PROCESSED & ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS: WHAT TO BUY, WHAT TO AVOID, & 5 EASY SWAPS

PROCESSED & ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS: WHAT TO BUY, WHAT TO AVOID, & 5 EASY SWAPS

We’ve all been there…Driving home from a long day of work, didn’t have time to take your lunch break? Or saw your favorite fast food joint on the way home? Well, with busy schedules and no down time to cook a proper home-made meal, the most obvious thing to do is to grab something on the go.

Processed food is everywhere…and I mean EVERYWHERE! Bread is an example as well as pasta, cereal, and sandwich meats. Anything that does not come directly from the ground and eaten right there and then is processed. Even foods that many of us may think are considered healthy are processed. Granola? Processed. That Slim Fast or Atkins bar you’ve been noshing on while trying to lose weight? Processed.

Processed food has become such a big part of our lives, now more than ever. Believe it or not, processed food has been around since the prehistoric times. Methods such as fermentation, smoking, curing and drying have all been used to extend shelf life and enhance flavor. In the 1800s, techniques like tinning and pasteurization were developed to fight off bacteria and make food last longer. During the 19th and 20th century, food processing was brought to the next level in order to help feed military troops. Demand for ready-to-eat foods grew in the 20th century to keep up with busy, modern times.

What we don’t know is recent studies have shown that the ingredients in what we are eating are doing more harm than good.

In a study published in BMJ Open, the researchers found that for Americans, 58% of their diets consist of ultra-processed foods, defined as ready-to-eat meals or snacks that usually contain additives.

Hidden sugars are found in these foods, often disguised as artificial sweeteners, which are believed to be responsible for many medical issues including migraines, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Ultra-processed foods are also often high in sodium, unhealthy fats, preservatives, and additives, and do not provide us with what we need the most including vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.

What’s important to know is that not all processed foods are made the same. Ultra-processed foods have undergone significant processing and often the ingredient list tends to look like it should be something in a science lab rather than sold on grocery shelves.

The 3 Stages of Food Processing

 

1. The first stage of “processing” involves making sure the food is edible. Harvesting grain, shelling nuts, and slaughtering chickens are all considered primary processing. Foods that have only gone through this stage of processing are often still considered “whole” foods.

2. A second stage makes a more complex, finished, “processed” product. This includes cooking, freezing, and canning.

3. A third stage, in which manufacturers inject flavors, added sugars, fats, and chemical preservatives, produces ultra-processed foods.

To make it easier to understand what to buy and what not to buy, a classification system called NOVA, developed by an international panel of food scientists and researchers splits foods into four categories:

  • Unprocessed or minimally processed foods: Think vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, meats, seafood, eggs and milk. Make these real, whole foods the basis of your diet.
  • Processed culinary ingredients: These items make plain vegetables and a grilled chicken breast taste a whole lot better. Examples are herbs, spices, balsamic vinegar, garlic and oil. Use these ingredients in small amounts to create fresh, home-cooked meals.
  • Processed foods: When ingredients such as oil, sugar or herbs are added to foods and they are packaged, the result is processed foods. Examples are simple bread, cheese, tofu, and canned tuna or beans.
  • Ultra-processed foods: Here’s the category where 58% of our calories come from. These foods go through multiple processes (extrusion, molding, milling, etc.), contain many added ingredients and are highly manipulated. Examples are soft drinks, chips, chocolate, candy, ice-cream, sweetened breakfast cereals, packaged soups, chicken nuggets, hotdogs, fries and more.
  •  
    With all this being said, just because something has gone through a process doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy to eat. In general, the ultra-processed foods are what you should cut back on or avoid.

    5 Easy Swaps:

     

    Potato Chips

     
    Swap these out for some vegetable chips such as Terra. These are made from real vegetables and contain minimal ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

    Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

     
    Swap these out with oatmeal made with rolled or steel-cut oats and sweeten with raw honey and fresh berries.

    Sodas

     
    Detox from those high-sugar sodas with naturally flavored sparkling water .

    Flavored Yogurt

     
    Enjoy the health benefits of fermented foods by switching from flavored yogurts that are high in sugar to plain Greek yogurt that is low in sugar and high in protein.

    Artificially Flavored Crackers

     
    Ditch the fake flavor and blood sugar spikes for crackers high in fiber and only made with natural flavors, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers .

    Tips on how to cut back on ultra-processed foods:

     

  • Make gradual changes instead of trying to cut everything out all at once, otherwise you’re usually doomed for failure.
  • Shop with a grocery list and stick to it.
  • Shop around the outer sides of the grocery store, as most processed foods are in the middle aisles.
  • Reading the labels. If you do not know how to pronounce an ingredient or have never heard of it, put the item back on the shelf and chose something with five or less ingredients.
  • Cook more often and plan your meals for the week. You’ll be less likely to find yourself in a position where you are very hungry and grab a highly processed food as a quick fix.
  • Dine out with the intention of making better choices. Avoid foods that are deep-fried and choose a vegetable for your side rather than a starch. Decline the bread basket.
  • Be less trustful in packaged foods marketed as “organic” or “healthy.” If the ingredient list is very long and you can’t pronounce the words, skip it.
  •  
     
    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

    DOES STRESS CAUSE HORMONE IMBALANCE? HOW YOU CAN TELL (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)

    DOES STRESS CAUSE HORMONE IMBALANCE? HOW YOU CAN TELL (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)

    You fall into bed exhausted but wired, praying for sleep.

    Please?

    Just this once.

    You brain leaps about like a crazed monkey taunting you with your endless to-do list.

    Even though you’re going flat out every waking hour, you’re never caught up.

    During the few hours you manage to grab some sleep, you flip around restlessly and grind your teeth to dust.

    You know your stress level is off the charts; some days you think it could be detected from outer space, like one of those volcanic eruptions.

    As you scroll through your Facebook feed at 2am, a headline catches your eye: “Does stress cause hormone imbalance?” What the what, now? Great, something else to worry about.

    You slide on by because sometimes ignorance really IS bliss.

    But as you lay awake watching the numbers on your clock march on, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, you’re haunted by the seemingly simple question, does stress cause hormone imbalance?

    You heave a sigh, scroll back, and start reading.

     

    Hormone Imbalance Is A Big, Hairy Deal

     

    Holy crap.

    You vaguely knew endless stress, with its elevated cortisol levels, could be bad, but not that bad.

    Like potentially life-threatening kind of bad.

    High blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease. Decreased immune function. Mental illness. The list goes on. Thank you, WebMD for scaring the bejeebers out of me.

    Not to mention, too much or too little of cortisol hormone can mess up all of your other hormones, too, making you lose your sex drive, miss your periods, giving you problems with your thyroid…. The list goes on and on.

    Depression smothers you in a thick gray cloud. Depression? Yeah, that’s one of the symptoms of chronic stress too.

    “I’m screwed,” you say aloud to the darkness.

    Not so fast.

     

    How To Relieve Stress To Balance Hormones

     

    Though high levels of the stress hormone cortisol have already thrown many of your other crucial hormones out of whack, it’s not too late to slow down or even reverse the effects.

    But how?

    How can you relieve stress to balance hormones?

    One of the simplest ways to start is by making healthier food choices.

    I know what happens when you’re stressed out, barely sleeping, and the least little thing throws you into a tizzy. It’s what a lot of us do: you reach for an ooey gooey good snack.

    This isn’t a judgement! It’s called comfort food for a reason.

    So relax. You don’t have to change your entire diet all at once. You’d be setting yourself up for failure instead of success. Which would spike your stress higher.

    Instead, start with something simple.

    Next time you have a crazy long day and you’re dying to nosh on those chocolate chip cookies, take a deep breath. Recognize the urge. Even say out loud, “I want comfort.”

    Sounds crazy, right? Like maybe you’re going to make it worse if you dare speak its name. But when you acknowledge your urge, it will lose its grip on you. You’ll be able to put the cookies back uneaten.

    When you do this even once, give yourself a high five! This is a huge first step toward taking charge of your health. Soon you’ll be buying healthier food at the grocery store too.

     

    Give Yourself A Natural High

     

    When you put a snack away, replace eating with exercise. You don’t have to be Ms. Super Athlete. Go for a short walk. Pick up your youngster and carry them around. Put on music and dance in your living room.

    When you exercise, your body produces feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in your body, especially in your brain. In fact, scientists have compared the feeling to that produced by morphine.

     

     

    (Bonus, these endorphins will replace the manufactured ones that processed food has been engineered to provide to get you hooked.)

    Endorphins also reduce your perception of pain, ward off anxiety, and help you sleep better.

    What’s not to love?

    Get your body moving and give yourself a natural high.

     

    Quiet Your Mind

     

    You can also add meditation to the mix.

    All you need is a timer, a quiet place to sit, and yourself.

    To begin, set the timer for 10 minutes. Sit with your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Take several long, slow, deep breaths.

    Close your eyes and focus your attention on the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe.

     

     

    When you notice your attention has strayed, gently bring it back like you would a beloved child who wandered off. Do this as often as you need to during those ten minutes.

    When the timer goes off, sit for a moment more and take several more long slow deep breaths. Then smile.

    That’s it!

    Though simple, the combination of deep breathing, quieting your mind with meditation, and smiling disrupts the stress cycle in your body and produces endorphins – just like exercise does.

    You see how all these practices reinforce each other. When you do them all, you increase their overall benefit.

     

    Get Back Into Balance

     

    Ongoing stress can ruin your health.

    You may already be sitting among the ruins wondering what on earth happened.

    It’s not fair.

    You don’t have to live whacked out on stress, wondering when the next health disaster will strike.

    You deserve to be in charge of your health.

     

     

    Now that you’ve discovered these powerful exercises, you’ll put yourself in control.

    You’ll lower your stress.

    Calm your cortisol.

    Energize your endorphins.

    Today, make a promise to yourself to get yourself back into hormonal balance.

    All you have to do is take the first step on the path to relieve stress to balance your hormones.

    Once you do, you won’t look back.

     
     
    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

    5 COMMON HORMONE IMBALANCES THAT WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY

    5 COMMON HORMONE IMBALANCES THAT WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY

     
    At some point, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Sorry, I’m just being hormonal.” Or how about the teenager with the “raging hormones” who can’t seem to keep her head on straight?

    When things aren’t going right and when you don’t feel quite like yourself, you CAN blame it on your hormones. Why? Because your body is ruled by hormones. It’s not your fault and you can tell your husband that the next time he leaves the toilet seat up and you set his underwear on fire.

    Hormones are little chemical messengers that travel through your blood stream to tell different parts of your body what to do. From simple things like how fast your heart beats when you’re under stress, to more complex processes like fertility and reproduction. Hormones affect nearly every single process in our bodies.

    Produced in our endocrine cells, there are about 50 different hormones. When it comes to a woman feeling “hormonal,” there are about 5 hormones that come into mind when she complains that her hair is falling out, she’s gained a spare tire around her waistline, she’s lost her mojo, or other day-to-day physical dissatisfactions.
     

    The 5 hormones that may drive you crazy are:

  • Cortisol
  • Thyroid
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  •  
    So… You might be wondering, “Do I suffer from one of these imbalances?
     

    Here are some clues to each type of imbalance:

     
    High Cortisol – Tired yet wired? This can leave you feeling wired, anxious and moody, tired but have trouble falling and staying asleep, gaining weight especially in the belly area, low sex drive, acne or other skin changes, a puffy and flushed face, and can also give you high blood pressure, brittle bones, a crappy immune system, and an irregular menstrual cycle (if you still get them). You can probably thank a stressful lifestyle or a traumatic childhood for this one.

    Low Cortisol – Tired and weak? This can make it especially hard to get out of the bed in the morning, have insomnia at night, sugar and salt cravings, easy weight gain, low sex drive, foggy thinking, depression and anxiety, and can also give you heart palpitations, cold hands and feet, and low blood pressure. Low cortisol tends to happen after cortisol has been high for a long time. Think of an engine going full-speed before burning out.

    High Thyroid – High thyroid speeds your body up. This is when you lose weight and you don’t know why. You can get nervous, jittery, moody, anxious, persistently tired yet feel wired, sensitive to heat, and have a swollen neck. In some cases, it can make your eyeballs look like they are bulging out. High thyroid can give you a fast and/or irregular heartbeat so you should never try to “self-diagnose” or treat this without a doctor monitoring too.

    Low Thyroid – Hello, weight gain. Low thyroid slows your body down, making you feel tired, constipated, lose your hair, have dry skin, feel cold, and forget things. Low thyroid is also something you shouldn’t self-diagnose or treat without a doctor monitoring too because it can slow your pulse down and if bad enough, land you in a coma. This happens more often to women than men and usually kicks in mid-life.

    Low Estrogen – This is when you feel dry (everywhere, if you know what I mean), moody, you’d rather do the laundry than make love, your memory is shot, and you might wake up at night in sweats and/or have hot flashes that make you want to turn the fan on even though it’s winter. Sex can hurt, you can’t sleep, and to top it all off, your bones are falling apart. Thank you, menopause.

    High Estrogen/ Low Progesterone – Are you bloated, emotionally volatile, and your boobs hurt? This is often the case, along with feeling depressed, more headaches than usual, weight gain, often uterine fibroids and/or fibrocystic breasts (lumpy and bumpy). Plus, your blood sugar goes on a rollercoaster ride and you might get yeast infections more often. This imbalance can happen in the younger years or the period as menopause is approaching.

    Low Testosterone – This is when you want your partner to keep their hands to themselves. Sex drive is in the gutter, it’s difficult to achieve an orgasm, you feel tired and weak, you gain weight, and you can’t sleep. This lovely imbalance usually happens after menopause.

    High Testosterone – This is often associated with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS) and most often affects younger women. Hair falls out on your scalp but also pops up in places it doesn’t belong, your skin breaks out with acne, voice becomes deep, you miss periods, and it’s very difficult to become pregnant. In addition, it can contribute to diabetes and obesity.

    Notice how a lot of these symptoms overlap? Some women see their gynecologist or primary care practitioner to help them figure out if they have an imbalance of one or more of these hormones.

    If you suspect something is going on but you really aren’t sure what it could possibly be, you can take a quiz to lead you in the right direction: THE MENOPAUSE SWITCH

    Depending on the hormone imbalance (because some types can actually be quite dangerous, such as when it comes to thyroid imbalance), medications may be used.

    Now don’t get me wrong, medications CAN be a lifesaver when it comes to feeling like you-know-what, when you’re having hot flashes faster than a firecracker on the 4th of July. And they can also save your life, preventing you from going into a coma if your thyroid gland is pumping out zero thyroid hormones.

    But… There are also some pretty nifty, natural supplements for whatever hormonal rage (or lack of) you’re battling with.

    Here they are:








    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

    WHAT TO EAT ON THE ANTI-INFLAMMATION DIET

    WHAT TO EAT ON THE ANTI-INFLAMMATION DIET

    You see “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet” everywhere you swipe, on every feed you scroll up on, whether it’s on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or your favorite blog.

    But…
     

  • Do you have a good grasp on what the diet is?
  • How it can help you lose weight and feel more energized?
  • How you can start it?
  •  

    After all, you can read every article known to Google, but if you don’t apply what you read, you won’t make real dietary changes, feel better about your body and your diet will always start “tomorrow.”

    The good news is, that unlike trending diets, anti-inflammatory diets help fight a scientifically proven precursor to several diseases, which is chronic inflammation.

    Let me preface the post by saying that the diet is absolutely freakin’ delicious, and you’ll be happy to know that it includes the byproducts of your two favorite beans, the cocoa and coffee bean!

    Nibbling on your favorite brand of dark chocolate and sipping on a medium roast blend is totally “A-Okay” on the anti-inflammatory diet.

    All in favor? Say yes!

     

    What is Inflammation?

     

    It is your body’s attempt to protect and heal itself.

    Inflammation is an immune response triggered when your body detects a “threat,” such as:
     

  • Damaged [pre-cancerous] cells
  • Physical injury
  • Threatening pathogens [bacteria, viruses, etc.]
  • Allergens
  •  

    Acute inflammation is a biological response to remove something from harming your body and health, and is an integral part of healing and staying healthy.

    But sometimes inflammation continues after the original threat has been resolved, or is activated even when a threat is not present, which can last several months or years!

     

    Chronic Inflammation is a Silent Killer

     

    Research has shown that chronic inflammation is an underlying factor in most diseases, and has even recently been identified as playing a leading role in the development of depression.

    Chronic inflammation affects your cells, tissues and plays a major role in obesity and is often suspected when you’re not losing weight, despite an exercise regimen.

    Autoimmune diseases are inflammation-induced and occur when the patient’s body identifies its own tissue as a threat and mounts a continual attack on itself.

    An Anti-inflammatory diet is recommended complementary to treatment for patients who suffer from autoimmune disease and high levels of chronic inflammation:
     

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Type I Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  •  

    An anti-inflammatory diet isn’t just for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, it can help anyone reduce chances of cancer, specifically colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

     

    Signs You Have Chronic Inflammation

     

    If you want to be healthy today, if you want to be healthy for decades to come, you need to be aware of the signs of chronic inflammation.

    So that you are aware, the 5 common symptoms of chronic inflammation are:
     

  • Your Body Hurts — especially in the joints.
  • You Feel Exhausted — almost all the time, despite getting enough sleep.
  • You Get Skin Rashes — such as eczema.
  • Your Digestive Health is Poor — and suffer from frequent abdominal pain, constipation, etc.
  • You are Fat – inflammation is closely related to obesity.
  •  
    Overall, the main symptom of chronic inflammation is feeling “sick and tired.”

     

    Being Fat = Being Inflamed

     

    Chronic inflammation and stubborn fat go together like, peanut butter and jelly.

    There is direct link between being overweight and being inflamed. Inflammation guru, Dr. Mark Hyman, even goes so far to say:

    Interestingly enough, fat cells – or adipocytes – send chemical signals to your immune system as they would if they were under attack by a foreign threat, even when they are not.

    This leads to a constant stream of “false signals” activating the inflammation, leading to chronic inflammation.

    The more fat cells you have, and the more you “feed” your current fat cells excess energy [by overeating and eating an unbalanced diet] and the worse the inflammation becomes.

     

    You Have a Choice: To Be Inflamed? or To Not Be Inflamed?

     

    You don’t go out shopping one day and “get diabetes” or “become obese.”

    Disease doesn’t happen overnight, for example heart disease takes ten years to surface. Most chronic diseases happen over extended periods of time due to habitual choices.

    That said, the most current scientific research shows that your gut health is the number one indicator of your levels of inflammation. Poor gut health is a leading indication of chronic inflammation levels.

    Not coincidentally, your gut health is directly tied to the foods that you eat.

    When you eat an array of anti-inflammatory foods, you promote gut health, eliminate fluid retention and excess swelling, and reduce dangerous levels of inflammation.

     

    You Have a Choice: To Be Inflamed? or To Not Be Inflamed?

     

    Chronic inflammation levels can be reduced in as little as a week!

    All you have to do is pick and choose which of the foods you most enjoy from the following list and start to increase them into your diet.

    All of the foods below have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich properties that will help reduce inflammation reduce your chances of cancer, heart disease, and several other diseases.

    Mixing these foods and creating your own unique anti-inflammatory diet will:

  • Reduce your levels of chronic inflammation
  • Improve your gut health
  • Reduce fluid retention/swelling
  •  
    In as little as a week, you can be on your way to having more energy, and nearly eliminating your swollenness and bloat.

     

    25 Foods that Fight Inflammation:

     

    01. Dark chocolate
    02. Cabbage family vegetables
           a. Kale
           b. Spinach
           c. Brussel Sprouts
           d. Broccoli
    03. Blackberries
    04. Blueberries
    05. Raspberries
    06. Avocado
    07. Coconut
    08. Olives
    09. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
    10. Coconut Oil
    11. Red Grapes
    12. Salmon
    13. Trout
    14. Shrimp
    15. Almonds
    16. Pistachios
    17. Lentils
    18. Beans
    19. Quinoa
    20. Brown Rice
    21. Steel Cut Oats
    22. Greek Yogurt
    23. Honey
    24. Cinnamon
    25. Spices

    But… If you suffer from a food or gluten sensitivity, you must avoid it at all costs.
     

    What can you drink to reduce inflammation?

     
    01. Water
    02. Green Tea
    03. Red Wine (in moderation, which means 1 serving per day for women, and 2 for men)

    You can complement your anti-inflammation mission with the following vitamins, that will boost your antioxidant intake:
     

  • Vitamin C → my favorite brand for this is HERE
  • Vitamin E → my favorite brand for this is HERE
  • Selenium → my favorite brand for this is HERE
  •  

    Anti-Inflammatory Jumpstart:

     

    You can start an anti-inflammatory diet anytime, but if you wish to start over the weekend, here’s an example of a two-day weekend anti-inflammatory diet jumpstart:

    Saturday:

    • Breakfast — A cup of blackberries over steel cut oats with a teaspoon of honey and dash of cinnamon.
    • Lunch — Berry Smoothie with a citrus salad and blue cheese crumbles.
    • Dinner — Salmon with lentils and steamed bokchoy.

    Sunday:

    • Breakfast — A cup of mixed berries over your favorite Greek yogurt.
    • Lunch — Trout over a bed of leafy greens and sliced avocado with a drizzle of olive oil and spices.
    • Dinner — Brown rice risotto with squash and grilled shrimp on top.

     

    The Takeaway: Food Is Medicine

     

    Disease doesn’t happen overnight.

    You have control over the foods that you put in your body. Limit refined sugars, processed meats and don’t overdose on carbs.

    Use food as a powerful means to prevent chronic inflammation by eating foods rich in antioxidants, and also to decrease current levels of chronic inflammation.

    And never forget, that food is nature’s medicine

    Do you agree?

     
    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

    15 ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS YOU ACTUALLY LOVE

    15 ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS YOU ACTUALLY LOVE

    Inflammation is a hero and silent killer.

    More so than Dexter.

    Short-lived, the immunological defense mechanism is heroic and defends your body against life-threatening viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

    Acute inflammation also accelerates healing after you sustain an injury, from breaking a nail to twisting your ankle in yoga class.

    Normally, the immune response “turns on” when a microbial threat or physical injury is detected, lasts hours or days and then “turns off” once the inflammatory trigger is resolved.
     

    What is Chronic Inflammation?

     
    Sometimes the immune response doesn’t “turn off” on cue, forcing your body to attack itself.

    Chronic Inflammation lasts several months or years after the inflammatory trigger is resolved, simultaneously activating biological pathways directly linked to countless diseases.

    Recent research agrees, chronic inflammation is the unifying factor of the top 5 killer diseases and the probable root of most diseases.

    The solution seems simple then: Get rid of inflammation and prevent disease.

    Unsurprisingly, it’s not that simple. Cultural everyday habits spark and spread inflammation faster than a wildfire.
     

    FYI: You Increase Your Chances of Chronic Inflammation with These 5 Habits:

     

  • Poor diet
  • Not exercising
  • Sitting for 6+ hours at work
  • Sleeping less than 8 hours a night
  • Not doing work you are passionate about
  •  

    3 Ways Inflammation is Keeping You Fat

     
    Do I have your attention now?

    If you’re overweight, you’re inflamed.

    Chronic inflammation also makes it super hard for you to lose your excess weight by increasing your appetite, insulin resistance and making you feel depressed.

     

    What are some signs of growing inflammation?

     

  • You’re overweight or swollen
  • You feel depressed or tired most days
  • You’re suffering skin issues
  • You get frequent migraines
  • You’re bloated and have belly fat
  •  

    15 Anti-Inflammatory Super Foods to Fight Off Chronic Inflammation

     

    1 – PUMPKIN

    It’s October, so naturally you’re surrounded by everything “pumpkin.”

    From lattes to pie and late-night reruns of Hocus Pocus, the month of October is a sweet reminder that fall and “sweater weather” have arrived.

    And one thing is for sure.

    Of all seasons, fall prides the orange fruit. Yes, pumpkin is a fruit and not a vegetable.

    Unfortunately, lots of fall sweets require ungodly amounts of sugar, and will indefinitely aggravate your chronic inflammation.

    But there’s good news lovers of fall… Pumpkins are a tasty anti-inflammatory superfood.

    The properties of which come specifically from the seeds, which contain antioxidants that fight inflammation.

    You can color your diet with pumpkin seeds by sprinkling them on your yogurt, salad, oatmeal and more. Celebrate fall this year with healthy pumpkin recipes you can savor, without feeling guilty.
     
    3 Fall Pumpkin Recipe Ideas:

  • Pumpkin hummus (YUM!)
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Pumpkin oats (and oatmeal)
  •  
    BTW you can reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of pumpkin seeds all year long with a pumpkin seed oil oral supplement.
     

    2 – COCOA

    Chocolate lovers, unite.

    Chocolate that contains 69% cocoa or more is anti-inflammatory and the specific inflammation that dark chocolate alleviates is linked to heart disease.

    When dark chocolate hits your digestive system, the “good” bacteria in your gut transforms several antioxidants from cocoa into anti-inflammatory agents.

    Naturally, these anti-inflammatory agents are absorbed into your body and decrease levels of inflammation in your heart.

    And your risk of stroke and heart attack.

    The bottom line: Cocoa is good for your heart.
     
    3 Healthy Hacks to Eat More Dark Chocolate:

  • Blend in smoothie
  • Add some dark chocolate to your favorite nut butter (mine is almond butter)
  • Drizzle it on top of your favorite cup of berries
  •  

    3 – BERRIES

    Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.

    They are all tiny, colorful, delicious and jam-packed with properties that fight chronic inflammation and help prevent disease.

    So much so that they are at the core of a concept called “fruitaceuiticals,” that emphasizes cancer prevention vs treatment.

    Of all the berries, blackberries combat disease and inflammation with most potency.

    Blackberries target unhealthy or pre-cancerous cells to grow more slowly and to thereby decrease inflammation levels and prove worthy in cancer prevention.
     
    3 Ideas to Score More Berries in Your Diet:

  • Sprinkle on top of a salad
  • Berry smoothie
  • Mix berries, granola and yogurt to make a homemade parfait
  •  

    4 – SUNFLOWER SEEDS, ALMONDS AND NUTS

    Sunflower seeds are an abundant source of Vitamin E.

    And there’s no greater match against inflammation, than this antioxidant.

    Biochemically, Vitamin E is an antioxidant chain, and has been proven to do wonders against dangerous levels of inflammation.

    Various studies show that high doses of Vitamin E can alleviate inflammation that underlies specific diseases. From Type II diabetes, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis…

    Vitamin E decreases high levels of chronic inflammation by suppressing the production and release of cytokines, molecules responsible for activating the immune response.

    Vitamin E is also proven effective in reducing colon inflammation and acts as an anti-carcinogen in the colon.
     
    Nuts with High Vitamin E Concentration [per 100mg serving]:

  • Sunflower seeds- 39mg
  • Almonds – 26mg
  • Hazelnuts – 16mg
  • Peanuts – 9mg
  •  
    The anti-inflammatory benefits of nuts don’t stop there. Butters and oils derived from the list above work just as effectively against chronic inflammation.
     
    Oils and Butters with High Vitamin E Concentration [per 1 tablespoon]:

  • Sunflower seed oil – 6mg
  • Almond butter – 4mg
  • Hazelnut oil – 7mg
  • Peanut Butter – 1mg
  •  

    5 – COLD WATER FATTY FISH

    Salmon and black cod are the go-to fish to fight inflammation.

    Both of these fish have high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids, which dampen inflammatory pathways.

    If you aren’t a fan of fish, you can always opt for omega-3 supplements, but make sure you buy a high-quality one such as this one:

    Biotrust Omega Krill 5X

    If you’re unsure of trendy ways to add black cod or salmon to your diet, check out the list below.
     
    5 Trendy Ways to Eat Salmon, Trout, and Black Cod:

  • Black Cod Quick and Easy Nobu Recipe
  • Seared Trout with Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm: Delicious recipe HERE
  • Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon
  • Mango Glazed Salmon
  • Salmon Burger
  • Salmon Dip w/ Veggies
  •  

    6 – AVOCADO

    The facts are in.

    People that eat the green fruit – commonly mistaken for a vegetable – have lower BMI and better quality diets than people who avoid it.

    This green fruit is rich in Vitamin E, which further combats inflammation. Avocados are extremely effective in helping with inflammation related to athletic injuries.

    Up your anti-inflammatory game by using avocado oil as well, which has even more benefits than olive oil.

    You’ll probably have to go to Amazon to buy avocado oil, as it’s not widely available in supermarkets.
     
    Top 3 Avocado Oils:

  • Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil
  • La Tourangelle Avocado Oil
  • Prasada 100% Pure Avocado Oil
  •  

    7 – HIGH FIBER FOODS, ESPECIALLY OATMEAL

    All “high-fiber” foods are abundant in antioxidants that lower chronic levels of inflammation.

    Fiber is critical in lowering chronic inflammation.

    People that stick to a daily diet high in fiber live longer than those who don’t; antioxidants in high fiber foods reduce inflammatory markers otherwise present.

    To put the icing on the cake, fiber boosts your digestive health. BTW ladies, you should be getting about 25g of fiber a day. At LEAST.
     
    5 High Fiber Foods that Combat Inflammation [per 100g serving]:

  • Oatmeal – 10.6g
  • Artichoke – 8.6g
  • Split Peas – 7.6g
  • Beets – 2.8g
  • Quinoa – 2.6g
  •  
    FYI oatmeal is a great breakfast choice.

    Make your oatmeal an antioxidant bowl of deliciousness by adding some cinnamon, honey or a handful of berries.
     

    8 – EGGS

    Ahh… the great egg debate.

    Eggs help reduce other types of inflammation by assisting in the inhibition of one specific marker called C-reactive protein.

    One study proved the power of eggs. The study divided a group of obese men, all of whom were placed on a low carb, high-fat diet. Half of the men in the study were allowed to eat three eggs a day, and the other half were not.

    At the end of the 12-week study, the group of men that ate the eggs had significantly lower markers of inflammation.

    Anti-inflammatory effects of eggs also have a lot to do with the type of eggs.

    FYI, factory farm eggs are less nutritive and have up to 6 times less Vitamin D, 3 times less Vitamin E and 2 times less Omega-3’s than pastured eggs.
     
    How to Choose the Healthiest Eggs:

  • Omega-3 Labels
  • DHA Labels
  • Organic Labels
  •  

    9 – RAW HONEY

    Honey is more than nature’s best spread and natural sweetener.

    It’s a sweet source of antioxidants, the properties of which come from the same compounds that make up its color.

    From what research has been able to prove, the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant concentration.

    Specific antioxidants in honey are particularly effective in managing inflammation related to the colon.

    When buying honey, make sure you buy organic raw honey, and it’s always the wiser option to buy local.

    FYI, the best way to add those honey antioxidants in your diet is by the spoon.

    But for your pleasure, here’s a list of sweet ideas to inspire you to add honey into your everyday diet.
     
    Top 5 Ways to Add Honey into Your Everyday Diet:

  • Making homemade granola with seeds, nuts and honey
  • Putting a glaze on baked salmon or chicken
  • Using it as a spread on a slice of whole grain bread
  • Adding a few swirls into your morning cup of coffee or tea
  • Drizzling on top of Greek yogurt, cereal or oatmeal
  •  
    You can thank me later.
     

    10 – YOGURT

    Not all yogurts are created equal.

    That said, the right yogurts are quick to hush the effects of inflammation, by improving your gut health.

    When it comes to gut health, you have “good” and “bad” bacteria.

    “Bad” bacteria in your gut produce toxins that can cross your intestinal lining, enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation elsewhere.

    Recent research shows that fermented yogurt decreases chronic inflammation by upping the defenses of the intestinal lining. That makes it harder for agents that trigger inflammation to cross over into your bloodstream.

    One study found that eating 12 ounces of yogurt every day, for two months, led to decreased levels of inflammatory markers in obese and menopausal women.

    So, which yogurts rank a la creme de la creme when it comes to health benefits?
     
    Top 3 Yogurts to Boost Gut Health and Decrease Inflammation

  • Icelandic Provisions, Vanilla Skyr
  • Siggi’s 0% Strained Icelandic Style Yogurt, Plain
  • Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt Plain
  •  

    11 – BEANS

    Although nothing can replace coffee as the world’s favorite bean…

    Black beans come in at a close second.

    Because their anti-inflammatory effects lower CRP, a protein that causes and sustains inflammation.

    Bring out the beans because to best fight inflammation, you should be having a cup of them two to three times a week.

    Great bean choices are garganzo beans, red kidney beans and black beans.

    FYI, a great anti-inflammatory treat is hummus, which is made with olive oil and garbanzo beans.
     

    12 – GREEN TEA

    The art and consumption of green tea has endured thousands of years.

    Its medicinal value really comes as no surprise, as it has been noted since ancient times.

    In the modern scientific community, green tea is revered for one specific polyphenol called ECGC. This compound helps your liver break down fats, which can promote weight loss.

    ECGC triggers cancer cell death in women with breast cancer as well as reduces inflammation in men suffering from prostate cancer.

    Green tea also proves preventative when it comes to heart health. One study noted that 3 cups of green tea daily can decrease heart attack risk by more than 10%.

    As far as green tea goes, you can’t go wrong with the brands Yogi, Tazo or Numi.
     

    13 – COFFEE

    Coffee drinkers, raise your mugs!

    Because statistically you live longer than the non-coffee drinking zombies.

    The world’s favorite bean contains polyphenols, which are tiny antioxidants with giant fighting power against deadly inflammatory diseases.

    Several studies agree, the coffee bean reduces inflammation.

    Drinking coffee decreases your risk of inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

    What better way to start the day than to up your defenses against inflammation with a mug of coffee?

    FYI, the quality of coffee bean and the roast you prefer matters.

    Scientists have found that lighter beans have more anti-inflammatory benefits.

    So, if you’re a fan of darker roasts, you may want to lighten up.

    The theory is that concentrations of beneficial compounds, like polyphenols, are stripped in the roasting process. Don’t fret dark roast lovers.

    There are medium and light roasts that are out of this world.
     
    5 Medium and Light Roasts You Need to Try ASAP:

  • Bulletproof Coffee- Medium Roast
  • Amazon Fresh Coffee- Medium Roast
  • Starbucks Veranda Blend – Light Blonde Roast
  • Caribou Coffee- Light Roast
  •  

    14 – CINNAMON

    ‘Tis the season of cinnamon, after all, the sweet spice is intertwined with Fall and Winter.

    If you didn’t know, cinnamon comes from inside tree bark and like coffee, cinnamon is plentiful in polyphenols.

    In fact, cinnamon has more antioxidants in it than almost any other spice. And its anti-inflammatory potency competes with any other superfood mentioned on this list.

    Scientific studies even suggest cinnamon as a means of potential treatment for inflammatory diseases related to age, such as arthritis.

    Before you rush to your spice cabinet, you should know that there are two types of cinnamon. The higher quality is called “Ceylon.”

    Ceylon cinnamon is revered as the truest form of the spice.

    Because most food markets only sell cheaper quality cinnamon, here are some cinnamon picks.
     
    3 Top Quality Cinnamons:

  • Kiva Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Whole Foods Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Organic Wise Ceylon Cinnamon
  •  
    FYI, one great cinnamon hack is to sprinkle some in your morning coffee.

    P.S. You can also sprinkle some in some dark chocolate cocoa.
     

    15 – OLIVE OIL

    The beloved olive tree blessed us with its oil.

    Olive oil is brimming with antioxidants that are powerful enough to inhibit genes that activate inflammation.

    The “olive oil” antioxidant is called olecanthan and has anti-inflammatory effects that rival ibuprofen.

    Oleic acid combats inflammation and is a primary compound abundant in extra-virgin olive oil. In one study, oleic acid significantly reduced one inflammatory protein market called CRP, in both men and women.

    To get the purest form of olive oil, with the highest concentration of antioxidants, go the extra mile and buy Extra-Virgin and Certified Organic.

    Although one bottle can run $30 plus, the purity is worth it.
     
    3 Expert Olive Oil Choices:

  • O-Live Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Zoe Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • La Tourangelle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  •  

    The Bottom Line: Eat to Battle Inflammation

     
    What you eat is a choice.

    And it sets the stage to either promote or prevent disease.

    If you have chronic signs of inflammation or have been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease, eat wisely to target and lower your inflammation.
    Why?

    Because there isn’t a risk and the reward is feeling better, promoting weight loss and preventing or helping to treat deadly diseases like heart disease and cancer.

    After all, something as simple and natural as cinnamon or berries have less side effects than anti-inflammatory prescription drugs.

    Head to the store and stock up on anti-inflammatory super foods.

    Will today be the day you change your life?
     
    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

    KETO DIET

    KETO DIET

     

    Want to lose weight? Feel healthier? Have more energy?

     

    Go “Keto” by subscribing to the Keto diet to get weight loss and energy served a la mode. The Keto diet has a slew of A-list celeb followers, and it’s the “dirty little secret” to why they look freaking amazing. It could be yours too.

    Treat your body like the temple it is by succeeding the Keto way. Here’s how this diet stands apart from the rest, and how it could profit your body and mind.

    WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?

    An extremely low-carb, high fat diet with over 26 studies under its belt that prove better weight loss results than the American Standard diet and comparable low-carb diets.

    If you’re not an athlete, the Keto diet limits you to 20-30g of carbs a day, which looks like this:

    • About 3 pounds of spinach (isn’t that a cool fact?)
    • A small plate of nuts or berries
    • Half a piece of bread (not allowed on the Keto diet)

    Here’s a list of the BIG 5 carbs you’ll have to part with when you go Keto:

    1. Bread
    2. Rice
    3. Potatoes
    4. Pasta
    5. Beer

    Tragic? The severe carbohydrate restriction isn’t up for debate. It’s this that will force a specific metabolic change in your body that experts call Ketosis – the foundation of the Ketogenic diet and where it derives its success.

    WHAT’S KETOSIS?

    Ketosis demands your body to turn into a fat burning machine – no exaggeration.

    Your body fundamentally turns to glucose (blood sugar) for its energy source, which you have plenty of when you’re living la vida loca with pasta and bread. The bottom line is, that your body doesn’t need glucose aka “sugar” to thrive. The Keto diet takes advantage of this.

    What happens when you make the 20g a day carb shift?

    Your body can’t turn to glucose as its principal source of energy. Instead, it reprograms and targets fat and the amount and rate in which you burn fat skyrockets – leading to stellar weight loss results.

    WHAT CAN YOU EAT ON KETO?

    If you can’t eat carbs, then what can you eat?

    The list is extensive.

    Meat, Seafood, Dairy and Veggies are all at the core of the Keto diet.

    FYI if you want to be a superstar, always go with organic or grass-fed meats/seafood.

    PROTEINS:

    Here’s the Keto-approved meat list:

    • Beef (Steak and Ground Beef)
    • Pork (Loin, Chops, Tenderloin, Ground, Ham, Bacon, Sausage)
    • Chicken (Breasts, Wings, Thighs)
    • Turkey (Breasts, Sausage, Bacon)
    • Veal (Chops, Tenderloin, Ground)
    • Duck/Quail/Pheasant
    • Eggs (any type, cooked however you wish)

    Here’s the Keto-approved seafood list:

    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Mahi Mahi
    • Scallops
    • Mussels
    • Shrimp
    • Crab

    Fish is a great source of both healthy fats and protein. Try to put some fish in your life about three times a week once you go Keto. Don’t go overboard on the protein. Remember, the Keto diet is 75% fat and 15% protein. Too much protein can turn to glucose and get in the way of Ketosis.

    DAIRY:

    Dairy is mostly made of fat and is low-carb. Dairy helps propel the low-carb, high-fat foundation of the Keto diet.

    Here’s a list of Keto-approved dairy products:

    • Cheese: 1g/carb per 1oz serving
    • Butter
    • Heavy Cream
    • Half and Half
    • Plain Greek Yogurt

     

    VEGGIES AND FRUITS:

    Stick to the bunch of veggies grown above the ground. Above-ground veggies have a lower carb count per serving.

    Here’s a list of Keto-approved veggies that have less than 4 carbs/ 100g serving:

    • Spinach
    • Asparagus
    • Lettuce
    • Cabbage
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Lettuce
    • Cucumber

    Here’s the list of Keto-approved fruits that have less than 20g of carbs/per 1 cup serving:

    • Avocado… Yes, it’s a fruit!
    • Blackberries
    • Blueberries
    • Strawberries
    • Raspberries

     

    OILS, SEASONING AND HEALTHY FATS:

    You can spice up your food to your liking on the Keto diet with almost any spice/seasoning you can think of, from salt and pepper to chili pepper, mojo, etc.

    Here’s a list of Keto-approved healthy oils and fats:

    • Oils (extra virgin olive, coconut, sesame and flaxseed)
    • Mayo
    • Macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pine nuts
    • Nut Butters (macadamia, almond, cashew, peanut, coconut)
    • Seeds (pumpkin and sesame)

    WHAT CAN YOU DRINK ON THE KETO DIET?

    The importance of staying hydrated on the Keto diet cannot be stressed enough. It’ll protect your kidneys, because Ketosis causes your kidneys to work harder than they usually would.

    Here’s the Keto-approved non-alcoholic beverage list:

    • Water (at least half a gallon per day)
    • Carbonated water and coconut water
    • Homemade flavored water (infused with raspberry, cucumber, lemon, etc.)v
    • Coffee
    • Tea (green or black)
    • Non-dairy milk (coconut or almond milk)

    Top 5 Keto liquor choices w/ 0 carbs and less than 100 calories per 1.5oz serving:

    1. Jack Daniel’s
    2. Grey Goose
    3. Patron
    4. Bacardi
    5. Hennessy

    Top 5 Keto Red/White wine choice w/ 4 carbs or less and about 150 calories per 5oz serving:

    1. Pinot Noir
    2. Merlot
    3. Cabernet
    4. Chardonnay
    5. Pinot Grigio

    Top 5 Keto low-carb beer choices w/ 4 carbs or less and about 100 calories per 12oz bottle:

    1. Heineken Light
    2. Yuengling Light
    3. Budweiser Select 55
    4. Michelob Ultra
    5. Miller Light

    Cheers!

    The benefits of the Keto diet go beyond weight loss.

    Ketosis improves energy levels, brain function and aids in the prevention and treatment of multiple diseases. FYI if you’re prediabetic or diabetic, the Keto diet could reverse your insulin dependence and/or prevent it.

    HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE KETO DIET

    9 KETO DIET FAQ’S

    Naturally, there’s a ton of questions you may be asking yourself before deciding if the Keto diet may be a good fit for you.

    I shed light on some common Keto Frequently Asked Questions. If your question hasn’t been answered, drop a line in the comments.

    THE 5 KETO COMMANDMENTS

    1. Take the carb restriction seriously – 20 to 40g of carbs a day. This isn’t up for debate. Stop trying to fight it and roll with the punches.

    2. Don’t go on a protein binge – If you overdo the protein, you risk excess turning into glucose and compromising ketosis.

    3. Stay hydrated – With water! Plain old H20. You should be drinking half a gallon to a gallon a day on the Keto diet, especially within the first 7-10 days due to your body detoxing from all that processed gunk.

    4. Consider intermittent fasting – Fasting is the fastest way to rev Ketosis. But, you can’t fast forever. What you can do is fast for 16 hours. Have dinner at 6pm and don’t eat again until 12pm the following day. Do this 2x a week and reap the benefits.

    5. Get moving – Being on the Keto diet is no excuse for you not exercising. 30 minutes a day, at least.

    Just like there’re signs when you reach nirvana, there’re signs to look out for that mean you’ve reached Ketosis. If you take the Keto Commandments seriously, then you should start noticing the signs of Ketosis within the first 3 weeks of following the diet regimen.

    START LIVIN’ YOUR BEST KETO LIFE TODAY:

    Now.

    Not tomorrow, not next week. Start today. All you need is the right mindset to succeed, along with your Keto diet grocery list.

    For those of you using the “organic is expensive” excuse, there are tons of tips to shop for the Keto diet on a budget.

    So, what’s stopping you from feeling the way you want to feel?

    Do you need a program to follow? Something to guide you step-by-step and keep you on track? Check out this 28 Day Keto Challenge.


    Love and Health,

    😍  GOOD READ? LET GOOGLE KNOW!

    NEW TO THIS BLOG? START RIGHT HERE

    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.

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