FACEBOOK LIVE SERIES SUMMARY

FACEBOOK LIVE SERIES SUMMARY

Hello Everyone!

I just finished my Facebook Live Series and I want to provide you with a summary of what I talked about.

Facebook Live Series #1: How to Lose Weight After Menopause

5 Tips to slim down after menopause

We're live and we have 5 Tips to Slim Down in 2017. Ask questions or say hi.This is Part 1 of a 5-Day Series. If you missed an episode, like our page and visit us. PS: We'll be back tomorrow at 1 pm EDT, 4 pm EDT, Saturday at noon EDT, and Sunday at 12:30 pm EDT.

Posted by Dr. Carissa Alinat on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Although the average age for menopause is 51, some women experience symptoms as early as the late 30’s.

There is a period before menopause called “perimenopause.” This usually lasts 1-3 years until at least 12 months have passed with no periods and menopause is in full swing.

Symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, night sweats, skin dryness, loss of hair, slowed metabolism, and WEIGHT GAIN, particularly around the belly area.

 

Most women gain 10 to 15 pounds starting in perimenopause and then a pound a year after that.

 

Causes of menopausal weight gain include hormonal fluctuations, which cause food cravings, slowed metabolism, increased fat storage, and fat redistribution to the waistline.

Because metabolism slows around menopause, fewer calories are needed. However, many women do not change their eating habits or lower their calorie intake to match their changing calorie needs as they age.

Keep in mind that an extra 3,500 calories consumed will contribute to 1 pound of fat storage. That means consuming an extra 500 calories (equal to 2.5 bottles of coca cola) for 7 days will cause 1 pound of weight gain. Burning 500 calories per day through exercise (about a 2-hour walk) for 7 days will result in 1 pound of fat loss.

Which seems easier? Skipping the soda and having water instead, or walking for 2 hours?

5 easy ways to lose weight after menopause:

 

  • Cut down on refined carbs (they cause blood sugar and insulin spikes)

This means sugar, “white” foods such as potatoes, and refined products such as white bread and rice. The point is to keep your blood sugar levels steady. High blood sugar results in increased insulin hormone, which results in increased cortisol hormone, which promotes fat storage.

Carbs also cause water retention, which means walking around with a bloated belly area.

 

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Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

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  • Don’t eat low-fat foods.

Eating fat does not necessarily make you fat.

Eating healthy fats helps you lose weight because when you eat fat, your brain is signaled that enough calories are coming in, which makes you eat less. Low-fat foods do not have the same effect, and more calories are often consumed because you have to eat more to feel satisfied.

 

  • Exercise your whole body.

There is no exercise that targets the fat in one area of your body. Your body burns fat evenly, it won’t attack belly fat just because you’re doing tons of crunches.

By lowering your overall body fat, your belly fat will decrease. Doing core exercises, which are exercises that mainly use your abdominal muscles (sit ups and crunches) will strengthen your core/ build your muscles, which will give your tummy a tighter look if you’re also burning calories through cardio.

The best exercise for weight loss is a combination of cardio and weight resistance exercises.

 

  • Build more muscle.

Muscle mass declines with age, especially with menopause.

Keeping or building muscle is important for weight loss because muscle cells require a lot of energy (calories) to function. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to keep up.

Toning your body doesn’t require excessive weights. Just using your own body weight by doing planks, push-ups, etc., is sufficient.

 

  • Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep increases cortisol (the “stress” hormone), which causes fat storage.

Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. More is needed if you are exercising excessively.

The reason for this is because when you are tired and your body lacks energy, it wants the fastest source of energy, which is by eating refined carbs or “comfort foods.” That’s why most people crave carbs when they are tired.

Since menopause often causes sleeping difficulties, consider natural ways to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. These include drinking chamomile tea before bedtime, melatonin supplements, meditation, and removing electronics (TV, computer, etc.) from the bedroom.

 

Q&A

 

What about hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? Can it help with weight loss? Is it dangerous?

HRT is a treatment used to improve the body’s natural hormone levels. Most people know it as hormone replacement for women undergoing menopause, either in the form of estrogen-alone therapy (ET) or as estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT).

Years ago, HRT was being handed out like hotcakes. But then a study by the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 found that HRT had life-threatening risks such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. However, some experts say that HRT is making a comeback, and a few studies found that it actually has protective benefits for women who are early in menopause.

It has been said that bioidentical hormones are much safer than the original synthetic ones because they have a closer molecular structure to those made in the body, and are generally not linked to cancer.

Common bioidentical hormones used in HRT:

  • DHEA facilitates weight loss as it increases the body’s metabolism, inhibits body fat storage, and reduces appetite for dietary fats.
  • Estrone (type of estrogen): A deficiency of this hormone can make women particularly choose the wrong foods and crave sugar.
  • Growth Hormone is critical for the conversion of body fat to muscle mass, and it reduces visceral and subcutaneous fats, and inhibits the formation of body fat.
  • Progesterone: Progesterone therapy may be useful for treating excessive weight as it facilitates the utilization of stored body fat as energy. It is a sex hormone that when imbalanced makes women overeat.
  • Thyroid: T3, T4: Used for hypothyroidism. Often used to prevent or reverse obesity in individuals who are low in this particular hormone.

As far as weight loss goes, because HRT puts your hormones back into balance during menopause, it can help you lose weight, but you need to see your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you.

 

Doesn’t fat cause heart disease?

Not really. New research shows that heart disease isn’t caused by fat itself, but by too many carbs and sugar.

 

Listen to this scam: Back in the 1960’s, as sugar was gaining a bad reputation for potentially causing heart disease, the sugar industry dished out money to Harvard University to fund Project 226, which resulted in a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, an internationally-known prestigious medical journal. The article blatantly placed the blame for heart disease on cholesterol and saturated fat, to detract attention away from sugar.As a result, the word on the street came out that eating less cholesterol and saturated fat would prevent coronary heart disease, which we know is not exactly the case, based on current evidence. Consequently, it was recommended to avoid butter and limit beef, pork, and other fatty animal products, while eating more unnatural fats such as margarine and low-fat foods, which are often laced with sugar.

 

Finally, although it took many years, we now know that the most effective way of lowering cholesterol quickly and preventing heart disease is by avoiding added sugars.

However, I do recommend avoiding artificial trans fats. Trans fats are naturally found in meat and dairy, but trans fats that come from hydrogenated oils can be harmful. In fact, the FDA is placing a ban on trans fats, and companies have until 2018 to rid them from food products.

 

I really have a sweet tooth. How can I satisfy it without eating too much sugar?

Instead of eating something sweet as a snack on its own, have it at the end of a meal. It won’t have as big of an effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Cut down gradually. Instead of cutting all sugar from your life, cut one thing at a time. Soda, then the lattes, etc.

Don’t punish yourself. If you want a small treat, have it. Otherwise you’ll crash. I eat a piece of dark chocolate every single day. But I don’t eat the whole bar.

The average calorie needs for women during lifespan:

Sedentary

19 to 25- 2,000 calories

26 to 50- 1,800 calories

Age 50 and up- 1,600 calories

Moderately Active

19 to 25- 2,200 calories

26 to 50- 2,000 calories

Age 50 and up- 1,800 calories

Very Active

19 to 30- 3,000 calories

31 to 60- 2,200 calories

Age 61 and up- 2,000 calories

Facebook Live Series #2: Total Pantry Clean-Up for Wellness, Key Ingredients

Total Pantry Clean Up for Wellness

Join me and my chef hubby as we go through our own pantry and talk about ingredients we should or shouldn't have 👙. Like those M&Ms from Halloween, for instance 😄😂🔪 #health and #wellness

Posted by Dr. Carissa Alinat on Thursday, January 19, 2017

Have you ever heard the saying, “if you don’t want to eat the cookie, then put your hand in the cookie jar?” It’s best not to have the cookie jar at home in the first place!

Temptation is difficult, so if you want to eat healthy, it’s time to clean up the pantry and get rid of all the things you shouldn’t have in it.

And never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach… That leads to buying unnecessary and often naughty things.

Key ingredients that you should have in your pantry include:

 

Oil & vinegar

Clean up the oils. An absolute pantry essential is extra-virgin olive oil. Note that not all olive oils are created equal. If it doesn’t say “extra-virgin,” then stay away because it does not have the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil. Plus, it doesn’t taste as good. Keep a cheaper bottle for cooking and a nicer, more expensive one for salads

 

Carissa Alinat ARNP

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

Dijon Mustard

This makes a homemade vinaigrette super tasty! You can add as little or as much as you’d like.

Want to know how to make a quick, healthy, delicious homemade salad dressing and build a salad?

 

 

 

Sweeteners

Something that most people struggle with is how to find a sweetener suitable for weight loss. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll find these alternative sweeteners to be a pretty sweet deal:

  • Coconut sugar
  • Stevia (Truvia is a brand name)
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey

How to store vegetables and fruits properly

Leave fruits/veggies on the counter if they aren’t ripe enough. Make sure they are out of the packaging so they are able to “breathe.” To slow down the ripening process, put them in the fridge. Keep in mind that potatoes should never be refrigerated. It breaks down the starches which leaves them unpleasantly sweet and gritty. Tomatoes should be left at room temperature, as colder temps make them dull and mealy. Garlic should be left out as well.

 

Pasta, rice, and other grains

These carbs are often touted as the enemies of weight loss. However, there are some ways to make eating them less of a tragedy. First, make sure they are whole-grain. If the packaging doesn’t say “whole grain,” then they aren’t. Whole grain is important because it adds fiber which diminishes the effect on your blood sugar, which is better for losing weight.

Rice is not created equal. Rice with short, round grains have the highest amount of starch which negatively affects your blood sugar levels. On the other hand, rice with long, thin grains have less and are better for weight loss. Also, color matters. Brown or black rice is better than white rice. Also, sprouted rice is the best because it contains the most fiber.

Facebook Live Series #3: Sleep Better, De-stress, Slim Down, All at Once?

Sleep better, de-stress, slim down? All at once?.. Music to my ears. Join the convo!

Posted by Dr. Carissa Alinat on Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stress, sleep, and weight are all connected. What happens to one will affect another…

When most people are stressed, they tend to overeat. This is because stress causes cortisol “the stress hormone” to rise in the body, which causes food cravings, in particular carbs, and it also accelerates fat storage, especially around the belly area. Stress also causes sleeping difficulties.

The same thing happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Cortisol levels rise, you crave junk food, you gain weight..

When we’re stressed, hormones like cortisol flood our systems, producing the “fight or flight response” in which our heart rate goes up, we breathe more heavily (requiring more oxygen) and our blood vessels constrict.

While in the pre-civilization world, the increased blood flow to our heart and muscles helped us escape from predators and dangerous situations, but we find ourselves in a very different position now. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between an approaching hungry tiger and a ticked off spouse or a particularly epic traffic jam, so our stress response is triggered when there’s no imminent danger. Instead of helping us to escape, this can contribute to chronic conditions like hypertension and headaches, as well as mental health concerns like depression and anxiety disorders. And of course, fat storage.

The good news? Just as we have a stress response, we also have a “relaxation response,” during which our breathing slows, our blood pressure decreases and we even use less oxygen.

In order to sleep better and lose weight, you need to de-stress FIRST. Sounds kinda hard to do during times like these right? Working, maybe taking care of kids, trying to keep an organized home, cooking, shopping, paying bills….

However, I am going to give you a few tips on how to de-stress RIGHT NOW.

  1. Sounds a little counter-intuitive right? When you’re tired and stressed, your instinct is probably to lay on the couch and watch TV right? Well, if you can just push yourself to get out of the house and go for a walk around your neighborhood, even if just for 10 minutes, I can guarantee you will feel better than you did before. In fact, you might not want to go back home. Especially if you have a bunch of needy kids to get back to right? Ha. Exercise is great for de-stressing because it increases endorphins (“the happiness hormone”). Ever heard of runner’s high? That’s what causes it.
  2. Meditation really helps you take charge of your nervous system and emotions. It is “mind over matter.” Studies have shown that meditation improves the ability to regulate emotions in the brain, permanently!

When I was working in research involving Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which involves various forms of meditation, I saw first-hand the effects it had on the body and the results were amazing. Not only does it help you relieve stress, but it also improves your concentration, it increases self-awareness, it encourages a healthy lifestyle, and it slows aging. Stress causes you to age faster, so cut down if you want to stay young.

  1. Electronics-free day. Sounds impossible? You would be shocked if you knew how many times you check your phone texts, email, social media, the news, etc. It’s such a major distraction during the day, which causes you to get less work done and then work piles up and stresses you out. Take 1 day off (maybe a Sunday) and have everyone in your house put all electronics for one day, take off to the beach (if you’re in FL) or skiing (if you’re up north) and learn to breathe and relax and de-clutter your mind.

 Next are my tips for sleeping better…

 

 

  1. Get it all out. Keep a notepad and pen by your bed so that if you start to worry about things you need to do the next day, you can just write them down so you don’t worry about forgetting them, which will prevent you from getting a good nights’ sleep.
  2. Create a ritual. Do the same thing every night. Set a consistent bedtime, have some chamomile tea in bed, listen to music.. Consistency will help you.
  3. Avoid big meals, sugar, and alcohol before bed. Meals high in protein will have a negative impact on your sleep. The same goes for foods high in sugar, which includes alcohol. If you’re very hungry before bed time, have a small snack that is easy to digest.
  4. Avoid energy drinks and don’t drink caffeine after 4pm. Besides being loaded with sugar and nasty chemicals, energy drinks can obviously kill your sleep. It takes caffeine a long time to exit your body, so try not to have coffee, tea, or anything with caffeine after around 4pm.

By de-stressing and sleeping better, you’ll have an easier time losing weight. You’ll have more energy, you’ll be able to make better food choices, and you’ll have less cravings.

 

Facebook Live Series #4: What Exercise is Best? What Works, What Doesn’t?

What exercise is best? What works? What doesn't? These are the latest science based tips on working out and slimming down. Join me LIVE and ask questions. 😉🏃🏻‍♀️👙👍

Posted by Dr. Carissa Alinat on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Years ago, when I first started working out, I really had no idea about what I was doing. But, I was working out and that made me feel good.

However, I was heavier than I am now (YES, it’s true! I gained 50 pounds with each of my first two pregnancies, and although some of the weight came off, I was consistently wearing a size 10). Now I am a size 2-4 depending on brand, but not through exercising a ton, just by exercising the smart way and eating the right foods.

Anyway, back then I was working out a lot but I wasn’t really seeing much of a difference. I was intimidated by all the gym equipment, was afraid I looked stupid and people would notice how my butt jiggled when I ran on the treadmill, etc. So I did the SAME thing every day. Didn’t try anything new.

 

Now I know that:

 

  1. You have to mix things up. If you keep doing the same thing and use the same muscles, your body gets used to it and doesn’t really change. I was also doing just cardio.

    Well, I discovered that the magic formula for burning fat (besides through what you eat, because honestly I think that is more important), is a combination of cardio and weight resistance with core exercises. The cardio gets your heart pumping, the weight resistance helps build muscle, and the core exercises tone your belly area.

When I say cardio, I mean walking, running, swimming, chasing your kids, anything that gets your heart rate up.

When I say weight resistance, I mean lifting weights (or your kids) or using your own body weight, like push ups, squats, etc.

When I say core exercises, I mean weight resistance exercises that mainly use your abdominal muscles, like crunches and sit ups.

So by doing a combination of these exercises, you will burn calories and build muscle, which will increase your metabolism and burn fat.

 

2. ENJOY what you do. I’m not going to say one type of workout is better than another. Because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to stick to it. If you hate running, but run for cardio, that’s not going to last too long. Find exercises that you think are fun.

 

3. What I have found to be the most effective is to alternate cardio days with weight resistance days. For example, you go for a walk/run on M, W, F, and you do weight resistance on T, R, and Sat. Then have Sunday off.

If you do weight resistance two days in a row, only work your upper body on one day and then your lower body the next. This gives your muscles a little time to repair themselves and become stronger. The soreness you feel after a workout is because intense lifting causes microscopic tears to form in the fiber and connective tissue of muscles. People used to think it was from build up of lactic acid, but research shows that that’s not really the case.

Your body needs a little time to repair these tiny tears and make your muscles stronger. That’s also why it’s important to eat protein after a workout. Your body needs it to repair and build your muscle.

 

With that being said, ladies, don’t worry about building muscle and turning into a muscular beast. We just aren’t built that way, it’s not in our DNA.

A little side note on exercise and eating. Sometimes I hear people say, I am working out SO MUCH and I’m doing both cardio and weight resistance. I am not losing weight. When I hear this, I immediately ask, what have you been eating?

It usually turns out that because they’ve been exercising so much, they’ve been really hungry and have made up for those burned calories with new calories that they ate, usually in the form of snacking throughout the day.

Remember that when you burn calories, your body wants to make up for it. This is because of evolution. We have fat as stored energy, to use in times of crisis when there’s no food around.

However, we don’t need to store much fat anymore. We have a McDonalds on every corner. Starbucks with 900 calorie lattes. There’s food everywhere!

When you exercise a lot, you need to eat more protein to stay full longer, and you need to be cautious of snacking. Eat 3 solid meals a day. Enough so that you aren’t hungry between meals, but not so much that you feel stuffed. Some people think 5-6 smaller meals a day is better, but it’s kinda hard to know what “small meal” is, and it’s often not very effective. Also cut down on sugar to keep your blood sugar levels stable so you can burn fat.

 

4. Burn your own fuel before adding more in. One last thing, I am sure everyone has heard that you should eat carbs before a workout to give you more energy. However, your body best burns fat when you are in a fasted state, meaning you have not eaten, and your blood sugar levels are low. This is the most efficient state of being for burning fat.

 

5. I find that this is easiest to do first thing in the morning. You’ve been sleeping all night and haven’t eaten since last night’s dinner, probably not feeling super starving. You wake up, drink a big glass of water, and then do your workout. Then have breakfast. You’ll also be surprised at how much energy you have to work out.

Some people think they won’t have the energy to work out without eating first. But in the morning, as your cortisol levels rise after waking up, you should have a bit of a natural boost. I don’t find the same effect in the afternoon or evening.

Facebook Live Series #5: How to Cook FORBIDDEN Foods!

 

How to cook "forbidden" foods for a healthy diet

Hi Guys! Did you know that pasta, rice, and even potatoes CAN help people slim down? It's true, but under special conditions. Watch the live to get the cooking secrets. 😉🔪🍷🏃🏻‍♀️👙

Posted by Dr. Carissa Alinat on Sunday, January 22, 2017

This might possibly be the BEST Facebook Live video I have!

First of all, I brought in a very special guest, my French Chef husband, Chef Gui! Who happens to be an expert at cooking healthy delicious meals. He’s not too hard on the eyes, either ; )

I am sure you have heard that pasta, rice, and potatoes are a no-no for weight loss. They kinda are, BUT there are some ways to get around it.

 

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

1. Choose the right type of potatoes. Instead of buying the big, bulky potatoes (the ones you use for ‘baked potatoes’), buy smaller, waxy potatoes and leave the skins on. Smaller potatoes have more fiber per cubic area because there is a higher skin versus starch ratio. The skin of potatoes is what adds fiber. Your body can’t digest fiber, so it’s good for weight loss.

2. Choose the right type of rice. Rice is not created equal. Rice with short, round grains (such as arborio rice) have the highest amount of starch which negatively affects your blood sugar levels. On the other hand, rice with long, thin grains (such as basmati rice) have less and are better for weight loss. Also, color matters. Brown or black rice is better than white rice. Also, sprouted rice is the best because it contains the most fiber.

3. Choose the right type of pasta. Make sure it says “whole grain” on the packaging. Whole grain pasta has more fiber, which is better for weight loss.

4. Boil Hard in Plenty of Water. Bring the water to a big, rolling boil before adding in the pasta, rice, or potatoes. Also, cook in plenty of water. Starch will exit the food and needs a place to go.

5. Cook “Al-Dente.” Cooking pasta “al-dente” means cooking it for the shortest amount of time. It should say how many minutes on the packaging.

6.Rinse pasta. Rinsing pasta under cold water after cooking will remove some of the extra starch. Just don’t tell your Italian grandmother what you did 😉

7. Cook and Chill. After cooking pasta, potatoes, or rice, chill them in the refrigerator. Serve as a cold potato or pasta salad, or add cold rice to a garden salad. When you eat them cold, they have less of an effect on your blood sugar levels, which helps with weight loss. Also, even if you cook and then chill, and then cook again, it is still beneficial. The reason for this is because the molecular structure of the starch changes.

8. Add More Fiber. Toss in some spinach, kale, asparagus, or other fiber-rich vegetables. Unshelled nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts are also a great addition.

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HOW TO LOSE MENOPAUSE BELLY FAT

HOW TO LOSE MENOPAUSE BELLY FAT

If you’re a woman in the late 30’s to 50’s and are concerned about menopause belly fat, then you want to read this.

As you get older, you might notice that it becomes harder to lose weight and fat seems to prefer gravitating toward your waistline, also known as the dreaded “Menopausal Muffin Top,” “Menopausal Potbelly,” or “Menopause Belly Fat.”

 

 

HOW TO LOSE MENOPAUSE BELLY FAT

In fact, research has found that 90% of women gain extra weight between ages 35 to 55.

Most women gain 10 to 15 pounds starting in perimenopause (the time “around” menopause), and then a pound a year after that.

Thank you, hormones!

MENOPAUSE BELLY FAT

Although women often experience menopause belly fat, men can also experience an increase in belly fat with age, due to declining levels of testosterone.

Not only does a little extra fluff around the middle cause body image issues, but menopause belly fat can have a negative impact on your health.

Before I tell you what to do about weight gain and menopause belly fat, I want to give you an understanding of the basic science surrounding it all.

 

What Is Peri-menopause?

Peri-menopause is also called “pre-menopause,” and is the stage before menopause, which can last for around 10 years until full menopause takes effect. Some women begin this phase starting as early as their late 30’s, which is the result of a normal change in hormone fluctuations as we age.

 

What Is Menopause?

You are considered to be in menopause when it has been at least 12 months since you had a menstrual period. This can happen in your 40’s but the average age is 51 in the United States. This menopausal stage takes, on average, 1-3 years.

 

What Happens To Your Hormones?

Hormones act as messengers in your body, travelling through your blood stream to tell all of your body systems what to do.

The most important hormone involved in menopause is estrogen, which controls your menstrual cycle and fertility. Estrogen is mainly produced by your ovaries but is also produced by fat cells and the adrenal gland.

Fluctuating levels of estrogen are the main cause of all those nasty menopausal symptoms.

estrogen

However, other key player hormones in menopause include progesterone and testosterone (yes, it’s not just for men!). Progesterone and testosterone are both also produced by your ovaries and adrenal glands.

 

Peri-menopause and Menopause Can Cause:

  • Slowed metabolism
  • “Menopause belly fat”
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety and/or feelings of sadness
  • Migraines
  • Vaginal dryness/painful sex
  • Heart palpitations
  • Thinning hair and dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Hot flashes and mood swings
Menopause

 

What Makes Symptoms Worse??

If you aren’t supporting your hormones with proper nutrition and lifestyle habits such as stress management, menopausal symptoms can become worse.

 

Why?

Because all of our systems (digestive, endocrine, etc.) are connected. What we eat affects how we feel. How we feel affects how we eat.

Menopause weight

 

What Causes Menopausal Weight Gain?

Although weight gain can be caused by a number of things, the most common cause of menopausal weight gain is the breakdown in communication between hormones and fat cells.

 

Carissa Alinat ARNP

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

Our hormones are responsible for sending signals to our fat cells to store fat. During menopause, our hormones get out of whack, and that communication breaks down, causing changes in metabolism (slows down), digestion, appetite (carbs, carbs, carbs!) and heat regulation (hello, hot flashes!).

Because of this, women going through menopause have food cravings that lead to more calories taken in than needed.

Remember, our metabolism slows down so we don’t need to take in as many calories than we did in our 20’s, but our appetite doesn’t know that yet. In addition, fat cells decide they want to start storing more fat and don’t want to let it go.

 

So, Why Is Everything Gravitating Towards My Midsection??

 

  • Belly Fat Hormones: Insulin and Cortisol.

Key players in fat storage, particularly in the belly area during menopause, are insulin and cortisol. There are many ways that these hormones can interact to cause your body to store more fat.

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that controls your blood sugar levels and is influenced by the food you eat. It is responsible for telling your cells that they can use the sugar (glucose) in your blood stream for energy. When you eat foods that are high in sugar, or processed foods such as white flour, your blood sugar levels rise and insulin levels rise too, to tell your cells to use up that sugar.

However, if levels remain high, a vicious cycle can begin between insulin and cortisol.

When insulin levels increase, cortisol is also increased. Cortisol (the “stress hormone”) is also known to cause the body to store more fat, especially in the belly area.

Insulin and cortisol function in a bi-directional loop, so that insulin increases cortisol, and cortisol increases insulin. It’s pretty hard to get out of that cycle!

In addition, insulin resistance can occur if your blood sugar and insulin levels remain high for a long time (you keep eating too much sugar or carbs). Your cells have a difficult time taking in the glucose to use it as fuel, so it begins to build up in your bloodstream.

Since your cells are having such a hard time using that energy, they starve and send out stress signals.This is where cortisol comes in to play again. Cortisol is a hormone that responds to stress, which causes fat storage.

Also, any extra sugar that isn’t used and is floating around in your blood is sent to the liver to be store as glycogen for use at a later time, and if there is too much, it is stored as fat.

 

  • Fat Redistribution

As fat was once stored in the hips, thighs, and buttocks as a reserve for breastfeeding, it’s no longer needed for that purpose as we hit menopause. Fat moves to the abdominal area instead and becomes visceral (deep belly) fat, which can cause inflammation in the body and can increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

As a general rule, if your waist is greater than 35 inches around, you have too much “toxic” belly fat.

 

What Can I Do to Prevent or Lose Menopausal Belly Fat?

 

  • Exercise Your Whole Body, Not Just Your Belly

There is no such thing as an exercise that “targets” belly fat. Doing sit-ups and crunches alone will not give you a slim waist.

To lose belly fat, you need to exercise your whole body. By doing this, you will lower your body fat percentage. The lower your body fat percentage becomes, the smaller your belly will become.

The magic formula for reducing belly fat is a combination of cardio, core, and weight-lifting exercises. Cardio workouts burn the most calories, while core exercises strengthen your abdominal muscles, giving your belly a tighter appearance. Weight-lifting exercises build more muscle that will burn more calories, while toning your body.

I don’t want to be sales-y, but I do have an 8-week exercise program that includes this magic formula. It comes with a 60-day guarantee, so if you don’t like it, you’ll get every penny back. It’s pretty cheap anyway.

 

  • Build More Muscle

Muscle mass declines with age. Muscle cells use up a lot of energy. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body needs. If you don’t take enough calories in to keep up with demand, your body will use fat as a source of energy and you will lose weight.

 

  • Eat Properly

Cut carbs. Carbs draw water into your body, causing bloating and fat storage, which loves to occur where you want it the least: your belly area.

Eat whole ingredients and avoid processed foods. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and other great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

 

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Don’t cut out the fat. Eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, eating fat can help you lose fat.

My husband is an amazing French chef, who has helped me eat properly and I lost A LOT of weight since I met him. He helped me create meal plans and healthy cookbooks with delicious recipes that help with weight loss and use whole, nutritious ingredients.

 

  • Watch Your Blood Sugar.

Get your blood sugar levels tested regularly, especially if you are overweight.

If you are over 45 years old, your health care provider should test your blood sugar levels every 3 years.

At any age, if you have risk factors for high blood sugar and diabetes, your health care provider may check your blood sugar more often.

High risk factors include being overweight, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or poly-cystic ovary disease, having a close relative with diabetes, or being a member of a high-risk ethnic group.

  • Detox Your Liver

Do you remember when I said earlier that too much sugar in your bloodstream is sent to the liver to be stored as glycogen, which can then be turned to fat? That’s why detoxing your liver is important!

There are plenty of detox products out there. And I have tried a lot of them. Supergreens drinks are pretty popular and honestly, I think that in this day and age of junk food and toxins, everyone should drink them.

Every morning, I drink MetaboGreens 45X.

I WANT THIS

I have tried other supergreens drinks but NONE taste as good as this one. In fact, I can’t even stomach the other ones on the market. This one tastes sweet, although there’s no sugar. It doesn’t taste “green” at all.

 

  • Love Yourself!

If you don’t love yourself, regardless of how you feel about your body, you’re not going to have the strength to lose weight or get rid of belly fat.

No matter what your body looks like now, you need to think about how you got there. Life is a war-zone.

With stress from trying to balance career and family, going through pregnancy and childbirth, unfortunate events such as loss of a loved one, or dealing with other very difficult issues, we are only human and can only do so much and can only handle things the best we can. Stress can cause bad eating habits as a way of dealing with it, leading to weight gain. Remember that you have been through a lot, so thank yourself for pulling through.

Now it’s time to care for yourself and put you FIRST. You deserve it.

 

  • Get Hormonal Support

There are natural, healthy, supplements out there that can support your hormone levels, which may help you prevent or get rid of that stubborn menopausal muffin top.

I personally love and recommend BioTrust Ageless Body. Research found that the super nutrients in their formula reduce cortisol (the belly fat hormone) levels over 6 times lower. PLUS, it rolled back up to 17 years of degenerative cellular aging, and improved skin and sleep (the things that start declining with age!).

 

  • Get Social Support

 It’s not easy to eat healthy and exercise when no one else is doing it around you. Call up a friend or convince your partner to join you.

A little support goes a long way.

Plus, it’s nice to hear from other women who are going through the same things.

 

  • Get Some Sleep

Yes, that doesn’t sound easy when menopause can cause sleep difficulties. There are some natural ways that you can help you, though.

Drinking chamomile tea right before bed can work wonders.

A supplement called Melatonin can also really help a lot. Just make sure you get one that is time-released, so that you not only can fall asleep, but also stay asleep. There’s no groggy feeling in the morning.

In Summary

  • Menopause symptoms can occur as early as the late 30’s, so so keep an eye out.
  • What you eat can affect how you feel.
  • Menopause belly fat is a result of fluctuating hormones, diet, stress, and lack of sleep.
  • Exercise your whole body, not just your belly.
  • Clean out the toxins in your body.
  • Support your hormones, get some sleep, and reach out to a friend and get a supplement that helps.
  • Sugar and other simple carbs are culprits for menopause belly fat.
  • Grab our free kitchen checklist before your next trip to the grocery store by clicking here (insert link to our email-opt-in)

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You’ll learn exactly how to eat and exercise to get slim, lean, healthy, and confident in your own body. Without sacrificing time, money, or the foods you love.

This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle and get the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

LEMON GINGER WATER KEFIR

LEMON GINGER WATER KEFIR

LEMON GINGER WATER KEFIR

Water kefir is a fermented, probiotic, gluten-free, non-dairy beverage that is naturally carbonated and contains probiotic bacteria as well as beneficial yeasts that can colonize in the intestinal tract and also help to digest foods you eat.

A well-functioning gut is the root to good health and can improve immune response, mood, hormone levels, energy levels, cholesterol levels, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Read more on gut flora here

Water kefir grains are not truly grains, but are “probiotic crystals” in a mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Water kefir is made by adding sugar water, juice, or coconut water to the grains and letting it ferment, which results in a naturally carbonated beverage.

probiotic crystals

 

5 from 1 vote
Print
Lemon and ginger water kefir. Yum

The most refreshing lemon and ginger, water kefir recipe.

Course: Drinks
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Instructions
  1. Strain the grains from the liquid it was stored in with a plastic or stainless steel strainer.
  2. Fill a quart jar with 4 cups of non-chlorinated water.
  3. Add ¼ to ½ cup of organic sugar, depending on your sweetness preference.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of molasses (optional). Kefir grains need a dose of minerals to keep them growing.
  5. Stir and dissolve the sugar with a wooden spoon (do not use metal unless it is stainless steel, or it will react with the grains).
  6. Add in the grains, cover the jar loosely with the lid so that it can “burp” during the fermentation process. Leave in room temperature (70-75 F) to ferment for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it to ferment, the more probiotics, the less carbs.
  7. Strain the grains, lemon, and ginger. Save the grains in a glass jar with sugar and store in the fridge until you make the next batch.
  8. Cover, refrigerate and enjoy!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I know if my water kefir was a success?

It may lighten in color, turn a little cloudy, and should be slightly fizzy. It should have a slightly tangy or sour aroma and flavor. If it’s very sweet, let it sit to ferment more. If it looks, smells, or tastes unpleasant, I recommend that you do not consume it.

How long can I store finished water kefir in the refrigerator?

2-3 weeks at 40-45 F.

Can I use honey instead of sugar to make water kefir?

No, I don’t recommend it.

 

Carissa Alinat ARNP

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How long do water kefir grains last?

If properly cared for, water kefir grains can be reused indefinitely and multiply with each use.

How do I care for water kefir grains?

They should be moved to fresh sugar water every 4 days because they can starve if left longer without fresh food (sugar).

Should I rinse off the water kefir grains between batches?

No. This may harm the water kefir grains.

What is the difference between water kefir and kombucha?

Both are excellent probiotic beverages but water kefir has faster fermentation process and a milder flavor.

How is water kefir different from milk kefir?

Water kefir is fermented in water or juice. Milk kefir is fermented in milk. Both are rich in probiotics, however, water kefir may contain fewer strains of bacteria and yeasts than milk kefir. Water kefir is a great alternative for those who do not consume dairy, and it is light and refreshing.

Does water kefir contain alcohol?

Very small amounts, just as with all fermented foods.

How much sugar is left in finished water kefir?

About the same amount as 1 apple.

How many calories does finished water kefir contain?

It depends on how long it ferments, as the bacteria are digesting the calories in the sugar for you.

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This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle and get the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

HOW TO MAKE SOUP

HOW TO MAKE SOUP

This below is how to make soup.

It’s important to know how to make soup for many reasons. It’s delicious, sure, but more importantly (you know that if you are a regular reader of my blog) you can only lose weigh tor maintain an ideal weigh if you control what you eat. And cooking at home is the very best way to do just that.

By “soup” I mean making a homemade soup from scratch. At home. By yourself. Using the vegetables or ingredients you most likely already have in your fridge.

It’s actually easier than you think.

You see, that’s the important part. No need for recipes (although I do provide 3 below). YOU create the kind of soup YOU like, using the ingredients YOU prefer.

A soup only is a bunch of vegetables (almost any kind) that cook in stock/broth. You can stop cooking when the vegetables are al dente and tender, or let it cook for hours if you want to.

Nearly any vegetable can be turned into soup with a little time and effort. Let me show you the step-by-step formula to transforming nearly any kind of vegetable into delicious, nourishing, and healthy soup.

A homemade soup is the easiest way to warm up your kitchen on a cold day and to feed yourself and your family in one delicious and healthy bowl.

Blended soup or chunky soup?

First, we need to distinguish between the 2 (only 2!) kinds of soups you will ever find anywhere.

You see, all soups are either blended, or chunky. 2 different things. 2 slightly different techniques.

how to make soup
how to make soup

A blended soup is a soup in which you don’t see the ingredients. It’s smooth and pureed.

This works with any kind of soup, and you’ll be surprised at how creamy a soup can be with no dairy at all.

A chunky soup on the other hand is a soup in which you see most of the ingredients. It has bits and pieces, that are simmering in a broth of some kind.

Most chunky soup can become a blended soup. All you need is a hand blender.

And that’s important. As a side note, a hand blender is probably the number 1 tool you need to have in your kitchen. It blends soups and sauces, emulsify salad dressings, smoothen gravies, and the best part of all, the bottom part detaches and goes in the dishwasher, which is very convenient and simple.

hand blender

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What kind of vegetable should I use?

Nearly any vegetable you like will make a tasty soup. Sweet potato, zucchini, squash, turnip, tomato, celery, mushrooms, onions, leeks, cabbage, kale, and chard. Potatoes, rutabaga, celeriac, cauliflower, broccoli. These are just examples. The exhaustive list is much bigger, especially once we consider the combinations that are possible.

Note that consistency is important, especially for blended soups. For that reason, I usually choose to mix a “thick” vegetable (parsnip, carrot, beet, rutabaga, butternut squash) with a “watery” one (kale, spinach, tomato, zucchini).

How to add flavor to a soup?

Well, you have control over 4 elements:

  1. The main ingredient(s): That’s the vegetable(s) and/or meat you use in your soup. All vegetable and meat is tasty. But don’t add a ton of water or the flavor will dilute. Note that meat with bone (shanks, osso bucco, chicken legs) gives a lot of taste.
  1. The Aromatics: These are your spices, herbs and other aromatics. Use any spices you like but don’t get heavy handed. Simplicity is best.
    Dry herbs you can add at the beginning. Fresh herbs at the very end.
    Other aromatics include onions, shallots, ginger, etc…
  1. The stock/broth: Homemade is best. If you buy it, definitely choose no or low sodium. You can use any: vegetable, chicken, beef, bison…
  1. Salt and pepper: I can’t say it enough. You need to taste your soup at the end of the cooking process, and adjust salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to salt; beginners usually under-salt their concoctions.

Practice makes perfect. Experience will tell you how to refine the details. So make more and more soups to be better and better at it.

 Now, how to make soup?

Very simple. No recipe needed. All you need to do is to follow this simple formula for blended soup:

And this simple formula for chunky soup:

Where do I start?

Just go ahead and cut about a pound of vegetables into approximately 1 inch dice. Sauté the aromatics first (spices, herbs, and onions) in a little olive oil or coconut oil, keeping the heat to medium high. Then add the main vegetables/meats.

After the vegetables have softened a bit, add about 4 cups of stock, cover and simmer. Water can do if you don’t have stock.

Then just simmer for about an hour or until all the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender for a creamy soup, if you like.

 

Carissa Alinat ARNP

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 That’s it. You have an easy, flavorful vegetable soup. 

Watch the video and follow the foolproof “any vegetable” recipe below.

Here is a simple soup recipe that you can use for blended or chunky soup. Again, remember that the ingredients don’t really matter. You choose which ingredients to put in YOUR soup. What’s important is to follow the technique, which I just gave you above, and follow this simple instructions.

Print
How To Make Soup from Any Vegetable Yum
Course: Soup
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of any vegetables you like or a combo of vegetables and meat
  • Aromatics such as onion, garlic, or leeks
  • Olive oil or coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of stock/broth/water
Instructions
  1. Cut up the vegetables into 1 inch dices, and dice aromatics if needed.
  2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Throw in the aromatics first, and sauté over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and soft. Your aromatics can be onions, shallots, bacon, fresh singer, chili peppers, dry herbs, garlic, leeks, spices such as curry, chili powder, cumin, paprika, saffron, etc… or a combination.
  3. Then add the diced vegetables and meat (if using). Add broth: Add 4 to 6 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer: Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.
  4. Let cook for about 30 minutes, then check the soup. If the vegetables are soft, you’re done. If you want a blended soup, keep cooking until they are very soft or falling apart.Taste and season: Whether you are leaving the vegetables intact or blending the soup, make sure to taste the soup as it finishes cooking.
  5. If it is bland and/or too watery, reduce a bit (simmer down), adjust salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of lemon juice. If it is too salty and/or too thick, thin out with some extra stock/broth or milk/cream.When the soup is done, you can add to it: a bit of leftover cooked pasta, some bacon bits, some fresh herbs or strips of chicken.
  6. Blend if desired: Once the vegetables are very soft, you can puree the soup in a blender or with a hand blender if you like.

Here also are two recipes I really like, and that you can see me demonstrate in the video above:

Print
Carrot-Ginger Soup Yum
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 


Course: Soup
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pound carrots unpeeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 leaves sprig fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pour extra-virgin olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, fresh ginger, garlic, and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high and then add carrots, stock, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Process soup with a hand blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkle of chives and tarragon.
Print
Chicken Noodle Soup Yum
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Course: Soup
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Instructions
  1. Pour extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté’ onion and celery in olive oil until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth and stir in chicken, carrots, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add pasta, basil, oregano, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

If you're following a Paleo or gluten-free diet, or are on Phase 1 of my weight loss program, leave the pasta out.

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You’ll learn exactly how to eat and exercise to get slim, lean, healthy, and confident in your own body. Without sacrificing time, money, or the foods you love.

This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle and get the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE SALAD

HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE SALAD

I want to show you how to make a homemade salad.

Any salad you want. From scratch. With what you have in your fridge right now. Easy, fast, and convenient.

This is one of the most important cooking skills you will ever master, believe it or not.

I also want to show you how to make a healthy, fat-burning salad, so that you eat clean, lose weight or maintain your ideal weight. Plenty of salad recipes below.

And finally, I want this perfect salad to be convenient, ultra- fast, and easy to make. Because you and I have things to do. We have kids, a job, a busy life and what not. The last thing we want is to spend one hour making a salad. Right?..

If you agree to this, let’s just follow these simple steps…

how to make a homemade salad

In fact, composing the best salad is a simple formula.

Now, what’s a salad?..

Greens, sure. Although they are not always essential. A tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad for instance, or an Asian slaw, also are things of beauty.

Here is what makes the perfect salad:

  • Vegetables (Greens, or any raw, grilled, roasted, or pickled veggies)
  • Optional protein (Meat, eggs, beans, canned tuna, leftover cooked salmon, lentils)
  • Optional dairy (Cheese, more cheese)
  • Something salty (anchovies, olives, capers) or something sweet (grapes, apples, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots), but not both (Yuck!)
  • Something crunchy (seeds, nuts, croutons, granola)
  • A dressing (Vinaigrette type, or emulsified/creamy)

And here is the formula that makes the perfect salad:

 

 

Here is our philosophy. I say “our” because I got a lot of this wise knowledge from my husband and his family. As a French chef, he and his family (whom we visit every summer) have a fool-proof way of making salads delicious and super convenient. More on that later.

So our philosophy is that a salad should consist on whatever you have in your fridge, 10 minutes before you’re planning on having lunch. No need for a recipe. Just open your fridge and see what’s in it. If you like each component separately, it will be very hard to not like the salad built with these ingredients.

how to make a homemade salad
how to make a homemade salad

What vegetables should I use in a salad?

We’re talking about a salad. There is no avoiding the veggies.

Choose at least one, or as many as you want:

Raw greens are what most people think when they hear the word “salad.” Kale, romaine, iceberg, bibb, spinach, arugula, dandelions or whatever, or a combo.

Raw veggies: Lettuce and greens aren’t the only ones who can go raw. Raw asparagus, grated carrots, grated beets, raw zucchini (yes!).

Grilled veggies: Squash, eggplant, zucchini add smokey flavors. Also awesome => Grilled romaine lettuce (just half it lengthwise and boom, on the grill.

Roasted: If you can grill it, you can roast it.

Pickled: adds a funky, fermented note, and bump up the flavor in a big way. Go easy on those. They’re big.

vegetables salad
vegetables salad

 

How to add something crunchy to your salad.

Having something to really sink your teeth into makes any salad feel more satisfying.

Choose at lease one, or as many as you want:

Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds too.

Nuts: Toast them first to bring out their flavor, and chop them for easier bites.

Croutons: Homemade is much, much better. Use any old loaf you have on hand. Or even pita bread.

Granola: Watch the sugar content.

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How to add protein to your salad.

Protein and vegetables are essentials to weight loss. So don’t hesitate to add plenty of protein.

Leftover roasted chicken works great too. Spicy ground beef or lamb. Classic combo: grilled steak and blue cheese on an iceberg lettuce wedge. Amazing.

 

How to add something salty to your salad.

This may seem counter intuitive. Maybe because most people don’t like anchovies. That really is too bad because it tastes so good. Try to start with a bit of anchovy paste in the dressing, then move towards tiny chopped up bits of anchovies, then when you’re ready, go for the bad boy anchovy filet.

 

How to add something sweet to your homemade salad.

Now a touch of sweetness goes a long way. Remember though that it’s salty OR sweet. Not both at the same time. That doesn’t taste good.

My recommendation is dried or dehydrated fruits. Plenty of fiber if you’re trying to lose weight.

Choose fruits that are complementary in flavor to the rest of your ingredients.

 

How to pair salad ingredients together.

Some combination go better than other. Experience will tell you that, but as a general rule, don’t worry too much about pairings. Again, if you like each component separately, then you will likely love them together.

Here are some classic combos to help you decide:

  • Arugula, shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts
  • Frisee lettuce, dried apricots, hazelnuts, and blue cheese
  • Iceberg lettuce, blue cheese, crispy bacon, steak
  • Spinach, feta, black olives
  • Romaine, anchovies, croutons, Parmesan cheese
  • Any greens, dried apricots and pistachios
  • Spinach, cranberries and goat cheese
  • Mixed greens, pears, pecan, blue cheese
  • Mixed greens, apple, walnut, shaved Parmesan
  • Garbanzo beans, garlic vinaigrette, parsley
  • Couscous, parsley, tomato, lemon juice
  • Mixed greens, avocado, mango
  • French lentils, bacon, raw carrots
  • Grated carrots, Dijon dressing, scallions, raisins
  • And many, many more…

 

Don’t forget fresh herbs

These can be added in almost any combo. They really add to the salad. Add big handfuls of soft and tender herbs, like mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil.

Don’t forget grains

(unless you’re Paleo of in Phase 1 of my weight loss program). The easiest way to bulk up a salad is with a small addition of cooked quinoa, bulgur, couscous, rice or pasta.

Be mindful that the grains will soak up more dressing than the vegetables, but that’s a good thing. Adjust accordingly.

 

How to make a salad dressing from scratch.

A homemade dressing is what’s going to transform a sad bowl of vegetables into a superb and healthy dish.

Now, it MUST be a homemade dressing, made from scratch, in order to be healthy, delicious, and help your weight loss efforts.

You see, the ingredient list on the back of a salad dressing bottle gives me a headache. Sugar, corn syrup, xantham gum, and other killer “ingredients” I can’t pronounce.

Unhealthy and pricey. Often mislabeled too (no, they’re NOT healthy!).

Big food companies are taking us for fools.

 

 

Because you see, making a homemade salad dressing is easy. In fact, it takes 3 minutes to make, costs almost nothing, and helps you lose weight.

Do me a favor: Avoid processed salad dressing at all cost. Make your own from now on. It will help you immensely.

To make a delicious salad dressing, you don’t need a recipe (although I’m including one below).

The only thing you need is to remember the following formula:

1 PART VINEGAR (or something acidic) FOR 4 PARTS OIL (any oil you like), then add whatever herbs and seasoning you want. It’s that easy.

Here are some salad dressing options:

 

Vinaigrette: A classic vinaigrette is made with fat and acid; traditionally, olive oil and either vinegar or lemon juice. But feel free to add warm bacon fat, or experiment with a variety of vinegar’s and citrus juices.


Thick and Creamy dressing:
Hearty salads (Like kale) with big flavors can stand up to creamy, rich dressings like a thick, emulsified Dijon mustard dressing for instance.

I really want to emphasize the simplicity of making a salad dressing. Or as the French call it: a vinaigrette. The vinegar (or acidic ingredient) you use doesn’t really matter. It’s a question of preference. Same with the oil you use.

Naturally, I tend to stay away from canola or vegetable oil (heavily processed and rather unhealthy), and I concentrate on extra-virgin olive oil. Your choice of extra-virgin olive oil matters. I always buy the best I can afford, and focus on so-called “estate” olive oil: small producers from California, Italy, Spain, Greece, France or elsewhere who take pride in olive oil making and use a natural process. The best advice I can give you is to taste the olive oil.

Carissa Alinat ARNP

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Talking about tasting, your first salad dressing may taste strange to you. Remember that a salad dressing is not meant to be eaten by itself; it’s meant to enhance a salad. So the vinaigrette really reveals itself once it is tossed with whatever salad you’re making.

There are a few dressings that I use all the time. One is a classic olive oil, sherry vinegar, and garlic.

Another is avocado oil mixed with a drop of lemon juice and a lot of Dijon mustard.

And yet another is a honey Dijon mustard with olive oil and a drop of balsamic vinegar.

As a general rule, any fresh herbs like Italian parsley, cilantro, dill, or basil really adds a lot of flavor. So do garlic, shallots or onions, as long as they’re chopped finely.

I’ll let you create your own using the secret formula above, but let me give you some advice: don’t sweat it. I don’t measure my ingredients. I just wing it. Who cares if you put a bit more garlic, or a bit less vinegar. It’s all going to end up wonderful anyway.

A vinaigrette dressing is meant to be left as is. You don’t need to mix it, whip it, or work at it. That’s your dressing and it’s ready to help your fat-burning efforts.

 

Now, if you want an emulsified dressing, then it requires a bit more work. You must add a natural emulsifier (like mustard or if you have to, mayonnaise) for the emulsion to take.

And you need to agitate (whisk really fast) the dressing, adding drops of oil as you go. It’s a bit more work so I usually stay with a classic, non-emulsified vinaigrette. Much easier.

But here is the best part:

A homemade salad dressing can be made ahead in large quantities (try a quart), and kept refrigerated for instant use later. That’s what I do.

On Sunday, I usually make a big batch of dressing that I keep refrigerated in a squeeze bottle. Every time I want to make a salad, it takes me no time: I grab a few greens (spinach, romaine, kale, etc.), take a look at what’s in the fridge that day (maybe a tomato, a hard-boiled egg, canned tuna and leftover green beans?), put it together, and drizzle it with my ready-made dressing. Dinner done!

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Simple vinaigrette Yum
Prep Time
5 mins
 
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil in a container or glass jar with a lid.
  2. Shake vigorously until the oil and vinegar are well-emulsified.
  3. Serve with your favorite greens.

And I explain it all (How to make a salad from scratch, how to make a salad dressing, and how to pack your lunch for work) in this video from my home kitchen in Florida.

One of the best salads I love to make comes from my husband’s native land: the South of France.
It’s the Salade Nicoise. Or Nicoise Salad, as we say in the US. He and I actually made this fun Facebook Live video that got a lot of views.

Fun Fact:

We actually took some liberties from the actual classic. Something NOT to do with the French LOL! In fact, one of my husband’s childhood friends jokingly called him out on Facebook, and sent him the real, authentic recipe!

Here is a screenshot of the conversation if you speak French. If not, it’s still funny how food is so serious in France.

And here is the recipe of the Salade Nicoise.

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Salad Nicoise Classique Yum
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Ingredients
  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • Himalayan salt
  • 10 ounces green beans trimmed
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 green pepper sliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 leaves head Boston lettuce separated
  • 2 5 1/2 - ounce cans Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil drained
  • 1 small can of anchovies
  • 1/2 cup nicoise olives
Instructions
  1. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
  3. Place the eggs in the reserved saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.
  5. Toss the tomatoes, green and red peppers in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.
  6. Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, hard-cooked eggs, tuna, anchovies, and olives on top. Add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Homemade salads to go: Mason Jar Salads.

The best part about mason jar salads is that they are super fast and easy to make, requiring very little to no cooking. It takes you way less time to make these salads than standing in front of a greasy food truck on lunch break, or even worse, a fast food line.

Not to mention, it saves you a ton of money!

As a busy working mom, the first thing I cut off my task list is packing my own lunch. Who has time for that? However, not packing a lunch usually leads to eating unhealthy foods and unintended weight gain. Having a healthy salad for lunch can change the whole day.

That’s why mason jar meals are the best! Mason jar salads have been gaining popularity lately — and rightly so!

Every Sunday, I grab a bunch of mason jars and pack my lunches for the whole week. I layer fresh, yummy, and healthy salads with the dressing on the bottom so I don’t have to worry about the lettuce getting soggy.

Try a healthy lentil salad packed with protein and fiber, which help with weight loss while keeping you feeling full longer. This healthy recipe will fill about three mason jars, which can stay fresh in the fridge for a week. When you leave for work, just grab and go!

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French Lentil Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables Yum
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: French
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Ingredients
  • FOR THE LENTIL SALAD:
  • 1 inch small whole acorn squash unpeeled, halved, seeded and diced into 1/2 pieces
  • 2 inch medium carrots unpeeled and diced into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 inch medium celery root peeled and diced into 1/2 pieces
  • 3 inch small beets peeled and diced into 1/2 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 4 slices (4 ouncebacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE DIJON VINAIGRETTE:
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, combine lentils, 6 cups water, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, place vegetables and bacon in one layer on a sheet pan, toss with olive oil and salt. Sprinkle oregano on vegetables, cover pans with foil and roast for 30 minutes or until vegetables are nice and golden.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and olive oil.
  5. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf. Toss lentils with half of the vinaigrette while still warm. Add more salt, olive oil and vinegar as necessary.
  6. Combine lentils and roasted vegetables, adding more of the vinaigrette to taste. Drizzle with more olive oil if needed.

One last word about salads…

Everyday clean eating is about simplicity.

That’s hard to achieve. Many artists, chefs, and home cooks often try to add on to their masterpiece to make it better but more often than not, less is more. In other words, we’re trying too hard.

In my husband’s native South of France, which we visit often, the summers are swelteringly hot and dry. Juicy tomatoes burst with freshness, taste, and a profusion of flavor, and summer means it is time to use them or lose them.

Because in-season tomatoes are so perfectly tasty there is no need to do much. As long as you pair them with fresh, simple ingredients that enhance — not overpower — their subtle taste.

Think delicate extra-virgin olive oils, salt, pepper, and a bit of basil. Simple.

The ingredients must speak for themselves.

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Here is a recipe for Caprese salad (named after the Italian island of Capri) that is all about three ingredients: tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil.

Choose these three wisely. Fully ripe, dark red organic tomatoes. Choose heirloom if you can. Or beefsteak.Buffalo artisan mozzarella balls, which are usually kept in brine. Do not settle for cheap, rubbery, mass-produced “mozzarella.” And perfectly fresh basil.

Sure, you can add salt (“Fleur de sel” if you’re fancy!), pepper, and a drizzle of estate olive oil, but not much.

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SIMPLEST CAPRESE SALAD Yum
Prep Time
5 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Carissa Alinat ARNP
Instructions
  1. 4 cups baby tomatoes, halved
  2. 2 sprigs fresh basil, torn
  3. 1 cup small fresh mozzarella balls
  4. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  6. Salt and pepper to taste

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