Archive of ‘Nutrition’ category

10 Ways to Stay Fit During Long-Term Travel

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Long-term travel has a way of taking its toll on your body. Eating out at every meal, long travel days without exercise, and cheap drinks all add up. But it’s possible to maintain (or even lose) weight while traveling. Here’s how.

1.) Cook your own food

Choose hostels and AirBnBs with kitchen access. Buy your own groceries and cook for yourself. Compared to the U.S., produce elsewhere is generally much fresher and more delicious so you don’t need to be a pro-chef to create something amazing. This will also save you a ton of money.

2.) Workout videos

Download some workout videos onto your tablet or laptop so you can watch them offline. Then recruit some of your travel buddies to join you so you can stay accountable.

3.) Go on active adventures

hiking active fitness travel

Hiking, swimming, biking, and even just walking around a new city are fun ways to stay fit. More adrenaline-filled activities like climbing, canyoning, and surfing also fit the bill.

4.) Limit sugary cocktails

Sure, they seem like such a great idea when you’re on the beach. But all they really give you are excess calories, dehydration, and a hangover. If you’re in the mood for a drink, stick to wines, hard liquors, and beers.

5.) Don’t go crazy with the free breakfast

Whether it’s a hostel with endless bread and cereal or a full-on breakfast buffet at a nice hotel, it’s easy to over-do it. This is especially true when you’re trying to save money and think it will help you skip on lunch. Guess what? It won’t because carbs only fill you up temporarily. So go easy on the breakfast and make your own healthy sandwich for lunch.

6.) Pack healthy snacks so you don’t need to stop for a huge meal

While portion sizes are generally smaller abroad than they are in the U.S., they’re still pretty damn big. And a lot of people have three of these huge meals a day since they aren’t home with access to snacks. Pick up some nuts and fruits at the grocery store so you don’t have to go crazy with the restaurant meals.

7.) Limit indulgences to special, local foods

vietnamese food hanoi local cuisine

When it comes to traveling, moderation is key. You can’t go to a foreign country and not indulge. Trying the local cuisine is a huge part of the culture and experience. So skip the burgers, but occasionally opt for the local pasta or unique desserts.

8.) Take advantage of body weight exercises

If you don’t have time for a full workout video, you can still fit in several reps of body weight exercises. Squats, lunges, push-ups, etc are all great ways to ensure your muscles don’t whittle away during those long train rides.

9.) Take local classes

Muay Thai in Thailand, yoga in Bali or India, and dancing in Argentina or Spain are all unforgettable ways to stay in shape and have fun.

10.) Cut yourself some slack

vacation tanzania beach zanzibar

Don’t set unreasonable goals. More importantly, don’t feel bad when you screw up. You’re on vacation for Christ’s sake! Be flexible, be good when you can, and forgive yourself when you indulge too much or are too tired to get out of bed.

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‘Tis The Season…To Get Sick

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Sure, you’re eating right and exercising daily and you feel great. You’re the healthiest you’ve ever been…until you come down with the cold or flu. Here’s how to deal.

The Best Foods to Eat

1.) Eggs are very high in zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for your immune defenses. Plus, they’re much more pleasant tasting than taking a zinc supplement. In addition they pack a nice protein punch, which is necessary for building antibodies and general immune function.

2.) Fermented foods. Foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and natural sauerkraut are rich in probiotics. Probiotics promote good bacteria in the gut, which can help fight the bad bacteria that makes you sick.

3.) Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which the body needs to make Vitamin A. It’s also high in Vitamin C. Both of these are key in boosting your immune system.

4.) Chicken soup. It may be cliche, but it’s for good reason. Chicken soup helps to fight the inflammation that occurs with the common cold as well as aiding the nasal cavity in keeping infections from entering the body. Chicken soup also usually contains onions and garlic, both of which have antiviral properties. But more on that later. Finally, as previously mentioned, protein is key in developing antibodies. So slurp away!

5.) Fatty fish. Salmon and other fatty cold-water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also a great source of Vitamin D and deficiencies of Vitamin D have been linked to frequent sickness. Finally, they have heaps of protein.

6.) Nuts. Like fish, nuts are also a good source of omega-3s. In addition, different types of nuts are rich in different vitamins and minerals. Almonds are high in Vitamin E, cashews are high in zinc, brazil nuts are high in selenium, and pistachios are high in vitamin B6.

7.) Tea. Like chicken soup, it’s very soothing when you’re feeling sick. But it also packs important health benefits. In addition to their powerful antioxidants, one study suggests that most teas contain chemicals that prime the body for fighting bacteria and fungi that could make you sick. But avoid the heavy chai teas from Starbucks (they’re too high in sugar) and go for a plain green or herbal tea when you’re feeling less than optimal.

8.) Beef. Believe it or not, beef is an immunity powerhouse. Like eggs, it has high amounts of zinc and protein.

9.) Turmeric.This spice, found in curry dishes, contains curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and for supporting the immune system. Studies are even beginning to advocate its importance in treating immune disorders.

10.) Water. It sounds self-explanatory, but I keep running into more and more people who “don’t like water.” Too bad. You should be drinking a lot of it all the time, but your body needs it even more when you start feeling ill. Fight dehydration and gulp away.

The Low-FODMAP Dilemma

So many of the foods that promote good immune functioning are no-no’s on the low FODMAP diet and may aggravate digestive issues. BUT I highly recommend eating them anyway when you feel sickness coming on. Of course, speak to your doctor first, but I’d personally prefer a day or two of stomach pain to a week or two of illness. In addition, when your immune system is compromised you’re more susceptible to further complications. These foods are great for fighting illness:

  • Garlic is a powerful immune system aid. It’s known for its antioxidants and is argued to be just as potent as some antibiotics.
  • Onions also contains antioxidants with antiviral properties. This makes them such an important component of chicken soup for fighting the cold.
  • Mushrooms help in white blood cell formation and general immune health.

What to Avoid

1.) Sugar. Instead of drinking orange juice, eat oranges. Sure the juice has vitamin C, but it’s at the cost of a much higher concentration of sugar, which may lead to inflammation and further weaken the immune system.

2.) Exercising. Your body needs rest. Sure you might be worried about your progress if you’re trying to build muscle or lose weight. But adequate rest is necessary so you can get back to the gym with full energy.

3.) Eating too little. Starving a fever is actually not the way to go. When you’re sick, your body needs even more calories to function normally because your metabolism speeds up. You need to give it adequate nutrition in order to get better.

What are your go-to remedies when sickness strikes?

Disclaimer: This is not intended to replace medical advice.

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6 Habits That Kept Women Slim in Decades Past

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past slim thin women decades 50s history weight loss tips

It’s no secret that Americans are much heavier now than we were in the past. People like to blame it on a host of things, from fast food to plain laziness. But it goes much deeper than that. And there are many differences in modern society that we don’t have a lot of control over, such as office jobs and hectic schedules. Fortunately, there are some habits women had in the past that we can learn from in order to be leaner and healthier.

1.) Instead of high-intensity cardio, they walked everywhere

walking cardio hike hiking nature

It seems they were ahead of their time in knowing that steady-state cardio could be more effective. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not always practical to walk everywhere, especially if you lived in a spread-out area. But there are still many practical ways to incorporate more walking into your daily routines. Bring your own lunch to work and use your break for a stroll instead. Take the stairs. Take a walk around the block whenever you’re early or stuck waiting (appointments shouldn’t be a waste).

2.) They exercised for fun instead of out of obligation

Instead of pushing themselves through that workout class, activities like tennis, biking, and ballet were more common. And since they were done for fun instead of out of obligation they were probably easier to stick too!

3.) Going out to eat was an event

It wasn’t an everyday thing. And take-out/delivery was nearly nonexistent. Plus, the focus on celebration and social gathering ensured that people focused more on their company rather than overeating. And appetizers/desserts were a rarity.

4.) They didn’t diet!

diet low fat dairy obesity epidemic high carb

Dieting doesn’t work. It ultimately leads to gaining more weight than before. In decades past, people didn’t always eat the healthiest foods, but everything was more in moderation and more natural than “diet” foods. In fact, many researchers attribute the obesity epidemic to the low-fat diet craze which started around the same time. This makes sense and we now know that fat doesn’t make you fat. Still many people avoid full-fat foods. Unfortunately, diet foods are more likely to be high in sugar, which is much more likely to cause weight gain than fat.

5.) They consumed fewer processed foods

In the past, regular consumption of processed food was mostly limited to dairy and deli meats. Everything else was cooked or prepared. That’s not to say that they didn’t occasionally eat cereal, but shelf-stable foods made up a much smaller portion of their grocery lists.

6.) They got more sleep

Sure, you could always argue that your life is too hectic and you don’t have time to get enough shut-eye. But if you make it a priority I think you can fit it in somewhere. In almost every other time and culture, napping was a regular habit. Study after study has found that adequate sleep is necessary for weight loss.

 

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5 Last-Minute Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes

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healthy Thanksgiving last minute easy recipes dishes diet holidays

It’s that time of year! Crisp air, cozy sweaters, and…oh crap Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Thankfully (pun?) there are plenty of super easy, last-minute, healthy Thanksgiving dishes you can put together. They don’t even require a real recipe and you’re still sure to impress! Plus, they’re the perfect way to sneak some lean, green, and clean foods onto the table. Want dessert? Check out my easy, healthy Pumpkin Chia Pudding recipe

‘Real’ Cranberry Sauce

Skip the canned stuff this year! Simply mix some fresh or frozen cranberries in a bowl with a few spoonfuls of maple syrup or honey. Squeeze in some juice from a fresh orange. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until thick. Bam!

Nutty Green Beans

Thanksgiving green beans healthy easy recipe eggplant

Why add the all the loaded extras of a casserole when green beans can taste delicious on their own?! Spread frozen green beans as flat as can be (no overlapping) on a foiled baking sheet. Drizzle on olive or coconut oil. Sprinkle sesame seeds, slice almonds, or whatever else you have. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly crispy. Grilled eggplant is also a great addition (pictured above).

Mashed Butternut Squash

butternut squash thanksgiving cooking recipes easy last-minute

Obviously not my hands

This also works with sweet potatoes if you prefer. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Using a fork, mash to desired consistency. Mix with plain greek yogurt. Mix in chopped pecans. Optional: add cinnamon or ginger.

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa

quinoa thanksgiving cranberry walnut recipe easy healthy

Bring quinoa to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add cranberries and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Drain and mix in chopped walnuts. Voila! If you’re not low-FODMAP, baked apples would also be a tasty addition.

Thanksgiving Salad

Just have fun with this one! Incorporate whatever you have left over from your other dishes. Carrots, apples, turkey slices, nuts, cranberries, yams, pumpkin, green beans, etc. Go crazy!

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5 Reasons You Should Watch ‘Hungry For Change’

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hungry for change documentary health food eating obesity weight loss

Image via ‘Hungry For Change’

Hungry For Change is a powerful documentary that you can now watch on Netflix. It talks about the food industry, the diet industry, and the rising obesity epidemic. I think almost everyone would benefit from watching it. Even if you’re familiar with the concepts/facts, they’re presented in a very inspiring way. I will say that it’s definitely not perfect. I didn’t like how some of it was very anti-meat/pro-juicing and some of their claims seemed a little less scientific than others. However, it was still a great and eye-opening film that I highly recommend. Here are some of my favorite points made throughout the movie.

1.) Food kills more people than drugs

This is pretty shocking to write out. But it makes sense if you think about it. Food and obesity-related diseases are one of the most common causes of death in America.

2.) 90-95% of people who go on a diet will gain it back plus some

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t diet. It’s destined to fail for so many reasons. I’d rather just live a healthy lifestyle always. The documentary cites a study performed by UCLA that found this statistic through a meta-analysis of 31 long-term studies.

3.) To lose weight, add food instead of taking it away

This seems counterintuitive, but hear them out. Most diets operate on the basis of eliminating certain foods and often even entire food groups (like the failed low-fat movement of the 80s and 90s). Hungry For Change suggests the novel idea of adding healthy foods instead of restricting yourself. When you restrict yourself, you’re going to want food even more than you did before. But if you eat enough fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, you’re going to be too full (and if you cook them right, satisfied!) to have much of the bad stuff. Plus, you won’t even be thinking about it.

4.) It’s not about willpower. Sugar is an addiction

I think this one is pretty powerful since so many struggle with binge-eating. The first part of the documentary really focused on how bad our society’s dependence on sugar is and how highly addictive (even comparing it to heroin) it can be. And it’s not just the obvious sugar from sweet treats. All processed food is filled with addictive chemicals. But if you can cut those processed foods out and eat real food, you’ll get to the point where you won’t crave the bad stuff anymore (I sure did!)

5.) We’re “overfed, yet starving to death”

This is so simple, but it really drives the point home. We’re always going to be “hungry” if we keep eating these processed foods without nutrients. Throughout most of history, people ate fairly low-calorie diets with a high percentage of nutrients. Now society lives on a high-calorie diet that’s near devoid of nutrients.

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Health and Fitness News You Missed This Week

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trx fitness gym kettlebells workout exercise

I read a ton of fitness/nutrition news every week so I figured why not share it all in one place? I don’t always agree with the findings and health research results are never black and white. Nonetheless, it’s always a fun read and you may just learn something new!

How much sugar is too much?

The FDA has declared a recommended cap of 50 grams of sugar a day for adults. In addition, they have plans to make nutrition labels start differentiating between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. While I’m not a fan of processed foods in general, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Walking vs Running

A new study found that walking could actually be more beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance than running. More proof that it’s simply not necessary to force yourself to be a running person.

“Skinny Fat” may be more deadly than obesity

The term “skinny fat” resurfaces and this time it’s deadly. Another study confirms that carrying weight around your midsection is dangerous for your health. This study also suggests that it could even be more dangerous for a skinny person with a fat stomach than a generally obese person.

Is working out harder really better?

Is our obsession with bootcamp and military style workouts healthy? Maybe not. While I don’t personally see anything wrong with it, this article makes a good point that you shouldn’t have to force yourself to do a workout you hate. You should find a workout you enjoy.

Do stronger legs mean a stronger brain?

A new study confirms previous findings that exercise works more than just your muscles. It can also improve brain health! Exercise your body and exercise your mind.

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12 Tips for Frugal, Healthy Eating

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frugal healthy eating budget cheap diet food

In one of my very first posts I discussed how I shop for groceries for just $20 a week! I figured it’s about time I go into some more detail with additional tips for frugal, healthy eating for those of us on tight budgets.

1.) Only buy organic when it matters. Honestly, for a lot of food it doesn’t make much difference, including bananas, avocados, asparagus, peas, eggplant, etc. Click here for the full list of foods that should always be bought organic and those that don’t matter as much.

2.) Re-prioritize. Focus on getting the most quality (aka nutrients) for your buck instead of the most quantity. We often think a deal is getting a ton of food for a few bucks. But wouldn’t that money be better spent getting a smaller amount of nutrient-dense food? This post from Nerd Fitness discusses how to reevaluate your way of thinking about deals.

3.) Come up with interesting combinations and ways to use cheap, healthy foods in your cooking. “Good and Cheap” author Leanne Brown says that using popcorn in salads is a tradition in Peru for those who are gluten-free. Likewise, baked potatoes can be a substitute for breads. Creativity is especially helpful when you’re on a low-FODMAP diet.

4.) Buy fruits/veggies when they’re in season. Want them all year round? Freeze them and you’ll always have them in stock.

5.) Buy brown or basmati rice in bulk. They may not be as in vogue as quinoa, but they’re still high in nutrients and much cheaper!

6.) Befriend your local produce sellers. I buy my produce from the same guy down the street all the time and he’ll often give me awesome discounts! A smile and a little loyalty goes a long way.

7.) Check out some local ethnic markets. Asian markets, for example, often have a good (and unique) variety of produce, meats, and fish for very reasonable prices. I’ve seen many vegetables that I’ve never even heard of before at these shops (and they were delicious)!

8.) Compare unit price rather than overall price in order to find the best deals. $2 isn’t always a better deal than $3!

9.) Avoid pre-cut and pre-washed produce. It will take less than three extra minutes to do it yourself and you’ll easily save up to 30%!

10.) Potatoes are your friend. They may get a bad rep since they’re a bit higher in carbs and calories than most other veggies, but they’re still healthier than most things you put in your mouth and they’re only a fraction of the cost!

11.) Consider a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You basically buy a share of a farm and get fresh, local produce every month at a reduced price.

12.) Protein powder can actually be pretty cheap when you buy a big tub and it’ll last a heck of a long time. It shouldn’t make up the bulk of your protein, but it can be a great supplement.

What are your tips for healthy eating on a budget?

 

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Healthy Pumpkin French Toast

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Happy early Halloween everyone! Here’s a great, festive recipe for Pumpkin French Toast to try out this weekend (or anytime really because…pumpkin). It’s easy, cheap, and healthy so there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying this delicious breakfast treat! And it’s low-FODMAP to boot! Also see my Pumpkin Chia Bowl recipe for more Fall goodness!

pumpkin french toast healthy recipe low calorie treat

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg or 3 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 2 slices of gluten-free bread or ekeziel bread
  • Optional: protein powder, walnuts or pecans, fruit for topping

Directions:

  • Mix eggs/egg whites, milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a wide, shallow bowl. Beat and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Dip in bread, making sure to thoroughly cover both sides of each slice.
  • Cook on a lightly oiled (tastes best with coconut oil) skillet/frying pan until slightly browned on each side.
  • Optional: Drizzle with a bit of honey or pure maple syrup.
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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Eating Clean

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I go through periods where I love to cook, bake, and prepare healthy foods. And then I go through other periods where I just can’t be bothered. I’m going through the latter right now. Heck, I don’t even want to make smoothies because it would require cleaning the blender. But here’s how I’ve been staying clean without spending a fortune on prepared foods.

No Prep Required

nuts

1.) Nuts are one of my favorite snacks. As long as you keep portion sizes in mind this really is one of the best “no effort needed” snacks. I personally like the single portion sized bags.

2.) You can find healthy and cheap snacks at the store when you’re on-the-go. Check out my guide to healthy convenience foods.

3.) Other than rinsing, most fruits don’t require any prep work (save for cantaloupes and other large ones). And they’re so flavorful that you don’t need to add anything else for it to be satisfying.

4.) Many people think of celery, bell peppers, and hummus when they think of clean eating. That makes me shudder! There are veggies that are super tasty all on their own and don’t require a dip to cover up a lack of flavor. One of my favorite snacks is frozen peas! Yep, straight out of the bag. Reminds me of Dippin’ Dots. Baby carrots are another favorite of mine.

Minimal Preparation Needed

easy meals cheap turkey burger clean eating healthy

5.) Need a quick dinner? Frozen turkey/chicken burgers are so easy to make. Just pop them on the stove for about 5 minutes and you’re done! Just make sure to read the box to check that there are no unnatural ingredients or excess sodium. Serve on a bed of lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil for the perfect lazy meal.

6.) Whether you throw them in the microwave or cook them for a bit more flavor, frozen veggies are your best friend. I especially love browned green beans!

chia pudding easy meal lazy recipe healthy

7.) This recipe for Warm Banana Chia Pudding takes just 2 minutes of prep and 2 minutes of cook time before you have yourself a satisfying treat! Perfect for the cold weather ahead!

8.) Eggs are such an easy food to make, but they can easily get boring as well. Spice them up! I’ve found that omelets and scrambled eggs are a great place to throw in veggies that you would otherwise throw out. Mushy tomatoes take on the taste of sun-dried tomatoes if you throw them in. Wilted greens are the perfect addition for some extra texture (and throw in some basil for good measure!)

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4 Healthy, Budget-Friendly NYC Restaurants

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Finding healthy convenience foods can be difficult enough, but finding a nice healthy, sit-down restaurant can be nearly impossible. Sure, you can follow these tips for staying healthy while eating out, but sometimes it’s nice to find a place that does the work for you. Here are four of my favorite healthy NYC restaurants and they’re suitable for any budget!

Sushi Yasaka

sushi healthy restaurants nyc

In order to stay light while eating sushi, you really want to go with either sashimi or rolls that are heavy on the fish without sauces or tempura. Sushi Yasaka is perfect for that! They have some of the freshest fish in the city that’s not a fortune. Try the sashimi deluxe for only $24! It’s delicious, satisfying, and healthy as can be! Plus, unlike your typical affordable sushi restaurant, this place isn’t a dump. It has the perfect ambience for a nice dinner.

Kashkaval Garden

Need a healthy option for date night? This intimate, romantic restaurant is perfect. Kashkaval‘s Mediterranean tapas are cheap and light. You can get six of them (more than enough for two people) for just $22! But most of them contain garlic, so if you’re low-FODMAP you’re better off enjoying their delicious meat and cheese plates or the skewers.

Le Pain Quotidien

healthy restaurant nyc new york le pain quotidian

Le Pain Quotidien is one of my go-to spots for a casual, healthy meal. It’s a pretty big chain, but my favorite is the Central Park location. Go there for brunch or lunch and enjoy the atmosphere and the food! Everything is under $20, which is a steal for both the location and the quality. I love the tartines and you can get them on the most delicious gluten-free bread you’ve ever tasted! Try the salmon or the ham and gruyere! Just try not to be tempted by all of the sweet bakery items!

Bareburger

What if you have a craving for fast food? Bareburger is great for satisfying that craving in a healthy way. Most locations also have cute, outdoor seating. It’s a bit more expensive than your average burger, but with prices hovering around $10-$13 it’s still very affordable. Choose their collard green wrap instead of a bun and decide from many different free-range meat options, as well as quinoa or sweet potato patties for vegans!

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