Do Legumes Help With Weight Loss?

Legumes (pronounced “leh-gyoomz”) are the seeds or fruits of a certain type of plant family called Fabaceae. The legume family includes lentils, peas, peanuts and beans. Legumes have a very rich nutritional profile and they are full of protein and healthy fibers. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are good for the body and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

I’ve always liked the way legumes taste and the way they keep me satiated for long periods. But I had no idea they could help me lose weight until recently. But like many good things in life, there is some controversy surrounding legumes. I’ll go over that information and why I think it isn’t a big deal, and I’ll also show you the astonishing information I learned about using legumes as a weight-loss tool.  

Why Do Legumes Have a Bad Reputation?

There are a couple of things people don’t like about legumes. First, they contain phytic acid (we’ll talk about why that matters in a minute. Second, they tend to cause intestinal distress in people who aren’t used to eating them.

Though legumes have an exceptional nutritional profile, that profile is somewhat negated by certain antinutrients. Legumes contain phytic acid, which can inhibit optimal absorption of certain minerals (such as calcium, zinc and iron). But phytic acid is not unique to legumes. In fact, it’s found in all edible plant seeds.

Generally, the only people who need to worry about the phytic acid content in legumes are those who eat little o no meat. This is because people who eat meat get sufficient minerals to offset the potential negative impacts of phytic acid from legume consumption.

Additionally, you can reduce the phytic acid content of the legumes you consume by sprouting them, soaking them or fermenting them. Incidentally, these preparation methods can also help you avoid the intestinal discomfort associated with legume consumption.


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How Can Legumes Help With Weight Loss?

Now that we’ve gotten the controversial aspect of legume consumption out of the way, let’s dive right into what we really want to know: how do legumes assist with weight loss? It turns out they help in multiple ways, including:

  • Helping you feel full longer
  • Curbing cravings
  • Lowering blood sugar

As I mentioned earlier, legumes are full of protein and fiber. Both are great for helping you feel full longer so you don’t spend so much time snacking. They also help curb cravings so you have an easier time sticking to a healthy diet.

Finally, legumes can help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. Since legumes are low on the glycemic index, they do not raise blood sugars rapidly as white flour and breads do. Low-glycemic foods are associated with improved weight loss.  

How To Enjoy Legumes

Now that you know how important legumes can be on your weight-loss journey, it’s time to talk about how to enjoy them. Just remember that before using any of these methods, soak your legumes to lower their phytic acid content.

  • Add legumes to soups, casseroles and stews
  • Add cooked beans to your burgers and/or meatballs
  • Puree beans and seeds to use as vegetable dips
  • Sprinkle a few black beans, lentils or chickpeas onto a fresh green salad

These are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy legumes in my daily diet. Give them each a try to see which option you prefer. You can also sprout your legumes to enjoy maximum nutritional benefits. It’s pretty easy to find sprouting guidelines online for different types of legumes. Remember to also exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and consume other healthy foods to get the greatest weight-loss benefits from your legume consumption.

5 Reasons Restrictive Diets Will Never Work

A restrictive diet is one where you lose weight by giving up certain foods. Sometimes, this is a healthy choice, such as avoiding junk food. But most of these diets tell you to cut out entire food groups, such as carbs. Some force you to carefully measure the amount of calories you take in. The big question is, do restrictive diets work?

Why Don't Restrictive Diets Work?

According to expert nutritionists, any diet that is restrictive is practically doomed to fail from the very beginning. Why?

  1. Old habits: As I think most of know from personal experience, restrictive diets tend to be a temporary thing. No one really wants to eat cabbage soup every day or give up on chocolate for good. After 3–6 months, most people go back to eating how they used to, which adds on all those pounds again.

  2. Cheating: Let’s face it, denying yourself things that taste good is hard work. It feels like you’re punishing yourself. That opens up the door to “cheating,” weekend splurges that undo a whole week’s worth of progress.

  3. Unrealistic expectations: Any diet that sets your caloric intake really low is never going to work long term for most people. When you start to experience extreme hunger, nausea, headaches, dizziness and other symptoms, you’re probably going to give in to what your body is telling you: “I need more energy!”

  4. Changes in metabolism: You can try to fight your body with restrictive diets, but it’s a losing battle. Your metabolism starts to work against you. Burning calories takes longer because your energy production slows down. It’s like your body is saying: “You think you can starve me? Think again!”

  5. Band-Aid “fixes”: Restrictive diets don’t work because they’re superficial. They only focus on food, completely overlooking other causes of weight gain: stress, sleep problems and low activity levels. Ignoring these underlying issues makes weight come back sooner rather than later.

Overall, eating tasty, nutritious foods is good for you. It makes you happy, and it should. This healthy feeling goes against the rules of restrictive diets, so it’s always going to be hard to follow this type of diet.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


How Can You Lose Weight for Good?

If you really want to lose weight, you need to focus on making long-term changes, not following short-term fad diets. It’s absolutely possible to stay slim, love your body and feel happy at the same time.:

  • Choose a balanced diet that you can realistically live with: Make sure you have a wide range of healthy options for meals. Then, stick with this type of eating.

  • Eat food that's naturally good for you: Include more fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, probiotics and lean proteins.

  • Get more physical activity: This is one of the biggest keys to long-term weight loss. It’s better to burn up those 2,000–2,500 calories by exercising for 15 minutes a day than to eat an unrealistic 1,000-calorie diet.

  • Drink plenty of water: Many people feel hungry when they’re actually thirsty. Avoid weight gain by drinking a full eight glasses of water a day. That’s good for your kidneys and heart anyway.

  • Use healthy proteins to calm the munchies: The next time you have the munchies, don’t say "no." Say "yes," but eat filling protein instead of junk food. Grab some almonds, pistachios, Greek yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs or smoked salmon.

One diet did work great long term in studies. The Mediterranean diet. It helps you stay slim because it’s focused on heart-healthy, natural foods.

Are “Teatoxes” a Good Idea?

There are so many new diet fads and discoveries coming out all the time that it seem nearly impossible to keep up with them all. One of the most recent fads I’ve heard about is the “teatox.” I like a nice, refreshing cup of tea now and then, but I’d never considered that tea could potentially be used as a cleanse to detoxify the body.

Luckily, I have friends who hear about and try different cleanses and diets before I do, so I get to rely on their experience a bit. One of my friends tried a teatox recently and told me that although she felt very fatigued while she was doing it, she felt much more refreshed and healthy afterward. So I decided to look into the practice a bit before trying it myself. Here’s what I found out.

What Is a Teatox?

A teatox is the practice of drinking teas infused with various things (such as stimulants, laxatives and diuretics for as much as 30 days (or even more!) For optimum results, you’re supposed to exercise eat lightly throughout the process (so it’s not a tea-only detox).

Consumers are showing a lot of interest in this practice, according to the energetic response to this new diet and detoxing fad. But are teatoxes safe, or should we be worried about them? That’s what I set out to learn, and the answer is a little bit fuzzy. But first, let’s dive into what a teatox is purported to do.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


What Can a Teatox Do?

When done correctly, a teatox is purported to do the following:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Boost energy
  • Reduce bloat
  • Speed weight loss

It’s the last benefit in the above list that has people flocking to this new practice. This doesn’t really surprise me, though, considering that many of us have such a difficult time losing weight (myself included!) If there’s a practice that can help boost our efforts, many of us will give it a try!

What’s in a Teatox?

There are a variety of teatox products out there, and the type you choose depends on your primary goals. Whether you go with the Skinny Fit Tea, Flat Tummy Tea or any of the other cleverly-named teatox products out there, you’ll probably find the following ingredients in common between them:

  • Laxatives (such as senna leaf or senna)
  • Guarana (a stimulant)
  • Caffeine (in some cases, up to four times the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee!)

Different teas may contain additional ingredients, such as cinnamon, licorice, burdock root, milk thistle and other herbs. It’s not the herbs that are of concern, though. Herbs tend to be good for physical health. It’s the high amount of stimulants and laxatives in these products that should be looked at with a wary eye. Of course you’ll lose weight if the small amount of food you’re eating while on the teatox diet is very quickly eliminated from your body in the form of urine or diarrhea.

Is a Teatox Appropriate for Everyone?

So, it seems like Teatoxing can help you lose weight more quickly. But at what cost are you getting off those extra pounds? When you take laxatives over long periods, your body may not have adequate time to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. This could eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, overuse of laxatives has been linked to liver damage according to LiverTox website.

Finally, too much caffeine and other stimulants can potentially cause nausea, vomiting and rapid heartbeat. For these reasons, I don’t particularly recommend using a teatox to help you lose weight. There are just too many negative side effects that might come along with these popular new weight-loss products.

Is It Good or Bad To Eat Something Before Bedtime?

It’s amazing how many different opinions people have about eating before bed. Some people say it’s great for dealing with insomnia and others warn that it’s the reason you have trouble sleeping in the first place. What’s the truth?

Does Eating Before Bed Affect Your Sleep Quality?

If you have trouble sleeping at night, eating a lot of food before bedtime may be the reason why. Men are affected by this, but women are affected even more:

  • Making it harder to fall asleep
  • Waking you up in the middle of the night
  • Interrupting normal sleep cycles
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in restful sleep

It's important to emphasize that sleep issues are mainly caused by foods that are high in fat, sugar or calories. Snacking on potato chips, ice cream, nachos, pizza or pie — or eating a big meal right before bed — can definitely affect sleep quality.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


Do Certain Foods Make You Sleepy?

The good news is that not all foods are bad for bedtime. In fact, some are great for falling asleep. Foods containing tryptophan, serotonin or melatonin can help you unwind, feel calm, and sleep better. Here are my favorite nighttime superstars:

  • Kiwi slices
  • Tart cherries/tart cherry juice
  • Almonds
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Chamomile tea
  • Passionflower tea
  • Valerian root tea

I'm serious. Eat a kiwi before bed for a week and let me know how it goes. I didn’t believe it either, but it works wonders!

Does Nighttime Snacking Make You Gain Weight?

Some people gain a LOT of weight when they eat at night. Others actually lose weight! Why the difference?

It all comes down to portion control and calories. If you know you get hungry around bedtime, making yourself a healthy turkey sandwich an hour or so before bed won’t add to your waistline. In fact, it may help you eat more balanced meals the next day.

Some people like to eat a bowl of cereal, some fruit, or Greek yogurt. I prefer grabbing a portion of mozzarella cheese or some nuts.

Does a Healthy Diet Help You Sleep Better?

Do you remember how amazing you felt the last time you woke up completely refreshed? That’s how sleep is supposed to be all the time, but stress and health problems get in the way.

A healthy diet supports good sleep by giving the body has enough nutrients to produce lots of sleep hormones. Fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and antioxidants are all needed. Omega-3 fatty acids increase production of melatonin, the brain chemical that controls your sleep cycle.

To get plenty of omega-3s, add fresh fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.) to your diet a couple of times a week, or take a supplement. Eating a Mediterranean diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, olive oil and lean meats can be a great help, too.

Do You Really Need To Worry About Sleep Quality?

Your body doesn't start to repair itself at night until stage three of sleep (deep sleep). Stage four (REM sleep) is essential for brain health and memory. What this means is that waking up at night makes you miss out on health benefits.

That’s why you feel exhausted, sore or irritable. It’s why you have trouble concentrating or remembering. Your immune system suffers, too.

Falling and staying asleep is no joke. This is a pillow fight you need to win!

4 Ways To Maintain Good Colon Health

Let’s cut to the chase: It can be awkward — downright embarrassing even — to talk about colon health. No one enjoys discussing such sophisticated topics as fiber intake, constipation or what it’s like to get a colonoscopy.

The thing is, your colon’s health is crucial to your overall well-being. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the United States. One in 24 women will face a colorectal cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. That number’s not much better for men, either. One in 22 men is diagnosed with this type of cancer.

If that’s not enough motivation to make you long for the healthiest colon this side of the Mississippi, know that your colon is a major player in your digestive system. The better shape it’s in, the better shape your entire body is in. Here’s how to take good care of your colon.

1. Eat Lots of Fiber

You likely know that a diet that’s high in fiber helps you stay “regular.” What you may not realize is that simply keeping things moving down there is one of the best ways to prevent diseases affecting the colon.

Most people should shoot for 25-35 grams of fiber each day. Some of my favorite fiber-rich foods to nosh on include:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Lentils
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli

These are some of fiber’s heaviest hitters. Generally speaking, however, a diet that’s full of virtually any fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a tremendous way to boost your daily fiber intake. What’s more, individuals who eat a healthy, colorful diet tend to weigh less, which also decreases the risk of colorectal disease.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


Still not convinced that it’s time to swap out those potato chips for carrot sticks? The antioxidants and nutrients present in most fruits and veggies have been linked to a lower risk of colorectal illness, too.

2. Exercise Regularly

Another great way to move your bowels is to move your body. Whether you take a fitness class at your local gym or simply take regular walks after dinner, that boost to your blood flow and overall circulation helps your digestive tract become more efficient.

3. Drink Up

Is there no limit to the wonders that drinking enough water can do? When it comes to your colon, quenching your thirst helps flush waste and other toxic materials out of your body, lowering your risk of disease.

If you struggle to squeeze your eight glasses of H2O in each day, consider using a water tracking app on your phone or charting it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.


4. Don’t Skip That Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancers may be common, but they’re also very treatable if caught early. That’s why regular colonoscopies are crucial to your health.

What constitutes a “regular” colonoscopy depends on your age and various risk factors, which include not only your personal and family history with colorectal cancer but also other digestive issues such as IBS. The average person, for example, should likely have the procedure done once every 10 years, starting at age 50. (If you have a family history of colon cancer, talk with your doctor about how much earlier you should start.) During the procedure, your doc will not only check for signs of cancer but also remove any polyps or other abnormal growths that may develop into cancer or otherwise cause harm if left unchecked.

Being proactive about your colorectal health is critical to your overall health. Sure, it often means having an indelicate chat with your physician, but remember: It’s his or her job to talk about that stuff! More to the point, your doc talks about bowel movements as often as you do Real Housewives and your grandkids. Don’t let the potential for an awkward moment prevent you from taking the best care of yourself that you can.

Best and Worst Cooking Oils for Your Body

Walking through the cooking oil aisle of the supermarket can feel like visiting an exotic marketplace. There are so many to choose from: peanut oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and many others. What are the best and worst cooking oils?

The Best (and My Favorites)

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is at the top of every nutritionist’s and doctor’s shopping list. EVOO is packed with healthy fats and antioxidants that protect your heart. It’s rich in a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which reduces inflammation and lowers your risk of chronic diseases.

I love using olive for Italian and Mediterranean dishes because of its deep flavor. EVOO is also delicious as is. Use it to make homemade salad dressing or sprinkle some on top of pizza (with fresh basil) for an aromatic, nutritious treat.

2. Avocado Oil

Another nutrient superstar, avocado oil gives you a ton of vitamin E and a range of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. It’s like putting an avocado slice on your toast in the morning. Once you’ve tasted it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Avocado oil has a creamy texture that’s irresistible.

It’s excellent for stir-frying, sautéing and searing because it can stand up to high temperatures without problems. The only downside? It can be expensive.

3. Canola Oil

Canola oil is low in saturated fats, which is good for your body. On the other hand, it doesn’t have many nutrients, so it’s not as healthy as EVOO or avocado oil.

The mild flavor of canola oil complements any cuisine, from meat and potatoes to curry chicken. Personally, this is my go-to cooking oil, because it’s relatively inexpensive and really versatile.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


Excellent in Moderation

4. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is tasty. It lowers bad cholesterol, has vitamin E and may help you control blood sugar levels. The reason I put it in the “with moderation” category is that it can contribute to inflammation if you eat too much.

That’s not usually a problem, though, because most people don’t want every meal to taste like peanuts. Try peanut oil with Chinese, Thai or Indian food. The pop of nutty flavor is incredible.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become popular as a way to boost your body’s fat burning abilities. It has a type of fat called MCT, which turns into energy instead of getting stored as belly fat. A spoonful of coconut oil can work wonders for kickstarting the metabolism in the morning.

Coconut oil has a high smoke point, so it also makes stir-frying and sautéing easy. The slightly sweet taste enhances the flavor of any recipe.

The Worst

6. Vegetable Oil

If you see vegetable oil at the store, keep on walking. This oil usually contains a blend of several oils, such as sunflower, canola, soy and others. But because it’s so highly processed, it doesn’t have any healthy nutrients. Manufacturers often use a small amount of normally healthy oils such as sunflower to hide cheaper oils (palm or corn oil) that contribute to higher cholesterol.

The Bottom Line

Don’t fall for the trick of mixed vegetable oils. Fresh, organic, nutritious oils are always better for your health. Cold-pressed options cost more, but they often have a higher amount of antioxidants and vitamins.

Also, think outside the box with recipes. Oils aren’t just for frying! Use them to give flavor and nutrition to every meal.

My Thoughts on “Cycle Syncing”

OK ladies, who here feels like nutrition and health information is constantly changing? You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand over here! It seems like every time I think I understand the “right” way to lose weight and obtain optimal health, I’m suddenly told my “right” way is now the “wrong” way, and there’s a new-and-improved “right” way out there!  It can be pretty confusing. That’s why I was wary when my neighbor first told me about this new thing she is doing, called “cycle syncing.”

To put it simply, cycle syncing is the practice of altering your exercise and diet routine depending on where you’re at in your menstrual cycle. Many ladies swear by it, so I decided to see what all the hype is about. Here’s what I found out about this new trend.

Understanding Cycle Syncing

When it comes to hormones, women have it rough. One day we may feel energetic, happy and unstoppable. The next day we may feel completely drained of energy, grumpy and unmotivated. We have our hormones to thank for these very real dips and spikes in our mood and energy levels.

The idea of cycle syncing is to help women “maximize their hormonal power” with the help of certain activities and foods. The term “cycle syncing” was first coined by Alisa Vitti, who is a functional nutritionist. She is also the author of the book WomanCode and is the founder of the FloLiving Hormone Center.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


How Cycle Syncing Works

Though there is not yet a lot of research confirming the benefits of cycle syncing, there are many women who claim the practice has changed their lives for the better. Here’s how to do it properly.

Track your cycle. You need to know which phase you are in (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory or luteal) in order to follow a cycle syncing lifestyle. It’s recommended that you download some sort of cycle-tracking app to make things easier. Here’s what to do during each phase of your cycle:

  • Menstrual: Your estrogen is rising during this phase, which can lead to cramps and other unpleasant symptoms. During this time, avoid fatty or salty foods, caffeine and alcohol. Opt for warming soups and stews and nutrient-rich foods instead. Focus your exercises on muscular activation rather than intense cardio, since your energy levels are low during this phase.

  • Follicular: During this phase, your energy levels will start to rise. Try eating fresh, lightly prepped foods (such as steamed vegetables and sauteed fish or chicken). Eat plenty of vegetables, seeds, lean proteins and dense grains that will help sustain your energy. You now have the energy to do more cardio-based workouts and lift heavier weights.

  • Ovulatory: You’ll probably notice an increase in strength and endurance during your ovulatory phase. To support your energy while protecting your muscles against breakdown, eat a lot of leafy green, fibrous foods. You’ll also feel physically powerful and should make the most of your workouts by engaging in HIIT, plyometrics (if your joints allow it) and other high-energy workouts.

  • Luteal: This is the phase we ladies don’t like so much. It’s when you start to feel more sluggish than usual and your motivation starts to wane. To help you combat PMS symptoms, eat foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, b-vitamins and vitamin D. Plan to eat more calories during this time to help you fight cravings. Scale back your exercise intensity and give yourself more time to rest.

This is a simplified version of cycle syncing. Although it requires a lot of thought, I’ve heard it becomes easier with time. My thoughts on this practice are that it seems to show a lot of promise for women who become frustrated because they have a difficult time sticking with their eating and exercise habits during certain times of the month. So I say give it a try and see if it helps you!

Why I Love Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings

A normal juicer generates heat, which ends up destroying many nutrients in fruit and veggies.  A cold press juicer is different. It “squeezes” and grinds ingredients, so the juice keeps its vitamin content. You can use this to create delicious salad dressings that are packed with nutrients.

Cold Pressing Is Amazing

Cold-pressed juices and smoothies give you way more benefits:

  • More vitamins and minerals
  • More enzymes and prebiotics
  • More juice
  • More fiber
  • More flavor

Cold-pressed juice has more pulp, too, so it’s thicker and creamier. Homemade salad dressings made this way taste incredible, and they do your body good.

Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings Are Really Healthy

Many scientists suspect that the secret to why people in Mediterranean cultures seem to live longer and stay healthier is their diet, especially fresh olive oil. Cold-pressed olive oil is rich in antioxidants that protect your heart and help to prevent diabetes and cancer.

In fact, the antioxidants in cold-pressed olive oil can even reduce inflammation and improve immune health. That helps sore muscles recover faster and painful joints feel less pain. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels.

Cold-pressed juices make a great addition to healthy salad dressings, too. They have prebiotics and enzymes that benefit your digestive health.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


My Favorite Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings Are Easy To Make

1. Miracle Mediterranean Vinaigrette

Bring the healing power of the Mediterranean diet to your table:

  • 1 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary, oregano, basil or any herb you like
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

Just mix the ingredients and let them chill in the fridge for a few hours or days. This vinaigrette is a great salad dressing base that you can add to with many different fruit or veggie combinations. For example, add a pop of orange with some grated orange zest.

2. Vegan Ceviche Dressing

Looking for a punch of flavor from South American cuisine? Follow the vinaigrette recipe above, but add cold-pressed orange juice and a generous squeeze of lime. Instead of other herbs, use a pinch of fresh cilantro for a Latin twist. I love using this dressing with salads that have some chopped avocado.

3. Tangy Apple & Ginger Dressing

I make this dressing when I’m having company over and everyone goes crazy. 

  • 1 lb. red apples
  • 1/3 cup peeled orange
  • 1 tbsp ginger root
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

First, put the fruit and ginger into the juicer. Then, add the honey and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and serve! Personally, I like using this dressing with Asian-inspired carrot/lettuce/cabbage salads, sprinkling some crushed peanuts on top.

4. Winter Beet Vinaigrette

Think outside of the box with your cold-press juicer! Get creative with seasonal ingredients: fennel, beets, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and more!

  • 1 lb. beets
  • 1/3 cup fennel
  • 1 cup peeled orange
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of fresh parsley

Beets are naturally sweet, so I pair them with fennel, orange, parsley and balsamic vinegar to balance them out. Add 1 cup plain yogurt (or ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise, but you didn’t hear that from me) for a creamy version with probiotics for your tummy.

Whether you like smoothies for breakfast, fresh juice for an afternoon treat or cold-pressed salad dressing to spice up meals, you have a lot of ingredients to choose from. Go wild and benefit from the vitamin boost!

Understanding Ketosis and Its Effects of the Body: Positive and Negative

It is no secret the health and diet industry is a crowded place, and it is often the loudest voice in the market that gets the most attention. Recently, many people are turning to a keto or ketogenic diet to lose weight, and it depends on a metabolic process called ketosis. There is no denying the effectiveness of the diet; many people are using it successfully, but is it healthy?

Understanding Ketosis

Glucose or blood sugar is the standard energy source in the body; it is often referred to as fuel. A ketogenic diet alters the body's preferred fuel source by limiting the available glucose through the drastic reduction of carbohydrate intake. 

When the body does not have excess blood sugar to convert into energy, it focuses on fat, transforming it into ketone bodies through ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process, often occurring during pregnancy and infancy, but it can also be a product of fasting or starvation, which leads to some concern over long-term ketogenic diets.

Ketosis and the Brain

A common concern of prolonged ketosis is how a lack of glucose will affect the brain. When carbohydrates are restricted, as they are in ketogenic diets, the body can lose one of the easiest methods for producing glucose, a substance needed by specific brain cells. Fortunately, carbs are not the only resource for glucose production. 

Gluconeogenesis is a natural process in the body. During this process, your body uses other proteins and molecules to produce essential glucose to the brain. It is important to note, your entire brain does not need glucose, only specific cells; glucose is only a preferred fuel source. Most of the brain can convert to ketones without issue.


Why “Fad Diets” fail

Making this morning drink in your kitchen speeds up your metabolism

Mix in water to lose 10lbs in 10 days


Ketosis and Weight Loss

Ketogenic diets focus on low carb and high fat intake. According to some research, the diet, which promotes ketosis, is more beneficial than those diets focusing on low fat intake and calorie counting. For those who get aggravated counting calories, a ketogenic diet is a good option because research suggests people feel less hungry, leading to fewer reasons for calorie counting due to ketosis.

Commitment is a concern when following such a restrictive diet. While it is easy to think that reducing carb intake is not that bad, consider you only have an allowance of between 20 and 50 grams, depending on age, weight, height, etc. For most people, the ketogenic diet requires the removal of grains, candy, and sugary drinks. It also means significantly cutting back on potatoes, fruit, and legumes. Because of the restrictions, many people find the diet to be unsustainable.

Is Ketosis Healthy, and Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state. While many researchers and medical professionals disagree on the long-term benefits of ketogenic diets, most research suggests they are safe for most people. It is necessary to highlight the phrase “most people” because a ketogenic diet is not suitable for some. Before committing yourself to such a restrictive diet that reduces an entire food group, consult your primary care physician. They can tell you if the diet is a safe option for you, and they can monitor you during it to determine its overall effectiveness.

Do you have any experience with the ketogenic diet, positive or negative? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation moving.

6 Foods That Combat Inflammation

In one sense, inflammation is a useful tool of the body to combat infection and injury, but it can also lead to chronic issues and disease if left unencumbered. Inflammation is a sensitive defense mechanism that can be triggered in a number of ways: stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and even food. That’s right, diet can trigger the protective process, essentially misfiring the system and creating problems. Thankfully, there are several foods that can combat inflammation.

1. Mushrooms

While not most peoples’ favorite food, mushrooms are among the best anti-inflammatory foods in existence. Its low-calorie count and nutrient-dense makeup help mushrooms take the number one spot for inflammation combatting foods. While mushrooms grow everywhere and include a diverse collection of species, edible mushrooms make up a small percentage of that whole. Only a few mushrooms are produced commercially, and the bulk of those include truffles, shitake, and portobello.

2. Berries

Some of the most powerful fruits in the war against inflammation are berries. While berries are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they also contain the antioxidant anthocyanin that also reduces the risk of disease. Additionally, a study on the effects of daily blueberry consumption in men found that the fruit aided in the production of natural killer cells that promote healthy immune function. The regular consumption of strawberries showed a reduction in markers associated with heart disease in adults. 


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3. Fatty Fish

While all fish contain some level of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish contain long-chain omega-3s specific to combatting inflammation: EPA and DHA. The fatty fish considered the best sources of these omega-3s includes:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines

The fatty acids in these fish lead to a reduction in heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome risks. 

4. Peppers

While most peppers are beneficial in moderation, chili peppers and bell peppers show particular promise in anti-inflammatory properties. Chili peppers can reduce inflammation and possibly lead to healthier aging because they contain ferulic and sinapic acid. Bell peppers can reduce oxidative damage in sarcoidosis patients because of the antioxidant quercetin. While these specific compounds lead to some anti-inflammatory effects, both chili and bell peppers have multiple antioxidants contributing to their abilities.

5. Grapes

Grapes are not only delicious, but they can also reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and eye disorders. One of the contributing compounds to grapes’ effects is resveratrol. Researchers have found that people consuming grapes routinely experienced decreased inflammatory gene markers and an increase in adiponectin levels. Low levels of adiponectin can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric is a source of curcumin and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Several studies suggest that consuming turmeric can lead to a reduction in inflammation related to several chronic conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. However, the most beneficial anti-inflammatory found in the spice, curcumin, might require the addition of a supplement into your diet because it would be hard to gain an effective dose through turmeric alone.

What are some other foods that can help combat inflammation and disease? While this list is a good start, it is not exhaustive. If you know of any other foods, spices, or drinks, leave a comment below and continue the conversation.