Now that the winter hibernation is over, it's time to get moving and back into a healthier routine. Enlist your friends and family and pledge to start healthier habits. With their support, you'll be more accountable and you'll have a lot more fun! Here are some of our tips to start Spring off right:
Looking for ways to make your holiday treats better for you? This super easy no-bake recipe features a SimplyProtein Bar® crust for a delicious, gluten-free and vegan option!
Yield: 1 9-inch pie, 8 servings
You will need:
- 9-inch pie dish
- Food processor or blender
- Parchment paper
- 2 cup pecans
- 1 cup dates
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 SimplyProtein® Double Chocolate Bar
- 1-1/2 tsp Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1. In a food processor, blend crust ingredients until crumbly.
2. Take a piece of parchment paper and press into pie dish.
3. Take crust mixture and spread on top of parchment paper. With your hand, press the mixture into the pan until it is an even thickness.
4. In a food processor, blend the filling ingredients.
5. Carefully pour the filling into the pie dish with crust mixture.
6. Optional: Spread or pipe your favourite whipped topping over the surface of the pie for a festive look.
7. Refrigerate to allow crust to firm and hold.
8. When ready to serve, remove the parchment paper and enjoy!
It’s no secret that the holidays are filled with sugar-coated, guilt-inducing and devilishly tempting treats. We have you covered with the top tips for avoiding falling off the low-sugar wagon!
1. Avoid alcohol
Wine, beer, liquor and cocktails can all be unexpected filled with sugar. Instead of a cocktail before, during, and after dinner, decide when you want to have your drink and stick to just one.
2. Explain to your friends and family
Don’t feel pressured to eat heavy, unhealthy foods because you’re afraid to offend somebody. Explain what you’re doing and ask that your friends and family respect your choice to cut back- more for them!
3. Bring a light, healthy dish
Bring a healthy option to share with others and keep yourself on track. A light and refreshing dish like this Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Almonds will be welcome amidst all the heavy and hearty offerings!
4. Don’t settle at the food court
If your holiday shopping has got you hungry, resist the urge to get a carb-heavy burger or plate. There are healthier options such as soups, salads and wraps.
5. Consider skipping the holiday baking
Avoid placing yourself in temptations way- instead of holiday cookies and candies, try spending family time making holiday crafts or playing in the snow!
6. Drink water
When you feel a sugar craving coming on, fill yourself up with a full glass of water. This will make you feel more full and energized, which might be what your body really wants!
7. Eat natural sugars to curb your craving
Fruits and sweet vegetables such as apples and sweet potatoes contain a high fibre content which acts to counteract the negative effects of sugar.
8. Don’t deprive yourself
Sometimes you just need to indulge! If you have chocolate cravings, keep a high-quality 70% cacao chocolate bar around and have a piece when you feel the cravings coming.
Sick and tired of the 3pm sugar slump? Take back control of your energy- we have you covered with tips on decoding and uncovering the sugar hidden in your favourite snacks!
- How to Expose Disguised Sugars
Sugar comes in many tricky forms. Learn to recognize ingredients under different names, but have the same impact on your health as sugar.
• Ingredients ending in “ose” or with the word “syrup"
• Natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, rice syrup, and honey aren’t much better—our bodies can’t tell the difference between natural and processed sugars!
2. Always read the ingredients list!
Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight—meaning the first ingredient makes up more of the product than the second, and so-forth.
Watch out for long lists that list sugar or disguised sugars in the first 5 ingredients.
3. What Nutrition Facts to Look Out For
Look at the Protein. Is there more protein than sugar? Protein helps to fill us up and keep us full, so choose a snack that has a substantial amount of protein.
Look at the Fiber to Sugar Ratio. Good, whole foods have less or equal sugar to fiber—a 1:1 ratio. Unfortunately, the average American consumes closer to 12:1 sugar to fiber in their food every single day.
Holidays mean lots of special deserts and treats to share with your family and friends. We have some simple recipes that use our bars to add a little protein to those indulgent deserts. Try this quick, easy, and delicious chocolate cream pie recipe!
Meditation is not, by any means, a new concept. While it is commonly associated with Eastern spiritual practices, the overall concept of stilling, calming or training the mind is a commonly used tactic. A common myth with meditation is that it’s exclusive – belonging to health conscious young single people, or those devoting their life to spiritual observance. Truthfully, meditation is an effective tool that may be employed by anyone that has just 5 minutes of free time.
By: Eryl McCaffrey
We can learn a lot from nature. If we align our lives with the cycles of the seasons, we’re much more likely to maintain a healthy balance in our bodies and minds over the course of the year. When the summer sun is blazing and the air is moist, we should consume more water and enjoy the abundant natural supply of Vitamin D. Spring is the warm-up season – it prepares our minds and bodies for the oncoming heat, while allowing us to cleanse ourselves of frigid temperatures, sluggish bodies and sleepy moods. Spring offers a unique opportunity to tap into the energy we seemed to have collected over the colder months - let’s spring clean ourselves just like we spring clean our homes!
Four tips to spring clean your health:
- Give Herbal Tea a Try- Soak up the therapeutic benefits of soothing herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint as you bring your body back into balance. Reduce or eliminate coffee from your diet and try green tea if you’re craving a caffeinated boost. Mild flavored herbal teas usually don’t require sweeteners to taste delicious, an added benefit to those of us avoiding sugar.
- Get Outside- It doesn’t matter what you do once you’re in nature, just be sure to turn off your phone and intentionally unplug yourself for 30 minutes or longer each day. Reconnect to the greenery around you by practicing yoga, going for a walk, hike, bike or even taking a quiet moment on a park bench. Being in nature has been proven to ease anxiety and depression and it also provides us with an opportunity to activate our serotonin.
- Set an Intention- Get out your journal, laptop, phone or voice-recorder and set an intention for Spring of 2016. Be clear about what you want to let go of from the past few months and what you want to achieve this season. More importantly, zero in on how you want to feel in your mind and body over the next few months. Keep it simple and focused. Are you craving a stronger sense of inner peace? If so, ask yourself what steps you need to take in order to access that. Often the act of focusing on what we truly want to improve or strengthen allows us to set our life in that direction. Keeping mindful and consistent goals can prevent anxiety and put us at ease as well!
- Eat What’s in Season- Check out what your local market has to offer on the fruit and vegetable front and do your best to buy what’s in season. In doing so, you are aligning your body with the natural goodness of what the Earth has to offer. Many fruits and vegetables offer a variety of nutrients. On top of that, you will be supporting community businesses. It’s a win-win!
Forget calories for a minute—let’s talk about blood sugar. It’s the glucose found in your blood, and insulin is the stuff that allows glucose to enter your cells for energy. You may already know that blood sugar ebbs and flows throughout the day depending on what you eat, and letting it drop super low can leave you irritable, shaky, and fatigued.
But here’s a nugget worth writing down: Keeping your blood sugar stable could help you lose weight, says Stephanie Clarke, R.D., a nutritionist with C&J Nutrition in New York City. “When your blood sugar is balanced, you’ll feel more energized, less hungry, and you may not cave to cravings, which can help you lose weight by lowering your overall calorie intake.” Keeping your blood sugar in check can also help prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain by minimizing frequent spikes. In short, it's a crucial part of getting your weight-loss game on point.
The crash and burn that comes with low blood sugar (called hypoglycemia) isn't hard to detect: It can make you feel sweaty, weak, dizzy, annoyed, or even lead to a rapid pulse, says Clarke. You can have a blood sugar crash after not eating for a long time, or after eating a big meal packed with processed carbs, like white pasta or bread, which causes it to shoot up and then drop quickly.
Blood sugar that’s too high, called hyperglycemia, can lead to thirst, headaches, and blurred vision. But these symptoms don’t usually show up unless it’s through the roof. If this happens to you, see a doc to rule out diabetes.
With all of that out of the way, here's how you can level out your blood sugar to crush cravings, feel energized, and tackle weight-loss sabotaging hanger.
Watch the Clock
After three or four hours of not eating, hypoglycermia can kick in, says Clarke. To keep this from happening, set an alarm so that hunger doesn't creep up on you while you're busy at work. Eating small, frequent meals every three to four hours is clutch for keeping your sugars in a healthy range, she says.
Pick Worthy Snacks
Aim to include at least two of the three major nutrient groups—carbs, protein, and fat—in each snack, she says. For example, one snack might include a healthy fat, like peanut butter, and a high-fiber carb, such as a whole wheat English muffin. Another might include protein and healthy carbs in one, like edamame.
Skip Simple Carbs
Breads, pastas, sweets, even juices are super-low in fiber, the nutrient that helps control blood sugar spikes by delaying how much sugar your body absorbs. You can get a better dose of fiber in less processed carbs like whole grains, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Protein-packed foods, like lean chicken, turkey, fish, quinoa, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are also slow to digest and key for glucose control. Bonus: They will keep you satisfied much longer than processed carbs.
Slip In Healthy Fats
Good fats work like protein to keep your blood sugar levels stable, as long as you watch your portion sizes. Avocados, nuts, olives, and fish are all great sources for any meal—and cooking with olive oil or avocado oil helps, too.
Hit the Gym
Working out allows your body to burn stored glucose for energy, which leaves you feeling like a happy camper for longer.
(Source: Keeping Your Blood Sugar in Check Comes with a Bonus Prize: Weight Loss by Kristen Dold - December 15th 2015)
If winter weather triggers carbohydrate cravings, you're not alone. Many people snack more on carbohydrate-containing foods in winter, sometimes in an unconscious effort to boost their mood, says Judith Wurtman, PhD, a former scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet. How can you tell if your seasonal carbohydrate cravings are in the normal range or a possible symptom of winter depression?