Simply Protein Blog
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 to reduce inflammation and weight gain.
- 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, including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. 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 brings glucose to 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)
Eating healthy can be challenging and require extra commitment, especially during our ever hectic and stressful workweeks. When we work hard to nourish our bodies with a healthy diet, it can be frustrating to learn that a food we thought was guilt-free is not actually all that good for us.
Look out for the following unhealthy foods marketed as healthy and “guilt-free”.
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?
By now most of us are aware about the dangers of eating too much sugar. From an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, the list is long and frightening, but can seemingly feel distant at the same time. Interestingly, it is sometimes the vain outcomes that really hammer home a message. Add wrinkles to that list and our ears suddenly perk up. Sugar causes wrinkles too?!
Yes, sugar contributes to wrinkles.
Think sugar is your only concern? Think again! People who eat three slices of white bread a day are 40% more likely to be overweight or obese than others.
A Spanish study found graduates who ate three slices of white bread per day were 40% more likely to be obese or overweight five years later when compared with people who ate it once a week. The study found that total bread consumption was not linked with obesity, but when they looked at people who ate only white bread, it was found that those who ate two or more portions per day, or 60g, were 40% more likely to be overweight or obese five years later compared with those who had one portion or less per week. The research may suggest that people who eat a lot of white bread have unhealthier diets overall.
Lead author Professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez from University of Navarra, said:
"Refined grains such as white bread start to taste sweet in the mouth almost as soon as you eat it, that is the starch being broken down into sugar. It is this feeling that leaves you wanting more. When white bread is a staple food, eating at one or two main meals a day then this is a lot of extra calories on a daily basis. The message is clear, go for whole grains instead of white bread when eating your meals."
Does white bread fill an important role in your daily meal? If so, try a number of these healthy alternatives:
Available in many supermarkets, puffed rice cakes are an excellent alternative to bread, particularly if you enjoy your white bread with peanut butter or jam. Rice cakes are lower calorie and typically gluten-free. Opt for brown rice cakes when available, as they are typically more nutritious than the white kind.
Healthy and high in fiber, corn tortillas are an excellent replacement for your typical protein and veggie type sandwich. Corn tortillas, unlike the wheat kind, are gluten free. Most supermarkets should carry them under popular brands, but you will also likely find them in any South American themed grocery store, or can even easily make your own.
While not gluten free, Ezekiel bread is an excellent alternative to sugar-filled white bread. Ezekiel bread is composed of four types of sprouted whole grains and two types of legumes. Sprouted seed foods contain more nutrients and are easier to digest than unsprouted.
(Source: "Three Slices of White Bread a Day Linked to Obesity" Published on: 30 May 2014 by Rebecca Smith)
There’s no shame in setting a New Year’s resolution – or at least trying to eat healthier after indulging in a few too many holiday cookies (again, no shame!). We may read that New Year’s resolutions are not psychologically, philosophically, psychosomatically, or whatever, the best way to make changes, and failure rate statistics paint a dismal picture. But there’s never a bad time to get healthy, so why not now? Continue reading