Diet Shake Recipes A Healthy And Nutritious Way To Lose Weight

When you are on a weight loss program you may find it a little boring. These diet shake recipes will help spice things up with the added benefit of helping you lose pounds.

Shakes and smoothies are great to make in the summer months due to the plentiful supply of fresh fruit. Adding low fat yogurt makes them even more tempting. But you can still partake in the winter. All you have to do is use frozen fruit which has just as few calories and tastes almost as good.

So what recipes would be recommended? I love mango as it is very refreshing when you are feeling hot and bothered. I whizz up some mango, mandarin oranges and some ice. I then add a low fat yogurt and if I am feeling hungry some protein powder. Yummy!

Occasionally I will use a banana instead of the yogurt although I have been known to use both. Cranberry juice is an excellent tonic for your kidneys. Blend some with apple juice, strawberries, blueberries and a banana to make a delicious healthy breakfast.

If I am craving chocolate, I will add some unsweetened high quality cocoa powder to my shake although obviously I cannot do this every day! Unfortunately you cannot survive purely on diet shakes. In order to lose pounds and keep that slimmer figure you need to eat healthily and exercise more. But you should have fun doing it. Any activity that gets you moving is good for you. Think about what you love doing and do more of it. He will love you for it!

Think about your diet as well and see what changes you can implement to cut your calorie intake. White breads, pasta and rice are all bad for us dieters as they contain hidden sources of sugar. So swop them over to the brown variety. You may have to do this gradually as your palate will have to get used to the new taste. Also be aware that you need to cook brown rice and pasta for longer than the other varieties otherwise you will end up eating them raw like I did. Yuck!

Experiment with your food. We all get stuck in a diet rut where we eat the same type of foods day in and day out. So now it is time to broaden your horizons. Try out a new fruit or vegetable every week. You could also try cooking in a different way. For example if you always fry steak why not try grilling instead. Or steam your fish? Simple changes are great as you will lose pounds with very little effort.

There are some foods that are high in soluble fiber meaning they fill you up but have few calories. These include Brussels sprouts, mangoes, peas, dried apricots, sprouts and spring greens. Adding a couple of these to your meals will help you eat less and so reduce your waistline.

At the end of the day, tasty diet shake recipes are easy to find but can only be part of the overall weight loss program.

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photo: Wesual Click

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7 Reasons For Your Own Organic Vegetable Garden

During the last decades there has been a change towards mechanization and homogenization of farming, which uses pesticides, additives, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and mass-production techniques. All this is clearly affecting mankind’s health, and new diseases are spreading rapidly amongst humans and animals (bird’s flu being the most recent one).

The World Health Organization produces reports to show how the use of chemicals and other products on food, coupled with the manufacturing processes involved, are actually a threat for our health.

If you have space for a few pots or even a small piece of land, it is a wise decision to grow your own organic vegetable garden. Today I’m presenting you with seven reasons for doing this:

1. You will have no additives in your vegetables. Research by organic food associations has shown that additives in our food can cause heart diseases, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity.

2. There will be no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers used. These chemical products are applied to obtain crops all the time regardless plagues or weather conditions, and affect the quality of the vegetables. Besides, pesticides are usually poisonous to humans.

3. Your vegetables will not be genetically modified (GM). Antibiotics, drugs and hormones are used on vegetables to grow more and larger ones. One of the consequences of this practice are vegetables which look all the same and are usually tasteless. Besides, we end up consuming the hormones that have been used on the vegetables, with the potential risks for our health.

4. Eating your own organic vegetables will be much more healthy for you. They will not contain any of the products or chemicals named above, and they will be much more natural than any ones you would find at the supermarket. Your health will not be at risk because you will then know that nothing has been added to your vegetables.

5. Your own organic vegetables will be much more tasty. The use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics make vegetables grow unnaturally and take the taste away from them. With organic vegetables, your cooking will be enhanced as their flavour will show fully.

6. Organic farming is friendly to the environment. Because you won’t use pesticides or other equally harming products on your vegetables, you will not damage the soil or the air with the chemical components.

7. When you grow your own organic vegetables you are contributing to your own self-sustainability and the sustainability of the planet. Small communities have been founded where members exchange products that they grow naturally, thus contributing to create a friendly and better place for us all.

In the end, eating organic products only means that we do not add anything else to them than they would naturally have. As you can guess, additives, fertilizers, pesticides or hormones are not components of naturally grown food. To better care for your health, grown your own organic vegetables -and a few pots is all you need.

vegetable garden - metabolic nutrition
photo: Markus Spiske

Nutrition On A Vegetarian Diet

While a vegetarian diet is among the healthiest ways to eat, certain nutrients can be lacking on a diet that contains no animal products at all. In particular, many people are concerned that vegans may not get enough protein, calcium and iron from plant-based foods. This is because most people think of eating dairy products for calcium and meats for iron and protein. But it is possible to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients on vegetarian diet. It just takes bit of effort and knowledge about plant-based sources the nutrients.

Iron is an important mineral because it plays a vital role in transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. People who do not have adequate iron intake can suffer from iron deficiency anemia, a condition characterized by extreme fatigue and weakness. Adult men and post-menopausal women need about 10 mg of iron per day, while women of child-bearing age need about 15 mg per day. There are two types of iron – heme iron (from meat) and non-heme iron (from plant sources). Though non-heme iron is generally not as easily absorbed as heme iron, the incidence of iron deficiency anemia is no higher in vegans than in the general population. Dried beans and dark leafy green vegetables can provide adequate amounts of dietary iron if consumed on a regular basis. To boost absorption of iron, iron-rich plant foods should be consumed with vitamin C supplements or foods rich in vitamin C. Since vegans diets tend to be high in vitamin C naturally, iron consumption is really not as much of a problem for most vegans as might be expected. In fact, some foods, like broccoli and bok choy, are high in both iron and vitamin C. These foods are often eaten with other iron and vitamin C-rich foods, such as beans and tomato sauce.

Another important nutrient for vegetarians to consider is calcium. Adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day. Most people think of dairy products when they think of calcium, which important for strong bones and teeth. But vegans can get plenty of calcium from dark greens, tofu processed with calcium sulfate, and other foods or from calcium supplements. Soymilk and rice milk are often fortified with calcium as well. Other good sources of calcium for vegans include blackstrap molasses, fortified orange juice, tahini and almonds. It is important to note that a compound known as oxalic acid, found in vegetables like spinach, rhubarb, chard, and beet greens, can bind with calcium and prevent it from being well absorbed. Therefore, greens like broccoli and collards are better sources of calcium for vegans.

Though there is much concern about vegetarians getting enough protein, the need for protein is often overrated. The average diet contains far more protein needed for health. In fact, excess protein can damage the kidneys and contribute to the development of osteoporosis. The recommended daily allowance of protein is 8/10ths of a gram for every kilogram of body weight or about 10-15% of total calories. Foods like soy, rice and beans, and nuts and nut butters can provide adequate amounts of protein for vegans. In contrast, animal foods are so high in protein that non-vegetarians can easily exceed the upper limit recommended for protein intake, which is 4.5 grams of protein per 100 calories of food.

Protein is comprised of amino acids, which are often called protein building blocks. The body needs nine different amino acids from foods. Because the body cannot make these nine amino acids, they are known as essential amino acids. Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are considered “complete protein” foods. Non-vegan vegetarians can easily get all nine amino acids from eggs and dairy products. For vegans, soy protein, which is a complete protein, is often considered the best source. The nine essential amino acids can also be obtained by combining whole grain rice and beans. Other vegan sources of high quality protein include the grain quinoa and spinach. Eating a variety of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds daily ensures that vegans consume all of the protein they need.

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photo: Toronto Eaters

The Top 55 Foods For A Lean Body

I like to provide a healthy snack or meal recipe that not only is delicious, but also helps to get you closer to that hard-body appearance that everyone is looking for. In this article, I’d like to give you healthy food ideas in a different way. This time, I figured I’d just give you some ideas of what I stock my fridge and cabinets with. Remember, if you don’t have junk around the house, you’re less likely to eat junk. If all you have is healthy food around the house, you’re forced to make smart choices. Basically, it all starts with making smart choices and avoiding temptations when you make your grocery store trip. Now these are just some of my personal preferences, but perhaps they will give you some good ideas that you’ll enjoy.

Alright, so let’s start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I’m loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store. Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like zucchini, onions, fresh mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, etc. to use in my morning eggs. I also like to dice up some lean chicken or turkey sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses. Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it’s also full of healthy saturated fats. Yeah, you heard me…I said healthy saturated fats! Healthy saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, specifically an MCT called lauric acid. If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, there are several articles covering this topic at my site below.

Back to the fridge, some other staples:

** Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt – I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.

** Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds – delicious and great sources of healthy fats.

** Whole flax seeds – I grind these in a mini coffee grinder and add to yogurt or salads. Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, creating high levels of free radicals in pre-ground flax.

** Eggs – one of natures richest sources of nutrients (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol).

** Nut butters – Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me, so I get creative and mix together almond butter with sesame seed butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter…delicious and unbeatable nutrition!

** Salsa – I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.

** Butter – don’t believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet (just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense…and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack).

** Avocados – love them…plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.

** Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).

** Rice bran and wheat germ – these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.

** Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots – for salads with dinner.

** Home-made salad dressing – using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo’s Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (full of inflammation-causing free radicals).

Some of the staples in the freezer:

** Frozen fish – I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored.

** Frozen berries – during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies.

** Frozen veggies – again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.

** Frozen chicken breasts – very convenient to nuke up for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.

** Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other “exotic” lean meats – Yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you’re serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that’s sold at most grocery stores.

Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:

** Oat bran and steel cut oats – higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.

** Cans of coconut milk – to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.

** Various antioxidant rich teas – green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best.

** Stevia – a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.

** Organic maple syrup – none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap…only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.

** Raw honey – better than processed honey…higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas.

** Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta – much higher fiber than normal pastas

** Brown rice and other higher fiber rice – NEVER white rice

** Cans of black or kidney beans – I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!

** Tomato sauces – delicious, and as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.

** Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) – This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It’s still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don’t feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges.

** Organic unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my cabinets and fridge. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you’re at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.

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photo: Cel Lisboa

Low Carb Diet Plan When More Is Better

When most people want to lose weight the first thing they usually do is start a diet. And a diet to most people means “stop eating”.

Wrong!

A healthy diet should consist of eating less of the foods that contain calories from simple carbohydrates (sugar and processed flour) and more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and good sources of protein. This is the basis of a good low carb diet plan.

As a matter of fact, a good diet should have you eating more instead of less! Not more food, but more often.

The body’s a wonderful mechanism. It’s geared towards one important goal. Survival. When your body feels threatened by the lack of food it automatically assumes that you’re starving.

To combat this condition the body will start breaking down muscle to use as energy and saves its fat stores for the last ditch effort to save itself from what it thinks is immanent death.

This is bad on two fronts.

First, by using muscle tissue for energy you’re losing precious lean mass which is metabolically active. This means that you need energy to support muscle which helps to keep your metabolism running at a higher pace. Higher metabolism means more calories burned even in a resting state.

Fat, on the other hand, doesn’t need any energy to support it. It’s simply “dead” weight.

Secondly, the body will start storing more fat because it’s preparing itself for the worst. Your survival is your body’s most important concern so it’ll do whatever it can to stay alive.

So what can you do if you want to eat less without starving yourself and sending your body into this defense mode?

Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.

This works on two levels.

By eating more often you won’t get hungry as quickly and your metabolism will stay raised because you’ll be digesting food more often. Digesting food uses calories just like any other physical activity.

So here’s the plan. Eat four or five meals a day. Not what most would consider a meal (main course with two sides and dessert!), but a small portion of protein along with some fresh fruits and veggies.

This can be accomplished with a little planning and preparing in your spare time.

Cook your weeks worth of meals – skinless chicken’s an excellent source of protein and can usually be purchased in a big pack or value pack from your local grocery store – and refrigerate it in separate packages, one for each meal.

Egg whites are a very good source of protein too. By mixing three or four whites with one yolk and tossing it into the microwave for approximately 90 seconds, whipping it and tossing it back in for another 60 seconds, you can have some nice fluffy scrambled eggs practically anywhere. Without all the cholesterol!

Buy your produce and clean it, separating it too into meal size portions. All this can be done in a few hours on the weekend.

Buying some disposable storage containers can help keep things convenient and organized.

Try to eat every three hours or so to keep your metabolism and energy up. This will help you stay away from those snacking binges too.

Also, drink lots of water. Water will help to cleanse your body and make you feel full.

So you see, with a little planning and by adhering to a low carb diet plan sometimes eating more can be better!

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Eating Before And After Exercise

When you exercise, you do it in order to try to maintain good health. You know that you have to eat so that your body has the energy to perform the workouts that you do as well as for everyday tasks. But, just what you should eat before and after you workouts is important for making the best of your workouts. Also, how long you eat before and after each workout is equally important.

Whether you are going to be doing a cardio workout or a resistance workout, you should try to make it a point to eat a mix of carbohydrates and protein. What determines the percentage of carbohydrates and protein you should consume is whether you are doing cardio or resistance and the intensity level you will be working at.

The ideal time to eat your pre workout meal is 1 hour before you start. If you are working at a lower intensity level, keep this meal down to around 200 calories or so. If you are working at a higher intensity level, you may need this meal to be as high as 400 to 500 calories.

If you are doing a cardio session, you will need to eat a mix of around 2/3 carbohydrates and 1/3 protein. This will give you longer sustained energy from the extra carbs with enough protein to keep muscle from breaking down during your workout.

If you are doing a resistance session, you should eat a mix of around 1/3 carbohydrates and 2/3 protein. This will give you enough energy from the carbs to perform each set you do and the extra protein will help keep muscle breakdown to a minimum during your workout. It has been shown that your body most effectively uses protein during exertion meaning that taking in more protein before resistance workouts aids in faster recovery as well.

Now, eating after a workout is just as important as the pre workout meal. Remember that when you exercise whether it is a cardio or a resistance session, you deplete energy in the form of glycogen. Our brain and central nervous system relies on glycogen as their main source of fuel so if we donít replace it after exercise, our bodies will begin to break down muscle tissue into amino acids, then convert them into usable fuel for the brain and central nervous system.

Also, mostly during resistance workouts, you break down muscle tissue by creating micro tears. This means that right after a workout; your muscles go into a repair mode. Proteins are the key macronutrient for muscle repair and so you donít want muscle breaking down further to create fuel in place of lost glycogen.

If you have just finished a cardio session, you will need to consume mostly carbohydrates, preferably ones with high fiber. Oatmeal, rice, whole wheat pasta, and most northern fruits are good sources. Try to consume around 30 to 50 grams of these carbohydrates after a cardio session. After cardio, it is ok to eat within 5 to 10 minutes of completion.

If you have just finished a resistance session, you will need a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Because unlike cardio workouts, with resistance workouts you are breaking down muscle tissue by creating micro tears. The protein is needed to build up and repair these tears so the muscle can increase in size and strength. The carbs not only replace the lost muscle glycogen, but also help the protein get into our muscle cells so it can synthesize into structural protein, or muscle itself.

Chicken or fish with a potato, egg whites with a piece of fruit, or a protein shake with fruit mixed in are good meals after resistance workouts but remember to keep the fiber low here. High fiber slows down digestion, meaning the protein will take longer to reach the muscle cells.

After resistance, it is recommended to wait 30 minutes before eating so as not to take blood away from your muscles too soon. The blood in your muscles helps with the repair process by removing metabolic waste products from them.

Any fats should be consumed well before and well after exercise.

Brooklyn BridgeCurtis Mac Newton