Benefits of Lemon Water

Lemon water is refreshing and full of health benefits.  Start the morning off with a glass of water (at room temperature) with fresh lemon before eating and try having a glass before meals to help with digestion.  Lemon water is not only thirst quenching, but also eliminates toxins and restores our body of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that we need.

The following are various health benefits of lemon water:

1. Aids in weight loss and digestion.  Lemons contain fiber, which reduces cravings.

2. Helps with constipation.

3. Lemons contain potassium.  Potassium provides energy and helps the nervous system.

4. Cleanses the liver of toxins.

5. Reduces inflammation.

6. Hydrates and contains lots of electrolytes.

7. Freshens breath and fights tooth pain and gingivitis.  However, try not to drink lemon water right before brushing your teeth (drink plain water instead), since the citric acid can erode tooth enamel.  If you already have tooth enamel issues, consult with a dentist before consuming lots of acidity.

8. Reduces joint and muscle pain.

9. High levels of Vitamin-C help fight illness.  Also good for pregnant woman, since lemons aid in the growth of bone tissue in their developing babies inside the womb.

10. Repairs skin by clearing blemishes and fighting wrinkles.

11. Full of alkaline, which balances PH levels and reduced chances of cancer, since cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.

(Source: LAHealthyLiving)

Hot tea with lemon, honey, and ginger is another good, cleansing option.  In Ayurvedic practices, morning rituals should always start with tea with fresh ginger, lemon, and raw honey.  Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old form of natural healing native to India which focuses on achieving good health by balancing mind, body, and spirit.

10 Ideas to Try This Week.

1. Buy a plant for your house.

2. Create something, anything, even if it’s rearranging your room or drawing a doodle.

3. Call a friend to say hi.

4. Take longer, deeper breaths to help relax, calm down, think more clearly, increase energy, etc.

5. Stretch.  This would be a good time to take those deep breaths.

6. Spend at least 10 minutes a day with just yourself.

7. Cook for yourself.  Need recipe suggestions?  Ask me!

8. Get dressed.

9. Try a new fruit or vegetable.

10. Spend a little time outside every day.

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Not everyone realizes there’s a distinction between fats that are good for us and fats that are not.  In fact, some fats are essential to our diets and we can’t live without them.  The word “fat” has a negative connotation, especially when well marketed products influence us to buy “diet,” “non-fat,” “light”/”lite,” or “low fat” foods.  The truth is, these “diet” foods aren’t any better for us, and compensate with processed sugar to still taste okay.  Sugar and processed foods, not so much fat, is the real problem with our diets.

To break it down, there are four different types of fat.  Two of these types are “good fats” and the other “bad fats.”

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for us. They benefit the heart, cholesterol, and overall health.

Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for us.  They increase the likelihood of disease and high cholesterol.

Beneficial fats are found in the following foods:

healthy-fatsMonounsaturated Fats:

-avocados

-nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts)

-olives

-oils (olive oil, canola, sunflower, peanut, sesame oil)

-Peanut Butter

Polyunsaturated fats:

-walnuts

-soymilk

-tofu

-flaxeed

-oils (soybean, corn, safflower)

-sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

-fatty fishes (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout)

-flaxeed

Saturated Fat:

-chicken with the skin

-fatty cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)

-whole fat dairy products (cream, milk)

-butter

-lard

-cheese

-lard

*A note about saturated fat-  there has been controversy surrounding the argument that all saturated fat is bad for our health.  It’s true that substituting saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats is much healthier.  Use olive oil instead of butter, for example, but do not replace your saturated fats with processed food, like a muffin or bagel in the morning instead of bacon. Just don’t eat bacon all the time.

There are also newer studies that argue whole fat dairy products may actually keep us lean and decrease the chances of obesity.  One possibility is that whole fat dairy products keep us fuller longer, thus lessening the amount we consume.  That doesn’t mean go out and eat tons of whole fat dairy, especially for those of us who already have high cholesterol levels. (Source: NPR: The Full Fat Paradox)

fats 

Trans Fat:

-stick margarin

-packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, cookies)

-commercially baked pastries (doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pizza dough)

-vegetable shortening

-fried foods

-candy bars

(Source: HelpGuide.org)

Whole Grain Living

Americans have seemingly been conditioned to classify all carbohydrates as bad.  Certain diets, like the Atkins diet, have created a bad rep for carbs, but there needs to be some distinction.

gty_whole_grain__bread_wheat_thg_120207_wblog

Whole grains, a type of carbohydrate, are actually essential to our diet and have been central to the diets of several cultures around the world since ancient times.  It’s typical in Japanese culture, for example, to eat a carb-heavy diet consisting of lots of rice. Yet, most Japanese people are very thin, so explain that Atkins!

Everyone’s body is different, however, so a high-carb diet may not work for everyone.  There are pros and cons to every diet, so here is what to expect from a high-carb diet:

Pros:

  • Fiber
  • Nutrients
  • Constant energy drip
  • Protein in grains
  • Whole foods
  • Lowers cholesterol

Cons:

  • Diet doesn’t work for everyone
  • Some people gain weight
  • Some people lose weight
  • Affects blood sugar levels
  • Indigestion
  • Gluten
  • Phytic Acid

There are so many whole grains to choose from, some which may sound unfamiliar.  I recommend experimenting with different whole grains to see what you like.  Make whole grains a part of your daily diet and aim for at least three servings a day.  Whole grains have many health benefits, but are linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

FYI- sugary cereals like Lucky Charms, although advertised as “magically delicious” and made with whole grains, does not count!  Those cereals, and similar products, are processed and full corn syrup, corn starch and sugar (bad carbs!) and don’t have the same healthful effects as unrefined grains.  The same goes with oatmeal.  Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast dishes and can be very healthy, unless you’re eating the packaged instant oatmeal that’s filled with sugar.  Try steel-cut oats instead and top with fresh fruit.  Just remember,  the more processed something is, the less healthy it is.

*Note- When choosing whole grain foods, be weary of false advertising words like multigrain, 12-grain, stoneground, high fiber, enriched, wheat flour, whole wheat and whole grain (surprise!).  Look for 100% whole wheat instead.  “Bad” carbs generally consist of processed foods, like breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, fried foods, white bread (vs. 100% whole grain bread), etc.  “Good” carbs are those which are full of fiber, like vegetables, beans, fruits, and whole grains.

gfg_whole-grains-300x199

Whole grains should be consumed daily.  Some unrefined grains you may not have heard of, but are now becoming more common in regular supermarkets.  Although some of the names of the following grains may sound unfamiliar, give them a shot and possibly try out some of the recipes I’ve provided.

  • Quinoa– mild, nutty, slightly bitter.  A gluten-free option that’s extremely versatile and can be used in salads, pilafs, stuffings for meat or vegetables, soups, stews, porridge and desserts. An ancient grain of South America full of protein and dietary fiber, quinoa has been linked to reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.  Rinse before cooking to remove the bitter coating around the grain.

quinoa

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Cinnamon-Scented Breakfast Quinoa

  • Amaranth– herbaceous, grassy, sticky.  Gluten-free and is used in porridge, salads, soups and stews.  Originally grown by the ancient Aztecs, Incas and Mayans, and still cultivated in Mexico.

2008_09_26-amaranth1

Banana-Pecan Amaranth Porridge 

 Amaranth Fish Sticks

  • Buckwheat– Earthy, dark, slightly meaty.  Gluten-free and is used in risotto, salads, pilafs, soups and granola.  Use buckwheat flour for pancakes or other baked goods.  Found mainly in Russia and China.

143516-425x282-Buckwheat-seeds

Porcini Mushroom and Kale Buckwheat Risotto 

Buckwheat Pancakes

  • Brown Rice– nutty, slightly sweet, chewy.  Gluten-free and used in salads, risottos, pilafs, stuffings, stir-fries and rice desserts.  There are now brown rice pastas being sold and I really like them.  A main dish in Asian culture.

brown-rice

Brown Fried Rice

Stracciatella With Brown Rice

Chicken and Brown Rice

  • Millet– Buttery, corn-like.  Gluten-free and used in pilafs, salads, stuffings, porridge, soups, stews, desserts and to make polenta-like dishes.  A typical grain eaten in Africa and Europe.

millet-2

Millet Muffins

Roasted Chicken with Millet Stuffing

  • Oats– creamy, slightly sweets, toasty.  Made in granola, porridge, baked goods, and coatings (instead of bread crumbs).  A typical grain of Scotland.

url

Homemade Granola

Maple Oatmeal Bread

  • Kamut– buttery, nutty.  Used in salads, pilafs and stuffings.  Flour is used for baked goods like bread and pasta.  This grain originated around Egypt and has more protein than common wheat.

Kamut

Kamut, Lentil, and Chickpea Soup

Falafel Burgers (with kamut flour)

  • Spelt– Nutty, slightly earthy, chewy.  Good with Mediterranean flavors like basil, olives, tomato, cheese and eggplant. Used in salads, pilafs, and stuffings for meat or vegetables.  Spelt flour is used in bread, pasta, baked goods, and desserts.

Spelt Grain crop 031

Toasted Spelt Soup with Escarole and White Beans  

Whole Spelt Pumpkin Muffins

  • Farro (cracked)– nutty, mild, slightly chewy. Ideal with Italian flavors and used in salads, pilafs, risotto, stuffings, stews, soups and pasta.  This grain is believed to predate all other grains and originates with the people of the near East and Mediterranean.  It’s currently grown mainly in Italy. Farro is often soaked overnight to soften the grain and to reduce cook time.

farro

Farro Salad with Asparagus, Peas and Feta

Mustard Crusted Pork with Farro and Carrot Salad

Greens and Grains Scramble

  • Pearl Barley– nutty, slightly chewy.  Used in salads, pilafs, risotto, stuffings, soups, stews, and sweet desserts.

3079barley225

Pearl Barley Casserole 

Beef and Barley Soup

Sources: LiveScience, ABCNews

Products I Love

When I find a something I love, you’ll likely find me talking all about it to anyone who wants to listen.  Although I’m not getting paid to do these reviews, I’d like to use my blog as a platform to share products I recommend.

On today’s list we have:

Veggetti

Behold, the Veggetti!  I have so much fun saying that word. The Veggetti is a tool that allows you to make noodles, or “voodles,” out of vegetables.  It gives you the option of twisting your vegetable of choice (I mostly use it for squash and zucchini) into either thick or thin noodles.  One of my favorite dishes to prepare using the Veggetti is to sauté the voodles with garlic, salt, and pepper in olive oil.  Remember, when cooking with olive oil, cook at a medium temperature, since olive oil becomes carcinogenic when cooked at high heats.  You can even toss in some pre-cooked spaghetti (use a brown rice or quinoa spaghetti for gluten free options) and sauté along with the voodles and garlic.

vegetti

Panache Sports Bras

For all you lovely, big-breasted ladies, this sports bra is life changing.  I speak from personal experience.  Any discomfort during exercise will be eliminated.  The bra can clip in the back to become a halter bra and there’s wiring under the breasts. There are distinct cups, so this bra even looks good under regular tees rather than creating the unattractive, uni-boob look. The bras usually cost around $68 and are completely worth every penny.

shopping

Coconut Oil

For your one-stop-shop product, turn to coconut oil for nearly everything.  Use the oil for cooking, beauty remedies, cleaning, etc.  For the complete list of uses, look here: 101 Uses for Coconut Oil

shopping-1

Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe

The other night I tried out this new recipe, which will definitely become a regular dish in my house.  Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish and is very filling, but also healthy. It was so easy to make and combines the healthy whole grain, bulgar, with eggplant and spices.  Even my meat-eating boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

I found this recipe by Jeanne Kelley from Cooking Light on MyRecipes.com and am posting it here for you to enjoy!

vegetarian-moussaka-ck-l

  • 3 peeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Romano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Brush eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Place half of eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bulgur; cook 3 minutes or until bulgur is lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetable broth, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and salt. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Add egg, stirring well with a whisk.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Arrange half of eggplant in an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the bulgur mixture evenly over eggplant; arrange remaining eggplant over bulgur mixture. Top with milk mixture. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, and remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 475°. Return dish to oven for 4 minutes or until the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Bananas Save Lives

url

Bananas are the best.  I’ve actually witnessed first-hand the healing powers of bananas in bringing a young boy back to life! Ok, well maybe I saw that in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but the potassium-packed fruit saved the day and brought the boy back to consciousness.

It turns out that bananas offer much more than potassium.  There are so many health benefits from the nutrient-rich fruit, but also many other uses for everyday life.  Here’s what you’ll find in a banana:

  • Vitamin B6 – .5 mg
  • Manganese – .3 mg
  • Vitamin C – 9 mg
  • Potassium – 450 mg
  • Dietary Fiber – 3g
  • Protein – 1 g
  • Magnesium – 34 mg
  • Folate – 25.0 mcg
  • Riboflavin – .1 mg
  • Niacin – .8 mg
  • Vitamin A – 81 IU
  • Iron – .3 mg

(Source: Medical News)

I personally love bananas for their quick energy fix, mood-boosting qualities, and their ability to help with muscle and PMS cramps.  But there are so many other health benefits of bananas.  Some of these include:

  • Sustains blood sugar and boost energy, making bananas a great pre-workout snack (I recommend eating two bananas before your workout).  This also aids with PMS cramps and stress and makes you more alert.
  • High levels of tryptophan raise serotonin levels and reduce depression.
  • Aids in weight loss, swelling reduction, prevention of type II diabetes, strengthens the nervous system, and increases levels of white blood cells due to high levels of Vitamin B-6.  These high levels of Vitamin B-6, along with magnesium and potassium, also help smokers trying to quit by curbing withdrawal!
  • Helps with anemia and strengthens blood due to iron levels.
  • Low in salt, helping to lower blood pressure and protect against strokes and heart attacks.
  • High in calcium, helping with strong bones.
  • Acts as a prebiotic, aiding in constipation, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Aids in heartburn, ulcer prevention, acid reflux, and GERD.
  • Antioxidant-rich.
  • Helps prevent kidney cancer.
  • Lowers body temperature on a hot day.

(Source: Food Matters)

These are just the health benefits of bananas.  Now it’s time to learn about the fun, everyday uses for bananas:

nananas

  • Use the peel to shine your leather shoes.  It really works!
  • Remove a wart by taping the inside of the banana over your wart.
  • Treat your bug bites with the peel.
  • Press the banana peel over cuts or bruises.
  • Rub a banana peel over your teeth for approximately two minutes to help whiten teeth.

bananas

  • Use a banana to get out splinters.  The banana’s enzymes will naturally help get out the sucker when you press the peel over it.
  • Stop itchy scalp and moisturize hair and skin.
  • Stop oily skin when you make a mask out of the banana.  This mask will also help fight wrinkles.
  • Fight acne.  Wipe the inside of the peel on your blemishes and leave on over night.  Wash off in the morning.
  • Brighten house plants by rubbing the peel on leaves for extra shine.
  • In Asian cultures it’s common to place a ripe banana peel over a cooking piece of chicken to retain moisture while the chicken cooks.
  • Use as fertilizer.
  • Fight off aphids in your garden by burring dried or cut up banana peels a couple inches beneath aphid-prone plants.

(Source: Care2.com, Huffington Post, Readers Digest)

Here are some yummy ways to eat your bananas:

Morning oatmeal with cut up banana (great for weight loss– avoid instant oatmeal which is full of sugar)

3ade2bb64eae0d13fd367686c18bb762

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

9ac201823ce3f66c38ec37b29d63062d

Pan-Fried Honey Bananas

honeynana

Healthy Banana Pancakes

bananarecipe

Kick Your Cold the Natural Way

I’ve been under the weather this past week suffering from a cold.  In our western culture we tend to rely heavily on pharmaceuticals and blindly take whatever the doctor prescribes without ever questioning if those drugs are really necessary. Many of our ailments can be cured or suppressed with nutrition, rest, hydration, and overall care of our bodies.

Chicken sou

I’d like to share a story about a woman in my program (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition).  By the age of two this woman was prescribed 11 rounds of antibiotics for ear infections. Years later the woman came to learn she had a dairy intolerance the whole time and could have avoided her infections had she known that or had the doctor thought to check for other problems with her health.  The antibiotics ended up stripping her immune system leaving with her problems, mainly constipation, for 25 years.

drugs

Often, like with this woman, we don’t look at the full picture in terms of health, and are quick to take anything given to us by a doctor or found on a shelf to cure ourselves. In developed countries’ children get prescribed, on average, 1-20 different types of antibiotics by age 18.  Sometimes antibiotics are necessary, but overusing the drugs can often be more harmful than helpful.  Now, we shouldn’t be taking antibiotics for a cold anyway, but just wanted to share that info.  Sometimes medicine and a doctor’s opinion is necessary, and I’m not saying never to trust either.  Just remember our bodies are like gardens that need love and attention.  If we listen to our bodies and look for signs we can sometimes figure out what it is we’re really needing or missing.

I’d like to share though some natural home remedies you may not have thought of to help you with your colds this cold season:

1. Mind Over Matter– This is my first step, because it’s the best place to start when you feel yourself getting sick.  There is a reason for the placebo effect;  Our mind can trick our body into healing itself.  Whenever I start to feel a cold coming on I try to tell myself as much as possible that I’m not getting sick.  It’s difficult, but the more I convince myself I’m ok, the quicker I seem to heal.  Try it out and pair it with the other remedies mentioned below.

2. Drink fluids– Our bodies are comprised of 85% water and our brains are made up of 73% water.  Keep yourself hydrated to flush out toxins.  Also drink hot water/tea and broths.  Chicken soup is especially powerful and has been proved to reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms and clear mucus.  Here is an interesting NY Times article about chicken soup: The Science of Chicken Soup

3. Lemons–  I love to drink my water or tea with lemon.  Lemon has high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and flavonoids to help fight colds, the flu, or other bacterial or viral infections. I actually try to drink water with lemon almost every day, because there are so many other benefits like liver cleansing and weight loss.

4. Garlic– If you eat garlic raw and not cooked, then garlic is the food of choice while fighting the cold, flu, chest infections, digestive disorders, and fungal infections.  Garlic is a strong antioxidant with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents.  Since you likely don’t want to just chew the garlic on its own, try making a leafy green salad with crushed garlic and olive oil. Squeeze some lemon on the salad too.

garlic

5. Coconut Oil– Since my previous post on the benefits of coconut oil, I have learned this oil is far more versatile then I ever thought possible.  Seriously, it can be used for nearly everything, including kicking a cold.  Coconut oil contains an abundance of vitamin E, which helps with not only anti-aging and hair and skincare, but also increased brain function and energy, metabolism, hormonal balance, thyroid stimulation, and lower cholesterol balance.

6. Echinacea– Pick up some echinacea in the form of liquid extracts, juices, capsules, or teas to find your cold or flu.  Echinacea is immune strengthening and has been used for other conditions like bladder infections, blood poisoning, strep throat, and headaches.

echinacea-purpurea

In addition to my home remedies, just remember to get plenty of rest to give your body time to heal itself.  Take care of yourself, bundle up and don’t go outside in the wind with wet hair like I did!

References:

Antibiotic Overuse

Benefits of Garlic

Benefits of Echinacea

How to Take Control of Your Sugar Cravings

Here’s my dirty secret…

I love chocolate. For a period of my life I ate dessert after nearly every dinner.  Sometimes I also binge on sweets late night.

I know I’m not the only one, right?

From a young age most of us are exposed to sugar, and man, that stuff is addictive!  I mean, literally.  I remember I grew up drinking Coca-Cola and eating sweets a lot (my dad wasn’t the best influence with this).  I’m not sure how I managed to ween myself off of soda by the time I got to high school, but it was a huge shocker for me when I got to college and learned that not everyone ate dessert every night after dinner.  I was used to having ice cream, brownies, cookies or candy all the time, and visiting my grandma was always a treat because she had about four drawers in her kitchen dedicated to chocolate. Her trick was that she trained her brain to realize that the chocolate would always be there and available, so she never needed to binge, and could just eat a little bit at a time.  This wouldn’t work for everyone and I know my will power isn’t that good. Recently, however, I’ve learned a tip for suppressing sugar cravings.  It has been remarkably helpful, so let me share.

Add naturally sweet vegetables to your diet to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Instead of depending on processed sugar, look to sweet vegetables to aid with sugar cravings.  Sweet vegetables soothe the body’s internal organs and energize the mind.  Root vegetables, which are often sweet, are also grounding, rather than creating that sugar high that inevitably ends in a crash.

Here are a list of sweet vegetables to try:

Sweet Vegetables: corn, carrots, onions, beets, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and yams

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes; The Neelysgfg_root-veggies-cropped-300x241

Semi-Sweet Vegetables: turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas 

Other: Red radishes, daikon, green cabbage, and burdock (This list of veggies aren’t sweet, but have the same effect on the body by maintaining blood sugar levels, reducing sweet cravings, and breaking down animal foods in the body).

Eating fruits can also satisfy sugar craving, but try out some of the sweet vegetable options from above while also reducing the number of times you consume sweets.  Just remember, adding in sweet vegetables assists in crowding out less healthy foods in the diet.

I also find that sometimes when I think I’m hungry even though I shouldn’t be, late at night or after a big meal, for example, all I really need to do is drink some water.  Try having some water and waiting at least 15 minutes to see if your cravings pass.

If you still need your chocolate/sugar fix, there are also healthier recipes or snacks to buy, and just try to portion control by measuring out how much you want to allow yourself to eat.  If you’re snacking on M&Ms for example, pour some out of the bag into a small bowl, rather than eating the whole bag.

Here are a couple healthier sweet recipes to try out:

Frozen Banana Quinoa Bites

Pecan Pie Larabars

                                     Frozen banana quinoa bites   pecan-bars-FG

In case you hadn’t heard, here are some of the risks of eating too much sugar over time:

-obesity

-diabetes

-heart disease

-cancer

-weight gain

-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

-teeth problems

Source: http://authoritynutrition.com/

The Art of Chewing

url

How many of us rush our meals inhaling our food and not taking the time to thoroughly enjoy each bite? I think most of us our guilty of this bad habit, including myself. But, with the information I’m about to present, maybe next meal we’ll take the time to slow down and CHEW.

Chewing is the first step of digestion. During this process enzymes begin breaking down food as soon as it comes into contact with your saliva. The more you chew your food, the more time the enzymes have to start breaking down your food. The smaller the food becomes, the easier it is for our bodies to break down. The more broken down the food is in the stomach, the more nutrients and energy can be absorbed. When our food isn’t broken down properly, we often get gassy, bloated, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, abdominal pain or have digestive issues.

Next meal try to practice mindful eating. Try to enjoy the smell and the flavor of the food in your mouth. Savor each bite and aim to chew 20-30 times per bite. It can be hard to remember and achieve, but even if you remember midway through you meal give it a shot. In macrobiotics, an Asian diet focused on achieving health and vitality through the balancing of yin-and-yang with food, chewing is a huge point of emphasis and many practiced chewers can chew up to 100 times per bite!

Aside from making digestion easier, chewing can also help with weight loss. The more we slow down with our eating, the quicker our bodies realize we’re full. Downing our food can lead to weight gain, because we end up eating much more than our bodies actually need. If you still aren’t convinced, chewing also helps prevent tooth decay and plaque. Saliva, produced through chewing, clears bacteria and excess food particles keeping our mouths clean.