5 Tips on how to Avoid Tempting Treats
We’ve all been there: at a party, at a co-worker’s birthday celebration in the break room, at restaurants, and even up and down the grocery aisles.  Tempting treats can not only sabotage weight loss/maintenance goals, they can wreak havoc on moods, hormone balance, blood sugar balance, and your immune system.  It’s really not a matter of willpower or strength vs. weakness on your part, it is a biochemical response to highly addictive (therefore, seductive!) ingredients in many sweet, salty, and overly processed but always tasty and tempting treats.  Most name-brand-mass food manufacturers use the least expensive ingredients in packaged food. They also hide sugar, fat, and additives in various forms, which may make our taste buds happy temporarily, but ultimately affect our “bottom” line and tummies in an undesirable way. These tempting treats drastically affect our blood sugar balance and body’s ability to regulate hormones, which affect our brain’s ability to function optimally, resulting in fatigue, irritability, inability to make clear decisions, and memory problems.
Here are 5 tips to consider to keep control and balance when tempting treats come your way:
1. Do not attend a social function, or grocery shop on an empty stomach.  Drink an 8 oz. glass of water, and eat a small serving of healthy protein (i.e., hard-boiled egg, 1/4 cup raw nuts, a protein shake) at least 30 minutes before you go to an event or the store. If protein isn’t handy, eat an apple or orange, or some raw veggies. Fiber and protein stave cravings, and are filling and nutrient-dense to the body, so you won’t biochemically be as crazed for sugar/salt.
2. Stay hydrated.   Many times our “hunger pains” are actually our body’s way of telling us we are thirsty, and possibly dehydrated. Water is by far the best way to hydrate. It also naturally energizes the body, and it fills us, while helping absorb good nutrients from our food and eliminate toxins from the body. If you’re at a social function, and you know that alcohol may sway you to the tempting treats, stay away from alcohol or make sure you have one full glass of water between cocktails. Club soda or sparkling water with a “splash” of fresh juice or squeezed lemon/lime can really provide satiety and a means of “clean control” at a social gathering, staving the munchies and over-drinking.  Although green tea is not hydrating, this is also a nice energizing and anti-oxidant-filled beverage to have instead of munching on unnecessary treats.
3. Have shopping boundaries.  When going to the grocery store, shop the outer perimeters (produce, meat) vs. the inner aisles and bakery section. If you have a special occasion or company to buy for that you think warrants the extra “treats”, i.e., chips/dip, cakes, cookies, etc., then have a plan before you get to the store. Budget a small amount of money and quantities of those things you’ll buy “especially for them” and then leave the aisle. Put it in a special part of your pantry that you’ll access only when providing those items for them, so they are not out in the open on a counter or platter. Make a grocery list with only one-two maximum “treats”, and stick strictly to that list. Eventually make a list with no treats so those foods are not even in the home to tempt you.
4. Fresh vs. Fad.  We eat what is available and convenient. So make fresh available! Food that is fresh, from the earth, and prepared at home, will always win over the chain restaurant dishes, fast food, and food in wrappers/cans/packages. Challenge yourself to surround your workspace and home with easy-access fresh food. Raw carrots, avocado, fruit, sliced zucchini/cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, nuts, cold chicken leftover from the night before… all in place of the 100-calorie pack pretzels, chex mix, popcorn, cookies, etc.  If you eat a cup of veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole or salsa, you’ll be more satisfied than eating a cup of corn chips, cheese puffs, or candy. The more fresh you eat vs. fad/fat, you’ll start to want that and shift your habits to healthier ones. Experiment and have fun with being creative with fresher foods–you’ll be surprised how easy and quick they can be.
5. Slow down and “think before you eat”.  Our culture is all about faster, better, and more….  Slow down when it comes to food. What this means is, don’t make your meals or snacks an after-thought—something you do “on the go”, “whatever you can grab”.  If you can make a conscious (not complicated) gameplan each day or week about the kinds of foods you will eat, and stick to the plan, you will be armed and in control. Have nuts or an apple in your purse or car, so when you’re commuting to/from activities, the drive-thru window doesn’t have to be your only option. Pack your lunch, and then set aside one day a week to eat out if that’s what you like to do, but know what you’re ordering before you get there. Think to yourself before just sub-consciously ordering a sandwich, fries, or something from the vending machine: “am I hungry, do I want this, is it going to serve me?” Stop and consider “why” you’re grabbing something. Lastly, once you are sticking to your plan and slowing down enough to “think before you eat”, chew your food slowly and deliberately. Savor every bite. When you eat slower, you won’t “need” as much food to be satisfied.

5 Ways to Increase Water Intake

Our body is made up of approximately 60% water. That being said, drinking water is essential to your health. Drinking enough water, you can be sure that your body functions properly. When your water consumption is less than your output, you may become dehydrated; thus, resulting to numerous health issues.

Water energizes the muscles of your body and flushes out toxins. Unfortunately, most people find it difficult to drink enough water each day. Oftentimes, people tend to consume more soda than water. If you are one of them, here are 5 ways to help you increase your water intake.

Make water accessible

Sodas contain Aspartame and unnatural sweeteners. In order to make sure that won’t get tempted, get it out of sight and make water more accessible.

If you are working on something or will be out all day, we suggest bringing along a bottle of water. This way, you’ll have a chance to drink water more often.

Sip water

Instead of gulping water at once, it is better to take a sip once in a while. Do this throughout the day. Drink your water slowly and enjoy its taste.

Add fresh fruits

For some people, drinking water all day could get a little boring. If you wish to spice it up, why not add your favorite fruit to the water? Feel free to add a slice of cucumber, lemon or orange to a glass of water. Fruit-infused water has many benefits. Plus, its taste is very refreshing. Once you’ve tried it, we guarantee that you’ll love it.

Eat water-enriched foods

Consuming water-enriched foods is one of the easiest ways of increasing your water intake. Tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon and cucumber are just some of the best examples of water-enriched foods. You can eat them raw, add them to your salad or make smoothies.

Drink water before each meal

Drinking a glass of water before each meal can provide numerous benefits. First, it prevents overeating. Second, it can reduce calorie intake. However, drinking more than one glass of water before each meal is not recommended as it may lead to serious health problems.

Reasons Why You Should Include Tomato in Your Diet

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse that can provide you with amazing health benefits, especially if you include them in your diet. Tomatoes are loaded with Vitamins A, B1, B3 B6, C, K, phosphorus, magnesium and folate, which are all essential in maintaining good health. And to top it all off, they are naturally low in calories, sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol.

In this article, we’ll give you a list of some of the best health benefits of tomatoes. Read on as we give you a few reasons why you should eat tomatoes every day.

Clear skin

Regular consumption of tomatoes can help you achieve a clear and perfect skin. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that makes your skin less sensitive to UV light and protects it from sun damage. You can even use it for rashes and acne. Plus, it also helps minimize large pores.

Help fight cancer

A study that was published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute revealed that consuming tomatoes on a regular basis can help combat prostate cancer.

They also help reduce the risk of other types of cancers like ovarian, colon, rectal, cervical, stomach and lung cancer. This is because tomatoes are packed with lycopene. If you wish to boost the anti-cancer benefits of tomatoes, we suggest using olive oil.

Good for your hair

Tomatoes are packed with iron and vitamins that can add shine to lifeless and damaged hair. Additionally, its acidity help balance the PH level in your hair.

If you have dandruff, simply apply fresh tomato juice on your scalp and hair after shampooing. Leave it on for about 5 minutes and rinse off with cold water. Just try not to use it too often as it can dry your hair out.

Relieve chronic pain

Tomatoes contain anti-inflammatory agents like bioflavonoids and carotenoids that are capable of alleviating chronic pain. Mind you, people who are frequently suffering from pain usually have inflammation.

Research suggests that daily intake of tomato juice can help lower the blood’s TNF alpha levels by about 34%. They are also recommended for people who are suffering from chronic health issues like cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber while yogurt is high in protein. These foods are recommended as it helps you feel full while lowering your bad cholesterol levels; thus, making them a true breakfast super food.

You have probably tried a whole bunch of toppings but if you are tired of the same old oatmeal toppings, feel free to get creative and try out some of these healthy toppings. Read on as we give you a rundown of a few tasty toppings to make your breakfast a bit more interesting.

Blueberries

Healthy Oatmeal and Yogurt Toppings You Should Try

Instead of using dried fruits, which are high in sugar, it would be best to opt for fresh fruits like mango, pineapple, banana, apple and others, but experts suggest using blueberries.

Numerous studies show that blueberries can help thwart cancer cells, improve memory and prevent heart diseases.

Cacao nibs

If you are a chocolate lover who wants to add chocolate in every food you eat, you are free to do so but make sure to use cacao nibs. These crunchy bits have a subtle dark-chocolate flavor that is perfect for your yogurt and oatmeal as they add a hefty crunch to your meal.

Cacao nibs are loaded with antioxidants, making it a true super food. Best of all, it has no sugar content so you are free to indulge on chocolate without the guilt.

Pumpkin seeds

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With its great benefits, experts recommend that everyone should consume this healthful seeds. Studies suggest that pumpkin seeds are capable of blocking the growth of cancer tumors. Pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial for prostate cancer. They are also high in Vitamin E, zinc and tryptophan.

Cinnamon

A dash of cinnamon would add a tremendous amount of flavor to your meal. Another reason why you should use this spice is because it helps lower insulin levels; thus, balancing your blood sugar level.

Yogurt is high in milk sugar. Cinnamon can offset its sugar content. Since you don’t want too much sugar in the morning, you might want to add cinnamon to your yogurt or oatmeal.

Cucumber is commonly known as “super food” as it is not only fat-free and low in calories, it is also packed with essential nutrients that is beneficial for your health.

Whether you snack on them in the afternoon, toss them in your smoothie or add them to your salad, it will surely keep you full without ruining your diet.

Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Cucumber

It helps eliminate toxins

The water content in cucumber is designed to eliminate waste products out of your body. Additionally, consuming cucumber on a regular basis is known to dissolve kidney stones.

It rehydrates the body

Cucumber is composed of 90% water. Plus, it is rich in potassium and electrolytes. If you are too busy to drink enough water, snacking on cucumber will do the trick. It can also act as a natural remedy for dehydration.

It replenishes daily vitamins

Cucumbers are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients that is enough to supply you with your daily needs. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C, cucumber is a super food that will provide you with enough energy, keep your skin radiant and boost your immune system.

It aids in weight loss and digestion

Due to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is ideal for people who are looking to shed some pounds. Snacking on cucumber gives your jaw a good workout, making you feel full. It is also a great source of fiber, which is great for your digestion. Daily consumption of cucumber is known to relieve constipation.

It fights cancer

Cucumber contains pinoresinol, lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol. These three are known to reduce the risk of several types of cancer like uterine, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.

It revives the eyes

It may sound like a cliché but placing a chilled slice of cucumber over your puffy eyes can help reduce puffiness and under-eye bags. This is because of its anti inflammatory properties.