Clean Eating Made Easy

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Is it hard for you to follow a clean eating plan?

If you have developed a habit of unhealthy eating, then join the club.  Eating foods that feed our emotions, rather than foods that encourage a healthy body, is quite common.

This is the very reason that we should follow a clean eating plan.

And, this doesn’t mean that we should never indulge in something that isn’t so healthy. 

But, if we clean up our eating habits and change our mindsets to crave foods that offer nutritional value, then it can become much easier and even simple to live a healthier lifestyle.

So, let’s first define what clean eating really is.  To eat clean is eat a diet that is rich in foods that provides the body with the highest nutritional value.

Whole foods, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are going to be the best choices when comes to feeding our bodies.

This is because these foods are in their whole state and have not gone through any processing.  When eaten, these foods provide great nutritional value to the body that encourages health and energy to the body’s organs.

Why We’re Eating Wrong in The First Place

Perhaps we’ve developed unhealthy eating habits because of lifestyle and convenience.  Grabbing a meal on-the-go seems like a great idea when you’re short on time.

But as you may know, fast foods are not the best choice when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet.

The key here is to change our definition of fast foods.  It usually takes only minutes to order and receive a full meal from a fast food restaurant.

But the better alternative is eating foods that are also fast and satisfying such as raw fruits, vegetables and nuts.

It only takes minutes to whip up a healthy salad and have all the components of a well-balanced meal.

There is no denying that foods like French fries, cookies, and pizza are delicious in taste.

But when we follow a diet that is high in processed foods like this, we deprive our bodies of what it needs to be healthy. 

Instead, we feed it things that it doesn’t need at all.

According to Dr. Vilma Andari MS, of the American Heart Association, fast foods and snack foods tend to be low in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Furthermore, these foods are highly processed and contain large amounts of sugar and sodium which are known to be stored as fat.

When this happens, it contributes to raised cholesterol levels and encourages disease in the body.

So, how do we eat clean and where do we start?

1. Drink Water

Research suggests that drinking a glass of water before eating will cause you to eat less. Essentially, staying hydrated and drinking water will help the body to process foods properly.

Water helps move foods through the system and encourages proper elimination.

You should also avoid filling up on soda and sugary drinks that are full of empty calories and offer little to no nutritional value.

Try infused water instead.  If you feel like you still need a little fizz, go with a sparkling water for an extra boost.

2. Pace Yourself

Bad habits can be hard to break.  Chances are that you’ve been eating unhealthy foods for quite some time and changing your diet may feel intimidating.

Just keep in mind that you don’t have to be in a rush when it comes to transitioning to a clean diet.

Making too many changes all at once may become overwhelming and tempt you back to old eating habits.

Instead, try replacing an unhealthy item with a clean item at each meal. Do this a couple of days and then switch out another item until you’ve changed the diet completely.

Remember, this is a lifestyle change so take your time.

3. Color Your Plate

A clean meal should be vibrant with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Make sure to add fruits and or vegetables to every meal and include seeds, nuts and legumes as toppings and snacks.

If you are a meat eater, then it is best to choose organic or grass fed. But, you should also note that beans and legumes are also a great source of protein.

4. Readjust Your Focus

There’s nothing worse than craving something that you really want to eat and not being able to have it.

Not satisfying these urges may tend to make you want it even more than ever.

So instead of focusing on what you can’t have, try focusing on what you can have to help make the shift.

Now, this may not be so easy at first.  But eating a healthier diet will encourage you to crave healthier food choices.

Eliminating processed foods while replacing them with whole nutrient enriched foods will help you feel full while supplying you with more energy throughout the day.

So, shift your focus and try out different foods that are not only good for you, but taste good to you.

5. Reduce Your Sugar and Sodium Intake

There is sugar and sodium in almost everything that we eat.  It’s used so much, that you almost need to stay away from anything in a box or a bottle just to avoid it in large amounts. 

The following are the recommended amounts as suggest by the American Heart Association.

For optimal heart health, the American Heart Association recommends you consume:

  • No more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
  • No more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories of sugar a day for women.

Following these guidelines is a great way to monitor your sugar and sodium intake daily.

6. Check Labels

We know that eating whole foods are going to be the best choice when it comes to diet.

It is strongly suggested to stick to these types of foods if you are following a clean eating diet.

However, checking the nutritional value on items is extremely important when consuming foods that have been minimally processed.

A few things to note are going to be the daily value in nutrients per serving. The Food and Drug Administration suggests less than 100% of the daily value in sodium, cholesterol, sugars, trans fat, and saturated fat.

Follow the following guidelines to help in your food choices.

7. Eat Primarily for Substance

The foods that we consume play a huge role in our overall wellbeing.   If you’re not going completely cold turkey on unhealthy foods altogether, then it may not be so bad to have an occasional food that is not so healthy.

However, most of your meals really should be for substance and nutrition

Foods that are going to feed the body, build the immune system and give it energy should be your primary focus when it comes to diet.

JJ Smith, a nutritionist and author of Lose Weight Without Dieting Or Working Out, suggests having no more than 1-2 cheat meals per week.

Eating for substance and not pleasure is an important component to staying on track.

8. Prepare Your Own Meals

You may make healthy choices when you are out to dinner or eating meals away from home.

But the only way that you can be sure of how your food has been prepared, is if you have cooked it yourself.

Your best choice is going to be prepare your own meals.

Get into the habit of meal prep and prepackaging your foods for easy access.

Also, if you know that you’re going to be out for a while, pack an insulated lunch bag full of healthy snacks so that you have what you need when you are away from home.

Being proactive is going to be one of your best tools when it comes to transitioning to a healthier diet.

8 Effortless Ways To Feel Younger

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If you are one of those people who is on a never ending cycle of feeling tired and sluggish all of the time, then you are not alone.

With hectic schedules to meet, it is very easy to get caught up in the same old unhealthy habits that we may have developed over time. 

That being said, let’s now explore some things that may help you look and feel younger.

Relax Your Mind

Take time out for you during the day.  You may feel like you’re off to the races once that alarm clock sounds in the morning. This is because it’s natural to get caught up in the monotony of life.

But unfortunately, many of us neglect to take care of our minds.

A mind that is constantly busy causes tension and tiredness in the body.   

Try setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier than your normal time. Go to a quiet area and read a good book or journal your thoughts.

Doing this can help you awaken with a positive outlook on the day.

Or better yet, step out on to the patio for a little fresh air when you have some down time.  This is very beneficial and it helps to relax and re energize.

Follow a Healthy Diet

I know you’ve heard it before, but do you really take heed to the message?  Following a healthy diet has so many benefits to feeling and looking younger.

Are you eating fruits and vegetables?

Ask yourself, “When was that last time I had a piece of fruit?”

If you can’t remember, then you probably need to change something in your diet.

There are wonderful benefits to eating raw fruits and vegetables since raw foods aid in weight loss, skin rejuvenation and an overall energy boost.  So, step away from the vending machine when you are looking for a quick snack and choose something healthy instead, your body will love you for it.

Continue reading “8 Effortless Ways To Feel Younger”

5 Easy Ways to Minimize Your Processed Food Intake

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According to a nation-wide analysis of grocery store purchases, over 60 percent of the food purchased were highly processed.

Highly processed foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and sodium which is bad for the body.

So how easy is it to go to the vending machine and grab a snack?

It’s a little too easy.

And, what’s faster than pulling up to a drive-thru restaurant for a quick bite to eat?

You know where we’re going with this.

These days, it is so convenient to do the wrong things for our health because of time constraints and quick fixes.

It can feel as if we just don’t have the time to eat as healthy as we should, and no wonder….

Society has made eating processed foods so convenient and affordable.

If you are not making a conscious effort to follow a healthy diet, then you may end up riding the Processed Food Wagon.

But, eating this way has very negative effects on our bodies over time, including disease and weight gain.

So…. What can you do to change that?

Instead of buying fast foods and other processed foods such as pasta, breads and instant meals, wander over to the produce section of the grocery store for fresh fruits and vegetables on your next visit.

Instead of eating meat at every meal, try another source of protein such as beans, peas or lentils.

But if you are a meat eater, then fresh natural/hormone free eggs, chicken, fish and turkey are also high in protein and  are great whole food choices.

Here is how you can minimize your processed food intake and maximize healthier whole food choices.

Reprogram your mind

Decide that you are going to eat better and follow through.

This means stocking your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy foods so that they are available to you.

You want to feel good, look good and follow a healthier lifestyle which means increasing your intake of whole foods and decreasing your cravings and processed food intake.

So make the necessary changes such as packing your lunch instead of eating out on a daily basis. Doing this will help you stick to your diet.

You will see how easy it is once your mind is set to do so.

Continue reading “5 Easy Ways to Minimize Your Processed Food Intake”

Is The Paleo Diet Right For You?

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Have you been considering the Paleo diet?

If you’ve been curious, but aren’t quite ready to make a commitment, then you may want to take a look at what the Paleo diet has to offer.

Now, not every diet is for everyone, but it’s always good to explore a diet such as the Paleo diet just to familiarize yourself.

Fills the Appetite

If you’ve dieted before, then you’ve probably experienced one of the most common complaints that people have.

It’s likely that you’ve eaten the food that the diet allowed you to eat, but still felt hungry afterwards.

If you’ve experienced this before, then you’ll be glad to know that many people find the Paleo diet to be quite satisfying.

The diet suggests that each meal should include 2/3 vegetables, 1/3 protein, a fruit, and a dollop of healthy fats such as avocado. 

The lack of hunger pangs is why so many people have been able to stick to this diet on a long-term basis.

8 Steps To A Better Morning

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It is often said that the way you start your day is the way that you will end it.

And If you’re one of those people that hits the snooze a couple of times, runs late constantly, or just can’t seem to get things going the way that you should in the morning, then you are not alone. 

But it doesn’t end there, the rest of your day may seem cumbersome, you don’t have enough time to get things done… well, you know where we’re going with this one.

In fact, if you’re having a “fly by the seat of your pants kind of morning”, you can almost predict how the rest of the day will progress.

Growing accustomed to bad morning habits can be comfortable and seem as if they are just a part of who you are.  But the good thing is… these bad habits can be changed to good habits just by making a few adjustments.

10 Reasons to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

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The Mediterranean diet has been shown to provide numerous health benefits for the entire body, from your bones to your skin, brain, and everything in between. This is primarily because it focuses on eating plenty of healthy whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables.

 The following are some of the major benefits offered by the Mediterranean diet.

1. Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet has been compared with several other healthy diets, including low-glycemic index, high-protein, high-fiber, low-carbohydrate, vegan and vegetarian diets.

It was shown in these studies that the Mediterranean diet offered more benefits than the other diets for people who suffered with high blood sugar and diabetics.

According to researchers, the Mediterranean diet is healthy and beneficial diet because it includes foods that are high in fiber like vegetables and fruits and rich in monounsaturated fats.

These foods have been proven to lower cholesterol and blood sugar in diabetics.

It has also been shown to have a positive effect on a person’s insulin sensitivity when saturated fats are replaced with unsaturated fats.

It has also been shown to have a positive effect on a person’s insulin sensitivity when saturated fats are replaced with unsaturated fats.

2. Maintains Heart Health

Compared to the United States, heart disease in Mediterranean countries is much lower.

This is partly due to the diet that is followed by people living in those areas.

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risks of cardiovascular mortality, and this is mainly due to the positive impacts it has on “bad” cholesterol.

Do This to Eliminate Belly Fat Now

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Getting rid of belly fat can be very challenging. In fact, it seems unfair that extra weight around the midsection is so easy to accumulate.

And getting rid of belly fat can seem nearly impossible if you don’t know what necessary steps to take to eliminate it.

The good thing is… there are natural and healthy ways to lose excess fat surrounding the belly.

But it will take effort and discipline if you want to see results.

The purpose of this article is to offer some advice on where you may want to start.

For those who are interested in following a more natural route, the following options could prove to be very useful.

Starting with just one or two of these suggestions can be a great benefit to achieving a smaller waistline.

Curb Your Sugar

One of the first things you want to look at, if you are struggling with belly fat, is your sugar intake.

Seeing as the body can only convert a certain amount of sugar at a time, eating excess sugar can turn into fat around the mid-section.

Indulging in sugary treats, on a regular basis, may be the reason you are unable to control your belly fat.

You will also want to make a conscious decision to read the labels on foods that you consume because of hidden sugar.

Ideally, sticking to a diet that is full of whole natural foods is a great way to avoid unwanted sugar in the body.

The Importance of Exercise and How to Make It A Daily Routine

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The latest studies show that exercise is extremely important. The more active we are, the more chances to be healthy and fit.

 Apparently, the simple habit of raking a 30-minute brisk walk a day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and of other severe medical conditions.

Unfortunately, most of us find it hard to get up and exercise every single day. We keep postponing this until it becomes too late.

Let’s see a few reasons why we should make exercise our daily routine and how we can do it.

A main benefit of exercising is that it strengthens your muscles. The direct benefit is that your bones and joins will have an easier time at supporting the weight of your body.

If you suffer from back pain, you should find out what are the best workout routines to strengthen your core muscles.

Include these workouts in your daily exercise routine and your pains will alleviate within a few weeks, as your core muscles will become stronger.

The other direct benefit of exercising is the improvement of your fitness level.

Your heart will become stronger, your pulmonary capacity will increase, and your overall shape will improve.

10 Amazing Reasons to Drink Green Smoothies

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I’m often asked if my green smoothies taste bad or if they are easy to stomach.

When the truth is… they’re quite tasty.

For non-smoothie drinkers, the thought of drinking spinach or kale may not sound very appetizing.

But honestly, after you add your fruits and plant-based proteins, you really don’t taste the greens.

You just taste the goods and they truly are good for you.

Smoothies are a wonderful way to get the vitamins and nutrients that fruits and vegetables supply to the body, naturally.

But if you really want to drink a healthy green smoothie that will give you all the benefits of eating the raw vegetables and fruits then you should stay clear of unhealthy ingredients.

1. Great Source of Fiber

Fiber is essential when it comes to a healthy digestive system.  So, when you drink your fruits and vegetables, you get an opportunity to get a substantial amount of fiber as well.

Fruits like bananas, apples and berries are packed with fiber so keeping them in your recipes will give you optimum results in reaching your recommended daily amount.

Also, unlike juicing, blending your fruits and vegetables this way allows you to get the full benefits because the actual fruit is never separated from the juice. 

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally: 9 Techniques

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You may have heard that high blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer”. 

Silent since it may not present any symptoms whatsoever in the beginning.

However, if high blood pressure goes undetected and untreated, it can lead to serious problems such as heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.

Are you aware that there a several natural techniques that can lower your symptoms?

Now, this doesn’t mean to stop taking medication that has been prescribed to you by your doctor. But rather make some adjustments that can be beneficial to your blood pressure levels as well as your health.

These tips can help to lower your risk for this deadly disease and help to boost your overall well being.

1. Take Natural Supplements

(Make sure to consult a medical professional before adding supplements to your daily routine)

Dr. Adam J. Story, DC, a Californian chiropractor, suggests the following supplements for lowering blood pressure.

  • Magnesium: Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase magnesium in your diet
  • Calcium: 1500 mg is the suggested amount if you are not getting much calcium daily
  • Potassium: Bananas are a great way to increase potassium  
  • Folic Acid: A B complex vitamin is suggested
  • Co-Enzyme Q-10: Helps the heart as well as blood pressure levels
  • Garlic: Great to add to in foods or in supplement form
  • Fish oil: Wild fish such as Salmon is good or a fish oil supplement
  • Vitamin D: Natural Vitamin D comes from the sun, however this can be found in supplements

2. Lower Stress Levels

Being stressed or feeling stressed out can attribute to high blood pressure and should be avoided when possible.

Because stress levels can creep up on you, recognizing the changes your body goes through is key to recognizing these changes so that you can help to cut down on increased stress.