Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Coffee Without Sugar

I so often hear that the hardest part about kicking a sugar habit is the morning cup of joe. Most coffee drinkers enjoy sweetening their coffee with a flavored creamer, sugar, or another artificial sweetener that proves difficult to ditch. There are actually many ways you can sweeten your cup naturally and without guilt — and today, I’m going to share a few options with you.

Cinnamon. A spice we all probably have in our cupboards, cinnamon is an excellent way to flavor your coffee without sugar. Cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also beneficial for helping sustain healthy blood sugar, so give it a shot!

Vanilla extract. Probably the most popular flavor choice for dairy creamer is french vanilla. Skip the sugary, dairy version and add a
few drops of pure vanilla extract to your coffee instead.

Cardamom. So, this spice won’t necessarily make your coffee taste a lot sweeter, it gives a more aromatic flavor to the coffee, and it also adds some health benefits. Add some cinnamon and cardamom to my coffee for a sweet and aromatic combination of flavors.

Cacao. Sprinkle some cacao powder to add a bit of a sweet, rich, chocolaty taste. Cacao is also loaded with antioxidants and is the perfect superfood to toss into your coffee. Yum!

Coconut cream. If you usually add creamer to your coffee, try using coconut cream. It’s not incredibly sweet, but it sweetens your coffee up a bit, also adding a light coconut flavor. You can even add a little cinnamon to this mix when you want to make it a little sweeter.

So, here you have quite a few options to make your coffee a little sweeter without turning to processed sugar on a daily basis. All options have a different flavor, so there must be at least one option here that appeals to you. Just try a few different combinations and you are sure to find a flavor that you like and that can replace the artificial sugar for you. What are you excited about trying?

Healthy Fats and Why They’re Good For You

You’ve probably heard countless times that fat is bad for you. After the fat-free craze that instilled a fear of fat in the population, it’s still been difficult to re-wire our brains on this topic. This topic has re-emerged in recent years, and we’re finally widely understanding that not all fat is bad for you — and in fact, there are many good fats that we desperately need.

So what are these good fats and why are they good? Fat is an essential building block our body uses, and it’s also used as fuel for our cells. Unsaturated fats have been shown to lower bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol and higher the good cholesterol HDL. Some types of unsaturated fats contain omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your brain function, strengthens your immune system and can even improve your mood. So what are some of these foods that are packed with the good fats we need? Here are a few common ones…

Avocados are a great source. One avocado contains about 21g of fat. That may sound like a lot of fat, but luckily for us, it is mostly made of the good fat we are seeking. Other than the cholesterol lowering benefits, avocados are also an excellent source of potassium.

Walnuts are known as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a handful a day can help tremendously, and they act as the perfect snack — portable, healthy and delicious. Go for an organic cashew or almond butter to reap the health benefits of eating healthy fats. Nut butters are perfect for dipping different fruits or veggies into to create a simple and healthy snack.

Dark Chocolate. You may have heard about all the health benefits dark chocolate has, and it being high in healthy fats is one of these advantages. I don’t have to tell you twice to eat chocolate, do I?!

What are your favorite healthy fats to consume?  I love eating nuts for a snack.  My favorites are almonds and walnuts.  I also add coconut oil to my morning smoothies 🙂

Start Your Day Right This Fall

There’s just something magical about the autumn breeze that ignites a desire to enjoy life a little deeper — do you agree? It’s a perfect time to make some changes you’ve meant to make, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite morning habits to implement as fall begins — ones that I may have been a bit lackluster with during the summer months.

Starting off the day with movement. A morning jog or walk in the cool air is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and fill up your energy reserves for the day. There’s a short window of time to enjoy this before the weather gets too cold, so don’t miss out! You can work-out indoors if it’s too cold already, but doing so outdoors has quite a magical tone this time of year.

A warm breakfast. When you come back in from your morning run or walk, nothing is more soothing that preparing yourself a hot, healthy breakfast to enjoy. This can warm you back up from being outside and allows yourself a healthy breakfast to keep you satisfied until lunch.

Sleep in just a little longer. Hopefully, you’re getting enough sleep at night already, which is incredibly important for your well-being. But as the temperature drops and the sun rises a little later in the mornings, get a few extra minutes of sleep as well, if possible.

Drink your water. Begin your day with a big glass of warm water and some lemon to give your metabolism a boost and feel energized instantly. Doing so also starts the habit of drinking water, so you’ll continue to drink throughout the day.

What are your current morning habits, if any? I start my day feeding and walking my Boxers, then I read a few devotionals.  I really love the First 5 app.  A few days a week I go for a run with a friend.  I also like doing Yoga at home in the morning – Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials is my favorite.  I cannot wait for the temperatures to get a bit cooler and enjoy more time time outside in the morning. Florida summers are brutal.

Give your morning routine a refresh this fall, and kick-start your new healthy habits to gear you up for an incredible rest of your year. Being intentional with your time is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Kale, Glorious Kale!

I think we can all agree that kale is a step ahead most vegetables in terms of nutritional content.  From the immune support to visual benefits, kale has been keeping people healthy for centuries.  In this list, I will give you my top five reasons you should incorporate kale into your diet and a few different ways to prepare it!

Reasons to Eat Kale:

  • Kale Fights Cancer: It is so rich in antioxidants that it has the ability to fight against the growth of cancer and Alzheimer’s.  It is also packed with vitamin K, another contributing factor to stopping the development of deadly diseases.
  • Kale Lowers Cholesterol: It has been proven to lower high cholesterol levels and support healthy cholesterol levels, an intricate component to cardiovascular health.
  • Kale is a Detoxifier: It is laden with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system and detoxifies your body of different toxic, harmful chemicals.
  • Kale and Calories: Eat as much as you want!  In one cup there are only 33 calories, .6 grams of fat, 329 grams of fat, and over 130% of your daily value of vitamins A and C.
  • Kale Helps Visually: Because it contains coratenoids, it can help protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.

How to Prepare Kale:

  1. Smoothie: Put one bunch of kale in any smoothie to give yourself that extra boost. But be aware if you suffer from thyroid dysfunction, as kale contains goitrogens that inhibit thyroid function.  Before adding to your smoothie, make sure you blanch your greens to deactivate the goitrogens and still get all the nutritional punch.
  2. Soup: Use kale in  soup to increase the nutritional value of the broth and add a different texture and taste.
  3. Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza?  Put kale on any your pizza to give your pizza some color.

 

References

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/food-cocktails/a5558/best-kale-recipes/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefit-of-kale-diet-cautions.html

 

The Health Benefits of Berries

Berries are known as one of the best natural sources of antioxidants that help with everything from memory loss to heart health.

Eating berries just a few times a week can help you mentally as you age.  According to research in Annals of Neurology, it has been proven that women over 70 who eat two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experience less mental decline than those who don’t.  Compounds in berries have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the part of the brain with learning and memory centers.

Blueberries go a step further in age prevention and help delay all eye related aging.   From disease prevention to helping with loss of vision, blueberries are the most effective berries for anti-aging.

Berries are also helpful in combating high blood pressure and heart disease.  Working berries into your diet will help promote healthy blood flow.  Compounds found in berries get rid of bad cholesterol in your system, as well as strengthen cardiac muscles.  All of these benefits stem from the overwhelming amount of anti oxidants found in berries.

Consuming berries can help contribute to weight loss.  With fewer than 100 calories in a full cup, blueberries are especially helpful.  They are so low in calories because they are mainly made of up liquid.  Eating berries as a snack or with a meal leads to feeling more satisfied and satiated after eating, which is enormously helpful when trying to lose weight according to dietitian Nancy Coperman.  Rich with fiber and vitamin C, berries can make up dietary deficiencies that would otherwise be missed.

Certain berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, have been linked to cancer prevention.  The berries’ compounds are attributed to the death of cancer cells in the colon cancer and ovarian cancer.

What’s your favorite berry?

References

http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/amazing-health-benefits-of-berries.aspx#01

http://www.womenfitness.net/top10/blueberries/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/blueberries-nutritious-things-come-in-small-packages_

 

Healthy Habits Challenge 1

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Drink Your Greens!

Green smoothies are all the rage.  From celebrities to athletes, people love green smoothies and the effects it has on the mind and body.  In this article, I am going to show you why you should start drinking your greens every day!

Green smoothies are smoothies made from primarily greens such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard, mixed with other assorted fruits to even out taste.  Many people like to add strawberries, mango, kiwi or blueberries because of their sweetness.  You can also add protein powder and other powdered supplements to kill two birds with one stone.

Why are people raving about green smoothies?  Well for one, green smoothies are extremely versatile.  You can drink them to both gain and lose weight.  Adding certain components to green smoothies can make them meal replacements, something more common when incorporating green smoothies into a cleanse.  Green smoothies can also be used to gain weight, as they are an easy way to take in extra calories that provide an abundance of nutritional value.

Green smoothies can also play a role in clearing your head.  The more fried, processed junk food you eat, the foggier your head can become, impairing your ability to concentrate, stay alert and work diligently.  By replacing the junk food with a green smoothie, it will clear your head and get you ready for anything you need to do throughout the day.  Opting for the green smoothie can also dampen those cravings for junk food!

Introducing green smoothies to your diet can also help your physical appearance!  The smoothies will not only help you lose weight, they can rid your skin of acne and wrinkles.  Because the contents of the smoothie have detoxifying properties, blemishes will disappear.  The extra skin hydration will also keep your skin tight and free of wrinkles.

Do your research.  Go online and find green smoothies that work and sound tastiest to you!  There is something for everyone, and the health benefits are limitless.  By incorporating green smoothies into your diet, you could be feeling and looking better than ever.  I’ve included a recipe for you to try 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

http://www.greenthickies.com/health-benefits-of-green-smoothies/

 

6 ways to lose weight this summer

Are you looking to lose a few pounds this summer?  Here are 6 ways to get started.

Eat Healthy:

Most of the people that are losing weight stop eating properly or cut out their food intake which is a wrong approach. You don’t need to starve yourself. This will make you weak rather than help you lose weight. If you are looking to burn some calories this summer, you need to eat well. Eat Clean. Ditch processed foods. Eat the rainbow daily.

Choose your drink wisely:

You need to careful what are you having with your drinks. You need to remain hydrated during summer, but your drink can contain many calories that can push you away from your fitness goals. You have to ditch your sweet drinks such as soda, energy drinks and sweet coffee and tea. Cutting out these sweet drinks can result in few pounds of weight loss. But do remain hydrated throughout the day. Drink 8 glass of water, and you will eliminate the need of these sweet drinks.

Cut out Alcohol Intake:

Alcohol also contains sugar, and it sets of the insulin resistance which can result in weight gain. So, if you are looking to lose some weight, you need to have a break from alcohol. There is no nutritional benefit in drinking alcohol, and if it is taking you away from your healthy goal, then it is better to leave it.

Burn calories in fun way:

Summer can get you with its hot weather, so you need to do add such activities in your routine that you enjoy the most. For example, you can go for a swim or walk on the beach. This way you can turn your daily routine into a workout.

Exercise:

You don’t have to train insane in the gym but do start with some fat burning activities.  Walking, running, cycling, rowing, and swimming are all great things to try.  This will help you to achieve your desired toned body quickly.

Sleep well:

Don’t compromise on your sleep. As you are working out your body in the day time, you need to give it proper rest. In summer people often feel a bit lazy. Proper sleep will help you to feel balanced and refreshed all day. Plus, when we are tired we often reach for junk food.

It’s time to embrace change.  Most people resist changing their habits. If you continue with your current routine, you are probably not going to have any change in your weight.   Make some positive and healthy changes to your habits and have an awesome summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Hydrated!

Everyone knows that is it important to drink water and stay hydrated, but just how important is it, and what can the consequences of dehydration be?  In this article, you will learn why staying hydrated is imperative to your health and how to stay hydrated, even on the hottest of days.

Are you dehydrated right now?  Here are a few signs to tell if you are dehydrated: dry mouth, headache, dizziness or fatigue and little to no urine.  If you have experienced any of those symptoms, go grab yourself a glass of water!  For most people, drinking water when they are thirsty is enough to keep them hydrated, but most have learned that the average person should drink 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water a day.

There will always be the question if drinking sports drinks like Gatorade or energy drinks like Red Bull will keep you hydrated.  For the record, those are two totally different drinks that have different effects on your body.  Sports drinks can be very beneficial to those who exercise regularly because of their electrolyte and carbohydrate content, but if you are not exercising, sports drinks are just additional sugar and carbs that are unnecessary to your diet.  Personally, I prefer coconut water when I am exercising.  It’s low sugar, carb and calorie and naturally replenishes lost electrolytes.

Energy drinks, on the other hand, are not at all good for you.  Sure, they may give you a boost when you need it, but the negative effects they can have on your body far outweigh the benefit of a boost of energy.  Most energy drinks contain massive amounts of caffeine and added sugar that are just flat out not good for you.

Here are some of my tips to stay hydrated in a healthy way throughout the day:

  • Bring a reusable steel or aluminum water bottle with you during the day.  It will be a constant reminder to hydrate and helps to avoid the negative effects of plastic water bottles.
  • Drink a large cup of water before any meal.  It is not rare for our bodies to confuse thirst with hunger.  If you down a glass before a meal, you will eat a smaller, more appropriate portions.
  • Drink one or two glasses of water when you wake up and when you go to sleep.  This helps you start and end your day with hydration and creates a routine.

Reference

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/hydration-why-its-so-important.html

What is an Anti -Inflammatory Diet?

While inflammation is a natural sign that your body’s immune system is aware and ready to fight off infection, it has become clear over the years that inflammation can have devastating effects on the body when it is unnecessary.  It is important to do everything you can to avoid chronic inflammation and in this post, I will show you how you can do that with something as simple as your food choices.

Including a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods into your diet is an important first step.  It’s important to get every color of the rainbow on your plate each day in order to cover all your bases and get all of those essential vitamins and minerals.

Anti-inflammatory foods are  high in antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids.   Although many of these foods are fresh produce, there are others that may surprise you.  One of the best sources of Omega-3s you can eat is salmon.  The Omega-3s and other vitamins and minerals can help prevent heart disease, cancer and even arthritis.

Bone broth is another extremely helpful anti-inflammatory option.  It is rich in highly absorbable calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals.  Sipping a cup or two each day is a wonderful and delicious way to decrease inflammation.

Incorporate chia seeds and flaxseeds into your diet as well, for great anti-inflammatory benefits.  These seeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3s while also helping to reduce oxidative stress.

Dr. Axe’s top 15 anti-inflammatory include:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Salmon
  • Bone Broth
  • Walnuts
  • Coconut Oil
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger

It really isn’t difficult to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.  All you need to do is make sure to keep a fiber-rich, omega-3 laden diet that include a variety of fruits and  veggies.  Go experiment and see what you can come up with.  You will be surprised by just how delicious broadening your horizons can be!

 

References

https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/

http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/health-centers/aging-gracefully/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-diet/