Breakfast Of Champions

healthy breakfast

For a good, long time, one meal has been touted as the most important one of the day, making lunch and dinner feel like step children in the scheme of nutritional provisions.

What makes breakfast so gosh darn special? Is it the prizes in the cereal boxes? T.V. dinners never had prizes in ‘em, did they?

Very rarely is a lunch given any accolade, except that you shouldn’t skip it. Isn’t any meal as important as the next?

Considering what a healthy breakfast can do for you, maybe it deserves the kudos…

Kick start

The very name, —“break” and “fast”—, tells you what the meal is all about. In the eightish or so hours before you have it, you have had nothing because you’ve been sleeping. So, your stomach should be pretty much empty. As with any machine, your body won’t run very well without fuel. It gets the metabolism going, literally!

Can you really expect to get that far without it? Usually, those who skip breakfast will just be hungry until lunch, and that feeling will preoccupy their every thought. Now, there are two problems from one: no fuel to function right, and the persistent distraction as a nice, unpleasant side effect.

Tactical savvy

So, let’s say you’re trying to lose weight. Everyone needs a certain amount of calories to get through their day. Now, where’s the best place to take in those calories, so that they can be best utilized? You could eat a lot of them later in the day, when you have less time to actively burn them, or you could stack a big, bunch at the start of the day.

If you have a good, healthy, hearty breakfast, you are more likely to feel energized throughout the day. It’s a nice trickle down that makes you less hungry as the day goes by, so you won’t mind smaller meals after it.

Timing is Everything

Studies have shown that breakfast eaters tend to live longer, have less chronic health issues, and, surprise, weigh less than those who skip it. According to WedMD, in a study by the National Weight Control Registry, 80% of successful weight losers eat breakfast on a regular basis, and those people have maintained their weight after a 30lb. drop.

So, next time you think you don’t have time for it, think again. Breakfast is only as important as your health.

Building Smart Habits | Guest Post

Occasionally we come across some seriously good, informative content that we would like to share with you.

In this spirit, we would like to offer you a great article from our friends at metaboliceffect.com, original post here (http://blog.metaboliceffect.com/2012/03/13/building-smart-habits/)

This post is all about building better habits, and it is filled with tips that can be applied not only to health and weight loss, but to the rest of your life as well.

Please enjoy…

Building Smarter Habits

Building Smarter Habits – Image credit Normanack

Jade Teta

The word habit has a negative connotation to many. This is because breaking habits can be hard and creating new habits takes a lot of practice. Understanding the art and science of habits can help.

Here are some key concepts to understand.

  1. You can’t replace something with nothing
    If you want to stop doing something don’t replace that something with nothing. The brain has pathways deeply associated with your behaviors. If you are used to doing something in a particular situation and you simply stop, you are not providing the brain with new pathways. This too easily allows the brain to drift back to its old pathways causing you to have to mentally inhibit the desire. This takes too much energy and when a busy day hits and/or your energy is drained that behavior is more likely to return.Instead replace something with something else. If you tend to snack between commercials then replace this with playing a musical instrument you have been wanting to learn, perfecting the perfect pushups or knitting. These new behaviors create new pathways and new associations allowing you to more quickly and effectively distance yourself from the old behavior.
  2. Activation energy is not your friend
    activation energy is the amount of energy it takes to start a task. If you want to go for a walk at the end of the day rather than watch TV, you need to make the activation energy for watching TV greater and the activation energy for going for a walk less. Remove the batteries from the remote and then put the remote and batteries in separate places. This makes it far less likely you will watch TV because it takes much more activation energy.Now make sure your walking shoes are always by the door, or better yet, change the route you drive home so that you go by the park. You could also get a dog or have your friend meet you, both of which help you overcome activation energy. Now the walking habit is much easier while the TV habit is more difficult.
  3. Too much all at once is exhausting
    Change one thing at a time. Self-control is exhaustible and the brain does not do well at multitasking. The part of the brain that is responsible for inhibiting behavior is the frontal lobe. Research shows the brain can not hold more than three ideas in focus at once, but is far more efficient when it focuses on just one thing. Trying to change multiple things at once overwhelms the brain and drastically decreases your success rate.Try to change one thing and you will be successful roughly 80% of the time. Change two things and this number drops to 35%. Add three things at once and now you will only be successful 10% of the time. The only way to effectively take on change is to do one thing at a time. Never try to change more than one thing at a time.
  4. Practice is essential
    Brain cells that fire together wire together. If you want to make change permanent, you have to constantly expose yourself to the change. Practice makes perfect and habits are only formed through repetition. You need to set aside weeks to months to practice the new thing you want to do. Changing habits is really like learning a new instrument or mastering a new language. You can’t expect to be any good if you don’t practice.
  5. You need crystal clear direction
    The conscious, rational mind is great at setting goals, but it is also great at side tracking you with too much detail. If you want change you need to give yourself very clear direction and map out all the steps required. Avoid paralysis by analysis by keeping things simple and focus on the essential.Don’t just rush into change. Take the time to map out the big picture. Then map out the essential steps to get there and follow them sequentially. You need to know where you are going and how to get there. What you might think is procrastination, often comes from your own lack of planning and clarity.
  6. Motivation does not last
    Willpower is exhaustible. You can’t win a battle of wills against your physiology. This is why managing your energy is important. You may think you are being lazy, but the more likely answer is you are exhausted. Don’t take on too much. Don’t add new things into your life without first making room for them. Another way to avoid this mental exhaustion is to keep your blood sugar stable and create a good exercise regime.Both of these tactics keep the brain energized and reduce mental fatigue.
  7. Design the environment
    Every change you make should be as easy or easier than the one it replaces. Make it easy on yourself and the brain. Remember the issue with activation energy above as well as the issue with the lack of multitasking power of the brain? The brain gets overwhelmed easily and it gets fatigued frequently. Both are the enemy of change.Construct your environment to assist with change.Make a list of restaurants that have healthy great tasting fat loss options. Always keep a change of gym clothes in your car. Stock your desk, home and car with quick fat loss snacks. What you might think is a lack of willpower on your part may actually be poor environmental design.
  8. Don’t be a copy cat
    What works for your friend or family member may or may not work for you. Resist the temptation to copy others. Use their experience to refine and test methods that might be useful but don’t let their methods define your own. You need to honor your own process. You have a unique metabolic expression, psychological sensitivity and personal preferences. Make your changes fit your life instead of trying to fit your life to the change. Think smarter not harder.
  9. Practice in your head
    remember the fact that the brain cells that fire together wire together and the faster they wire together the more likely you are to solidify change. You must practice, but practice takes time. One great way to practice behaviors is to practice them in your head. Imagine yourself doing the behavior you want to make a habit.Play it in your head over and over again. Troubleshoot in your mind how you may manage obstacles that may come up in day to day life that may interrupt that change. Do this every night before you go to bed, every morning when you wake before getting out of bed and every place you can throughout the day. This mental “dress rehearsal” is key for solidifying and speeding change.
  10. Build your support team
    Social support is HUGE when it comes to change. Just like in professional sports you want to draft the best team to help you. Too often we try to make one person our sole support when they may not have the skills to help in that area.Write down on a piece of paper who your go to “players” are when you encounter stress. Your mother may be great at reducing emotional stress but awful at helping you figure your way through financial stuff. So, use her for the emotional stuff, but draft someone else for the financial stuff.Who is your go to person when you need humor?When you need career advice?Who is going to hold you accountable?Who is going to give you a pep talk and keep you motivated?Remember to draft a team that supports you and put those who are obstacles to change on the sidelines.

5 Healthy Holiday Tips…

Healthy Holiday tips

Image thanks to George Deputee

Believe it or not that time of year is upon us again.

Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving will be here next week, and soon all of the December holidays will have arrived.

This means dinners, parties, and other festivities with family and friends. But even more than that it means food. Lots and lots of delicious food.

It tends to be a season of excess. A time when we give up on our best habits and become grateful for those flannel pajamas with expandable waistlines.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With just a little thought, and a few of my most popular tips, I promise that you can make it though the holiday’s with a little more joy, and a lot less regret…

Stand by your plan:

You may be considering just giving up on your healthy habits completely during the holiday’s and then picking them up again later. Don’t. The best thing that you can do it keep up your good work. Sure, Thanksgiving dinner may be a bit more indulgent than a typical meal, but you can enjoy it and go back to your normal routine the next day. Being consistent is a lot easier than quitting everything now and hoping for the best later.

Don’t starve yourself beforehand:

You may think that starving yourself all day before a holiday gathering can “buy” you extra calories for later, but this just isn’t true. The best thing that you can do is eat a healthy breakfast and lunch just as you normally would. If you skip eating before a party, you are much more likely to overindulge and to make poor choices.

Moderation not deprivation:

This is one of my favorite phrases. A diet won’t ever succeed if you feel like you are depriving yourself, and how fun is a holiday party if you only allow yourself to eat celery sticks? Find a recipe for a healthy dip or side dish that you can contribute, and then allow yourself one pass at the buffet to try a little bit of the other offerings. When you are done, toss your plate to keep you from being tempted to go for seconds (or thirds).

Beware of your beverages:

Hot chocolate, hot toddy’s, and eggnog, oh my! Holiday drinks can be just as dangerous to your diet as the food. Avoid these extra rich, calorie-laden drinks and look for healthier options. Try making spritzers with soda water and a splash of juice. Or, trying making some homemade apple cider with no-sugar added apple juice mulled with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange slices.

Breathe and enjoy:

More than anything else, try to let the holidays be a time of joy. It can be too easy to get caught up in shopping, planning, and scheduling. Be sure to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, find time for exercise, and don’t let stress derail you from you goals!

Crave: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

simple chicken dinner

Some nights it’s all about the simple things.

After a long day, the last thing any of us wants to face is a super-complicated 15-ingredient recipe.

Some nights all I really want is…chicken.

A delicious, satisfying, warm, simple chicken dinner. Made with just a few ingredients and left to cook to perfection in the oven. No muss, no fuss.

In this spirit of simplicity, I offer you a wonderfully simple chicken recipe, and maple roasted sweet potatoes to go on the side.

Happy dinner to you!

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts:

4 bone-in chicken breast halves
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground cracked pepper
Note: Feel free to use any seasoning of your choice. Fresh herbs, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, etc.

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place into a baking dish. Brush each breast with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Flip the chicken breasts over and roast skin side down for 15 minutes, then turn skin side up and roast for an additional 15-30 minutes (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees).
Remove chicken from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit 5 minutes to rest.

Serve and enjoy!

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp sea salt
Note: 1 tsp of ground cinnamon can be added for additional flavor.

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the sweet potatoes evenly onto a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle potatoes with the vegetable oil, maple syrup, and salt. Toss until evenly coated.

Roast sweet potatoes for 30-45 minutes until tender and golden.

Remove from oven and serve.

6 Tips For Mindful Eating

tips for mindful eating

I am writing this article on Monday afternoon.

Today I needed to go drop off my ballot (go vote!), get to the post office, pay bills, return phone calls, and do the usual Monday catch-up routine at work.

I had brought snacks for the next couple of days and a big lunch to work with me, and the next thing I knew, I had eaten it all while sitting in front of my computer trying to get stuff done.

And the worst thing? I hadn’t even noticed how much I was eating, and I certainly didn’t stop to enjoy it.

It is this kind of distracted eating that gets a lot of us into trouble.

So what can we do about it? Here are some tips for mindful eating:

Avoid the distractions:

Okay, I know that there will be times when it may be impossible to sit down for three focused meals each day, but as much as you can, try to avoid eating while distracted. Those who eat in front of the television have been shown to consume more food than those who eat at the dinner table. So, turn of the TV or the computer (even if only for a little while) and focus on what you are eating.

Listen to your body:

A lot of us turn to food when we are feeling stressed or bored even if we aren’t actually hungry. The next time you are thinking about grabbing a snack, take a breath and stop for a moment to consider whether or not you are really hungry or just looking for comfort.

Nourish yourself (but enjoy it):

Let’s be honest, you will eat what’s around. So why not surround yourself with healthful, nourishing foods that will actually make you feel better? However, if you hate salad, don’t force yourself to eat salad. Find fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks that you can truly enjoy.

Engage your senses:

Instead of just mindlessly eating, take a moment to notice the sight, scent, and taste of your food. Eat slowly and savor the texture.

Put down your fork between bites:

This little trick can work wonders for slowing you down and helping you to appreciate each bite. This is much better than hanging on to your fork and anticipating the next bite of food before you have even finished your current one.

Stop before you are full:

One of the big pitfalls of eating mindlessly or rushing through our meals is that we often eat to the point of being uncomfortably full. Slow down and it will be easier to notice the time when your body is satisfied.

 

The Best Diet Tea?

Wu-Long Diet Tea

Burn More Calories With Okuma’s Wu-Long Slimming Diet Tea

If you’ve ever wanted a convenient way to boost your metabolism, burn more calories, and start shedding fat, then look no further than Okuma’s authentic Wu-Long Tea, the World’s #1 Diet Tea.

Wu-Long Tea Burned 2½ Times As Many Calories As Green Tea!

This was concluded in a study conducted by scientists from Japan’s University of Tokushima School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Medical Investigation.

What they found was amazing: People who regularly consumed Wu-Long Tea experienced more than double the calorie-burning results of those who drank the same amount of authentic Japanese green tea. In fact, the study showed the increase energy expendatures after drinking green tea was only 4%, where Wu-Long Slimming Tea had an increase of over 10%!

What’s more, the CBS Evening News reported, “Polyphenols in Wu Long Tea are believed to increase energy expenditure (EE) translating to a 35-43% increase in fat burning.”

So, what sets Okuma’s Wu-Long Tea apart from the imitators?

We source our tea directly from tea masters from the  Fujian province of China. This region is widely regarded as one of the purest places on earth.

In fact, the region is so pristine that much of Mount Wuyi is located in an officially designated Bio-Reserve, and is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Working with the local tea masters for sourcing and quality control, Okuma has discovered where the best tea is grown and which crop cycle will provide maximum benefits.

As a result, we provide our customers with the best PREMIUM brand of oolong tea: Okuma’s Wu-Long Diet Tea.

Not only that…

We also have each and every batch independently tested to assure the maximum amount of antioxidants!

Even More Benefits…

In addition to weight-loss, multiple scientific studies confirm that Wu-Long Slimming Tea:

  • May clear up skin conditions & give your face a healthy glow
  • Can reverse the signs of aging
  • Promotes strong healthy teeth & prevents cavities
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Enhances Mind/Body Wellness

Just two cups each day of this amazing tea could benefit your health and your waistline.

Order Oolong Tea Today!

The Buzz About Honey…

Image thanks to BotheredByBees

If you hadn’t noticed, we sell tea.

It’s 100% natural, so when our customers ask if they can add anything to it for flavor, we typically recommend using something just as natural: honey.

Tea and honey go hand in hand. Both have been consumed for centuries, not just for taste but for health as well.

We could go on and on about how good and good for you tea can be, but today I’d like to let you know what a sweet deal honey is, in more ways than one.

Energy

Sugar gets a bad rep, but, keep in mind, that’s the processed stuff. A natural sugar, like the glucose in honey is a quick pick me up that doesn’t throw your blood sugar levels out of whack the way that other stuff will. It’s a good natural carb that’s been helping athletes fight muscle fatigue and low endurance since way back when.

Antioxidant and Antibacterial

Sure, it’s a good ingredient for a beauty regime but honey has been used for more than just reducing red skin or conditioning hair. It won’t just make you look better; it can make you feel better.

Plenty of people go for a nice cup of tea with honey when they get a sore throat. You may think it’s just the warm water doing all the work, but honey has antimicrobial properties that can stave off some of the bacteria that lead to infection.

As a topical home remedy, honey has been used on burns, athlete’s foot, and arthritis. In some cases, it acts similarly to hydrogen peroxide, with its antibacterial properties and high acidity.

Calories?

Okay, this part is tricky. One tablespoon of sugar has about 46 calories. One tablespoon of honey has 64. Yes honey has more, you did not read that wrong.

But the sweetness of honey is more than sugar, so people tend to use less of it. It also provides more benefits, more vitamins and minerals, than sugar. It is also full of antioxidants, which aid in repairing cellular damage. Table sugar can’t do that.

Want to know more? Go to:
http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/

Eating Healthy On A Budget

eating healthy on a budget

Image thanks to The Consumerist

It’s one of the most common excuses that people have for not eating healthier – they think that it will cost too much.

Honestly, I thought the exact same thing the first time I wandered the aisles at my local Whole Foods.

Going there felt a lot like to an art gallery…everything looked absolutely amazing, but didn’t seem like something I could afford to take home with me.

The thing is, times have changed. Not only are there natural grocers of a smaller scale who tend to be a lot more wallet friendly, but also most of the regular grocery stores are stocking more and more healthy items so that they can keep up with the demand of healthy eaters.

This (plus a few tips) makes it entirely possible to eat healthy even when you’re on a tight budget.

Don’t believe me? Here’s how…

Make a List:

Okay, so this one doesn’t just apply to healthy food, but it is always the best way to shop. Before you hit the store, figure out what you are going to eat for the week, research recipes, make a list of ingredients and write it down. Then all you have to do is check things off as you shop. This helps to streamline your trip, keep you focused, and will help to keep you away from browsing and the possible temptation that the junk food aisles have to offer.

Get Your Produce:

The easiest way to eat healthy is to add in more fruits and vegetables to your diet and take out processed foods. The great thing about this? Produce is usually affordable, and stores will always be running specials. Another option is buying a bag or two of frozen veggies to have on hand. These are almost as good as fresh, and won’t go to waste if you don’t use them up right away.

Consider Bulk:

Oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, dried fruit, and so much more can now be bought from bulk bins in a number of stores. This allows you to buy only the amount that you need, and at a hefty savings from the pre-packaged stuff.

Skip the Meat:

I don’t mean that you need to go completely vegetarian, but try making meatless meals a few times each week. Things like beans and lentils are chock full of protein and a lot less expensive than meat. Love Mexican food? Try making black bean burritos. Want a hearty soup? Lentils can be used to beef it up (so to speak). And it doesn’t just have to be that – what about a tomato and basil panini, or a vegetable pizza – the list goes on and on.

For more tips on how to stretch a dollar at the grocery store, check out this site:
http://www.ewg.org/goodfood/

What's Your Beef With Vegetarianism?

Image thanks to picto:graphic

I knew this girl who went vegetarian because of a wacky restaurant.

The place had all those novelty knick knacks and nostalgic memorabilia on the walls, and you could see in the kitchen. A taxidermied cow was hanging right above the grill.

Now, the girl had been considering taking the leap into a meat free diet, but couldn’t quite commit. She looked into that cow’s lifeless face, and then the sizzling meat cooking below it. The sad, still glass eyes, and the raw red flesh blackened by flames.

That’s when she got it, when it was literally laid out before her.

Now, I still eat meat, even after she told me this story. And I don’t expect anyone to hop any fences to an all plant lifestyle. Honestly, I have no political agenda. Do what you want. I can’t stop you…

But there are benefits of vegetarianism. Health benefits. Weight loss benefits.

Yeah, I know… I love bacon, too. Let’s talk about this. I just want you to have the facts…

Meatless Is Healthier

Mind you, yes, it does happen from time to time where there’s a big batch of bad spinach. But those cases are rare, and even then, it’s not the spinach itself that’s the problem. With meat, that’s a different story.

Ever notice when they come up with the reports on foods that are bad for you, very rarely are lima beans listed? Red meat, however has been red flagged for so many things, from cholesterol to heart disease to cancer. Reports vary, but it’s funny how often it shows up as a big no-no.

Man Cannot Live On Meat Alone

We have gotten to the point where we think meat makes the meal. It’s the star of the show, while everything else on the plate is just hanging out in the chorus. Meat is Diana Ross, while veggies and starches are those other Supreme chicks.

Meat is meat. Sure, you can cook it up different ways, but it’s still the same stuff, all in all.

Meanwhile, there is a whole alphabet of vitamins and minerals. They don’t all hang out in meat. They hang out in Brussels sprouts and corn and green beans.  Sure, red meat has protein, but it also has fat. And you want to reduce your fat intake for a healthier diet.

There are also so many flavors and textures you’re missing out on. People think they’re losing something by cutting out this one thing, when really it opens whole new doors. Go ahead and look up some recipes that are veggie only. You’ll be amazed how many there are.

It’s All Relative

If you can’t drop it, try just giving meat a break. Reduce the intake so it’s special again. I’ve said this before, but try to think of meat as a condiment. If you don’t want to eliminate it, just reduce your meat intake. A balanced diet means, I don’t know, balancing? Equal portions? For sure, it isn’t one food group dominating the meal like Sauron, the all-seeing dark lord of Mordor. So many flavors are just losing out to the attention stealing steak.

Ready to give it a try? Here are some recipes from the lovely Martha Stewart:
http://www.marthastewart.com/274485/quick-meatless-recipes/@center/276948/dinner-tonight

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.