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!
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 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)
It's self-improvement season, but you may find yourself losing motivation. Follow these tips to stay motivated in your diet plan, and achieve your goals.
Set Realistic Expectations
You can pick any diet you like, but if you expect to see any significant results in a day, a week, or even a month you’ll set yourself up for failure. When you start restricting what you eat, it feels like you’ve made major sacrifices and deserve some sort of payoff—or at least an indication—that your hard work will make a difference.
Unfortunately, you won’t get that kind of immediate satisfaction. All diets take commitment and you won’t see results quickly. But if waiting three months or so to see a significant change seems like a lot, think about all the years you’ve spent trying to meet your goals. Consider the diets you’ve tried and the cumulative time they took. You probably spent quite awhile on plans that didn’t work. Sticking with one that you like for a few months likely adds up to a fraction of that “wasted” time.
Pick a Sustainable Program
You can’t approach a diet successfully without knowing how you relate to your food. You need to understand what you like, what you don’t, what you expect to crave, and so on. Your personal needs play an enormous role in the way you’ll react to the healthy changes you want to make, so you have to know yourself well in order to pick a program you can sustain. Bellatti suggests that you ask yourself a few questions to find out what may or may not fit:
“Don't approach this as "choosing a diet", but rather "choosing an eating style." Unlike a diet, an eating style is sustainable, can be done for the rest of the life, and implies more flexibility. Ask yourself: "Can I eat this way the vast majority of the time?". If the answer is "yes," you've made a good choice. If the answer is "no," choose something else. If this way of eating requires you to live beyond your means, rely on ingredients/foods that are not easily accessible, or inconveniences your daily routine, it's unlikely you'll be able to stick with it for long."
Choose a Diet That Creates Good Habits
If you’ve found an “eating style” you think you can sustain, you’ve whittled down your options to the best. Before you choose one, however, you ought to consider a few more things. As Bellatti explains, habits are key:
“The whole purpose of choosing a better eating style is, usually, to improve health, and the best way to do this is with consistent habits. Don't look for a way of eating that is so strict and limited that you can only stay sane if you do it for two weeks every four months; that isn't a recipe for meaningful results.”
Of the habits you create, Bellatti suggests you ought to get used to cooking more:
“Above all, a healthful way of eating is low in processed foods. It should have you in the kitchen preparing food, as opposed to purchasing ready-made meals, pre-made shakes, or processed snack bars. Additionally, if you become dependent on "diet foods", what happens the day they are no longer sold? That said, choose a way of eating that enables you to still have a social life. You should be able to go to most restaurants and order something—even if just an appetizer and a side dish—that meets your needs.”
Don’t Forget to Exercise
You don’t have to spend tons of time exercising, but you can’t ignore physical activity because you’ve chosen a healthier diet. The two go hand-in-hand. You can’t simply work out and live off of donuts. Dr. Stewart agrees:
“Make sure that any weight loss program you consider is partnered with a solid and consistent amount of physical activity. If the program you're considering looks good but doesn't contain any specific exercise information, consult your doctor to design a safe and comprehensive exercise program.”
Just as with your diet, you want an exercise routine that you can sustain, grow with, and even enjoy. Don’t try too much too fast. Take your time and let your confidence build as you grow stronger. As with all health goals, you can’t achieve them overnight. Aim to continue to better your physical health and wellness with every step, and the rest will follow.
Consult a Professional Before You Jump In
You have a unique body with its own set of dietary issues. One great diet that works for many of your friends may not work so well for you. Before you dive in, Dr. Stewart recommends that you talk to a professional:
“Many of the structured diets advertised these days are gimmicks and nothing more, and some can actually damage your health. In order to make the best choice, it's important to put some thought into it and consult professionals. To begin with, speak with your primary care physician. Discuss your situation in depth; what your particular health issues and goals are and how to select a diet that will best address these.”
This post offers advice but you should never make major changes that affect your health solely based on something you read online. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian before you significantly change the way you eat.
(Source: Lifehacker – “How to Create a Diet Plan That Doesn't Suck and Actually Stick to It” by
Adam Dachis, Published on 9/23/2013)
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Patients with type 1 diabetes struggle with insulin production because their immune systems actually destroy the cells that release insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps the body control the level of glucose in the blood. A lack of insulin means cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose) and use it properly for energy. Continue reading
Yes, eating too much sugar can have immediate negative effects on your body – swings in blood sugar levels, headaches, stomach aches, mood swings, weight gain, over-eating, etc… But eating too much sugar over the long term can negatively affect your health for years to come. Continue reading
This month we wanted to check out how adding our Simply Protein Chips could ramp up the flavor and healthiness of some great recipes.
We were both pleased and astonished at our discoveries. We’ve gathered some of our savory favorites below that we hope you love!
Chili Chip Torta
Now we normally wouldn’t have thought about this, but turns out people are adding chips to their breakfast. We figured there was only one way to get to the bottom of whether this was a good idea or not...
Turns out chips are great at breakfast! There was no question but to use the chili flavored chips. This recipe takes 20 minutes and will serve 4 – just make sure you have a 10” non-stick skillet.
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon sliced scallions
- 2 cups Simply Protein Chili Flavor chips
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon butter
- sliced scallions (to garnish)
- Greek yogurt (to garnish)
- Beat eggs and scallions in a large bowl. Gently fold Simply Protein Chili Flavor chips into eggs, trying to break as few as possible. Season with salt.
- Heat pan over medium high heat and add butter; when foam subsides, add egg/chip mixture and turn heat to medium low. Using a rubber spatula, gently pull eggs away from sides of pan while the eggs set.
- When eggs have begun to set, use a oven mitt and a plate to flip over torta. Place plate over pan, and securing the pan to the plate with an oven mitt, flip pan over so torta lands on the plate, then gently slip torta back into pan to finish cooking.
- Slice into segments and serve with more sliced scallions, cracked black pepper, and Greek yogurt.
This recipe was taken from Sydney’s great recipe off of serious eats and we just substituted with Simply’s chips.
Herb Chip Crusted Cod
This recipe allows for simple substitution of our herb flavored chips. What won us over was the texture of this dish. Although we did have that annoying moment of “why haven’t we thought of this before?”
- 2 bags of Simply Protein Herb Flavor Chips
- 16 oz. fillets (4 oz per person) cod fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
- Pepper, for seasoning
- 2 teaspoons reduced fat mayonnaise
- Heat the oven to 400º F. Place the Herb Flavor chips in a gallon size plastic storage bag and gently crush the chips (using the heel of your hands).
- Line a baking sheet with a cooling rack and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
- Combine the mayonnaise and a few dashes of pepper and then schmear (not smear) it over the top of each fillet. Now gently but firmly press on the crushed chips, completely covering the top of each piece of fish and place them on the cooling rack.
- Bake the fillets until they are just cooked through, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
This recipe came from Jennifer’s blog at Savoring the Thyme.
Let us know your favorite recipes that include chips! Or do you think there is a different flavor chips pairing we should have tried with a recipe?
Lives are full and busy with "to-do" and "must-do" lists which sometimes can cause us to forget to eat.
Creating a weekly meal plan will help ease the chaos that surrounds meal and snack times as well as keeping your belly full throughout the day. A tip for creating a meal is to always include a source of protein as a complimentary option on your plate or as a protein snack in order to keep you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time. Continue reading