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.

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.

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.

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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? 

6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Drinking Lemon Water

A cool carafe of water with fresh lemon slices practically screams “summer,” doesn’t it? For years, a pitcher of lemon water was a staple at family meals — especially those that took place in the backyard! Today, lemon water is no longer on the menu. Here are six reasons why you should consider curbing your lemon water consumption.

1. It’s Terrible for Your Teeth

If you’ve ever taken a stray squirt of lemon juice to the eye in the kitchen, I don’t have to tell you that lemons are very acidic. As such, every time you down a delicious glass of lemon water, you’re bathing your teeth in enamel-eating citric acid.


Over time, this corrosion can cause serious damage to your smile. Enamel is your teeth’s main line of defense; you might think of it like a suit of armor. The catch? Enamel doesn’t grow back or mend itself like a bone. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good, leaving your teeth defenseless against discoloration, decay and extreme sensitivity.

2. It Can Give You a Stomachache

Many people drink lemon water simply because they enjoy the taste. Others add lemon to their water for the health benefits it may offer. Some believe that lemons aid digestion, for example, by getting things moving. Research suggests that the antioxidants present in lemons support weight loss, too.

Enter irony. Lemons and other acidic foods can also wreak havoc on the digestive system. Eating acid-filled foods may lead to nausea, vomiting or heartburn and intensify the severity of acid reflux and GERD.

3. It May Make You Have To Go More Frequently

The vitamin C in lemons is great for your immune system, but it also a diuretic. That means the more lemon water you consume, the more often you’ll need to make a pit-stop or excuse yourself from conversations.

4. It May Give You a Canker Sore

Acidic foods, including lemons, are just one of several potential causes of canker sores. While scientists aren't sure exactly what causes these tiny mouth ulcers, research suggests that in addition to acidic foods, they're likely influenced by spicy foods, stress and injury (such as from braces or dentures). Several immune system diseases, such as lupus and ulcerative colitis, can also lead to canker sores.

No matter what causes a canker sore, lemons and other acidic foods may cause it to worsen.

5. It May Give You a Migraine, Too

If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you should ditch the lemon water ASAP. Research suggests that citrus fruits may be to blame for some migraine headaches, particularly chronic ones.

Oranges, limes and lemons all contain large amounts of tyramine, a substance found in a wide variety of foods. Studies suggest a connection between tyramine and headaches. While more research is required, some scientist believe that tyramine may throw your brain chemicals off kilter, which can trigger pain.

6. Lemon Wedges in Restaurants Are Often Disgusting

When you plop a lemon wedge into your water at a restaurant, you may be dropping a sugar packet’s worth of pathogens in there, too. Cleanliness standards vary from restaurant to restaurant, and unless you work for the health department, you have no way of knowing how those lemons were stored, cleaned, handled, dropped, rolled, used as a hockey pu — you get the picture.

Lemons should be a staple of your diet. Research suggests that they’re good for everything from your heart to your gut. They might even lower your cancer risk! They shouldn’t be in your water, though. Stick to a squeeze or two here and use lemon juice in your cooking for wellness results that are anything but sour.

Best Ways to “Eat” Your Water

There’s a lot of conflicting information in the health and science communities about how much water we need to drink each day to maintain optimum health. Some experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water per day while others say you may need more or less than that depending on your size, age and activity level.

But no matter how often the current advice changes, there’s no denying the fact that drinking adequate water isn’t an easy task for many of us (myself included). I am not particularly fond of water and have always struggled to drink a decent amount for my body’s needs. Fortunately, I recently discovered that there are ways I can eat my water so I don’t have to drink as much!

I know, it sounds strange to eat your water, but it can be done! Many foods are chock-full of water that counts toward your overall fluid intake goal. Here are some of my favorite suggestions for “eating” your water.

Eat More Soup

Soup is a great food to consume if you struggle to drink enough water each day. Whether you’re eating water-based or broth-based soup, you’re giving your body plenty of added fluids to support your hydration needs.

I like to make big batches of soup and then freeze whatever I don’t want to eat right away. I’ve used muffin pans to freeze soup in single-serving sizes. When I’m feeling a little parched and know I need to boost my fluid intake for the day, I warm up a serving of soup and enjoy it with lunch or dinner.

Eat the Right Veggies

All vegetables contain water, but some types contain more water than others. If you’re feeling parched and want to quickly improve your hydration levels, choose from the following list of water-dense vegetables.

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes (technically a fruit, but most people consider it to be a vegetable)
  • Summer squash
  • Jicama
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli

These are all very hydrating vegetables that can contribute to your daily fluid intake. They’re also bursting with vitamins and minerals that can boost your overall health and help your body’s various systems function optimally.

Indulge in Fruit

If eating fruit feels like a guilty pleasure, it’s time to change your way of thinking. Different varieties of fruit have impressive nutrient profiles. Plus, many of them are composed of around 90% water! Here are some of the best fruit choices to indulge in if your primary goal is to boost your hydration.

  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew melon or cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Apricots

One of the best things about the above list of hydrating fruits is that they are all mouthwateringly delicious. You shouldn’t have any problem adding some of them to your daily routine—especially if you’re doing it for the sake of your health!

Try Hydrating Smoothies

Depending on how thick you like your smoothies, you may drink them instead of eating them. Personally, I like to load my smoothies up with ice so they’re nice and thick and must be eaten with a spoon. But regardless of how thick or thin your smoothies are, there is no doubt they’re extremely hydrating.

Pack your smoothies with raw veggies, fresh fruit, and water or plant-based milk for a guilt-free treat that will help you avoid dehydration throughout the day.

Avoid Dehydrating Foods

While you’re on your quest to achieve greater dehydration through the foods you eat, be sure to avoid dietary habits that can dehydrate you, such as:

  • Eating too much protein
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Indulging in sugary drinks
  • Eating a high-salt diet
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages such as sodas and coffee

These dietary habits can all lead to dehydration and have a negative impact on your overall health. Trade dehydrating foods for hydrating options and you’ll feel the difference!

6 Reasons To Consider Adding Hemp Seeds to Your Diet

Hemp seeds may not seem like a popular nutritional addition to your diet, but they are full of healthy protein, fats, and other vitamins and minerals. The seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is the same hemp plant that produces marijuana.

While hemp seeds contain trace amounts of THC, they do not have enough of the compound to induce psychoactive properties. Therefore, many professionals consider hemp seeds safe and beneficial.

Not convinced? Nutritionists point to at least six health benefits of hemp seeds as reasons to try adding them to your diet.

1. Nutritional Value

Hemp seeds are members of the nut family. Often called hemp hearts, the seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. Over 30% of the seed is fat, with much of that content being two essential fatty acids — linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Also, the seeds contain a fair amount of gamma-linolenic acid.

Besides a healthy fat content, over 25% of hemp seed calories come from protein. The high-quality protein source is richer than comparable chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Finally, the seeds are an excellent source of other vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients in hemp seeds include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous

2. Skin Condition Relief

As a resource of polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids, hemp seeds provide a good balance between omega-6 and omega-3. The balance between these essential fatty acids can affect the immune system.

Inflammation is an immune system response that can aggravate certain skin conditions, such as eczema. Hemp seeds can reduce symptoms of such conditions because it provides an optimum ratio of fatty acids. Also, some research indicates hemp seed oil can reduce the need for skin medication, relieve dry skin, and reduce itchiness.

3. Plant-Based Protein

As a complete protein source, hemp seeds provide all essential amino acids. They are also excellent protein options for people on plant-based diets. Researchers suggest hemp seeds provide protein amounts similar to beef and lamb by weight. For example, two or three tablespoons of hemp seeds are equivalent to about 11 grams of protein.

4. Digestive Health

Whole hemp seeds provide soluble and insoluble fiber, 20% and 80%, respectively. Fiber is crucial to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, shelling hemp seeds eliminates nearly all fiber benefits.

5. PMS and Menopause Relief

PMS and menopause can cause physical and emotional symptoms in up to 80% of women. Prolactin is likely responsible for many adverse PMS symptoms. Hemp seeds contain gamma-linolenic acid, which produces prostaglandin E1. Prostaglandin E1 can help reduce the effect of the hormone, easing menstrual symptoms. Also, some studies indicate GLA can help with menopause, but it is not yet clear how this works.

6. Heart Health

According to the CDC, in the U.S., one person dies every 34 seconds from cardiovascular disease. Hemp seeds can reduce the chances of heart problems with the amino acid arginine. The amino acid produces nitric oxide. The gas molecule forces blood vessels to dilate, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart issues.

Hemp seeds are excellent sources of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. Try adding a couple of spoonfuls to recipes every week. Talk to your doctor before adding any new food to your diet.

Intermittent Fasting Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

The weight loss industry is worth $58 billion. The industry continues to push out new diets every year. Currently, people are jumping on another fad diet: intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a scheduled eating plan. Dieters alternate between intervals of severe calorie reduction and periods of normal eating. Advocates of the diet claim people can lose weight quicker, reduce inflammation, and limit other heart disease risk factors.

Critics claim the dietary fad is dangerous. Many health professionals worry about the physiological and psychological effects of prolonged intermittent fasting programs, and some suggest there are short-term risks.

Who is right about the diet, and is there only one correct answer? Some people seem to do well in the program, and others seem to fail quickly. While commitment to an intermittent fasting program is challenging, is it worth it?

The Risks of Intermittent Fasting

The reality is researchers still don't have a lot of information about the pros of intermittent fasting. On the positive side, medical professionals are all too familiar with the risks of fasting, especially when it becomes a habit.

Sleep Disruptions

Fasting can cause sleep disruptions. Several studies show that fasting reduces REM sleep, meaning you wake feeling less rested. REM sleep is also responsible for memory, learning capacity, and mood improvements.

Poor sleep can affect concentration and leave you feeling more irritable. Also, insufficient sleep can cause problems with blood sugar. It can also lead to obesity and toxin buildup in your brain.

Loss of Awareness

Fasting can cause your body to enter starvation mode, depending on the duration of the fast. The diet can reduce energy levels to conserve calories if you stick to intermittent fasting. Depending on how deprived your body is, you may feel adverse symptoms, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of focus
  • Fainting

If you are experimenting with fasting and feel or experience any of the above symptoms, you should eat something. The above symptoms are your body's way of telling you it needs food.

Loss of Muscle

When listening to advertising for intermittent fasting and similar dietary fads or products, you will often hear claims about how fasting can break down fat reserves. Sure, everyone wants to lose those few extra pounds, but the advertisements don't tell you that fat is not the only thing your body breaks down.

The human burns a combination of fats and carbohydrates. However, fat stores and carbohydrates only last about six hours before your body looks for alternatives. If you fast too often or too long, your body begins converting lean tissue into carbohydrates. Lean tissue is muscle.

While you will lose weight and look leaner, burning muscle and fat, you will also look frailer. This is because losing too much lean tissue is not healthy.

Increase in Stress

Fasting for too long and too often increases the body's cortisol production. Medical professionals refer to cortisol as the stress hormone.

When cortisol builds up in the system, it can negate any good intermittent fasting might be doing. For example, high cortisol levels can increase fat storage. As a result, many people might experience some weight loss in the first few months of fasting, but it will not last. Also, the body will begin storing as many calories as possible to prevent starvation and prepare for other moments of fasting.

The additional cortisol can wreak havoc on your system. You will probably feel tired, angry, depressed, anti-social, etc.

Intermittent fasting isn't a good choice for weight loss. While some people may find temporary success with it, the success is often short-lived. It is better to talk to your doctor about healthier options.

How Tastes Can Change With Age or Illness

The human palate is somewhat unique, with over 10,000 taste buds primarily on the tongue. Allowing the mouthwatering experiences of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami — "yummy" or "pleasant savory taste" in Japanese — human taste buds provide the foundation for personal meal preferences.

Whether described as a picky or adventurous eater, many people assume their meal preferences are permanent. However, the reality is that taste buds diminish, change, and experience atrophy as people age.

During middle age, taste buds can decrease in size and sensitivity. For women, the change can occur in their 40s, but in men, it is around 50.

While age is the primary reason for changes in tastes, there are other possibilities. According to medical professionals, there are five likely culprits for changing preferences.

1. Illness or Infection

Bacterial or viral infections can cause a temporary change in your tastes. Upper respiratory infections affect the nose and airways. Congestion results in an inferior sense of smell, which can affect your taste.

Also, the medications you take to treat an illness can alter your perception of taste. Some medicines can cause dry mouth, affecting the taste buds. Some of the most common medications that lead to dry mouth and interfere with taste include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Antifungals
  • Antivirals
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Antihypertensives

2. Nutrient Deficiencies

While it might seem unrelated, malnutrition can interfere with taste bud function. The nutrients associated with a loss of taste include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6 and B12
  • Zinc
  • Copper

3. Nerve Damage

Some nerves run from the mouth to the brain and handle the perception of flavor and taste bud function. If you experience damage along the nerve pathway, you can experience changes to your sense of taste.

Nerve damage along this pathway can occur because of injury or illness. Some of the most likely causes of nerve damage are:

  • Ear infections
  • Ear surgery
  • Facial nerve dysfunction
  • Dental procedures
  • Mouth surgery
  • Brain trauma

4. Medical Conditions

Medical conditions affecting the brain, mouth, or nose can interfere with tastes. Mainly, conditions affecting the sense of taste are nervous system disorders, such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's

While primarily nervous system conditions affect the sense of taste and taste bud function, non-nervous system disorders can also cause adverse effects. One known disease that alters tastes is cancer and its treatments.

5. Smoking

Everyone knows smoking is terrible and can lead to disease and premature death. Some smokers do not realize that cigarettes and similar products can alter their taste buds. Chemicals, such as alkaloids and carcinogens, alter taste bud receptors.

The good news for smokers who want to quit is the function of taste buds seems to return with time. According to a 2017 study, people who quit smoking will experience lower taste sensitivity initially, but after about two weeks, taste bud function begins to return.

Research suggests that taste perception is typically constant other than with specific experiences like age, illness, nerve damage, health conditions, or bad habits. Taste bud regeneration occurs more frequently in adults than children, which suggests adults' sense of taste can remain reasonably consistent until middle age and older.

Your taste can change for various reasons, but it can return to normal. Contact your primary care physician if you experience rapid changes in taste perception or feel concerned about some flavor loss.

Top 5 Superstar Summer Fruits

Many people take the benefits of summer fruit for granted. When it comes to “health food,” veggies, leafy greens and herbs seem to get all the attention. Fruit may be sweet, but that doesn’t make it any less healthy. These summertime faves are just as wonderful for your body as they are for your tastebuds.

1. Cherries: Bite-Sized Body Protectors

Cherries are fun to eat and irresistibly delicious. There are many varieties, including Rainier, Bing, Morello and black cherries. Some are sweeter, others are on the tart side, but all have fantastic health benefits.

Tart cherry juice can reduce soreness, alleviate inflammation and joint pain, and speed up wound healing. It can also help you sleep better, thanks to high melatonin levels.

Cherries are a filling snack that helps you avoid the munchies, with 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per cup. They're amazing for lowering uric acid levels, which is a huge help (a 35% reduction in gout attacks!) for people with gout problems.

2. Watermelon: The Ultimate Refresher

This juicy summer favorite may be mostly water, but it also has many antioxidants, including lycopene and carotenoids. Lycopene is famed for protecting the heart and lowering blood pressure.

One of the best ways to use watermelon is as a post-workout refresher. Watermelon can improve circulation, physical performance and muscle recovery after exercise, plus help restore your body’s electrolytes.

Watermelon juice is a breeze to make in a blender. You can even add sparkling water or mint for extra pep.

3. Lemons: Tangy Little Recipe Helpers

The great thing about fresh lemons and limes isn’t just the abundant vitamin C they have. It’s how versatile these tart superstars are. Lemons work wonders in a variety of dishes:

  • Homemade vinaigrettes
  • Grilled salmon with basil and lime
  • Roasted lemon chicken
  • Pasta with seafood and lemon sauce
  • Lemon-garlic sweet potatoes
  • Lime-marinated fajitas
  • Garden salad with lime and cilantro
  • Zesty spiced pears

As far as health benefits go, citrus fruits can lower cholesterol levels, help some people avoid kidney stones, lower the risk of certain cancers and help you get more iron in your diet.

4. Passion Fruit: The Perfect Juice Fruit

This tropical fruit has a hard shell filled with gel-covered seeds. It’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and antioxidants, all with just 17 calories per fruit. These nutrients support eye health and healthy aging.

Instead of eating the seeds directly (though you can), most people use them to make refreshing juices. All you do is add the seeds/gel to your blender with some water, juice them and strain the seeds. Passion fruit is an excellent addition to green smoothies.

5. Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Blueberries: Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouses

Berries are the poster children of antioxidants. They’re some of the healthiest foods you can eat — period. In case you haven’t heard, antioxidants are special nutrients from plants that help strengthen your body’s defenses. As a result, they support smoother skin, better eyesight and a healthier heart.

Many scientists think that eating more berries helps you avoid brain fog. The same antioxidants that give berries their dark colors are great for long-term brain health, improving mental performance and memory and lowering the risk of dementia.

Eat Fruit Now!

Summer is the perfect time to sink your teeth into these juicy, tasty, healthy fruits. If you can't find fresh (or prices are crazy), remember that frozen fruits retain most of their nutrients.

The Chaos of Chain Restaurants: A Profit-Making Machine

Before the reign of Applebees and other fast-casual restaurant chains, eating out was an experience. People didn't spend their hard-earned cash on meals they could make at home. Instead, eating out was a reward where you treated yourself to locally sourced and unique meals full of flavor.

Unfortunately, the modern era demands more of people's time and focus. The traditional ways of cooking at home or enjoying a meal surrounded by family are rare. Now, technology crowds the tables, and countless cat videos echo through crowded lobbies where voices and interesting conversations used to take root.

While chain restaurants are not the only problem, they do contribute to a growing sense of money, abundance, and speed over quality. Additionally, chain restaurants can dilute the entrepreneurial spirit. The next time you want to take your family out for an enjoyable meal, consider avoiding chain restaurants and supporting local small businesses.

Chain Restaurants Do Not Offer Unique Experiences

Chain restaurants do not offer unique experiences; they are built on the premise of scalability. Therefore, regardless of where you are in the country or the world, every restaurant has the same menu. Unfortunately, the menus are rarely creative or unique to a particular establishment. Many fast-casual chains offer the same or similar menu items as competitors.

Additionally, chain restaurants are expensive for what they offer. Many chains provide ridiculous proportions to take away from the sticker shock, contributing to food waste.

Unfortunately, because of the popularity of chain restaurants and the risks associated with investing in unproven restaurant models, investors will continue to push chains and increase brand reach. The only way investors will take another approach is when the risks outweigh the rewards. Therefore, it is up to consumers to motivate a change in the model by focusing their purchasing power on smaller local establishments.

Many Local Restaurants Depend on Local Resources

While not always true, many local restaurants providing unique local experiences favor locally sourced produce and products. Supporting local farms and businesses is not only good for the community but is also good for the environment.

Chain restaurants focused on a specific brand flavor profile typically stick to centralized production, shipping produce and products nationally and internationally. The logistics of chain operations contribute to environmental problems. Additionally, depending on the distance from transportation hubs, consumers might not receive the freshest ingredients. Finally, logistics plays a role in consumer costs, meaning you pay more for your meal.

Locally sourced goods and produce help contain costs and environmental impact. Additionally, a local or independent restaurant offers more unique flavors in potentially diverse environments.

Chain Restaurants Are Not More Social

Despite the advertisements promising good times and good eats, chain restaurants rarely deliver on both. Chains are all about profits, meaning the more people they can pack into a building, the better. Noise is often too great for any real conversation, and the idea of intimate or private discussions is near impossible.

Small restaurants cater to both the palette and the experience. An intimate romantic restaurant will often have less seating, lighter meals, and a quieter atmosphere. A local family restaurant will have larger tables, and more significant portions, with a fun and bright environment.

Chain restaurants are not inherently bad. In some situations, a chain offers exactly what you want. Still, most people favor local restaurants and flavors over heavily branded bland foods. When you want to reconnect or socialize, a local establishment is best.

Incorporating Fiber in Your Diet in Inventive and Fun Ways

Fiber is a carbohydrate. Over the last several decades, carbs experienced unfair protest and aversion. As with most food groups, there exist both good and bad carbohydrates. Fiber represents the beneficial form of the food group, and dieters should not avoid it.

Plants are home to fiber. A diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains is fiber-rich. The primary benefit of a fiber-rich diet is glycemic control, or the slowing of glucose production after meals.

How much fiber do you consume every day? If you are like other Americans, you are not getting enough fiber. Therefore, try getting a little creative in your meal planning. There are several ways to include more fiber in your diet with little effort.

Lentils and Legumes 

Lentils and legumes are excellent plant foods. Grouped with peas and beans, these foods are high in protein and fiber. Additionally, they contain various nutrients, such as:

  • Iron 
  • Potassium 
  • Folate 
  • Phosphorus

As vegetables are high in fiber and protein and low in fat, they can act as a substitute for meat, like in a black bean burger. Additionally, it is nothing to toss some lentils and legumes into a salad, soup, dip, or egg dish.

Flour Alternatives 

White flour is a staple in baking, but it is often stripped of any nutritional value. Many grocery chains carry white flour alternatives, including:

  • Almond flour 
  • Oat flour 
  • Brown rice flour 
  • Chickpea flour 
  • Whole grain flour 
  • Coconut flour

While there are white flour alternatives, understand they are not equal substitutes. If you want to use healthy, fiber-rich flour, find recipes for the alternatives.

Nuts and Seeds 

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber, and they are easy to add to recipes and meals. You can add chopped nuts to cereals or salads. Additionally, you can use almonds, cashews, or other nuts to create a coating for chicken or other proteins. You can also find various seed and nut butter for healthier spreads or add the items to smoothies and yogurts.


Many people avoid starches, especially if they have diabetes. Rice, pasta, cereal, and bread can be dangerous for some people. Still, there are healthier starches to ensure adequate fiber intake, including:

  • Bulgur 
  • Barley 
  • Oats 
  • Quinoa 
  • Teff 
  • Wild rice 
  • Farro 
  • Millet


What are your go-to snacks? Many people opt for crackers, sweets, or potato chips when on the go. Unfortunately, conventional snacks are often overly processed and lack nutritional merit.

If you want to up your fiber intake, consider purchasing more natural foods. Some healthy and fiber-rich options include:

  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
  • Veggies and dip 

Pasta Swaps

Many people love pasta. Unfortunately, traditional kinds of pasta are not healthy carbs. For the real pasta lover, consider trying pasta made from whole grain. There are other more unique pastas you can try, including those made from black beans, lentils, chickpeas, or brown rice.

Including more fiber in your diet requires a new understanding of carbohydrates. Not all carbs are equal. However, fiber is essential and necessary to every diet. Thankfully, there are several inventive and fun ways to incorporate the essential nutrient.