Category Archives: Food

The Best Nutritional Supplements for Dieting

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines dietary supplements as products “intended for ingestion that contain a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.” Common nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and concentrates, metabolites and extracts.
Should you be taking a nutritional supplement? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) emphasize that a balanced diet should (ideally) provide individuals with all of the nutrients necessary for optimal health. However, nutritional supplements can fill in gaps in your diet and can aid in weight loss when used properly.

nutritional supplements

                  What nutritional supplements are best for people trying to drop weight?

Before beginning any supplement routine, talk with your health care provider to determine whether a nutritional supplement is right – or necessary – for you. Then, choose a nutritional supplement that can assist in weight loss – including (but not limited to) fibers, omega-3 fatty acids or creatine.

Fiber

                 Taking a fiber supplement may help you shed pounds by making you feel fuller, leading to fewer calories consumed. A 2001 Tufts University study found that participants who increased fiber consumption (through supplements and naturally, through foods) ate 10% less calories than they did prior to beginning the study. The American Heart Association recommends that people intake 25-30g of fiber per day, but most Americans are getting about half of that total. Increase your fiber intake by eating fiber rich foods or through fiber pills(sold at most stores that carry vitamins).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                  Omega-3s help weight loss – the fatty acids actually activate fat-burning properties in cells. In a 2012 article published by Women’s Health, the benefits of omega-3s in supporting weight loss are discussed. Omega-3s “also help to boost mood, which may help reduce emotional eating. And omega-3s might improve leptin signaling in the brain, causing the brain to turn up fat burning and turn down appetite.” If you aren’t getting enough naturally from fatty fish like salmon and nuts and seeds, you can consider taking an omega-3 supplement.

Creatine

                  Creatine, a supplement popular in the body-building community, is an acid naturally produced in the liver that helps to supply energy to cells throughout the body. Creatine is known to help increase metabolic rate and speed up fat loss. Not a bodybuilder? Creatine is best for people who work out frequently – not those who are trying to lose weight through dieting alone. However, if you are an individual who exercises frequently and is looking to shed fat, creatinemight be an excellent addition to your diet.

It is critical that you discuss nutritional supplements with your doctor or health care provider before buying them. If you are not sure whether the supplement will help improve your diet and enable you to meet your weight-loss goals, do your research to identify the benefits of the supplement, and recognize any potential side effects.

Should you eat a tapeworm to lose weight?

You may have thought to yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a tapeworm? Then I could eat all I wanted.’ However, according to a doctor who did an experiment on himself with a tapeworm, the answer is a definite ‘No, you should never consider getting a tapeworm.’

It turned out that after ingesting the tapeworm, the doctor actually gained weight instead of losing weight. In addition, having a tapeworm can have many very bad side effects, such as brain damage.

Tapeworm

What Foods Can I Eat as Much as I Want and Still Lose Weight?

carrots and vegetables                In April 2012, Shape Magazine published an article titled “Healthy Snacks: 6 Foods You Can’t Overdo,” purporting that there are a few snack foods out there that you can eat as much as you want without worrying about sabotaging your diet plan. The Chicago nutritionist interviewed for the article, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Ph.D., argued that vegetables are the only food group that you can eat without thinking about the portion. She named several snack ideas for vegetables: cucumbers with rice vinegar, zucchini with lemon and pepper, artichokes and baked kale chips.
It’s common knowledge that vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants – so eating endless amounts of spinach won’t hurt you. The problem with vegetables is that eating them by themselves often does not produce the feeling of being full that cues your body that it does not need more food. So while vegetables are one of the only foods you can eat as much of as you want and still lose weight, the catch is finding ways to prepare and eat vegetables in a manner that promotes the full feeling your body needs. So, eat as many vegetables as you want, but follow these tips to make them interesting and satisfying.

  1. Fill your plate with raw, crunchy vegetables – Replace heavy starches like potatoes and carb-rich sides like rice with raw, crunchy vegetables (think: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and peppers).  Finding vegetables that you can munch on – and are inherently yummy – is important. The crunch of these vegetables makes you feel fuller when eating and are in no way detrimental to your diet.
  2. Find delicious foods made out of vegetables – There are non-vegetables that are made out of vegetables. Noodles, typically made with grains, are a food not associated with vegetables. Kelp noodles, however, are made out of sea kelp and are rich in water.
  3. Employ condiments to make vegetables more satisfying – Add flavor to vegetables with little to no-calorie condiments like white wine vinegar or hot sauce. Both have few to no calories and add flavor and spice to otherwise boring veggies. Adding Texas Pete’s to celery, or steaming broccoli with white wine vinegar and garlic powder does not dramatically alter the calorie content of the vegetable, but may make you feel more satisfied when snacking.

Find vegetables that you enjoy and bountifully add them to your meals – finding the right kinds of vegetables and preparing them in unique ways will make you feel fuller, preventing you from overeating less healthy, carb-laden snacks.

Omega 3 Fish Oil for Dieting and Weight Loss

Omega 3 Fish OilOmega 3 fish oil has been called the ‘magic’ weight loss supplement for many years now, but why? Well, honestly, the exact reasons are still unproven, though the studies performed with this particular supplement in overweight people have been very successful. In some studies, the only change made in a person’s diet and exercise was the addition of omega 3; and yet those taking the supplement still lost weight, even without any other changes in their everyday lives. That fact alone is truly remarkable. Omega 3 is an all-around wonderful addition to anybody’s daily routine. Now let’s discuss why.

Well, for starters, omega 3 is said to have many beneficial attributes and not just for losing weight. Omega 3 is used for both brain and heart health, which are at the very least, indirect factors with weight loss. On top of that, there are at least four known possible direct benefits for losing weight that this supplement can produce.
The first is that omega 3 has been said to help both lose fat and build muscle simultaneously.

The second is a loss of appetite. Our stomachs can deceive us into believe we are hunger even when we are not, and omega 3 can eliminate that issue by the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which can affect your mood and appetite, positively.

The third weight loss benefit may just be a theory; however, it is worth a shot whether works or not. Omega 3 is supposed to help you maintain both a proper diet and effective exercise regime. Even though it is not scientifically proven, as of yet, the studies still show what can only be described as more motivation to follow a routine with patients taking the omega 3 supplement.

The last known, possible advantage of taking omega 3 while trying to shed those unwanted pounds is a reduction in your body’s ability to store fat. The omega 3 supplement has been claimed to actually keep your body from storing the food you eat as fat cells. It basically keeps the food moving through you, without staying, so to speak. Who wouldn’t want that?

Now that you are aware of the practically endless advantages with adding omega 3 to your daily diet, let’s go over the potentially negative effects of choosing the wrong supplement. Unfortunately, as with most things, there are different types or brands available that are less effective than others. For example you need to make sure the omega 3 fish oil that you buy is not chalk full of impurities. By that, we are referring to high contents of metal or pesticides.

You also need to check the concentration level of your selected omega 3. You want it to have, at bare minimum, 750 mg of EPA and DPA. You may also want to check the ratio of these two ingredients. It should be at least close to three parts EPA to two parts DPA.

Omega 3 will be a wonderful addition to your daily routine, as long as you take the precautions discussed into consideration when purchasing your supplement. Now get out there and start looking. It is never too late to be healthier, and the ease of simply taking a pill can’t really be topped.


Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 1,000 mg Fish Oil, 180 Soft Gels

by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Does Vitamin D Melt Fat and Help You Lose Weight?

vitamins and nutritional supplementsVitamin D is very important for many things. Your body needs it to strengthen your bones, improve your overall mood, and help your immune system. Now many researchers and studies have said that vitamin D can even be helpful with weight loss and not for just one reason either. Many experts now believe that vitamin D can help burn fat and reduce hunger cravings. So how exactly does this vitamin help with that common struggle many of us face today?
It’s simple. The vitamin that more than half the population is lacking in is like a fuel for, literally, every cell in your body. Yes, that means even our fat cells need vitamin D to function. Now you may be wondering why you would want your fat cells in good working condition. Well, that too is very simple. Your body uses its fat cells in two ways. It can either burn them or store them, and vitamin D can actually trigger the fat burning receptors within each of us. That is the basic explanation of why people now say that vitamin D can actually help ‘melt away’ the fat. They are referring to the way the vitamin can get your body burning fat as opposed to storing it. Now doesn’t that just sound awesome?

If those benefits aren’t enough to have us all seeking out sources for vitamin D then maybe these will change your mind about it. This vitamin has been said to not only provide your body with the aforementioned, it also can help you absorb other nutrients vital in weight loss, like calcium. We also mentioned that it can improve your mood, which may not be directly related to losing weight; however, it is certainly an indirect factor. We all have our bad mood food, and it is rarely diet friendly.
So now that you know why you need vitamin D, let’s talk a little bit about how or where to get it. For starters vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that your body produces naturally through sunlight exposure. Many people say that sunlight is the best source. I, personally, would have to disagree; since the sun can often do more damage than good, I would suggest seeking an alternative for getting more vitamin D to your body. I always advocate the natural ways. Here are a few naturally, vitamin D rich food sources: wild salmon, tuna, eggs, certain mushrooms, and of course, milk. That’s just to name a few. There are so many ways to get vitamin D in your daily diet that there is really no excuse for a deficiency.
In the end, we should all decide our preferred sources and make sure to get the daily suggested amounts. It is clear from the many studies done on the vitamin that the benefits are undeniable, as well as the necessity. Introducing more vitamin D into your body and diet is sure to help you become a healthier and even happier person. It is too easy to pass up, just give it a try and soon maybe that dreaded scale will become your good friend.

by Ashleigh Nicole



The ‘Eat as Much as You Like’ Diet: Is There Such a Thing?

Measuring Stomach while dieting     The saying goes “if it’s too good to be true, than it probably is,” and that would definitely apply here. Even if you managed to find a diet suggesting the ability to eat as much as you like, the chances of it actually working are slim to none. Successful dieting takes a degree of discipline and will power. Without those you cannot expect to lose weight.

You can find a diet where you don’t have to sacrifice taste or quantity, depending on which is more important for you in particular. However, if your goal is to actually lose weight you should expect some degree of sacrificing. Keep in mind that your caloric intake is what increases and decreases body weight, and there are foods in which the calories are easier to burn and not fatty at all. You could eat as much as you like with certain foods, to an extent. One really good example of this concept, that I have found success with, is the Dukan Diet.

Safe Foods

The Dukan Diet is a somewhat new plan that gives you a list of 100 ‘safe foods’ which you can, in theory, eat to your heart’s content. Now, again, common sense should be used here, of course. The foods on the list are high in protein and other vital nutrients but low in fat and carbohydrates. The list is full of delicious things like: Shrimp, lobster, veal, chicken, asparagus, spinach, tomato, and list goes on. That was just seven items on a 100 item list, though there are a few factors in this diet which should be researched further before deciding that this is the diet for you. This is just the closet example of an ‘eat as much as you like’ diet that I know is effective when initiated properly.
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Eating Fewer Carbs

Another example of a diet with a similar ‘all you can eat’ approach is the Atkins Diet. Admittedly, I do not favor this particular diet, though there are some very good ideas within it that do help those who aren’t ready to make a huge change in the amounts of food they eat. Nobody wants to be hungry all day. Hunger in dieting will usually end with failure. The Atkins Diet is based on the idea that by eating fewer carbs your body is forced to burn fat for its ‘fuel.’ This is one of the reasons I both like and dislike this particular diet. Atkins will tell you that you should be eating mostly protein, fat, and fiber. I disagree with that fat part. If your goal is to burn fat then adding more into your body seems like a backwards step. On the other hand, eating mostly protein, fiber, and very few carbs, which is similar to the Dukan Diet, is an easy way to get your three balanced meals daily without having to starve yourself.

Some may say these types of diets are risky and indulgent. Though if it keeps you from binging after a week on a diet that leaves you hungry all day than the risk may just be worth a try. They say hungry people don’t lose weight mainly because when you are used to being full making a drastic change in your diet can be more risky and even unhealthy. If you are the type that needs that full feeling you should give certain aspects of the discussed diets above a shot. You might be surprised.

by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of  Sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Drink Your Way to a Skinny Body: The Five Best Beverages for Dieting

When we think about weight loss and dieting it is not necessarily our daily beverages that come to mind. Though there are, without a doubt, many benefits and drawbacks of certain drinks pertaining to weight loss. So the next time you decide to try going on a diet, remember that your drinks can have just as much effect on your success as the food you eat.

Choice # 1 – Waterorange juice

     Everybody has heard that the human is supposed to consume at least 64 ounces of water a day, and that is a minimum. Your body craves water and the benefits are undeniable, while the drawbacks nonexistent. Just drinking a full glass of water when you think you feel hungry will ultimately lead to you eating less since your stomach will be full already. For those of you who don’t prefer water, you could try using a wedge of citric fruit like lemon, lime, or orange to liven up that glass of boring old water. The truth is that we should all be drinking water daily whether trying to lose weight or not.

Choice # 2 – Black Coffee

     Coffee is a great way to get a calorie-free pick me up. It is high in antioxidants and is a, by far, better choice than any sugary energy drink. It is not until we start adding sugar and fat to our coffee that it becomes a hindrance for weight loss. If you can’t drink it black then just try reducing the amounts of what you add a little bit at a time. The flavor of the coffee itself may just grow on you.

Choice # 3 – Tea

The word tea covers a broad spectrum of drinks. Though there are a couple known to stimulant the metabolism or even block fat absorption. The first one to mention is the now common, green tea; which we all know it is a natural metabolism booster full of antioxidants, and it even has a nice herbal f

lavor all by itself. That was just a few of the many benefits of drinking green tea. The other tea I wanted to suggest is a very flavorful and healthy choice. Peppermint tea helps you burn calories by promoting digestion, as well as being quite tasty. Those are just my personal favorites though there are many more types of tea out there that can be equally beneficial.

Choice # 4 – Fruit Juice

     Fruit juice is probably the best healthy drink where you aren’t sacrificing taste. Though you don’t want to just buy juice from a store; due to the high sugar content and other additives, you would have be very careful what you get. The best way to get natural fruit juice would be to juice it yourself. You can buy a juicer, which are affordable and easy to use, and extract your own fresh fruit juice. Get creative with it and you are sure to discover it’s not only healthful and delicious, but fun too.

Choice #5 – Vegetable Juice

     For those of you more geared toward the savory, give fresh vegetable juice a shot; and just as with the fruit juice, I would not recommend buying it at a store. Instead, invest in a blender or food processor and get crazy. The possibilities are endless, try making carrot juice, tomato juice, or beet juice. You can mix vegetables and use herbs to add different flavors. Make some magic in your blenders that will promote success in losing weight and get more vitamins and minerals in your daily diet.

Any of the choices above are sure to encourage weight loss and increase your body’s health naturally. So the next time you reach for a soda or pour a couple of ounces of cream in your coffee remember that they are just empty calories. The more calories you are drinking means the less you will be able to eat without exceeding your desired daily caloric intake.

 by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of  KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7 Weight Loss Tips

    Weight loss and dieting are major concerns in today’s society. With obesity levels rising and the health risks of being overweight increasing, it is vital that people take charge and learn to how be healthy again. I have, from my own

Apple and tape measure experience, picked the top seven tips for weight loss that seem to be helpful for anyone. Deciding to “go on a diet” is all well and good; however, without some basic structure it will fail every time.

Tip # 1 – Keep a daily food journal

If you have to write down and look at your daily food intake on a piece of paper you can gain an entirely different perspective. Somehow have a physical record makes it more apparent. Remember you can’t really lie to yourself, so don’t cheat.

Tip # 2 – Remove all temptation

Clean out your kitchen of all the things you may want but know you should not have. Just remember that you can always learn to reincorporate the foods you love back into your diet as a reward for reaching your goal weight.

Tip # 3 – Fruit is delicious and healthy

You do not have to sacrifice taste during a diet. Diet is not a synonym for disgusting. Fruits are not only tasty but great sources of vitamins and minerals; not to mention, they are very low in calories.

Tip # 4 – Drinks can be calories too

Remember it is not just the food you eat that fills out your jeans. A single regular soda can easily have anywhere from 100 to 200 calories in a standard twelve ounce can. Just think about the calorie level in your chosen beverage before you guzzle it down.

Tip # 5 – Drink water, you need it anyway

Many studies have shown that water is vital in our everyday existence. It has only recently been discussed as a weight loss technique. Think about it though, if your stomach is full of water you won’t be hungry. With water being virtually zero calories, you can’t beat it as a snack choice.

Tip # 6 – Do NOT eat too late

You don’t burn very many calories when you are asleep. Not eating at least three hours before you go to bed will ensure that everything you’ve eaten has been digested at full metabolism. Even during a diet with diet foods you should never sleep right after eating.

Tip # 7 – Don’t fear the scale

When you are on a diet the scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy; however, it will always be honest. As long as it is not broken that is. Don’t let the brutal truth intimidate you. Facing the truth and leaving denial behind is you got this diet idea in the first place. Always remember to follow through.

I have given these particular tips, as well as many others, a great deal of consideration. In the end, these seven tips were the most helpful and effective in my own struggle with dieting. I lost fifty pounds in three months thanks to the tips above and a little bit of dedication.

 by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Weight Loss Benefits of Pu-Erh Tea

The Power of Pu-Erh Tea

Four types of tea

Pu-erh tea (pronounced poo-air) is a fantastic aid for those serious about weight loss. Although pu-erh is relatively new to the western world, it has long been considered a crucial element in traditional Chinese medicine. This fantastic brew has a long list of health benefits, including weight loss. Pu-erh is a rather rare tea produced in the Yunnan region of China. It traces back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE.) In fact, Pu-erh is considered the first form of black tea. This ancient medicinal drink is taking the world by storm, and could just prove to be the beverage needed to get that skinny body you’ve been desperately longing for.



The Intricacies of Pu-Erh Tea

This ancient brew is made with fermented tea leaves that are grown in the fields just outside of the city of Pu-erh. These leaves are treated to a secretive procedure to form a distinct brew with many medicinal benefits. The leaves are fermented and aged in a carefully controlled process for anywhere between fifteen and twenty years. The long fermentation produces a rich, smooth and complex flavor that is velvety and refreshing. The aging process also allows for beneficial bacteria to flourish, which adds a whole other layer of health benefits to the drink. One of the distinct characteristics of pu-erh is how it is packed. The damp leaves are pressed into shapes to form a brick or a cake.



How to Make Pu-Erh Tea

Today, it is easy to buy it in a cake form, but some companies do offer it as a loose-leaf variety or even in a teabag. There are actually many blends on the market. The plain cake variety is easy to find in most specialty stores, as is the chrysanthemum pu-erh blend which is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its cleansing effects on the body. There are also many contemporary pu-erh blends such as ginger, vanilla and mint, and even blood orange varieties. All that has to be done to make a quality blend is to break off a tablespoon or more of the dried cake and allow it to steep in hot, almost boiling water for a minute or two. There should be no need to add any sweeteners or milk to the brew.



What Are The Health Benefits of Pu-Erh?

Pu-erh is beneficial for the spleen and stomach as it helps to cleanse the blood and to aid digestion. In China it is common to drink it after a heavy meal or as a hangover cure. Recent scientific studies have found that regularly drinking four cups of pu-erh a day drastically lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and seems to have a direct effect on increasing the body’s metabolic rate. It is because of its ability to increase the metabolism that is often touted as a “diet tea” had is highly recommended as a breakfast beverage to kick-start the day. Regularly drinking it appears to also help regulate blood glucose levels which helps dieters fight sweet cravings.



The Facts About Pu-Erh

The pharmacological analysis of the brew shows that it is a wonderful source of vitamins B1, B2, C and E. It contains good levels of aluminum, arginine, calcium, cystine, histidine, linoleic and linolenic acids, lysine, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, and trace amounts of beryllium, fluorides, iron, nickel, sodium, sulfur and zinc. The components of this healthful brew do not appear to react with most medications, nor does it cause any adverse side effects. All in all, pu-erh is a rather refreshing drink that tastes fantastic, is calming and soothing, and packs a lot of beneficial medicinal value. Swapping high calorie drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and milkshakes for freshly brewed pu-erh will not only help to lower the amount of calories consumed each day, the drink will help to speed up the body’s metabolism, cleanse the body of impurities, and support the kidneys and the digestive system. All recent studies have found that drinking the brew does seem to aid in weight loss and presents a decrease in waistline measurements.




Recent studies are quickly learning that the claims of ancient traditional medicine about the powers of pu-erh may hold some truth. Studies show that drinking pu-erh aids digestion and appears to help the body break down fat cells. The high levels of vitamin C are terrific for those serious about losing weight. The caffeine element of the drink may actually help the body to heat up, which in turn burns more calories as you go about your normal day, yet the levels of caffeine are low enough to not cause concern for people who cannot regularly consume caffeine products. Adding pu-erh to your daily routine is a sure way to meet your diet and weight loss goals.