Is Fiber Good for Weight Loss?

Always feeling hungry? Can’t control your appetite some days? Increasing fiber in your diet might be just the solution you need.

With so many recommendations on what to do, how to eat and when, it quickly becomes difficult to make the right food choices when trying to manage your weight or chronic illnesses.

 

fiber

 

Did you know boosting your fiber intake provides these benefits and more: 

  • Keeps you fuller longer
  • Helps with weight loss/maintenance
  • Reduces cravings
  • Improves cholesterol
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Improves heart health

 

Closing the Fiber Gap

How much fiber should you be eating?

Ladies, aim for a minimum of 25 grams a day.

Gentlemen, aim for a minimum of 38 grams a day.

However, studies have found that Americans only average about 15 grams of fiber a day, about half of the recommended total dietary fiber intake.

Increase your dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Filling your plate with these whole, unprocessed foods is the first step to take toward increasing your fiber consumption. Consistently eating well-balanced meals that include these foods will ensure that your getting the right amount of this nutrient.

 

Carbohydrate:Fiber Ratio

Overconsumption of carbohydrates is a common concern for many of us, mainly because this macronutrient turns to sugar in the blood stream which then gets stored as fat, making it easy to gain weight.

It is the quality of carbohydrates that should be of greater concern, rather than the quantity. Consuming carbohydrates with high fiber content can reduce the glucose levels after a meal.  

Because fiber is not broken down by the body, it has no effect on blood glucose. Therefore, the grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carbs you are eating.

When making food choices seek out food options with a good fiber to carbohydrate ratio to reduce the foods impact on blood glucose levels.

 

Make it a habit to include fruits and vegetables with each meal.  

Vegetables high in fiber include leafy greens, squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They can be enjoyed in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and salads and steamed as a side dish.

 

Many fruits are also high in fiber, like apples, pears, oranges, peaches and more. Berries are an especially great choice because while they are high in fiber, they are also low in calorie.  Incorporate fruits into your diet as a convenient snack or as toppings for breakfast cereal, yogurt, salads, and desserts.  

 

fiber up

 

Whole grains are a popular and simple way to increase dietary fiber. The downfall with this is that many whole grain foods are overly processed and the labeling can be misleading.  

Beware of processed cereals and bars as they often have high sugar content and less fiber compared to other dietary fiber options. Swap the usual white bread for whole wheat bread and exchange white rice for brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley or other ancient grains. Consider different types of pasta options like whole wheat pasta, edamame pasta, or  lentil pasta.

 

Nuts and seeds also provide a great source of fiber. A handful of these packs a powerful fiber punch. They make for a nutritious snack, or extra addition to yogurts, salads and desserts.

 

Don’t forget about beans and legumes. These are one of the most naturally rich sources of fiber. If you experience gas and discomfort with high bean intake, consider starting off slowly when introducing these into your diet.

fiber beans

 

Try incorporating more of the recommended foods discussed here and notice the impact this powerful nutrient has on curbing your appetite and controlling blood sugar control.  This, in turn, helps with weight loss/maintenance and prevents/ manages diseases. 

 

Tips to Consider When Increasing Your Fiber:  

  • Increase consumption gradually (add 5g of fiber per day, spread throughout the day, until you reach your goal)
  • Keep edible skin on fruits and veggies
  • Limit starchy foods
  • Choose whole wheat over white
  • Reduce foods high in sugar (especially added sugars)
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to avoid constipation

 

I Challenge You…

to take a look at how much fiber is in your diet today. Does it measure up to the recommended minimum of 25g/day for women or 38g/day for men? 

How do you plan to increase your dietary fiber this week? –>  Here’s a great resource that might help you with that! 

 

Best,

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*** You might also enjoy my past posts on: Eating more Veggies and Fruits  AND Balsamic Roasted Carrots Recipe ***

 


 

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Overcome Overeating

OVERCOME

What comes to mind when you think of food?

What comes to mind for me are feelings of comfort, joy, family, and energy. How we view the food we eat, what we see it as being, impacts our whole attitude towards it. In my opinion, food is good! It is part of creation and provides nourishment, strength and even celebration. So therefore I often find myself asking “Why shouldn’t I indulge a little?” As soon as that thought crosses my mind, it’s as if I have already given myself permission to overeat without even realizing it.

Too often I have ordered an oversized, artery clogging, calorie-dense dessert after dinner (all for myself of course), knowing I probably shouldn’t but also telling myself “it’s okay because it’s a special occasion.” Or every time my mom or a family member serves me a heaping plate of food, “I have to eat it all or they will be offended,” I think to myself. Or that feeling of failure when I realize I just accidentally ate the whole bag of popcorn while watching Scandal. What about year after year of feeling regret following the holiday season because of weight gained from overindulging. Isn’t the purpose of Thanksgiving to stuff your face? No! Can you relate to these situations?

My excuses to overeat were becoming more of a habit. One day I just realized there would always be something to celebrate, someone offering me more food, a movie to watch, or a special event to attend. If we are being really honest with ourselves, we know that we often overeat those foods that AREN’T so good for us—I know this is true for me. I was undoing all of my hard work at the gym by overeating. I was tired of feeling so out of control and decided to overcome this consuming habit. Overeating doesn’t just destroy your physical progress, but actually increases body fat and results in negative health impacts like chronic diseases. My health and my life are more important than buttery popcorn, decadent desserts, and greasy fries. Is yours? I’m determined to start 2016 off with better habits and that includes overcoming overeating!

Why don’t I have more self-control?

I would ask myself this ALL THE TIME. I realized part of my overeating was because I wasn’t paying attention while I ate. I noticed I would often overeat if I had my dinner or snack while watching TV.  I was also more likely to mindlessly munch if I was stressed and rushing, because I would inhale my food instead of taking time to chew it properly.
Food addiction is another main reason it can be difficult to stop eating when we’re full and satisfied. If a diet includes many processed foods high in saturated fats, added sugars, and salt, the body becomes addicted. It begins to experience similar changes in the brain as drugs cause and dependency develops.

Restrictive dieting can also destroy any chance of self-control you might have. Labeling any foods as “off limits” usually leads to overeating later on, because we always want what we can’t have right? 😉 And the final blow to our lack of self-control is sabotage. Yes, our willpower is sneakily crushed by things like advertising, fad diets, convenience, social and cultural pressures. I mean, seriously, I get hungry just looking at Pinterest!

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How do I overcome overeating?

Everyday we make several decisions when it comes to what we put into our bodies. If I was going to overcome overeating and break the cycle, I had to implement some strategies. So here is what I came up with, what I continue to practice daily, and what I find works for me.

Yes, we were made to consume food, but food was never supposed to consume us. You can overcome overeating by addressing your mindset first. Reinforce your commitment to your health by immersing your mind and spirit in positive experiences, whether it be a book or self care practices (like a warm bath, getting a massage, speaking out positive affirmations). These things make you feel good about yourself and bring you confidence that overindulging in food will not.
Stop mindless eating by pausing before a meal to bring awareness and gratitude to what you are about to eat. Give your meal your full attention by not eating in front of the television or even at your desk at work. Break your food addictions by eating nutrient dense foods made with whole, unrefined ingredients. Foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and unrefined tubers/starches provide a higher nutrient value are not as calorie heavy as processed convenience foods. They are also generally higher in fiber and are more likely to fill you up at a lower calorie cost. While we should strive to eat healthier foods, if you’re REALLY craving something allow yourself to give in to that craving, but in moderation. Give yourself permission to have a little, otherwise you’ll binge on it later.
When it comes to societal sabotages, all you can do is learn to recognize them and develop healthy habits strong enough to overcome them. Change the channel when you see a food commercial (if it has a commercial, it’s probably bad for you), plan to leave half of your meal, check the menu in advance and plan to order a healthier dish, share your dessert, and don’t think it is OKAY to eat something you know is bad for you just because every one else is eating it.

The struggle to say “NO” to temptations may be painful in the moment but it’s just that- it’s momentary! Don’t trade healthy food for junk food. Don’t give up the fulfillment of a healthy life for a temporary moment.

A few more tips:
Make it inconvenient! Stash your unhealthy foods on a high shelf or behind a stack of heavy plates. Your less likely to eat it if it’s hard to get to.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind– Hide that candy dish that’s always sitting on your desk.
Eat slowly and drink water between bites, chew food thoroughly. It can take 12 to 20 minutes for food satisfaction signals to reach the brain. Give your body time to process what you’re giving it.
Don’t Skip meals– Waiting more than 3 hours between meals will increases your chances of overeating at your next meal.

This holiday season, I believe that you can overcome overeating. I won’t lie to you and say it’s easy. It’s something I have to be mindful of often, but keeping these tips in mind I find myself overeating LESS often.  That’s what I strive for, progress not perfection!  Do not start 2016 off with resolutions that reflect failures from this year. End 2015 by defeating destructive behaviors like overeating. It will take a lot of work but be persistent in your efforts. Hardwork pays off.

xoxo,

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Beet Juice Recipe

the Hurricane

This weekend we experienced some pretty terrible weather with the impending approach of a Category 4 hurricane (Joaquin). Luckily, Joaquin decided to take a detour and spare us from even more dangerous weather.  Nevertheless, it was still dark and stormy out with all day rain– totally ruined my half marathon training, but life goes on.  While I was “rained in” I decided to experiment with a weather-inspired beet juice recipe.  I call this baby The Hurricane since it was “born” into existance in the midst of hurricane Joaquin’s threat to strike the east coast

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I would like to point out that this juice is not very sweet.  That is because I try to create juices with the highest nutrient concentration possible, while keeping sugar content low.  I do this by using more vegetables than fruits in my recipes.  This helps keep your blood sugar stable but still allow for delivery of high dose nutrients to your body.

Here I used one of my least favorite vegetables- beets! But never fear- it’s only ONE (or half of one) and I promise it doesn’t taste as scary as it looks 😉  Ever dislike something even though you knew it was amazingly good for you? Yup! So why did I choose to use beetroot in my juice? Ah that is because I would never otherwise eat it & benefit from it unless it was in my juice.

beets

Beets are a great source of antioxidants and nitrates which provide increased energy by improving blood flow. Because of this, beet juice has been shown to help the body respond better to exercise. It’s even been shown to help with blood pressure!

Make sure to wash beets well because they are usually pretty filthy. I peeled the beetroot and trimmed off the beet greens.  Beet greens can be a bit strong in juices and it was not the flavor profile I was going for here, so I put them away to be sautéed on another day.

 

parsley

I also added a handful of flat-leaf parsley. I love adding fresh herbs to juices, it really freshens up the flavor not to mention herbs like parsley and cilantro are fantastic for several health conditions.  Parsley is high in chlorophyll, vitamin C, folate and iron but one does not normally eat enough parsley in day-to-day life to actually experience any improvements, so juicing it is the perfect way to obtain all of the health benefits of this wonder herb. But beware! This is potent stuff when juiced so limit consumption to 1 oz per day and it should not be taken by itself (always juice it with other veggies & fruits).  I personally prefer the Italian flat-leaf parsley to the curly parsley.  I found the curly parsley to have a soapy taste when I juice it. Again, remember to only use a small handful of this stuff until you’ve acquired a taste for it.

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I decided to throw in 1 large carrot to add some sweetness.  This helped balance out the strong flavors from the beet and parsley.  If you are worried about the beet (like i was in the beginning) start with just one-half of a beet in the juice.

The final ingredients to the Hurricane juice recipe include some of my staple juice ingredients: lemon, celery and kale.  I found it was cheaper and more convenient to purchase baby kale in a 5oz container from the Earthbound brand instead of the actual giant kale leaves.  Sometimes I find the giant kale leaves to be cheaper, but not this time and they looked a little sad & droppy too. So organic baby kale in a container it was!

I only used 2 celery sticks here because celery can also have a very strong flavor if you add too much. And the final ingredient was a lemon (peeled of course).  Feel free to add more or less of any ingredient according to your taste preferences 🙂  When I first started juicing I really preferred sweeter tasting juices so I would use a lot more fruit and more lemon/lime, but as time has gone on I’ve started to enjoy bolder but fresh flavors. I’m sure you’ll experience the same thing as your taste buds become re-trained.

lemon and greens

I invite you to try this juice at home and adjust it to fit YOU.  Juicing is such a great way to obtain a high concentration of micronutrients and antioxidants!  It’s a fantastic way to give your body a high dose of goodness, remove toxins, kill cravings and reboot your health.  This juice in particular will give you all of these benefits AND it’s low calorie, low in sugar content, and perfect for fall weather.  Have it as a snack or pre-workout fuel.

So give it a try & ENJOY.  As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or drop me a comment below.


Ingredients:

1 or 1/2  beetroot

1 large carrot (optional)

1 lemon (peeled)

2 celery sticks

3oz baby kale or about 8 large kale leaves

1 handful of fresh parsley

Directions: Process all ingredients through juicer and enjoy. Makes about 6 to 8oz. If storing for later consumption, be sure fill your container up to the top with filtered water to prevent oxidation. Juice will last in this manner for up to 48hrs.


Juice On,

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Eating More Vegetables and Fruits

Today I want to talk to you about a healthy habit that is not only going to help you manage your weight, but also improve your overall wellbeing.  This healthy habit is eating MORE.  Yes you read that right! …specifically, eating MORE vegetables and fruits.  Can you guess how many servings of veggies and fruits you should be consuming daily? Experts recommend 5 to 9 servings per day! When I initially heard this recommendation I was pretty surprised and realized I was getting no where near this amount.  Are you?

STRIVEFOR

Dont worry I’ve got you covered. Since changing my eating habits I’ve fallen head over heels in love with veggies and fruits discovering a variety of ways to get my recommended amount (and more) with ease every single day. But before I give you those hot tips, let’s talk about why the experts think we should eat more of this good stuff.

Vegetables and fruits are not only nutritious and delicious, but they are also naturally low in calories. Now that’s a big win! More benefits include fiber to keep you full longer and keep your digestive system happy 🙂  These foods can also reduce risk of disease and provide vitamins and minerals which keep you energized and healthy. I think these are all pretty great reasons to eat your veggies (I guess mom was right all along, as usual).

Don’t panic– vegetables and fruits are so versatile and easy to incorporate into any meal or snack.  Here are my top tips on how to eat more vegetables and fruits.

[ HOW TO EAT MORE VEGGIES & FRUITS: ]
1. Juices and Smoothies – this is my favorite way to sneak in both veggies & fruits! (Be careful to read the labels & avoid added sugars and additives).
2. Soups– Great one-pot-meal!
3. Salads– Pile on the veggies!
4. Meatless Mondays – trade out one meal a week for a vegetarian dish.
5. Be Sneaky– chop veggies small enough to hide into sauces, burgers, meatloaves, etc.
6. Take Shortcuts– frozen veggies are just fine (and much easier to prep), pre-chop and wash your produce so it’s readily available to you, and if you buy canned watch out for BPA and sodium contents.
7. Recipe Re-do– Try making your favorite foods a little healthier (for example, add veggies to your omelets, make kale chips, use avocado instead of butter when baking)
8. Fill at least half of your plate with veggies
9. Try supplementing with green powder boosts for days where your on the go and really lacking in veggies.
10. DIY salad dressings! Swap the fattening, high calorie dressing and make your own
A few suggestions I’d like to leave you with are to aim for more vegetables compared to fruits.  For example, if you consume 5 servings of veggies/fruits in a day be sure to try having at least 3 of those servings from vegetables and 2 from fruit.  And when you eat out, don’t be afraid to ask for a side of vegetables or substitute your fries for veggies.

Do a little experimenting, try some new produce, and step out of your comfort zone.  This one small change can lead to BIG results.  It just requires a little bit of effort on your part but YOU CAN DO IT.

If you’d like to learn more about adding vegetables & fruits into your diet and eating clean, in general, I would like to invite you to join my FREE & complimentary 5-day facebook group “Fall into Healthy Eating Habits.” I’ll be giving out valuable resources, recipes, tips, discussions and videos to help you learn how to implement healthier eating habits successfully. { Sign up here for more information or in the opt-in box on the right–>  }

For meal ideas incorporating vegetables and fruit check out: 
http://greatist.com/health/40-unexpected-ways-add-veggies-meal/

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/easy-ways-to-add-fruits-veggies-to-your-day

 

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Plant-Based Eating: What, Why, & How

People are often curious about my diet, wondering what I eat versus don’t eat and why.  Well here it is… I follow a “mostly” plant-based eating lifestyle. I say “mostly” because who doesn’t enjoy a treat here and there!  🙂

 

So what is a plant based diet?  I would sum up the description with the famous quote by food writer, Michael Pollan, as stated in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto — “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 1

plant-based

According to the folks over at Forks Over Knives, a whole foods, plant-based diet incorporates a wealth of fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, and grains. Eating mostly plants focuses on eating foods that are in their natural state, unrefined, and minimally processed.

A plant-based lifestyle aims to reduce (or eliminate) meat, dairy, eggs, refined foods (bleached flour, refined sugars, and oils)2. It may sound complicated but I promise it’s not. It’s just different from what we are all used to. As with all changes, we need to give ourselves time to adjust.

So basically if it’s from a plant and has minimal processing and recognizable ingredients on the label, it’s plant-based diet approved.

 

{ Two guiding principles for successful plant-based eating: }

#1 Eat more vegetables &  #2 Eat less processed foods

 

Why should anyone eat this way?  Well because it can save your life that’s why. It can help you live a better life.  It may take some work on your part to be intentional and not fall back into old habits, but soon enough it becomes second nature. My body actually craves fruits and veggies.. my taste buds have completely changed!  But as with any major lifestyle change, you cannot stay motivated (or even get started) unless you have good reason for doing so and it becomes a habit.

Here are the top 3 reasons to follow a mostly plant-based lifestyle:

  1. Good for animals 
  • By eating this way you are showing that you do not support animal cruelty.
    • Best practices tip: Even if you are not a vegan & enjoy animal products, try to buy products from animals that have been humanely raised.
  • You can still make an impact by forgoing meet for one day a week (think Meatless Mondays!)
  1. Great for the environment 
  • Large amounts of grain are grown just to feed animals, but we would save so much water and other energy resources if the grain produced was used to feed humans instead3.
  • Producing just 1 pound of beef requires 15 pounds of grain4.
  • Animal products are among the highest producers of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere5.
  1. Even better for YOU & your body
  • Helps prevent disease (& can in some cases reverse it)! Eating a plant based diet can help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lower blood pressure & cholesterol, help with weight loss, digestion, and inflammatory diseases6.
  • Improves your overall health & wellness by providing more antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber 7.

Good for animals

 

 

How do i actually incorporate this into my life?  Personally, I follow the “80/20 rule” by eating the whole foods, plant-based way 80% of the time and allowing for a few treats (occasional eggs, some dairy & even desserts) 20% of the time. I believe embracing a mostly plant-based eating approach is one of the best things you can do for your health and the environment but I also believe in balance. I know if I am too strict on myself I will not have a healthy relationship with food and be miserable.

Listen to your body and adjust your dietary habits accordingly. Everyone is different. Find what works for you but always keeping in mind the two plant-based principles.

 

{ A TOP TIP for anyone interested in taking the first step toward a plant-based approach }

Work toward adding 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your day

(at least 3 servings should be veggies + 2 servings should be fruit)

 

Got it? Good. Now go try it out! Be sure to comment with your results and experiences.

***Check out additional resources here.

 

– x o x o –  


| References |

1 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/In-Defense-Food-Eaters-Manifesto/dp/0143114964

2 http://www.forksoverknives.com

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/plant-based-diet_b_3807973.html

4 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger/

5 http://report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf/

6 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/reasons-to-choose-a-plant-based-diet/1

7 http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/

 

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