Let’s first cut the habit of imbibing in high calorie, sweetened non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Why? Did you know that the average person drinks over 800 calories per day? That is MORE THAN HALF of my daily caloric intake. Gasp. Hiccup. Oops! Removing these from your diet + cutting sugars will help you lose weight + feel more energetic without the sugar crashes. Let’s make it happen!
MY RULES: SIMPLE + STRAIGHT FORWARD
- Water first…it’s king. I start my morning with hot water + lemon every day to get my “habit” going. Water hydrates you, fills you up, lends to the 10 control systems in your body functioning properly. Drink 1/2 of your body weight in fluid ounces. Every. Single. Day. Keep reusable bottles in all of your “places.” I have one in my kitchen, bedside, car, + purse.
- Bored? Then flavor the water naturally with citrus or fruits/herb combinations. My fave this time of year is lemon + mint. There are bottles on the market that will infuse it for you – simply put the combination in the bottle, follow instructions, and refrigerate overnight to snag and go in the morning.
- Skip the soda (and the juice.) Soda addict? Yes, I am talking to you people out there who drink 3+ per day, whether it is diet or regular. Sugar, even sugar “flavored”/faked, merely lends to wanting MORE. You are feeding your cravings and that has to stop.
- Ween yourself off of the soda 1 by 1. How do you do this? Cut back by 1/day for 3-5 days, then another the next 3-5 days, until you get to none. Meanwhile, you can replace them with one carbonated all-natural drink per day. Carbonation bloats us + lends to poor digestion.
- No adding in…this means, with coffee, tea, anything, don’t add in syrups or sugars. Again, real or fake, you are feeding the sugar frenzy inside by sweetening your caffeine. Try a lighter, naturally flavored tea or a milder coffee bean where sugar isn’t needed.
LET’S TALK ALCOHOL too- tune in next week for a run-down on the do’s + don’ts
CALL TO ACTION FOLKS: Before we get into this topic- you have HOMEWORK! Write down what you drink. How much you drink/week. Then, I dare you to google the calories + tally up your weekly caloric intake when hitting happy hour or having wine with dinner. Let’s see the damage that is done that we may not be privy to- it’s all about being in the “know” before making changes. Check in with your reality. I will also debunk and/or support the benefits of some cocktails.
Millions of peaches….peaches for free! The health benefits and tasty, sweet goodness of this pitted stone fruit are incredible! Nutrition truly does come straight from the produce department!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEACHES
- Aids in digestion: thanks to beneficial gut bacteria in the prebiotics that help with inflammation, immunity, and mood, peaches along with their decent level of fiber, are good for your digestive system.
- Immune system support: thanks to their Vitamin C + A content, these antioxidants help peaches boost your immune system.
- Beneficial for your skin: thanks to the water content (85%!) peaches help keep your skin hydrated while the Vitamin C content helps build collagen which fortifies the skin’s integrity and elasticity. Beta Carotene is found in peaches as well (thanks to their orange coloring,) and is what lends to the benefits of Vitamin A; protects from sun damage, balances the skin’s color, and lends to a glow.
- Helps protect your vision: Vitamin A lends to eye health, while peaches also have lutein and zeaxanthin that protect the eyes from macular degeneration.
- Lowers blood pressure: the potassium content in peaches, which works directly with sodium to keep the body in balance, helps regulate blood pressure. This relationship with sodium also helps potassium control bloat.
The Hormones Directly Related to Our Appetite, Cravings, and Weight
Did you know that our bodies make and circulate some 50 different hormones? There are 9 major players as it relates to our weight. Too much or too little of some of these can lead to weight gain and/or the inability to lose weight when trying. Check out my explanation of the hormones below with tips to increase or decrease their presence in your body.
This is the hormone in our body that says, “hey you, time to eat!” When your stomach is empty (and wants to be filled) it releases grehlin to tell your brain to snag some food. Pretty nifty mind-body connection, but don’t you wish it cooked for you too?
PROBLEM: Intuitively, that means grehlin is highest before eating a meal and lowest after a meal, but studies have shown that with overweight and obese individuals, grehlin only decreases slightly after a meal. This slight decrease in the hormone means that the brain does not receive a strong enough signal to stop eating.
SOLUTION: Decreasing sugar intake, especially corn syrup, and having protein at every meal is a good way to improve grehlin function in your body and raise satiety levels.
Leptin is a hormone that makes you feel full and is produced by fat cells. The message it sends to your brain is that your body has enough fat stored, so you do not need to eat more.
PROBLEM: Despite producing 4 times as leptin as others, if you are overweight or obese, your body develops leptin resistance. This means the body does not respond to the higher levels of leptin in their bodies, so their appetite is not decreased.
- Exercise regularly: 4-5 days/week of 30+ minutes
- Sleep 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night
- Take supplements like ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) and fish oil
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish and avoid inflammatory foods (dairy, processed foods, etc.)
PROBLEM: The commonly called: “stress hormone” is produced by the adrenal glands and is released when your body senses stress. If chronically elevated, it and can increase fat around the midsection, especially in women.
- Consistent high-quality sleep
- Eat a balanced diet
- Meditate and practice any form of stress management that works for you
This is the hormone that allows your cells to take in blood sugar for energy or storage and it is also the main fat storage hormone. Yep, this is the hormone we blame when we keep fat on our body! In fact, it tells fat cells to store fat and prevents stored fats from being broken down.
PROBLEM: Overeating and overeating things like sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods drives insulin resistance and increases insulin levels. When insulin levels are chronically elevated, it can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
- Limit sugar intake, simple and refined carbs, and increase fiber-filled foods
- Increase magnesium intake to improve insulin sensitivity
- Eat healthy fats
- Eat lean and complete proteins at each meal
- Exercise regularly: 4-5 days/week of 30+ minutes
ESTROGEN: for women, have estrogen shifts throughout life and when they are too high or low, weight gain can occur. Estrogen levels are directly related to your age as well.
NPY (Neuropeptide Y) is a hormone that is also increased during stress and periods of food deprivation or fasting. It is produced by cells in the brain and nervous system and stimulates appetite, especially for carbohydrates.
To Decrease NPY Levels:
- Make sure you’re eating a high fiber diet
- Eat enough lean protein
- Take a pre- and probiotic; friendly “good” bacteria in the gut may reduce NPY levels.
- Fasting over 24 hours can increase levels
CCK: is a hormone that reduces your appetite and is produced when you eat protein, fat, and fiber.
PYY: is a gut hormone that controls appetite and plays a major role in reducing food intake, especially when you eat more fiber, lean protein, and limit processed carbs.
GLP-1: glucagon-like peptide-1 is also a gut hormone, plays a role in keeping blood sugar levels stable and gives you that satiated feeling. To increase levels of GLP-1 in the body, eat loads of leafy greens, take a probiotic, eat an anti-inflammatory and clean diet, and keep up with the lean protein.
PANKO-CRUSTED WILD SALMON (OR COD)
Served with a Roasted Broccoli Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 20-30 minutes | Total Time: 30-40 minutes
makes 2 servings
For the Fish:
- 2, 4-oz filets of wild salmon (I used cod because I couldn’t source wild salmon at the time)
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
- Sea salt + pepper
For the Sauce:
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek-yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ tsp stone ground mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Broccoli Salad:
- 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
- 11/2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
- 2 TB scallions, chopped
- 2 TB hemp hearts
- ¼ cup prepared, store-bought ginger-turmeric dressing
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the broccoli florets on a lined baking sheet + lightly spray with oil. Roast until browned + tender when forked-roughly 20-30 minutes. (Depends on overall size of the florets, so try to keep them as uniform as possible.)
QUICK FIX FOR THE BROCCOLI:
Microwave steam in glass dish with a 1/4 cup of water for 4+ minutes (depending on the amount) or until tender
Meanwhile, place the breadcrumbs, garlic, salt + pepper in a bowl and scramble the egg in another. Soak the salmon in the egg wash + then coat it with the breadcrumb mix. Shake of excess breadcrumbs + place the filets on a lined baking sheet with a spray of cooking oil atop each. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until fish is opaque and flaky.
While fish and broccoli are cooking, chop the other veggies and place them in a serving bowl.
In another bowl, mix all ingredients together for the sauce.
Serve a filet of fish alongside 1 cup of salad and voila!
NUTRITION: x 1 serving @ 1 filet of prepared fish + 1 cup of the broccoli salad
380 Calories | 2.8 grams Fat | 34 grams Carbs | 4.4 grams Fiber | 34.2 grams Protein
HEALTH BENEFITS + IMMUNE BOOSTING PROPERTIES:
- Turmeric contains curcumin; the active compound that makes turmeric so potent but what also gives it that bright yellow hue. Turmeric has super strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as a high level of antioxidant activity which help to strengthen the immune system and may help fight off infections thanks to its antibacterial properties.
- Ginger is a relative of turmeric that has been touted for centuries as a home remedy for the cold + flu as well as aid in digestion to treat nausea. Ginger is chock full of antioxidants and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body that support the immune system. Much like turmeric, it also has antibacterial and antiviral affects and has been shown to stop the growth of microbes.
- Purple (Red) Cabbage has an incredible antioxidant profile and is an inexpensive veggie that is also cruciferous like broccoli below. In addition, it is high in vitamin B6, C, and K.
- Broccoli, like many cruciferous veggies, contains sulforaphane; a chemical that switches on a set of antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells which then combat the injurious effects of molecules known as free radicals that can damage cells and lead to disease.
- Yogurt often contains live and active cultures called probiotics. These can help stimulate the immune system and keep our gut and intestinal tract healthy and free of disease-causing bacteria. Dairy products, like yogurt, also tend to be good sources of vitamin D, deficiency of which has been linked to increased risk of contracting a cold or the flu.
- Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria with its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Fish contains selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines; proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. In addition, fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
Purple Potato Health Benefits
Purple potatoes come in several varieties: Purple Peruvian, Purple Majesty, All Blue, Congo, Adirondack Blue, Purple Fiesta, and Vitelotte.
Purple potatoes have a richer, nuttier flavor than white potatoes and are higher in fiber with the skin on.
They contain high levels of:
- vitamin C
- carotenoid compounds
- polyphenolic compounds like caffeic acid, scopolin, chlorogenic acid, and ferulic acid
Purple potatoes are especially rich in polyphenol antioxidants called anthocyanins that lend to healthier cholesterol levels, improved vision and eye health, and a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
Part of the starch in purple potatoes is a type of fiber called resistant starch. Resistant starch resists digestion in your gastrointestinal tract, but the bacteria in your large intestine ferment it.
Their high potassium content, higher than a banana, helps improve blood pressure.
Dietary fiber helps keep you feeling full, prevents constipation, stabilizes blood sugar, and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Grill them, mash them, shred them for a hash…they can be cooked in any way!