruit, tubers, seeds, and nuts. These are whole foods. They are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease- and weight-busting colorful phytochemicals. They also take time to digest. Therefore, they raise blood sugar slowly, which balances metabolism and offers a steady stream of energy. Whole foods have all the right information and turn on all the right genes.

But the past 10,000 years saw the advent of both agriculture and industrialization. And, in the blink of an eye (by evolutionary standards), the human diet got turned upside down. Today, 60 percent of our calories come from things that hunter-gatherers wouldn’t even recognize as food. The bulk of those items—cereal grains, sugary drinks, refined oils and dressings—are simple carbohydrates.(3) The primitive brain sees an endless supply of easy energy. Left unchecked, our bodies pay the price. The result is a two-fronted epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our country—what I call “diabesity.”

3 Ways to Reprogram your Brain

Luckily there are ways to rewire the primitive parts of your brain by making good food choices. Here are 3 ways to get started.

1.) Balance blood sugar.

Blood sugar highs and lows drive primitive food cravings. If you get famished between meals, that’s a sign that your blood sugar is crashing. When blood sugar is low, you’ll eat anything. To better balance blood sugar, eat a small meal or snack that includes healthy protein, like seeds or nuts, every 3 to 4 hours.

2.) Eliminate liquid calories and artificial sweeteners.

Early humans didn’t reach for soda or fruit juices when they got thirsty. Sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Processed fruit juices are awash in sugar. Try sticking with water and green tea. Green tea contains plant chemicals that are good for your health. And, last but not least, don’t succumb to the diet-drink trap. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks fool the body into thinking it is ingesting sugar, which creates the same insulin spike as regular sugar.

3.) Eat a high-quality protein at breakfast.

Ideally, you’re eating quality protein at every meal, but, if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake help people lose weight, reduce cravings and burn calories.

Ultimately, you may not control your genes, but you do control what and how you eat. Since taking control and changing my diet, my brain no longer caves into the cravings and urgings that seduce the reptilian brain. The most powerful tool you have to transform your health is your fork! Use it well and you will thrive.

References:
(1) “What to Eat,” Marion Nestle, p 17
(2) “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets,” L
Cordain, et al American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 71
(3) “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets,” L
Cordain, et al American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 71

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

How to Make Nut and Seed Milk – 3 Ways

almond-milk-set-shot-1024x768If you’re interested in finding an alternative to dairy and soy milk – or just want a delicious, creamy beverage to sip on or use for smoothies and hot chocolate – then look no further than these homemade nut and seed milk recipes!

I’m outlining almond, cashew, and sunflower seed milk, to start off, though there are certainly others you can explore. Enjoy!

1. Almond Milk

I resisted making almond milk for years. I kept hearing it was easy, but somehow, I couldn’t get my head around it. I don’t like processed almond milk, so I thought, “how good can it be?” Wow! Not only is it simple, it is delicious. To me it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. Does it get any better than that?

Yes, it does, because it is actually really good for you too. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, calcium, folic acid, as well as the minerals magnesium, selenuim, phosphorus and zinc. Almonds are wonderful for maintaining skin elasticity as well as helping to lower cholesterol and being a good source of protein. Dates play a big role here too. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium and calcium and are a awesome natural sweetener.

Ingredients:

  • almonds – 1 cup, raw
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • himalaya salt – a pinch
  • medjool dates – 5
  • raw cacao powder – 1 tsp (optional; for chocolate milk)
  • honey – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

Put 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl, Fill with water.

In a separate bowl put 5 medjool dates. Fill that with water.

Soak them both overnight (or for at least 4 hours)

Rinse the nuts in cool water a few times. Do NOT use the water that the nuts have been soaking in. It will make the milk taste bitter. Rinse the nuts until all of the frothy bits are gone.

Put the nuts, the dates AND the date water into the blender. Make sure to take the pits out of the dates before blending.

Add 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of himalaya salt.

Blend

Strain the almond milk though a cheesecloth, a strainer with a paper towel, or a nut bag (yes, there actually is something called a ‘nut bag’. I can’t help but giggle when I say it) . That gets out all of the almond bits, so your milk is silky smooth.

This recipe yields approximately 4 cups of almond milk. The almond milk separates naturally, so give it a quick shake before you drink it. It will last for for 3-4 days in the fridge.

2. Cashew Milk

I think that cashews are a perfect food. They are so packed with essential minerals it hard to think of something they don’t do to benefit your health. These awesome nuts support your heart, brain, bone and nerve health. They are also good for skin elasticity as well as hair and nail strength. The best part is that they are a natural anti-depressant. In short, they make you feel good and look good. Did I mention they also happen to be delicious? Lucky us.

Cashew milk is the closest to whole milk in taste and texture. The thickness comes from the fact that this milk does not need to be strained the way that almond milk does. That also makes it much easier to make with less mess.

Ingredients:

  • cashews – raw -1 cup, soaked overnight
  • medjool dates – 4 cups pitted, soaked overnight
  • water – 4 cups
  • himalaya salt – dash
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Instructions:

Rinse the nuts under cold water until the water runs clear. Add all the other ingredients (including the water that the dates were soaked in). Blend until completely smooth.

Drink it, use it in smoothies or on cereal.

3. Sunflower Seed Milk

This one might not be for everyone. The sunflower seeds have a slightly bitter after-taste similar to that of sunflower seed butter. I tend to use it more in smoothies and on cereal. I drink it plain sometimes but my kids won’t touch it like that. “So why should I make this?” You’re probably asking. Because it is really easy, it is incredibly good for you and when you feel like it, you can turn it into a magical potion called Chocolate Cardamom Sunflower Seed Milk. For that, you will thank me.

Sunflower seeds are very high in trace minerals like selenium and magnesium. These minerals are an essential part of what keep our bones strong and our nerves calm. These seeds are also filled with Vitamin E which, like an internal sunblock, protects your skin from UV radiation. Sunflower seeds also help to sweep accumulated radiation out of your system.

I tend to leave my nuts and seeds to soak overnight. As part of my bedtime ritual, I soak whichever ones I plan to use the next day. It doesn’t take much time. You just have to remember to do it which is a task in itself. Once you’re in the habit, it is like second nature. Nuts and seeds tend to be difficult for your body to break down. Soaking them makes them infinitely more digestible.

Ingredients:

  • sunflower seeds – 1 cup, raw (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • medjool dates – 4 large (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • himalaya salt – pinch

Instructions:

Rinse the seeds under cold water until the water runs clear. Put them and all of the other ingredients (including the water the dates were soaked in) into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. It should be thick and creamy, like a milkshake.

What’s your favorite nut/seed milk? Let me know in the comments section and share your recipes!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

18 Healthy Snacks to Ensure You’re Never In a “Food Emergency” Again

Marcona AlmondsIt may seem as though we live in a land of plenty. Everywhere you look there are vending machines, restaurants, and stores offering an endless assortment of quick and cheap snacks and meals.

And yet, the reality is that everyday most Americans live in a constant state of emergency. Either they skip breakfast or they put themselves at the mercy of the local coffee chain feeding them high-sugar coffees and donuts or muffins or scones (which sound like a French health food but are really giant sugar cookies). And then, at work, there are bowls of candy and vending machines full of soda and on the way home, there are fast food restaurants and convenience stores luring you in. We live in a toxic nutritional wasteland where finding real, whole, fresh food is difficult if not impossible for most people to find.

What is a food emergency? When your blood sugar starts to drop, you are hard-wired to eat anything (and everything) in sight. To think you can use willpower to control your hunger or cravings contradicts the science of how your brain controls your behavior. The more willpower you use, the more it backfires, eventually. You find yourself automatically overeating and binging or just eating whatever happens to be in front of you.

But there is a solution, a simple, practical idea that most of us never think about: planning and bringing food with us.

If you were a type 1 diabetic, you would not leave the house without your insulin syringe or a packet of sugar. If you did, your life would be at risk. If you had a severe bee or peanut allergy, you wouldn’t go anywhere without your EpiPen. One sniff of peanut dust and you could die without your protection.

While you may not die in an hour, you will get sick and fat and live a shorter, poorer life if you regularly find yourself in a food emergency. You will repeatedly choose poor quality, high sugar, refined foods and eat more than you need.

Emergency Life Pack – Your Food Safety Net

That is why I recommend that everyone create an emergency life pack, a food safety net. Each person has to find their favorite things to include, and the choices are almost infinite. You need to stock your home, your travel bag or purse, your car and your workplace with key rations for any food emergency. What if you didn’t have time to have breakfast? What could you grab for the car? Or if you get busy at work, what can you find in your drawer to get you through the day? Or what is at the ready in the late afternoon if you start to droop?

I definitely recommend including protein snacks, because protein controls your appetite and balances your blood sugar over long periods of time. These are snacks that keep on giving but don’t give that quick rush and crash we get from most “snack foods,” which leave us even more hungry and tired. If you wait until you are hungry, you will make irrational decisions. Just set yourself up to make better choices by having good things around you.

Here are easy-to-make or easy-to-buy foods that you can grab and go anywhere with. We all travel out of the house frequently, and with a little bit of planning and shopping, we can stay healthy and keep ourselves out of food emergencies. Get a few glass containers with lids and Ziploc baggies to put your snacks in. Buy an insulated lunchbox or mini-cooler to put your food in. These are just ideas and you can innovate, but make sure you include food with good-quality protein and fats that are also low in sugar.

Things That Last Forever:

  • Canned wild salmon or sardines
  • Flax or seed crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Jerky (bison, grass-fed beef or turkey—try Krave or Grass Fed Jerky Chews
  • Salmon Jerky (Vital Choice)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut butter packets (almond, pecan, macadamia nuts—Artisana makes individual packs)
  • Coconut butter packets (Artisana brand is great)
  • Whole food or raw food protein bars (Raw Revolution and LÄRABAR are my favorites)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers

 Easy-To-Prepare On-the-Go Snacks:

  • Garbanzo beans with olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt
  • Hard-boiled omega 3 eggs
  • Hummus (Try Wild Garden single-serve packets that last a long time)
  • Cut-up carrots, cucumbers, peppers and celery in Ziploc baggies
  • Apple or pear

Treats:

  • Dark chocolate (70%)
  • Dried figs
  • Dates

Dr. Hyman’s Go-To Travel Food Emergency Pack

When I am on the road, I find it a dangerous place: airports, hotel mini-bars, bad restaurants, food deserts. My health is in jeopardy every time I step out of my controlled environment. So I bring food with me and make it a rule never to eat on planes or in airports (although increasingly, there is edible food in airports—you just have to know how to hunt and gather!). I never leave home without these things, and I keep a good stock in my pantry, so I can just throw them in my bag. They take up little space and pack a powerful nutritional punch.

  • Wild salmon jerky from Vital Choice or Patagonia
  • Grass-fed beef or turkey jerky by Krave
  • Packets of coconut butter and macadamia nut butter by Artisana
  • Raw Revolution protein food bars
  • Organic almonds
  • Organic macadamia nuts
  • Organic dates

For help creating your own emergency food pack, watch my how-to video here. Remember, with a little bit of planning, you can save yourself from food emergencies and stay healthy and well nourished wherever you go.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

What do you like to include in your emergency food pack?

Have you found some good sources of healthy, whole foods even while out on the road?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

5 Classic American Dishes Made Healthy for 4th of July!

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 1.12.33 PMHolidays almost always provide an excuse to have a feast, right? Unless the occasion calls for fasting, in which case a feast may come later. But for the most part, we celebrate, we commemorate, and we chow.

The 4th of July is no exception. This is a day many Americans spend grilling meat and veggies, squeezing lemons for lemonade, and making blueberry pancakes and apple pie. Because what better way to celebrate independence than to merrily flip hot dogs on the grill, surrounded by friends and family? It’s a bit of a stereotype, perhaps, but we’ll bet many of you have had at least one, if not many, Independence Days that exactly fit that bill.

The unfortunate reality is that many of the “classic American dishes” we enjoy on this and other holidays are not all that healthy, and some are downright vicious to our health. Luckily, there are ways to make some of these beloved recipes more healthy so that you and your family can enjoy an Independence Day feast without worrying about the consequences.

Here are 5 of our favorite recipes:

  1. For Breakfast: Eating pancakes for breakfast is kind of like having dessert in the morning, but it is a holiday, after all. To ease your mind a bit, these delicious blueberry lemon pancakes are made with half white flour and half whole wheat flour, which will at least add some fiber to balance out the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Enjoy with maple syrup, jam, butter, or just one their own!
  2. For Lunch: After that yummy, but heavy, breakfast you may want something light and green to munch on for lunch. Potato or pasta salad is typically the go-to picnic dish, but since we’re already enjoying lots of carbs and starch for breakfast and dinner, opt for something with more fiber. This kale slaw is the perfect choice for a light, refreshing midday meal.
  3. For Dinner: There’s perhaps no dish more classically American than a burger and fries. But this year, instead of wasting the calories on meat, cheese, and a big bun, get creative with this amazing veggie burger recipe. Lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts provide the main substance of the dish, packing lots of protein, fiber, and potassium. Serve these burgers with mustard, whole wheat buns, and sweet potato fries for something classically delicious and blessedly worry-proof.
  4. For Refreshments: It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re thirsty – you’re going to want something delicious and cool to sip throughout the day. Instead of buying juice or soda from the supermarket, make your own fresh-squeezed lemonade! It’s the only way you can control how much and what kind of sugar goes into sweetening your tasty beverage. This recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar, but try using maple syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar, or stevia as alternatives.
  5. For Dessert: Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream! Ginger, peaches, and the sweet coolness of a dessert you can savor as fireworks paint the sky above you. Try out this recipe and be prepared to never eat another flavor of ice cream again.

What are your favorite 4th of July recipes? Let us know in the comments section below!

Surviving Restaurants: A Guide to Healthy Dining Out

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 4.30.50 PMEating outside the home comes at a high price. We spend our hard-earned dollars upfront only to pay more at a later date due to hidden healthcare costs not seen on the menu!

Temptations from the food industry are addictive such as salty, sugary, high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods that negatively affect our health and take years off of our lives.  Real food is medicine – healing your body with every bite.

Ingredients that are not meant to be consumed either in moderate quantities, or at all, are lurking in generous amounts in restaurant meals. Owners of restaurants want to see you satisfied and return frequently which drives motivation to include these unnecessary and harmful ingredients. From hydrogenated oils, poor-quality fats, sweeteners, and hydrolyzed proteins to preservatives, additives, and bulking agents, there is a lot to beware of!

I travel a lot and have become a connoisseur at scoping out the good from the bad. I have spent years on the road promoting health through smart nutrition and have learned a lot. Unfortunately, my experiences have shown me mostly about what not to eat.

As a leader in functional medicine, a parent, and a concerned consumer, I want to know what it is I can eat. Sometimes you need to eat out and want choices you can feel good about! While I recommend you avoid doing so as best as you can, the following can make seemingly impossible decisions about what and where to eat easier for you.

Surviving Restaurants

Does all that fancy marketing and shiny advertising restaurants use to manipulate your emotions make you lose your willpower or wonder if you ever had any to begin with? If you feel like you lose control and get distracted from your healthy meal plan when you face a commercial, billboard or even a sign outside a restaurant you are not alone nor are you crazy!

The human brain is wired to be drawn to salty, sugary, and fatty foods – it is part of our survival. But luckily we don’t have to worry about famine, so the reality is we do not require these rich, high-calorie, and nutrient-poor meals.

In fact, those pictures of decadent cuisine are really false advertising. You’re promised luxury when in fact, eating junk food delivers you nothing but empty nutrition which leaves your body starving for real food.

While the restaurant industry wants our business, we do have the power to choose where we spend our food dollars. This is how to succeed the next time you are in a position to eat out:

  1. Choice. The more options you have, the better. Competition is a good thing when it comes to selecting a good restaurant. Look for an area that is bustling with a variety of choices for where you can eat.
  2. Quality menu. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a menu before you agree to sit down. Don’t be fooled by buzzwords such as “organic” which are used to get your attention. Remember, the ingredients are what matters – a candy bar can be organic but sugar will not reverse diabesity!  Scan the menu and look for keywords such as fresh, local, seasonal, organic, grass-fed and others referenced in the The Blood Sugar Solution.
  3. Go online before you stand in line. Most restaurants have their menus posted on their website. Choose a restaurant that allows you to plan ahead of time by checking out their menu at home or at the office.
  4. Slow food. These restaurants appreciate that you deserve high-quality food and provide flavorful meals that satisfy you from the inside out. Slow food is a celebration of life presented through food.
  5. Is your restaurant sensitive? Not about your feelings, necessarily, although that would be nice! Look for eateries that tolerate and cater to food sensitivities such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and yeast.  At the very least, inquire how flexible the chef is about modifying meals.
  6. Travel the globe. Ethnic cuisine tends to have those phytochemicals that are so important for health and for curing diabesity.

How to Order at a Restaurant

  • Be obnoxious! Be clear about your needs and do not accept any food that does not nourish or support you. Do not assume you are being impolite; you are simply taking care of yourself.
  • Have an opinion. Choose the restaurant, if possible, when dining with others. 
  • Tell the server you do not want bread on the table nor the alcohol menu. But do ask for raw cut-up veggies without dip.
  • Ask for water. Drink 1-2 glasses before your meal to reduce your appetite.
  • Tell the server you will die if you have gluten or dairy. Not a lie – just a slow death.
  • Ask for simple food preparation. Order grilled fish with an entire plate of steamed vegetables drizzled with olive oil and lemon. Always ask for olive oil and lemon in lieu of dressing.
  • Skip the starches. Ask for double vegetables.
  • Avoid sauces, dressings, and dips. They are usually laden with hidden sugars, unhealthy oils, gluten, and dairy.
  • Honor responsible portion sizes. Always combine a carbohydrate with some fiber, protein, or anti-inflammatory fats. Never carb it alone!
  • Focus on protein. Choosing your protein first is really helpful to ensure your blood sugar will be balanced and you will eat the right portion size.
  • Ask for berries for dessert.

Are you afraid of overdoing it when you eat out? Nobody likes to feel uncomfortably stuffed so it is important to remember how much control you actually have (even though restaurants don’t want you to think so)!

By avoiding some of the triggers listed above you are already doing so much for yourself. One other tip I want to share with you is the philosophy of the Okinawans in Japan  – hari hachi bu“Eat until you are 8 parts (out of 10) full”. By tuning into your hunger sensation you can listen for the cue your body sends to put the fork down at the exact moment appropriate for your body.

By eating until you are no longer hungry (not stuffed), you can empower your digestion to work with your metabolism to keep your hormones in balance and your waistline in sight! Each meal is an opportunity to bring health to your life and, luckily, we get many opportunities daily to help reach our goals.

Celebrate your life with the food you eat. I wish you happy, healthy, and confident eating – Bon Appétit!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

How to Balance pH for the Best Body You’ve Ever Had

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 5.04.26 PM

Summer is a season of renewal, and a great time to highlight pH balance, a critical factor in overall health, including maintaining a healthy digestive system, glowing skin, and a strong immune system. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance – in this case, between the level of acidity and alkalinity in your body. If your pH (short for potential of hydrogen) balance is too far in one direction or the other, it can be detrimental to your health.

I enlisted the help of  Dr. Jeffery Morrison to explain the specifics around pH balance, as well as easy dietary choices that help to correct imbalances. A leader in the Wellness field, Dr Morrison is a medical doctor as well as a nutrition expert. He heads up the Morrison Center in NYC and is the author of the book “Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind.

What is the importance of the acid/alkaline balance in the body?

Dr. Morrison: Our bodies work the best when we are able to maintain the proper pH. When the body is too acid or too alkaline, it doesn’t work optimally.

What causes an imbalance?

JM: Our bodies are very efficient at keeping the acid/alkaline balance, but if we carry too much stress and our acid levels get too high, then the body needs to work extra hard to maintain that balance, leaving little energy for healing and repair.

When the body is too acidic, the cells become deprived of the oxygen they need to efficiently deliver nutrients and energy throughout the body. To buffer the acid in our blood and maintain a proper pH, the body also needs to steal calcium from our bones and magnesium from our cells. That is why people who are acidic over an extended period of time tend toward osteoporosis, low energy, and shorter life spans.

If too much acid can hurt us, why do we need it?

JM: We need the acid to help fight infection. We tend to become acidic when we are fighting an acute infection like a cold or the flu or healing a wound. The body’s response to infection is inflammation. Temperature and circulation increase while oxygenation decreases; it’s like localized chemotherapy. As a consequence, acid levels increase.

This is why people tend to get really tired when they are sick. Cells need oxygen to make energy and the acidic environment inhibits the cells from getting that oxygen. This is a healthy response. We want this to happen. This is how our bodies heal. However, when this acute reaction becomes a chronic one, then we get into trouble.

What steps can people make to create more alkalinity in their body?

 JM: Eating the wrong food plays a big role in how acidic we are. People who eat processed food, drink soda, and eat candy tend to be more acidic. Other things that play a role in our pH levels are chronic infections, long-term use of prescription medications, too much protein, and stress.

food-chartWhat foods are best to eat to promote optimum pH?

JM: The best foods to boost your alkalinity are leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, and swiss chard, as well as some fruits. To shoot for an optimum pH, people should eat a diet that is 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Acidic foods like nuts, grains, and proteins are an essential part of your diet but should make up only 30% of your food intake.

What about non-dietary factors?

JM: The other things that people can do to reduce the acidity in their bodies are moderate exercise, stress management, and to drink plenty of water.

How can people find out if they are acidic?

JM: There is a very simple test that anyone can pick up in a health food store: pH Balance strips. You can choose either urine or saliva, but I feel that urine is more accurate. Use the strips with your first morning urine. If you test below a 5, then it is likely that you are acidic.

What will people feel when they switch over from being too acidic to becoming balanced?

JM: When your body’s pH normalizes, you will feel more energized and less achy. You will sleep better, your mind will be clearer, your skin color will improve, and your ability to fight off infections will increase. This is because your cells will have proper oxygenation which will allow your body to function at its highest level.

For more inspiration, here are 4 pH-balancing recipes:

Kale Chips
pH Balance Juice
Berry Kale Smoothie
Beet Fennel Soup

 

Chart credit: Better Body Choices

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips

How Many Insects Do We Eat Everyday Without Knowing It?

It’s kind of hard to practice mindful living and healthy eating when you discover that even seemingly benign products like canned mushrooms and chocolate contain…wait for it…certain accepted levels of insects! Gross, right?

BuzzFeedFood released this video which gives us some perspective on just how many creepy crawlies we may be ingesting everyday without even knowing it:

Pretty distressing, indeed. But according to Food Service Warehouse, it may behoove us to eat more insects, anyways. It takes 2,850 grams of carbon dioxide (measured in grams per kilogram of mass gain) to produce beef, compared with 1.57 grams to harvest crickets. Teriyaki crickets for lunch, anyone? This is no laughing matter, though, and some current research is seriously looking into harvesting insects as a sustainable alternative to animal meat as a protein source. Here is a portion of an infographic published by Food Service Warehouse that goes into further depth on this topic. Click the image for the full graphic:

Would you be willing to switch out hamburgers and club sandwiches for locust kabobs and grilled crickets? And what about those trace amounts of maggots and other insect fragments in our chocolate, spices, apple butter, and other food products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

photo by: CoCreatr

We Are What We Eat: Why Protein Matters

 

Calories, calories, calories. This is a concept we all know far too well, especially when trying to lose weight.

Our cultural obsession with cutting and counting calories makes it seem controlling caloric intake is a necessary evil to maintain a healthy body. This isn’t the case.

Calories are simply a measure of energy. They represent the energy our bodies need to grow, function, and work optimally.It’s easy to get fixated on calories alone when you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s important to remember that the type of calorie you’re eating is just as important as the number of calories you’re eating.

Why Protein is Important

So why are calories from protein so important? First, a short review of basic nutrition. We get caloric energy from our food. All food contains three macronutrients:

  • pink!Protein – 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram
  • Fats – 9 calories per gram

These are the only substances that provide calories besides alcohol. Alcohol is its own category and contains 7 calories per gram.

The body absorbs and uses these macronutrients and the caloric energy they provide in different ways. Protein is especially important for growth, tissue repair, and immune function. Our skin, hair, nails, bones and muscle are made from protein.

Protein is also critical in providing us with a feeling of satiety at the end of a meal, so our body can tell us when we’re full and when to stop eating. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when people ate high-quality protein foods (like eggs or lean meat) for breakfast, they had a greater sense of sustained fullness throughout the day than those who had not.

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Research suggests that diets high in complete protein (25% of daily calories) produce more weight loss than when complete protein is lower (12% of daily calories).

So what is a complete protein? Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. 20 amino acids are required for growth. Of these 20 amino acids, the human body can make 11. These are known as non-essential amino acids. The other 9 amino acids are essential amino acids. These cannot be made from the body and must be supplied from food.

Foods that have a combination of essential and nonessential amino acids are called complete proteins. If an essential amino acid is missing, the body breaks down its own proteins to obtain it from places like our muscles.

Complete proteins can be found in foods such as meat, eggs, and milk. The protein in vegetables, beans, and grains is not complete because it lacks one or more of the essential amino acids. However, combining one or more of these incomplete protein foods together can sometimes provide all the amino acids required for health, such as combining beans and rice.

How Much Protein?

The question of how much protein is ideal for weight management is an ongoing debate in the fitness and healthcare worlds. The general recommendation is 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calories. Since protein has 4 calories per gram, if you’re taking in around 2,000 calories a day, that would be between 200 to 700 calories per day, or 50 to 175 grams of protein. This is a wide window, and your personal needs will vary depending on your fitness or health goals.

Getting Protein On-the-Go

In our on-the-go lifestyle, many of us rely on bars, smoothies, and healthy snacks to get us through the day. Consider adding a scoop of protein powder to your morning smoothie or choose a nutrition bar such as thinkThin that contains 15-20 grams of protein, no sugar, and is Gluten Free.

See for Yourself

The numbers aren’t your enemies, they’re just an outward representation of the energy we need to live happy, healthy, and energetic lives. In fact, you can use the numbers as a tool to better understand protein’s effect on your body. Try keeping a food journal and tracking your protein intake for a week, noting feelings of satiety before and after a meal. Do meals when you eat more protein leave you feeling more full? Let us know your results!

 *****

t531926_10150626039362167_612246497_nhinkThin® created a whole new way to think about nutrition through an uncompromising focus on natural ingredients that support weight wellness and overall health. The #1 weight management bar in the natural channel, thinkThin® products are based on four key nutritional principles: high protein, no sugar, low sugar and gluten free. 

Try thinkThin’s all new Divine bars—decadently nutritious chocolate and coconut bars, thinkThin Protein® Bars to satisfy the on-the-go, active lifestyle or thinkThinCrunch® a fruit and nut snack bar. For more information on deliciously natural nutrition, please visit thinkproducts.com or connect on Facebook 

Quinoa – An Incredible (YUMMY) Grain – High Protein!

Kim DuessI recently cut out most bread products and pastas from my diet and I feel fantastic!  But I was getting bored with all my salad/bean/nut/fish dishes so had been on the lookout for new healthy meals and ideas.  A friend of mine suggested ‘Quinoa’ which I’d never heard of.

I bought my first bag of quinoa the other day.  Candy, the store manager, was telling lots of ways to cook it up and described it as ‘divine’.  I thought ‘how could this seedy looking food be divine?’, but I’m open to trying anything healthy so off I went!

Candy was right!  This simple food is just incredible and so versatile!  Once you’ve soaked and cooked it, you can throw it in soups, eat it cold in salad, throw some egg in it and cook it up, add veggies, or just eat it on its own (and so much more!).  Great to have for breakfast too.

Apparently you are supposed to soak quinoa for a few hours to help remove the outer shell.  This helps with digestion.  I haven’t done this but will do in the future.  You then cook much like rice – 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until done to your liking.

I found some fantastic information from this website article on quinoa.

  • Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
  • Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
  • Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
  • Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
  • Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

You can find quinoa in health food stores and in many grocery stores.

I am very grateful to have stumbled across this very health, yummy and versatile food!

To your health,

Kim Duess

 

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